Grilled Lemon Chicken

Great day in the desert to Bar-B-Cue ( high 80’s and no wind) chicken using a simple  basting of lemon and herbs. First outside to our  Meyer Lemon Tree to pick a large one or several small ones..

So many lemons still on the tree and new blossoms appearing.  The scent of the lemon blossoms is so invigorating to my senses. When the patio doors are open it reaches inside our home and can be enjoyed while cooking.

Now onto our herb garden in a tub to snip some parsley,thyme and oregano. Use whatever herbs appeal to you.

These herbs have grown all winter long covered in the tub with small white Christmas lights providing some heat. We sell the tubs locally and off and on at my Tanglewood site. Yes, sorry, that was a bit of advertising for our custom made wood tubs. 🙂

The chicken weighed 3.7 pounds and today we cut  it in half;  basting one in lemon dressing and the other half for a red sauce. Here is my recipe for the lemon basting:

  1. Juice of 1 large lemon
  2. 2-3 T. olive oil
  3. Use Any amount of  chopped herbs you like. I like to use 2 T. and add a teaspoon or more of honey and then whisk to mix.

In the mean time the chicken has been cleaned and dried and sprinkled with coarse sea salt and pepper. Allow to sit for 20- 30 minutes while preparing grill.

We use briquets from Trader Joe’s. They have no fillers added such as coal dust or parafins as binders. They only use cornstarch with their hardwoods. All Natural without petroleum products making the taste much better and safe for us. Get the grill hot and then oil with a little olive oil. Place chicken to side of hot coals using the indirect grilling method.. Grill for 20 minutes and then baste and turn chicken. I do this every 20 minutes until chicken is done. I generally like mine to show a temperature reading of 175 while most  cooking thermometers say 165. Everyone has their own taste and opinions on this. I like mine to fall apart a bit while remaining moist. So today grilling these as half chickens took  mine about 1 hour to complete. Again, let your preferences be your guide.

Our chicken was served with baked potatoes and a simple veggie salad. Yum, we always enjoy this and  hope you do also.

Have a great day.

Oven Sun Dried Tomatoes

Yes, Sun Dried Oven tomatoes is maybe something new for some and a fun new recipe to try and share with others. But first can anyone believe that is March; the holidays are over and spring is around the corner. When I started needle and spoon my goal was to post 3-5 times a week and that remains my goal. So, back on track and ready to pursue the creative life with one new creation a week or month. It is what motivates me and fun to share with others.

Today I want to share my recipe for sun dried oven tomatoes. We love them and use them the same as we do regular tomatoes. Should you try this recipe in your home I think you will agree that they taste so much better than the ones you buy in the store. Doesn’t everything!?

Our local Sprouts store had Romas on sale…. 2 pounds for $1.00 and I purchased almost 8 pounds and only using a few for a regular lettuce salad. I cleaned about 7 1/2 pounds, cut them in half and half again. Keep all pieces under 2 inches. Remove the seeds and place in a large bowl.

A mixture of 1 teaspoon of basil, 2 teaspoons of oregano, thyme and salt are added to the large bowl of tomatoes. These herbs can be measured to your taste. I prefer fresh basil to dried so I add it later. As the TV chefs have often said “The food is about your taste”. When cooking adjust the herbs and spices to what you like, when baking follow the recipe exactly. Also add a tablespoon of olive oil and mix all of this.

I prepare my tomatoes in my oven set at 170 degrees. It generally takes 10 to 12 hours. I have no idea about a dehydrator as I do not own one but have read it takes 3 – 4 hours.

Place the tomatoes in non aluminum pans. I use a broiler pan and a baking pan with just a tad bit of olive oil on the pan. Set timer for 3 hours and leave oven door open a bit to allow moisture to escape. Every 3 hours check and turn tomatoes. A heavy spatula comes in handy to smash and turn them. Between 6 and 9 hours you can merge tomatoes to one pan as they have shrunk that much. Mine our generally done to our liking in about 10 hours. Allow them to cool and place in a clean canning jar and cover with olive oil. I always use a quart canning jar and keep fresh in refrigerator.

The jar yields about 27 ounces of dried tomatoes and this will vary each time you make them. This is at least 3 times more than the small jar from the store and that small jar is gone in well under 2 weeks at our house. So, I love making these when the Romas are on sale at such a good price. What a great taste they are on sandwiches, pasta, all kinds of salads, cooked with chicken and wherever your creative food taste takes you.

Recipe

7-8 pounds of roma tomatoes
1 tsp basil, 2 tsp of oregano, thyme and salt.
1 Tablespoon olive
Olive oil
170 degree oven, 10-12 hours.

Clean, seed tomatoes and place in large bowl, pieces no bigger than 2 inches. Add the herbs and olive oil. Place on non aluminum pans and into preheated oven.

Check every 3 hours, smashing and turning tomatoes.

Leave oven door ajar to allow moisture to escape.
When done, cool and pack in canning jar and cover with olive oil. Then refrigerate.

Hope you enjoy them and stop back as next time we will use the needle.

Meyer Lemon Tree Very Pretty Recipe

The lyrics to the song ‘Lemon tree very pretty and the flower is sweet but the fruit of the poor lemon is impossible to eat.’

Don’t tell that to my young granddaughter. She loves lemons…even sipping the pure juice from a lemon. Yes, indeed, we have told her to beware of your teeth and take care.

She enjoys going to our backyard and picking beautiful Meyer lemons from our tree.

It started years ago when I purchased a Meyer lemon potted patio tree from our local nursery. Meyer lemons were new to me then and I just had to try one. The plant was growing nicely on my patio. Then we were going to have a large patio party and on a whim I decided to plant it our yard not knowing that any potted plant or tree will grow larger when planted in the ground.

What a surprise when this plant turned into a beautiful tree producing wonderful sweet tasting lemons almost year around. The leaves are a deep shiny green which blossom twice a year. The blossoms are so fragrant it is hard to believe I live in the desert and not in some tropical local.

The care of our Meyer lemon tree is simple. As many know it is a cross between an ordinary lemon and an orange. It can reach a height of 6-10 feet but pruning will keep it more manageable. It does need 6 hours of sunlight and morning sun and afternoon shade is best for those in the hottest summer areas.

Allow soil to dry out slightly between waterings and fertilize regularly with a high nitrogen fertilizer. Anyones local nursery can give them more precise details as I seem to do the minimal and mine produces abundantly most years.

Then enjoy the fruits of your labor. Below is a picture of our lemon tree and  and one with a large bowl of picked lemons and a grocery bag full. I have also included a favorite recipe of mine that I use for salads, grilled vegetables, cooking fish and marinating and basting chicken.

img_0873img_0773Ingredients:

1/4 C olive oil

1/4 C fresh squeezed lemon juice

1T honey or more to taste

2 t minced oregano

1-2 garlic cloves minced (opt)

pinch sea salt and ground pepper to your taste

Whisk all ingredients in small bowl and adjust seasonings to your taste. I often add a little more honey. Let set awhile and whisk again before serving.

Great with any salad, grilled vegetables, or use with fish or marinate your chicken with this before baking or grilling.

Enjoy!