Sunday, January 26, 2014

Meyer Lemons Two Ways

After using the limequats for the marmalade from the last post, I was anxious to see what I could do with the Meyer Lemons from my brothers Garden of Eden.

My husband has been hankering for some risotto and I have been resisting - all the stirring - Bleeek!  Then a perfect storm of snow days and an abundance of meyer lemon made his wish come true!  

A few simple ingredients:

Meyer Lemon Juice and zest
Arborio rice
White Wine
Parmesan cheese 
Pine nuts and Mint for garnish

Meyer Lemon Risotto

A lot of stirring...and WhaaLaa!

Creamy, starchy, citrusy wonderousness!

Serve with a green veggie and maybe a simple protein like shrimp or chicken and dinner is served.  

I followed the recipe exactly, so I won't write it all out here.  Here is the link on Simply Recipes.  It really was worth all the stirring!

Recipe #2:  Roasted Cornish Game Hens With Meyer Lemons 
from:  LA Times

  • 2 Corninsh Hens
  • 4 Meyer Lemons
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • 3 medium fennel bulbs (I only had one)
  • 3/4 cups each Nicoise  and Picholine olives  (I had kalamata on hand so I used those)
  • 8 garlic cloves, peeled and halved
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
1.  About an hour ahead, remove the Cornish game hens from the refrigerator and bring to room temperature.

2.  Heat the oven to 425 degrees.  Slice 2 of the lemons paper thin with a knife or a mandolin.  With your fingers, carefully loosen the skin from the meat on the breast side of the hens.  

Insert 5 or 6 lemon slices underneath the skin of each hen.  Put any unused slices and the ends of the lemons into the cavities, and rub the salt equally over the 2 hens.

3.  Cut the remaining 2 lemons into 8 wedges and scatter them in the bottom of a shallow baking pan with the fennel, olives, and garlic.   Place the hens on top of the fruit and vegetables.  Pour olive oil over the 2 birds, then season with a few grinds of black pepper.

4.  Roast the hens in the oven for 30 minutes, then lower the heat to 350 degrees and roast for about 20 minutes longer, or until the meat is firm, the skin is golden and the juices run clear (a thermometer placed into the thickest part of the bird will register 165 degrees);  the vegetables and fruit will have started to caramelize. 

Although the cook time is about 50 minutes, it only takes about 20 minutes to prep the birds for the oven so the hands on time for this dish is manageable for a week night.

I prepped these before my workout and then threw them in the oven to bake while I worked out.   

I don't recommend this, because the amazing smells coming from the kitchen made it very hard to concentrate on staying on the treadmill!  ;-)

So a two-fer of Meyer lemon recipes....I still have a few left...Hmmm...Lemonade anyone?

Citrus Treasures from Florida

This year for winter break we headed south to check off one of the items on my bucket list.  I have had a fascination with manatees every since elementary school and have wanted to see them up close and personal and, with the extended winter break this year, we finally did it!  
Aren't they cute!

On the way back from visiting with the manatees we got to stop for a lunch visit with my brother and his family.  My brother is an amazing gardener, cook and outdoorsman.  After our delicious gourmet lunch, he took us on a tour of his backyard.  His backyard is something akin to the Garden of Eden with oversized citrus trees, avocado plants, chickens, cats, snakes, fish all living in relative harmony.  Citrus trees were in full production and I scored several bags of gorgeous Meyer lemons and limequats.  
The limequats are the smaller ones and
the Meyer lemons are the big juicy ones.
According to Wikipedia:  The limequat is a citrus tree that is the result of a cross between the Key lime and the kumquathybridized by Dr. Walter Swingle in 1909.
the Meyer lemon, is a citrus fruit native to China thought to be a cross between a true lemon and either a mandarin or common orange

However they came about, I was eager to try them in some recipes.  

Since I had a lot of limequats - more than I could ever use as a spritzer in my Perrier - the first thing that I tried was Limequat Marmalade.  I perused the internet and mis-mashed a couple of recipes to come up with a beautiful, easy tart-sweet marmalade.

Limequat Marmalade
Limequat Marmalade
  • Limequats (I used about 8-9 limequats - mine were large-y)
  • Sugar  Use 1 part fruit to 1 part sugar (I measured the sliced limequats and added that much sugar)
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1 Tbsp (slightly less) vanilla extract
Wash the limequats, remove the seeds and thinly slice.  I used my mandolin to do the slicing.
Add limequats, sugar and water to a non-reactive pan and bring to a boil.  
Boil rapidly for at least 15 minutes, stirring constantly.
Thick, but not thick enough...
Just about there... 
Once the mixture is thickened (You can use the cold plate method to tell if it is done.) Add the vanilla. 

    Pour into Canning jars and process, if you want.  I didn't have that much so I just sealed and refrigerated. 

  The marmalade is delicious served with a little butter on a warm english muffin. Breakfast tart-sweet perfection!

Doesn't all the bright yellow make it seem so much warmer and sunnier outside?

Next up...Meyer Lemon Risotto and Roasted Cornish Game Hens with Meyer Lemon.  

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Nostalgic Recipe Towels

My grandmother, Dede, was a great homemaker in all the wonderful senses of the word. 

