Wednesday, December 29, 2010

A (Citrus) Zest for Life

Who knew? DH, ignoring stacked up dirty pots, picked up my zester from the counter and said suspiciously, “What’s this?”


“Oh, you know. My zester.”


DH: “Huh? You use this to feel more zest? I can make you zestier.” (Waggling of eyebrows)


“I didn’t say it is to make one ‘zestier’; it is to make ‘zest.’


DH: “How does it work? There’s no plug.”


“Right. Not all kitchen gadgets have plugs. Here’s what you do.” I picked up an orange from the fruit bowl, and began to zest away.


DH: “It’s going to take a long time to ‘zest’ a cup of that. Then what? We eat it? And don’t you have it upside down?”


“Look, I’m the professional amateur here. I know what I’m doing. See all this great zest?”


He shook his head and wandered away from my kitchen. Good riddance. If you can’t at least wash up a pot while you’re here, go do something else. But don’t question my gadgets.


I happily zested away when I first got my zester. I zested fish for broiling. I mixed zest into frostings. I seasoned salad dressings. Oh, what fun it is to zest!


BUT—horrors! I was watching a food channel show and the host picked up the zester and began to use it wrong. Or . . . could it be? Was I wrong?


I was initially mortified. DH was right. I had it upside down. The professional was zesting holding the zester under the fruit and moving the fruit across the surface with zest falling into a fluffy pile of lemon yellow beneath.


I, on the other, and apparently wrong, hand put my zester on top of the fruit and move the zester. This way, the zest accumulates in the little trough and I can tell if I have a tablespoon yet.


I may be wrong, but I still believe using my zester the wrong way is the right way. How do you know how much you have zested because those little cutting teeth have a whole bunch more that you can add to your pile.


My advice is to try it the professional’s way and my way. You can vote below so we can see who prefers what.


We have orange, lemon, and grapefruit trees in our backyard. Excuse me while I go hunt for more recipes with zest. Though I have many recipes, so far my favorite original creation remains my Cranberry-Lemon Cream Scones. Easy-peasy, and I always get compliments.


Surprise your family with some for breakfast tomorrow morning. They’ll adore you even more than they already do.


Cranberry-Lemon Cream Scones (makes 9 scones)

3 c. flour

3 T. sugar

3 t. baking powder

½ t. salt

2 c. Bakers’ whipping cream

6 oz. pkg. dried cranberries

½ c. almond slivers, toasted

zest from 2 lemons, divided

1 ½ c. powdered sugar

Juice of 1 ½ lemons, divided

Heat oven to 400°. PAM a cookie sheet. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, zest of one lemon, and salt. Add cream. Mix. Add cranberries, almonds, juice of ½ lemon, and zest from one lemon. (Tip: handle scone dough as little as possible to keep it tender.) Divide dough into nine balls. Flatten each ball into rounds like a hamburger patty. Bake for 10-13 minutes or until golden brown. Cool 5 minutes. Mix powdered sugar with remaining lemon juice and zest. Use your taste-o-meter to see if you want it more lemony. Drizzle over warm scones.

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