Sweet lemons make sunny treat
For the Nevada Appeal
I can’t believe spring has already sprung. Where does the time go? It seems as I get older I’m wasting more of it or at the least it just seems to be slipping by. I’m not near as driven to have every minute of my day filled and while it seems I always have something that needs to get done I’m OK if it doesn’t.
Ralph and I took almost a month-long trip in the motor home to Texas and back crisscrossing through four states. We saw some gorgeous country and visited some interesting places but after all that time on the road I was happy to be home. We had some great barbecue but not much else in the name of good food, which is why it was so nice to have the motor home to do a little bit of our own cooking. In some towns there is not much else but fast food fare.
I went to two small farm conferences one in San Diego and one in Fallon, both were very informative. We also drove down to San Francisco with our friends Al and Donna Teixeira to see the King Tut exhibit at the DeYoung Museum and tried some new restaurants. We knew our window for getaways would be closing after Ralph’s shoulder surgery. He’s now on the road to recovery but it will be six months plus before he can do much of anything. The Marrone homestead is in trouble because there is no one to pick up all the slack. Ralph does way more than half the work around here and especially in the summer. Yes we can hire someone to mow the lawn but who is going to dig up the dandelions one by one?
I’ve been picking daffodils for a couple of weeks now and my hyacinth are almost ready, which means the tulips can’t be far behind. I’ve already got fresh parsley and chives back from last year.
It’s not too soon to be thinking about planting a little herb or square-foot garden. Let your kids help you and have a decision in what to plant. It’s good for them to learn how to dig in the dirt, plant, water and eventually harvest the bounty. It helps them to connect with their food, real food. Start with things that are easy for kids to plant and pick, potatoes, carrots, radishes, tomatoes, peas and any vegetable that they show an interest in.
Gardens and gardening are in right now, so are CSA’s and shopping at Farmers Markets along with cooking and canning. Get out of your old routine and try something new, you have nothing to lose but an old attitude and maybe a pound or two. I guarantee once you start growing your own vegetables you’ll be hooked and have a lot more respect for small farms and farmers in general.
I just got a bunch of Meyer lemons from Bob and Kay Morris. Their dog Zorro has a play date with our dog Macky every Tuesday. The dogs are lucky because they play all day long and we’re lucky because we get treats like abalone, chili powder from New Mexico and Meyer lemons. Here’s a good use for some Meyer lemons and if you don’t have a good friend who passes them along, you can buy them in a four pack at Trader Joe’s.
Meyer Lemon Bars
13⁄4 cup unbleached flour
3⁄4 cup powdered sugar
11⁄2 cubes cold butter (if using unsalted, add 3⁄4 teaspoon salt)
4 large eggs, beaten
11⁄3 cups sugar
3 tablespoon flour
3⁄4 cups Meyer lemon juice
1⁄4 cup milk
Pre-heat oven to 350. Butter a 9-by-13-inch pan and line with parchment paper or foil.
For crust: put dry ingredients in bowl and grate cold butter through large hole on cheese grater and mix until combined and mixture looks crumbly. Press mixture evenly into the bottom of prepared pan and freeze for about 15 minutes, bake until slightly golden about 15-18 minutes.
For the filling; whisk together the eggs, sugar, flour and salt (if using unsalted butter) in a bowl. Stir in lemon juice and milk. Pour over hot crust. Bake until filling is set and edges are golden brown 15-18 minutes. Let cool on wire rack, lift out of pan and let cool completely before cutting into squares. Dust with powdered sugar and store in air tight container. Makes about 2 dozen.
Meyer Lemon Vinaigrette
2 tablespoon lemon juice
2 tablespoon fruit flavored vinegar
1⁄2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 clove garlic, minced
Salt and pepper to taste
Place all ingredients in a screw-top jar and shake vigorously until blended thoroughly. This dressing will keep in the refrigerator for several days.
• Linda Marrone has been a Carson City resident since 1973 and together with her husband, Ralph, formerly operated Marrone’s Restaurant in Carson City and Somethin’s Cookin’ Catering.