Thursday Recipe Exchange: When Life Gives You Lemons

tamara lemon nut pork
From our Food Goddess, TaMara:

I had some recipe testing and photography to do last week for another project, so I tried to group things together and buy ingredients in bulk. That inspired me to choose lemons as our ingredient for tonight’s recipe exchange. A bag of lemons provided me with two of my favorite recipes last week. And this week I’ll be working on a Chicken Piccata (same bag of lemons) but I didn’t get it done in time for tonight’s list. And, yes that’s right, you’re getting leftovers tonight.

The Tangy Lemon Pie got a makeover with a lemon cookie crust which won it rave reviews from my taste-testers, (recipe here)

JeffreyW gives us a a Lemon Garlic Basil Shrimp recipe, complete with a beautiful slideshow (recipe here).

When life gives you lemons, what do you make?

And tonight’s featured recipe, which turned out better than I remembered. I hadn’t made it in quite a while and had forgotten what a good combination butter, lemon and in this case, pecans are with pork.

Lemon-Nut Pork Chops

4 boneless pork loin chops (approx. 1/2 to 3/4” thick)
½ tsp crushed garlic
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper
¼ tsp lemon zest
1 tbsp butter
¼ cup finely chopped pecans or hazelnuts (the finer the grind, the better this works, if you have a coffee grinder that’s best)
¼ cup lemon juice
1 lemon, quartered


Rub chops with garlic, salt, pepper, & zest. Melt butter in skillet on medium heat. Brown chops, 5 to 7 minutes on each side. Spread 1/4 nuts on plate. Remove chops 1 at a time and press 1 side into nuts. Add ¼ more nuts each time. Sprinkle any remaining nuts over chops. Stir lemon juice into pan drippings, deglaze, heat for 1 minute and spoon over chops. Serve with lemon wedges.

42 replies
  1. 1
    muddy says:

    I used lemon tonight too. I had fried smelts with lemon peppered cornmeal, with a yogurt peppercorn dip. Tiny tails like potato chips.

  2. 2
    Yutsano says:

    GREMOLATA!! Delicious, amazingly simple to make, and fantastically versatile. I made salmon with gremolata tonight as a matter of fact. NOMZ!!

  3. 3
    Jay S says:

    A bag of lemons? No Problem. Limoncello and lots of lemon juice.

  4. 4
    Svensker says:


    Yes. Yum.

  5. 5
    Hal says:

    I’m still trying to figure out what to make for dinner tomorrow since I’m off from work. I feel burned out on everything and will probably end up ordering Chinese. But pork chops seem pretty decent too.

  6. 6
    jharp says:

    Please help.

    I made pulled pork and it is far too vinegary.

    Someone here mentioned adding flat beer to fix the problem and something else.

    1) I can’t remember what the something else was

    2) Is it accurate that flat beer might help

    Anyone? Thanks in advance.

  7. 7
    J.W. Hamner says:

    Preserved lemons (or lemon confit) are a pretty cool thing to make (or buy). Primarily they are used in Moroccan cuisine, but it’s a very interesting flavor added to soups, stews, or a vinaigrette. The recipe I used came from the New York Times.

    I used them recently making the braised lamb shanks out of Ruhlman’s Twenty. They came out awesome, but given the price of lamb shanks it’s hard to justify making them frequently.

  8. 8
    NotMax says:


    Dunno about beer, but some honey (or even sugar), added a little at a time as you test the dish for taste will help soften the vinegary overdose.

    A little lemon zest will also brighten it up if the beer or the honey makes it too flat-tasting.

  9. 9
    Yutsano says:

    @J.W. Hamner: Wow, really? Maybe it’s just in my area but I looked at lamb shanks tonight and they weren’t too badly priced. It’s not really the season for lamb either.

  10. 10
    J.W. Hamner says:


    Admittedly, I shop at an expensive butcher… though I’ve never seen lamb shanks at a “regular” grocery store here… but I recall it being over $10 a pound for them and that’s including bone (don’t have a receipt). It’s so very rich though, that it did feed me for ages.

  11. 11
    jharp says:


    Thank you kindly.

  12. 12
    BGinCHI says:

    Remove chops 1 at a time and press 1 side into nuts.

    I’m now in my mid-40s, a professional, happily married with a small child, and yet I can still think this is funny.

    There’s probably something wrong with me.

  13. 13


    Not just you, dear. Not just you.

  14. 14
    Yutsano says:

    @BGinCHI: I’d be more concerned about you if you DIDN’T think it was funny.

