My husband and I have quite a few things in common, of course, but none is as flavorful as our mutual love of lemons. We are lovers of the rich, lip-puckering taste, and over the years we have found the number of lemon aficionados we know may even surpass the number of chocoholics. We can't, however, bring ourselves to say, "lemonholics," so we call ourselves "lemonheads," instead.
After we were married, the search for the perfect lemon pie began, and finally ended with my creating a pie with a perfect lemony flavor. Other recipes featuring lemon's zesty flavor followed.
But I wanted more, so the search began for a cookbook on lemons, one with recipes that ranged from hors d'oeuvres to desserts. I tried bookstores, gourmet shops, the library, even sought a computer search. There were books on citrus fruits, but I found nothing devoted just to the lemon.
I knew the answer was to write my own cookbook to share with the other lemonheads out there.
While developing recipes, friends, relatives and even the doormen in my apartment building served as tasters. I found that just as in chocolate, where some prefer dark and others milk, the same is true with the lemon flavor. Some prefer just a hint of the flavor, while others want the taste to be intense.
After months of tasting, and occasional arbitration over just how lemony a dish should be, "The Lemon Cookbook" was created.
Here are my favorite recipes. I hope they demonstrate to you that the lemon is more than a yellow fruit with 27 calories and 63 percent of the Recommended Daily Allowance for vitamin C.
* Serve this turkey with a baked sweet potato or sauteed pineapple.
Broiled turkey breast
Makes 4 servings.
1/2 boneless turkey breast, with skin
Parsley for garnish
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup honey
1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
1 teaspoon sesame seeds
1/4 teaspoon ground sage
1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
1/8 teaspoon paprika
Place turkey breast in shallow bowl and refrigerate.
Prepare marinade by mixing together lemon juice, honey, lemon peel, sesame seeds, sage, mustard, paprika and salt and pepper to taste. Cover and refrigerate 1 to 2 hours. Pour marinade over turkey and marinate in refrigerator 1 to 1 1/2 hours, turning occasionally.
Heat broiler for 10 minutes. Place turkey on lightly oiled broiler rack, skin side down, 8 inches from broiler element and broil 20 minutes.
Turn turkey over and place meat thermometer in thickest part of breast. Move broiler rack 5 inches from element and broil until thermometer hits 190 degrees, 15 to 20 minutes. Skin will blacken. Remove skin and discard. Cut turkey into thick slices. Place on warm platter.
Simmer excess marinade in small saucepan over low heat 10 minutes and pour over turkey. Garnish with parsley.
Makes 10 servings
GRAHAM CRACKER CRUST:
15 graham crackers
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sifted powdered sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons grated lemon peel
1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon grated lemon peel
1 teaspoon lemon extract or 1 teaspoon vanilla, optional
4 cups cottage cheese
2 tablespoons flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup whipping cream
For crust, grind crackers in blender into very fine crumbs to make 1 1/2 cups. Mix crumbs, butter, powdered sugar and lemon peel in medium bowl until combined. Reserve 1/2 cup crust mixture. Press remaining crumbs on bottom of 10-inch springform pan with back of hand. Cover and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled.
For filling, beat eggs in large bowl. Gradually beat in granulated sugar. Add lemon juice, lemon peel and lemon extract.
Process cottage cheese, flour and salt in blender until smooth and creamy.
Whip cream in small bowl until soft peaks form. Fold cottage cheese mixture and cream into egg mixture. Pour into prepared springform pan. Sprinkle reserved 1/2 cup crust mixture over middle of cake. Bake at 300 degrees 1 hour. Turn off heat and open oven door. Leave cake in oven until cool, 30 minutes to 1 hour.
Gently remove cake from pan. Cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours before serving.
Makes 1 loaf
1 cup lemon marmalade
1 tablespoon butter, melted and cooled
2 cups sifted flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
Beat egg in large bowl until thickened. Stir in marmalade and butter until well blended. Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Combine buttermilk and lemon juice.
Alternately add dry and liquid ingredients in thirds to egg mixture, stirring until batter is mixed. Fold in walnuts.
Pour batter into greased 8-by-4-inch loaf pan. Bake at 350 degrees until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes. Let cool in pan about 5 minutes. Remove bread from pan and cool thoroughly on wire rack. Wrap any leftovers in foil.
Lemon meringue pie
Makes 6 to 8 servings
1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup water