Sunshine in a Jar

Have I ever told you about the market here in Chicago, on North Ave, Stanley's? It's sort of infamous around here, especially with recently graduated hipster foodies with tiny budgets (it takes a lot of money to look so minimalistic!) and or "people who juice". They have the cheapest organic produce in the city, hands down. It's also probably going to go bad tomorrow, but if you are smart, you can really benefit from shopping there. I usually plan my meals around what I know will go bad first, something with tomatoes will be early in the week and the meals with potatoes, carrots or squash at the end of the week and so on. It might sound like too much work but every dollar counts, especially if it means I can splurge on something yummy like gruyere or smoked paprika. (Or, ok, good chocolate, since I don't make a habit of lying.) 

Last weekend I picked up a few pounds of organic lemons ($3 for five pounds) for two recipes I wanted to try out of Canning for a new Generation. I thought it was interesting that these two recipes were included considering they aren't "canned" but they go along with the theme of general creative frugality. It's astonishing what you can do with pantry staples and simple, often under appreciated produce like lemons. The first thing I tried was the salt preserved lemons. I could not believe how simple it was; slice some lemons and put it in a jar with some kosher salt, a few weeks later you have a nice accompaniment to salad or even rich meats like lamb. I got a letter from my sweet friend Emily which included a recipe for an Iranian lamb stew that called for preserved lemons as a garnish, and that is what peaked my interest. Recently I saw a fennel and preserved lemon salad recipe as well, that sounds delicious. The recipe for the lemon curd was on the previous page in the book, doing them together would be a good idea.  

I'm apparently late to the fruit curd party, but I'm glad I'm here. This mix of butter, egg, sugar and fruit is literally, sunshine in a jar. I get so down in the winter when the sun is hiding away, but just looking at this beautiful bright yellow jar of yummy sour sweet spread perks my day up just enough. Today I slathered it on some banana oat bread (since those bananas from Stanley's only last about two days and then you have to cook em' up!) but that day I made some greek yogurt scones to go with it. They were so good I didn't even get a picture but I will share that recipe with you anyway! (That sounds a little outrageous to me, are we really at that point in our culture where we have to take pictures of our food before we eat it, Im guilty, and laughing at myself.) I won't share the curd recipe since it's not mine, but I'm sure Martha's  would be great too. These scones get massive, and are really light and fluffy on the inside, which I love. I find a lot of scones I buy at cafes tend to be too dense, but maybe thats the point of a scone? Who knows!?

Honey, Thyme & Coconut Scones

2 c unbleached all purpose flour
1 tbsp baking powder 
Pinch of salt 
1/2 tbsp sugar
1 egg
About two tbsp of honey 
1/2 c Greek yogurt (2%) 
1/3 c whole milk 
6 tbsp unsalted butter 
1/2 tbsp fresh thyme 
1/4 c unsulfured, unsweetened shredded coconut 
Citrus zest 
A little milk and turbanado sugar for the top

Oven at 400.
Sift and mix the dry ingredients together. Cut in the butter. Mix together the egg, yogurt and milk, honey, add to dry mixture, stir until just combined and no longer. Lightly flour a surface and knead for about 15 times. Pat or roll dough into a circle (1/2 thick). Cut into 8ths ( or you could make circles) and place in parchment lined baking sheet. Brush tops with milk and dust with sugar. Bake for about 10 minutes or until the tops are golden brown. Remove from parchment immediately and let cool or eat them hot! 

Thanks for reading, 


  1. I love your photos. And I agree, you should splurge on smoked paprika! I recently did and it is now one of my favorite spices.

    I'm so intrigued by the preserved lemons! Do you just put the lemons with kosher salt in a jar on the counter? And wait a couple of weeks? Do you eat the peels? Do you brush off the salt when eating it? I hope I'm not too much of a pest with all these questions. :)

    The Brayn of Chalayn

    1. I think there may be a lemon to salt ratio, but im not sure? I just followed her recipe for 1/3 salt for five lemons. I think you are supposed to rinse them under cold water before you eat them, and some people eat the flesh and some only eat the rind, which softens in the brine...Im sure you can find plenty of recipes that call for them!

  2. well this looks scrumptious. i've actually never made scones or any sort of curd. i need to get on that.

    1. they are both relatively easy! well worth the effort, thanks for reading!

  3. Oh lovely K, I can't wait to try this recipe when sweet baking is back on around here! Or maybe I could omit the honey/sugar for a 1/2 cup of grated cheddar? And those lemons, boy howdy! Glorious! I'd love to try preserving my own... hmmm... and having a few citrus trees wouldn't be so bad either. I do hope you try the Gormeh Sabzi sometime too xx

    1. We have plans for it as soon as the lemons are ready! Xavier was excited about it, he loves lamb. I think you could easily change the scones to be savory..I would maybe replace some of the butter with the cheese, and omit the honey all together...and add which ever herbs you fancy, OR maybe you could replace the yogurt with ricotta and add sage and gruyere?

  4. So much happy sunshiney yellow! If whipping all that up didn't fix your winter blues, I don't know what would! I bet your kitchen smelled amazing. I admit, lemon curd intimidates me a bit... one of those "it seems so simple that it has to be complicated" type of things, hah. I have a jar of it from Trader Joe's sitting in the pantry, but I haven't opened it because I'm not quite sure what to spread it on. Toast? Pancakes? I think those scones just might be the ticket.

    Also: smoked paprika is my favorite spice in the whole world.

    1. You should totally put it on toast or scones, or any sort of pastry. You could also make little tarts with the lemon curd and top it with greek yogurt and fruit! The recipe I followed was really really easy! It was really surprising!

  5. that looks so yummy! Great pictures--my mouth is watering

  6. Oh! Your letter arrived, thank you thank you... it was pure sunshine in a letter. And I have already begun to reply xx

  7. With trees in the backyard full of lemons I should really get on board the 'preserved lemon' train - this convinced me thoroughly :)