2.22.13 Hot Links: February

Zest1 790 xxx
photos by gluttonforlife
Unless you live in a land of perpetual sunshine—or you're from down under—this time of year can get a little bleak. Every year I remind myself to schedule a vacation in February, and every year I forget. Last year we did make it to Hawaii in March and next month we're lucky enough to have another family vacation in Antigua, so there's sunlight at the end of the tunnel. It's bloody cold here and that makes it tough to get the exercise I need. I go to yoga twice a week, jump rope in the screened-in porch and get out in the woods when the snow is right for snowshoeing or it's not too icy to hike. I never thought I would say this, living in paradise as I do, but I miss the gym. After three years upstate, it's clear to me that I have to be more disciplined about my fitness. Generally, if I don't get moving first thing in the morning, it just won't happen. And that's not OK. Especially at 50, with both feet planted firmly in middle age, it's crucial to get the heart pumping and the muscles firing on a regular basis. Whatever your age, you'll actually experience fewer aches and pains, feel more energetic, sleep more soundly, have more radiant skin and look better in jeans. When life hands you lemons...
Meyer lemons 790 xxx
good day, sunshine
Last week, life handed me a big box of Meyer lemons from California. Actually, I ordered them from Lemon Ladies Orchard in Emerald Hills, California. Karen Morss, the lovely farmer, is a former businesswoman who retired from the corporate world and bought two private airplanes and a flight school while she was still a student pilot. Then she married her instructor, a test pilot and air racer. But her love for Meyer lemons prevailed over her passion for aviation and she ultimately sold the flight school and planted an orchard. My kind of woman. Her lemons are organic, pristine and flavorful. Karen added a few sprigs of flowering rosemary, some fresh bay leaves and several kaffir limes to my order of 10 pounds of lemons—the fragrance was like a blast of California sunshine.
Juice 790 xxx
put the squeeze on it
I immediately packed some in salt with the bay leaves and a couple of chiles to preserve for later use. Then I zested the remaining fruit and packed the zest into a big freezer bag. Now I can break off chunks whenever I need it. Next, I juiced all the lemons and froze the juice in ice cube trays, just as I do with stock. This, too, will be on call when the mood strikes. I can use it to make Meyer lemon caramel, or Meyer lemon curd (or this lowfat version), or just add a splash and/or a bit of zest to soups, risottos and sauces. It's also fantastic boiled into a syrup with some sugar or honey and a sprig of rosemary. 

What else have I got for you? A bunch of links and resources I've been meaning to pass along for much too long now. I hope they will provide inspiration and bring a little sunshine into your life.

In case last week's how-to-break-down-a-chicken tutorial slipped by you, here's another well-done sequence.

Love the looks of this Noma-esque wintry dish

A blog I follow has come out with this beautiful first publication

Other writers might also find this list of guidelines useful

I covet this (because I like the idea of "shaving" it)

Dying to make these - close kin to my hazelnut biscuits

Please buy me something from this genius designer

A prediction for what's coming to your plate in 2013 

Don't you want some of this basalt serveware?!

Jonathan Gold's food quizzes are a lot of fun

The source for more breaking recipes from the fabulous Yotam Ottolenghi

I worship Norma Kamali for so many reasons

Must eat here soon

A thoughtful alternative to plastic and foil

A guaranteed smile here for you

And if not that, then surely this one




Don't forget all those feel-good endorphins that exercise pumps into your brain. That was a brilliant design trick - buiit-in reward system for keeping one's body in shape. At 60 I'm just hanging in there by the skin of my teeth - 3 mornings of yoga after a light workout and maybe a stiff hike up a coastal mountain once a week or two. There seems to be a direct relationship between age and the steepness of that slippery slope and the way back up is steeper and longer. But exercise seems to make one eat better as well. Loved the photos of your place.
Bill Lutz on February 22, 2013 at 5:25 pm —
You'll always be 35 to me! (And still looking good for any age!)
laura on February 22, 2013 at 5:50 pm —
Thank you for the link love Laura! It certainly brought sunshine to my day. As do your pictures of what appears to be the most perfect lot of lemons I have ever seen. Just gorgeous!
Prairie on February 22, 2013 at 8:58 pm —
Thank you Laura for the wonderful review and comments about lemons! We love growing them for you!
Karen Morss on April 13, 2013 at 12:52 pm —