Monday, April 26, 2010

I kill two birds

Really, I just make two things out of the Meyer lemons growing in my backyard. (I like birds.)

Now that the MIL is convinced I make the best lemon drop martini (her favorite cocktail), it behooves me to have a little homemade limoncello on hand. I can buy it at Trader Joe's but it's fairly expensive and a little too syrupy.

It's easy to make: Instructions are here and here.

But what to do with all the lemon juice? And what was more the question this weekend, how to turn it into dessert for Sunday dinner with the least possible effort and use of the oven? The oven (poor me—I only have one) was busy roasting chickens (one to eat, another to send home with the MIL) and then asparagus.
Note on the asparagus: I tried the New York Time's recipe for slow-roasted asparagus in paper packets, and whereas it was fun tying up the asparagus in a little paper package, ninety minutes for cooking asparagus is insane, and I still prefer it seared quickly on a grill and drizzled with balsamic vinaigrette.
So I decided on a lemon granita.

Granita is a fancy name for ice.

Lemon Thyme Granita

Fresh lemon juice
Baker's sugar
Fresh thyme, minced

Start this at about three hours before you wish to serve it.

Juice as many lemons as you have. Add baker's sugar (it dissolves easier) and water until it tastes like . . . well, lemonade. You could stop here, pour mixture over ice, and have a glass of lemonade or, if you are a very disciplined person like I am or more interested in a cocktail at this point anyway, proceed toward dessert.

Stir until sugar is dissolved. Mix in minced thyme or other fresh herb (mint is good).

Pour mixture in a square or rectangular baking pan so that mixture is about an inch to an inch and a half deep. Place pan in freezer.

Every half an hour or so stir mixture with a fork. When mixtures starts to freeze, you will be raking it with the fork. To serve, scrape across the top of the frozen mixture with a large spoon. It will be sort of the texture of snow.

I served mine with store-bought madeleines I had been hiding in the freezer (most have enough butter that if you leave them in the cupboard for too long, they will turn rancid). Dessert problem solved. More lemon cocktails coming up in a few months.


TC said...

I've been making limoncello for the past few years, thanks to you and your recipe. Someone recently suggested using agave instead of sugar, though, and I was wondering if you'd ever tried/thought about that. (Not so much because I think you need to, but because I'd like to try but don't know how I'd get the same volume of limoncello I get when I add the quart-plus of simple syrup, and thought maybe you had already come up with a solution for me!)

Sis. Boom. said...

...and....she's back! Wow. It is when I read posts about everybody's backyard bounty, especially Meyer Lemons when I really wish I had a real backyard.

Kate said...

So good! Wish it was warm enough here to sustain a lemon tree!

Anonymous said...

These both look delicious. My husband would be really into the lemon thyme granita.

婉菁 said...

Nice Post~!!!. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Cindy said...

TC: You've just given me confirmation that my blog is not a complete waste of time. If I've converted one person to a limoncello maker, it's all been worth it!! I've never tried using agave--I guess I would just flavor to taste more than focusing on a liquid measurement. If you try it, let me know how it turns out!

SisB: I am indeed. I have two words for you: container garden. You don't need a really large Meyer bush/tree to give you a lot of fruit. I guess that was more than two words.

ANFQ said...

1) Totally jealous of your pretty lemons!

2) Good on you for the gain in strength and resultant loss of weight.

3) I love asparagus too and just read a great recipe for a salad with raw asparagus with hard boiled eggs, parm and lemon vinagrette. If it's good, I shall forward, if you wish.