When Life Give You Lemons … Dry Them

Do you remember when Martha Stewart spent time in prison? I’m not sure if she was convicted of insider trader or making me feel guilty about the state of my house. Personally, I think the latter offense deserves a much longer sentence than she actually got.

When she was released from prison a reporter asked her what she missed most while she was in the joint and Stewart responded, “Lemons.” When the reporter asked if that was it she said, “Just lemons. Oh and my friends and family of course.”

Some people thought that her response was cold hearted. How could you only miss a lemons in jail?

Those people don’t understand the true joy of a lemon. Not only can you use it to make lemonade, but a squeeze of lemon can enliven a sauce or make a glass of water that much more refreshing. Oh the humble lemon, it may make your mouth pucker, but it makes your heart dance with joy.

You may be wondering why I’m going on about lemons. I recently discovered dried lemons. If you thought a fresh lemon was something to write home about baby you ain’t seen nothing yet. Dried lemons will make your stew taste so good your head will spin. Trust me on this.

I made Persian stew the other day with dried lemons that was so good that I was starting to think that I didn’t really make it at all. Maybe some little elves scampered into the kitchen when I wasn’t looking and added a little bit of this and a little bit of that to make the stew a little bit of heaven.

Then I made a chickpea and veggie tagine with dried lemons that was so good my head nearly exploded. Trust me that’s really good.

This is all great news because as of late I’ve been in a bit of a cooking slump. I might just start putting dried lemons in everything.

Here’s a Daily Show clip from when Martha Stewart got out of jail to brighten your day.

My Favorite Cold Remedy

My daily cup of astragalus and ginger tea wasn’t enough to ward off the sore throat I had the other day. I hate getting a cold because for me it’s usually accompanied by a cough that lasts for a few months. Since I’d only just gotten rid of the cough from my last cold, I knew it was time to break out the big guns–garlic tea. You heard me right.

I’m the master of tea and garlic tea is a sure fire way to kick that cold right out of your system. Here’s the recipe:

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 cups water
  • 12 cloves garlic minced
  • juice from 1 lemon
  • honey to taste

Put your garlic and water in a pot. Bring to boil. Turn down heat and let simmer for ten minutes. Remove from heat and add lemon juice and honey. Strain into a cup and sip it throughout the day like a boss.

Pros of drinking garlic tea:

Get rid of colds fast.
Torture your significant other with your garlic breath.

Cons of drinking garlic tea:

It’s garlic tea.

Broccoli Nonsense – A Recipe

I’ve heard some people claim that cooking is difficult. I don’t know what they’re talking about, because in my house cooking is a breeze. All you have to do is throw a bunch of stuff in a pan, give it a name, and serve it with a smile. The throw-stuff-in-a-pan part I learned from watching The Food Channel. They try to make it look more complicated than it is, trust me. The give-it-a-name part I learned from my mother who would do things like throw a bunch of blue cheese dressing in the wilted leftover salad she originally served two days ago and call it Blue Cheese Chop.
The other day I invented a brand new dish that I’m loving called Broccoli Nonsense. Since I know you’re dying to know my cooking secrets, I’ve decided to share the recipe with you.

First find some forgotten broccoli in the vegetable drawer that has seen better days. Wash it, and cut it up. Now use a dull knife to attempt to cut up two plum tomatoes and end up squashing them on the cutting board instead. Put a skillet on the stove and turn the burner on high. Cut up an onion in large uneven chunks. Put some butter in your hot pan and panic as the butter immediately starts to burn. Take the pan off the burner, turn down the heat to medium, and put your onion chunks in the pan. Let the onion chunks cook as you stare at the spice rack wondering what kind of spices you should use. I went with black pepper, dried basil, and dried parsley, but you should use whatever suits your fancy. I’d suggest staying away from cinnamon though. Trust me, cinnamon and broccoli are a bad combination.

Realize your onions are burning and find a spoon to use to stir them up a bit. Once your onions are soft add broccoli to the pan. While your broccoli cooks mince two cloves of garlic. Add garlic and tomatoes to the pan along with spices. How much spice should you add? That’s a good question. I just guestimate. Isn’t cooking about creativity? Well use yours for goodness sakes. Do I really have to tell you everything? Let’s just say I added more parsley than basil or pepper, and less pepper than basil. Got that?

Let it cook until the broccoli starts to soften and then taste it. Scowl and look around the room confused because it needs something and that definitely isn’t your fault. Realize that if you want it to be right you’ll have to fix it because after all aren’t you the one who has to fix everything in this house?

Open the refrigerator and retrieve the anchovy paste. Anchovy paste saves everything, doesn’t it? Attempt to squeeze a bit of anchovy paste into the pan with your broccoli. Notice that nothing comes out. Try to squeeze again only a bit harder. Notice that still nothing comes out. Squeeze again with all your might and watch in horror as the anchovy paste to flies out of the tube and splatters across the wall above the stove. Sigh and leave it there. There’s no time to clean that up while your preparing a culinary masterpiece. Your husband can clean it up when he does the dishes. Put what little anchovy paste is left in the tube in the pan and stir it well, but not too well. Part of the beauty of the dish is that someone will eventually take a bite and end up with a giant lump of anchovy paste.

