Let’s do a little experiment here – I say (again) that I will post the AdHoc lamb meatballs on Saturday and you come back to read the post. That is because the confession, I suppose, involves some sort of commitment-phobia I am plagued by and taking baby steps to cure.
I said I will post the lamb meatballs before, nearly three months ago in this post. I also said I would post the Flageolets Beans that went with the Bouchon leg of lamb inthis post. And I did say I would post more of the Aspen Food and Wine extravaganza – tips, recipes, etc- in this post and well, that is yet to happen.
Something happens when I have to do something, when I commit to doing it in a situation where I don’t actually have to do it. I lose interest, refuse or resist the urge to get it off my plate throwing myself into a tailspin of wanting to do it to get it done but, well, purely not wanting to do it, finding excuses, getting out of it.
The classic example is any membership I have ever gotten- gym, yoga, belly dancing classes, you name it, the best way to stop myself from going is by committing to coming back through any sort of membership. The other example is any sort of big plans I make with anyone- the longer it takes to plan, the more back and forth that goes into the planning, the more likely I am to …yeah, cancel. The effect of my condition on the blog has been that the things I said I’d make and post were almost cursed into never being written up here.
But that is to change today and Saturday. Today, one of the Thomas Keller, Ad Hoc, Aspen Food and Wine recipes, Cured Lemons- something you can use in the lamb meatballs!
Ingredients: 4 lemons (3 to 4 ounces each) washed in warm water, scrubbed with a vegetable scrubber; 3/4 cup sugar; 2/3 cup kosher salt.
Begin by cutting each lemon – remove a 1/3 inch cap from one end to get to a wider part of the lemon. Then slice the lemon into 1/8 thick rounds. Remove the seeds as you go and stop about 1/3 from the other end. Do the same for all the lemons.
Combine the sugar and salt in a bowl.
Ideally, you will use a 6 by 6 inch dish in which the lemons lay more flat than they stack on top of each other as mine did. That assumes, however, at least for me, that I find the perfect dish- wide enough to fit the lemons on just a few layers- maybe 3- and short enough to not allow for too much air; glass- I couldn’t stand plastic, and tightly sealed with some sort of system that gives me confidence in not interfering with the curing process. Well, needless to say, I didn’t have the perfect container so I went with this mason jar.
Sprinkle 1/3 of an inch of the sugar-salt mixture on the bottom of the container you are using. Start layering the lemons covering each layer with a generous layer of the sugar-salt mixture.
By the end, all of the lemon slices should be covered in the liquid that will form once the sugar-salt melts into the lemons. If there are lemon slices that are not covered, they might mold. Add a layer of sugar-salt at the top. Seal and refrigerate for at leas 2 weeks and up to a month.
In the case of my jar, once the sugar-salt mixture melted a bit, I shook it several times to get the juices flowing and get more sugar-salt to melt. This created more liquid. Not all the sugar-salt melted but all of the slices were covered in liquid which is what matters.
There is it! 2 weeks later, this will be ready to be used in salads, dressings, as a garnish, in any sort of ground meat concoction, and on your favorite fish or chicken. Rinse it lightly before use and come back Saturday, remember?
Photography by Jennifer Olson.
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