Let me remind you of…Lemon Chicken

But first…I shall recount my day.

It is Saturday.  At 9:30 AM my 17-year-old son comes into my room, sits next to me on the bed where I am still sleeping, and–while cuddling the cat–informs me that he has  been up since 7:30 AM, has showered and washed his hair, and is ready to “do something.”  Dressed in the new long sleeve American Eagle shirt that I got him (at 40% off on the back to school say, mind you), he is looking sharp.  And awake.   So, I head down stairs to make a cup of coffee and find that he has already unpacked my Starbucks VIA (I gave up on coffee makers long ago) and put the little packets in the stainless steel creamer pitcher from my grandmother, just like I do.  Clearly, he has already had his cup.

While sipping on my coffee, I make a few calls to family member on the other coast and catch my mother first.

“It is a beautiful day and Drew and I are going to go do something,” I tell her.

“Isn’t it a blessing to be able to say that and with confidence?” she asks.

It is, I agree.  A beautiful day.  Feeling better.  Mother and son time.

Soon after, we head downtown to the Farmer’s Market where we have an early Ethiopian lunch.  The most tender chicken, golden potatoes, and red sauce with nutmeg and cardamom to soak up in the spongy flatbread or injera. 

A delicious Ethiopian lunch at the Bellingham Farmer’s Market.

Tummies full, we stroll through the market, stopping to smell Red Barn’s heavenly lavender soap slices (made by a now retired math teacher) and admiring the heirloom tomatoes at Tiny’s Organic.  It is a beautiful,  warm early fall day and so we head on to our next destination: Stimpson’s Nature Reserve.

Once onto the trail, we pass the beaver pond and hike up a steady incline for a three-mile loop that will take us deep into the forests so typical of the Pacific Northwest.  Tall cedars and hemlocks line a trail that has become dusty after a dry summer…okay, that parts not so typical.   Sunlight streams through the dense forest.

Waiting for Mom to catch up.

Next on our agenda?  My famous Cowboy Cookies, per his request.  (Bonus recipe below, although no lemon is involved).  🙂  Once home, he settles onto his computer, I find a move on HBO (Sommersby) and the baking begins.

A couple of hours and garage cleaning spree later, it is nearing time for dinner.  We contemplate going to the store for some salmon, but he suggests we just “make something we have here.”  Smart boy.

I check the freezer.  “Mini-tacos, tilapia with Cajun seasoning, or chicken?” I offer.

“Chicken,” he replies.  Very smart boy.

I take two skinless/boneless chicken breasts out to thaw and know just what I will make–after we return from walking the dogs, that is.

Two tired and happy dogs later, I wash my hands in warm, sudsy water and am ready to get cookin’.   I scrub and quarter the Yukon Gold Potatoes and rinse and slice the narrow leafed Lacinato Kale from my bi-weekly Acme Farms and Kitchen local and organic Produce Box.  Both go into pots of boiling salted water.

“It’s going to get loud,” I warn before pounding and tenderizing the chicken breasts till they double in size.  I set half a stick of butter in a large skillet to melt while juicing a Meyer lemon. Some of the juice gets poured over the pulverized side of the chicken so that it soaks into the nooks and crannies and the rest gets added the butter in the skillet.  After flouring the chicken breasts on both sides, I place them in the pan to brown.   I sprinkle a little garlic salt on one side and when ready to turn, a little kosher salt on the other.  When the chicken breasts are nearly done, I add a few fresh rosemary leaves from my herb garden to the chicken breasts.

Meanwhile, more butter, kosher salt, and rosemary leaves are added to the potatoes.  The kale is plated with a dab of butter and a squeeze of lemon juice.

We eat.  He is hungry and quiet.  Soon, however, he comments, “The chicken is good!”

“It’s easy,” I tell him.  “Lemon Chicken.”

“But what’s that flavor?” he asks.

“The rosemary?” I suggest.

“No, that flavor on the chicken?” he probes, indicating that something more must be making the chicken so tasty.

I take another bite and can taste what he means.

