kumquat marmalade + pistachio linzertorte

kumquat marmalade + pistachio linzertorte

We just had an alarm system installed out here in the woods, in the compound that I work at. It’s not what you may think. It’s not to deter burglars, although as it turns out it deters everyone, so, burglars included. The alarm system is set up to detect fires, high levels of hydrogen, low temperatures, and power outages.

This is all part of an elaborate scheme to bring solar power into the woods. It’s a delicate mix of inverters running off the batteries that are fueled by the solar cells, along with two different generators that serve our energy needs during daily peaks and energy-demanding activities such as welding.

Anyway, the system is now sort of functional, and it’s shaping up to be an awesome step forwards for this community in the middle of nowhere. But the most recent item of business, adding in an alarm system as a safeguard, has put everyone on edge since it went live last week. On one peaceful sunny evening last week, I was enjoying the nice weather when suddenly a cop car siren went off at a volume so loud that I jumped a good 2.5 inches out of my shoes. It would be prudent to note here that our compound is located hours away from any paved roads, and no cop cars would ever dream of venturing this far into the woods. To top it off, the noise sounded like it was coming from the lake.

Turns out it was the alarm system siren (pronounced sy-reen all distinguished-like by the electricians). They were choosing a ringtone.

kumquat marmalade + pistachio linzertorte

Since then, things have escalated. Another point of interest to note is that whenever we switch over to the generator, there is a 1-minute delay when we have no power. This happens several times a day, but is nothing out of the ordinary for us. However, the alarm system has been programmed, as I mentioned, to detect power outages. So now every time that we switch to the generators, the sy-reen goes off. I think that the system has developed some sort of evil brain, because weird things have been happening with the generators since the electricians’ visit last week. The power went out at least eight times yesterday. That means the loud-ass sy-reen went off at least eight times yesterday. The sy-reen has also been sounding during the middle of the night. In a measure of good faith, the electricians have limited the sy-reen‘s duration to a few minutes, down from the recommended 15 MINUTES. Thanks guys.

We have some electronic keypads that tell us what sort of alarm is sounding. Like last week, an alarm went off because there was low temperature in a small shed that has no water or power and is uninhabited. Good to know.

And this morning, I’m being told by the keypad that we are currently suffering from…. a fire.

kumquat marmalade

A couple weeks ago, I made this fire-colored kumquat marmalade. Someone sound the sy-reen please.

Did you ever eat those SOUR SOUR SOUR SUPERSOUR sweeeeet Warheads candies? Kumquats are like nature’s equivalent to Warheads, a definite mouth party. How I have never before eaten kumquats is beyond me. Now I’m popping them like a bad addiction, and I’m slipping a few to my loggers – “oh hey, you like citrus? here, try this!” I offer, before quickly taking a few steps back just in case.

The next logical step, aside from slathering my marmalade over every glutenous surface known to man, was to pair it with my perennial favorite nut, pistachios, combining the two into a delightful variation on a linzertorte.

kumquat marmalade + pistachio linzertorte

Kumquat Marmalade + Pistachio Linzertorte

Recipe adapted from Maida Heatter and Smitten Kitchen

Yield: One 9-inch round or 8-inch square torte, sooo…. 8 wedges or 16 bars.

For the Kumquat Marmalade:

I used David Lebovitz’s recipe for Kumquat Marmalade, and the only change I made was to use three Meyer lemons in place of the recommended 2 lemons. I couldn’t write the instructions any better than he did, so follow his. Make sure you start a day ahead of time, since the citrus needs to soak overnight.

For the Linzertorte:

Base and Lattice
2 1/2 c. pistachios
1 1/2 c. flour
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
10 tbsp cold, unsalted butter, cut into chunks
Heaping 3/4 c. sugar
1 egg
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon (I used a Meyer)

Make base: Heat oven to 350 degrees. Butter 9-inch round layer cake pan or 8-inch square pan. Line the bottom of each with a piece of parchment paper cut to fit, then butter then paper.

In a food processor, process pistachios and 1/4 c. of flour (reserve remaining flour) until the nuts are finely ground but not pasty.

Place remaining 1 1/4 c. flour, cinnamon, and salt in a large mixing bowl. With a pastry blender, add the butter into the flour mixture until it forms crumbs. Mix in the sugar. In a small bowl, beat the egg and lemon zest until combined, then stir into flour mixture until well-mixed. Work the dough inside the bowl until a cohesive ball forms.

Divide dough into halves.

