The Lemon Challenge

Last weekend my husband decided to buy some lemons. Actually let me rephrase that – this weekend my husband bought a LOT of lemons. The reason for the lemons? To make limoncello of course! If you are unfamiliar with this gorgeous Italian drink I recommend you get acquainted immediately. It is a (strong) lemon liquor that is quite possibly the most refreshing thing you’ll ever taste when you leave it in the freezer all day and break it out on a hot summer evening. The only downside to making it yourself is that it literally takes months to make. We won’t be breaking out the finished product until September…

The massive amount of lemons was just fine and dandy until the batch of limoncello was made. I looked in the fridge only to realize that two of the FOUR BAGS of lemons had been used. I should probably also mention these are organic lemons. Better tasting, but they certainly do not stay fresh as long. All that was going through my head as I stared at the mounds of yellow orbs was “crap, what the hell am I going to do with all these freaking lemons?!” Thus the Lemon Challenge was born. The objective was simple enough – use all the lemons before they go bad. And naturally I refused to just make a bunch of lemonade and call it good. Seriously, why would I make things simple when I can overcomplicate them?

It has been a blur of lemon recipes this week. It started with Lemon Chicken with Roasted Parmesan Potatoes and Broccoli. This is one of my favorite recipes; especially because the lemon sauce for chicken ended up seeping into the roasted vegetables on my plate making it was fab-u-lous. I would share pictures but the idea to get creative with lemon recipes wasn’t born until the next evening when I realized most recipes with lemon only ask for half a lemon at most…. Yea, maybe I should have just made that lemonade…

The next lemon recipe was a lemon drop martini. Let me preface this with a little factoid for you all – I am NOT a good bartender. This was evident in my first, and only, attempt at this drink. Though I measured correctly (might have ‘accidently’ splashed a little extra vodka in there) the balance of sugar to lemon juice was all off. Plus I decided I would try rimming the glass in sugar. Haha I didn’t realize that I didn’t know how to do this until I made my first attempt. Thankfully my husband spilled this monstrosity before I made it through half of it so he made the next one. The second one was perfect. Refreshing, tangy, and slightly sweet. Plus, after observing my hubby’s skills, I learned how to correctly rim a glass. Next time I will be victorious!

The lemon martinis were followed by L’aiguillette de Canard au Citron (lemon duck, yes I had to use my fancy French). Duck is heaven. So much better than chicken and rapidly becoming my favorite meat, period. Though the recipe did not have as much upfront lemon flavor as the lemon chicken, it still ended up with a gorgeous glaze and it accompanied my second martini quite marvelously.

The final lemon recipe of the week ended with Lemon Garlic Spaghetti. This one was so utterly simple but so refreshing! See the recipe below, slightly modified from the recipe I found on i nom things:

Lemon Garlic Spaghetti – serves 2

4 oz dry spaghetti, slightly undercooked
1/4 cup grated parmesan
2 tsp olive oil
1 clove garlic
1/2 lemon
5-6 basil leaves, chiffonaded

Heat the garlic in olive oil in a frying pan over low heat until the garlic turns brown. Add the slightly undercooked spaghetti to the frying pan along with the basil, parmesan cheese, and juice from ½ a lemon. Cook until the pasta is done and season as desired.

Simple right? It is so fresh and bright, perfect for spring/summer. I am sure adding some pine nuts as the original recipe suggests would be phenomenal (damn my sparse pantry and lack of energy to go to the store on a weeknight). It has definitely moved to the top of my favorite pasta dishes. I can just imagine making this with homemade spaghetti… THAT would be incredible.

You would think at this point I would have made it through all the lemons by now, wouldn’t you? Well, there is still one more bag looming in my fridge and I have got to think of some recipes. That is where you come in, my beloved readers. Yep, I am calling on you to help me get through these lemons in a more creative way that plain ol’ lemonade. Please oh please shower me with your favorite lemon recipes! Even if you have a lemon recipe you have never tried before and are curious to know how it will turn out, allow me to do the honor of trying it for you. I absolutely refuse to waste food so if I don’t get recipes I will be making that boring lemonade…. But I really won’t be happy about it.

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