“Fresh squeezed lemon juice,” I tell him.  “It’s amazing how well pure lemon juice goes with chicken,” I say and he nods in agreement.

I promise to show him how to make it next time.  So easy.  So good.

He cleans his plate.

“There is more of everything,” I tell him.

“I think I’ll just have a little dessert now,” he says.

That means Mom’s homemade Cowboy Cookies and Grandma’s Cake Batter Ice Cream.

What else is a growing boy to do?

Cowboy Cookies
1 c. sweet cream butter with salt (microwaved for 15-seconds)
1 c. packed light brown sugar
1 c. sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
2 c. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
2 c. old-fashioned or steel-cut oats
1 c. rice crispies
1 c. sweetened flaked coconut (optional but chewy good)
1 c. Ghiradelli milk chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Cream brown sugar, sugar, and butter.  Add eggs one at a time.  Add vanilla and beat till well-blended.  Add flour one cup at a time with soda and salt.  Stir in oatmeal, rice crispies, coconut, and chocolate chips.  Drop by 1 1/2″ cookie scoops onto baking stone or greased cookie sheet.  Bake 12-15 minutes.  When you smell ’em they’re done!  Makes three dozen yummy cookies.

Chewy cowboy Cookies. Chocolate, coconut, rice crispies and oats.

Lemons: They Do a Body Good

Nothing says yummy like The Body Shop‘s line of Sweet Lemon products.  I happened upon these creamy lemon products while killing time during an airport layover.   While I purchased the lip balm, I waited on the lotions.  It’s kind of funny to have a Body Shop at the airport being as any goods you buy over 4 oz. would instantly be confiscated at security.  “We can ship to your home,”  the lovely Indian Body Shop consultant with long wavy black hair reminded me.

Your body will thank you for using the Body Shop’s Sweet Lemon Whipped Lotion, Lip Butter and Body Butter.

Although I opted to pick up the Sweet Lemon Body Butter and Whip Body Lotion on my return trip, I did enjoy listening as she recalled a childhood memory of women in her homeland spending sunny afternoons picking large ripe lemons straight from the trees and squeezing the juice over their scalps to prevent dryness while adding shine to their waist length ebony locks of hair.  The peel of the lemon, she confided, is good for rubbing into the scalp, too.  For more on this home remedy visit Dandruff Treatment Using Lemon as well as the Body Shop’s Sweet Lemon Beautifying Oil.

Once back on my home turf, I couldn’t wait to try both the Sweet Lemon Whip Lotion and Body Butter I had purchased.  I do love body butters and any lotion with the word “whip” in it conjures up something delightfully light, airy, and sweet.  (Wipe out those whipped cream fantasies you thought I was leading up to.  Shame on you!)

Needless to say, these products did not disappoint.  Both are rich and creamy and quickly absorb leaving one’s skin smooth and moisturized.   With a scent that conjures up the freshly squeezed lemons in an Indian woman’s courtyard and the perfume of sweet lemon blossoms, you’ll pretty much just want to inhale yourself all day long!

Lemons.  They do a body good.

Note: The Body Shop’s pink grapefruit scent is also intoxicating in its own right.  The glycerin-based soap with pink grapefruit seed oil, an essential fatty acid that  helps to repair the skin’s moisture barrier, gets my vote for a refreshing way to wake up in the morning shower.

Wake up and smell the grapefruit.

Pearls Beauty Hot Oil Hair Treatment from Indiamart with lemon and tea tree oil cleanses the scalp while maintaining hair’s natural shine.

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About this Blog

A blog for lemon lovers.
 
Lemon salt, more commonly known as citric acid, is a remarkable natural ingredient.   In addition to putting the pucker in your pout, it is the source of Vitamin C, an organic preservative, and even a ripening agent for cheese.  Follow me as I explore the zesty a-peel of all things lemon. 
Bowl of Meyer Lemons
Note: The photographs on this blog are my own, unless otherwise noted, as is the content of my posts. Should you choose to use either, please honor their origins by giving credit where credit is due.  Thank you.
 