Place half the dough into the bottom of the prepared pan, and press evenly and firmly over the bottoms, flouring fingers if necessary. Press dough up the sides of the pan 1 1/2″.

Bake shell for 10-15 minutes, until it barely begins to color at the edges. Remove shell from oven and let cool slightly. Reduce oven to 325F.

While the shell bakes, roll remaining piece of dough between two pieces of waxed paper or parchment paper, until 1/4″- to 3/8″ in thickness or just a bit larger than the size of the pan. Transfer to freezer on a baking sheet until the dough is well-chilled, about 20 minutes.

3 tbsp panko or fine, dry breadcrumbs
1 heeeeaping c. kumquat marmalade

Make filling: Remove chilled dough from freezer.

Pulse panko or coarse dry breadcrumb in a food processor until a fine powder. Sprinkle panko or breadcrumbs over par-baked shell. If jam is not soft, stir it until it is, then spread over breadcrumbs.

Cut dough into 1/2″- 3/4″ strips, cutting through the bottom of the waxed paper at the same time if you want to make dough transfer simple (I didn’t do this). Lift each strip over the jam and reverse it onto the jam before peeling off the waxed paper. Arrange strips 1/2″ to 3/4″ apart, crisscrossing them (if desired, I didn’t do this either) on an angle to make a lattice top with diamond-shaped openings. Use leftover pieces to fill in any gaps between lattice-strips and tall sides of shells. Excess lengths can be added to the tall sides and gently pressed into place.

1 egg yolk
1 tsp water
Powdered sugar, for serving

Mix egg yolks and water. Brush it all over lattice top and border. Bake torte for 45 to 60 minutes, until crust is well-browned.

Remove from oven and place on cooling rack. Cool for ten to fifteen minutes in the pan, before loosening and removing. Allow to fully cool on a cooling rack. When cool, serve immediately, or let the linzertorte stand overnight (covered in foil) before serving for full flavor development. Decorate with powdered sugar before serving if desired.


We caught Beata snoozing at a perfect 90 degree angle. Such a little right triangle. Be still my beating heart oh gosh.

She knows not the joys of marmalade and linzertorte, but she doesn’t need to, because she has fur and whiskers and ears and those darling legs.

olive oil + candied meyer lemon madeleines

olive oil + candied meyer lemon madeleines

Have the Meyer lemons disappeared from your local grocery store? Maybe I still have access to them because they’re considered too culinarily exotic where I live, and so no one buys them. Or maybe they’re still abundantly for sale across the country, and I just know nothing. Regardless, I’m thankful for the continued opportunity to enjoy these darling gems.

I decided to candy Meyer lemon slices, which resulted in the decadent syrup you see draped suggestively across these madeleines. The syrup – oh, how lovely it is. Sweet, tart, floral, citrus, herby; all come together under this bold orange-yellow banner of deliciousness. The chopped-up candied slices were incorporated into a basic madeleine batter, along with enough olive oil to provide a punchy kick of flavor. If a bold and flavorful dessert (or snack… or breakfast) is what you’re looking for, these are your cakelets.


Next question. Have you ever had a mother-of-millions houseplant? No? Bear with me. Yes? Party on.

In your home, has it multiplied at a phenomenal rate, to the point that you worry it might take over the room in which it lives? Has the plant’s behavior come to annoy you so much that just the mention of its name sends a shiver down your spine? Do you wish you could do more to warn others about the dangers of letting this beast into your house? If you answered yes to one or more of the above, I bet that you and my mum would get along well; you have a common enemy. Hi Mum!

I on the other hand love my weird little mother-of-millions. She’s actually at most only been an approximate mother-of-two-to-three-dozen, and I think she’s cute. I was given a little slip of this plant back in high school (where has the time gone?) maybe nine years ago, and I have nursed it along through alternating stages of growth and decay. Until two months ago, though, I had never seen it try to flower.

I read somewhere that if you let your plant flower, it may die. But I mean, is it really possible to kill this plant? My mum would shake her head and respond vehemently in the negative. I’m not sure, but I’ve been waiting patiently now for many weeks, watching the flower buds grow larger and droopier. Finally, over the weekend, I noticed that the flowers had opened. Aren’t they sweet? There’s something so impermanent and special about a houseplant flowering that I couldn’t help but memorialize it here.

candied meyer lemons

Final question. How fast can you eat these? Probably not as fast as me. Three at a time, dawg. Three at a time.

