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Category Archives: Curing

Taste of home

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I managed to pack 11 meyer lemons into my suitcase a few days back – plucked from my mother’s tree. If I could figure out how to grow them here in Germany, I would in a heartbeat. I miss them a lot. Their aroma is like no other citrus and can only be rivaled (for me) by the keffir lime, perhaps. I could make these things into lemon sorbet, I can grate their skins into fresh ravioli, I could juice them into lemon tarts…they are a million times better than normal lemons. I have yet to find a supplier here. (WHY?!)

But the best way to stretch these out over time…when trips to California are few and far in between…is to salt them and pack them into a jar. Why? Because they make exquisite tagines. So 3 of the 11 were given away to a friend who also loves to cook with great and scarce ingredients, 5 of them went into that jar in the photo, and a measly 3 lie in my refrigerator waiting for a fate to come.

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These take 5 minutes and a month to make. 5 minutes to cut them into quarters – leaving the lemon intact on just a single side, sprinkle their flesh with salt, pack them into a jar with a  bay leaf, a cinnamon stick, a bunch of cloves and coriander seeds and a handful of fresh thyme, and then cover them with more lemon juice (no meyers, but that’s ok), and another handful of salt. And a month to marinate and pickle to a finish, each day a careful shake and a push to make sure the lemons are always submerged under the juices.

In a month we’ll have a tagine, perhaps a chicken one or lamb, and I will have a taste of California and the smell of my mother’s tree in my head. And a month after that I will travel again to California and gather more lemons.

 

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Two and a half weeks later…

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The big reveal. Wrapped up in the cheesecloth was something quite simple – duck breasts. I never thought much of curing meat myself – always assuming it was somehow a tedious and long process. But now I know better.

A few weeks back I came across a recipe that showed how easy it is to cure a duck breast and then hang it to dry for a few weeks and simply forget about it. So…my couple weeks are up and I went down to the cellar and collected the first packet, opened it up, brushed off most of the spices it had been rolled in, and cut off a slice. Delicious. Both the flavor of the fresh thyme and the duck come through prominently and though I haven’t tried it on a salad or a sandwich yet, I can easily imagine it being extremely tasty.

Definitely will be a repeat performance – with other spices, meats, etc.

 

 
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Posted by on October 7, 2014 in Cooking at home, Curing, Holiday Foods

 

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Patience.

A simple teaser.

I put these together last Sunday, although started them on Saturday evening. Will need to wait 2-3 weeks until I can open them. What’s inside?

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Posted by on September 25, 2014 in Cooking at home, Curing

 

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