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Celebrating Citrus

During these long, dark, cold winter months us northerners are usually busy day dreaming about how to escape to warmer climates.  Although December has been filled with warm, beautiful, sunny days here in New Orleans, we all often forget winter is citrus season! Citrus can be a nice cure to those winter blues. There are so many things you can do with citrus to brighten your winter: crafts, cooking, cocktails and just enjoying! These are a few of my favorite things that will get you feeling fruity.

We wrapped Planting for the Future 2014 last week, where we planted 27 Meyer lemon trees. Lemon trees are a wonderful addition to any landscape because of their citrus smell and because they are visually appealing. For all you lemon tree owners or lemon lovers I suggest this recipe from Kelly Golightly.

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Photo by Kelly Golightly

Lemon Bars

INGREDIENTS

For the crust:

1/2 pound unsalted butter, at room temperature

1/2 cup granulated sugar

2 cups flour

1/8 teaspoon salt

For the lemon layer:

6 extra-large eggs at room temperature

2 1/2 cups granulated sugar

2 tablespoons grated lemon zest (6 lemons)

1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 cup flour

Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting

DIRECTIONS

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F and line 9 by 13 by 2-inch baking pan with parchment paper.

2. For the crust, cream the butter and sugar until light in the bowl of an electric mixer. Combine the flour and salt and, with the mixer on low, add to the butter until just mixed. Dump the dough onto a well-floured board and gather into a ball. With floured hands, flatten the dough and press it into the greased baking pan, building up a 1/2-inch edge on all sides. Chill in the refrigerator until cool (approximately 20 minutes).

3. Bake the crust for 15 to 20 minutes, until very lightly browned. Let cool completely. (I did the first part one night and let it sit overnight on the counter to cool, which is not necessary, but it IS necessary to let the crust cool completely before proceeding.)

4. For the lemon layer, whisk together the eggs, sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice and flour. Pour over the crust and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or about five minutes beyond the point where the filling is set. Let cool to room temperature.

5. Cut into rectangles and dust with confectioners’ sugar. (Note: The color, at least when I made these, was not consistent on top, with deeper hues of yellow in some spots and lighter hues in others, which is why the dusting of powdered sugar comes in handy — like makeup on a bad face day…bon appetit!)

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You haven’t lived until you try one of our Louisiana grapefruit fresh from the tree. I couldn’t believe the difference between a store bought grapefruit and one that you harvest yourself. This recipe for grapefruit sage mimosas with freshly squeezed grapefruit juice is delicious! To try other cocktails featuring citrus, come to New Orleans Fruit Tree Project’s annual cocktail contest on Wednesday, January 28 from 6-9PM at Propeller. Eight bartenders will be mixing up unique cocktails of their own creation for you to sample. Tickets are $20 at the door.

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If you live in the New Orleans area I recommend that you come to one of our harvesting events. All fruit harvested goes to one of our three partner organizations: Second Harvest Food Bank, Tulane Community Health Center and Trinity Loaves and Fishes. Volunteers are welcome to take home some of the fruit they harvested so you can make your own lemon bars or grapefruit sage mimosas! To receive volunteer emails sign up on our website.

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One comment on “Celebrating Citrus

  1. Pingback: 20 Years of GNOFHAC – Beau Braddock | Tulane VISTA Blog

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This entry was posted on December 18, 2014 by in VISTA Field Reports.

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