SAVORING the MOMENT

Cookbook author Mindy Toomay's blog about eating for health, cooking with spirit, and celebrating life in northern California. Here she dishes up food rants and raves, recipes, and plenty of kitchen wisdom.

By your own efforts, waken yourself, watch yourself, and live joyfully.
-- The Dhammapada

Why not make a daily pleasure out of a daily necessity?
-- Peter Mayle

Thursday

Orange, lemon, lime -- aren't they sublime?

I'm convinced the gods and goddesses put citrus trees on this earth to help us feel better about winter. When it's cold and gray and wet in the world, we need bright flavors and colors to cheer us up -- and so there is citrus. I love oranges, tangerines, tangelos, key limes and Persian limes, grapefruit, and even kumquats. I have used them all in my cooking, in addition to enjoying them raw. Persian limes, especially, work hard for me, lending the perfect perky flavor note to any Mexican, Southwest, Southeast Asian, or Indian dish.

Yes, I love all citrus fruits, but the one I couldn't live without is the . Every backyard should sport a Meyer lemon tree. This is the thinner-skinned variety that has a more subtle sourness than the hard-skinned Eureka. A Meyer lemon produces a lot of light and lovely juice that's great for lemony desserts and certain savory dishes. Here's a Greek-inspired soup that highlights its refreshing but not-too-sour flavor. It's pure comfort food from my latest cookbook, 15-Minute Vegetarian (you can learn more about it by clicking on the title in the sidebar to the right, if so inspired).

BTW, lemons are loaded with vitamin C, bioflavanoids, and other super-nutrients, a great health boon during cold and flue season.

Blessings and bon appetit!

EGG-LEMON SOUP WITH SPINACH AND RICE
Yield: 4 Servings
This recipe calls for pre-cooked rice. You can find frozen cooked rice these days, both white and brown varieties, in some supermarkets and specialty food shops. (Try Trader Joe's if there's one in your area.) Of course, if you cook rice on a regular basis, as I do, you always have some hanging around the fridge. This is a great way to use it up.

2 tablespoons (28 ml) extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup (160 g) diced yellow onion
4 cups (.95 L) vegetable broth
1 clove garlic, minced
1 1/2 cups (295 g) cooked brown or white rice
2 large eggs (organic and free-range, please -- or from your own healthy and happy chickens!)
1/3 cup (80 ml) freshly squeezed Meyer lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
Several grinds black pepper
8 ounces (225 g) baby spinach leaves

Heat the oil over medium heat in a stockpot and saute the onion until it begins to brown, about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, heat the vegetable broth in a microwave oven until steaming hot, about 2 minutes. Add the hot broth, garlic, and rice to the stockpot; cover, and bring to a simmer over high heat.

Meanwhile, place the eggs and lemon juice in a medium bowl and lightly beat with a fork. Slowly add about 1/2 cup (120 ml) of hot broth to the egg mixture and beat lightly to warm the eggs so they don't curdle when added to the soup. Repeat this process with two more half-cups of hot broth.

Turn off the heat and add the egg mixture to the soup, stirring gently to incorporate it. Gently stir in the salt, pepper, and spinach. Cover and allow the soup to stand in the pan for about 5 minutes before serving. Stir to combine and ladle into individual soup bowls.

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