Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Preserved Lemons

preserved lemons 069_thumbPreserved lemons are often described as one of the signature flavors of North African cooking, adding a salty, citrus note to pilafs, tagines, and stews. I haven't been to Morocco or Algeria or Tunisia (yet!), nor have I ever tasted preserved lemons, but the latter will change in a few weeks. That's when this quart jar of lemons, salt, and spices will come to maturity, and I'll pretend I'm sitting down for a bowl of lentil tagine with preserved lemons in Tangier or Casablanca. How's that for budget travel?

Organic lemons are preferred for this, because the peels are the ultimate ingredient, and that's where pesticides can concentrate in non-organic lemons. Some preserved lemon recipes call for nothing more than lemons and salt, and some include lots of spices and sweeteners. I took the middle path, with lemons, salt, and spices, but no sweetener.

After sterilizing a wide mouth quart jar and lid in boiling water, I filled the jar with layers of sea salt (a half cup!), quartered lemons, and spices including cardamom pods, cloves, star anise, a cinnamon stick, and black peppercorns. If this works out, I'll post the actual recipe in a few weeks...I don't want to lead anyone astray in the meantime :) After filling the jar with lemons, I squeezed the juice of the extra lemons into the jar, until all of the lemon quarters were submerged in lemon juice. I used about two pounds of lemons in total. Now I'm shaking the jar every day, to keep the salt and juice mixed. The pickled lemons are rinsed of much of the salt before eating, so don't be freaked out by that half cup of salt.

This is sort of a recipe in progress, so I'll be back in a few weeks with the results, and hopefully a fabulous Moroccan recipe to showcase these guys. Meanwhile...

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I've meant to make the tempeh sausage pastry puffs from Vegan Brunch since the first time I opened that book, but felt like they deserved a special occasion. I don't think Monday Night Football qualifies as a special occasion, especially when the Vikings lose, but I went ahead and made these last night anyway. They're delicious, with a spice mixture including fennel seeds, sage, thyme, red pepper flakes, and mustard seeds giving them a definite sausage vibe. Great served with mushroom gravy.

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Another cookbook winner, this is a take on the Pad See Ew from Vegan Yum Yum. The greens are yu choy, which is pretty close to Chinese broccoli. The rice noodles here are kind of interesting too - Thai noodles called "Rice Flake" on the package. They look like flat cut-up squares of dry spring roll wrapper, but when cooked they roll up into cylinders. I was entertained (it's winter), and the noodle tubes are nice vehicles for the sweet and spicy Pad See Ew sauce. Yu choy is harvested fairly young, so even the stems are pretty tender after a quick stir fry.

14 comments:

Dani said...

oo that looks good.

The Voracious Vegan said...

Ohhhh yum! This is fantastic, thanks for the inspiration.

River - The Crafty Kook said...

How very interesting! I love almost anything lemony, so I am looking forward to your recipe. Enjoy your time in your own little Casablanca! Round up the usual suspects! :-D

Your tempeh sausage pastry puffs look fantastic. I haven't tried that recipe from Vegan Brunch yet. The Vegan Yum Yum cookbook is on my wish list!

Bianca said...

Homemade lemon pickle?! Yea! I've tried it at Indian restaurants. Good stuff! And the sausage puffs look great. I still haven't tried that recipe.

CeCylka said...

That looks...yyy...green :)

aredcardigan said...

Ya made your own pastry puffs!!!!!

Good lord!!

Happy New Year Mike-o-roni!

Mike K said...

Actually, I wish I had the patience to make my own! They're Pepperidge Farm, which are vegan :)

Trinity (of haiku tofu) said...

I just got my hands on Vegan Brunch yesterday, and those tempeh puffs instantly jumped onto my radar! I'll be making these soon (also with store-bought pastry, as I'm not THAT good yet)!

The Bad Vegan said...

i used to work at one of those "high-end gourmet restaurants" and the french trained chef loved using preserved lemons in a variety of recipes. what a bold undertaking to make them at home! i hope they turn out really well.

Luray va accommodations said...

Recipes sound so delicious. I love preserved lemons. I can’t wait to try your lemons. Since you are using lemon skin in the recipe, it is most likely advised to buy natural lemons. Citrus fruits tend to get a lot of spray which is held in the oils of the rinds.

Best Regards,

Viagra Online said...

Sounds very interesting the way like you write the lemon recipe, actually is my predilect fruit, especially when we're in summer. I hope you can still posting this, because I like to learn a lot about.

Generic Viagra said...

Really, Are preserved lemos a flavor of North African cooking? I don't think so because my grand mother used to prepare it in Christmas Time.

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Nothing like a good vegan recipe to start the the day, seems that you are a true expert!

Esther said...

Thanks for this post, quite helpful material.