Winter is the time that citrus is at its peak. One can find just-picked lemons from Florida, Texas, California and Cambridge, Vermont. Yup, Cambridge, Vermont. I have had a lemon tree for 15 years. I bought the six-inch seedling for fun, back when we lived in our circa 1865 farm house. In spite of living in a pot, in the least citrus-like climate save for the Arctic, the little guy endured. The house had almost no insulation and received scant direct light. The tree would be brought to the edge of death every winter until I brought it out to the greenhouse in late February and it would slowly recover and grow until it went back into the house in October. It made it to about five feet in spite of its poor treatment but never fruited. And then we moved.
Our new house has light and relatively more warmth and the little tree has found its groove. Within the first full year here it flowered and set fruit. Encouraged, we gave it some citrus company in the form of a lime tree and an orange tree. They won’t win any awards at the Broward County Fair but they all produce. Just seeing those fruit hanging on the tree with snow swirling around the window outside makes my little farmer heart swell. And the lemons, limes and oranges are appreciated like the unlikely treasures that they are.
This is a vinaigrette recipe from my friend Carol, who is also the photographer for most of the pictures on our website. She is a very healthy eater so it is no surprise that her contribution would be an excellent, tangy vinaigrette. It uses the Makrut Lime-Leaf Infused Maple Syrup to add another dimension to the lemon juice; a sweet and floral element to balance the acid. This dressing requires a whole lemon from our tree but it has been deemed worthy by the whole family.
Juice of 1 lemon
2 tsp of Makrut Lime Leaf Infused Maple Syrup (or to taste)
2 tsp Dijon mustard
1/4 cup cold pressed unfiltered olive oil
Fresh ground salt/pepper
Blend all ingredients, adjusting measurements to taste. Serve over a crisp, green salad. Carol recommends mesclun greens with grapes, avocado, cucumber, cherry tomatoes and pistachios.