16 February 2009

Life Handed Me Lemons...

And I was almost done making lemonade.

A coworker named Simon brought these to me two weeks ago, on day five of my detox. I mentioned I was going through nine a day and he was thrilled, as his neighbor has a lemon tree. I guess the lemons fall all over Simon's yard and he's quite sick of them. So he happily dumped these on my desk. I was excited, because (while lemons are cheap in my neighborhood) it's impossible to explain buying 30 from the same place within three days. No one asked me, but it felt like it would be a strange purchase to watch.

But things were not as they appeared. I learned a lemon is not just a lemon. I went 27 years without knowing there are varieties of lemon. These are Meyer Lemons. The Internet told me:
Meyer Lemon is a variety of lemon that is known for having a sweeter flavor, tasting mildly like a tangerine. It is often used as a seasoning for fish, providing a fresh aroma and a sweeter flavor than the standard lemon. This lemon is often used to season fish and seafood. When a Meyer lemon's flesh or juice is added to a dish, it adds a sweet and only slightly tart flavor. Meyer lemons are more difficult to find but as they increase in popularity they are becoming more available in specialty markets.
I don't know about specialty markets, they're plenty popular in Simon's yard. I used them for the last two days of the detox and at the end of the week, I still had almost two dozen left. I had lived on a lemonade variation for a week, so I had to find other things to make. It was significantly more difficult than I thought.

Most recipes that involve lemon involve just the zest. I was out to use as many whole lemons as possible. I also did not want to go out and buy a bunch of ingredients I'd only use once. So (based on what I already had) I made three lemon-based items.

Lemon Blueberry Bread
I like baking more than cooking. I'm not sure why, it could be baked things are always full of sugar and butter and therefore appeal to my baser urges. I chose this bread because it used both lemon juice and lemon zest, and also because the blueberries convinced me it was healthier than a lemon cake. Of course I can't leave any delicious baked good at home with myself, so I sampled, saved a piece for Jesse, and brought the rest to work. Survey said:

Danie: Delicious
Coworkers: Outstanding
Jesse: No Thanks

Jesse has an aversion to most sweets. I only thought he'd like the bread because he likes blueberry muffins. Then again, he also prefers canned blueberries to fresh or frozen. So he's clearly a nut.

Baked Lemon Chicken
I ventured from baking to actual cooking with the Baked Lemon Chicken. It had a lot of ingredients, but we had them all and I felt up to the challenge. The chicken was simply breaded and baked. The lemon was only involved in the sauce. I kept it at home for us, instead of bringing it to work. Survey said:

Danie: Delicious
Jesse: Out of the Park (Great)

Lemon Bars
As one of my coworkers put it "I never met a lemon bar I didn't like." I haven't either, but I was nervous to make them. I followed the recipe this time, but will use less sugar in the future. I also thought there was too much crust. In the future I'll build it higher along the wall of the pan. Fun fact: lemon bars get their color from eggs, not from lemons. I also brought these to work, after letting Jesse have just a bite on a sample. There was no hope for this one.

Danie: A little too sweet. A little too much crust. I'd still eat the whole pan.
Jesse: Gross
Coworkers: Perfectly tart. Delicious.

Now it can be argued people in news will eat (and enjoy) anything. I've seen that to be true over the last seven years, with the exception of chicken feet. Apparently even we have our limits.

I still have nine or so lemons left, so send your recipes this way.