Once the dish is finished cooking add a little salt and serve it up with a smile.

Tip of the Day

I love kimchi. Most people who know me know that. I always have a big jar of it in the back of the fridge. I used to buy kimchi already made, but now I only make my own. It tastes better when I make it myself. I love eating kimchi fried rice, kimchi soup and kimchi pancakes. Sometimes I make my kimchi with Chinese cabbage and sometimes I make it with bok choy.

Last week when it came time for me to make a new batch of kimchi, I pulled the bok choy I’d bought earlier in the week out of the fridge and to my surprise found that I only had two heads of it. Usually I use three. I started making the batch and thought it was going to be too small. I was looking in the fridge to see if I had any Chinese cabbage to add to it when I found a bag of spinach. Spinach is green and leafy just like bok choy, I though. I convinced myself that padding my kimchi out with it could be just fine. Even as I added the spinach to the kimchi I had my doubts, but I soldiered on.

About a week later a terrible smell started coming from the fridge. It was the kimchi. I know you’re probably thinking that kimchi always stinks, but this was not the normal kimchi smell. When I opened the kimchi jar the smell jumped out and kicked me in the face. It was horrible. I tasted it and it tasted even more horrible then it smelled. I reluctantly gave it to my husband to eat and he did! He did say that it smelled and tasted funny though.

I took the kimchi out to try to make kimchi pancakes with it for lunch today and I just couldn’t. It smelled so terrible that I had to throw the whole batch away along with the jar it was in.

So my tip for the day is never use spinach to make kimchi.

Broccoli Salad Recipe

Broccoli Salad

I make this tasty broccoli salad all the time and I love it. I just thought I’d share the recipe with you today.

Ingredients

    1 head broccoli
    1 glove of garlic minced
    1 tomato diced
    8 Kalamata olives diced
    1 green onion finely chopped
    1/2 lemon
    1 tablespoon olive oil
    1/3 teaspoon dried basil
    black pepper to taste

Cut up the head of broccoli finely. Mix all the chopped ingredients in a bowl. Squeeze in the juice of 1/2 lemon. Add the olive oil and spices and mix well. That’s it. Easy.

I love broccoli and I never thought about making a salad out of it until a few weeks ago. Now I make this all the time.

Tip of the Day

Last night we had ratatouille for dinner. It was good, but there was a small amount left over. I was trying to figure out what to do with the leftovers to feed both of us for lunch today when I came across a wonderful suggestion online. Ratatouille omelets!!! It may not seem very good to you, but you have to trust me on this one.

Just make an omelet like you normally would. Then put goat cheese in it. Follow that up with some ratatouille. Now fold that bad boy in half and slide it out of the pan.

This is the best leftover recipe I’ve ever had. Even if you weren’t planning on eating ratatouille any time soon I suggest you make it just so you can have this omelet the next day. Heck, you could even skip eating the plain ratatouille and just jump right to the omelet part. Click here for the ratatouille recipe I use.

Echinacea Tea and Other Natural Cold Remedies

I’ve managed to get a bit of a cold. I’m on the tail end of it now but it’s inconvenient to say the least. It’s shocking too, because I haven’t been sick since the last time I was sick. I actually think that was Christmas 2 years ago, but I may be mistaken. Anyway there are a couple of things I like to do to knock the cold out of me. Some might think they’re old wives’ tales (poor old wives), but I’m all into them big time. The first is echinacea tea. Here’s how I make it.

Ingredients

  • 1 teaspoon echinacea
  • 1 teaspoon lemon balm
  • 1 teaspoon peppermint
  • 4 thin slices ginger root
  • 2 thin slices lemon

I use a mid-sized sauce pan to make this tea. I don’t know how much water goes in it exactly but I’d say it’s enough to make about 4 mugs of tea. Fill the pan with water then add the ginger and the lemon. Bring that to a boil. Put your dried herbs into a teapot (one of those ceramic old school ones) and pour the boiling water into the pot over the herbs. Cover and let steep for 10 to 15 minutes. If you don’t have a teapot, no sweat, just use something else like another pot. Honestly, though I wish I had a teapot, I don’t so that’s what I do.  If you really have too because you need some sweetness in your life, add some honey. I usually skip that part.

Other Cold Remedies

The title of this posts says something about other natural cold remedies. I should have written remedy because I only have one to offer up and it’s going to sound really crazy to you, but it works. Garlic oil on the feet is a great remedy. Just peel and chop up a head of garlic roughly, put it in a container, and add enough olive oil to cover the garlic. Let this sit all day and at night put the garlicy oil all over your feet, put on some socks and go to bed.

I learned about this remedy from this herbal remedies site.

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