The dogs bark, and want all of her attention, “Woof! Yap! Lucy, you came to see me…did you bring me snacky snacks?” Dad, the honoree, who actually had the birthday a few weeks ago (this dinner is his gift), took them for a quick walk before cooking dinner. Lucy delivered the groceries earlier that morning, steelhead trout, potatoes and fresh corn. I added some fresh asparagus, cilantro, a bit of preserved lemon (a yummy ingredient I made recently) and we made some guacamole from scratch.
We had many very ripe avocados, not by choice, although we like them very much. A good friend was visiting next door at Neighbor Jim’s. The guest and his son went to Costco. The son, a young man about 30 or so, bought a bag of avocados, dumped them out in Jim’s kitchen, saying “I just wanted the bag.” When Jim brought them to us a few days later, we agreed that was a strange way to buy a plastic mesh bag. When we are given free avocados, we are thankful!
Lucy had a short work day–we did all the normal Saturday morning things like laundry and groceries (no avocados!) and Dad took the dogs on a quick walk before she came. I had laryngitis from all the pollen, so I stayed in during the walk, and sounded like a duck with a tired scratchy voice.
About a year ago, Lucy moved into her apartment a few weeks before Dad’s birthday. She had this great idea for his birthday, so she brought steak, potatoes, asked me to do the vegetable, and said she would cook us dinner- she’s never been afraid of cooking. When she was three, she would come home from preschool and want to scramble her own egg. I was with her, of course, but it was always a “Lucy do it!” situation. With birthday dinner last year, Dad being Dad, went out to the grill and started cooking. Lucy and I looked at each other and laughed…he was having fun!
This birthday dinner was a different story. Lucy’s been cooking meals in her own apartment over a year. She came with recipes and ideas, we looked at what was in the fridge, and choose a delightful, although a bit carb-heavy, meal. (Dad teases me “The bag says 4 potatoes are a serving, so what does she eat?…2!) The potatoes are boiled, with plain yogurt and cilantro–we usually do this with parsley, but weather and my herb garden haven’t cooperated yet. We all forgot to time the asparagus, but we poked it with a fork a few times and decided it was done. A relish of spring onion, cilantro and 1/4th of a preserved lemon made it taste like spring!
How to preserve lemons for use in salads, vegetables, pastas or relishes
Use sparingly, no more than 1/4 in most dishes, rinsed. Pulp removal optional.
3-4 medium or large lemons
5 tablespoons sea or kosher salt, divided
1/2 cup lemon juice (minimum)
cleaned mayonnaise jar with plastic lid or mason jar
- Cut lemons into quarters, lengthwise, leaving about 1/4″ intact at bottom.
- Add 1 tablespoon salt into clean jar. Add lemons. Cover with lid and shake until salt is distributed. Freeze 8 hours or overnight.
- Add 4 remaining tablespoons salt to jar. Cover and shake. Remove lid. Press lemons down with wooden spoon, releasing juices. Add enough lemon juice to cover lemons. Secure lid and refrigerate.
- Following 6-7 days: Shake jar daily to distribute salt, pressing down lemons with wooden spoon afterwards if necessary to keep them submerged. Salt should fully dissolve during this period.
Store in refrigerator up to 6 months, if they last that long. Lemons may darken slightly or have a white film that washes off with water.