Morrocan Quick Preserved Organic Lemons

This recipe for preserved lemons is completed in five days. Compared with the traditional approach to preserved lemons, it cuts out three weeks of waiting by simmering whole lemons in a saltwater solution to hurry along the curing process. The rind of the lemon is the prized part, but the soft flesh is very good in salad dressings, and the liquid can be used whenever a salty lemon flavor is desired in a recipe.

3 Preserved Lemonslemons

Ingredients:

• 3 lemons
• 6 cups water
• 1/3 cup Kosher or sea salt

Directions:
• Rinse the lemons under cool running water removing any dirt.
• Using a sharp knife, make 8 vertical but shallow incisions along the length of the lemon, taking care not to cut into the flesh. Set aside.
• In a saucepan, bring the water & salt to a boil. Add the lemons and boil until the rind is soft, about 8 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside to let the lemons cool in the liquid.
• Using a slotted spoon or tongs transfer the cooled lemons, but not the cooking liquid, to a clean, dry 16-ounce glass jar with a lid, pressing on the lemons to release any juice and ensure a snug fit. (It may be necessary to cut 1 or more of the lemons into halves or quarters to ensure that they are tightly packed.)
• Add enough of the cooking liquid to cover the lemons; it is important that they be completely immersed. (Cover and refrigerate any remaining cooking liquid; you might need it to keep the lemons covered as they cure.) Leave a bit of air before closing the jar to allow for expansion of the lemons as they absorb the salt and liquid.
• Close the lid and set aside for 5 days at room temperature, gently turning the jar upside down and then right side up again, occasionally, to redistribute the salt. If at any time the lemons are not completely immersed, add enough reserved liquid to cover them immediately, as spoilage can occur within a day.
• After 5 days, the lemons are ready. They may be refrigerated for up to 6 months.
• To use: Cut off a small piece of lemon rind and taste for saltiness. Rinse if necessary. Finely chop the rind or cut it into slivers, depending on the intended use.

12 Uses for Preserved Lemons:

1. Make a vinaigrette by mixing some of the preserving liquid with olive oil and a bit of minced lemon flesh.Add spices and herbs to taste.
2. Preserved lemons are wonderful in soups or stews or vegetable dishes, whenever both lemon and salt are appropriate (as the preserved lemons are salty, taste dish before adding any salt).
3. Make lemon-herb butter by mixing minced preserved lemon rind, finely chopped herbs, and softened
butter until smooth. Roll the butter into a cylinder and refrigerate. Cut off discs of the butter and use as needed for meat, poultry, fish, and (with the addition of minced garlic) an amazing garlic bread.
4. Flavor sauces and beurre-blancs by adding minced preserved lemon rind.
5. Add minced rind or flesh to cooked vegetables, along with butter or oil, for a wonderful and easy way to perk them up.
6. Make a baste for roasts, or to place under the skin of a chicken, by mixing some of the liquid, minced lemon rind, minced shallot, olive oil and herbs, blended into a thin paste.
7. Add some minced preserved lemon to hummus (omit any salt or lemon in the recipe).
8. Add some minced preserved lemon to mayonnaise and use as a dip for artichokes or asparagus.
9. Preserved lemon is wonderful in couscous or other grain dishes.
10. Cook and mash winter squash and season with some minced preserved lemon, and butter or olive oil.
11. Add to vanilla ice cream for a delightfully different, and zesty dessert.
12. Make a prize-winning pasta by heating 4 cloves minced garlic with 2 tablespoons olive oil, 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, and 1/2 of a chopped preserved lemon (rind and meat– rinsed if very salty). Toss with the hot, drained pasta as soon as pasta is done, and serve. Top with chopped parsley, freshly ground black pepper, and parmesan cheese, as desired.

Recipe by Betty’s Organics friend and customer Terri Pischoff Wuerthner, a Sonoma County food writer specializing in recipe development and testing – www.terris-kitchen.com

Pasta Salad with Fresh Organic Tomatoes

Add some leftover chicken, meat or shellfish, cut in bite-sized pieces, to make a one-dish meal. For extra flavor, nutrients and a nice crunch, add some finely shredded kale from this week’s produce box.

Makes 4-6 Servings

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 pound small pasta shells
  • 1/4 cup olive oilTomatoPasta
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups fresh tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and chopped
  • 1 cup chopped parsley
  • 1/2 cup chopped red onion
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons drained capers
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepperTomatoes

Directions:

  • Boil pasta according to package directions.
  • Drain well and toss with olive oil.
  • Add remaining ingredients and toss gently, but thoroughly.
  • Best if made several hours ahead, although it should be served at room temperature as flavor doesn’t come through as well in cold food.

