Have you ever searched for something only to find that it was right in your own backyard? I think this applies to so many things in life. You search for a place to relax, you search for the right person, you search for the best job, the best restaurants, we spend so much time “googling”-searching for everything we need that sometimes we miss what is right in our face! In my case, it was literally in my own backyard! I could turn lemons into lemonade.
I am talking about my lemon tree! I have been in my home for 16 years and this lemon tree was planted by the previous owners many years ago. So no tellin’ how old this tree is! Every year it bares amazing lemons. They get so big and plentiful that they start to fall off the tree! Family and friends are amazed and can’t wait to pick them! I am ashamed to admit that for years, I rarely picked the lemons or used them in any recipes. Yeah, maybe a pitcher of lemonade once a year but that was about it! My “this is ridiculous moment” was when I actually purchased some lemons in the grocery store for a recipe I was trying. OMG! When I got home and looked out at the tree I had totally forgotten about, I felt so silly!! At that moment I said, I would never do that again and I promised myself that I would make an effort to use the beautiful lemons from my own tree more often. Now with that said…here are some great lemon recipes you should try.
First, The Best Lemonade Ever!
This recipe is modified from a recipe I found on allrecipes.com. The key to this recipe is making the simple syrup… don’t skip that step!
1 3/4 cups of white sugar
8 cups of water
1 1/2 cups of lemon juice (I squeezed about 6 large lemons)
In a small saucepan, combine sugar and 1 cup water. Bring to boil and stir to dissolve sugar. Allow to cool to room temperature, then I added ice cubes to cool it down and placed it in the refrigerator.
Remove seeds from lemon juice, I also strained the pulp but some folks like to keep it in. In a pitcher, stir together the chilled syrup, lemon juice and the remaining 7 cups of water. Pour over ice and enjoy! It is perfectly sweet and delicious!
Next, Lemon Garlic Shrimp and Grits
Now, nobody makes shrimp and grits like my dear friends Reggie and Michelle! On our annual RV trip in October, they made the best ever shrimp and grits! One day I am going to watch them make it but until then, I decided to try this recipe. I found it on the Food Network, see recipe here. I made a few modifications like adding a little heavy cream to the grits and I seasoned the shrimp with Emeril’s Essence and used parsley flakes because I did not have fresh parsley at the time. The dish was delicious and so easy to make. Give it a try!
Finally, Lemony Mini Loaf Bread
Mini Loaf Bread Ingredients:
3 large eggs
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup (8 ounces) sour cream
1/2 cup canola or vegetable oil
2 tablespoons lemon zest
2 tablespoons lemon extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
3 tablespoons lemon juice, or as necessary for consistency
Preheat oven to 350F. Spray a mini loaf pan or you can use a 9×5-inch loaf pan with floured cooking spray, or grease and flour the pan; set aside.
For the loaf- In a large bowl, add the eggs, sugar, sour cream, and whisk vigorously until smooth and combined.
Slowly pour in the oil while whisking to combine.
Add the lemon zest, lemon extract, and whisk to combine.
Add the flour, baking powder, salt, and stir until just combined, be careful not to overmix. Some lumps will be present and that’s okay, don’t try to smooth them out.
I used an ice cream scooper to pour the batter into the mini loaf pan.
Bake for about 30 minutes if using a mini loaf pan ( 50-52 minutes if you are using a regular loaf pan) or until top is domed, set, and toothpick inserted in the center crack comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs but no batter. If you are using a regular loaf pan, in the last 10 minutes of baking, tent pan with foil (loosely drape a sheet of foil over pan) to prevent excessive browning on the top and sides of bread before center cooks through. However, the mini loaves will brown fine without tenting in about 30 minutes. I left mine in a little too long so be sure to check on them! They were still good though,. LOL!
Allow loaves to cool in pan on top of a wire rack for at least 30 minutes before turning out onto rack to cool completely before glazing.
Now for the Lemon Glaze – To a small bowl, add the confectioner’s sugar and slowly add in the lemon juice while whisking until smooth and combined. You may need to adjust the sugar and lemon juice amounts as necessary for desired consistency and flavor. Evenly drizzle glaze over the bread. Yummy!
Store bread airtight at room temperature for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 6 months; It is not recommended to store in the refrigerator because it will dry out.
I hope you have enjoyed these lemony recipes. Remember, sometimes what you are searching for is right in your own backyard!
Stay busy being fabulous,