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I am a worrier. As in: I think I have a crippling anxiety-disease that is taking over my life. To be honest, worrying takes up more time in my day than anything else now, which I’m thinking can’t be normal. Actually, I’m worrying that it can’t be normal.
So, because among my worries is the fear that I’ll eventually run out of things to tell you about, I bring to you a new series: Crap Movita Worries About. This should provide years of material, and perhaps bring us a little closer together. At the very least, it should make you feel better about yourself. The first instalment in this series is: Structurally Centred Worries.
Our kitchen floor is about to collapse. 2.0 says it is not. He insists on pointing out that because he went to school for building technology, he has some expertise in the area. I’ve checked at kitchen level and at basement level, and can’t find any real proof to show 2.0, so now I’m on the hunt for some sort of floor-sag measuring tool. I’ve also been checking to see if any of my neighbours have fallen through their kitchen floors – as many of our houses were built at the same time. So far, no luck.
My bathtub is in a bathroom that wasn’t originally built with the house. It was an addition to the second floor made years before we moved in. I’m not convinced that the weight of the water and my devastatingly beautiful body were accounted for by the contractor, and I don’t want to plummet to the ground – naked – in the tub. So now I only take showers.
2.0 and I have been considering a move. We’re even thinking about building a house. But I’m going to need proof that the contractors are accounting for the weight of everything we own – including the piano and three cats – before I’ll approve any plans. Otherwise, everything we own will have to be arranged in the basement. We will need very strong, very level kitchen floors. And I would also like extra beams under the bathtub so I can finally have a nice soak after a day of worrying at work. But I’m worried that the builder won’t take my concerns seriously.
The building where I teach is very, very old. People at work say, “this building survived the Halifax Explosion – nothing’s going to take this sucker down!” But I figure if it survived the explosion, it’s more than likely that it can’t survive much more. I often teach on the second floor. I’m not sure if the weight of a dozen dancers, the piano, an accompanist and myself has been accounted for. The building wasn’t built with such use in mind, and might collapse as a result. Also, when I’m laying under a piano in the basement (post-collapse), will I be able to tell the rescue workers to check on my cats? Do rescue workers do that sort of thing? And will the mice that live at the Conservatory chew on my hair while I’m waiting to be rescued?
Now, here’s something – when I’m baking, I don’t worry. I mean, sure, I could fall through the kitchen floor, but it’s hard to think about that when you’re focused on icing consistency. So, as you head into the long weekend, I give you these squares. These lemony squares might take your mind off your worries for a little while. They are perfect for spring, and suitable for a tea party if you’re into that sort of thing. They have a light base topped with a lemony-coconut layer, which is then topped with a lemony frosting. They are light, sweet and tart all at the same time – as any lemon dessert should be. I like my lemon desserts with a little zing – but you could dial back on the lemon if you so desire. I also recommend cutting the pan into small squares. That way you’ll look very ladylike at your tea party. Even if you eat 27 of ’em.
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Lemon Coconut Bars – adapted slightly from Company’s Coming 150 Delicious Squares, Jean Paré – print and bake in a structurally sound environment
Yields about 36 small squares – more or less depending desired serving size.
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, cold and cut into small cubes
For lemony layer:
- 2 large eggs
- 4 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 cup unsweetened, shredded coconut
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups confectioner’s sugar (icing sugar)
- 2 tablespoons butter, room temperature
- 8 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (more or less to taste)
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a 9 x 9 inch square baking pan with parchment paper. I like to have the sides of the pan covered with the paper as well.
To make the base:
Combine the flour, sugar and butter in a bowl, using your fingers to rub the ingredients together until the mixture becomes mealy. Dump the mixture into the prepared pan, and press down evenly. Bake for 20 minutes.
To make the lemony layer:
Just before the base is ready to come out of the oven, prepare the middle layer. In a medium sized bowl, beat the eggs slightly. Stir in the lemon juice, sugar, flour, baking powder, coconut and salt. Spread the mixture over the base layer when it has finished baking, and then return the pan to the oven. Do not let the base cool before putting the lemon layer on – spread the lemon/coconut mixture over the base as soon as it comes out of the oven, and put back in the hot oven right away. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until set in the centre and light brown in colour. Allow to cool in pan on a wire rack completely before icing.
To make the icing:
Combine the confectioner’s sugar, butter and 4 teaspoons of the lemon juice in the bowl of a stand mixer and mix on low speed. Add the next 4 teaspoons of lemon juice gradually, and then mix on medium speed until no lumps of butter or sugar remain, scraping down the sides and bottom of bowl as necessary. Spread on the cooled squares and allow to set.
Cut into small squares to serve.