Life is short, so we’ll start with dessert first:
LEMON SOUR CREAM POUND CAKE
- Preheat oven; 325 degrees.
- Cream butter add sugar gradually, creaming well. Add vanilla. Add the 6 eggs, beat-um-up! Then add salt, baking soda and sour cream, beating until well blended. Add flour in 3 lots, pulsing each time at first, beating until just blended. I always use a large spatula and spoon batter over, like folding, to make sure all butter and sugar mixture in incorporated into the whole. Stir in the zest.
- Bake at 325** in 14 inch pan that has been sprayed with Baker’s Joy or has been greased and floured. Bake about 40 minutes or until you can smell it, then watch carefully for cake shrinking from sides. Remove from oven and cool on wire rack until you can comfortably handle pan, then remove from pan.
- Wrap in saran wrap, then foil.
- Best baked one day ahead. This cake stores very well in refrigerator, and is a good keeper in the freezer. It is wonderful as is, or toasted and buttered, or embellished with frosting of your choice. Unfrosted and wrapped securely, loaf pan shape fits nicely into shoebox for mailing.
Moroccan Vegetarian Tagine with Lemon 3 Ways
This is a dish we served March 21 at St Cyprian’s Community Church, as part of an event, Lemon Lessons. This program was made possible by the San Francisco Foundation, in partnership with Cyprian’s.
As the Lovely Lemon approaches the end of a late-Winter flush here in San Francisco, we secured an abundance of local lemons to make some hearty and nutritious food with help from Cyprian’s and neighbors.
The following recipe makes use of 2 fresh lemon parts: lemon juice and lemon zest, while also taking advantage of the flavors associated with a fermented form of lemons- preserved lemons. Our recipe for preserved lemons is simple and straightforward. All you really need is: lemons, a jar and salt. There are many variations on making preserved lemons. We like the method used by Hank Shaw, in his beautiful blog here.
Active Time: 15 minutes
Makes 6-8 servings
- 2 cups cooked chickpeas, drained (soak beans 8 hours or overnight. Then cook chickpeas in salted water until soft). Or substitute canned chickpeas if you’re making this dish in a pinch.
- 6 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin seed
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
- 3 medium cloves garlic, thinly sliced
- 3 medium carrots, peeled, medium dice
- 1 cup canned diced tomatoes in juice
- 1 quart (4 cups) vegetable broth
- Pinch saffron threads
- 1 medium head cauliflower, large dice
- 1 1/4 cup green olives, pitted and halved
- 2 preserved lemons, seeds removed, finely chopped
- 1/2 cup dried currants
- 3 cups dry Israeli couscous
- 3 cups water
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- zest of 1 lemon
- 1 cup plain greek yogurt
- 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
For the tagine:
- Heat olive oil in a large Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pot with a tight-fitting lid over medium heat. When oil shimmers, add onion, season with salt and freshly ground black pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Stir in cumin and cinnamon stick, and toast until aromatic, about 1 minute; add ginger and garlic, and cook until just softened, about 1 minute more.
- Add carrots, season with salt and freshly ground black pepper, and cook until slightly tender, about 3 minutes. Add tomatoes and their juice, vegetable broth, and saffron and stir to combine. Bring mixture to a simmer and cook, covered, until vegetables are almost completely cooked but still raw in the center, about 7 minutes.
- Add cauliflower, olives, chickpeas, preserved lemon, and currants and simmer, stirring occasionally, until cauliflower is just tender, about 10 minutes more. Taste tagine and adjust seasoning if necessary.
- Pour 1/4 cup olive oil in saucepan over medium heat.
- Add Israeli couscous and stir consistently to lightly coat.
- Saute dried couscous in oil until heated through and lightly toasted.
- Add 4 cups water to couscous and bring to a boil. You can also add broth of your choice or a little of the broth from the tagine. This will add a nice flavoring and texture to the couscous.
- When water has been absorbed, add zest of lemon and stir.
Add half cup couscous to bowl. Ladle tagine over couscous and include broth so that the couscous is submerged in liquid.
Optional: Lemon yogurt makes a tangy accompaniment to this hearty dish. Start with plain greek yogurt and add 1 tablespoon lemon juice. Drizzle to balance out the spices of the tagine and offer extra as a condiment to taste.
Sparkling Mint Lemonade
Makes 10 eight ounce servings.
7 cups chilled soda water or your favorite sparkling mineral water
1 ½ cups fresh lemon juice
1 ¾ cups chilled Mint Simple Syrup
Zest of 1 scrubbed lemon
Strawberries, muddled with sugar and cooked in a saucepan until soft
- Pour lemon juice into a pitcher or punch bowl
- Add mint simple syrup. Stir briskly with a whisk to dissolve
- Add muddled strawberries.
- Add soda water. Garnish with half the lemon zest
- Serve immediately over ice
Mint Simple Syrup
2 cups sugar
2 cups water
Zest of 1 scrubbed lemon*
Handful of torn fresh mint leaves (any mint will work)
- Boil water. Add 2 cups sugar. Stir to prevent sticking. Turn down heat to a simmer Continue to simmer until mixture turns golden brown and coats the back of a spoon Turn off heat
- Add mint and half lemon zest. Let sit until mixture comes to room temperature
- Strain out mint leaves and zest. Chill.
- Syrup will keep in fridge for up to 1 month in a tight container
*lemon zest freezes well and can be kept for several months in the freezer