Here's a list of the many reasons I hate the month of January.
- Below zero temps.... the thermometer should never read a negative number!
- Chipping ice off my windshield
-Running out of windshield washer fluid (nothing worse than a windshield covered in dirt/salt nastiness... and having to pull oven and use a hunk of snow to wash it... anyone else do that? Or just me...)
- White knuckling it on pretty much any drive in our area.
- Dry gas
- Losing my mittens ( I can only ever find one)
- Ordering heating oil... (I spent 3500 on oil last winter. Barf.)
- I have to wear socks.
- Falling on the ice and bruising your tailbone ( I can't sit on my bum most of the winter... I fall a lot)
- Skiing/Snowboarding (DETEST! but always end up going.... point me to the lodge and order me a hot chocolate with a double shot of peppermint schnapps!)
I am sure there are more that I just can't think of at the moment... One would think I would move to a warmer state... somewhere there is no snow or ice. But you would be wrong. I think it is a common trait of New Englanders.... we love to hate winter and love to complain about the weather. It is never warm enough... and when it does get hot we complain about that too.
To be honest I would never trade my New England fall weather for anything. So for now you have to listen to me bitch and moan about the temps and snow ;)
The one thing I do welcome when the month of January starts.... citrus fruits. My shopping cart is filled each week with Florida oranges, clementines, lemons, limes, grapefruits... I can't get enough!
One of my favorites. Meyer Lemons. They are sweeter than a regular lemon. The juice is just that much better. If you have never tried one, I encourage you to pick some up the next time you hit the grocery store.
I typically make lemon bars several times during the winter. My husband and I have a serious weakness to them. That shortbread crust topped with a lemon curd like topping sprinkled with a bit of powdered sugar. Oh my word. Just so good. To mix it up a bit this time, I added some poppy seeds and topped them with toasted meringue. It's a lemon bar/lemon poppy seed muffin meets lemon meringue pie!
Meyer Lemon Poppy Seed Meringue Bars
FOR THE CRUST:
1/2 cup room temp butter
1/4 cup sugar
1 cup flour
1/4 tsp salt
FOR THE LEMON LAYER
2 tsp Meyer lemon zest
1/2 cup Meyer lemon juice
3/4 cups sugar
2 tbs flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp poppy seeds
FOR THE MERINGUE
2 room temp egg whites
1/4 cup granulated sugar
To prepare the crust. Preheat oven to 375.
In the bowl of your electric mixer using the paddle attachment mix butter, sugar, salt, and flour. When it starts to come together but is still slightly crumbly. Press into a parchment paper lined 9x9 baking dish. Bake for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile prepare your filling. In your electric mixer with a the whisk attachment mix all of your filling ingredients together until combined.
Pour onto prepared crust.
Bake for 15-20 minutes or until they are slightly golden on the edges and the center has set and just barely jiggles. Remove from oven and allow to cool to room temperature.
When the bars have cooled. Prepare your meringue.
With the whisk attachment on your mixer, whip egg whites until they start to get foamy. Add in your sugar, return mixer to high and whip until you have stiff peaks.
Remove from mixer and spread or pipe onto lemon bars.
To brown the top. Using a kitchen torch lightly brown the tips. OR place bars under the broiler for about 30 seconds. Make sure to keep a close eye on it so it does not burn.
Slice bars and enjoy!