My mom spends countless hours like a mad scientist, nose in her stock pot, canning peaches and pears, making jams and mixing sauces. Our basement has always been fully stocked with mason jars ready to be packaged and given as gifts for a full spectrum of occasions. While I appreciate their personal homemade qualities, I have neither the skill nor the patience to create such gifts.
This past weekend, Max and I celebrated our friends housewarming, a milestone so deserving of a personal homemade gift. After glossing through a few (thousand) pinterest pages, I remembered a piece by T. Susan Chang for NPR’s Kitchen Window series on preserved lemons. At first, the thought of old lemons sitting in salt water for a month left me far from hungry. However, she continued saying
"The flavor of a preserved lemon needs no justification. It’s mellow yet intensely lemony, with none of the nose-tickling bright high notes of the fresh lemon"
These little concoctions can be used in anything from lamb dishes to hummus and Caesar dressings. I opted to season my batch with coriander seeds, for their citrusy floral flavor, dried chili peppers for a bit of a kick, and a bay leaf… because it seems like they go in everything. I have no idea how they will taste. However, they were easy and fun to prepare, and they look beautiful! While I chose to go with the preserved lemons, flavored butter terrines, infused sugars and pickled mustard seeds are always safe options for great homemade gifts that require little culinary skill or knowledge.
Aside from my lemon preserving venture, we spent our weekend finally trying new dishes at Mekong River, learning about the life of a strip club restroom attendant, celebrating with old friends and meeting a new friend… The Moscow Mule. We devoured our favorite Cleveland breakfast (the Corned Beef breakfast sandwich at Best Gyros), finally cleaned off the layer of winter dirt from our front porch, ogled some teeny tiny houses for sale and of course hit the thrift stores.