when life gives you lemons…make lemon chutney

this year our squatty lemon bush in our front yard has yeilded ever so many lemons that i have no way of keeping up with it.  and it’s very hard to give lemons away because people only want 2 or 3, or they have a lemon tree and they’re also trying to give lemons away.

i usually grind a lemon down our garbage disposal once a week or so to keep it fresh.  but that hasn’t helped much with cutting down the lemons that are literally lying around the house–miss e will take them all out of the basket and play with them and stash them all over the place.  i’ve already pulled rotten lemons out of her toy bin twice this month.

so it was time to look for recipes that called for LOTSA lemons!  i meandered my way into someone’s blog who was trying to get rid of strawberries (lucky her) so she made strawberry preserves.  so that led me to look for lemon preserves of sorts…and found lemon chutneys.  i narrowed my recipes to 2:

spicy lemon chutney (about.com)

  • this recipe requires more prep time and then some shelf time before being able to partake of the fruit of your labor (~6 weeks).
  • you also need to put a bit more manual work to zest the lemon skin and chop up the lemon flesh (luckily i got some help).
  • truth be told, because i had a canning fail with the last step of this recipe i couldn’t keep the chutney on the shelf for 6 weeks-6 months (ha!) to “let the flavors blend,” so i just refrigerated it and tried it a few days later…with my pig in a blanket (talk about jazzing up a snack food).  it was still pretty flavorful!
  • so i’m up for making it the real way next time i get more real canning jars (i was trying to can them in baby food jars).

roasted lemon chutney (101 cookbooks)

  • then i picked this one because it required less work and i can eat it right away.
  • but the draw back is that you can’t keep it as long.
  • tried it with a slice of regular wheat toast and some white cheddar cheese (because i didn’t have any fancy bread or cheese) and they went well together.

i also found a really informative response by daisyduckworth on how to use chutney:

Chutneys are served on the side to accompany assorted curry dishes, or with cold meats – much the same ways as you’d use pickles or herb jellies. They are condiments. I like to toss in a spoonful or two of chutney into a meatloaf or meatballs just for a flavour change, or you can add some to a gravy for the same reason.

Use chutney with roast pork instead of apple sauce; with lamb instead of mint jelly; with turkey instead of cranberry sauce; with chicken nuggets instead of ketchup or sweet and sour sauce; with ham instead of mustard. Pour 1/4 cup over a block of cream cheese and serve with crackers or cocktail bread slices.

Mix 1 tablespoon into a mild vinaigrette to make a salad dressing.

Stir 1/4 cup or so into a pot of plain rice to make a pilaf.

Mix half mayonnaise and half chutney and serve on hamburgers…(read more!)

doesn’t daisyduckworth’s descriptions just make you want to have chutney stocked in your ‘fridge?

semi-craft failS

i periodically check in on craftfail just for a good laugh and especially when i encounter my own craft fails.  and here i am this week, with a double whammy semi-craft fail.  it’s only semi-fail because things didn’t turn out so badly that it’s craftfail worthy.  but it’s enough to give myself some chuckles.

first i managed to drown my spicy lemon chutney while trying to can with baby food jars.  i thought maybe it was because i didn’t twist the cap on tight enough.  so the following week, when making a second batch, i made sure i twisted the lids on veeery tightly…and still, the lids came off in the middle of the boiling process.   thus drowning two more jars (and so i had to re-reduce the batch of chutney).  lesson learned: baby food jars don’t make good canning jars.

then i came across this ever so cute denim whale from valaan villapaita.  and so i tried to “replicate” the darling whale.  luckily i thought to try it once on scrap fabric first before cutting up any of my jeans.  from the side it looks like jay leno the humpback whale, and then from the front it looks like an egg with flippers.  i need to figure out how to make it wider, instead of oblong.  (i wish valaan villapaita would hurry and come out with an english translation soon!  pleeeease?)  lesson learned: no matter how hard i wish and try, i still can’t read finnish.  and whale making are for pros.

wet, wet

this morning when we were in the bathroom miss e kept throwing her buzz lightyear action figure into the tub and saying “buzz xi xi.”  it sounded like buzz xing xing (stars).  her actions and what she was saying didn’t make much sense so i just made a perfunctory comment just to respond to her babble.  she said it again, but i still couldn’t catch it.  she probably realized from my dislocated responses that mama wasn’t getting it, so then she threw buzz into the tub again and said, “wet, wet” (shi shi).   it caught me by surprise that she knew to switch to an equivalent word.  for a period of time she would only say certain things in chinese or english depending on whichever vocabulary is easier to say.  but this is the first time she’s used different words to convey the same meaning (apart from animal names and their corresponding sounds).

i’m not trying to raise miss e to be bilingual (because that would require my chinese to be of a more proficient level…aaand it is not).  but i do try to speak chinese to her when i can.  my hope is that then the grandparents can feel free to speak chinese to her, but whether she will continue to speak in chinese…only time will tell.  nonetheless, this morning’s exchange is  a small encouragement to me that my endeavor is not a hopeless cause.