23 Mar Lemon aid: Pack some sunshine into your menu
And a 90th birthday, well, that definitely calls for a party. When my mom graciously offered to fly us to sunny California last week to wish my grandmother well on her milestone birthday, we jumped at the chance. How lucky were we?
Stepping off the plane in Palm Springs, our warm weather welcome quickly swept clean our memories of snow and wind back home.
How happy we were to drink in the heat of the desert.
We found lemons dripping off a tree next to the pool in my grandmother’s complex. The fruit trees there are community property, ripe for the picking, so my mom and I grabbed a ladder and began the harvest. Breathing in the fresh citrus aroma, we savored a long-awaited taste of spring.
Loaded up with lemons and tipping the airport check-in luggage scale at maximum weight, we lugged them home, those plump fresh beauties, still smelling so citrusy and sweet.
As it turns out, if life gives you lemons, you are in luck.
Here for you is my Special of the Day: A Suitcase Full of Lemons with recipes
LEMON CREPES SUZETTE WITH LEMON BUTTER SAUCE AND FRESH RASPBERRIES
1 cup milk
2 tbsp. vanilla extract
3 tbsp. melted butter (cooled)
2 tbsp. Grand Marnier liqueur
¾ cup cornstarch
Dash of salt
1 tbsp. sugar
In a blender combine ingredients, in order. Mix on high speed until well blended, about 15 seconds. Scrape sides of blender with rubber spatula if necessary.
Heat a crepe pan or a small saute pan with a nonstick surface over medium high heat.
Brush pan lightly with melted butter. Carefully pour about 2 tablespoons batter from the blender into the pan, swirling the pan so batter covers bottom.
Cook until the edges of the crepe begin to lightly brown, about 15 seconds.
Using a small table knife, lift an edge of the crepe, pick it up with both hands, and flip it over.
Cook the other side about 15 seconds. Remove the crepe from the pan and cool, layering sheets of waxed paper in between crepes to prevent sticking.
Repeat with remaining batter, brushing pan with melted butter before pouring batter to prevent sticking.
Store crepes in a covered refrigerator container until ready to serve. Makes about 24.
LEMON BUTTER SAUCE
¾ cup butter
1 cup sugar
2 tsp. lemon peel
½ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
In a large saucepan over medium heat, melt butter.
Add remaining ingredients and cook, stirring occasionally until sugar is dissolved.
Fold refrigerated crepes in half and in half again, making quarters. Slide folded crepes into sauce in saucepan and heat through.
Garnish with lemon peel, fresh berries and mint sprigs.
LEMON ORZO SALAD WITH ASPARAGUS, PROSCUITTO AND SHALLOTS
1 cup asparagus tips
¾ cup prosciutto, sliced into thin strips
2 tbsp. olive oil
¼ cup fresh lemon juice
1 tsp. shallots, minced
1 tsp. honey
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
4 large butter lettuce leaves
Freshly grated lemon peel
Immediately drain into strainer. Cover with ice cubes to stop further cooking and retain bright green color.
In a large bowl, whisk together olive oil, lemon juice, shallots, honey, salt and pepper.
Add cooked orzo, blanched asparagus tips and prosciutto strips.
Toss to combine.
Serve in butter lettuce leaves.
Garnish with lemon peel.
18 lemon wedges
¾ cup white wine
¼ cup white wine vinegar
¼ cup shallots, minced
¼ cup heavy cream
½ cup real butter, cut in 1 tbsp. pats
2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1 pound sea scallops, patted dry with paper towels
½ cup canola oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper
3 cups angel hair pasta, cooked
Snipped chives, for garnish
To make the Lemon Beurre Blanc, in a medium heavy saucepan over medium high heat, simmer wine, vinegar and shallots until reduced by half.
Strain. Return strained mixture to pan and return to stove.
Add lemon juice and cream to pan and whisk in butter, one tablespoon at a time. Keep warm.
To sear the scallops, toss scallops and canola oil in large plastic baggie to coat. Remove scallops from baggie and salt and pepper both sides of each one.
Cover bottom only of a large ovenproof saute pan with canola oil. Heat over high heat until hot. Add scallops and sear until golden brown. Turn to sear other side of scallops.
Place pan of seared scallops on lower middle rack in preheated oven to finish while lemons are broiling on the top rack, about five minutes.
To broil the lemon wedges, heat oven broiler.
Place lemon wedges on broiler pan, leaving room between. Broil on upper rack of oven until nicely browned.
Remove from oven and set aside.
To plate, mound angel hair pasta in center of plate. Arrange seared scallops atop pasta.
Top with Lemon Beurre Blanc. Garnish plates with broiled lemons and snipped chives.
Sydne George is a food journalist specializing in recipe development, food writing and food photography. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.