Olive Oil + Candied Meyer Lemon Madeleines {recipe by myself}

Makes 24


1/2 c. unsalted butter + 1 tbsp for madeleine tins
3/4 c. flour + plus more for dusting tins
2 tbsp reserved candied Meyer lemon syrup, plus more for glazing
1/2 c. sugar
1/2 c. almonds
3/4 tsp baking powder
3 eggs
1/2 tsp salt
1-2 candied Meyer lemons (follow this recipe to candy your lemons – 2 Meyers to one regular lemon), chopped up into fine pieces


Melt 1 tbsp of butter and brush into two regular-sized madeleine tins. Cool one minute, then sprinkle flour into each mold. Tap in each direction to evenly coat, then tap out extra. Set aside.

Melt butter in small bowl or saucepan with candied Meyer lemon syrup. Mix in sugar. Set aside, let cool.

In a food processor, grind almonds (note: I don’t blanche my almonds – I like them as is. If, however, you’d prefer blanched almonds, do that ahead of time). Add flour and baking powder, and process until mixed.

In a large bowl, whisk eggs and salt for three to five minutes until well-frothed. Whisk in half of flour mixture. Add the butter/lemon syrup mixture. Switch to a spatula, and fold in candied Meyer lemon pieces. Fold in the remaining flour.

Transfer batter into a pastry bag, making sure that the tip is large enough to allow almond chunks to pass through. Pipe batter into tins, making sure not to overfill: 2/3 to 3/4 full should be plenty. Alternatively, spoon batter into molds (my method of choice).

Chill tins in the fridge for two hours, or preferably in the freezer for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350 F. Bake tins for 10 – 16 minutes, depending on how cold (frozen) they got. Rotate tins once. My nonstick tin takes less time to bake than my tin tin: watch your madeleines bake carefully! When the edges turn golden brown, and the center bumps appear cooked (the change is noticeable if you watch them bake), remove pan from the oven. Check to make sure they are cooked through. Quickly invert onto a cooling rack, or pry out with a spoon or knife.

Dip madeleines in reserved candied Meyer lemon syrup, and allow to cool slightly. Serve warm, or at room temperature.

olive oil + candied meyer lemon madeleines

blood orange + meyer lemon sorbet

There is something so special about the taste of Meyer lemons… they are so herby and fresh and incredible. And there is something equally special about blood oranges; their color reminiscent of a brilliant gem, they easily light up any dish with a peppy burst.

When I think about winter citrus, I often find myself wishing for a strong hit of it…. while also wishing for said hit to be sweet. Helloooo, sorbet.

The nearest grocery store carrying these wintry delicacies is a two hour drive away from my weekday forest dwelling, but thankfully, it’s also in the town where I still technically reside. I thought about this treat all of last week, and couldn’t wait to pick up the citrus and get sorbeting. And lo! It was delicious.

blood orange + meyer lemon sorbet

I don’t have any of this sorbet with me here in the woods, but I am already looking forward to having some on Friday afternoon. Zingy and sweet and unexpectedly deep in flavor, this citrus ice reminds me not a little bit of rosemary, hence the leggy garnish courtesy of my still-alive herb planter from last summer.

Speaking of the woods, I would really love to do so. I would love to tell you all about my job, and why it means so much to me, and why I think it is one of the most important professions in the world (I am, of course, a bit biased). But before I do that, I’m kind of curious to know your initial impressions of what it is, exactly, that I do.

If you know me in real life, you may or may not know. But if I only know you online, I would very much love to hear a) what the words ‘forestry’ or ‘forest management’ mean to you, and b) your impression of what it is that I do as a ‘forester.’ Your input will help, so thank you. And thank you, all of you, for your support of my last post. I was humbled and appreciative to know of all the good vibes coming my way from your various parts of the globe.

Hey, one cool thing that my job entails? Finding old rusty abandoned trucks. Hopefully this isn’t a sign of things to come for my shiny Chevy.

old chevy old chevy DSC03984old chevy

Blood Orange + Meyer Lemon Sorbet {recipe by myself}

Makes 4 to 4.5 c. of sorbet


1 c. water
1 c. sugar
4 blood oranges
7 Meyer lemons


In a saucepan, bring water and sugar to a boil, stirring until mixture is fully dissolved. Remove from heat.

With a citrus reamer, juice blood oranges and lemons. Pour through a strainer into the water-sugar simple syrup. Mix until combined.

Pour into a freezer safe container, and cover well. Chill in a cold freezer until solid, stirring up on occasion to homogenize. Enjoy.


Join me soon for some snapshots of my enchanted woodland abode.

Meanwhile, happy winter citrusing to those of you in the Northern Hemisphere!