She was a stylish, smart and talented woman.  She could sew, knit, crochet, and paint. She made a home filled with love and laughter and she raised two amazing daughters who happened to become my mother and aunt who became amazing homemakers in their own rights.  
Dede and PopPop traveled all over to visit with my
travelin' Navy family.
I especially love these photos from Hawaii in the 60's
That's me on the bottom right and my sister in my
PopPop's arms.
She passed away not too long ago.  Although we all miss her very much, I was blessed to have her in my life for a long time. 

DeDe's recipes are still the ones I turn to when I really need some comfort food.  So when I saw this pin on pinterest, I knew it was going to be my mother's Christmas gift. Linen-Cotton kitchen towels printed with copies of Dede's recipes in her own handwriting!

I followed the directions for formatting the photos/scans of the recipe cards, made a collage in Picasa and then sent it off to Spoonflower to have it made into fabric.  

I won't go into too much detail on the process because the links above do a pretty good job, but will give a few tips that I found helpful...

1.  Do not try to photograph the recipes.  Scan them.  In my case, the recipe was on two sides of the card, so I photocopied both sides and then cut and taped the pieces together and then scanned.

2.  The collage part is much easier if each recipe is the same size - trust me.

3. Retouching some of the marks and "seams" and changing the color to the Sepia setting (in iPhoto for me) made for a much cleaner print for the fabric 

4.  I downloaded and used Picasa and it worked fine with the directions they gave.  I had to fool around a bit with resizing to get most of the recipe to fit, but finally got it just so.

5. Don't miss the final tip that tells you to resize to 36 x 54 and 150dpi resolution.

6.  The fabric arrived in less than 2 weeks and was perfect! 

I got excited and cut apart the panels before I took a picture!  Oops!

I got so excited that I cut right into one of the panels...AAAARGGH!

See the little zigzag mend there----->
I'm calling it "vintage rustic"...hmmm.

6.  Once you have the panels cut apart, use your iron to turn under the colored border and turn it to the back and stitch it down.  I used blue thread in the needle and cream thread in the bobbin.  I wanted the recipe to be the star - not the stitching.

7.  The borders will be slightly different sizes  unless you cut the outer edges to match the shared inside edges.  I didn't bother and it looked fine.  

8.  Here is the finished gift!  

The best thing is that the fabric stays on file at Spoonflower so if you want to make more...just a few clicks and about $30 and you can have 4 more towel to make!

I couldn't wait to see my mother open the gift!  She was so surprised to see Dede's handwriting on the towels! 

It took a little piddidlin' to get the computer part right, but was so worth it in the end.  I'm going to look for some recipes from my other Grandmother next!  

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Santa's Big Reveal

Christmas this year was a whirlwind of family celebrations...

We had the traditional cookie decorating at my mom's house using my grandmother's cookie molds.
Mom is not really that strict about the decorating!  ;-)

A few years ago we had an almost crisis.  The 1940's - something plastic Santa cookie mold had begun to crack and the company was out of business so there was no replacing it.  Apparently the same was happening to others families who share the Santa Cookie tradition.  One day a random ebay search revealed Aunt Chick's Cookie Cutters.  A fellow nostalgic baker started making the molds again!  Tradition saved!

I bought a new set for my mother and one for each of the 4 siblings in my family.

Right after Christmas, my parents celebrated their 50th anniversary!  What a great example of love and faithfulness.  
Renewing their vows
50 wonderful years together!

The day after the anniversary party, we headed to Florida to visit with the in-laws and to swim with manatees - one of the many crazy items on my bucket list.  I'm waiting for my daughter to send the pics of the manatees from her underwater camera, but here is one of us on the beach in Pensacola.  Don't be fooled - it was NOT warm!  

The holidays were amazing and full of family, love, travel, adventure...Not much blogging.

Despite my sparse posts, I have been busy cooking and sewing (mostly before Christmas!).  Now that the gifts have all been exchanged, I can finally reveal the little goodies that I made for everyone this Christmas.

The biggest project was finishing my son's high school T-shirt quilt.  He is only in is 3rd year of college...

It is not perfect, but I am pretty happy with this 1st attempt at quilting.

Inspired by the quilting success...

I rehabbed my daughters' old American Girl Doll bed with a new scrappy quilt and pillows for my little cousins who I happened to hear were getting dolls from Santa.  Perfect for 2 little dolls to snuggle up on a cold winter's night.  

For a special stocking stuffer for my daughters, I converted some 80's clip earrings that I inherited from my mother-in-law when she passed and made them into push pins.  Now they can add a little sparkle to their bulletin boards and remember Grandma every time they see them.  

The backs came right off with the needle-nosed pliers and then I glued the thumb tacks on with the E-6000.
My great friend and embroidery teacher once informed us that "E-6000 could stick the butt of an elephant to a thumbtack."  

For sure, it can stick an 80's earring to one!

Lastly, I personalized some pillow cases for the nieces and daughters and towels for my oldest daughter's... fiancĂ©.  Yep...To add to the fun of the season, my daughter got engaged on Christmas night! 
Welcome to the family!
It has been so happy, crazy busy that I am almost glad to be back at work.  Almost...until that alarm went off at 5:30 am!  I wasn't too sad to have a "cold day" off of school today, either. 

Wishing you all warm homes, warm food and warm hugs from me!