Not Your Average Lemon

When life hands you lemons, you make lemonade. However, when life hands you Meyer lemons, you bake….like your life depends on it.  At least, that is what I do each year when the Meyer lemons show up in the stores.

The Meyer lemon has an interesting past as a decorative houseplant.  It is the hybridization of a mandarin and a lemon—the perfect mix of sour with a hint of sweet. Meyer lemons make great potted plants for those of us who don’t live in Florida, Texas, or California. Place one in a sunny location, and it will produce lovely fruit to be enjoyed throughout the late spring and early summer.  Be sure to place it indoors in a sunny spot for the winter!

The fruit is a deep school bus yellow, and the taste is distinct with a sharp citrus tang and sweet orange-like notes. These qualities make them perfect for baking and juicing.  Meyer lemons are a seasonal citrus, which can be found in stores late winter to early summer.  Pick up a bag and try our my favorite Meyer lemon recipes. You’ll be dreaming of spring and warm weather with every bite!

Just add a cup of tea for the perfect afternoon snack.

Just add a cup of tea for the perfect afternoon snack.

 

Lemon Tea Cakes

  • 1 1/3 cups cake flour
  • 3/4 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 stick salted butter
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 tbs. fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 tsp. lemon zest
  • 1/3 cup buttermilk

Lemon Glaze

  • 2 ½ cups powdered sugar
  • 2 tbs. lemon juice
  • 2-3 tbs. buttermilk
  • lemon zest
  1. Preheat oven to 350° and generously grease and flour the wells of the pan. You can use a petit four pan or a mini muffin pan.
  2. Sift together flour and baking powder. Set aside.
  3. Beat the butter on medium speed until creamy and smooth, about 30 seconds. Add the sugar and beat till light and fluffy–about 5 minutes.
  4. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla, lemon juice, and zest.
  5. Reduce speed to low and add the flour mixture in three additions, alternating with the buttermilk. Ensure it is incorporated before adding the next ingredient and scrape as needed.
  6. Spoon 2 teaspoons of the batter (or use a small cookie scoop) into each well of the prepared pan. Tap pan on counter to eliminate air bubbles.
  7. Bake 8-10 minutes until the cakes are no longer sticky on top. Cool in pan for 1-2 minutes then turn out onto wire rack and cool completely.

* I wash and dry my Nordicware Petit Four pan before preparing it for another batch.

  1. For the glaze, whisk ingredients together and drizzle over the cooled cakes.

 

More recipes and info on Meyer lemons:

Lemon Bars 

Lemon Basil Sorbet

The History of the Meyer Lemon 

 

 

 

Not Your Mama’s Brussels Sprouts

Brussels sprouts.  Okay, you read it…now what comes to mind after?  Childhood memories of gagging down this much-hated vegetable?   Images of little cabbages that make you turn up your nose in disgust?  If this was your first thought, you wouldn’t be alone.  Many people wrinkle their noses and give the “Eww” face when Brussels sprouts are mentioned.

This little veggie is making an appearance on many restaurant menus these days.  You might even call Brussels sprouts “trendy”.  Trendy or not—this ingredient has become one of my family’s favorites.  We roast them.  We sauté them.  We shave them into a quinoa salad.  We are always looking for new ideas and recipes that include Brussels sprouts. 

I recently had a Brussels sprouts appetizer that had me reminiscing of my mom’s spinach salad with warm bacon vinaigrette.  Tazza Kitchen roasts Brussels sprouts then adds egg crumbles, bacon, and maple vinaigrette.  It was actually better than the spinach salads of my youth, but don’t tell my mom.  Roasting these little veggies seems to bring out a depth of flavor that I never knew they had as a kid.  My favorite way to prepare them is a little olive oil, lard, or bacon drippings—add a little onion—and boom!  You will be professing your love of Brussels sprouts in the first bite.

As spring approaches and our farmer’s markets fill with leafy greens and the bounty of spring, I urge you to find some Brussels sprouts and try them again.  You might be surprised at how much you like them.  And…here is a recipe to get you started with your Brussels sprouts love affair:

Image

 

  • 1 lb. Brussels sprouts
  • 2-3 tbs. olive oil
  • ½ c. red grapes
  • ½ c. coarsely chopped toasted pecans
  • 2-3 tsp. aged Balsamic vinegar
  • 1/8 tsp. black pepper
  • ¼ tsp. dried thyme
  • Salt – to taste
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F
  2. Cut Brussel sprouts into halves or quarters depending on size.  Place in a bowl with the grapes, drizzle with the olive oil, and add black pepper and thyme.  Stir to coat.
  3. Roast on a sheet pan for 20 minutes until Brussels sprouts are fork tender
  4. While Brussels sprouts are in the oven, toast pecans in a skillet over medium heat.
  5. In a serving bowl, combine roasted Brussels sprouts/grape mixture and the pecans.  Add salt to taste and drizzle with the balsamic vinegar. 

            **if grapes are small, roast Brussels sprouts for 10 minutes, then add the grapes and stir to incorporate.  Continue roasting for the remaining time.