Life in a Northern Town

Meyer Lemons, Roasted Chicken Stock And Lamb Chops

How's that for an introduction to a blog post? It was a bit of a disjointed food day. I made roasted chicken stock on Monday, which reminded me of the pasta I made on New Year's Eve. I had pancetta in the refrigerator from my trip to Northern Waters Smokehaus, which further reminded me of the pasta I made on New Year's Eve.  However, there were lamb chops from last night's dinner (and 2012's first grilled dinner) in the refrigerator.  Then there were the 6 pounds of Meyer Lemons I needed to preserve. Not to mention a half a bottle of 2007 Stonestreet Chardonnay (one of my favorite California Chardonnays) languishing in the refrigerator. What's a girl to do?? Preserve the lemons in salt, strain and freeze the roasted chicken stock, pour a glass of wine and have pasta and lamb for dinner. I think it all came together in the end.

Preserved Lemons (from David Lebovitz's blog)

Scrub the lemons with a vegetable brush and dry them off.

Cut off the little rounded bit at the stem end if there’s a hard little piece of the stem attached. From the other end of the lemon, make a large cut by slicing lengthwise downward, stopping about 1-inch (3 cm) from the bottom, then making another downward slice, so you’ve incised the lemon with an X shape.

Pack coarse salt into the lemon where you made the incisions. Don’t be skimpy with the salt: use about 1 tablespoon per lemon.

Put the salt-filled lemons in a clean, large glass jar with a tight-fitting lid. Add a few coriander seeds, a bay leaf, a dried chili, and a cinnamon stick if you want. (Or a combination of any of them). Press the lemons very firmly in the jar to get the juices flowing. Fill the rest of the container with fresh squeezed lemon juice. Cover and let stand overnight.

For the next two or three days, shake the jar to redistribute the salt. At this point, I put the jar on the refrigerator and let them sit for a month or so. Once the lemons are soft, they are ready to use. Rinse to remove excess salt before you use them.

Marinated and Grilled Lamb Chops (from Bon Appetit April 2011)

3 large shallots, minced
6 tablespoons fresh mint, chopped
6 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped
6 large garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon raw sugar
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon finely grated lemon peel
24 lamb rib chops (from three 1 1/4 to 1 1/2-pound racks of lamb, cut between bones into individual chops)
Mix minced shallots, chopped mint, chopped basil, minced garlic, sugar,olive oil, lemon juice, lemon zest and 1 tablespoon salt in small bowl. Rub mixture on lamb and refrigerate overnight.
Let lamb chops come to room temperature (about an hour). Prepare barbecue (medium-high heat). Grill lamb chops to desired doneness, about 3 minutes per side for medium-rare. Transfer lamb chops to platter. Garnish with fresh basil sprigs and serve.

I served the lamb chops with tzatziki and Isreali couscous with fresh peas and Meyer lemon.

 Porcini and Ricotta Tortellini with Butter Sauce, Celery, Apple and Pancetta (from Barbara Lynch's Stir)

You can use any kind of pasta you like. I had some porcini and ricotta tortellini in the freezer from my New Year's Eve dinner. This recipe makes enough sauce for 6 servings.

1/2 cup chicken stock, preferably homemade roasted chicken stock

8 tbsp butter, cut into pieces

1 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese

3 slices pancetta, chopped

1/2 cup yellow onion, minced

1 small crisp apple, cut into small dice

1 celery stalk, cut into small dice

Saute onion and pancetta until crisp in a medium pan. Put the broth in a large skillet and bring to a boil. Add the butter a little at a time, whisking to combine. Whisk in the Parmesan and reduce to a gentle simmer. Add the pancetta/onion mixture, apple and celery to the sauce when you are ready to cook the pasta. Simmer for 8 to 10 minutes- you want the apple and celery to have a slight crunch. Taste the sauce and season with a little salt, if needed. Serve over the cooked pasta and garnish with additional Parmesan cheese, if you like.