Wednesday, March 9, 2011

What to do with Preserved Lemons

I hemmed and hawed a little bit about this post because the results were mixed. This occasionally happens when I cook by the seat of my pants.

Anyway, you'll recall about a month ago, I put up some lemons to preserve. I checked them on a regular basis and added some additional lemon juice to keep them covered. Then I ran out of lemons, so taking a cue from my friend Beki, added some water.

A few weeks later, the brine tasted delicious. Next batch will have a lot more pepper, possibly a bay leaf. This batch had coriander and cinnamon and I was so thrilled with the taste I had to have it in something.

I breaded some chicken breasts with panko, thyme and pepper, and thought for a side dish, I'd make quinoa (which to my amusement does not pass my spell check) with some lemony mushrooms. The thought was to brighten the nutty quinoa with the freshness of the lemons. I put about a T of olive oil in a pan, chopped the mushrooms into 1/2 inch pieces and sauteed the shrooms for a bit over medium heat. After a few minutes, I added a half cup of brine , half a chopped lemon peel and cooked it down until just a little bit of liquid was left. 

I should have left the mushrooms on their own. They tasted delightful, as if they'd been marinating for weeks. I liked them stirred in with the quinoa, my sweetie was less than enthusiastic. He didn't think the flavors meshed very well, and in retrospect, I think I have to agree. Naturally, I was disappointed, but my spirits perked up when he said he would try the lemon flavor in other things.

I'm thinking of tossing it with fresh tomatoes, garlic and olive oil and serving over pasta. Fresh parsley too, now that I think of it. I bought a bottle of Turkish olive oil that's a lovely yellow-green, so I think it will have a good olive taste.

To my knowledge, there's nothing special about Turkish olive oil. I was TJMaxx and I can't shop there without taking something home from the gourmet foods section. They always have pretty bottles of olive oil and I was running out. And now I'm running on, so I will sign off. Thank you as always for reading.

Questions? Comments? Death threats? Let's hear them! 

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