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Lemon Tree, Very Fruitful

January 12, 2012 By:
Rivka Tal, Jewish Exponent Feature
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A TASTE OF ISRAEL

The little garden in front of our apartment here in Jerusalem isn't doing too well lately. We've had to be miserly with watering because of Israel's severe water shortage (always a problem, but worse the last few years).


But our lemon tree does remarkably well even in the face of neglect. Admittedly, its produce is not as picture-perfect as it could be, but we're not complaining, and we love to use the lemons in a variety of recipes.

Lemons, of course, have myriad uses in the kitchen: from simple salad dressings to fish and fruit salads and every dish in between -- to say nothing of their heavenly aroma.

Lemon-Chocolate Chip Bars
(Dairy or Parve)

These bars have an outstanding lemon flavor. Add the optional frosting to make a delicious bar even better.

2 cups flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 cup butter or unsalted margarine, room temperature
1 cup brown sugar, packed
grated rind of one lemon
2 tsps. vanilla extract
2 eggs
1/2 cup water
1 to 1 and 1/2 cups chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350°. Grease and flour a 9x13x2-inch baking pan.

Sift the flour and stir in the baking powder. Set aside.

Cream together the butter or margarine and brown sugar. Add the grated lemon rind, vanilla and eggs and continue to mix. Add the flour mixture and water and mix until a uniform consistency is achieved.

Stir in the chocolate chips by hand.

Spread evenly into the prepared baking pan.

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until light brown. Cool slightly and spoon optional topping over.

Lemon Jewel Cheesecake

Little pockets of lemon pie filling peek through this lemony, luscious dessert.

Crust Ingredients:

Preheat oven to 325°.

Combine graham cracker crumbs, butter and sugar in medium bowl; mix well. Press mixture onto bottom and up sides of 9- or 10-inch ungreased springform pan. Set aside.

Combine three (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, sugar and lemon zest in large bowl. Beat at medium speed until very creamy. Reduce speed to low; add 1 egg at a time, beating after each addition just until blended. Pour mixture over crust. Drop 1 cup lemon pie filling by tablespoonfuls over mixture. Gently swirl with knife.

Bake for 60 to 75 minutes or until edges are golden brown and center is just set. Cool 5 minutes. Loosen sides of cheesecake from pan by running knife around inside of pan. Cool completely in pan (4 hours). Remove sides of pan.

Beat whipping cream in medium bowl until stiff peaks form; set aside. Combine 3-ounce package cream cheese, powdered sugar and remaining pie filling in another medium bowl. Beat at medium speed until creamy.

Gently stir in whipped cream. Spread over top of cooled cheesecake. Refrigerate until chilled (at least 4 hours). Just before serving, garnish with lemon jelly candy slices, raspberries and mint leaves, if desired.

Lemon Nut Loaf

(Dairy or Parve)

For tea, or a festive brunch

3 cups flour
2 and 1/2 tsps. baking powder
1 cup butter or unsalted margarine, room temperature
1 and 1/2 cups sugar
4 eggs
1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
grated zest of 1 lemon

Preheat oven to 350°. Lightly grease two 8x4x3-inch loaf pans.

Sift flour and baking powder together. Melt the margarine and add to flour mixture, along with sugar. Beat in eggs one at a time, combining well. Stir in the chopped walnuts and zest.

Pour into pans. Bake for 50-60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean.

Lemon Poppy Seed Dressing

(Parve)

Great for vegetables and/or fruit salads or a combination of both

1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup sugar (or less)
1 tsp. Dijon-style mustard
1/2 tsp. salt
2/3 cup olive oil
1 Tbsp. ground poppy seeds

Combine the lemon juice, sugar, mustard and salt in a blender or food processor. Process the mixture until well blended.

With the machine still running, add oil in a slow, steady stream until the mixture thickens. Add the poppy seeds and process a few seconds more to combine. Serve immediately or store in refrigerator.

Honey and Lemon Chicken

(Meat)

2-3 Tbsps. canola oil
4 chicken thighs
4 Tbsps. honey
3 Tbsps. lemon juice
4 sprigs of fresh cilantro

Preheat oven to 375°.

Heat the oil over medium-high heat in a frying pan. Brown the chicken on all sides. Transfer to a lightly-greased lidded casserole dish.

Place the honey and lemon juice in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Immediately pour over the chicken in the casserole dish. Sprinkle with cilantro.

Cook for about 20 minutes or until juices run clear.

Rivka Tal is a former Minnesotan who has lived in Jerusalem for the past 45 years. She is a food writer and translator. Email her at: talriv@gmail.com.


 

 

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