Monthly Archives: February 2012

Poulet au Citrons Confits (Preserved Lemon Chicken)

I realize that the picture above does not look like much. Don’t let the image fool you, though. This chicken recipe is flavorful with chicken falling of the bone. You will want to go back for seconds. The only downside to this recipe is that it requires that you first make (or somehow procure) “preserved lemons,” which takes a month. It’s really easy, though and it will be worth it. Believe me.

Preserved lemons:

Ingredients:

  • 6 lemons (preferably organic…you will be cooking with the whole lemon once these are ready). I like to use Meyer lemons, but any variety will do.
  • Several cups of sea salt
  • 1 Tbsp whole coriander seeds
  • You will also need a large, gallon-sized mason jar.

Directions:
1. Wash and dry the lemons.
2. Cut the lemons into quarters length-wise, but leave one end of the lemon intact.
3. Using a paring knife, remove as many seeds as you can easily access. Don’t worry, though, if you miss some seeds. You can get them out later.
4. Sprinkle about 1/2 c of salt in the bottom of the jar and about half of the coriander seeds.
5. Stuff as much salt as possible into the just-about-quartered lemons. Then stuff the lemons into the jar. After each lemon you add to the jar, sprinkle some salt on top. You certainly don’t need to fill up the jar with salt, just make sure there’s plenty in there. About halfway up, add the rest of the coriander seeds. Don’t worry about smushing the lemons. It’s ok, they’re going to soften a lot anyway.
6. Wait 2 days. The salt should extract the lemon juice and the lemons will start to be submerged in their own juices. If after 2 days, they are not submerged, add enough boiling water to cover the lemons. Put the jar in the fridge and wait at least 1 month. After a month, they are ready to use. I’m not really sure how long they’re good for. One recipe I have says they can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 months. I have personally used them after a longer time than that, but of course, if you do, it would be at your own risk.

Preserved lemons

Now, you can finally make the preserved lemon chicken, or as I prefer to call it “Poulet au Citrons Confits.” That sounds much better.

Poulet au Citrons Confits:

Ingredients:

  • 1 large yellow onion. Peeled and cut into rings.
  • Olive oil
  • 6-8 chicken drumsticks.
  • 1 clove of garlic, peeled and crushed.
  • Juice of 1 fresh lemon
  • 4 preserved lemons
  • 1 Tbsp coriander seed
  • Pinch of saffron

Directions:
1. Rinse the chicken and pat it dry with a paper towel. Douse it with fresh lemon juice and a little salt. Set aside.
2. Rinse your preserved lemons and cut them the rest of the way, so that they are now fully quartered. Remove any seeds that you see and can easily access.


3. Heat a heavy bottomed pot over medium-high heat. Add enough olive oil to coat the bottom of the pot. Cook the chicken until it is golden brown on all sides. Remove chicken and set aside.


4. Add a little more olive oil. Place the onions, garlic, coriander seed, and preserved lemons in the bottom of the pot.

5. Put the chicken on top of the onions and preserved lemons. Add enough water to just submerge the chicken. Add the pinch of saffron.



6. Bring to a boil. Then reduce the heat, cover, and simmer for about an hour, or until the chicken is cooked through and very tender. Serve with rice to help soak up the extra juices.

Enjoy!

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Pleated pouch


Ahh, pinterest. You did it again. You piqued my interest in a crafty endeavor and coaxed me back to my sewing machine. I originally pinned this from A Lemon Squeezy Home. She has a fantastic and easy to follow and free Pleated Pouch Tutorial and Pattern. She used a really nice yellow and gray fabric, which is what originally caught my eye. Gray is my absolute favorite color (I know, I’m weird) and yellow is a close second. I actually found said fabric on the internet, but I hate to pay for shipping nowadays and didn’t have other fabric needs to get me to $35. When I saw this fabric at my local Jo-ann’s, though, I knew it was meant to be made into this cute pouch. The trim I used is some gray corduroy that I had leftover from making Quentin a pair of pants.

The pattern for the pouch includes a small pocket, but I decided to make it a bit bigger. I used corduroy for that too. It fits a couple credit cards and some chapstick. Because I can never leave home without chapstick. Specifically Burt’s Bees.

This was my second time sewing a zipper. It really isn’t as scary as I thought it would be. I do need some more practice, of course, but this one turned out pretty well.


Oh and let’s not forget the pleats. Those weren’t nearly as scary as I expected them to be. I’m sure I’ll be sewing up another one of these cute pouches at some point! Maybe I’ve inspired one of you to make one too. If you do, be sure to share pictures or a link to your blog! I want to see other creations!

