Saturday, January 22, 2011

JOAN'S ON THIRD (Lemon Bars)

(Lemon Bars)

Who’s on first?  Haven’t a clue – don’t really care… but Joan’s on Third and I do care about that.  Why?  Because “Joan’s On Third” is one of my favorite sandwich shops/cheese stores/‘bistros’ in Los Angeles. 

Richard and I first met Joan McNamara when Richard produced a piece about her mac & cheese for the Food Network.  I was in the process of designing a minor remodel of our kitchen taking it from a 50’s formica past to a modern-day New England farmhouse future, and was debating the use of marble for the counter-tops.  I wanted marble, but friends and fellow designers were nixing the idea – it ‘stains.’  But I couldn’t get my great aunt’s old New Hampshire farm kitchen out of my mind.  Connecticut white/gray marble, wide-plank wood floors, white enamel sinks and wonderful country-kitchen faucets.

To help w/ the final decision, Richard took me to Joan’s On Third designed almost exactly the way I was envisioning our kitchen… all her tables and counters were honed Carerra marble (translation: the glitzy shiny surface was taken off) which is quite similar to the marble from Connecticut quarries.  They looked gorgeous!!  Just what I wanted.  So we sat down w/ Joan and ‘talked’ marble while we ate her fab mac & cheese.  I explained all the stain warnings I had been receiving and she just smiled and said, “Patina.”  When I realized she wasn’t sending me to a Joachim Splichal restaurant, I looked more closely at her counter tops and saw exactly what she meant.  There were tons of stains and ‘spots’ and they all just blended into the stone.  Patina!

OK, my mind made up – no granite for me (hey, I’m just not a granite girl) – I was going to fulfill my country-kitchen vision.  To celebrate, Joan brought out her lemon bars.  Full disclosure… I don’t like a lot of sweets, so my first bite was w/ much trepidation.  What if I didn’t like them?  Joan was still sitting w/ us and I knew I’d have to at least eat half.  Well, nooooooooo problem.  They are just plain amazingly delicious.

Here’s how to make them:

Joan’s on Third’s Lemon Bars

Total time:  45 minutes, plus
Cooling time for the crust
Servings:  makes 9 bars

½ cup (1 stick) butter, melted
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons flour, divided
½ cup powdered sugar, plus more
    for dusting the bars
1 cup granulated sugar
½ teaspoon baking powder
5 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 eggs, slightly beaten

Heat the oven to 350 degrees.

In a medium bowl, combine the melted butter w/ 1 cup flour and the powdered sugar, stirring just until the dough comes together.  Pat the dough into an 8-inch square pan and bake just until lightly golden, about 16 -18 minutes.  Remove and cool the pan on a wire rack to room temperature.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the granulated sugar, baking powder and remaining 2 tablespoons flour.  Whisk in the lemon juice and eggs until thoroughly combined.  Pour the custard into the pan over the baked crust and bake again until it’s set, 20-25 minutes.  Remove and cool the tart on a wire rack.

When cooled, dust lightly w/ additional powdered sugar and cut into bars.  The lemon bars will keep for 1 week, refrigerated.

Each serving:  277 calories; 3 grams protein’ 42 grams carbohydrates; 0 fiber, 11grams fat; 7 grams saturated fat; 74 mg. cholesterol; 44 mg. sodium

Joan’s On Third
8350 West Third Street
Los Angeles, Calif.  90048


Melanie said...

My fave dessert other than CHEESEcake!

Susan said...

I want a marble farm house kitchen, too!

Thanks for the lemon bar recipe. Although I am fasting today, I will print out for the future.

Cindra said...

I love her lemon bars!