Mile High Lemon Meringue Pie

There is nothing quite as refreshing as a chilled slice of tangy, lemon meringue pie.

A Slice of Lemon Meringue Pie for Breakfast

A slice of Lemon Meringue Pie for breakfast brightens up a grey, rainy Northwest morning.

Lemon Meringue Pie is the perfect dessert, whether following a light luncheon on a hot summer’s day or a rich, five course meal.  It is no accident that three of my friends made it their dessert of choice for Christmas dinner.  You would have thought that after a meal of prime rib, twice-baked potatoes, crescent rolls, ambrosia salad, and butternut squash, we would have not been able to manage dessert.  But that’s the beauty of the versatile Lemon Meringue.   It has the capacity to make you feel lighter after a full meal and is the perfect refreshment, whether served with a hot cup of coffee or a glass of chilled, sparkling Prosecco.

For years, I used my mom’s traditional recipe, but always thought I could improve upon it (Sorry, Mom!).  I love a deep, lemony filling and a hint of vanilla in my meringue.   My original recipe, below, has more filling than most and is sure to please lemon lovers.   Enjoy!

Mile High Lemon Meringue Pie

One 9-10″ deep dish baked pastry shell (Alan’s Pastry Crust is my current favorite pie crust recipe)

 Filling

2 c. sugar
6 Tbs. all-purpose flour
6 Tbs. cornstarch
5 eggs
4 Tbs. butter
1 Tbs. freshly grated lemon peel
3/4 c. lemon juice
Meringue*
5 egg whites
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. cream of tartar
8 Tbs. granulated sugar
Preparation
1. Set out eggs and butter and bring to room temperature.
2. Prepare a single pie crust using your favorite pie crust recipe, in a 9-10″ deep dish pie pan.  Prick holes on bottom and sides of crust with a fork.  Bake at 425° for 12 minutes, or until lightly golden.  Remove baked pie shell and place on cooling rack.  Reduce oven temperature to 35o° and adjust oven rack to the middle position.
3. While pie crust is baking, grate lemon peel until you have 1 Tbs.  Next, roll lemons on counter to release juices inside.  Juice lemons (3-5, depending on size) until you have 3/4 c. lemon juice.  A bit of pulp is fine.
4. Separate egg yolks from the whites of 5 eggs.  Put whites into a medium mixing bowl and yolks into a small, heat proof bowl.  Beat egg yolks slightly with fork.  Set aside.
5. Prepare meringue, following directions below, so that you are ready to spread it over hot pie filling.
For the Meringue
In a mixing bowl, combine room temperature egg whites, vanilla, and cream of tartar.  Beat with an electric mixer on medium speed until soft peaks form.  Gradually add in sugar, 2 Tbs. at a time, beating on high-speed until stiff, glossy peaks form and sugar dissolves.
For the Filling
In a large saucepan, whisk together sugar, flour, cornstarch, and a dash of salt.  Over medium-high heat, gradually stir in the 2 1/2 c. water, a little at a time, to avoid clumping.  Continue to stir and cook until thickened and bubbly.  Reduce heat, cook and stir for an additional two minutes.  Remove from heat.  Gradually whisk  hot filling into the beaten egg yolks until about half the filling is added.  Return all to saucepan, stirring continuously.  Bring to a gentle boil once again.  Add butter and stir until melted.  Remove from heat.   Add zest and slowly stir in lemon juice until fully integrated.
To Assemble
Pour hot filling into baked pastry shell.  Spread meringue over hot filling, taking care to seal all the way to edges of pie crust to prevent shrinkage.  Use the back of a spoon to draw meringue up into peaks or, try my technique, swirl and lift using your pointer finger.
To Bake
Place pie on center rack and bake for 12 minutes at 350° oven or until meringue is a golden, toasty brown.  Watch carefully to make sure meringue doesn’t burn.
Michelle's Lemon Meringue Pie

My Mile High Lemon Meringue Pie

Cool on a wire rack.  Slice when completely cool.  Store at room temperature.

