As the first days of the new year tick off I check in occasionally with my friends on Facebook; many of them bundled in ski slope selfies, others framed by a Caribbean sunset. I am happy for them. That’s so cool. Any time is a good time to take a little trip. I though, am in my house, which is where I want to be. Still hunting down elusive pine needles and packing up remnants of a season that always seems upon its ending as if a dream.
I need this time to be still for a second. In turns I relish the quiet and wrestle with the solitary assessment of a new year. It’s as if the stage has been cleared for a reckoning. Still though, I try not to get too heavy about it all. I get outside, I workout, I write, I put on dance music as I clean.
The weather now is an unpredictable mix of cold and wet and wind and rain, with the occasional jolt of sunshine that comes as absolute perfection, enough to call another holiday. In the midst of this, just outside my kitchen window, drooping brightly on tender limbs, are the most beautiful Meyer lemons. They glow there like beacons on the greyest of days and they are so precious as they are the only fruit those demon rodents haven’t eaten. I want to pick them, yes, but I also want them to stay there forever, like fake plastic fruit in a bowl.
It’s no wonder to me, though, that Eve was tempted by fruit. Finally, like her, I’ve given in, and one by one, and two by two I search for the most tender, most willing gems, leaving the rest on the tree until the last minute. I give a few to friends and I present them as if they were indeed mined from the earth like diamonds. Others go in the fridge while I ponder how to show gratitude for their loveliness.
Although called lemons, Meyer lemons are thought to be a cross between a lemon and some kind of orange. What resulted in that happy mating is tart-sweet juice encased in a smooth, rich yellow rind. Their particular flavor is somewhat delicate and more rounded than regular lemons. So sometimes the best thing to do with them is very little, like a squeeze in your drink or used as the base of your vinaigrette. I’ve done all that happily (I think making the salad dressing while sipping my Meyer lemon cocktail. I highly recommend it.) But being me, I was looking for something more.
On this biting New Year’s Eve, when the weather outside might not have recommend it, I had sorbet for dessert. It was made of passion fruit and it accompanied a citrus flavored cake. Maybe it was precisely because I’d had enough of brown sugar and coconut and pumpkin that this little scoop of chill tasted so exquisite. Also, while in many still frozen locales, like those of some of my Facebook friends, the thought of a cold dessert would send a shiver just thinking of it, the fact is that, in warmer climates, now is the season for citrus.
It’s not as easy to get creamy textured lemon sorbet as it is with other fruits. There is a science to it as Max Falcowitz at Serious Eats points out here. So, after researching everything I could, I came up with a recipe that is not quite sorbet, not quite sherbet or ice cream. It’s a creamy lemon drop in a spoon. It’s bright and fresh, and to eat it in January is a little like singing in the rain.
Creamy Lemon Sorbet
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
about 1 teaspoon of zest
3/4 cups of water
1 cup of corn syrup
1 teaspoon of vodka or gin ( I used the last of my homemade limoncello)
pinch of salt
1/4 cup of plain greek yogurt
Mix all ingredients together in a bowl until well combined. Chill for a minimum of one hour, but the mixture can sit overnight. Churn in ice cream machine according to manufacturer’s instructions. Transfer to an airtight container and store in freezer for at least two hours before serving.