Thursday, January 8, 2009

When life hands you lemons

Hallie and I decided to get out of our pretzely funk and enjoy what Arizona has to offer while we are still here. So we looked outside this afternoon and felt like today was as good a day as any to harvest some lemons. As a native Arizonan who grew up with a huge lemon tree in her backyard, this act of picking, slicing and juicing lemons is very nostalgic for me. I don't realize how many memories I have tied to this ritual until I slice into that first lemon and allow the citrusy smell to permeate my brain, and dig out my many lemony memories. I can remember doing this often as a child with my mom, and then I can remember being sent out by myself when I was a little older to pick some lemons for her if there was a need. My mom would always give us a paper bag to put the lemons in, and so in my mind I can hear the sound of lemons dropping into the sack when I smell a lemon. So, to be true to my childhood, Hallie and I grabbed ourselves a brown paper bag and headed out to pick our citrus.

Once we picked ourselves a sufficient amount of lemons to juice we headed in for a lemon photo shoot and a little juicing. This was one of the first years that I let Hallie juice the lemons all by herself, and after some initial intimidation she got the hang of it quite well. I always strain the pulp from my juice because I prefer pulp free, but my Mom liked her juice with pulp, seeds, and all and always skipped this step.

Once the lemons are juiced, and the juice is strained, I like to freeze my lemon juice in one cup quantities in Ziplocs so the juice will be ready when we need some lemonade or lemon bars or lemon cookies or lemon cheesecake. Are you sensing a theme here? I don't seem to have any healthy lemon recipes in my repertoire, and that is why the juice is sitting in my freezer, and not baking in a cookie. But what I decided to do instead of baking is to give you a recipe to try. That way you'll add a few pounds to your hips while I'm trimming a few off mine and then we'll even the playing field a little. Sound like a deal? The cookie recipe I'm posting isn't actually a lemon cookie, but my sister Becky and I decided these melt-a-way cookies would be good with a little lemon frosting. Let me know if I've inspired any of you to bake any lemon treats!

Lemon Meltaways
recipe attributed to Mandy who made them for me and is part of the reason I'm on this diet!

3/4 c. cornstarch, sifted
1/2 lb. butter
1/3 c. powdered sugar
1 c. flour

Beat butter and other ingredients until creamy. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes. Let cool and frost (see below). Note: whenever I've had these cookies they are very small, a quarter sized dollop will do ya!

Lemon Butter Frosting

4 cups confectioners' sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
2 tablespoons milk

To make frosting: In large bowl, beat confectioners' sugar, 1/2 cup butter, 2 tablespoons lemon juice and 1 teaspoon lemon zest until smooth. Beat in milk, and increase speed and continue to beat until light and fluffy.
Then you may need to add a little more milk to make this frosting a little runny, and then drizzle it onto the cookies.

But if you're sad because you don't have a lemon tree in your backyard, and it's cold where you are, you can just try my favorite perfume, and with one spritz you'll be transformed into the lemonista of your dreams, seriously I love this stuff. It's from the Fresh line and it's called Sugar Lemon. They sell it at Anthropologie, but you can buy a smaller bottle at Sephora for $25.

And if you're thinking what a sweet mother I am, know that I paid Hallie 50 cents to eat a spoonful of lemon pulp just so I could get this picture. I might be more sour than you know...


Courtney said...

i'm so envious right now.

Sarah said...

My kids always wonder why lemons are ready to juice in the winter, when lemonade is such a summer drink. Who made that rule anyway?

I'm sad that you're moving. Even if we don't see each other very often. Still, we share much: hair stylist, nephews and niece, love of sewing/quilting, one of the last Arizona hold-outs in our families. I am excited for you though and can't wait to see pictures of the new house.

Mandy said...

I think you should make those lemon cookies for our house dress party!

Geri said...

Gosh, I've always wanted a lemon tree, and this makes me want one more. BTW, I think the 50 cents was worth the snapshot.

Angela said...

OOoh, so jealous. You'll have to make some lemonaid for me while I'm down there.

kimber said...

Cute post, I wish we had a lemon tree. Tyler loves to eat lemons??
When are you moving? And when can we get together before you move??

Becky said...

You took me on a walk down a lemon tree filled memory lane! I so want a lemon tree in my backyard. I've been known to "sneek" to the lemon trees on my street at night and nab a lemon or two (with prior permission of course!).

Hallie is a stand up comic. Love the one of her with the lemon eye balls.

Toria said...

love lemon treats! We just had a delish lemon cake tonight as a matter of fact. I love all the pics, you took me down memory lane as well- we had the lemon tree in our California yard and orange and grapefruit growing up. I wish I knew some healthy lemon recipes to send your way- they're so sour, you just need so much sugar! Your post had me laughing and I'm sorry you're feeling the range of emotion that comes with moving. I'm sure it's there to stay for a while so keep doing what you're doing (documenting what a sweet mother you are!)

Austin said...

I'll be honest, I didn't read this whole thing, but the last picture of Hallie is priceless.

pam said...

I echo the sentiments of all who envy you your backyard lemon tree. That is one of the things I really miss about not being in Arizona. Loved that lemon tree! I had the idea of having an indoor miniature potted lemon tree in these colder climes, but so far a couple of pots of fresh herbs will have to do. Loved all the pictures and the memories.

AL&G said...

Miss you Nance. I can't wait to have you around so your natural homemaking skills can rub off a little.