Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The Taste of Sunshine

I know all my peeps back east are still slogging through the slush and snow and ice and muck. And if any of the rest of you needed a little dose of perspective- you could have been stuck in your car for five hours during your one-hour commute like my poor, long-suffering Bostonian buddy. She informs me that Unspeakable Things happened in that car… we shall not speak of them.

Instead, we will try to get her and your minds off this apocalyptic winter and think of sunny, happy things. Like lemons!

It’s Meyer Lemon season here in NorCal. The tree out back is positively fit-to-burst with the lovely orangey-yellow fruits. If you have never had the opportunity to try one, I highly recommend hunting one down. They taste a lot like their color- mostly lemony but with a nice, subtle dash of orangey sweetness. Yum.

There are lots and lots of things to do with them and I have some plans up my sleeve. But rather than getting all involved with some high-tech baking or canning or something, instead, I offer you this simple dressing recipe. It’s really easy to make and works as a dressing for simple greens or a topping for a nice piece of hummus toast (or both!). It also works well with steamed or sauteed veggies like chard, green beans or broccoli. The lovely lemony sweetness of the Meyers combines with the herby thyme to turn an easy lunch into something satisfying and bright. Just the sort of thing to pull you up out of the winter doldrums and remind you that yes, there is a sun shining somewhere.

Meyer Lemon Vinaigrette
This recipe can easily be increased, decreased or otherwise adapted to suit your tastes- experiment!

Juice of 1 Meyer lemon (~2 Tbs)
2 Tbs olive oil
1 tsp white balsamic vinegar
1 tsp fresh or dried thyme leaves
Coarse salt & ground black pepper to taste

Juice the Meyer lemon; reserve the zest for another use or if you want it to be really lemony, add the zest to the dressing. In a jar, combine the lemon juice, olive oil and vinegar. Adjust the oil or vinegar to get your preferred tartness; I like a nice bite to my vinaigrette. Add the thyme leaves, salt and pepper. Put the lid on the jar and shake like a maraca (or a Polaroid picture- your choice). Adjust S & P as needed. Serve drizzled over a green salad or a piece of toast spread with hummus. Enjoy!

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