Sunday, March 22, 2009

Preserved Lemons and a Successful Run

Knock, knock. Anyone out there?

I am back. Thank you for hanging around during my long absence.

After nearly a year of planning, the Riverwalk Run took place yesterday morning. If you've read my previous posts, you know that my friend Lauren and I are co-chairing a committee that organized this event, which raises funds for various Junior League projects. Our day went something like this:

A spatter of rain against the window over our bed woke me up around 2:00 o'clock that morning, forcing me to haul myself to the computer to check the forecast. An isolated rain cell was coming through the county. At least it's not a steady line of thunderstorms, I thought to myself. Not even the most dedicated runners show up when there's lightning. There was no point in going back to sleep, though; my alarm was set for 3:00.

When you get up that early in the morning, you find yourself unable to recall the ensuing events in the fluid way that you would recall a normal day. You just retain photographic stills and isolated sound clips in your mind. Here are my impressions of this year's Riverwalk Run, starting at 4:00 o'clock in the morning, as we set up for the Run:

Damn, people are just now leaving the bars downtown? Am I so old that I'm surprised by this? . . . Who moved our 17-foot U-Haul truck? Wait a minute, I moved it . . . I am driving a 17-foot U-Haul again, this time I'm off-roading it across a city park through crowds of people . . . Sara Q. just gave me an energy bar and I feel almost human now . . . looks like we have about 1,000 runners here today . . . The gun just went off and the 5-mile race just started . . . Is it raining again? Are you kidding me? S**t! . . . Wow, in spite of the rain, this is going well! . . . The sun is up and the Plaza has almost emptied out . . . Lauren is so awesome, she never slows down, even when she's exhausted . . . Our vendors are picking up our rented tables . . . We are done. It is only 11:00 o'clock, but it's time for a long nap.

Organizing this race was one of the most challenging things I have ever done outside of my full-time job. One of the things that I learned is that this kind of thing is most rewarding when you do it with good friends, as I did.

Also, it doesn't hurt when you're dedicating your time to a good cause. That helps put a very early morning in perspective. I can wake up early once in a while to raise tens of thousands of dollars for foster care here in Broward County.

Moroccan-Style Preserved Lemons
Adapted from this recipe at

Preserved lemons have a sticky, sweet taste that adds subtle flavoring. On Thursday, I will feature a recipe that incorporates a preserved lemon into its sauce. Stay tuned!

12 lemons
2/3 cup kosher salt
2 tablespoons olive oil

Bring a medium-sized pot of water to a rolling boil. Blanch 6 of the lemons in the boiling water for 5 minutes, then drain and set them on a cutting board to cool. When the lemons have cooled enough to handle comfortably, slice off one end of each lemon, then, starting from the cut end, slice through the whole lemon lengthwise, stopping 1/4-inch from the uncut end. The lemon slices should be connected together at one end.

Here is an illustration:

Using your fingers, remove the seeds from each lemon. In a medium-sized bowl, toss the lemons with the kosher salt, then pack the lemons and their salt into a two-pint container. Juice the remaining six lemons and pour over the lemon wedges so that they are immersed completely.

Secure a tight-fitting lid on the container and let it stand at room temperature, shaking gently once a day, for 5 days.

Add 2 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil to the container and refrigerate. The preserved lemons will keep up to one year, so long as you make sure that they are immersed in their juices to prevent dehydration. Use them in salad dressings and sauces.

Makes: 1 two-pint container of preserved lemons


Foodycat said...

Congratulations on a job well done! Just getting up at that hour of the day is very impressive, let alone running!

And I love preserved lemons! They are such a useful ingredient.

Anonymous said...

Hey Sarah! I heard you had a successful run. Congratulations! I am sure you will be glad to get back to Fritter more consistently!
Congrats again for an excellent job!

muddywaters said...

Congrats on a job well done. I'm glad there are people out there like yourself who compensate for us mere mortals.

As always I enjoyed the post, and it's good to have you back.

I'd like to use more lemon in my cooking, and use it more with savory dishes. I'll give this a shot.

I, too, always feel out of place when I'm driving a big truck. It tends to change my personality a bit, and I even listen to different music when driving a big truck. I worked one summer for the city, and I drove around in a truck with one of those lift buckets and I changed light bulbs in stop lights. Now I don't even think stop lights have light bulbs. They probably have LED's or something. I still can't believe I did this.

muddywaters said...

I see you're reading Molly Wizenberg's book. I'm on the library's reserve list for this book, but I don't know if I can wait for it. I've been reading excerpts at the bookstore, and it's impressive. I might stimulate the economy and purchase this book.

Q said...

I'm so glad you're back, I'm sure you missed this're on my heart and mind today - let me know if you need anything!