Yearly

The time has come (a bit late this year, I confess) for The Annual Preserving of the Lemons.  I won’t recap the directions (I did that last year, should you want to make your own).  I’ll just flaunt the results.

salt preserved lemonsThat’s all the meyer lemons I was able to scrounge at the store (I’ve switched to quart jars instead of pint jars this year, so that’s actually about 9 lemons per jar).  I’d like to lay down another jar or two, but that will require another trip to the other grocery store to see if they’ve got the right sort of lemons in stock, and so will have to wait a day or two.

Anybody else break down and make these?  You know you want to.  It’s about the easiest sort of preserving you could possibly imagine, and wow are they tasty.  I think I’ll be trying a few of these recipes when this batch is ready (just in case you’re wondering what the heck to do with them).

Bottoms Up

Last Thursday found The Boy and I at an interesting event.  It billed itself as a mixology class/showcase for OYO products.  We’re fans of OYO (stop by when you’re in Columbus, and then walk next door to Brother’s Drake Meadery for some really yummy drinks), and we’ve been known to enjoy the odd adult beverage from time to time, so it seemed like an interesting way to spend the evening.

It was much as promised.  Snacks, tasty drinks, and of course the requisite re-purposed warehouse as the venue.  They even gave us recipes for their tasty offerings (I’m sharing my favorite below).  But the whole time, I couldn’t help but have Fog and Smog’s Mixologist song running through my head.  I did manage to keep from singing it out loud (at least where anyone else could hear), so I’m calling it a win.

And, should you find yourself in need of a restorative tonic, I can officially recommend the following:

La Tête, le Cœur (The Head, the Heart) by Greg West-Tartine

  • 2 oz Oyo whiskey
  • 3/4 ounce verjus
  • 1/2 ounce green Chartreuse
  • 1/4 ounce simple syrup
  • 6-8 dashes Peychaud’s bitters
  • orange peel for garnish

Mix it up…in a glass…with ice.  You can pretend I said that in a fancy cocktail-y proper sort of way, but really, mix it up, in a glass, with ice.  Then twist up that orange peel over it and drop it in.  Then, enjoy it, and think well of me.  Quite tasty.

 

 

Preserve, Part II

Really, this is very easy.  So easy I’m going to let the pictures do most of the talking.  Ready, here we go.

 1) Juice several of your backup lemons. I usually need about one lemon per jar, and in this case I’m doing 5 jars.

2) Cut the tips off your Meyer lemons (optional, but it feels tidy to do it).

3) Cut your Meyer lemons almost all the way into quarters (cut most of the way through the lemon, leaving just enough to hold them together at the bottom).  Don’t panic if you slip, you can still use them.  Just aim for them to stay together.

4) Drop in 1 lemon into a clean jar (I run mine through the sanitize cycle in my dishwasher right before I use them), then sprinkle 1 teaspoon of salt on top.

5) Keep going (lemon, salt, lemon, salt, lemon, salt). Squash it down after each lemon.  This is after three lemons. It is not full enough yet.

6) Even though it looks impossible, shove in one more lemon. The lemons should protrude slightly over the lip of the jar.  For me, with pint jars, 4 really is the right number every time. 

7) Pour in some of your extra lemon juice from your backup lemons to fill up the extra spaces.  Figuring out just how much to put in is a trick.  You want it just full enough that a tiny bit of juice leaks out when you screw on the cap (meaning there is as little air as possible in the jar).  If you don’t spill a bit, you didn’t use enough. 

8) Stand back and admire your industry.  Let them sit on the counter (flip them over once a day or so) for a week.  After that, top the jars up with extra lemon juice if needed, and pop them in the fridge.  They’re ready to use after about a month, and they keep more or less forever (read, a year or so at least).

 

Preserve

It’s freezing cold outside today, so it seemed like the perfect opportunity to hole up at home and make something yummy.  Today’s plan is preserved (or salt cured) lemons.  I made these last year and have fallen completely in love with them.  They are delicious in any sort of vegetable dish (we use them most every time we make chicken or vegetable soup) and are called for in lots of Moroccan recipes.  They’ve become a must-have staple in my kitchen.

There is a bit of a seasonal aspect to them.  They’re best made with Meyer lemons, and those are easiest to find (at least where I live) in January and February.  So this seems the perfect time to make them.  If you want to make them too, you’ll need the following things.

Meyer lemons: I’ve got about 20 here.  That’s not quite a year’s supply for us, but it was all the store had.  I’ll likely do more if the store has more next time I’m there.

Backup lemons: You need these for extra juice.  You can do this with just regular lemons if you can’t find the Meyer ones, but in my case, these will just be the supporting actors.  Be prepared for the cashier to ask what the heck you’re doing with all these lemons.

Salt: You want sea salt, and coarse-grained sea salt if you can find it.  Cheap is fine (Trader Joes, $1.49 for the canister, and you won’t actually need two), this is not the place to break out your fancy-pants pink salt from some exotic locale.

Mason Jars: I use the wide mouth (that bit is important) pint jars from Ball.  You should use whatever you’ve got on hand.  This is not a fancy full on canning/jam-making process.  It’s shoving stuff in jars.  It’s very low stress, a washed out jam jar would work if you want to do a test run without buying anything.

I’ll be back next time with the step-by-step bits so you can make them too.  Just so long as you promise to invite me over for dinner.

Coffee Ice Cream

While we did not partake in the traditional Thanksgiving feast, we did still devote some time to cooking and gluttony this weekend.  One of these expressions of culinary frivolity was the  making of coffee ice cream and home made chocolate sauce.  Now alas, getting a really good photo of the ice cream in my dim dining room before the hot chocolate sauce caused too much meltage proved a challenge beyond my skills.  So you’ll have to suffer with a mediocre image of a mighty fine ice cream.  Ice cream so fine I’m compelled to share the directions with you.

I preface this by saying I am not a professional ice cream maker.  I’m pretty confident at this point that if I give you knitting instructions, they’ll be right.  Ice cream, not so much.  But, I can say with certainty, this is what I did, and it came out marvelously well.

Oh, and I’m working on the assumption you’re a clever kid and have followed that bit in your ice cream maker’s instructions that says to chill the bowl well before you want to make ice cream (or, that you’re a fancy kid and have one of the machines with the built in chiller).

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 can (14oz) sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1.5 tablespoons kahlua
  • 1/2 cup of the strongest coffee you can possibly brew, chilled
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Instructions:

  1. Put the cream in a big bowl and whip the ever living hell out of it.  We’re talking more or less whipped cream style.  The more air in here the better.  Don’t let it turn into butter, but anything short of that is fine.
  2. Pour in the can of sweetened condensed milk (don’t cut yourself licking the can…use a spatula like a civilized deviant) and continue to beat.
  3. Once that’s combined, add in an egg and, surprise surprise, beat it some more.  It really should be thick and frothy and almost mousse like at this point, at least as thick as pudding.
  4. Add in the coffee, Kahlua, and salt.  These you’re just mixing to combine.  You won’t get any more air in the mixture (and all this extra liquid will thin it out a bit), so don’t linger over this step any more than you need to.
  5. Follow your ice cream maker’s directions for going from ‘delicious frothy paste’ to ‘frozen creamy goodness’ (for me, that’s pour it in the bowl, churn for 15 minutes, freeze).

This makes about 1 quart of ice cream (which easily fits in our home ice cream maker).  You’re welcome. And I apologize if this means you need to break out the stretchy pants.