For lemon lovers like myself, the news that lemon prices have nearly doubled comes as no surprise. I've felt the pocket book-pinch each time I've bought the juicy yellow babies at the market. No matter the price, I will always buy my lemons. Always. There is no substitute for bright, fresh lemon juice. But with the hefty cost, I will use my lemons wisely. To get the very most out of your pricey purchase, follow these tips:
-Never throw away your lemon zest. (Zest is the colorful outside coating on citrus fruits-not the bitter white pith beneath.) Using a vegetable peeler, remove all of the zest from your lemons. Chop it finely and freeze it in plastic bags.
-Juice your lemons using a reamer or juicer to get the most from each lemon.
-Reduce the juice in recipes by half, and add lemon zest to get that bright lemon flavor.
-For baking, rub lemon zest with granulated sugar to bring out a more pronounced lemony flavor.
This is one of my absolute favorite lemon pasta dishes. It makes a fantastic side with a bit of grilled or stewed meat, or a refreshing and light main dish. I make it all year long, but I love it most when the tomatoes are ripe and juicy. The best bites have a bit of sweet tomato and a long swirl of lemony, creamy pasta. You'll only need one pot and about 20 minutes, so get squeezing and zesting. And pray for a good safe lemon bumper crop this year.
Money Saving Tips: This pasta dish makes excellent use of your pricey lemon, by including both the zest and the juice. If you don't have green onions on hand, use chopped yellow onions but saute them a bit before you add the garlic.
Lemon Sour Cream Pasta
Estimated Cost: $4.00
1/2 lb. flat pasta noodles, such as fettuccine
1 cup frozen peas, if desired
1 tablespoon butter
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup sour cream, (light works well), or whole milk plain yogurt
juice and zest of one lemon
1/2 cup chopped green onions
1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper
freshly grated parmesan cheese, for the top
sliced juicy red tomatoes
Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Cook pasta according to package directions, adding peas during last minute of cooking time. Drain pasta in colander. To the same pot, add butter and garlic and cook over low heat for one minute, or until garlic is very fragrant and softened. Add pasta and peas back to pot. Stir in sour cream, lemon juice and zest, green onions, and salt and pepper. Warm through. Serve with sliced tomatoes. Coming Tomorrow:
Sesame Scallion Grilled Tri Tip