about bliss

Saturday, January 14, 2006

fragrant and floral

The scent of garlic and rosemary wafts through my home, and the wind stirs the bare trees outside. I hear the scrape and crunch of ice as neighbors uncover their cars and motor down the road, covered with the thinnest skiff of snow. I leisurely read my students’ thoughts on science and technology while simultaneously watching a series of cooking shows, which are about the segue into travel shows. I love PBS! It’s a chilly January Saturday morning and I’m content to stay in today, cooking slow foods (like my dried cannellini beans that are currently undergoing their transformation on the stove-top), reading about Einstein, and writing tidbits here and on my novel. At some point, I’ll pull my warm layers on for my daily run...this week I’m breaking the 15 mile mark (weekly total) for the first time. I think my thing with running is about to become serious. Hmmm. Last night I was researching the Nike Women’s half-marathon. Could I run 13.1 miles?!? For a special Tiffany and Co. necklace in addition to my sense of accomplishment AND the opportunity to run through the beautiful landscape of San Fran?

So, a few culinary moments to share. This is the season of citrus abundance, though most all of our stock is California this year, rather than Florida, in large part because of the hits of heavy hurricanes these past few years. But oh, the grapefruits! The oranges! And, the little wonder of the citrus world, the Meyer Lemon!

I first discovered these little gems last winter at my favorite natural foods store. Their appearance is capricious, so when I saw them earlier this week I bought a half dozen. I have tons of foodie recipes featuring this fragrant fruit, but I like to keep my use of the lemon simple. Combined with olive oil, a smidgen of vinegar, chopped shallots, and a drop of honey, the lemon makes a wonderful vinaigrette. Last night I made a simple pasta with thick, amish-style egg noodles, spinach, shallots, ricotta, parm regg, and the zest and juice of one lemon. And, I used the last of the lemons to make lemon bars to take to my friends’ H- and P’s house tomorrow.

The glory of the Meyer Lemon rests with its flavor profile--it’s not as tart as a traditional lemon, but it’s not exactly sweet either. Really, the best description I can offer is that it is fragrant and floral, with overtones of lemon and tangerine (the fruits from which it was developed). The lemon bars are not nearly as sweet or as tart as traditional bars, but something else entirely. Transcendent. Different. Special because of their rarity. A nice alternative to all of my chocolatey desserts.

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