(garden hod-my new favorite item)
my good friend from high school, Victoria of Worst Date/Roommate/Job fame told me months ago that her mother, Joanne has an amazing English garden that she wanted to learn how to preserve from-she is a big-time cook. after phone-tag and chance meetings, we finally snagged a date to hang out and make some amazing things.
this past Tuesday, i loaded up the car with dreams of roses and lemon curd racing though my brain to Joanne's. what i found was a more than your typical garden and tons more than your typical woman...
Joanne Namkung not only spends hours helping to run their family's non-profit Kids of Kilimanjaro-a feat in itself, but has a passion for food and growing that is intoxicating the moment you walk in their door...one cannot help but be ready to learn and make some serious food!
after bringing in my barrage of canning/preserving items, i had a tour of a dream kitchen-fit for the food lover and a garden that shouted the English poets' stanza on budding Sweet Pea leaves happily taking in the rain storm...
(artichokes-still need a month or so)
(my birthday is May 5th)
but enough of that, on to the merriment that is cooking:
the goal of our afternoon was to make a few items that required little of conventional sugar and made use of her yard. Joanne had a few citrus trees and two of them were absolutely covered with lemons of all shapes and sizes. But first, we decided to make traditional fermented pickles.
(old-school Clausen pickles, about to be brined)Next we juiced about 12 cups of lemons (not even a dent in the tree) and made preserved lemons. Both Joanne and George are not fans of sugar, so what to do? luckily i brought a huge container of agave nectar and we ended up making some pretty awesome margarita mix and lemon curd...Joanne almost had a freak with how good it turned out-can't see it lasting long. see recipe below...
i have known Joanne for well over 15 years-but i have only known her as my friend's mother. Spending time with her on Tuesday was something different...we have a lot in common and i got to know an amazing woman who i can easily see as a friend with more adventures in creating yummy things. i cant wait to spend more time with her (in fact her celery soup was this weeks recipe for CSA cooking)...more to come i am sure!
(bubbling the lemon curd)
(the finished product-we will be repeating this one FOR SURE!)
DELILAH'S AGAVE LEMON CURD:
- 6tbs softened butter
- 2/3c agave nectar
- 2 large eggs
- 2/3c lemon juice
- fresh lemon zest
pour in a heavy-bottom saucepan and slowly heat the mix. when the butter melts, turn up the heat to med/med-high and stir constantly (remember to get the sides of the pot too-burning will ruin it!). keep stirring until it coats the back of the spoon. cool-lasts about 3-4 weeks in the fridge and 6-9mo frozen.