Preserved Meyer Lemons
No Tuesdays with Dorie for me today, but I'll be back next week for Gooey Chocolate Cakes! Be sure to check out the ever-growing blogroll to find your way to Dorie bloggers and this week's creation, Caramel-Topped flan. I am taking a break this week because I simply cannot spend three hours per day at the gym. Not even for flan.
What I did do with my time the past couple of weekends was to tackle two culinary projects that used up the huge amount of citrus stored in my refrigerator: Meyer lemons, blood oranges, and Seville oranges. I turned to the recipes that I had bookmarked at Elise's site, Simply Recipes.
First up: Preserved Meyer Lemons. I followed Elise's recipe exactly, and everything is looking good! Meyer lemons are so precious, I couldn't bear the thought of having to discard any before I could bake with them some more, so I decided to preserve them. They will turn up in a Moroccan tagine in the near future. Or a Smoked Salmon and Gruyere grilled cheese sandwich. Mmmm.
Next: Seville and Blood Orange Marmalade.
Elise's recipe calls for four cups of Seville orange juice, and I had enough oranges to yield 2 3/4 cups, so I made up the difference with the juice of Blood oranges (thus, the dark color of the marmalade). I used one regular lemon, 8 cups of sugar, and threw in one plus one-half vanilla beans for good measure, inspired by a Meyer Lemon and Vanilla Bean marmalade recipe that I found in Bon Appetit.
I grew up eating things that most American kids in the 60s and 70s were not eating, in part because we traveled so much, but also because my father was an immigrant, and my mother was a fabulous cook who rarely resorted to prepared foods. One of the things we had in our house was Dundee orange marmalade, not Welch's grape jelly (a very rare treat), so I developed a fondness for the sharp bitter tang of this orange jam, and have yearned to make some for myself. Through Rose Levy Beranbaum, I discovered a mail order source for Seville oranges, and took the plunge. I can't tell you how proud I was to have a piece of toast for breakfast, spread thinly with my jewel-toned creation!
Elise's instructions are fabulous, especially the "wrinkle" test to determine when the marmalade is done. It took a lot longer to set up than I had expected, but I'm so glad that I didn't give in to temptation and pull the whole batch off the flame before the jam was ready. The recipe doesn't call for the addition of any pectin, but relies on the naturally occurring pectin in the seeds and membranes of the fruit (photo of pectin bag to the right), a technique that I had never used before, so I was a bit nervous about having 12 cups of orange soup on my hands. Nevertheless, I girded my loins and stuck it out - Elise's recipe works! Woo-hoo!
I have quite a few Blood orange rinds sitting in the fridge, and I'm just itching to make candied orange peel. I'd better get started - I have to make those Gooey Chocolate Cakes for next week's Tuesdays with Dorie!