Posts Tagged Meyer Lemon

Quinoa Rainbow Salad

This salad is perfect in terms of ease of preparation and nutritional value.  I’ve already expounded upon the nutritional value of Quinoa in a separate post (read post here) so I won’t go into that again here.  This salad recipe is an adaptation of a recipe on the Food52 website.  It’s a work in progress and changes depending on what vegetables I have on hand.  However, this is the version that I love the most because with all the different vegetables, it really is a complete nutritional meal in one dish. It’s also wonderfully textured with the crunch of the peppers and nuts balanced against the creaminess of the Quinoa. The lemon gives a nice pop of freshness against the earthiness of the kale.  Finally, it’s a rainbow of colors which just makes it beautiful on the plate.

Because it’s also good cold, it’s perfect for carrying to the office for lunch or eating straight from the fridge at night after a long day in the office.  Because this recipe can be made in 30-40 minutes, it’s also possible to make this salad from scratch on a weeknight.  If you decide to do it on a weeknight, you can save time by skipping step 2, starting with step 3 and then completing all the other prep work while the Quinoa and kale cooks.

Serves 4 as a main course:

Qty Item
1 Red Bell Pepper, finely diced
1 Orange Bell Pepper, finely diced
2 Scallions, white and green parts finely minced
1 Chive, finely minced
1/8 – 1/4 cup Feta, crumbled
Zest of 1/2 Meyer Lemon or regular lemon
1-2 tblsp Meyer Lemon juice or regular lemon juice
1 tblsp Walnut Oil or other oil such as olive oil.
1 cup Chicken Stock or Vegetable Stock
3/4 cup Water
1 cup Quinoa
1 bunch Lacinato Kale (a.k.a: Black Kale, Dinosaur Kale, Cavolo Nero), sliced or hand torn into 1 inch strips.
4 tblsp Pine Nuts, lightly toasted
Salt and Pepper to taste
  1. In a large bowl, combine the diced bell peppers, scallions, and chive.  Add in the feta, lemon zest, lemon juice and oil. Mix lightly then set the bowl aside.
  2. Rinse Quinoa under cold water.  For maximum flavor, toast the Quinoa in a dry pan over medium heat until the Quinoa is dry and starts to give off a nutty aroma. Stir it and watch it closely as you toast it so that it doesn’t stick to the pan, turn brown or burn.
  3. In a 3 quart pot, combine stock and water (or use all water if no stock is available, but then salt the water generously so that it taste like the sea) and bring to a boil. Then add the Quinoa to the pot.  Stir it once or twice then reduce the temperature so that the liquid is just at a simmer. Cover the pot and simmer for 10 minutes.
  4. After the 10 minutes have passed, most of the water (90%) should be absorbed.  At this point, dump the sliced kale on top of the simmering Quinoa and put the lid back on the pot. Let it simmer for an additional 5 minutes.
  5. After the 5 minutes have passed, remove the lid and check to see that all the liquid has been absorbed and the kale is fully steamed, wilted and bright green. If that is the case, remove the pot from the heat, but cover it and let it continue to steam for another 5 minutes off heat.  If that is not the case, let it simmer until all the water has been absorbed before proceeding.
  6. After 5 minutes have passed, the kale should be completely wilted and the Quinoa should be tender, but firm.  Empty the pot into the bowl containing the other ingredients, add in the toasted pine nuts, and gently mix them all together (toss as you would a salad).  Season with salt and pepper to taste, adding more lemon juice, if you prefer. then serve.
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T’is the Season… for Meyer Lemons.

It’s that time of year again when Meyer Lemons start appearing in grocery stores in New York.  What are Meyer Lemons, you ask?  My understanding is that Meyer Lemons are native to China and are a cross between a lemon and a mandarin.  They were introduced into the U.S. early in the last century by Frank Meyer (thus, the name “Meyer Lemons”) and are now most prolific in the U.S. in California.  If you haven’t ever tried them, stop what you’re doing and go get some immediately as they are truly wonderful.  The flavor is still lemon-like, but sweeter and less tart.  If I were more poetic, I would attempt to describe its perfume, but since I’m not at all poetic, let’s just say it smells lovely.  The skin is thinner and smoother than a regular lemon, and as you can see from the picture, they are a beautiful sun gold color.   Anywhere that you would use a regular lemon, you can sub in Meyer Lemons for a more complex taste.

I didn’t create this salsa recipe, but I use it and modify it regularly (one of my favorite modifications being the use of Meyer Lemons rather than regular lemons).  I know roasted lemons sound weird, but the roasting mellows out the acidity of the lemons.  The salsa is great as a topping for grilled fish or chicken, or as a dip for shrimp. While the salsa is easy to prepare, it does require some resting time so, like most condiments, its best to make it ahead and store it.

I mostly use it on top of a broiled fillet of white fish such as trout.   Just rub the fish with salt and pepper and a little oil then broil for 5-10 minutes depending on the size of the fillet.  Finally, top with a spoonful or two of the salsa.  Round out the meal with some steamed or roasted vegetables and some rice, if you’re craving a starch.The original recipe can be found in John Ash’s cookbook “Cooking One on One: Private Lessons in Simple Contemporary Food from a Master Teacher.”

Meyer Lemon Salsa

(makes about 2 cups)

Qty Item
1/2 Lb Meyer Lemons, skins scrubbed to remove any dirt or wax
2/3 cups Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/4 cup Scallions, finely chopped, white part only
1 Tbl Sugar
2 Tsp Kosher salt
Freshly ground pepper (or dry chili pepper flakes)
1/4 cup Fresh Meyer Lemon juice (about 2 lemons worth)

1.Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

2.Cut the lemons in half and pick out as many seeds as possible without destroying the lemon. Lightly coat the lemons with a tablespoon of the oil. Place the lemons cut side down in a baking dish (lined with aluminum foil for easier clean-up) and roast uncovered for 25 minutes. Remove, cool and cut the lemons (including the skins) into 1/4-inch dice.

3.In a bowl, combine the lemons, the remaining olive oil, scallions, sugar and salt and stir gently. Cover and set aside for at least 3 hours so the flavors can marry and mellow. The flavor of the lemons will change over the course the rest period.

4.Adjust the seasonings with additional salt, pepper and lemon juice to taste.

5.Store covered in the refrigerator for up to a week or freeze in an airtight container.

Note: you can adjust the sugar and salt to suit your taste and the ripeness of the lemons.

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