It occurred to me that I may have a little competition as, recently, all B can talk about is the incredible flavor of the Meyer lemon, and how much he just looooooves it. And you should know that B is very hard to please. He does not like just anything. He has to only have the best, or it is not good enough. He has very high standards in food, to say the least, which you will see more and more throughout this blog. I grew up in California with meyer lemon trees in my backyard, while B, having grown up in Memphis, TN was not able to experience such a California luxury, so his appreciation for this simple citrus, really makes me see its true value.
For those of you that don't know, the Meyer lemon fruit is rounder than other lemons. The skin is very fragrant, thin, and a deeper yellow color (the pulp is also a darker yellow), with a slight orange tint when ripe. They are a bit sweeter and less acidic than the more common Lisbon or Eureka varieties. The Meyer seems to be almost a mix of 90% lemon and 10% mandarin. Kinda cool.
There is really so much that you can do with Meyer lemons, (everything you can do with any lemon---just the flavor from the Meyer will have you in awe.) A few years ago, I made a Meyer lemon and fresh ginger marmalade that was out of this world! I jarred up about 10 jars and gave it away to friends and family. About 4 months later, they were asking for more...and I haven't made it since.
However, the thing about the lemon is that is can be used excitingly or not so...One recipe that I can not support is plain ol' lemon bar. Oddly enough, I have a connection to lemon bars because it was the first recipe that I ever made on my own. I was about 7 years old and walking out into my mom's dinner party to show my 9x9 pyrex, warm out of the oven, of uneven slightly browned lemon bars...but that smelled like heaven...of fresh meyer lemons and butter. Everyone was nice enough to eat them.
You may really truly love lemon bars, but we are in the age of the Iron Chef, and the high-end cocktails...you may get kicked off of the show if the secret ingredient is Meyer lemon, and you make plain old lemon bars. Why not make them at least lemon- lavender, or lemon-ginger or lemon-basil? Your friends will LOVE them.
Also, no more Lemon Drop cocktails. Try the Dark and Stormy with a strong ginger beer, like Blenheim's, and a generous squeeze of fresh meyer lemon juice (instead of lime).
However, my absolute favorite lemon recipe growing up, was my mom's lemon cream pasta. For those of you that may know my mom, you know I was lucky enough to have a fabulous Italian, well Sicilian really, cook for a mother
...but more on that at another time.
I am including the recipe below which was adapted from one of Marcella Hazan's:
4 tbl butter
1 cup heavy cream
2 tbl lemon juice
zest of 4 (meyer) lemons..you see this is a California dish
1lb fettuccine (mom now sometimes uses the Trader Joe's lemon papardelle)
Put butter and cream in a pan that is large enough to hold 1 pound of pasta. When the butter and cream begin to boil, add the juice and the peel. Reduce the cream to half (but be careful not to reduce it completely because you need to have enough sauce for the pound of pasta) and take it off the heat. Add the pasta to your sauce. Add the grated parmigiano. And my mom notes "Devi servire subito!" (You need to serve it right away) It is best hot off the stove. If you want to get creative (when don't I?) you can feel free to add some of your own herbs or spices...like lemon thyme is a nice simple addition.