Thursday, August 01, 2013

The Mystery Ingredient is….MEYER LEMONS!

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 When Michael Lee West, prolific author, fabulous photographer & blogger extraordiaire, invited me to be part of her & her son, Tyler's (aka Bandwith) "Mystery Ingredient Party", I was tickled, make that YELLOW!!

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 Michael Lee sent me this 'care package' of incredibly luscious lemon delights, to be used in the preparation of a special dish of my choosing! Thanks a million, ML, for such a kind, generous gift !! 

Just look at these beautiful jars...they are like little GOLDEN treasures, just waiting to add their enticing flavors to enhance a recipe.  They were almost too pretty to open but how exciting!  My imagination ran wild with ideas.
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 Anybody who has read my blog for even a little while, knows how much I LEMON!
I'd rather eat something LEMON over chocolate any day.  I request LEMON meringue pie every year for my birthday, instead of cake.

If they made a LEMON perfume, I would buy it & honestly, wear it every day. 

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Thank you so very much, ML, for inviting me to participate and for supplying the "mystery ingredients" as well.  I am honored & very grateful to be included in the stellar group of cooks.  


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I googled & searched for recipes using preserved "Meyer Lemons"...did you know they are a cross between a lemon & a mandarin orange?  Our stores have just started carrying them recently. 
I found David Lebovitz's recipe for Israeli Couscous that included butternut squash, dried cherries &/or cranberries as well as Meyer lemons preserved in salt.
I knew that was the recipe I would try, since I've never cooked couscous before & love to widen my culinary horizons.
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Aren't the tri-colors in the teeny-tiny pasta pretty?
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 Here is the cast of players, sans the pine nuts that go on top, just prior to serving.
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I found large packages of peeled & diced butternut squash at Sam's Club & divided it up into smaller servings & froze them in Ziplock Freezer bags.  It sure makes it easier to enjoy regularly!

I used the meyer lemon in oil to saute the onions & regular olive oil over the butternut squash, which bakes in the oven.  I used the citron lemon cypress flakes of sea salt over both.  What a nice kicky zing it gives!  

The cinnamon stick goes into the boiling water while the couscous cooks.  Then the ground cinnamon is added over the top of the dish, at the end.

You KNOW I had to use my special favorite Vietnamese  cinnamon...a gift from my sewing buddy, Carol (Mamacjt).
(thank you, Carol, for that gift & for introducing me to Penzy's spices)  I'll have to tell you all about Penzy's some other time.
I was having none of that gritty Sam's Club cinnamon for this special dish!

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David Lebovitz said he wouldn't change a single thing in this dish & I agree.  It is both sweet & mildly tart at the same time...tart from the Meyer lemons then you get a sweetness from the butternut squash & the dried cherries.

  The cinnamon comes through in each bite & I thought the little pearl shapes of the couscous were fun to eat!  They kind of slide away from your teeth as you try to bite into them.
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 Just look at the riot of vibrant colors in this dish! 

Orange butternut squash, YELLOW bits of lemon, GREEN parsley, dark, sweet tidbits of deep RED dried cherries & cranberries, BROWN flecks of cinnamon throughout & pale onion bits all mixed into the tri-colors of the pasta.

You can print the entire recipe HERE

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 Thank you, again, Michael Lee & Bandwidth & Dr. Will, too!  
I will happily link up with Michael Lee  at Rattlebridge Farm for 
Foodie Friday this week, along with The Tablescaper's Seasonal Sundays & later next week, I'll join Yvonne's StoneGable Tutorials, Tips & Tidbits.

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Be sure to stop by next Wednesday to see my tablescape for Cuisine Kathleen's Let's Dish party, where I share some more "LEMON LOVE"  in The Gazebo, outside.

Thanks for visiting & come back soon...we love company!



