Monday, February 27, 2012

When Life Gives You Lemons

We are lucky to have a friend who has a lemon tree bursting with lemons. She sent out word for anyone who was interested to please come and pick as many as they wanted.  Their tree was so overloaded, that branches literally broke off with the weight of the fruit.  I have never seen so many lemons on one tree in my life!  I took my boys over to their house, and we picked a whole lot of lemons.  They loved putting them in bags and picking (very carefully because of the thorns) some.  After we brought our bounty home, we had lots of fun juicing and zesting lemons.  My garbage can and kitchen have never smelled cleaner!  So lemony fresh.

In thinking about what I'm going to do with all of this lovely lemon juice and zest (I'm freezing most of it), here are a few of my very favorite lemon recipes to share.  If you're lucky enough to have a lot of lemons on hand, try out one or two of them.  You won't be disappointed.

I found this lemon ricotta pancake recipe in our newspaper several years ago and they are so good, especially if you like nice and thick pancakes.  The blueberry topping adds lots of fresh flavor as well.  My boys don't especially like these (they think they are too lemony), but Mike and I do!

Lemon Lovers Ricotta Pancakes

1 cup flour
2 Tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
1 large egg
2 large egg whites
1/2 cup lemon juice
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
1 Tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon canola oil, divided use

Heat oven to 200 degrees.

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt

In a medium bowl, whisk together ricotta egg, egg whites, lemon juice, lemon zest and 1 tablespoon oil.  Using a rubber spatula or wooden spoon, fold this mixture into the dry ingredients to make a thick batter.

Brush a non-stick skillet with 1/2 teaspoon oil, then heat over medium-low.  With a 1/4 cup measure, drop the batter onto the skillet, spreading it slightly.  Multiple pancakes can be cooked at once.

Cook pancakes until browned and beginning to set, about  2 minutes.  Flip and cook until browned on the second side and cooked at the center, about 2 minutes longer.

 Transfer the cooked pancakes to a baking sheet and place in the oven to keep warm.  Brush the skillet with the remaining oil and repeat with remaining batter.

Makes 5 servings.

Here's the quick blueberry sauce that is perfect with these pancakes:

1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 teaspoons corn starch
2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries
1/3 cup sugar
2 tablespoons water
1/4 teaspoon salt

Combine lemon juice and cornstarch and set aside.  In meduim saucepan combine blueberries, sugar, water and salt.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce to a simmer and stir in lemon juice-cornstarch mixture.  Simmer, stirring until the sauce thickens slightly about 2 minutes.  Makes 10 servings.

Nonna's Lemon Ricotta Biscuits (they more like muffins) are an absolute family favorite.  We love making them for a fancy breakfast, or even a lighter dessert.  These babies are in our regular rotation, especially when lemons are in season.

We also love these Glazed Lemon Bars from Our Best Bites.  In fact, my mom made some last night, and I'm glad they are at her house right now because they may have become my really unhealthy breakfast had they been in my kitchen...

Now, my boys have begged for lemonade, so I'm on the hunt for a good recipe for homemade lemonade.  Any tips out there?  I'd love to hear them in the comments!


  1. Those sound heavenly! I am not much of a baker, but pankcakes I can do.

  2. Homemade lemonade? Add water and sugar. Lots of sugar.