Lemon Curd and Scones

Here is our dwarf Meyer Lemon tree. It is currently weighed down with delicious Meyer lemons. It’s a small tree, though, so “weighed down” for this little guy probably equals about 30 lemons. The thing is, this isn’t our only lemon tree. When we bought our house last year, there was a big Eureka Lemon tree in the back yard. Now THAT tree is a big producer.

In the fall, Trevor pruned it because there were branches touching our roof. He pruned it quite heavily, but there were still plenty of lemons left on it. We couldn’t let all those great lemons go to waste, so we picked them off of the pruned branches. When all was said and done, we had 70 pounds of lemons. What did we do? Make limoncello, of course! Here is a funny picture for you: It’s 10:30 am. Quentin is 10 weeks old, and I’m pushing him in the stroller. We stroll into BevMo in search of Everclear to make limoncello. This BevMo is new to me, so I have to ask where the Everclear is. With my 10 week old. Seeing as I have 70 pounds of lemons, I’m forced to make plenty of limoncello, so I buy 4 bottles of Everclear and a handle of Vodka. With my 10 week old. I swear I’m a fit mother.

Anyway, tangent over. This time when I went out to the backyard and noticed the Eureka lemon tree heavy with lemons, I decided to make lemon curd. You know, for a more “proper” use of my lemons. And what lemon curd would be complete with scones and tea (only on this occasion we actually had espresso…Her Majesty the Queen would surely disapprove).

Trevor and my good friend C has close family ties to the UK and his mother and aunt were kind enough to share their lemon curd recipes with me. I checked with him to make sure it would be okay to share the recipe here and he gave me the go ahead. So here it is!

Lemon Curd:

Ingredients:
4 large lemons
5 large eggs
1/4 lb butter
1 lb sugar


Directions:
1. Wash and dry lemons. Grate the rind and squeeze the juice of all 4 lemons.
2. Beat the eggs in a medium saucepan.
3. Add the rind, lemon juice, butter and sugar to the eggs.
4. Stir over low/medium heat until all ingredients are combined.
5. Continue stirring until the mixture thickens. Do NOT allow to boil. This may take 10+ minutes.
6. Once thickened, pour the lemon curd into warm jars and cover the top of each with a circle of wax paper.
7. Seal tightly and refrigerate. Keep for 1 week in the refrigerator or 2 months in the freezer.

For a printable recipe, click here.


I used some butter I made a little while back for both the curd and the scones. Lucky for us, there was some left that we got to enjoy on the scones.

Unfortunately, I used a different recipe than I normally do for the scones and they weren’t quite up to par in my book. So I’ll have to share my usually recipe another day. I’m sure the problem was that there wasn’t enough butter in the scones. A mistake I will not soon repeat.

Latest creation- Urban Hoodie

Yesterday, I wrote about how I’ve decided that this blog is going to be more than just about food. Because, let’s be honest, I don’t have quite as much time to do the level of cooking and styling and photographing of food that I used to. This does not mean that we aren’t eating (obviously) or even that we aren’t eating well. I’ve made more bread so far in 2012 than I probably have in my life (thanks to my nifty new bread machine) and my handsome (and thoughtful) husband made an amazing Crab Salad with Pears and Hazelnuts (minus the hazelnuts…boo to Whole Foods. Who runs out of hazelnuts in the BULK section?!) for Valentine’s Day. No, we’re still eating quite well around here. I just have expanded interests and would like to share those as well.

One of the interests that I have yet to share is sewing. I’m a newbie in the sewing world but already having lots of fun. I started teaching myself on my mom’s machine when I was 7 months pregnant (I’ve since taken her sewing machine custody…it now “lives” at my house). I started little man’s baby blanket then, had to put it away for a little while when he was a newborn, and finished it when he was about 3 months old. Since then, I’ve jumped into making him lots of pairs of pants, some strap covers for our ERGO baby carrier, appliqueing the 49er logo on a onesie for him, and a fleece 49er sweatshirt for my handsome hubby. My most recent project, though, was a hoodie sweatshirt I made little man with this pattern from Heidi & Finn. She has beautiful patterns, mostly for girls, but a few cute boy ones too.

I had it pinned for a while before finally deciding to buy it and try to make it. I love love love how it turned out! It’s lined all the way through with a really cute circus train fabric. I only did 2 buttons instead of 3, because I used pretty big buttons. Also, the pattern includes a bottom strip of trim to make it more sweatshirt-like. I decided to omit that and make it look more like a little jacket. Anyway, here’s my cutie with his new sweatshirt. I love that this pattern goes up to 6T…I’m sure you’ll be seeing more of these on the little guy as he grows up!