  1. Rett, the couscous was a great idea. I will definitely try the recipe. I haven't made couscous in years. I know my chef will go for this one! This looks like a perfect summer dish.
    I thought about you a lot this week because of the lemons. '-)

  2. Ummm, what a beautiful dish....and I know it tastes even better than it looks. What a great job you did. I must give this a try.
    I, too, love lemon ANYthing..and lemon pie just about sends me out in space. I love it....and now, of course, I'm VERY hungry for it.:))

  3. Gosh Rett, that looks sooooo good, thank you for sharing the recipe. Blessed be and have a wonderful weekend.

  4. This looks like a very pretty and quite tasty dish Rett! How nice of Michael to send you some goodies to try something new with:@)

  5. Hi Rett, I am trying to catch up with friends tonight. If I wasn't eating while I was reading your post would definitely made me hungry. I love Lemon Merinque Pie. It seems like our family has taken a liking to fruit cobblers in a dutch oven over the coals for their birthdays. I have enjoyed reading your previous post and love the black and white table setting. So pretty. Have a wonderful weekend. Hugs and Prayers from your Missouri Friend.

  6. hi rett, its been ages and so nice to see you in such a golden light. oh what a fabulous recipe you found, i would love this too, i must give it a try soon. the colors are gorgeous and so many many wonderful combinations. wonderful pics of a wonderful dish!

  7. This looks positively glorious, Rett. Oooo, I so wish I could taste it!

  8. What a great choice in using the couscous, Rett!! I've used it before, but never the TRI-COLOR! Wasn't this a fun challenge and so fitting for you with your lemon love. I love the lemon fabric you used. I went to three fabric stores and couldn't find any :(. I love Penzey's spices and get their catalogue. The couscous dish sounds like such amazing flavors and I know I would love it. xo

  9. This is all so new to me! It does look very good indeed!

  10. You are the best cook! I wouldn't even think to use! In fact, I don't think I have ever made couscous! Hummmm????

  11. Rett, your post is delightful--so much fun to read, with your joy in life and cooking shining through. Your couscous is like a sunny day in a garden. The tablecloth is absolutely beautiful, too, showing off that superb dish! I have never made couscous, but now I can't wait! Thank you SO much for cooking with us today and sharing your many talents with Foodie Friday. xx

  12. Rett, What a beautiful dish and delicious combination of flavors! We love butternut squash and couscous, I haven't seen the tricolor before, so pretty! I'm definitely adding this recipe to my "to make" list!

  13. I actually do wear a lemony body splash that I got from Bath and Body Works a long time ago. It's nearly out, and I don't know if they still have the fragrance.

    As for meyer lemons, I will admit to wondering when I see them in blog posts exactly what they are. I'm glad you told me! This dish sounds delicious. I have been trying my hardest to like couscous, and this might fix whatever seems to be ailing it for me. It sounds delicious. (I happen to be a lemon lover too. The ONLY thing I don't like is lemon meringue pie, but that's probably the fault of the meringue and not the lemon.) I love lemon custard pie or lemon cheesecake or lemon...

  14. Hi Rett - Wasn't this a fun event! I learned so much from researching preserved lemons and know I want to try more Moroccan recipes in the future. I'm a big fan of David Lebovitz and have never seen this recipe before. Can't wait to try it as couscous is one of my favorite summer ingredients. Love your photos.

  15. Rett, This looks delicious, I like the combination of flavors and it's so colorful. Definitely putting it on my "to make" list.

    I love they way the mystery ingredients pushed us all to try something new, that we might not have otherwise. Cheers! ~m. xo

  16. How wonderful! I love Meyer Lemons too, what a great gift package. You did a great job with you gifts. We planted a Meyer Lemon tree last summer of 2012. It started to bloom in Spring and by Summer the "lemons" were still very green until I decided to pull one off and cut it open. So sad, we have a Lime Tree, I was SOOOOO disappointed to say the least. I was SOOO looking forward to having my own Meyer Lemons to cook and bake with (I can make a mean Meyer Lemon Scone). Oh well, the company we bought it from is sending us a new "Meyer Lemon" tree. Anyway, great pictures and great post! :)

  17. ...just to say that I have a touch of lemon at my place...and thought of you. :))

  18. I love couscous. Your touches are wonderful.

    - The Tablescaper

  19. Hi Rett, We love every single one of the ingredients in your recipe, so I can't wait to try this!! The Mystery Ingredient Club sounds like so much fun and I have really enjoyed finding all the participants. Linda

  20. Lemon is just such a fun and summery flavor. This salad looks delicious! This would be great to link up to my Create It Thursday post…it's live now!

    Leslie @ Lamberts Lately

  21. Wow! Such a pretty recipe and I bet it is healthy for you, too. You made me hungry!


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