I always thought a lemon was a lemon until I saw on a cooking show about Meyer lemons. Lemon has always been a favorite of mine – sweet or savory – but a Meyer lemon is the Cadillac of lemons. It has a mellow bite and a lot of juice. I finally saw Meyer lemons in our local grocery after years of hearing about this wonderful lemon. I then found a Meyer lemon bush at the local garden center, and it produces one or two lemons a year that we enjoy around Thanksgiving and Christmas. I’m so proud we grow our own lemons. I also have a friend that has a Meyer lemon tree, and it really produces. This year they had a very bountiful crop, which they shared with us, and it has been great. We use lemon in our iced tea, water, lemon chicken with pasta, lemon squares, and lemon cheese cake, umm. Zest, juice and peel are all useful in many drinks, desserts, fish, chicken, pork and beef dishes.
There is no end to the use of lemon! Lemon also cleanses your taste pallet. It freshens your mouth for the next course of a meal. Let’s not forget, if you have a cough, lemon with honey warmed slightly in the microwave will cut a cough. After you have juiced your lemon half, don’t toss it yet. It’s great for your finger nails and also to take away onion and garlic odors from your hands. Simply ring your fingers into the rind half; on the outside yellow part, claw your nails into the rind, and you will feel the lemon oil coming out when it is pierced with your nails. Rub it all over your hands. It will make your nails bright, fresh and clean. Rinse with warm water, and you have a mini manicure!
I have enjoyed the bounty of all these lemons and hope for a great crop this year. Hope my friends will continue to bless us with lemons. Try this Lemon Cheese Cake recipe. Lemon Cheese Cake has no cheese in it at all. The icing is a lemon curd that is a tart, sweet and creamy goodness.
Lemon Cheese Cake
2 cups sugar
1 cup Crisco shortening
3 cups all purpose flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 cup milk
6 egg whites, stiffly beaten (save yolks for filling)
1 teaspoon vanilla
Cream sugar and shortening together; beat until light and fluffy. Sift together flour and baking powder. Add flour mixture to the creamed batter, alternating with milk. Fold in the beaten egg whites. Bake in three greased and floured 9-inch layer cake pans. Bake in a 350° oven for 25 minutes. Cool completely before you ice with filling.
Lemon Cheese Cake Filling:
1½ cups granulated sugar
½ cup all purpose flour
6 egg yolks
½ cup lemon juice
Zest from 2 lemons
1 cup hot water
½ cup butter, melted
Mix sugar and flour; add beaten egg yolks, lemon juice, lemon zest (grated lemon rind), hot water and butter. Cook until smooth and thick over low heat. Spread between cake layers and on top.
Hope you enjoy. Who knew a lemon was such a wonderful little fruit – not to mention full of vitamin C. If you aren’t blessed with a friend with a Meyer lemon tree, lemons from the grocery store will do. Remember, if life gives you lemons…you are a blessed person.
May God Bless You!
Elaine Barrett, along with husband, Rick, owns and operates The Flower Gazebo on Washington St., in downtown Albany and is part of a family of excellent southern cooks. She recently she has written and published a cookbook, “In the Kitchen with Elaine”.