Cookbook Binge

by Anne Bennett on June 10, 2011

Some women buy shoes. Some women buy the latest fashions.

I buy cookbooks…and shoes and the latest fashions. I guess you could say that I’m a well-shod, well-dressed and way well-read (at least in terms of recipes) kind of gal.

Pictured above are a spate of my recent acquisitions, accompanied by the preserved lemons I put up yesterday from the cookbook on the right with the gold spine (“Arabesque” by Claudia Roden).

Claudia Roden is a master of Middle Eastern cooking. Preserved lemons, a staple of many Middle Eastern dishes, areĀ a mixture of fresh, organic lemons, sea salt and lemon juice that sits for a month before being recipe-ready.

So, on or about the July 4 holiday I’m hoping to post a recipe here for chicken tagine, or chicken with preserved lemons and olives.

The other cookbooks comprise a medley of whole grain baking, salads as a main dish, French fare, and two volumes on vegetables from popular British cooks.

As I delve into these new tomes, I’ll let you know which ones are keepers.

Preserved Lemons, adapted from Patricia Wells

4 fresh, organic lemons*
1/2 cup coarse sea salt
fresh lemon juice

Wash and dry lemons. Slice lengthwise into quarters, place in a medium bowl with salt and mix thoroughly. Stack lemons tightly into a clean jar, packing them down to extract as much of their juice as possible. Cover the lemons completely with additional lemon juice, seal and allow to sit at room temperature for a month. Give the jar a shake every day to disperse the salt.

Note: Patricia Wells suggests topping off the jar with extra virgin olive oil after the lemons have been ripening for 7 days and then storing them in the refrigerator for up to 6 months. I combined Patricia’s and Claudia’s recipes here.

*Organic lemons are a must here, as their rinds do not have any pesticide residue, nor are they waxed.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Laura June 10, 2011 at 4:43 pm

How refreshing the lemons look! Do you own any cookbooks about braising, it’s a technique I have yet to master…any tips?

Thanks from a big fan

Donna June 12, 2011 at 9:06 pm

Yes, I too would be interested in your thoughts on the fine art of braising……Eager to learn

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