When Life Gives You Lemons, Say Thank You!

It’s a dreary Sunday here in the east, with the promise of rain to take what’s left of our precious snow. As if in anticipation of this day, a heavy Priority Mail box from California recently arrived. Cousin D, in a race to save her California hillside of citrus from a cold snap, did a mass harvest and shared some of it with me. As a former Vermonter, D knows the mixed blessing of March in New England–winter’s easing its grip, but…the mud!–and the curative power of Meyer lemons. On top of that, she’s just darned thoughtful!

Rather than reinvent the citrus wheel, I’m going to revisit some favorites from Lemonpalooza 1, (Lemon simple syrup, and roasted lemon shallot vinaigrette for an off the hook chicken bread salad) and from the sequel, Lemonpalooza 2 (lemon pudding cake, preserved lemons and the lemon blueberry sunshine loaf that I discovered the last time Cousin D bestowed her citrus bounty on me.)

For breakie, squeeze some on top of the classic Dutch Bunny to put a big smiley face on your day, orrrr nothing says “I love you” and also “Don’t mess with me” like Sassy Sansa Lemon Ginger scones. If you really want to jumpstart summer, make up a Lemon Beach Pie.

Of course, there’s nothing wrong with plowing through your lemons as straight up lemon juice in and on everything. Tea? Smoothies? Sprtizers? Cocktails? Yes please!

If you’ve already embarked on spring training, squeeze them up for some minty snap pea salad, lemony shrimp and bulgur salad, lemon cauliflower couscous or pretty much anything that could use some fresh zip.

Wherever you are on this spring day I hope you find some brightness and warmth.

PS. We’re taking votes for your favorite lemon recipes. First vote is by Aunt D for lemon posset, in Lemonpalooza 1. Solid choice!



3 thoughts on “When Life Gives You Lemons, Say Thank You!

  1. Danielle Thys

    Everyone needs a little sunshine in a box right about now. Thanks for keeping Lemonpalooza going in this house with all your great recipients. I still have lots of citrus left to plow through. Love ya, Cousin E!

  2. Danielle Thys

    The recipe I used for the candied citrus peels pictured above is easy, yet time consuming. If you want to avoid a super rindy marmalade, you’re going to end up with a bunch of extra peels. You can either toss them into the compost and run for your life out of the kitchen OR dust off the audiobooks you forgot to finish and settle in to cutting the peels into strips or whatever suits your fancy. Remove what you can of the bitter pith. I have one paring knife with a slightly flexible blade that’s perfect for this. By the time you’re done it may already be summer, but the worst is over. Put the peels in a pot and cover with a *measured* amount of water. Boil covered until the peels are tender enough to break apart when squished between your fingers. 30-40 min depending on the type of citrus. Then discard the water, drain the softened peels thoroughly, then return them to the pot. Add the same measurement of sugar as you had water. So if they boiled in 3 cups of water, you’re adding 3 cups of sugar. Yes, that’s boat load of sugar. Get over it. It’s candy! Melt the sugar around the peels on medium heat until they’re translucent and saturated to the core. 45 min or so. Don’t rush it! When they’re done, you strain and preserve the syrup as part of a well deserved cocktail. Toss the peels with some more sugar and add any other ingredients you might like now, while the peels are still warm. I added cayenne and a pinch of salt , but I could see cinnamon or cardamom or ginger or rosemary being really tasty too. Then lay them out flat on a parchment covered baking sheet and pop them in a 200° oven for 20 minutes. Viola! You’ve finished three audio books and can now have that drink while munching on candied citrus peels! Technically you’re supposed to dry them out for a couple more days, but come on…
    This recipe is from Jordan Champagne’s wonderful book “It Starts With Fruit”. Jordan runs Happy Girl Kitchen in Pacific Grove. Thanks to her and to my niece Marina for giving me the book!

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