  15. 15
    Mnemosyne says:


    I read just that line out loud to my husband (without your reply) and he immediately giggled, so you do not appear to be alone.

  16. 16
    BGinCHI says:

    @Yutsano: I was half expecting to hear your voice on a megaphone outside:

    BG! Put the pork chop down and come out with your hands up!

  17. 17
    Yutsano says:

    @BGinCHI: You’d best be bringing out the porcine goodness. Sharing is caring dude.

  18. 18
    BGinCHI says:

    Poor Tamara works so hard to provide these recipes, which are fabulous, and Jeffrey is forever making better stuff than I can (and I’m pretty good at it), and my derailing of the thread has to do with pressing a pork chop to my nuts.

    I can’t wait to see what history thinks of us in 50 years.


  19. 19

    I make potato salad.

    Waxy potatoes, peeled and boiled, leave until they are warm. Make a pesto in your blender with rocket, olive oil, parsley, some hard cheese, peanuts and garlic. Saute some leeks until they are softened but still a little crunchy.

    Chop up some radishes into smallish chunks and marinate in lemon juice, then add to the potatoes along with the leeks, a big glug of olive oil, finely grated lemon rind, chopped flat parsley and dill, sliced dill pickles, pepper, salt and (last of all) a biggish spoonful of sour cream (less is more). Moosh around well, stuck it in the fridge for an hour.

    Serve with the pesto and more fresh lemon juice. Goes particularly well with sausages or fried ham slices.

  20. 20
    scav says:

    @BGinCHI: In 50 years it will be known as BGinCHI Pork Chops and taught on the CIA holodeck along with Peach Melba and other classics. There will be spinoffs with other meatstuffs and a vegetarian alternative filed under your nuts.

  21. 21
    TaMara (BHF) says:

    @BGinCHI: Well it made me smile and that’s something.

  22. 22
    BGinCHI says:

    @scav: I like the realism.

  23. 23
    BGinCHI says:

    @TaMara (BHF): O, dea certe!

    (Virgil, Aeneid….”a goddess for sure,” or, “behold, a goddess”)

  24. 24
    TaMara (BHF) says:

    On a whole ‘nother note. Anyone else have a cat who lives to snuggle with stuffed animals? Every day I come home to find this:


  25. 25
    J.W. Hamner says:

    Made my first sous vide steak tonight… hanger steak cooked to 130’F (with aromatics – garlic, shallot, thyme) for 45 minutes plus and then pan fried for a minute on each side. Thought it came out just perfect (though my mother would find it disgustingly bloody). Not a particularly satisfying way to cook, but it sure is hard to screw up.

    @TaMara (BHF): From Christmas. Two cats snuggling with each other snuggling with stuffed Santas.

  26. 26
  27. 27
    Yutsano says:

    @J.W. Hamner: KITTEHS!!

    Also: never understood the sous vide thing. Maybe I’m just old fashioned or something.

  28. 28
    TaMara (BHF) says:

    @J.W. Hamner:

    I’ve never done the sous vide, but after watching an episode of America’s Test Kitchen, I did try method of baking and then pan searing steak that was amazing, no matter how unlikely it sounded. The most perfect steak I’d ever made without grilling.

    Pan-Seared Steak

  29. 29
    ruemara says:

    The only cat who likes to snuggle against something that isn’t me goes crazy snuggling my shoes.

  30. 30
    Mnemosyne says:


    Keaton loves to snuggle my shoes.

    He also tends to get lots of hairballs.

    I have lost several pairs of shoes that way.

  31. 31
    J.W. Hamner says:


    It makes it really easy to perfectly cook a protein… to such an extent that some argue it can’t actually be duplicated by traditional methods. I don’t know about that myself, but I’ve certainly overcooked a piece (or two or… more) of meat before, even armed with a fancy thermometer.

    On the other hand it’s a long process (though not hands on) compared to simply pan frying whatever it is you want. It’s also not “fun” except maybe as a science experiment, but that does mean you can focus on other parts of the meal knowing that the protein can be ready and perfect in 2 minutes.

  32. 32
    scav says:

    @Yutsano: Does it make more sense if you think of it as a way to really control the temperature the food reaches? You’ve got a solid, heat is diffusing in from the outside so it takes time. One fundamental problem is getting the internal temperature to the correct temperature without bolluxing the parts of the food closer to the surface with unwanted higher temps. Doing it slow in a precisely calibrated water bath means the entire solid reaches the desired internal temp without overcooking the edges. Then with the steak do a quick sear so you get just as much of char (whatever that mword effect is) as you want, but more of the internal solid/steak is at the state of doneness you wanted. That’s about as far as I’ve managed to understand it. Precise control. And then? Help from others please?

  33. 33
    Yutsano says:


    whatever that mword effect is

    Maillard reaction. It’s kind of nifty. And I get fussy with any technique that requires very expensive equipment for a single purpose. I just flat-out don’t need an immersion circulator.

  34. 34
    scav says:

    @Yutsano: For home cooking I too probably might not bother, as much as I like understanding the principles of the whole thing. Maybe figuring out low tech alternatives once in a while, jumbling new approaches into the rut I can get into. Plus the fun of them whole science geeky end of it, thinking about the why of what were doing. I’m having fun with the Harvard lectures, not that I’m really attracted by the whole spherification and foam overdone sort of thing beyond the mental jolt (not that I regret in any way the experience of eating a foamed tortilla once for exactly that moment of Yoikes — just not for everyday, I get the point).

  35. 35
    gex says:

    Thread’s probably dead enough. Gotta let this out, just not to anyone who knows me, Kate, or Tim. Hopefully to no one.

    But I wish I would have gotten her to promise Tim she’d get an exam by October 2011, the comic she raved about, cared about, dragged her bleeding to death self out to see.

    She dragged herself to see Tim at Acme a few days before I had to force her to urgent care. She went even though she’d seen his act two weeks before. Prior to that, when he came to visit her, I had to leave. I just couldn’t stand watching her express care and concern and go so out of her way to put an effort into being there for him or doing things for him when she couldn’t even empty the goddamn dishwasher for me.

    She would have gone. As I was driving her to the emergency room, she told me point blank, to my face, that she was doing this for comedy and not for me. To my face. After all the shit I had to eat the last two years, that was the last straw. How could she make it any worse?

    Instead, she promised me she’d get that exam in 2011. Which meant I dragged her to urgent care in August of 2012 to get her that exam.


    Tomorrow’s going to be hard. At least after that I can withdraw from this comedian circle and stop being constantly reminded of what actually mattered to her. I probably mattered. Just not enough.

  36. 36
    Cassidy says:

    @gex: People are people. I hope today goes well for you and that you cna find some peace. But before then, getting stark, raving, naked down the street drunk and angry is prfectly okay. I’d offer to DD, but Florida is a bit of a hike.

  37. 37
    tybee says:

    in that shrimp garlic lemon recipe…when the skrimps are done, why you wan’ keep cooking dem?

    shrimp should be the last thing in the pot before serving.

    playing ping pong with overcooked shrimp is highly overrated.

  38. 38
    J.W. Hamner says:


    You don’t need a $1000 immersion circulator to do sous vide. You can do a steak in a beer cooler if you have a good thermometer. I wanted to be able to do 36 hour pork belly and the like however, so I bought an integrated PID controller and thermocouple (which you can get for $100-150) and a slow cooker to do it. The controller turns the slow cooker on and off to keep the water bath at a constant temp. If you are handy with electronics you could do the first part for probably closer to $50 (maybe cheaper).

  39. 39
    schrodinger's cat says:

    @gex: You don’t have to answer this of course. Why did you stick with Kate? From what you have told us, she seems to have been unappreciative at best and insensitive at worst. You certainly seem to have put a lot more in the relationship than you got out of it. A relationship can’t really survive for long without resentments building if that’s the case.

    You took good care of her, now take care of yourself. I hope you find peace and happiness. {{{{gex}}}}. And forgive me, if I have overstepped my bounds.

  40. 40
    schrodinger's cat says:

    Lemons can be wonderful in almost anything. I had a some fresh lime juice or lemon juice, to almost everything I make. It is especially great with fish. I always serve lime or lemon wedges with fish.

  41. 41
    mainmati says:

    @J.W. Hamner: Well, at least here in MD outside DC, lamb shanks are widely available and moderately priced but that’s maybe because this is a very cosmopolitan region with a large immigrant population.

    I have a similar recipe for pork chops as Anne but instead of nuts, which is also very good, I use wholewheat bread crumbs mixed with finely-grated parm. Yum.

  42. 42
    Lorne Marr says:

    I’ve never thought of such strange combination before. Pork, lemon and nuts – sounds very interesting. Thanks for this inspiring and easy recipe. Looks mouthwatering!

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