We reached a crisis situation with our lemon tree last week. I counted one hundred lemons, and then I quit counting. The neighbors have all been given lemons, and we are leaving boxes of lemons in public places, such as our local gym. Every stranger that has come to our house in the past year to do any type of work has been offered lemons, the women who do house cleaning down the street have been offered lemons, and none of our children will be showing up at your house, your event or your invitation to go bike-riding without lemons to hand out. The fact of the matter is, most of these people all have lemons, too, or have been given lemons already by their neighbors, so we have a glut of lemons.
Given all that, it was desperation—not creativity—that led to the all-lemon luncheon last week. It started with a ragged old IKEA dining table that needed some dressing up. How about using the bright yellow vase (left over from a long-gone workplace happy birthday orchid). I clipped some lemon branches that had nice leaves and several lemons hanging off of them and made an overflowing fruit vase for the center of our table, which was set with (coincidentally) yellow plates (Target).
A whole roasted turkey (guess where the lemons made their appearance—or rather, disappearance—in the bird)? Roasted cabbage, with pears, apples, lemons, walnuts, blue cheese and fresh lemon juice. Glazed carrots with Kalamata olives, scallions and fresh lemon juice.
Then—the pièce de résistance (since the lunch included my French mother-in-law)—a lemon cake (which appears in Mary McCartney’s vegetarian cookbook, and came from Linda McCartney). It’s the perfect cake when gobs of sickening icing are not in order. When prepared as directed in the cookbook, however, it does need a little bit of decoration. . .so we arranged three slices of lemon on top.
Washed down with ice water served with slices of lemon (that took the edge off of the lemon drop cocktails that began the entire day). Parting guests, of course, received several lemons as party favors.
It was all very lovely, and resulted in the use of six entire lemons!