Storing Tomatoes: Counter or Refrigerator?

  • Don’t give tomatoes the cold shoulder. Store them at room temperature (above 55 F) until they have fully ripened. This will allow them to ripen properly and develop good flavor and aroma.
  • Try to store tomatoes out of direct sunlight, because sunlight will cause them to ripen unevenly. If you must store tomatoes for a longer period of time, place them (after they’re fully ripened) in the refrigerator. Serve them at room temperature.

Recipe by Betty’s Organics friend and customer Terri Pischoff Wuerthner, a Sonoma County food writer specializing in recipe development and testing – www.terris-kitchen.com

Organic Kiwi Raita

Kiwis, instead of cucumbers, add a pleasant sweetness that contrasts nicely with the tang of the yogurt and the slight spiciness and heat of the cumin, coriander and cayenne. This raita is wonderful with grilled poultry or fish, curries, or as a dip for papadum (crackly-crisp East Indian flatbread).
Makes 4 Servings


Ingredients:

• ¼ teaspoon ground coriander
• ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepperkisi-whole-and-halves
• ½ teaspoon ground cumin
• 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh mint
• 3 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
• ¼ cup finely chopped green onions
• 1/3 cup sour cream
• 1/3 cup plain yogurt
• 2 (or 3) kiwis, peeled and coarsely chopped, divided
• salt to preference

 Directions:
• In a bowl, combine all ingredients, except 2 tablespoons of the chopped kiwi fruit.
• Transfer to a serving dish and sprinkle with the 2 tablespoons reserved kiwi.
• Happy dipping!

Recipe by Betty’s Organics friend and customer Terri Pischoff Wuerthner, a Sonoma County food writer specializing in recipe development and testing – www.terris-kitchen.com

Interesting Facts:
Kiwifruit are the nutrition powerhouse of fruit. Kiwifruit consistently rank at the top of fruit in nutrition density models, which tells us exactly how nutritious food is. That means you get more vitamins and minerals per gram, and per calorie, of kiwifruit than most other fruit.

• Kiwifruit are rich in vitamin C, Folate, Potassium, antioxidants to name a few.
• California produces 98% of the kiwi grown in the US.
• Kiwifruit grows on vines like grapes.
• Raw kiwi contains actinidain, a protein-dissolving enzyme that can help digest a meal much like the papain in papaya or bromelain in pineapple.
• Kiwi is in the ‘low’ category for glycemic index, meaning it does not raise your blood sugar quickly. It has a glycemic load of 4, which means it is safe for diabetics.

Oven Roasted Spring Vegetables

These vegetables are great alone, as well as versatile in different applications. Try them on a baguette for a roasted vegetable sandwich; toss them with linguini and a bit of olive oil, and sprinkle with fresh Asiago cheese for a simple pasta dish; turn them into a marinated vegetable salad by drizzling with some balsamic vinegar.

These vegetables are ideal as a picnic item, as there is neither mayonnaise nor protein to compromise the safety of the food (if unrefrigerated for a few hours). Feel free to substitute vegetables from your refrigerator if you don’t have all the ones listed below.

Makes 6 Servings

Spring Vegetables

Ingredients:

• Cooking spray or vegetable oil for baking sheet
• 24 asparagus spears (tough bottoms discarded), cut into 1-inch slices
• 8 cloves garlic, peeled and quartered
• 3 medium zucchini, cut into 1-inch slices
• 3 green onions, cut into ½-inch slices
• 3 medium carrots, cut into ½-inch slices
• 2 medium bell peppers, cut into 1-inch cubes
• 2 tablespoons olive oil
• ½ cup chopped fresh parsley
• ¼ cup chopped fresh basil (optional)
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 1/2 teaspoon white pepper

Directions:

• Preheat the oven to 425◦F.
• Coat a large baking sheet with cooking spray, or brush with oil.
• Combine the vegetables in a large bowl and drizzle them with the olive oil. Toss to coat the vegetables evenly with the oil. Add the parsley, basil, salt and pepper and toss again to distribute the seasonings evenly.
• Place the vegetables in a single layer on the baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes; turn and bake 5 to 10 minutes longer, or until vegetables have reached the desired tenderness.
• Serve hot or at room temperature.

