Monday, January 31, 2011

Luscious Lemon Food Porn

 After much research, I found Whole Lemon Tart at Smitten Kitchen.  Boy, did it fit my requirements for finding the ultimate recipe for my lone lemon.  She actually calls for a Meyer Lemon, but a small one, about 60% the size of mine.  And it uses the entire lemon - rind, pith, fruit, juice - everything but the seeds.

I'm not much on desserts, but I do love pastry.  I even made the tart crust myself and left it in the freezer overnight.  Then I finished the pie today, and prayed that it would not disappoint my very high expectations.
 It was splendid!  We all loved it!  Sweet but not overly so, and fragrant as the blossom the lemon came from.  "I've had this before!" Anna said, but I think that is because it is so similar to the lemon curd I usually make - its really just lemon, eggs, butter, sugar.  A little flour for the crust.  Perfection.
I also made Lemon Vodka -- super easy, just add rind only in little strips to good vodka, agitate once a day for about a month.  Fabulous for martinis.  I like mine with half lemon vodka, half Hendrick's Gin.  The last little bit of juice I used in my sauce for Provencal Chicken.

It was a good day in our Ikea kitchen.

Unidentified floating objects

Thirsty Colin asked for some of my water. I passed him the bottle and said, "Try not to get any backwash in it. I don't like floaters."

He took a swig, looked at it, then handed it back with a sheepish grimace.

"Did you get floaters in there?"

He said, "Only four."

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Solo Uno

Last year we had BUSHELS of Meyer lemons.  It was grand (as Uncle Ken would say).  I made batches of lemon curd, lemonade, lemon vodka, and preserved lemons.

Then we had a long, HARD freeze.  When we planted the lemon tree, we put it in a protected corner of the house, and Anthony vowed not to treat it specially.  I half heartedly draped some sheets around it, but it got bit.  Many lemons froze and rotted.  I prayed.

In the spring, Anthony trimmed back the damaged tree.  In the summer, it made many sweet, frangrant blooms.  But I did not see any fruit set.  I decided it would be a recovery year.

In the fall, Anthony brought me two large "limes" that some neighborhood kids found and liberated from the tree. (I know Stephanie understands my pain) Apparently they were in the back, about at child eye level.  They were far too green to ripen, and were picked in a way they tore the peel, guaranteeing spoilage.  The stages of grief:  first I cried, then I got angry.  Of course, no one admitted to being the picker.  I called ALL the neighborhood kids over (they were playing kickball outside).  I told them, "If you see ANYTHING in my yard: peaches, limes, lemons, flowers, leaves --- DO NOT PICK THEM!  Come and ask us first!  When you pick things off our plants, it hurts them.  When you take things off our trees, you are stealing.  Don't pick anything!"

"Yes, ma'am!" they all earnestly said.  I put one green lemon on the counter, and one in the refrigerator crisper.  They both stayed green as they quickly rotted.

But then!  Around Christmas time, a lone Meyer lemon revealed itself with its yellow hue!  I left it to ripen unmolested, then picked it (properly) before the first baby freeze of our mild Texas winter.  It smells heavenly.

So, if you had ONE Meyer lemon, what would you do with it?  I am not a big fan of lemon bars, and its not enough to make lemon curd.  I want some peel to make a small batch of lemon vodka, and I can't waste the pulp and juice.  So many recipes called for just using that divinely scented peel (a great option last year), but those are out - I need at least half the peel for vodka, and I'm not wasting the insides on lemonade.

There it is in all its golden massive glory, next to a puny store bought lemon.

I hope we get more citrons next year.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Itinerant Blogger

I used to be unable to go more than a few days without posting.  Now I'm too wiped at the end of most days to get a round tuit.

Anthony is gone for his second entire week this month.  I get a little extra energy when he is gone, enough to make sure I get up early to put the kids on the bus and do all the little chores that we share, only to find there is nothing left at the end of the day.  Here's some things I considered blogging about, briefly.

I was off on Saturday and we had a great day where we all hung out in our pyjamas until about 3 pm.  It was a rainy day and by then the cooped up kids were a little stir crazy, so I took them to the rec center where they both ran/walked 3 miles!  Then we were back home for more family time.  We accomplished nothing but hanging out together.

Yesterday at work I had one of those experiences that was "only in the life of a vet."  My first afternoon appointment was a home euthanasia (an 18 year old cat in heart failure.  Still feisty!  But suffering, it was time to go).  That was followed by a scheduled c-section on a tiny Yorkie with 4 puppies.  As luck would have it, the Manny came by with both my kids right after delivery (he had a gig to go to) and the mom's owner is actually a co-worker, so Anna and Colin both got to hold the little newborn pups, squirming with tied off umbilicus cords, smaller than Anna's big hamster.  I heard someone speak recently about polar opposites (good/bad, heaven/hell, light/dark) and how some cultures don't think of it as an either/or, that life really is about embracing the pull of both.  Having a day of immediately experiencing death and birth, and seeing your kids in a different setting than you usually do, can make you feel pretty philosophical.

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

New Year

1. What did you do in 2010 that you’d never done before?
Taught Bollywood Aerobics!  So much fun!
2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I resolved to buy myself no new clothing until my birthday, and I succeeded!  Then I bought a great dress for my birthday party, and then I didn't really think about it much.  I haven't come up with any resolutions this year.
3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
No, not this year.
4. Did anyone close to you die?
My sweet great Aunt Sudie passed in November.  It was expected, she was ready, and it was still such a loss.
5. What countries did you visit?
Chile and Argentina!  We've been watching the photos on our screen saver.  What a memorable trip!
6. What would you like to have in 2011 that you lacked in 2010?
More organization, more free time (ha!)
7. What dates from 2010 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
My 40th birthday was fabulous - what a party!  Exactly as I wanted it.
8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Helping two friends finish their first triathlon this year (Luis and Sandra).
9. What was your biggest failure?
Not making the minimum case requirements for the Academy of Veterinary Dentistry.  Still a work in progress. 
10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
Nothing more than a cold, touch wood.
11. What was the best thing you bought?
A new kitchen!  From Ikea!
12. Where did most of your money go?
Food.  Travel.  New kitchen.
14. What song will always remind you of 2010?
I've Got a Feeling by the Black Eyed Peas.  I don't love it, but it was everywhere.
 15. What did you get really, really, really excited about this year?
Emily moving back to Texas!  Sadly, a few months later my other sister Stephanie left for California.
16. What do you wish you’d done more of?
Reading.  Cooking.
17. What do you wish you’d done less of?
Being stuck in traffic.  Picking up the kids' things.
18. What was your favorite TV program?
19. What was the best book you read?
Cutting For Stone by Abraham Vergase.
20. What was your greatest musical discovery?
All those great Bollywood tunes!  I have a great playlist.
21. What did you want and get?
A new kitchen!
22. What did you want and not get?
Not much.  New carpet?  (its an area of contention between Anthony and me)
23. What was your favorite film of this year?
Toy Story 3.  It clobbered my heart.
24. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
I was gifted an amazing Scrub + Massage.  I could have used one every month.
25. What kept you sane?
Regular exercise.  The wonderful support staff at my clinic.  Red wine.
26. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2010.
You can be a generous, quiet, kind person and leave a huge impact on friends, family, and your community (see: Aunt Sudie Pearl)
27. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.
"Bring it on!  Bring it on!  Bring it on!
Ab to Forever! and Ever!"
(its Bollywood)