*There are forums on the web to address what some consider the issue of a “weeping” meringue.  Some eschew covering or refrigerating the pie.  If you must cover though, pinch foil into a tent and place over pie so as not to touch meringue.

Personally, I don’t worry about a meringue that weeps.  As a young girl, the little drops of golden nectar that formed in the nooks and crannies of the snowy peaks and valleys fascinated me.  I thought their amber beads added beauty and mystery to the meringue.  Guess the perfect meringue is in the eyes of the beholder!

What do you think?  Does a weeping meringue represent tears of joy or tears of sorrow?  Share your tips and techniques for baking this classic American dessert!

A Sea of Meringue on a Rainy Day

Later in the afternoon, we visit Nonna and her husband, who  has not been well.  In spite of how hard she works to care for him, Nonna  greets us at the door looking elegant as usual.  Today she is stylishly dressed in a lemon yellow V-neck cashmere sweater and buttoned-down Oxford shirt.  It was almost as if she knew that in addition to fried chicken, cole slaw, and potato salad, we brought the rest of our Lemon Meringue Pie for dessert!  We had a lovely visit full of laughs and, of course, lemons. Nonna decorates an antique trough with lemons and rustic finds.

Lemon Cashmere Nonna

Lemon and Ginger: Healthy Friends

Lemon ginger water, photograph by Linda Wagner

What could be more comforting than curling up in a cozy spot with your favorite blanket and book and while sipping on mug of piping hot lemon ginger water lightly sweetened with stevia or honey?  Whether nursing a cold or just settling in for the evening,  lem-gin is delicious and potentially full of health benefits.  I know my aunt always made a pot of green beans with ground ginger from the spice rack and served up a bowl before road trips with twist and turns through the Cumberland valley to those of us who tended to get car sick.  Not in the mood for something hot or not a fan of ginger?  Keep a picture of lemon water on hand in your refrigerator and pour yourself a tall glass to refresh and hydrate twice daily.   The goal, says Payal Banka a Registered Dietician and an MBA in Hospital & Healthcare management, is to consume the juice of half a lemon daily.

For Hot Lemon Ginger Water you’ll need:

  • 1/2 inch knob of ginger sliced thinly or grated
  • lemon juice and zest
  • Stevia or honey to taste

Simply pour boiling water over the ginger, let steep for about 5 mins then add lemon juice, a bit of zest, and stevia to taste.  Lovely to sip and inhale.

Health Benefits of the Lemon:

  1. Good for stomach Lemon can help relieve many digestion problems when mixed with hot water. These include nausea, heartburn and parasites. The digestive qualities of lemon juice may also help relieve symptoms of indigestion such as heartburn.  It is even known to help relieve hiccups when consumed as a juice.
  2. Great for Skin Lemon, being a natural antiseptic medicine, can help cure problems related to skin.  Rich in Vitamin C, it is known to rejuvenate skin from within with daily consumption.
  3. Fights Throat Infections Lemon aids in fighting problems related to throat infections and sore throats as it has an antibacterial property. For sore throat, dilute one-half lemon juice with one-half water and gargle frequently.
  4. Good for Weight Loss One of the major health benefits of drinking lemon water is that it paves way for losing weight faster, thus acting as a great weight loss remedy. If a person takes lemon juice mixed with lukewarm water and honey, it can reduce the body weight as well.
  5. Assists in Controlling High Blood Pressure Lemon water is high in potassium, known to aid high blood pressure, dizziness, and nausea.
  6. Assist in curing Respiratory Disorders Lemon water assists in curing respiratory problems, along with breathing problems and revives a person suffering from asthma.
  7. Good for treating Rheumatism Lemon is also a diuretic and hence  can treat rheumatism and arthritis. It helps to flush out bacteria and toxins out of the body.
  8. Reduces Fever Lemon water can treat a person who is suffering from cold, flu or fever. It helps to break fever by increasing perspiration.
  9. Aromatherapy Effects help reduce mental stress.  Just zesting a lemon releases the fragrant oils.  Adding to hot water, icreases the effect as well.