Recipe by Betty’s Organics friend and customer Terri Pischoff Wuerthner, a Sonoma County food writer specializing in recipe development and testing – www.terris-kitchen.com

Organic Swiss Chard with Garlic

Swiss chard is almost like two vegetables in one, when the stems and leaves are cooked separately. The stems are firmer and soak up the seasonings, while the softer leaves get coated with the olive oil and garlic. If you’re a garlic-lover, use 2 (or more cloves), but 1 large clove is enough for most people.
Makes 4 Servings

Swiss Chard
Ingredients:
• 1 bunch Swiss chard (about 4 large leaves or 10 ounces)
• 1 large clove garlic, minced
• 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
• 1/4 teaspoon salt
• 1/4 teaspoon white pepper

Directions:

• Remove leaves from the Swiss chard stems. Slice stems about 1-inch thick. Coarsely chop the lOrganic Swiss Chard with Garliceaves and set aside.
• Steam the sliced stems for about 2 minutes, until almost fork-tender.
• Add the coarsely chopped leaves and steam for about 2 minutes longer.
• Drain chard and transfer back to empty pan.
• Add the garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper and toss to coat evenly.
• Place on a serving dish.
• Best if served hot, but may be served at room temperature.
• Italians often serve Swiss chard at room temperature for lunch or picnics.

Did you know?
• Swiss chard is one of the most popular vegetables along the Mediterranean
• It is one of the most nutritious vegetables around and ranks second only to spinach
• It is also one of only three vegetables where boiling is recommend to help reduce its concentration of oxalic acid.
• Swiss chard belongs to the chenopod family, which also include beets, spinach, and quinoa. These foods continue to show an increasing number of health benefits not readily available from other food families.
• It is recommended that we include foods from the chenopod family in our diet 1-2 times per week.
• In the case of a leafy food like Swiss chard, a serving size of at least 1/2 cup is recommended. But for even more benefits, at least one full cup, is recommended.

Recipe by Betty’s Organics friend and customer Terri Pischoff Wuerthner, a Sonoma County food writer specializing in recipe development and testing – www.terris-kitchen.com

Organic Lemon Bars

I worked long and hard on these to come up with a lemon bar that had less sugar and fat and more fiber, with no reduction in flavor. These pass every time without anyone knowing that they are a healthier version of this favorite treat. Though they still have fat and sugar, they have less…as well as 2.5 grams of fiber and only 28.7% calories from fat. For even more color and flavor you might want to put slices of mango from this week’s produce box on top of the lemon bars, before adding the powdered sugar.

lemon bars
Makes 8 Servings


Ingredients:

• 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
• 1 cup whole wheat flour
• 1 cup granulated sugar
• 6 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled
• 1 teaspoon baking powder
• 3 eggs, beaten
• 6 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
• 1 teaspoon lemon zest
• 2 tablespoons sifted powdered sugar

Directions:

Whole Wheat Crust:

• Preheat oven to 350°F.
• Mix 1 cup of the all-purpose flour, the whole wheat flour, and 1/2 cup of the granulated sugar; add the butter and mix the ingredients well.
• Press the dough onto the bottom of a 9″x 13″pan. Bake the crust for 20 minutes.
• Remove the pan from the oven, but leave the oven on. Set the baked crust aside and allow it to cool while you make the filling.

Lemon Filling:
• Mix the remaining 1/2 cup granulated sugar, the remaining 1/4 cup all-purpose flour, and the baking powder.
• Add the eggs, lemon juice, and lemon zest and mix well. Pour the lemon mixture over the cooled crust and bake in preheated oven for 25 minutes.
• Sprinkle the powdered sugar over the top while the filling is still warm. Let the lemon bars cool slightly before cutting it into bars.

Recipe by Betty’s Organics friend and customer Terri Pischoff Wuerthner, a Sonoma County food writer specializing in recipe development and testing – www.terris-kitchen.com

Make-Ahead Organic Lemon Broccoli

This vitamin C-rich dish is one that can be prepared ahead and baked at the last minute. Great for busy nights or for entertaining. The garlic and fresh lemon juice are naturals with this bright green vegetable.
recipe_lemon_herb_broccoli

Makes 6 Servings


Ingredients:

• 2 pounds broccoli.
• 1/2 cup dry unseasoned breadcrumbs
• 1 teaspoon lemon zest
• 1 tablespoon olive oil
• 2 cloves garlic, minced
• 1/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth*
• 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 1/4 teaspoon pepper


Directions:

