Friday, October 29, 2010

175. Vermicelli with Lemon-Pepper Sauce

Lemons are a wonderful fruit and, while their beautiful color and fresh fragrance are recognized everywhere, many people might not know that there is cleaning power in those lemons. The fact that a little lemon juice left on stains can bleach out the unwanted color is a testament to what citric acid can do.

That juice  can also cut through grease layers, dissolve soap scum and hard water lime and may be mixed with baking soda to make a cleaning paste; if mixed with olive oil, the resulting solution produces a hardwood polish. In addition to all this cleaning power, the little lemon always leaves behind a fresh, fruity aroma.

When I was growing up, we kids used citric-acid power when we put lemon juice on our hair and sat out in the sun...the combination would give our hair a sun-streaked look. I doubt that my mother thought this was a good use of lemons, but she let us do it anyway.

In the winter, Mother would have us drink lemon juice and honey mixed in hot water to soothe a sore throat or to quiet a nagging cough. Most of the time, however, lemons were used to make lemonade, as a flavoring for a dessert or bread and it was often the essence that perked up vegetables, meat or fish.

Hot melted butter mixed with lemon is such a wondererful combination, that many foods would be lost without it...lobster, crab, and artichokes to name a few. In today's vermicelli recipe, the hint of lemon with butter is just the right touch for this easy lemon-pasta creation. The lemon flavor actually increases as this dish sits.

Vermicelli with Lemon-Pepper Sauce

1/3 cup milk
3 T butter (Smart Balance may be substituted)
1 pkg vermicelli
4 T lemon juice
1/3 C Parmesan, grated
Finely grated lemon peel
Pepper blend (Trader Joe's 23 Seasoning Salute)

Add milk and butter to a small pot. Heat on low until butter melts. Remove and set aside. Cook vermicelli according to package directions. Drain. Place pasta in a bowl and add lemon juice. Toss together and allow to rest for a minute or so. Add Parmesan cheese and mix gently. Next, add milk mixture and again, blend all ingredients together gently. Garnish with parsley, pepper blend and grated peel. Serve immediately or cool.

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