Ginger also has health generating qualities like the ones listed below via Health Diaries:

  1. Morning Sickness A review of several studies has concluded that ginger is just as effective in treating morning sickness.
  2. Motion Sickness Remedy Ginger is an effective remedy for the nausea associated with motion sickness. 
  3. Reduces Pain and Inflammation One study showed that ginger has anti-inflammatory properties and is a powerful natural painkiller.
  4. Heartburn Relief Ginger has long been used as a natural heartburn remedy.  It is most often taken in the form of tea for this purpose.
  5. Cold and Flu Prevention and Treatment Ginger has long been used as a natural treatment for colds and the flu. Many people also find ginger helpful in the case of stomach flus or food poisoning, which is not surprising given the positive effects ginger has upon the digestive tract.
  6. Migraine Relief Research has shown that ginger may provide migraine relief due to its ability to stop prostaglandins from causing pain and inflammation in blood vessels.
  7. Menstrual Cramp Relief In Chinese medicine, ginger tea with brown sugar is used to treat menstrual cramps.
  8. Prevention of Diabetic Nephropathy A study done on diabetic rats found that those rats given ginger had a reduced incidence of diabetic nephropathy (kidney damage)  – via Health Diaries
Of course, while it’s nice to know that a tall glass of lemon water or hot cup of lemon ginger infusion can potentially aid one’s health, enjoying these natural ingredients should not preclude one from seeking medical counsel and screenings or serve as a substitution for recommended medical treatments.

Read more: http://www.lifemojo.com/lifestyle/top-10-health-benefits-of-lemon-water-1422542#ixzz1lX8vdgTn

 

In search of the perfect lemon bar…

Lemons, flour, sugar, eggs, and butter=Lemony Lemon Bars

I’ve always loved lemon bars.  One of my dad’s favorites, too.  That tangy sweet lemony filling with the shortbread cookie bottom and  just a thin doughy layer where the twain shall meet.  Last time I made lemon bars, though, the center squares were perfect but the outer squares were thinner on filling and not as pleasing.  I wondered what it would be like to 1 and 1/2 the filling recipe and found that the level of filling was perfect. I also added 1 tsp. of grated lemon peel to the crust and then sprinkled another teaspoon on the confectionary sugar topping.   Meyer lemons, which I used here, are sweeter than their regular lemon counterparts.  As such, I reduced the sugar by 1/2 cup.  If you are using regular lemons, you may wish to increase the sugar to 2 1/4 cups.  These lemon bars have a lovely thin crispy top that is lovely to crunch into.  I would still like a filling that is a little more gooey.  The crust is just right as I prefer granulated sugar over confectionary sugar.  Next time I might try the filling of this recipe from Baked Bree found on Pinterest.  What is your favorite lemon bar recipe?  Please do share!

Cut butter into flour and sugar until crumbly.

Lemon bars are perfect chilled with a morning cup of coffee.  Enjoy!

Ingredients

Crust

  • 1 cup salted butter, barely softened
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour

    Blend four and sugar, then whisk in lemon juice and eggs.

Filling

  • 6 eggs
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 Meyer lemons, juiced

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  2. In a medium bowl, blend together softened butter, 2 cups flour and 1/2 cup sugar until crumbly. Press into the bottom of an ungreased 9×13 inch pan.
  3. Bake for 15 minutes in  preheated oven, or until firm and golden.
  4. While crust is baking, juice lemons.  In a separate bowl, blend together 2 cups sugar and 1/3 cup flour. Whisk in the eggs and lemon juice. Pour over the baked crust.
  5. Bake for an additional 20-25 minutes in the preheated oven until center of filling is level. 
  6. Place on a cooling rack and sift powdered sugar over top.  Sprinkle on 1 tsp. grated lemon peel. The bars will firm up as they cool.  When cool, cut into 2″ squares and serve or

    Juice of three lemons.

    freeze.

    Serve a chilled lemon bar with coffee or milk.