January 5, 2013
When Life Hands You Lemons
The harvest of 2012? The best ever! My little tree churned out forty five Meyer lemons; forty two for me and three mauled by shifty garden marauders. Not bad.
The entire kitchen smelled heavenly when harvested. And since then the heavy, juicy lemons have been used in a slew of ways.
Sugar cookies with lemon zest and a little juice in lieu of vanilla extract. Oh my. They are just about the best sugar cookies anyway, but when fresh Meyer lemon juice and zest are added? Lemon-cookie nirvana.
There was lemon risotto. If you've never had lemon risotto you really need to try it. It's amazingly delicious. Smooth, creamy and just the perfect amount of lemony goodness. It pairs beautifully with grilled salmon garnished with fresh dill plucked from the garden. Or sauteed scallops, oh yes, those are good too.
The fresh juice also found its way into homemade salad dressings and sauces. Roasted whole chicken stuffed with lemon, onion, garlic and garden rosemary has been a favorite around here lately too.
But now my lemon stash is dwindling and I'm becoming much more choosy about how to use the remaining lemons. I've seen several recipes for lemon curd but I don't think my people are going to be fans and I'd like to make something we would all enjoy.
So I'm asking, what are your favorite ways to use Meyer lemons?
To start the conversation, I'll share my two favorite recipes: lemon risotto and lemon sugar cookies.
Adapted from Family Weekly - March 12, 1978
1/2 cup soft unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
1 tsp lemon juice (more to taste)
1 tsp lemon zest (more to taste)
2 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
Cream the butter and sugar. Add eggs, zest and juice and beat well. Combine flour, salt and baking powder then add to creamed mixture. Mix. Chill dough until firm. Drop by rounded spoonful or roll dough and cut into shapes. Bake in preheated 375 oven 8-10 minutes. Remove to rack to cool.
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Christmas Entertaining
3 1/2 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
3 cups water
5 Tbs. unsalted butter
3 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
3 Tbs. minced shallots
2 1/4 cups Arborio rice
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup coarsely grated lemon zest
3/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, plus some shaved for garnish
Salt (to taste)
1/4 cup minced fresh chervil
In saucepan over high heat, combine the broth and water. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to low and maintain a simmer.
In separate large saucepan over medium heat, melt 2 Tbs. of the butter with the olive oil. Add the shallots and saute until translucent, 2-3 minutes. Add the rice and stir until opaque, about 3 minutes. Add 3/4 cup broth, adjust the heat to maintain a simmer and cook, stirring, until most of the broth is absorbed. Continue adding the broth, about 3/4 cup at a time and stirring constantly, until all but about 1/2 cup of the broth has been used, the rice is nearly tender and still slightly firm in the center, and the mixture is creamy, 20-25 minutes.
Add the lemon juice to the remaining 1/2 cup broth and add the mixture, little by little, to the rice along with the remaining 3 Tbs. butter, lemon zest and the grated cheese, always stirring constantly. Taste and adjust the seasonings with salt.
Stir in chervil and garnish with cheese shavings.
Don't forget; let me know your favorite ways to use Meyer lemons.