I feel so sorry for my citrus trees. The weather has been so mercurial that they can’t tell if it’s summer, Fall, or spring. We have had several heat waves at the oddest times, which has spurred fruit to ripen prematurely perhaps, and in doing so, splitting before falling to the ground. A Google search yielded nothing much in the way of combatting the situation. I just hope this isn’t permanent.
I would suggest, if you have YELLOW limes (such as Bearss or Key limes) or lemons, to preserve them for future use, or to give away. I have made preserved lemon addicts in my own circle of friends, many of whom requested a jar! That certainly made Christmas shopping easier!
Marketing my reprint of A Biblical feast: Ancient Mediterranean Flavors for Today’s Table occupies most of my time (no citrus existed in Biblical Times, save for the Etrog citron, perhaps), instead of lemon juice, I use a touch of vinegar or a spoonful of pomegranate molasses to impart a fruity, citric flavor to some of the biblically-inspired dishes.
A new decade, and a new project: I have tested many of the recipes for my preserved lemon book. Time to harvest today’s pickings.
From the California Farm Cookbook (Pelican Publishing 1994) (link to Amazon.com), I travelled the length and breadth of California, searching out family farmers, and recording their stories. I also solicited their favorite recipes for the fruits and vegetables they grew.
Gale and George Cunningham’s orchard is nestled deep in the heart of De Luz Canyon in the northern hills of San Diego County. These squares I make over and over!
1/2 cup butter at room temperature
1/4/ cup powdered sugar
1 cup flour
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1 cup sugar
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 tsp. baking powder
2 tbsp. lemon juice (preferably Meyer lemon)
1 tsp. grated lemon peel
1/8 tsp. salt
Powdered sugar for decoration
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Crust: Mix crust ingredients. With fingertips, pat mixture evenly on bottom of 9×9-inch baking pan. Bake 15 minutes, remove from oven, and let cool.
Topping: Cream sugar and eggs until mixture forms thin ribbon. Add in remaining ingredients. Pour topping over cooled crust, and return to oven for about 20 minutes, being careful not to over bake. Remove from oven, and run knife around edges of pan. Cool, cut into squares, and sprinkle with sifted powdered sugar.
Preserved lemons and tomatoes are an addictive combination! This is a daily stand-by in my household throughout the tomato season. I usually I roast my own red bell peppers , but there are a number of commercial roasted red peppers on the markets.
2 red bell peppers, roasted, peeled, and seeded
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons diced salted lemon rind
1 tomato, peeled, seeded, and diced
1 teaspoon balsamic or rice vinegar
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 cup olive oil
1 baguette bread, sliced
Finely dice roasted peppers. Combine with the salt, salted lemon rind, tomato, and vinegar. Set aside.
Turn oven on to broil. In a small bowl, combine the garlic and olive oil. Cut 12 slices of baguette on a diagonal. Paint each one with olive oil/garlic mixture. Place on a baking sheet. Broil until lightly browned, 2 to 3 minutes on each side.
Let cool and top with tomato/bell pepper mixture. Serve immediately.