22 degrees, clear
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It’s not uncommon for Alaska to spoil my meal planning and recipe testing (just days before writing this I had been interviewed for a New York Times piece by Julia O’Malley on just this topic). Inspired by the opening of the 2018 Winter Olympics a couple of weeks ago, I wanted to make something Korean-inspired. Korean food is not my area of expertise, but since I have two friends who recently put out the cookbook Everyday Korean, I grabbed my copy and studied it, looking for a recipe to try.I honed in on some blistered shishito peppers in a cast iron skillet, glistening with an umami-sweet glaze and sprinkled with sesame seeds. I just had to have them. For days I looked forward to making them. I drove over to Soldotna in search of shishito peppers. But there were none. Jalapeños. Poblanos. Habaneros even. Not a single shishito pepper in the bunch. My son then spotted a pile of spiny bright green romanesco and asked me what it was. I probably answered him through gritted teeth because I was so annoyed that there was something as obscure as romanesco, but no shishitos.
I paced back and forth in the produce section, talking to myself and looking forlorn. This was not my first time stranded in the grocery store with my recipe inspiration obliterated by the lack of access to ingredients. Heck, it probably wasn’t even the hundredth time. It’s a part of the story of many Alaskans. Sometimes, you can improvise and substitute, but today wasn’t that day. None of those other peppers had the appropriate heat level for this recipe. I had to come up with something else to cook and write about this week and the pressure was on.
Thankfully, I had a bag of Meyer lemons sitting in my refrigerator at home. I can’t resist when citrus season hits and the sparkly, bright fruit brightens the produce section for only one brief moment each year. Cara cara and blood oranges? Gimme. Satsumas? Yes. Key limes? Don’t stop me now. Meyer lemons are one of the heroes of citrus season, with their complex perfume and unique flavor. They’re just as good in savory recipes as they are in sweet ones. They’re also tasty in beverages. I love Meyer lemon balanced with fresh herbs, like rosemary. This Meyer lemon rosemary scones recipe makes quite a few scones, which are best enjoyed the same day, so make sure you have lots of family, friends, and neighbors with whom to share them when you whip up a batch.