I’ve had martinis on my mind lately, which explains this Dirty Lemon Martini. I’ve found a new podcast that I absolutely love called Martinis and Murder. The best part is that every episode starts with a martini recipe, which I guess makes the fact that the rest of the podcast is all about true crime a little easier to swallow. The hosts, Daryn Carp and John Thrasher, are very funny and very engaging. It helps, too, that their producer Matt is a shadowy figure in the background, making up martinis and making the occasional snarky remark that only the hosts can hear. I don’t usually read or watch true crime stories, which is strange, given that my preferred reading genre is mysteries. It’s one thing for it to be made up, I suppose, then for it to be something that happened in real life. This podcast is the exception for me, as it reminds me quite a bit of the podcast, Serial.
But enough about true crime podcasts. Back to the Dirty Lemon Martini. I love a good dirty martini. I’ve been known to make them with any olive brine I have on hand, including that from kalamata olives. There’s something so lovely about the brininess of the olives and the sharpness of the vodka and Vermouth. My favorite variation on this theme is a dirty martini with the brine of preserved lemons. Oh my goodness – this is the perfect way to end out a week. Preserved lemons infuse the brine with a hint of lemon. I use juniper berries and peppercorns in my preserved lemons, so there’s a hint of these spices as well.
This martini is so easy to make – all it takes is some good vodka, a dry Vermouth, and the brine from some preserved lemons. This is yet another good reason to have salt preserved citrus on hand, because when Friday comes around, who wouldn’t want to curl up with Netflix and a Dirty Lemon Martini?
- 3 ounces vodka
- 1 ounce Dry Vermouth
- 1/2 - 1 ounce brine from preserved lemons
- Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice and shake. Strain into a chilled martini glass.
- Serves 1
I have just one day in the office this week before the holiday break, so decided to make preserved lemon tuna salad as a quick one-day only lunch. I’ve had quite a bit of lemon going on these last few days. I’m preparing to make a sparkly New Year’s Eve cocktail for Fix Me a Little Lunch, which I’ll post later this week. To do this, though, I needed limoncello. Limoncello is one of my favorite liqueurs, but I hesitate to pay the hefty $20 plus for a store bought bottle when it is so easy to make at home. So – I stocked up on ten lemons, with the only purpose to peel them and saturate the peels with vodka. But then, of course, I had ten naked lemons to contend with and couldn’t stand the thought of wasting them. Naturally, this led to my hubby requesting a lemon meringue pie, which is something I’ve never, ever made. As I’m writing this, it’s cooling and I’ll confess that I’m pretty afraid to cut into it. I don’t fully trust that the meringue set quite like it should have, which will only make me determined to try again. Good thing I still have plenty of lemon juice left from those ten naked lemons!
Good thing, too, that my preserved lemons are ready to use and could be chopped up for this preserved lemon tuna salad so I could have a quick and easy sandwich ready to go for lunch tomorrow. I did make the baguettes in the photos for this lunch. I opted for a more traditional baguette that required a starter and an overnight period of time for the starter to bubble and rise. It’s safe to say that I’m ready for vacation and getting a head start on baking and cooking. The recipe for the baguette, by the way, is on the King Arthur Flour site (here). If you have the time, it’s definitely worth it to make fresh baguettes. If you don’t – a store bought baguette will work fine, too, for a preserved lemon tuna salad sandwich.
Preserved Lemon Tuna Salad
- 1 can water packed tuna
- 1 tablespoon preserved lemon, finely chopped
- 2 stalks celery, finely chopped
- 1/4 - 1/3 cup plain Greek yogurt
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- Black pepper to taste
- Combine all ingredients in a small bowl. Serve on a baguette or lettuce leaves. Enjoy!
