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Roasted Lemon, Potatoes and Carrots

March 3, 2011

There’s nothing like the sound of a paper shredder in the middle of the night to jolt you out of restful sleep. Especially when your husband is asleep next to you and it’s unlikely that your 3-month old daughter is in the office shredding her junk mail.

If someone were to break into my house, I’ve always thought that I was the type of person who would lie in bed as still as possible, feigning sleep. I guess that was before I had a child to protect, because the other night I flew out of bed and grabbed my cell phone, ready to beat whoever was in my house at 2am shredding paper over the head with it. Keep in mind that I don’t have an iPhone, which at least has a little heft to it…I was planning to knock the intruder out cold with my tiny, three-year-old, completely outdated flip-phone.

Of course, no one was in our home office shredding paper while we slept. An envelope had gotten stuck in the shredder earlier that day and for some reason decided at 2am to continue it’s way through the jaws of the paper shredder. Relieved, I slid back into bed and closed my eyes, knowing I probably had another hour or so before O. woke to eat. Naturally, my intense desire to fall back asleep immediately kept me from falling back to sleep at all, and my mind began to wander.

For the first three months after she was born, I fell asleep immediately after each feeding, no matter how many times O. woke during the night. Those first months with a newborn are like living in a bubble where nothing else matters but your life with them. The outside world ceases to exist for a short time. On some days this is maddening. On others, a huge relief. A new baby is an excuse to check out for awhile, an excuse to stop reading the headlines, or sort through paperwork, or run a million errands. As long as my baby was healthy and well fed and safe, life was good. I didn’t worry about my career or money or world peace. At night, I think sleep came easily partially because of exhaustion but also because my mind wasn’t drifting to all those thoughts that are so unwelcome at 2 a.m.

Now, though, I find that after O. falls asleep my mind is back to racing through a million jumbled thoughts…. Shouldn’t my career be more established at this age? How are we going to pay for college? Would it be possible to one day turn our garage into a third bedroom and if so, where would the washer and dryer go? Don’t forget to buy more diapers tomorrow. Wouldn’t it be great if we could move to Italy for a year? I need to exercise more. Maybe not Italy, maybe France. We have to get our taxes done soon. Why didn’t I work harder in my twenties to establish my career? Why can’t I earn more money?I’m hungry. What should I have for breakfast tomorrow? I really need to make a dentist appointment. I should pick some lemons before they fall off the tree….

Lemons were my last thought before I finally fell back asleep, and so were one of my first thoughts when I woke up the next morning and looked out into our backyard. I’m lucky enough to have two lemon trees in my yard, one of them intertwined with an orange tree. As much as I love the lemon trees, I also take them for granted. Most yards in our neighborhood have lemon trees as well and they grow heavy with fruit that no one picks. Mostly, we use our lemons for salad dressing and an occasional pitcher of lemonade. Lately, though, I’ve started using them in savory dishes with tasty results.

Part of the whole sleepness nights/spacey days situation is also why there are no photos and no precise recipe for this post. I’m away from home at the moment and forgot to bring my recipe notebook and camera with me. I delayed posting for awhile then finally decided that perfection wasn’t necessary. I’ll add the photos and a more complex recipe later – for now, you can roast your own lemon with potatoes and carrots by using this loose guide:

2 lemons
4 carrots, peeled
2 pounds small potatoes

Cut lemons into small chunks – likewise for the carrots and potatoes. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt. Roast in the oven at 375 for about an hour, until the potatoes are soft and a bit crispy around the edges.

Roasting lemons intensifies their flavor and adds a bright, sunny flavor to dishes. It’s an especially nice addition during the winter to perk up roasted vegetables. I also like to cut lemons in half, drizzle with olive oil and throw them on the grill with chicken or fish. The juice from grilled lemons is less acidic than raw lemons and when drizzled over meat or sauteed veggies (try it over kale) brings a gentle, lemony flavor.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. March 3, 2011 12:57 am

    By “intensifies their flavors,” do you mean the oil increases the tartness of the lemon?

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