Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The Many Flavors of Meyer Lemons – Act 1

The story of how I happened into Meyer Lemons appears to be developing into a legend. I saw excited tweets from Barbara at Vino Luci about Meyer Lemons on their way to her. I inquired about the source, and Kim from Rustic Garden Bistro and I were tweeting arrangements for some of my own not that long after. In a few days time I received a box of beautiful fruit for a very reasonable price (thank you Kim) and the ideas started flowing from there. I am going to do Meyer Lemons ten ways!!!

I have broken this adventure up into two parts. It would be too long as one, and this choice also allows me to finish up a few of the items that are derived from methods I will share here. You’ll see where the possibilities lie pretty quickly.

For anyone who follows my blog a bet on a cocktail would be an easy one. And I won’t disappoint, there will be two as well as a tincture (similar to bitters) using Meyer Lemon zest and 100 proof vodka that I’ll be using in drinks once it is ready.

Lemon butter sounded like a pretty cool way to capture the aroma and flavor of the beautiful fruit I received and postpone its enjoyment. This is a really simple process, it’s what you do with it where all the fun comes in. More on that in act two!

Lemon Butter

2 sticks of salted butter, slightly softened
1 & 1/2 Tbsp Meyer lemon zest

Mix butter and zest with a hand mixer. Seal in an air tight container and freeze or refrigerate. I froze mine until I divine a usage for it.

In the summer of 2010 I made sage infused lemonade more times than I can remember. The reception of it was always highlighted by an empty jug. Using Meyer Lemon juice was a great twist since its flavor is somewhere between and lemon and an orange and the sage works nicely in that in between space. This is again a very simple recipe.

Meyer & Sage Lemonade

1 cup fresh Meyer Lemon juice
1 cup sugar
Cold water to 2 quarts
8 sage leaves

Mix the first 3 ingredients until the sugar is dissolved. Add the sage leaves and allow it to steep for 12-24 hours. Remove the sage leaves. Enjoy over ice.

As I was thinking about how to use as much of the components of the lemons as I could I got the idea to use peels and some thyme to create a bed to steam fish on. I don’t where the idea has its roots, but it seemed like it should work like a charm.

Lemon/Thyme Steamed Fish

I laid out slices of lemon peels, and juiced the lemons for the lemonade, topped them with sage and bay leaves. I then took a piece of Alaskan Code and laid it across the pile of peels and herbs. I lightly salted and peppered the fish and steamed it just until it flaked using my wok and bamboo steamer. The fish was very light in texture with hints of citrus and herbs in each bit. It was much more delicate than I had expected, I had never steamed fish before, and didn’t need tons of flavor to be immensely enjoyable. The wine pairing was a bottle of 2010 White Blend we made from Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay and Viognier.

Another foundational component that I knew I needed to make was lemon sugar. I am guessing some of you already thought, to a rim a cocktail glass with! That is one usage and the other is a topper for lavender sugar cookies which I aim to make real soon. This is another recipe that couldn’t be simpler.

Lemon Sugar

1 cup of white sugar
Zest of 1 Meyer Lemon

Mix zest and sugar. Allow to dry in open container for an hour or so. If you don’t allow it to dry long enough it will clump. Seal in an airtight container and store in cool dry place.

Also along the cocktail lines is some ginger/lemon simple syrup. I love making my own simple syrups to add flavor and sweetness to cocktails. I can regulate the amount of sugar in my drinks and eliminate artificial flavors which really don’t measure up on taste.

Meyer Lemon/Ginger Syrup
2 cups water
4 cups sugar
1 - 2 inch piece of ginger, thinly sliced
Peels from 2 Meyer Lemons

Bring the water to a boil and dissolve the sugar in it being careful not scorch it. Remove it from the heat. Add the ginger and lemon peels. Allow this to steep for 1 hour or until the flavors are strong enough for your tastes. Store in a airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a month or so. I used this to make a drink I will share next time. For now I will leave you with a recipe for an Aged Rum Sour adapted from the most recent issue (Jan/Feb 2011, page 26) of Imbibe Magazine.

I am signing off with a rum drink as a reminder of the rum drink TweetUp going on tomorrow (January 26th) from 4-6 PM PST. The topic this month is rum! Use the hashtag #drinkup on Twitter to share your experiences and follow all the action. We will be celebrating rum cocktails, rum history, rum adventures, new products and stories about vacations planned in the search of rum! Check in with @MyMansBelly for @AncientFireWine for more information.

Meyer Lemon Aged Rum Sour
(adapted from Imbibe magazine Jan/Feb 2011, page 26)

2 oz Appleton 12 year old rum
1 oz Meyer Lemon Juice
¾ oz simple syrup
Orange twist

Shake, strain and serve.

This drink has amazing depth due to both the aged rum and the unique flavor of Meyer lemon juice. I am back in Ocho Rios on my second sip!

I hope you enjoyed the first installment of Meyer Lemons Ten Ways. Check back soon for the conclusion and more ideas how to use this exciting fruit.




A Thought For Food said...

Oh the cocktails sound amazing. I'm pullin' out some bottles tomorrow night for the Tweetup. And that drink may be one to test out.

Kim said...

Holy moly man, you're definitely putting these to good use!!! :-)

Thanks for being so creative with the lemons!!!! I'm bookmarking some of these to attemp in my (spare) time.


CGambee said...

Yum, I think the lemon butter and cocktail are really what got me. I'm ready to try some of this out!

Cook in a Bar said...

Great posts! I look forward to the next round of recipes...thanks for sharing!

Belinda @zomppa said...

Oh, wonderful, wonderful ways to use the wonderful, wonderful Meyer. Love the butter, especially.

MyMansBelly said...

Looks like you've been busy! Love the rum drink. I might be a bit biased at the moment...but it sounds really refreshing.

Spice Sherpa said...

Perfect timing! Our grocery (Wegmens) is selling bags of Meyers lemons. I know they're special but wasn't sure what to do with them. Now I do.

order meyer lemons said...

Thanks for these exceptionally creative Meyer lemon recipes. Every year I host a potluck dinner where everyone is asked to bring a Meyer lemon dish, from entrees to desserts. Everything has to be Meyer lemon. Anyway, I just know your Meyer Lemon butter and ML Aged Rum will be big hits.

I must admit that I am running out of creative ideas for Meyer lemon dishes. Do you have any recommendations for Meyer lemon recipe books?

Applause to you in advance from my potluck guests,

Barbara | VinoLuciStyle said...

Oh my...you went nuts! I've only made some Lemon Rosemary bars so far but am inspired to try lemon butter and lemon sugar. I love all things lemon but there is nothing quite like having Meyer lemons from a friend's backyard is there.

I wish I could preserve the one I have with a stem and leaf attached and make it wall decor as a reminder of them...but using it will win out because they are so amazing.

Torviewtoronto said...

lemonade looks wonderful lovely ways to use lemons

Tastemonials said...

I guess I take my Meyer lemons for granted. We have a little miniature tree on our patio that produces several times a year. I use them for everything!