by Daughter Fish

I have a problem with my plow impulse, that instinct to get ‘er done quick. I’d make a lousy archeologist, always going for the big shovel over the tiny trowel and paintbrush. Although this impulse did make me a good cook on my dad’s fishing boat in Alaska, and got me a job the first week I moved to New York, it has often proved troublesome.

For instance, in college I always took French classes that were beyond my skill level, which meant I skipped a lot of basics, like pronouns. I’ll never forget the chilly afternoon my new French roommate asked if she could borrow a pair of pantyhose, and I quickly replied in French “no, you’re dirty,” but meant “they’re dirty.” They? You? Minor details!

With this silk dress I’m sewing, I keep fighting my plow impulse. Yesterday morning was the first fitting ( as I’ve mentioned, the dress is silk and the first I’ve made for someone else). Beforehand, I finished as much as I could, which cost me some time in the end, as there were a few parts of the bodice that didn’t quite fit and I’d already finished the edges with FRENCH SEAMS. Hello seam ripper!

But this is all part of the learning curve, and I’m happy to have someone on which to test my seamstressing (we’re trading the dress for some design/web work). And now I’m compiling a list of do’s and don’ts for future projects.

After the fitting, my friend, let’s call her O. Gastronomia (check out her awesome new food blog), asked for this Meyer lemon cupcake recipe on a quick twitter exchange (did I mention I’m twittering? @DaughterFish).

The recipe is from Martha Stewart’s Cupcakes (full disclosure: I helped edit this book). I’ve made these cupcakes for two baby showers and they’re so cheery looking and delicious.

And while I’m on a tangent, have you read Bossy Pants yet? In which Tina Fey discusses muffin tops (the real ones), as well as cankles, lunch lady arms, saddlebags, and other “incorrect” womanly parts. If not, get it. Five star recommendation. I’ve given myself permission to plow through it, and laugh my ass off the entire way.

And no matter what, just remember, vous êtes sale. And so are your pantyhose.


Makes 42 full-sized cupcakes

(* from Martha Stewart’s Cupcakes)

I like to make these as mini cupcakes; that way they’re bite-sized and you can eat a few without feeling sick. Meyer lemons are generally only available in the winter. When I can’t find them, I like to use a mixture of half regular lemon and half grapefruit lemon/zest.

3 ½ cups all-purpose flour, sifted

2 tablespoons finely grated Meyer lemon zest, plus 2 tablespoons fresh Meyer lemon juice (from 1 to 2 Meyer lemons)

½ teaspoon baking powder

1 ½ teaspoons coarse salt

1 ¾ cups (3 ½ sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature

3 cups granulated sugar

8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature

7 large eggs, room temperature

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

confectioner’s sugar, for dusting

Meyer Lemon Curd (see below)

1 Preheat oven to 325°F. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners. Whisk together flour, zest, baking powder, and salt.

2. With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, cream butter and granulated sugar until pale and fluffy. Beat in cream cheese. Reduce speed to low. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until each is incorporated, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Beat in lemon juice and vanilla. Add flour mixture in three batches, beating until just combined after each.

3. Divide batter evenly among lined cups, filling each three-quarters full. Bake, rotating tins halfway through, until a cake tester inserted in centers comes out clean, about 28 minutes. Transfer tins to wire racks to cool completely before removing cupcakes. Cupcakes can be stored overnight at room temperature, or frozen up to 2 months, in airtight containers.

4. To finish, dust cupcakes with confectioners’ sugar. Fill a pastry bag fitted with a coupler ad a medium round tip (#8) with curd. Insert tip into top of each cupcake, and squeeze some curd below top to fill the inside, then lift the tip and squeeze more curd in a pool on top (if making mini cupcakes, you’ll likely only be able to squeeze a pool on the top). Filled cupcakes can be kept at room temperature up to 1 hour (or refrigerated a few hours more) before serving.


Makes 2 cups

If I can’t find Meyer lemons, I like to make this curd with half lemon juice, half grapefruit juice, which produces a warm orange-yellow curd and wonderful sweet-bitter-sour combination. You could also use limes or blood oranges. I’ve also found that cutting this recipe in half makes more than enough lemon curd for the above cupcakes (otherwise, you can freeze extra curd).

2 whole eggs plus 8 egg yolks

1 cup sugar

2/3 cup fresh Meyer lemon juice (about 6 lemons)

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces, room temperature

Combine whole eggs and yolks, sugar, and lemon juice in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Cook, whisking constantly, until mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Remove from heat. Add butter, a few pieces at a time, whisking until smooth after each addition. Strain through a fine sieve into another bowl, and cover with parchment paper or plastic wrap. Pressing it directly on surface to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate