Katy G. Wilkens
There is something very fulfilling about picking lemons off a lemon tree in the middle of winter.

Brighten up the dark months with glowing citrus

By Katy G. Wilkens

Some people think there is not much going on in the garden this time of year, but kale, parsnips and Brussels sprouts are still growing strong. And if your garden is like mine, you can harvest dandelion greens all winter long.

And when the weather is just too nasty to linger in my garden, I turn to the Mediterranean. Not a trip to sun-drenched beaches, but to the citrus trees I coddle all winter inside my home. There is something very fulfilling about picking lemons off a lemon tree in the middle of winter. I turn them into lemon curd, which tastes wonderful on scones, yogurt and toast.

Nothing goes to waste; I use the peel to make candied lemon peel or lemon marmalade. I also grow fragrant lime for leaves to use in Asian cooking, and I get a few mandarin oranges from my dwarf tree. A friend of mine is trying kumquats, which make a wonderful marmalade or a nice dipping sauce for shrimp, crab or chicken.

Microwave lemon curd 1 cup granulated sugar
3 eggs
2/3 cup fresh lemon juice
3 lemons, zested
½ cup butter, melted

In a microwave-safe bowl, whisk together sugar and eggs until smooth. Stir in the lemon juice, lemon zest and butter. Cook in microwave at one-minute intervals, stirring after each minute until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a metal spoon. Remove from microwave and pour into small, sterile jars. Store for up to three weeks in the refrigerator.

For a yummy lemon pie, try mixing 1½ cups of sour cream with 3 cups of lemon curd. Pour into pre-baked pie shell and refrigerate two hours before serving. You can also use small individual pie pans for lemon cream tarts.

Nutritional information (serving size: 2 ounces):
Calories: 200, Carbohydrates: 24 grams, Protein: 2 grams, Sodium 18 milligrams

Orange peel spicy noodles
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound raw shrimp or cubed chicken breast or tofu
2 tablespoons grated orange peel
¼ cup fresh squeezed juice from orange
½-1 jalapeno pepper, chopped fine
2 carrots, grated
2 cups Napa cabbage, sliced
1 cup broccoli, cut in flowerets
1 red pepper, chopped
2 handfuls cherry tomatoes, cut in half
1 package whole grain angel hair pasta

Start water boiling for noodles. Heat oil in frying pan or wok. Pan-fry shrimp or chicken until done. Remove from pan and set aside. Add carrots and broccoli, and stir-fry for a few minutes. Add angel hair pasta to hot water, and boil 2 to 3 minutes. Meanwhile add red pepper, orange peel and juice, jalapeno and cabbage, to pan and stir-fry for 2 to 3 minutes. Return shrimp or chicken to pan and heat. Add cherry tomatoes. Drain noodles. Top with shrimp/chicken mixture. Serves 4-6.

Nutritional information:
Calories: 522, Carbohydrates: 87 grams,
Protein: 33 grams, Sodium: 650 milligrams

The information in this column is meant for people who want to keep their kidneys healthy and blood pressure down by following a low-sodium diet. In most cases, except for dialysis patients, a diet high in potassium is thought to help lower high blood pressure. These recipes are not intended for people on dialysis without the supervision of a registered dietitian.

[Katy G. Wilkens is a registered dietitian and department head at Northwest Kidney Centers. A recipient of the Susan Knapp Excellence in Education Awardfrom the National Kidney Foundation Council on Renal Nutrition, she has a Master of Science degree in nutritional sciences from the University of Washington. See more of her recipes at www.nwkidney.org.]

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