I’ve been under the weather (long, personal story and I’m not telling it).
Bottom line: I spent some time in the hospital and here’s the proof that I’m a real foodie. This particular hospital had some really good food. I had the BEST cherry cobbler I have ever put in my mouth. I was sick as a dog and couldn’t eat it all and watching that tray get carried away darn near killed me. They also make something that you would SWEAR was chicken katsu but it wasn’t deep-fried; its was baked. I ate a whole piece of that one (lay there groaning and overfull but it was worth the pain). So I’m leaving the hospital and they have these comment cards and I beg them to tell me the name of the chef or nutritional director or whatever and while I’m still half woozy and lying in bed I write this BEGGING letter. Please, please, please can I have those recipes? Haven’t heard back yet. But if I get them, I’ll cut them down to home size and share them with you. My girlfriend darned near split her sides laughing at me…the only person she knows that would go to the hospital and find two good recipes!
Since I’ve been home, I’ve returned to cooking. Here’s the thing with me: If I’m not cooking, I’m not alright. Something’s wrong. So, proof that I’m mended is that I spent yesterday making Meyer Lemon-Ginger Marmalade (you can find the recipe in the latest edition of Edible Hawaiian Islands magazine; the cover story is my story on Meyer lemons but this recipe was not one I submitted; someone else wrote it). ediblehawaiianislands.com
We had a bushful of Meyer lemons that had been ripening for months and were ready so I made a double batch. My sweet husband was the cutter and juice squeezer and I was the cooker and canner and I got 14 jars of various sizes. It’s delicious stuff, though it won’t appeal to everyone. You have to like tart-bitter-sweet and not expect a jam texture, it’s a little loose. I don’t like orange marmalade at all but I do like this. Husband had a good idea: use it as a glaze for pork chops. A friend said marmalade is really good over grilled shrimp. I’m thinking hot buttered toast, myself.
There are like a million Meyer Lemon Marmalade recipes online, too, and I took a technique from one of them that was not suggested in the recipe I used. Meyer lemons don’t have a huge amount of pectin in the flesh, but the seeds and pith do have pectin. So, you halve the lemon, cut out the seeds and pith and save them. Tie them up in a cheesecloth bag and cook them with the lemons. Slice the lemons as thinly as possible (the recipe suggested a mandoline and either my mandoline isn’t sharp enough or I didn’t have it set right but that did not work so we just sliced them.) Cook the lemons in water. Measure. Add a cup to a cup and a quarter of sugar for each cup of lemon. Add some lemon juice and (in the case of the recipe I used, fresh grated ginger and minced crystallized ginger) cook until jammed (put some on a chilled sauce and run your finger through it; if the pathway stays and doesn’t fill up with juice, it’s done). Because I did a double batch this took well over an hour.
And here’s my whine for the day: WHAT THE HECK HAPPENED TO CANNING JARS? Nobody has ’em. I had to scour my cupboards to find old ones and even throw out some stuff that was moldering in my fridge to get enough jars. I did find lids at a local Safeway but no jars. If anybody knows where you can always find jars, let me know. I’m thinking I’ll check out the Salvation Army for old jars because it’s almost Christmas and I’m probably going to do mincemeat or apple butter or something. I have this awesome apple butter recipe that you make in the oven — so easy. I’ll share it later.
To find Meyer lemons, try nurseries at big box stores or Frankie’s in Waimanalo, which specializes in dwarf fruit trees you can grow on a lanai or (as we do) along a walkway. Alluvion, the wholesale nursery townside of Haleiwa on Kamehameha Highway, grows them, too.