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When Life Gives You Lemons...Limoncello Aftermath

Looking on the bright side of things has been the motto during this #COVID #Quarantine, so I loved it when a bunch of parents got together with me to make #limoncello. We joked about what to make with the leftover, now naked, lemons. Here are some of my favorite lemon recipes. And some tips for starting your own lemon trees with the seeds!

Italian Lemon Cookies

  • 6 eggs

  • 1 Cup milk

  • 2 Cups butter

  • 2 Cups sugar

  • 1 tsp baking soda

  • 6 tsp baking powder

  • 2 Tbsp pure lemon extract

  • 7 Cups Flour this is never exact, you may need a little less or a little more


  • 4 Cups Confectioners sugar 1/4 cup water

  • 1 tsp pure lemon extract (more or less to taste)

  • sprinkles optional

Preheat oven to 350F

Beat eggs in large bowl

Add milk, butter, and sugar then beat till blended

Add baking soda, baking powder and lemon and beat till blended

Gradually add in flour and blend until a cookie dough is smooth and slightly sticky

Drop onto cookie sheet into cookie size and bake at 350F for 10-12 minutes, making sure not to brown them.   

Let cool and frost when fully cooled.

Italian Lemon Roasted Chicken

  • 5-lb roasting chicken or combo of legs, thighs, quarters...whatever you have.

  • 2 lemons, zested and cut into quarters. *we used their zest but see if you can scraps some more from your naked lemons.

  • 1 ½ tsp kosher salt

  • 3 tbs extra virgin olive oil

  • 4 medium onions, peeled and cut into quarters

  • 2 springs fresh rosemary

  • 1 cup dry white wine

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Gently slide your fingers under the skin of the chicken breast to loosen it. Spread the grated lemon zest under the breast skin. Season the chicken with 1 teaspoon of the salt, and rub it all over with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil.

Set the onions and lemon quarters in a roasting pan, and toss with the remaining ½ teaspoon salt and 2 tablespoons olive oil. Stuff some of the lemon quarters in the chicken cavity, along with the rosemary. Set the chicken, breast side up, on the onions and lemons. With a paring knife, cut a small slit in the skin at the tip of the breast. Stick the drumsticks in the opposite sides’ slits, to keep the chicken together and hold its shape while roasting.

Pour the white wine into the pan, and roast the chicken, basting once or twice with the pan juices, until the meat between the thigh and breast reaches 165 on an instant-read thermometer and the skin is crispy and golden, about 1 hour and 20 minutes. Remove the chicken to a cutting board, and let it rest 10 minutes.

Fish out the onions from the pan, and set it in a sauté pan large enough to hold the chicken as well when it is cut into pieces. Strain the pan juices, pushing on the solids to extract all of the sauce, let the juices rest, then skim off any excess fat.

Carve the chicken into serving pieces, and return to the pan with the onions. Add the strained sauce, bring all to a boil, and serve.

Lemon Ricotta Pasta

  • 1 lb pasta - corkscrews work nicely

  • 2 cups ricotta

  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan

  • Zest and juice from 1 lemon

  • Kosher salt

  • Freshly ground black pepper

  • Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes

  • Freshly sliced basil, for serving

Boil pasta according to package directions. Drain, reserving 1 cup of the pasta water. Return the pasta to the pot and make the sauce. Add the ricotta, Parmesan, lemon zest and juice, salt and red pepper flakes. Toss until well combined. Add the reserved pasta water and stir until smooth. Garnish with fresh cracked pepper and sliced basil. Some people make the sauce first, then add the pasta. Either way works!

Grow a Lemon Tree

There are a few ways I like to sprout seeds into trees. I have three from-seed trees in my house right now, created using both methods. Choose what works for you.

Sprout seed first: Carefully remove the seeds from the lemon. Lightly moisten a paper towel and place seeds inside. Fold them up inside the paper towel and place it all in a jar (mason jar, old jam jar, rinsed out jar from your marinated artichokes...). We are creating a greenhouse for the seeds. In about 5 days, check the seeds, they should start to sprout, little green sprouts emerging from the seeds. If not, incubate a few days more. When they sprout, pot them in a small pot filled 1/2 way with soil. Lightly cover seeds with more soil and moisten with a spray bottle. Water with the spray bottle daily and place in a sunny spot.

Seed to soil method: Moisten the potting soil so that it is damp, but not soaked, all the way through. Fill the smaller pot with soil, all the way up to an inch below the rim. Cut open your lemon and remove a seed. Remove all of the pulp from its surface. Do not delay to plant. The seed must still be moist when it is buried into the soil in the smaller pot. Plant the seed about half an inch deep in the middle of the pot. Spray the soil that is directly above the seed gently with water from a spray bottle. Cover the pot with clear plastic wrap, seal the edges with a good rubber band, and poke small holes in the top with a pencil. Place the pot in a warm, sunny location.

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