(Jan. 9) If you’ve worked with meyer lemons, you know you never can get enough of the sweet, smooth lemon-tangerine flavor that goes with nearly everything.

Shave meyer lemon zest over carpaccio, says Charles Clark, owner-chef at Ibiza Food & Wine Bar, Houston.

Combine meyer lemon juice with olive oil in a bottle or jar, shake hard until it foams and drizzle it over fresh grilled fish as “a sexy lemon foam that doesn’t overpower the fish,” he says.

Morocco is famous for preserving lemons, which is where Clark got the idea to preserve meyer lemons so he never runs out of the flavor. For Moroccan preserved meyer lemons, start with 12 clean meyer lemons, salt and fresh lemon juice as needed.

Dry the lemons and slice off the top and bottom 1/8-inch. Then cut the lemons nearly in half, but leave the halves still connected.

Fill the inside of the lemons with as much kosher salt as they will hold. Submerge all the lemons in brine in a large jar, compressing them until there is no space left and the lemon juice rises to the top. Seal the jar and store on the counter.

Make sure all the lemons are covered with liquid at all times. You may need to add fresh lemon juice. They will be ready to use when the rinds are tender, about 4 to 6 weeks. Rinse the lemons and discard the seeds.

Place the jar in the refrigerator after opening. The lemons will keep 6 to 9 months.

DATES WITH DESTINY

  • Enter the California Date Chef Competition for an opportunity to win the $1,500 Best of Show prize or one of $1,000 first-place prizes in the appetizer, entree and dessert categories. The competition is open to professional chefs who create an original recipe featuring California dates as a key ingredient.

    Submit your recipe by Feb. 24 to be considered as one of 15 finalists who will be invited to enter the sixth annual competition to be held April 23 at Fantasy Springs Resort Casino, Indio, Calif.

    The competition is sponsored by the California Date Administrative Committee, Indio. For more information, visit www.datesaregreat.com.


  • The American Culinary Federation Culinary Team 2008 tryouts will be held in conjunction with the National Restaurant Association’s 2006 Restaurant Hotel-Motel Show in Chicago May 20-23. This is the first time the two have joined together.

    The selected team of professionals will represent the U.S. in culinary competitions around the world.

    Tryouts for the team will be held in two phases. Before the NRA show, candidates will compete to display outstanding levels of craftsmanship based on classical cooking principles and a variety of culinary disciplines. Chefs selected from the first phase will compete for the final cook-off during the NRA show.

    Contact your local ACF chapter for additional information.