Lemony Linens

Fresh fruits by Room Essentials, Target. Pear and lemon tea towels compliment striped terry dish cloths. A perfect accompaniment to this German silver bar cart and tri-citrus blended beverage.

Oh my goodness, it’s been a while!  So many ideas, recipes, and books to share, but alas a two-week family vacation followed by a very scary bout of August pneumonia  left me, well, zestless.  Can’t wait to throw my lemon back in the blogging ring!

So, I’ve been wanting to share a source for these lovely summery lemon tea towels with you… perfect for adding a fresh touch to your lemonade service.  And, it’s not too late as there are two days of August left!  These refreshing 100% cotton lemon slice and pear tea towels are by RE (Room Essentials)  and available at Target in-store only.  My Target just restocked their lot so if these have your name on them, I encourage you to make a visit before the season inventory changes.  They are a perfect kitchen accompaniment to the RE 100% cotton terry cloth dish cloths patterned with a subtle green and yellow stripe.  Super absorbent, soft, stylish and practical.

If you are not so lucky to have a Target or to find these items in stock, there are a bevy of vendors featuring handmade lemony linens on Etsy.com.  My favorites?  The individually hand screened designs printed on 100%  cotton flour sack towels by Cindy Bazor of Bazor Designs in Metropolis, Illinois and Amanda Gray-Swain of Sprouted Designs in St. Louis, Missouri.   Both designers elevate the lemon to its rightful state: an art form.  🙂

Hand drawn, hand screened lemons by the slice.  Bazor Designs on esty.com.

Individually hand screened juicy lemon halves on flour sack tea towels by Sprouted Designs, etsy.com.

 

Phew, it’s great to back!

Hello Lemon Lovers!

Hello Lemon Lovers,

I just want to let you know that I am taking a short blogging break as I had Lasik surgery at the end of the week and the eyes tire easily on the computer.  That didn’t stop me from making my Mile High Lemon Meringue Pie on Sunday, though.  🙂  This time I used 6 Tbs. each of flour and cornstarch so that the filling would be thick enough to slice at room temperature.  The crust is so much more flakier when it doesn’t have to be refrigerated.   Yum!

While I have several drafts of lemony posts in the queue, including some great products to feature, for now allow me to share an entry written about a weekend trip to Portland, OR in order to give you the scoop on an independent bakery called Cupcake Jones.   I confess that their Velvet Painting Cupcake is my hands down favorite and one bite makes me swoon, but the “Lemoncello” Cupcake makes the heart-strings sing as well.  I could not believe how much it tastes like Lemon Meringue Pie!   Be sure to visit Cupcake Jones next time you are in Portland.   In the meantime, you can read a bit about the owners, Oregon natives Lisa Watson and Peter Shanky, and view their daily specials and monthly menus to inspire your desire.

 
 
 

♥An Anniversary Weekend in Portland♥

Anniversaries are supposed to be spent with, not away, from your loved one.  But after an anniversary weekend in Portland, Oregon, I guess I can’t complain…too much.  It was on this day, so many years ago, that I realized two of my dreams for the future: one, to see Macy Gray in concert and two, to fall in love.  It was the first time I saw Macy, and my beau, in person.  Neither of us, my beau and I that is, have looked back since.

One of the many endearing things about our relationship is that even though I can never remember the date or year we met, although I ask on a nearly monthly basis, he patiently tells me again and again.  Thus the “so many years ago” reference above.  I know this is the day, though, because I already received a Happy Anniversary email which I was supposed to sing to the tune of The William Tell Overture.  I will demand a serenading when we check in this evening by phone.

For now I will relish in the recent memory of our weekend, basking in the turquoise decor of The Nines, visiting the Portland Art Museum to view the work of Mark Rothko only to be swept away instead by the haunting genius of John Frame’s The Tale of the Crippled Boy, stumbling upon an open air swing dance exhibition, ogling at the mind-boggling wrap-around line of patrons waiting for their Sunday morning Voodoo donuts, sharing a red ale at The Rogue (where we also picked up a big pink bottle of their Voodoo Bacon Maple Ale) delighting in the decadent offerings of Cupcake Jones, walking and browsing and people watching in the Pearl District, trying on eyeliners and lipsticks at every girls’ candy store, Sephora, and picking out my first pair of non-prescription designer sunglasses in preparation for Lasik surgery.  Well, I did the last two and he tried to hide any impatience while offering a best guess when called upon to express an opinion.

