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Friday, April 1, 2011

Eat It the Way You Found It: Lemon

I am not a professional nutrionist, so what I propose is merely my own crackpot theory.  Disclaimer over. 

In general, I think food is better for you when you eat it the way it comes in nature...leave the peels on fruits and vegetables, leave the bran on grains, eat meat in the proportions it grows on the animals (fyi...there is shockingly little actual bacon on a pig despite the disproportionate number of appearances bacon makes in this blog), and so on. 

And so...lemons.  My grandmother ate citrus fruits peel and all.  I mean, she chomped into an orange and ate it like an apple.  It turns out that my 2.75 year old is the same way.  I'm not going to go that far, personally, but I do freeze the zest from citrus that I've peeled for eating or juicing.  I mix all types of citrus zest together, but you can keep them in separate zip-top bags as well.  Here are a few other ideas for ways to use the whole lemon.

Lemon salad (serves 4)
You gotta like lemons for this one, but it's refreshing as a relish with fried foods, like seafood fritters or fish and chips.
  • 1 lemon
  • 1/2 tbsp sugar
Peel the lemon zest in long strips and remove any white pith (I do this with a very sharp vegetable peeler, using a back-and-forth sawing motion to get just the yellow part).  Slice the zest into very thin strips.  Place the zest in a fine strainer set in a medium bowl. 

Boil 1 quart of water (I use an electric kettle).  Pour 1/3 of the water over the zest and let it sit for 1 minute.  Lift the strainer out and discard the water (or drink it, it's lemon tea after all).  Dunk the strainer full of zest in a bowl of very cold water.  Repeat this step 2 more times.

Cut the lemon flesh into 1/4" slices and remove seeds.  Toss the lemon slices, zest and sugar together and let stand for 1 hour before serving.

Lemon Beef Roast (serves 5)
This can be prepped the night before to put in the crockpot, prepped in the morning to cook in the afternoon, or prepped and frozen as a meal kit for either stove-top or crockpot cooking.

  • 1 small clove garlic
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice (from about 2 lemons)
  • 4 lemon slices
  • 2 tbsp dry minced onion
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp celery salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • pinch of thyme
  •  3 lbs. beef pot roast
  • 2 tbsp canola oil or bacon fat
Combine sauce ingredients.  For freezing, place in a zip-top bag and label.  Place in a larger bag with the beef roast and freeze.  For same-day or next-day cooking, place in a covered bowl in the refrigerator.

When ready to cook, brown roast in oil or fat (if using the crockpot, you can skip this step to save time).  If using the crockpot, pour the sauce over the meat and add 1/2 cup of water.  Cook 8-10 hours on low.  If cooking on the stove-top, add the sauce to the meat and simmer for 2 to 2 1/2 hours.  Add a little water to the pot, if necessary. 

Escarole with lemon...Another whole-lemon fave...Tyler Florence's recipe, no tweaks from the peanut gallery

Chicken Villaggio...a perennial DDY household favorite Pin It

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