When Life Gives You Lemons, Squeeze ‘Em!

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A kitchen without lemons is like bread without salt: tasteless. A little lemon juice perks up a chicken or seafood salad in an instant. If your salad dressing needs a little something, it’s lemon juice to the rescue. And adding lemon zest to a pie filling lends a note of remarkable clarity, bringing out the natural flavor of the fruit.

Pairing artichokes with lemons makes for great cocktail food, a delicious first course, or a side dish on a buffet. Lemon with pork chops, combined with garlic and ginger, tenderizes and adds a nice flavor.

And while I don’t eat cake often, when I do, it’s a lemon one. Use a delicate, butter-flavored olive oil, such as Ligurian oil, for the cake. Store at room temperature for up four days and serve with fresh fruit and whipped cream.

Bon appétit!

Lemon-, Parsley- And Garlic-Scented Artichoke Hearts(Serves 8 to 10 for tapas)1 ½ pounds frozen artichoke hearts, defrosted

3 tablespoons olive oil

2 large cloves garlic, minced

1 fistful flat leaf parsley, chopped

Zest and juice of 2 lemons

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to tasteTo prepare:Drain the artichoke hearts.

Drizzle with fresh lemon juice.

Drain again, reserving the juice.

Coat the bottom of a skillet with olive oil over moderate-high heat.

Add garlic.

Sauté, until aromatic and light brown, about 2 to 3 minutes.

Add artichoke hearts.

Sauté, shaking the pan, or stirring, until the artichokes are heated through, about 5 minutes.

Add chopped parsley, lemon zest and reserved lemon juice.

Season with salt and pepper.

Taste and adjust the seasonings, adding more lemon juice, if necessary.

Serve hot, or at room temperature, with crusty bread.Lemon And Garlic Pork Chops(Serves 4)4 1/2-inch-thick pork chops

Juice and zest of 2 lemons

2 garlic cloves, minced

1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, or flat leaf parsley, chopped

2 tablespoons fresh Thai basil, chopped

1 tablespoons fresh ginger root, mincedTo prepare:Whisk lemon juice, garlic, pepper flakes, oil, salt, pepper, cilantro, basil and ginger in a bowl, until blended.

Trim pork chops of all fat.

Score the edges.

Add chops to the marinade.

Cover.

Marinate at least 3 hours, or overnight, in the refrigerator.

Bring pork chops to room temperature while the grill is preheating to medium-high heat.

Place chops on the grid.

Cook, until a meat thermometer reads 145°F, about 5 minutes per side, or cooked according to personal preferences.

Let rest 5 to 8 minutes.

Serve with brown rice.Lemon Cake(Serves 8 to 10)7 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled

3/4 cup mild-flavored extra virgin olive oil, preferably Ligurian

Zest of 2 lemons

3 tablespoons lemon juice, freshly squeezed

1¾ cups all purpose flour

1½ teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

4 large eggs

1 cup granulated sugarTo prepare:Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Grease an 11-inch round cake pan with vegetable spray.

Dust with flour.

Whisk melted butter, olive oil and lemon juice in a medium bowl.

Sift flour, baking powder and salt together in another bowl.

Beat eggs with an electric beater, until light and frothy.

Gradually add sugar and lemon zest, beating continuously, until the mixture is thick and pale lemon-colored, about 5 to 7 minutes.

Alternately add the dry and wet ingredients, starting with the dry ingredients, beating well after each addition.

Pour the batter into prepared pan.

Bake, until the top is golden brown, the sides pull away from the pan and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 30 minutes.

Transfer the cake to a wire rack.

Let cool before serving.

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