Whole Wheat Spaghetti with Meyer Lemon and Herb Sauce

Lemon pasta is one of our “go-to” easy meals that we have been making for years. It’s quick, uncomplicated and relatively healthy. Normally we serve it during hot weather, but with Meyer lemons being plentiful at Bay area farmers markets, it seemed like a perfect time to make it. The citrus and herb flavor just makes us feel like spring is all that much closer.

pasta_2

We try to keep it fresh by not getting trapped in a set way of making it. Sometimes we use parsley, other times basil and yet others tarragon. Sometimes we use spaghetti, other times linguini or sometimes even penne. We also make sure to add more grated Parmesan than some recipes might suggest to make sure we get a creamier sauce. Adding some diced chicken rounds out the dish for a full meal but leave it out if you want to serve this as a first course. You can also add toasted walnuts if you want to make it a fully vegetarian meal. It also fares well the next day if you need to bring something for lunch to work.

3 cloves of garlic
¾ cup olive oil
Pinch of chili flakes
2 Meyer lemons, zested and juiced
1 cup tightly packed parsley leaves
1 cup grated Parmesan
1 cooked chicken breast, diced
Salt and pepper to taste
1 pound whole-wheat spaghetti

1) Cook pasta according to directions.
2) Heat oil in a small sauté pan and toast garlic cloves and chili flakes until the garlic just begins to brown.
3) Add garlic and oil to the bowl of a food processor with the parsley, lemon juice and zest. Puree till it forms a loose paste.
4) Dice chicken and mix with sauce and grated cheese in a mixing bowl.
5) When pasta is al dente, add to mixing bowl, using a little pasta water to loosen the sauce if needed. Taste and adjust with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.
This article also appears on http://www.examiner.com/food-in-san-francisco/whole-wheat-spaghetti-with-meyer-lemon-and-parsley-sauce

Flourless Satsuma Cake with Meyer Lemon Glaze

Citrus season is upon us again with plenty of options to choose from. Satsuma oranges are available at most farmers markets along with Meyer lemons. I snagged a couple of bags of both of them impulsively at the Monterey Market in Berkeley last weekend. The original intention was to treat them like preserved lemons, but in the process of researching if anyone else had done that, I came across Nigella Lawson’s Clementine Cake. I liked the way it used the whole fruit and nuts as the basis and decided to use the satsumas this way.

As usual, I tweaked the recipe a little. I used a full pound and a half of satsumas, replaced the almonds with pan-toasted hazelnuts and added a teaspoon of vanilla to the batter. After the cake was out of the oven and cooling, I wanted to find a way to, for lack of a better phrase, ice the cake. I made a quick syrup by boiling the juice and zest of a Meyer lemon with 1 cup of sugar. After using a skewer to poke several holes through out the cake, I poured the hot syrup over the cake and let it soak in over night.

One note. Do not ignore the fruit during boiling and make sure they’re constantly covered in water. My first attempt resulted in several wasted oranges when I got distracted and came back to a blackened dry mess in a pot that practically needed a sand blaster to get clean again.

Despite that, I dropped the cake off in the break room at work and came back at lunch to find the plate empty except for a post-it note that said “Thanks!!” The empty plate was all I needed to see to know it was a success. The post-it note was just overkill.

Getting things rolling:Or why I feel safer with a big knife in my hands

It finally dawned on me in the shower this morning that one of the points of the internet is to provide access to information from pretty much anywhere. As hot water bounced on my head, I made the mental connection that I should therefor be able to post to my blog from anywhere.

And that’s how I got here today.

Technically I’m at work and shouldn’t be blogging about food and photography. Nor should I be trying to be witty while at work and in the throes of nicotine withdrawal. There will be unavoidably the kind of disconnect one normally experiences when one encounters a drug addict who thinks something is absolutely hysterical while you’re inching away fearing for your life.  I have had people suggest that when I’m in the middle of nicotine fit, that a rabid pit bull would be sweeter.

Lately this means that when I’m not at work or at the gym, I’m usually quite happy to be alone in the kitchen. Just me and the food and the process and the results.

And the dishes. Don’t forget doing the dishes. in the past, detoxing from cigarettes has resulted in my frantically cleaning and scrubbing and scraping and scouring my tools and equipment until they not only shine but could be used by NASA as tracking tools for satellites.

But in these times of grumpiness and lack of patience with the most basic of human behaviors, I find myself feeling the most at peace and safe and secure with a large knife in my hand… and reducing a potato down to 1/4″ dice.

Kale Soup with Pan Roasted Broccolini and Meyer Lemon Gremolata

As far as soups go, kale soup sometimes ranks low on people’s lists, putting it somewhere between Yuck and Blech. Yet many of those same people will happily bake it off for kale chips or sauté it as a side dish.  Could it be the color that one friend described as a “late spring compost heap”? Another friend’s face scrunched up at the thought as if they smelled that compost heap.

Kale Soup

A bright and spicey soup for winter.

Yet there we were at the Ferry Building eagerly picking through a large bin of kale and soup just seemed like a good idea. We also picked through a crate of broccolini, fully intending to use that on something else. But when we had gotten about half way through making the soup, the two dishes sort of merged.   We were tempted to thicken it up with a roux, but some tangy crème fraiche worked better.  As the soup simmered, the Meyer lemons we originally bought to make a curd to bribe coworkers with seemed like a good addition in a classic Italian sauce we’d been meaning to return to. The result was grassy, bright and spicy and, best of all, filling while being healthy.  Perfect for an unseasonably warm day.

  • 1 pound kale leaves, stems trimmed and ribs removed
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp rosemary
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • juice of ½ Meyer lemon
  • 1 qt chicken stock
  • ½ cup crème fraiche
  • Zest of one Meyer lemon
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • ¼ cup oregano
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • Olive oil as needed
  • 1 pound broccolini cut into bite size pieces
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • chili flakes
  1. Sweat onion and garlic in olive oil with some salt and pepper. When translucent, add the kale and cook until the withered.
  2. Add the lemon and chicken stock and let simmer for 10 minutes. Puree with a stick blender until fully smooth.  Add crème fraiche and whisk thoroughly. Place over a low flame and allow to simmer while prepping the remainder of the recipe
  3. Whisk zest, juice and garlic together with olive oil until a thick sauce forms akin to a salsa.
  4. Heat sauté pan over high heat. Add broccolini, salt and pepper and chili and sauté until brightened. Add 1 cup of water to steam. The florets are ready when they are al dente and beginning to brown.
  5. Place broccolini in bowls and ladle soup over. Garnish with gremolata and serve.