A Zest for Lemons
As a native New Yorker, I never thought I’d be in a situation where I’d be harvesting Myer Lemons and figuring out what on earth to do with them. But, I’m in California now, with a good friend who has 2 magnificent trees resplendent with Myer Lemons in her backyard in sunny Oakland.
This friend does not have a culinary bone in her body but what she lacks in interest, she makes up for in enthusiasm; I wanted to come up with some easy and fun ideas for my friend so she could take advantage of her harvest and create a new dimension to gift giving and entertaining.
Here are some simple ideas for a delicious twist on lemons-
Vodka Lemonaide- No explanation required, this is the best summer cocktail around, served in a martini glass with a lemon twist.and a sugar rim on the glass.
Lemonade- Kind of obvious I know but for many, an afterthought! Squeeze the juice of about 12 lemons in a pitcher. Fill the pitcher with water to take the liquid up to the top of the vessel. Add about ¼ cup to ½ cup of sugar depending on your taste and you’re set!
Lemon Pasta- This satiny lemon sauce is beyond it and does not require advanced cooking. Mix together the juice of 1 meyer lemon with a couple egg yolks and about ½ cup cream and toss into ½ lb. egg pasta with freshly grated parmesan cheese, salt and pepper. Sumptuous.
Preserved Lemons- The perfect complement to roast chicken or pasta and a great hostess gift. Take your lemons, cut in half. Squeeze their juice into a beautiful jar, and put the lemons in with skin side facing out after coating inside of lemon with kosher salt.. Throw in spices if you want but I prefer pure lemons. Let the jars sit for 1+ months and you’re good to go. If you’re giving as a gift, tie some ribbon or raffia around the neck of the jar and you have a beautiful kitchen gift for a friend.
Deep Fried Vegetable basket with Myer Lemons- decadent spin on tempura veggies. Deep fry coated lemons, asaparagus, artichokes, green beans and you have a fun tempura basket.
Lemon Bars- The summer classic with buttery, shortbread crust
Limoncello- This is so simple to make and delicious. Pour a bottle of vodka or grain alcohol into a bowl. Peel about 7 or 8 lemons and put the lemon skins in the bowl of alcohol. (you can save the actual lemons in the fridge for some future cooking project). After a week or 2, strain the alcohol and discard the lemon skins. You will now have a yellow liquid! Mix with simple syrup and bottle and you have created Limoncello.
Meyer Lemon Marmalade- This is one of the first projects I did with my friend and it yields a very sweet jam.
Lemon Wreath- Okay, this is not a food, but if you have an over abundance of lemons, try buying a round, wire wreath form at a craft store. Get some wire and work boughs of lemons on the branches with green leaves around the wreath form to create a stunning lemon wreath. These are beautiful but don’t have a long life. Still if you’re looking for something new to do, they are lovely while they last.