Those lovely lemons
Fresh, juicy lemons are very versatile year around, but especially in hot weather.
When I was growing up, my Italian grandmother had several gardens of various types. My favorite one was in her back yard, where a large redwood tree and other trees provided a lot of shade. There was even a fish pond, moss and ferns
One of my favorite trees was a Meyer lemon, and I was always amazed at how many large juicy lemons grew on that tree. My grandmother was always asking me to pick some and bring them into the house.
Every year around this time I think a lot about fresh lemons. In this heat, lemons can provide some delicious lemonade and many other refreshing treats. Plus, they just taste so good.
Here are a few recipes for those of you who are lemon fans.
Lemon crinkle cookies
1 1/2 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon lemon extract
1 lemon, zested and juiced
1 drop yellow food coloring, or as desired (optional)
3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
1. In a medium bowl, sift flour, baking powder, salt and baking soda together; set aside.
2. In a large bowl, beat sugar and butter together, using a handheld electric mixer or a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, until creamy. Beat in egg, vanilla, lemon extract, lemon zest and juice and yellow food coloring. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and mix once more, making sure everything is combined. Add flour mixture and mix until just combined.
3. Cover bowl and refrigerate cookie dough for 1 hour. Preheat oven to 350. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
4. Scoop dough using a cookie scoop or spoon into roughly 1 1/2-inch rounds. Slightly flatten cookies to 1/2-inch thickness.
5. Pour confectioners’ sugar into a shallow bowl. Place flattened rounds in powdered sugar and cover until well coated. Remove with a fork or spoon and place on the prepared baking sheet.
6. Bake in preheated oven until cookies are no longer glossy and have a matte look, 12 to 15 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool on the baking sheet for 3 to 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
This recipe calls for cooking a syrup first.
1 3/4 cups sugar
8 cups water
1 1/2 cups lemon juice
1. In a small saucepan, combine sugar and 1 cup water. Bring to boil and stir to dissolve sugar. Allow to cool to room temperature, then cover and refrigerate until chilled.
2. If you used juice from fresh lemons, remove seeds from lemon juice, but leave pulp. In pitcher, stir together chilled syrup, lemon juice and remaining 7 cups water. Serve over ice. Makes 10 servings.
So good on biscuits.
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 egg yolk
1 cup fresh lemon juice
Zest from 3 lemons
1. Melt butter in microwave, set aside to cool slightly. In a medium-sized microwave-safe bowl, whisk together sugar and eggs.
2. Whisk in lemon juice and zest, then whisk in the butter.
3. Microwave on 50 percent power for one minute; stir. Continue microwaving at 100% power in 1-minute intervals, stirring after each interval until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. (The curd will thicken as it cools.)
4. Strain curd through a fine-mesh sieve to remove zest. Pour curd into sterile jars and store for up to three weeks in the refrigerator. Makes 2 cups.
3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 pinch black pepper
1 tablespoon canola oil
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon cornstarch, divided
1/4 cup flour
1/2 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup sugar
2/3 cup water
1. Slice the chicken breasts in half, butterflied into two thinner pieces each.
2. To coat the chicken, add the egg, salt, pepper and oil into a large bowl and whisk together.
3. In a separate bowl, add 1/2 cup cornstarch and 1/4 cup flour and mix well.
4. In a large frying pan or a wok, heat more canola oil to 375 degrees (medium high heat).
5. Dip chicken pieces in the egg mixture, then dredge in the flour mixture.
6. Fry the chicken for 3 to 4 minutes or until golden and crisp. Remove the chicken from the pan, then drain the oil.
7. Add the lemon juice, sugar, water and remaining 1 tablespoon cornstarch to the pan and whisk to combine. Cook until thickened and smooth.
8. Slice the chicken into thin strips then serve with lemon sauce poured over. Makes 6 servings.