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FOOD | Lemons (and How to Use Them)

Cross-posted from Kat Gaines’ personal blog The Wine-Y Tomato.

Sometimes life gives you lemons.

No, this is not going to be a post on microwave lemon curd, the best lemonade ever, homemade limoncello, or a delicious whole lemon tart. Sorry to disappoint you, but you can click on the links for posts on *those* sorts of things from a bunch of bloggers I adore.

No, this is a post about life giving us the more metaphorical sort of lemons. The kind that really mess things up at extremely inopportune moments.

Thursday was a big lemon day. And as a result of Thursday, so is today.

I’ve been running around like a chicken with my head cut off for the past couple of weeks, thesis/final paper writing, planning for graduation, helping my mom gather info to file my taxes (love you mom), etc. I didn’t really anticipate this last semester being so crazy – in fact, I thought it would be a breeze. Y’know, second semester of senior year and all. It’s supposed to breeze right by, all my professors are supposed to give me breaks, I’m supposed to be able to enjoy some senioritis in peace, right? Right.

Guess who was really, really wrong about that? (Hint: me).

So I haven’t been blogging lately, and I miss it. And on Thursday, the biggest lemon of all the little lemons I’ve seen was thrown at me:

Yes, that’s my leg. And my pretty red toenails. And a small portion of my computer screen.

That splint was actually just put on today. After I fell over a pair of sneakers *cough* hurt myself doing an awesome backflip-roundhouse kick-combo while fighting ninjas in my living room on Thursday *cough*…my doctor saw me pretty much last minute, and so I got an ace bandage and a pair of crutches thrown at me on my way out the door. Today, when I went to a podiatrist, it didn’t take them long to look at my giant swollen bruise of a foot, and put it in a splint. Not broken, but badly sprained, and painful. And the splint has to dry for about 24 hours, so the way my leg is positioned in that picture up there? Pretty much where it’s been all day, except for the grueling 20 minutes I spent cooking up some garlic and broccoli in the kitchen, somehow managing to not hurt myself further…even if I did almost drop a knife on my foot.

Okay, maybe I unintentionally help life throw those lemons with my klutziness.

Anyway. I realized that cooking is beyond my sense of balance right now. So I’m going to stick to foods I don’t have to cook. Or, y’know…delivery. But if I could cook, I would make my favorite comfort food, which contains a lemon…but this time I actually mean the fruit, which I enjoy very much, not a metaphorical lemon, which you can probably guess I enjoy a little less:

Green Garlic Hummus

4-5 cloves mashed garlic
2 generous handfuls of spinach
2 drained and rinsed 15 oz cans of garbanzo beans, or equivalent amount soaked overnight.
2/3 cup tahini
juice of one lemon
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tsp dulse flakes, or salt to taste
2 tsp smoked paprika (optional)
Water, as needed, to even the consistency

1. Add beans and tahini to food processor. Pulse several times until combined.
2. Add remaining ingredients except for spices. Process until smooth.
3. Add extra water, oil, or beans if necessary.
4. Add spices.
5. Process one final time. Serve, preferably in a bowl, olive oil drizzled on top, a little paprika sprinkled on top of that, along with some toasted pine nuts. Serve with dippers of choice (chips, pita bread, veggies, etc).

This is something I probably actually *could* manage right now, if I had a non-shattered bowl for my food processor. Which I really should replace, as it was broken almost a year ago. But I say I could manage because it’s really a “throw it in the bowl and mash it up” sort of recipe, or, to make it really easy on yourself, a “throw it in the food processor and mash it up” recipe. The only hard part may be starting with these:

And I only say that because those particular garbanzo beans are dried. Which means you’ll have to soak them overnight first. But you could also use canned beans. Either way, when you have beans that are full of moisture, gather them with the rest of your ingredients:

Beans, tahini, salt and pepper, a lemon, plenty of garlic, olive oil, and spinach (not pictured).

Throw the beans and tahini in a food processor:

Pulse for a moment or two and then throw in everything else:

It should look something like this:

If the texture isn’t quite right, feel free to add more beans/oil/tahini/whatever is needed:

And season as needed. I added a little smoked paprika, and used dulse flakes instead of salt, to make it even healthier (because really, this is the healthiest snack/dip most college students will probably ever eat).

Give it one final whir:

Serve, and enjoy.

I like hummus with blue corn chips. Or carrot sticks. Or by the spoonful…

Perfect snack food for elevating your injured limbs on a pillow while sitting on the couch listening to the Moulin Rouge soundtrack for the 45th time. If I’ve learned anything since Thursday though, it’s that you can use life’s lemons to get some work done, should they land you half-immobilized on your living room couch for days. This has been some very productive couch-sitting…I just don’t know how to scrounge together dinner right now. :/