Transitions + Preserved Lemons

    Preserved Lemons | These salty tart babies will brighten up any recipe. Try them in hummus, pesto and salad dressings.

I'm in the mood to play with food. I don't mean anything like build a dollhouse with the veggies from my CSA box. (Or do I? Wink.) I mean try something new or different, experiment and get dirty in the kitchen! (That doesn't sound quite right either, does it?)

This past Spring, I've had so much fun discovering new vegetables like green garlic, leeks and fava beans. With Summer right around the corner, I'm starting to feel a little frisky. It's difficult not to be when plump peaches and bright cherries are starting to appear everywhere. The plum trees around the neighborhood are about to unload their juicy goodness on us. Are you ready for sweet summer? 

I sure am, but I'm also not quite ready to let go of Spring yet! If I have to choose a favorite season between Spring and Summer, I'd have to say I'm somewhere in the middle. Wouldn't it be nice if I could bottle that "middle-ness" up and get a spoonful of it anytime I want? 

    Preserved Lemons | These salty tart babies will brighten up any recipe. Try them in hummus, pesto and salad dressings.
You know what? It turns out I can! Something quite special happened when I followed a simple recipe in The Homemade Kitchen by Alana Chernila to put lemons and salt in a jar and forgot about it for a month.

The flavor of preserved lemons has got to be the most exhilarating thing to land on my tastebuds in a while. It's "ooh", "eee", "mmm", "wow"! Translation: Shocking salty tartness that's surprisingly well-balanced! And I might even say, addicting. Zesty, tangy, and fruity, they bring so much brightness to any recipe. 

I've used them to make salty lemonade, added them to hummus and pesto, and stirred them into salad dressings. Because a little goes such a long way, I still have almost a full jar to play with. You should really try it! And while you wait for magic to happen, I have a few fun links from the web to keep you occupied.

-June Tidbits-

Oh June, when Spring crosses into Summer. Get some ideas on what to eat and cook this month herehere and here

Note to self: Make a veggie burger at the next summer cookout. Here are 12 veggie burger recipes for inspiration. The sweet and smoky beet burgers are calling my name. 

We're going to be needing these refreshing lemonade and limeade recipes!

Indoor garden ideas for wannabe gardeners (me!). And while you're at it, clean the air in your home with these air purifying plants

Let's take a look at the Chinese herbs that will power up your digestion, according to Traditional Chinese Medicine. 

Been listening to The Intersection, an audio series that explores the changes taking place in the San Francisco Bay Area through different street intersections. 

Hey, did you know the nutrition facts label on food packaging in the US has been updated? Understand the changes and find out how to read them.

Who's up for the challenge to pickle something different every week for a year? I'd love to try pickling avocado, fennel and cherry tomato

Would you eat a carpet made with candy bars? Here are works of art every food lover should know about. 

Seriously, play with your food. Make edible fruit bouquets for someone special! 

Subscribe to my blog for personalized updates delivered to your inbox. If you like these links, follow me on Twitter. I'm also on Instagram (lots of veggie porn!), Facebook and Pinterest. And you're welcome to drop me a line to say hi anytime or tell me about your pet cat.  

    Preserved Lemons | These salty tart babies will brighten up any recipe. Try them in hummus, pesto and salad dressings.
Preserved Lemons
Adapted from The Homemade Kitchen by Alana Chernila. These salty tart babies will brighten up any recipe. Try them in hummus, pesto and salad dressings. More delicious ideas below. Just remember that a little goes a long way. Makes 1 quart jar. 
5 to 6 (about 1.5 lbs) organic lemons
1/2 cup sea salt
5 cardamom pods
3 bay leaves
1 cup lemon juice

Clean the lemons well. For each lemon, cut off the tip. Then quarter it by cutting lengthwise twice like a cross, but don't cut all the way so that the end is intact. 

Place the salt in a medium bowl. Add the lemons a few at a time and rub the flesh of each lemon with salt. 

Cover the bottom of a jar with salt followed by a layer of lemons. Press the lemons down to release the juice. Add a few cardamom pods and a bay leaf. Continue adding alternating layers of salt, lemon, cardamom pod and bay leaf until the jar is almost full. Then put the remaining salt on top. Pour the lemon juice into the jar until all the lemons are covered. 

Close the lid tightly and shake well. Store the jar at room temperature for 1 month. Turn the jar every now and then to distribute the salt evenly. After 1 month, the preserved lemons will be ready. Then store the jar in the refrigerator.

Suggestions for using preserved lemons from Alana's website:
Preserved Lemon Roasted Chickpeas
Preserved Lemon and Rosemary Focaccia
Preserved Lemon Martini

You may also be interested in Preserved Kumquats.