When Life Hands You Lemons

Diana Helfand
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Wednesday - October 24, 2007
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Restaurant managers, especially at very successful eateries like Romano’s Macaroni Grill on the fourth floor Ho’okipa Terrace at Ala Moana Center, are notorious for working really long hours on their feet taking care of patrons and back-of-the-house responsibilities.

John Langan, assistant general manager at Romano’s Macaroni Grill, is no exception, and presides over the daytime shifts at the large establishment. John also makes time to eat right and exercise. He was a lacrosse player at the University of Connecticut and continues to play on a Hawaii team.

In fact, he’ll be traveling to a big tournament on the Mainland later this fall.


Lacrosse is the oldest American sport. It was invented by the Native American people long before the Pilgrims arrived. Using a netted stick and a rubber ball these days, it’s the fastest growing U.S. sport in high schools and NCAA, plus it’s officially Canada’s summer sport.

This recipe, one of my most popular, is dedicated to John.

The lemon tree is believed to have originated in China or India, and has been cultivated in Asia for more than 2,500 years.

High in vitamin C, this yellow citrus fruit was once used to prevent and cure scurvy.

When purchasing, choose lemons that are firm, heavy for their size and have thin, smooth skins. Avoid lemons with bruised, discolored or wrinkled skins, or hard or soft patches, as these indicate the fruit is not fresh. Green-tinged lemons tend to be more acidic, and coarse-skinned lemons usually have a very thick skin and not as much flesh. Ripe lemons should have a pleasant citrus fragrance.

Lemons may be kept at room temperature for about a week; for longer storage, keep refrigerated.

Both lemon juice and the zest may be frozen.

TANGY LEMON

SQUARES

For Crust:
* 2 cups all-purpose flour
* 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
* 1 cup Smart Balance margarine


For Filling:
* 3 eggs plus 2 egg whites
* 2 cups white sugar
* 1/4 cup unbleached flour
* 1 teaspoon baking powder
* 1/4 cup lemon juice
* 1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
* confectioners’ sugar, for top

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. For crust: Stir together the flour and sugar and cut in margarine until the mixture is crumbly. Press in the bottom of a 9-by-13-inch pan. Turn up crust about 1/2 inch on sides of pan.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until crust is light golden brown.

While the crust is baking, prepare the filling. In medium-size bowl, beat the eggs with the whites until frothy. Beat in sugar, flour and baking powder. Beat with electric mixer for about 3 minutes. Stir in the lemon juice and peel until well-combined.

Pour the filling over the crust while it is still warm from the oven. Bake for an additional 25 to 30 minutes until the top is slightly browned. Remove from the oven and cool for about 20 minutes.

Sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar and cut into squares.

Makes about 36

Approximate Nutrition Information Per Square:

Calories: 145 Fat: 4.8 grams Sodium: 73 milligrams Cholesterol: 24 milligrams

(Diana Helfand, author of “Hawaii Light and Healthy” and “The Best of Heart-y Cooking,” has taught nutrition in the Kapiolani Community College culinary arts program.)

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