Happy Spring: Lemons!

I’m sure looking out your window, you’ve noticed the new growth that the spring rains have brought us. It’s hard not to see the rhoddies & azaleas about to burst and the green tips on the trees and shrubs.

I’ve noticed that many of your lemon trees are bursting at the tips with beautiful, glowing citrus! It’s overwhelming to have alllllll these lemons. Below you will see a few solutions to your (in my opinion, fabulous) problem, including limoncello recipes, cleaning tips, and a little Bradley family history.

In addition to the flowers and citrus, I’m sure you’ve noticed the weeds… You have to attack them before their stems flower or let their seeds go, or it’s too late. A small digging tool will help, but if you’re walking through your garden and you see a weed, it’s better to reach down and grab it instead of letting it go. That dirt will wash right off your hands. 🙂 But if you’ve got an hour to spare, spend it in your yard and it will do wonders with the weeds for years to come.

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Lemons!

Last fall a few friends and I got together to make Limoncello for holiday gifts. Our timing was all off! Now is the time to pick those lemons and bust out your potato peeler! The lemons with the super-thick skin are the best kind, but all lemons work (we used Costco Lemons which is definitely not preferable!). Try not to get any of the white stuff on your peels, it will make your limoncello bitter. Below is the recipe, but beware, for best results let the vodka-lemon mixture set for 2-3 months before adding sugar syrup and straining. It’s worth the wait though!

Also below is Matt’s grandma’s Lemon Bars recipe (you really can’t beat a recipe from grandma) and a Meyer Lemon & Chicken recipe from this week’s Chronicle.

Lemons!
Last fall a few friends and I got together to make Limoncello for holiday gifts. Our timing was all off! Now is the time to pick those lemons and bust out your potato peeler! The lemons with the super-thick skin are the best kind, but all lemons work (we used Costco Lemons which is definitely not preferable!). Try not to get any of the white stuff on your peels, it will make your limoncello bitter. Below is the recipe, but beware, for best results let the vodka-lemon mixture set for 2-3 months before adding sugar syrup and straining. It’s worth the wait though!
Also below is Matt’s grandma’s Lemon Bars recipe (you really can’t beat a recipe from grandma) and a Meyer Lemon & Chicken recipe.
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Limoncello
15-20 clean, unwaxed lemons with nice plump skins. The skins should give off a lemon sent.
2 (750-ml) bottles 80-proof vodka (apparently, the cheaper the better) We used everclear and it was a little too stiff for me!
2 to 3 cups of water
2 to 4 cups sugar (use a little more if you like it sweeter, a little less if you prefer it not so syrup-like)
Step 1: Lemon Skin in Alcohol
Wash and dry the lemons. Pare off any imperfections & the ends. Remove the peel from the lemons with a sharp peeler or fine grater/zester, carefully avoiding the bitter white pith.
Put the peels in a glass jar/sun tea jar and add the vodka, leaving at least two inches below the top rim. Seal tightly.  Put the mixture in a cool, dark place for at least 2 weeks, 2-3 months is better. Swirl it every once in a while if you can!
Step 2: Simple Syrup
Heat the water and sugar in a saucepan, all the while stirring until the sugar is dissolved completely. Let the syrup cool. Pour the cooled syrup into the lemon mixture and put it back in the cool, dark place for at least 2 weeks.
Step 3: Strain and Bottle
Strain the mixture with cheesecloth or a coffee filter, ridding it of lemon peels and pour the limoncello into another container. Squeeze or press the peels to remove all the vodka and oils. Stir and pour the liqueur in clean bottles, seal tightly and leave the finished bottles for at least 1 week before using.
For best flavor and while sipping it straight, store the limoncello in your freezer.
Delicious Uses for Limoncello:
Straight up frozen in limoncello shot glasses
Spiking a tall glass of cold lemonade or iced tea
Splashed in glasses of champagne or soda water
Over fruit salad, ice cream or angel food cake
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Grandma Monka’s Lemon Bars
Crust:
1C flour
1/4 C sugar
1/2 C softened butter
Mix and press into 9″ sq pan.   Bake 350 for 15-20 minutes.
Filling:
2 eggs
3/4 C sugar
1/2 tsp baking powder
pinch salt
3 Tbsp lemon juice
Pour filling over hot crust. Bake 20-25 min at 350. Cool and sprinkle with powder sugar.  Cut in squares and refrigerate.
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Miso Meyer Lemon and Chicken (the recipe calles for Thighs, but I prefer breasts!)
The savory umami of the miso paste penetrates into the chicken, yet is lightened by the lemon. The dish benefits from marinating a longer time, but it’s still good just whipped up on the spot. Serve this with brown or white rice and a side of sauteed winter greens.
Juice and zest of 1 large Meyer lemon (about 1/4 cup juice)
1 heaping tablespoon miso paste (preferably white miso)
1 teaspoon honey or agave nectar
4 boneless skinless chicken thighs
Olive oil as needed
Kosher salt and fresh black pepper to taste
1/2 cup panko (see Note)
Instructions: Preheat oven to 400°. In a medium-size mixing bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, miso, and honey. Add the chicken, coat all sides. If possible, marinate for a few hours (or longer) in the refrigerator.
Heat a large cast iron or heavy oven-proof skillet over high heat; add oil to generously coat the bottom. Remove chicken from the marinade and drain well. Dust with salt and pepper. Cover with breadcrumbs, pressing them firmly onto the chicken.
Place into the hot skillet and cook until crisp and medium brown, about 2 minutes. Turn chicken over, then place the pan in the oven. Roast for about 15 to 20 minutes, or until the coating is very dark brown (almost, but not quite, black). Flip the chicken over, top with the reserved zest, and serve hot.
Note: Panko are Japanese-style breadcrumbs, but you can also make your own breadcrumbs. Pulse a slice of stale bread in an electric coffee grinder; optionally season with salt and pepper.
Per serving: 276 calories, 28 g protein, 12 g carbohydrate, 11 g fat (3 g saturated), 99 mg cholesterol, 263 mg sodium, 1 g fiber.
Wine pairing: The crust deepens the flavor of the chicken and the miso contributes a savory umami taste so you don’t have to go the white-wine-with-chicken route. Try a lighter red like Barbera
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Cleaning with Lemons
A non-toxic alternative to bleach or for cleaning your stainless steel pots, save the earth and save your clothes!
http://www.diynetwork.com/decorating/cleaning-with-lemon-juice/index.html
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