Sunday, March 25, 2012

Meyer Lemons & Rangpur Limes

I really lucked out this year. Even though I swore I wouldn't do citrus, it nonetheless found it's way to me. It's good to have friends in citrusy places is all I can say. One of the really special things I got this year was a shipment of rangpur limes from Shae, at Hitchhiking to Heaven. She talks about them here, and has a few recipes up, like this gorgeous looking Rangpur Lime Jam. I also got a bunch of Meyer lemons through some charitable folks I'll call enablers. This is what I made with all that goodness.

Meyer Lemons:

I made lemon Curd using this amazing new (to me, at least) technique that is brilliant. This recipe is from Elinor Klivans from Fine Cooking, and what's different about it is that you blend the ingredients first, and then heat them up. Please check it out. It was the most perfect lemon curd I've ever made. And the easiest.

I also made this gorgeous Tartine Bakery's Lemon Cream that Sara from Three Clever Sisters told me about. Food52's Kristen Miglore goes into the details of this delightful, velvety yet light as air cream. It was so much fun to make, and I really thought I messed it up until the end. I never really believe things are going to emulsify, you know? But then they do! I ate it just like pudding, and I think that's just fine (salute to Kristen). (Not lemons or limes, but pure genius, make sure you check out this chocolate mousse that Miglore discusses!)

I was all gung ho to make a Meyer lemon syrup and can it. Well, let me tell you that the subtle sunny notes that makes a Meyer a Meyer does not want to be contained in a syrup that sits on the shelf. Or at least that's how I felt. It was my technique of heating the juice that ruined it's delicate bouquet. Use the rangpur lime syrup recipe below, and I can assure you a better product. Just stick it in the fridge, stick it in the fridge. You'll drink it pretty fast anyways. To be fair, this still makes a fine lemonade base. Next time I'll just stick with the regular kinds of lemons.

[For those interested: take two cups sugar and two cups water, bring to a boil and make sure the sugar is dissolved. Add two cups of fresh lemon juice, bring back to a boil. Ladle into sterlized jars and process for ten minutes in a boiling water bath.]

I love this link I found 100 things to do with a meyer lemon by Amy Scattergood from the LA Times. Number 83 was discussed a bit. So, when I started looking into that, I wondered what about a whole lemon, not just the peels. Which made me start researching this Japanese treat called simply "honey lemon slices." Seems like a popular manga character really likes them. I never really found out what they were, but I sliced a Meyer lemon and a few rangpur limes and tucked them neatly in their separate half-pint jars. Then I covered them with nice local honey. They've been in the fridge for a while steeping. I'm not quite sure what to do with them, honestly, but I am guessing in a week or two the slices will sink nicely in a drink, and the honey will do nicely with some seltzer.

That wormhole led me to make this very strange pickled lemon recipe. I am not sure I like it, but it might just work in a margarita. What doesn't? It's sort of like preserved lemon, so I guess it can't be that bad, right? I'm not in love with it. Yet. Please note: I made a super small batch of this. This recipe is for an army's worth of pickled lemon. I'm not sure who needs that. But I could be wrong.

Rangpur Limes:

The antithesis to my Meyer lime syrup. I made a rangpur lime syrup, and I never want to live without it again. But I will, sadly. I made a simple syrup with 1 cup of sugar and 1 cup of water, that I brought to a simmer to make sure the sugar was dissolved. Then, once it cooled a touch, I added one cup of rangpur lime juice. Did I mention that rangpur limes are heaven with gin? Oops. Maybe I said that already. Have you tried Tanqueray Rangpur? I haven't. (Hint, hint, Tanqueray publicity!)

Well, I can't wait all day for Tanqueray's people to send me a bottle, so I made my own. It's more of a liqueur, similar to a calamondin gin that I made. I can't get enough of that stuff! I quartered about 8 rangpur limes, enough to fill a quart jar, added a cup of sugar, and filled to the top with gin (I used Gordon's). It will sit for a month, agitated every day, until it becomes my drink of choice. I know it's going to be off the hook. Until then I'm having No. 3 Gin with a shot of rangpur syrup, topped with seltzer. Heaven!

You have to make Hungry Tigress' North Indian Lime Pickle. I've never had them with regular limes, so I don't know how that tastes. I'm sure amazing. So, with Rangpur limes, think double triple billion amazing. I am a total wimp, so I followed her directions for not adding cayenne, and upping the sugar. Yeah, I know, I'm lame, but believe me these pickles are still awesome. This is the kind of pickle that is beguiling. One that makes your mouth pucker, salivary glands wake up even when they are behind you, and you can't even see them. That's where they are right now, and I just got up to smell them. Ahhhh.

Autumn Makes and Does made this pretty little rangpur lime marmalade, and when I made it, it came out perfectly. It's a gorgeous marmalade in petite ratio, and her recipe totally made me feel okay about making it. I didn't want a huge batch. I ended up with three quarter pints, and one fridge container. Treasure!

Really? Rangpur lime shooters? I didn't make them, but wasn't sure whether this was totally right or totally wrong. But truth be told, I would not turn one down!

I'm adding these two treats to the list for the next time the rangpur lime fairy strikes:

Rangpur Lime Curd Bars from Apt. 2B Baking Co.

Anonymous Citrus (or, most probably Rangpur Lime) and Chile Pâté de Fruit from Tug's Girl