When I got pregnant, everyone kept telling me that total strangers would touch my belly. Luckily this has only happened once so far. The woman who did it was coming out of a restaurant bathroom as I was going in, and she seemed a little tipsy so maybe her inhibitions were down. So, fortunately I've escaped the hands of strangers on my belly up to this point. The thing I wasn't prepared for was people staring at my belly and asking questions. I notice this the most when I'm at the Farmers' Market. There are a lot of older, retired folks shopping there, and they often want to ask me about my pregnancy. Some of the questions are silly, such as "Have you got a little one in there?" "Yes," I answer thinking "obviously I'm having a baby, either that or stealing a watermelon." They want to know what I'm going to name the baby, when I am due, and whether or not this is my first child. Although they will sometimes talk to me for a while as I am quickly trying to do my shopping, I don't mind these little inquiries. There is excitement in their voices as they ask me these questions, and the questions are almost always followed by stories about when their children and grandchildren were born. The overarching theme in all of their stories is that time goes by too fast. They say things like, "It seems like only yesterday I had my daughter and now she has a daughter of her own." And they are right, time does go by too fast. The other day I cried at a wedding when the groom danced with his mom, thinking that will be me and my son one day. I know, I know that is still really far away. But, I appreciate the insight, concern, and joy on the faces of the older folks at the Farmers' Market. They serve as a good reminder to enjoy this stage of my life - the tiny kicks of my baby, preparing his room, daydreaming about what he will be like.
Speaking of the Farmers' Market, there were fabulous lemons there this week. They were a really good deal, so I bought a bunch. I also needed a dessert to take to my small group, so I decided to make lemon bars. These are my favorite lemon bars, my variation on a version I found in Bon Appetit Magazine a few years ago. They have toasted coconut in the crust. Yum! And I've found that even people who don't like coconut like these lemon bars.
1 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup sweetened flaked coconut
6 tablespoons cold butter cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 cup and 2 tablespoons sugar
3 large eggs
5 teaspoons grated lemon zest
6 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (from 2-3 lemons)
1 1/2 teaspoons all purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
Pinch of salt
1/4 cup powdered sugar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line an 8 x 8 inch metal baking pan with parchment paper leaving an overhang (which will help you remove the lemon bars later). Butter pan and parchment. Toast coconut in a dry skillet over medium heat until lightly golden. Remove from pan and allow to cool. Place flour, sugar and salt in food processor and pulse a few times to combine. Add cooled coconut and butter and pulse until mixture begins to clump together (it will not form a ball). Place mixture into prepared pan and use fingers to press evenly over bottom of pan. Bake until crust is very lightly golden at edges, about 25 minutes.
While crust is baking, combine all filling ingredients in food processor and process until smooth. Once crust is baked remove from oven and pour filling over hot crust. Return to oven and bake an additional 30-35 minutes until edges are lightly golden and filling is just set and springy to the touch in the center. Transfer pan to rack to cool completely.
Using the parchment sling as an aid, transfer the bars to a cutting board. Gently remove the parchment and cut bars into 16 squares. Sift powdered sugar over bars. Can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for several days.
Note: The powdered sugar will be absorbed by the bars after a couple of hours. If not serving the same day, wait and dust with powdered sugar before serving.