Tuesday , 19 September 2017

Kyra’s Kitchen: Lemon Aid

My mother once tartly remarked while observing my profligate use of lemons that I would have to marry a farmer or a millionaire.

Lemons are the miracle workers of the food world.  They can rescue a sauce – accent a dish – brighten a dessert.  They do not impinge their personality on other foods but rather enhance them. They can soothe a cold and sore throat and pump up your immune system.

Here are some of the ways lemons can BRIGHTEN YOUR LIFE:

  • Start the day with a hot drink of honey and lemon.  If you have a cold or just feel miserable – do the same.
  • Throw a slice of lemon when cooking cauliflower or cabbage into the water – and you kitchen will not smell as if someone had died in it.
  • Add lemon juice to your barbecue sauce – I know I know – for some of you that is sacrilegious – but get past your ire and try it.
  • Add a squeeze of lemon juice to fish before cooking.
  • If a sauce is too sweet, add a squeeze of lemon juice.
  • Add  lemon juice to cream soups and pasta sauce
  • Add a squeeze of lemon juice to those bananas you are using to make banana bread – the bread will taste MORE like bananas.
  • After squeezing out the juice, sprinkle salt on the used lemon shells and clean your sink, copper bottomed or stainless steel pots and pans.
  • Add lemon juice to mayonnaise dressing.
  • Add grated lemon zest to crumb coatings for fish and chicken.

Helpful Hints
To get the most out your lemons:

  1. Using a fine grater, grate the zest off the fruit, and reserve.  Both lemon juice and lemon zest freeze well.
  2. Microwave the lemon for 20 seconds to extract the most juice.
  3. And when you have squeezed everything you can from the fruit, throw the shells into your garbage disposal to keep it fresh smelling.

LEMON SYRUP1 cup sugar
1 cup fresh lemon juice
1 cup water

Bring to boil in a small saucepan and stir to blend.  Boil one minute.  Cool.
Note: This sauce is fairly tart – you may prefer to increase the sugar to 1 ¼ cups.
Keep refrigerated.

You can use this syrup to make:

Lemonade.
Fill the glass ¼ cup with the syrup and top with water and ice.

PEACHES – PLUMS – BERRIES
Pour some of lemon syrup over cut up fruit to sweeten instead of sugar.

CAKE
To correct dryness in a cake, poke some holes in the cake using a toothpick and spoon some of the syrup over the top – allowing it to soak in.
You can also serve the syrup on the side as a sauce.

MARSHMALLOW MOUSSE
1 cup mini marshmallows
¼ cup lemon syrup

Combine the marshmallows with the lemon syrup in a microwaveable bowl and microwave on high for 1 minute. 
Stir to blend until the marshmallows are completely melted.
Refrigerate until beginning to set then fold in 1 cup whipped cream or Cool Whip.
Makes 2-3 servings                       
Recipe may be doubled

GARLIC MAYONNAISE SAUCE
Excellent accompaniment to grilled fish or chicken.

1 cup mayonnaise
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Salt and pepper

Stir together.  Store in refrigerator

LEMON PARSLEY BUTTER
Serve with fish, chicken, on sandwiches.

1 stick [4oz] softened salted butter
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley

Beat the ingredients together. 
Allow to chill.

About the Author
McKinney resident Kyra Effren is a contributing writer for TownSquareBuzz.com’s “Food” section.  She is a retired food stylist and contributing writer for the “Food” section of Dallas Morning News. In 1975, Effren opened Cours de Cuisine Cooking School in Dallas and in 1978, she was awarded The Commanderie des Cordon Bleu in France for her contributions to French cooking.   She has edited multiple cookbooks and served as recipe tester for a number of cookbooks including both of the Mansion on Turtle Creek cookbooks by Dean Fearing and baking books by Nick Malgieri.

Kyra welcomes any and all reader comments and suggestions.  What would you like to have for dinner?

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