And today, we are still as happy, even more so, than we were ever so many years ago. 

“And just how many years ago from today?” I ask again after he serenades me to the tune of  The William Tell Overture without any prompting.

“How many years ago from today what?” he teases.

“You know, for how many years ago from today have we been together?” I inquire sweetly.

“Less than ten, more than eight,” he indulges, sighing in what I know is mock exasperation. 

“Do you still have that concert ticket stub?” I ask, already knowing the answer.

Indeed he does. 

Voodoo Doughnut devotees wait in line. Locals and visitors alike can be seen walking throughout town on any given day proudly carrying the signature Pepto-Bismol pink colored box.  Maple Bacon Bars anyone?

Decadent delicacies from Cupcake Jones, Portland, OR. Back Row: Lemoncello, Chocolate Chip Cookie, and my favorite, Velvet Painting–a red velvet cake with a crunchy outer cake layer, moist inside, vanilla bean pastry cream filling, and soft cream cheese frosting topped with a hand candied rose petal. Front Row: German Chocolate, What’s Up Doc? (carrot cake with candied carrot slice), and Peter’s Chocolate Mint.

A stroll through South Park Blocks, Portland, OR, on the way to the Portland Art Museum.

Improvisations on Lemon Chicken

This is not the lemon chicken recipe that I made with lemon juice and fish sauce once in my college years–gotta find that recipe–but Susan Branch’s rendering is so pretty, I just had to try it.   This is a lovely, simple lemon chicken recipe and goes perfectly with browned rosemary potatoes and asparagus.  It’s a great way to make chicken, too,  period.   Adding lemon, as usual, just elevates things to a whole new level…  The sauce is not really a sauce, as such.  I prefer to call it lemon butter.

And while this recipe is lovely in and of itself, you can punch it up a notch by substituting fresh rosemary for the parsley.  Enjoy Susan’s artistry and then read on for my inspired improvisation of…Lemon Chicken. 

 Pound away on those chicken breasts.  Notice that they will nearly double in size.

 After coating in flour, fry the chicken breast halves in the butter and olive oil until golden brown.  Take care to monitor the heat so that butter doesn’t blacken.

Brown chicken breast in butter and olive oil, about three minutes or so on each side.

Now here’s where the improvisation inspiration comes in.  As I didn’t have parsley flakes, either fresh or dried, I tiptoed out to my herb garden on a February night to snip branches of  “winter hardy” rosemary–first time in five years that it has actually survived, mind you.   After frying up the chicken until golden on each side, and removing it from the skillet to a warming pan, I looked at all that browned  butter and could not resist but to add the organic, local potatoes I had just boiled and the fresh rosemary I just snipped. 

Browned potatoes with rosemary.

After  browning the potatoes and placing them in a warm oven next to the chicken, throw a big bunch of fresh asparagus into boiling water.   Next, add the 4 Tbs. butter to your skillet and scrape down browned bits.  Stir in lemon juice (I used half of a Meyer lemon) along with more freshly chopped rosemary leaves.  Again, watch the butter, taking care to lower the heat so butter becomes nutty but not burnt.  When asparagus is tender and bright green, plate with chicken and potatoes.  Drizzle the lemon-rosemary butter over the chicken and asparagus.  Add a wedge of lemon and rosemary sprig for garnish.  Serve with a white wine that is complementary to poultry and lemon.  Recommendations anyone? 

  “Mmm,” the boyfriend says between inhaling bites.  “I can taste the rosemary.  Rosemary is my favorite herb, I think.” “Squeeze the lemon wedge over your chicken,”  I encourage.  “Can you smell that? The fragrant lemon and astringent  rosemary are a match made in culinary heaven.  So good together.”  “They’re friends,” he agrees. We both nod and succumb to eating in silence, letting our taste buds and olfactory senses do the talking.  “It’s still relatively healthy since it’s chicken, right?” he asks, after consuming the butter goodness. “Right,” I say.  “That’s my story and I’m stickin’ to it.” “And for dessert?”  he leads… “Lemon bars,” I reply. But, of course.