There’s nothing quite so satisfying as a good green salad, especially when you add ingredients like Asian pears and preserved lemons. Asian pears are one of my favorite winter fruits: they are about the size of a very small apple, but have a brown-yellow skin and a pale white flesh. They are quite tasty while still a bit firm and can be eaten skin and all. They lend a lovely crunch to a salad and pair really well with nuts. If I could figure out where I put the hazelnuts from last year, as well as find the nutcracker, I would definitely have used hazelnuts on this salad. As it was, I do know where the walnuts are, so that’s what I went with.
I’ve been waiting weeks to start eating my preserved lemons. Preserved lemons are amazingly easy to make – all it takes is salt and lemons, though you can add in various spices, like peppercorns or bay leaves. This year, I made my preserved lemons with both peppercorns and bay leaves, but also added in the few juniper berries I had left over from pickling last summer. The lemons are perfectly salty and tart and ideal for adding to vinaigrette. I’m sure I’ll be posting more recipes with preserved lemons soon. If you are looking for a recipe, check out the preserved lemon recipe I posted last year. You can use regular lemons or Meyer lemons – both are fantastic. They do take a little bit of time, as the lemons have to cure in the refrigerator for at least a month. Use only the rind – the pulp is discarded. You can also find preserved lemons in various specialty food stores, though I have to say that these are super easy and quick to make and well worth the time to make a batch of your own.
As we move into the calorie laden holidays, I definitely will be eating salads with my lunches. This green salad with Asian pears and preserved lemon vinaigrette is a bright spot this time of year. Enjoy!
I spent yet another day not at my desk, but stretched out on the couch willing my lower back good health. I was glad to already have a lunch put together, particularly one that was this healthy and easy to assemble. I used plain Greek yogurt for this salad, as mayonnaise has an odd taste to me. I also used endive leaves as a vehicle for the salad, though you could definitely use lettuce, bread, or crackers. Endive is a strange little plant, requiring complicated steps to cultivate. I’ve traditionally steered away from it as it has a reputation for being both expensive and bitter, though I have to say that doesn’t seem to be the case. Two little endives at our strange local market were under $2, though a full pound would be close to $5. I can’t envision a scenario where I’d buy a pound of endive! It has a bit of a green bitter edge, but it was a good counterpoint to the preserved lemon. And as promised, this is one of many recipes that will use up the preserved Meyer lemons from several weeks ago.
Tuna Salad with Preserved Lemon
Serves 2 as a hearty lunch
1 can water packed tuna
2 small celery stalks
1 teaspoon finely chopped preserved lemon
1 teaspoon capers
¼ cup Greek yogurt
Endive or other means of serving
Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix thoroughly.
Prior to moving to the PNW, there were a number of vegetables I’d encountered that only ever seemed to be served in cooked form. Kale was one of those vegetables, and though I liked it well enough, I started to really love when I realized it could be eaten raw. To balance the butter-load in this week’s prosciutto and swiss cheese croissants, I thought it might be wise to have a healthy salad on the side. I especially enjoy kale salad with preserved lemon, so this recipe does double-duty, as it showcases kale, but also is the first of several recipes using the preserved Meyer lemon recipe from last week. I also threw in some canned chickpeas, a little parmesan cheese, and a tahini and lemon salad dressing.
This salad holds up well in pint mason jars so can be prepared on Sunday for the entire week.
Massaged Kale and Preserved Meyer Lemon Salad
Tahini and Lemon Dressing
1/3 cup olive oil
1 and ½ tablespoons tahini
3 tablespoons lemon juice
pinch of salt
Combine all ingredients and stir thoroughly until tahini is smoothly distributed.
Massaged Kale and Preserved Meyer Lemon Salad
1 bunch kale, washed and de-stemmed
2 preserved lemons, rinsed
1 can chickpeas
¼ cup parmesan cheese
In a large bowl, tear the de-stemmed kale into bite sized pieces. Add the tahini and lemon dressing and massage the kale until the dressing is well distributed and the kale starts to soften. Chop the preserved lemons into small strips and add the preserved lemons, chickpeas, and parmesan cheese to the kale. Toss and serve.