Make Something New Every Day

This blog is inspired by all those who love to cook, whether experienced or not, and who continue to experiment with new ideas & ingredients, and best of all, share their passion with others.

The first entries are recipes prepared by the students of Lionel Wilson College Preparatory Academy in Oakland, CA. Fifteen students with varying cooking experience participated in my weekly workshop (via Tutorpedia), and successfully prepared various meals, snacks, and baked goods as part of an after-school program.

Along with the recipes from that class, I will continue to add new seasonal items, spanning every genre of the culinary world, as well as a helpful list of links to recipes, instructional videos, and places to shop and volunteer in your area.

Feel free to ask me questions and share your recipes and ideas as well. I look forward to cooking with you.

June 9, 2011

Preserved Meyer Lemons a la 667

You've heard me gushing about them. You've had them forcibly added to your salads, stir-fries, even cobblers. "The flavor is so complex!" you cried. "They must be really hard to make. But I must know...I must have them for myself!" Now the wait is over. Join the millions who have changed their lives for the better with preserved Meyer lemons in their lives.
Preparation is so easy, a child who you don't fear using a knife could do it. Any variety of lemon will work, but I prefer Meyers because of their thin skin, juiciness, and how their distinct flavor is complimented by the coriander, bay leaf, and cinnamon. Nothing beats getting the lemons off your own (or a friend's) tree, and making them fresh. These were graciously donated by my good friends at the NOB.

MISE EN PLACE (that's French for "put in place", meaning get organized before you start)
Meyer lemons
kosher salt
cinnamon sticks
coriander seeds
bay leaves
glass jars with lids

Wash the lemons, and trim off the ends. Cut a deep X into each lemon, keeping the bottom 1/4" or so connected.
Fresh bay leaves aren't as strongly flavored as dried ones. This is a general rule for most herbs.
Stuff each lemon with about a teaspoon of kosher salt. 
Shove the lemons into a jar. Don't worry about squishing them. In a minute you'll do it intentionally. You want the juice to come out. Add 1-2 fresh bay leaves (or one dry), a cinnamon stick, and about a teaspoon of coriander seeds. Using a stopper from a juicer (or something like it), press down on the lemons, releasing the juice. Note that in the very top photo (after the 1st squish), the juice is about halfway up the jar.

Cover the jar and leave it at room temperature for three days, giving the lemons a good squish once a day. On the 4th day put the jar in the fridge for one month. The lemons should be covered in their own juice. If not, add some additional lemon juice to top them off. Check on them every once in a while, and if needed, squish them down or add a little juice. If you see some white film form around the lemons, don't worry. It's just the salt reacting with the acid.

Once your 30 days is up, feel free to use the lemons in anything that sounds good: cous cous, salads, desserts - the sky's the limit! To use a preserved lemon, rinse it under cold water to clean off any extra salt. By now they'll split into halves or quarters pretty easily. Run your knife along the inside to remove the remnants of the pulp, and discard it. Slice or dice the skin according to your preference.

Preserves of any variety make a thoughtful gift, so make a few jars while you're at it, and share them!

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