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Meyer Lemons for Lemon Week

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Lemon week continues here in the Jolly Tomato household, and today we’re looking at Meyer lemons. Why Meyer lemons? It mostly has to do with the always patient and indulgent Mr. Jolly Tomato. Last week he came home from the farmers’ market bearing two pounds of Meyer lemons. “Wasn’t there something you wanted Meyer lemons for?” he asked. Well…yeah. For a recipe five months ago. But never mind – it’s a always good to have Meyer lemons around.

Meyer lemons are the hipsters of the lemon family. They are not quite as tart as a regular lemon, they have a bright citrus flavor, and they’re incredibly popular throughout what people refer to as “California Cuisine.” Apparently Meyer lemons came about as a cross between a true lemon and some variety of orange; this could explain their mild flavor and versatility. They’re  mostly harvested in winter, which is great news for all of us who need a little lemon-y boost to get through January.

While admiring our Meyer lemons, the first recipe we came up with was a kale and lemon salad.We learned about making shockingly delicious raw kale salads from – who else – Dorothy of Shockingly Delicious. The key when using raw kale in a salad is to either massage the dressing into the kale, or just toss it together and let it sit for a few hours so the kale softens up a bit.

We are fully in support of the “lazy” method. So we took a beautiful bunch of Russian kale (it has flat, spindly leaves and purple stems), tore the leaves from the stems, and tossed the leaves in a bowl with a tablespoon of olive oil and the juice of one Meyer lemon. Then we let it sit for a few hours, and by dinnertime we had a beautiful lemon-y treat for the table.

Next we decided to go crazy with some winter colors and make a blue corn/Meyer lemon cornbread. We adapted this from a plain blue cornbread recipe from an Allrecipes.com; the result is nice and cake-y with a mild lemon flavor.

Blue Corn/Meyer Lemon Cornbread

1 cup blue cornmeal

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup whole wheat flour

5 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 cup white sugar

1 pinch salt

Grated rind of one Meyer lemon

2 eggs

1 cup milk

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1/4 cup butter

1 Meyer lemon, thinly sliced

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9-inch circular baking pan. In a large mixing bowl, sift together cornmeal, flours, baking powder, sugar, and salt. Combine the eggs, milk, and oil in a separate bowl and mix well. Combine the egg mixture and lemon rind with the dry ingredients. Meanwhile, place the butter inside the baking dish in the oven until it melts. Then mix the hot butter into the cornmeal mixture. Transfer cornmeal mixture into the baking dish. Carefully arrange lemon slices in a circular pattern on top of the batter. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until the edges of the cornbread pull away from the side of the dish and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Serve  warm; drizzle with honey to taste.

Tasty, right? Next up for lemon week: Fish grilled with lemon, and another amazing lemon dessert.

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19 Responses to Meyer Lemons for Lemon Week

  1. Valentina January 19, 2012 at 9:17 am #

    love the lemon-cornbread combo! LOVE meyer lemons — my parents have a tree and it makes me SO happy. hope Mr. Jolly Tomato is enjoying the treats! :-)

    • jollytomato January 19, 2012 at 9:38 am #

      Oh, man, I would love to have a lemon tree…One of these years! Thanks, Valentina!

  2. Jennifer January 19, 2012 at 9:19 am #

    I love that you called Meyer lemons the hipsters of the lemon family! Hilarious.

    • jollytomato January 19, 2012 at 9:37 am #

      Thanks, Jennifer!

  3. Jamie January 19, 2012 at 10:06 am #

    I was JUST thinking about meyer lemons yesterday (I swear!) I was intrigued by them, but had no idea really what to use them for (excpet pies)

    I am saving this and going to make lemon cornbread! YUM

    • jollytomato January 19, 2012 at 10:10 am #

      Thanks, Jamie!

  4. Laura Filipowicz January 19, 2012 at 11:46 am #

    My husband is so not a lemon person – but I am!

    • jollytomato January 19, 2012 at 12:21 pm #

      Me too! Thanks, Laura!

  5. Deborah Stambler January 19, 2012 at 2:08 pm #

    I’m wondering if the year of endive has inspired you to seek out new themes. Keep ‘em coming. I’m going to have to try the kale. I love something that easy that you have to let sit around before it’s delicious. My kind of cooking!

    Thanks Jeanne!

    • jollytomato January 19, 2012 at 2:45 pm #

      Thanks, Deborah! FYI – I have another six months’ worth of endive to go! And I agree, I’m all for any recipe that calls for letting things just sit around for a few hours.

  6. Desiree Eaglin January 19, 2012 at 4:25 pm #

    I actually tried my first Meyer lemon just yesterday. I thought it was an orange at first and ate it as so. LOL

    • jollytomato January 19, 2012 at 5:41 pm #

      LOL! Thanks for stopping by, Desiree!

  7. Adrienne January 19, 2012 at 4:47 pm #

    We just picked a ton of lemons off our tree yesterday, thanks for all the great ideas!

    • jollytomato January 19, 2012 at 5:40 pm #

      Sooooo jealous – I would love to have a lemon tree. Maybe some year….Thanks for stopping by, Adrienne!

  8. Jeannine January 19, 2012 at 5:17 pm #

    sounds yummy – love lemons – including a little Lemoncella – does that count?!

    • jollytomato January 19, 2012 at 5:40 pm #

      Absolutely – Thanks, Jeannine!

  9. Caryn B January 20, 2012 at 1:13 am #

    YUM YUM YUM! I just had Meyer Lemon Cheesecake tonight and it was seriously delicious. I have to try to make this, sans the eggs, milk, and butter : )

    • jollytomato January 20, 2012 at 10:19 am #

      Meyer Lemon Cheesecake – That’s an excellent idea! I still have plenty of lemons to use up. Thanks, Caryn!

  10. amee January 24, 2012 at 9:45 pm #

    I pay attention to anything “lemon”. :) Even when I was little, I didn’t want the Stawberry Shortcake doll. I went for lemon Merengue…it was a scented doll…and would you believe after 15 years it still smelled like lemon??? i’m going off on a tangent….sorry.

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