Direction of Fraises et Tartines

I’ve kind of alluded to wanting to expand my blogging horizons in past posts. I’m not finding the motivation to write consistently about food. Plus, I’ve had a lot of friends ask me to document some of the crunchy things I’m doing as a mom. I thought about starting a new blog to write about those things, but decided that was silly. I already have been terrible about blogging here. What would be different about a new blog? It would just be worse. Instead, I’ve decided to consolidate.

Hopefully that will give me some more material I’m passionate about to write here consistently. I enjoy coming here to share and debrief what I’ve been up to and I’ve resolved to do so more often. I’m looking forward to exploring this new direction!

I’ll leave you with that short update, and a picture of my sweet boys. Thank you to my very talented mom for knitting the beautiful sweater and hat that Quentin is wearing in this picture! I hope to learn to knit as well as she does some day! Currently working on project #1. More on that later.

Thompson River Ranch Wagyu Beef

Just before the holidays, my parents treated us to a few pounds of wagyu beef from Thompson River Ranch. I was not familiar with wagyu beef prior to this surprise special delivery, but boy was I in for a treat.

Apparently, wagyu (a.k.a. Kobe) cows make a highly marbled beef. According to the Thompson River Ranch website, their cows are either completely grass-fed or grass-fed/grain-finished. This has both ecological and health benefits. If I remember correctly from Barbara Kingsolver’s book, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, the ratio of Omega-3 to Omega-6 is higher in grass-fed beef than in grain-fed beef. My lay person’s understanding of this is that Omega-6 isn’t necessarily bad for you, but having a balance of Omega-3 and Omega-6 is important and we Americans tend to eat much more Omega-6. The higher Omega-3 in grass-fed beef means that it is not actually bad for you since it is balancing out your ratio. This was enlightening to learn given the bad rap that red meat usually gets.

Aside from health reasons, there are environmental benefits to going for grass-fed. I’m not going to go into them because, frankly, that’s not my area of expertise. Perhaps the best reason to go for grass-fed is the quality of the meat. It is expensive, and so Trevor and I don’t eat meat very often. But we’ve made the choice to sacrifice quantity for quality and we’re okay with that.

Back to the wagyu! To thank my parents for their generous gift, we wanted to share a meal with them, showcasing the beef. So we invited them over for a hamburger dinner on Saturday. Ironically, my dad does not eat beef. Prior to this meal, I had not seen him eat beef…ever, I think. I offered to get him some ground lamb like usual. But this time, he said, he would try the beef. I was nervous. I hate the thought of serving something that someone might not like. What if they go home hungry? The horrors!! But, my dad took the plunge, and I dare say he enjoyed it!

Because we were serving a high quality beef, I wanted to make sure the buns were up to par. So I make some dough with my bread maker and separated it into 4 balls. They could have been a little smaller. Oh well.


I served the hamburgers with sweet potato fries, which Quentin thoroughly enjoyed along with us.
Of course, the hamburgers could not be served with tomato because, well, it’s February. Instead we had them with avocado. Not really in season here either, but I would rather have an out of season avocado than an out of season tomato any day. Quentin also enjoyed some avocado with us. Lucky boy!
The burgers turned out delicious, the company was great, and the baby was in good spirits! All in all, a very enjoyable Saturday night. I hope to purchase beef from Thompson River Ranch again!

(Disclaimer: I did not receive compensation of any form to write this review)

Quick Valentine’s Day Recap

I have a feeling the little one will be waking up from his nap any minute now, but I’ve been wanting to do a recap of our lovely Valentine’s Day, courtesy of Trevor, and I’m already 4 days late. In the interest of time, I’ll do a picture recap.

First, Quentin and I had a little fun with finger paints. We needed to make daddy a Valentine, so we got to work.

Here is the before picture
Aaaand after. It was a mess (obviously, 7 month old + fingerpaints=big mess), but it was fun!

Happy boy!

It’s all fun and games until you decide to suck your thumb with paint on your hand. That ended the project. Good thing we were done with daddy’s Valentine.

Trevor said he would make a Valentine’s Day dinner. A few years ago, he made this delicious Crab Salad with Pears and Hazelnuts from Simply Recipes. We loved it and decided we wanted to have it again. Maybe it will be a Valentine’s day tradition.

Butter leaf lettuce cups for the salad

Delicious crab and pear salad. Unfortunately, Whole Foods was out of hazelnuts. Instead, we added a little hazelnut oil. It wasn’t the same, but at least there was some nuttiness.

Serving it up.

Add a drizzle of olive oil.

Ready!

For dessert, I made some chocolate-covered strawberries.

As a bonus, we had some macarons from Cocola that a friend gave me as a thank you for the onesie I made for her daughter. Sweet!

I’d say it was a success! What did you do for Valentine’s Day? Or am I already too late to still be thinking about this at all?