• Preheat oven to 300°F.
• Break the broccoli into florets. Cut the ends off the stems and peel the outside of the stalks with a paring knife.
• Slice the tender inside of the stalks and place them in a steamer with the florets.
• Steam and broccoli until almost tender.
• In a non-stick skillet, heat the breadcrumbs over very low heat, stirring often, until they turn a golden color.
• Remove the crumbs from the skillet and mix them with the lemon zest. Set the crumb mixture aside.
• In the same skillet, heat the oil over medium-low heat, add the garlic, and sauté it until it’s light golden (don’t allow garlic to brown–it makes the garlic bitter).
• Add the broth, lemon juice, salt and pepper.
• Toss the broccoli gently in the broth mixture to coat it evenly. Transfer the contents to a baking dish and top the broccoli with the lemon-crumbs.
• Bake or 5 to 10 minutes, or until the broccoli and sauce are hot. Don’t overcook.

* If you don’t use low-sodium broth, omit or cut down on the salt.

Recipe by Betty’s Organics friend and customer Terri Pischoff Wuerthner, a Sonoma County food writer specializing in recipe development and testing – www.terris-kitchen.com

Creamy Organic Vegetable Soup

This soup can be served hot or chilled. Make it more elegant by floating a paper-thin slice of lemon on top, adding a dollop of sour cream (or yogurt), and sprinkling with fresh chives. A classic recipe for those colder spring days!

Makes 6 Servings

CreamyVegSoupImage


Ingredients:

• 2 tablespoons butter
• ½ pound broccoli florets, chopped
• ½ pound zucchini, sliced
• 1 ½ quarts (6 cups) low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth*
• ½ bunch parsley, chopped
• ½ bunch watercress, chopped
• ½ teaspoon salt
• ½ teaspoon white pepper
• ¾ cup sour cream (or Greek yogurt)**
• Garnishes for each serving (optional): paper-thin lemon slices, dollop of sour cream, fresh chopped chives.

Directions:

• Melt the butter in a large pot, set over medium-high heat.
• Add the broccoli florets and sauté until broccoli is softened, about 10 minutes.
• Add the zucchini and cook 5 minutes more.
• Add the broth, parsley, watercress, salt and pepper.
• Simmer for 20 minutes, uncovered, stirring occasionally.
• Transfer the soup to a food processor or blender and puree until smooth.
• Return pureed soup back to pot, add sour cream or yogurt, and heat gently, whisking to combine.
• Serve hot or chilled.
• If desired, garnish with a thin lemon slice, a dollop of sour cream or yogurt, and chopped fresh chives.

*If you don’t use low-sodium broth, omit or cut down on the salt.


**You may use full-fat or low-fat sour cream or yogurt. Greek yogurt is thicker than other types. It is extensively strained and, thus, has a creamier texture, along with more protein and less sugar.

Recipe by Betty’s Organics friend and customer Terri Pischoff Wuerthner, a Sonoma County food writer specializing in recipe development and testing – www.terris-kitchen.com

Organic Rainbow Carrots with Lemon Butter & Roasted Walnuts

Each type of carrot has a slightly different taste as well as a different color. The yellow carrots seem the sweetest to me, and the red/orange ones have a bright flavor that matches their vivid color. The often over-looked curly parsley adds a dramatic color, in addition to a welcome freshness.

Makes 4 Servings

Ingredients:

  • 6 medium rainbow carrots (8 to 10 ounces)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped walnuts
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon white pepper
  • 2 tablespoon finely chopped curly parsley

Directions:

  • Trim carrots and cut into bite-size sticks, about 2-inches by ½-inch.
  • Steam carrots for about 5 minutes, just until they are fork-tender.
  • Drain carrots and transfer to a serving dish.
  • While carrots are steaming, toast walnuts in a small frying pan over medium heat for 5 minutes. Set aside.
  • Melt butter in the same frying pan (no need to clean pan after toasting the walnuts).
  • Add the lemon juice, salt, pepper and toasted walnuts to the melted butter and pour over the carrots in the serving dish.
  • Toss to coat carrots with the seasoned butter and sprinkle with the parsley.
  • Best if served right away, while still hot.
rainbowcarrots

Uses for the Carrot Tops:

  • Use them as a garnish, the same way you would use parsley
  • Add them to soup, for a different flavor and extra nutrients
  • Serve chopped carrot tops on baked potatoes with sour cream
  • Fry a couple slices of bacon and sauté the carrot tops in the drippings

See our Carrot Top & Almond Pesto

Recipe by Betty’s Organics friend and customer Terri Pischoff Wuerthner, a Sonoma County food writer specializing in recipe development and testing – www.terris-kitchen.com