“When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.”

I have always loved that saying. Every now and then, you get handed things that may not be what you currently desire but you just have to make the most of it.

Lately, my plate has been full (and not in the fun fill my tummy kind of way.) It isn’t that I’m in a sour mood, I just feel a little overwhelmed and that I’ve lost some of my zest. (Ooooo, clever lemon-esque wordplay for your reading enjoyment.)

My mind started to think how can I make lemonade out of my current exhaustion and then I remembered the class I took in June at The Chopping Block in Chicago on…lemons!

The menu was awesome…Bruschetta with white beans, arugula and FRIED lemons, lemon LINGUINE with Parmesan cheese and basil, Grilled Shrimp with PRESERVED lemon and parsley pesto and lemon PUDDING cake with raspberries. (Note how the capitalization makes it all more exciting?)*


IMG_0072*I’m not sure when they are offering the class again but I would HIGHLY recommend checking out their class schedule periodically for other ingredient-centric classes. It was neat to take one ingredient and prepare it so many different ways.

The class was taught by Chef Ron (who was not only a great chefstructor but a super nice guy) but he wasn’t the guy I really was paying attention to during the class. My mind kept going to my husband’s grandfather, Grandpa Miller. He LOVED lemons. Every time we had something with lemon in it he would say, “It needs more lemon.”

Grandpa Miller liked me and I knew it. He was fun to feed because he always had such an enthusiastic reaction. (He also liked the McRib so I am in no way saying he had a great taste…except in Granddaughters in law!)

So when I was cooking in this class and tasting all of my delicious dishes, I kept seeing his smile and hearing him request more lemon.

It was kind of a bittersweet class for me because I would have loved to cook him this menu. I know he would have enjoyed it, given me a hug and told me that it needed more lemon.

He would have loved these fried lemons.
He would have loved these fried lemons. 

Our memories of people probably are all different. We have things that stick out uniquely to us. Having had only a short time with Grandpa Miller could probably be looked at like a “lemon” moment. I am glad I can make something positive of our time together and preserve his spirit in my head.

Quick Preserved Lemons (This wasn’t from class but I can’t find preserved lemons in our small town so this is a great alternative.)


2 lemons (scrub them good because some of them are waxy)

1 ½ tsp of kosher salt

1 TBsp sugar


Dice lemons…the whole thing. Make sure to discard of as many of the seeds as possible.

Put all the ingredients in a jar with a lid and shake it up.

Let it sit at room temperature for at least 4 hours giving it a shake every time you walk through the room.

It should be ready at this point and kept in the fridge for a week.  And if someone you love needs more lemon, you will have it handy….every time.

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