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I recently traveled to Los Angeles for my parents’ 50th wedding anniversary party, held at the Elk’s Club in Redondo Beach.  I stayed with my long-time friend Debbie at her fabulous million-dollar-view-with-avocado-tree abode in nearby Rancho Palos Verdes.

But there’s no low-hanging fruit on the avocado tree, so we’re not gonna talk about that.

Debbie also has a lemon tree.  And it’s quite obvious by the copious amounts of unpicked lemons on the tree that she is OVER it.  Which I can understand because when I was growing up in nearby Torrance my grandparents, who lived nearby, had a lemon tree and they were over it, too.  But coming from Tennessee, one just does not take backyard produce for granted.

As I went to bed Saturday night, Debbie told me she would have lemons for me in the morning to pack in my carry-on to take home. I woke up Sunday morning, showered, dressed, put on my make-up, packed, and went downstairs to pick lemons.

Then I tossed the bad avocados on the lawn over the back fence so the dogs wouldn’t make a mess of them, picked a strawberry and ate it, stared enviously at the garlic, rosemary and onions in her cute patch of garden, turned to look wistfully at the swimming pool that I didn’t even dip my toe in the whole weekend, then went upstairs to wake Deb to let her know I was leaving.

Mr. Bibb was tickled yellow when I produced fresh, ripe, homegrown lemons from my suitcase when I got home.  After some welcome-home smooching, I researched lemon recipes and came up with three to try: Lemon Spaghetti, Old-fashioned Lemon Bars, and Fish Piccata.

Last night I made Lemon Spaghetti for Mr. Bibb, who was cranky and hungry after fasting for his annual physical this morning and then forgetting to eat the rest of the day.  Even though it’s a vegetarian recipe, it set him straight right quick.

P.S. In Deb’s defense: she may have forgotten to pick the lemons, but she did keep me in beer and munchies and told me lively stories throughout the weekend when I was not partying with my parents.

Lemon Spaghetti

Adapted from Food Network, Giada De Laurentiis

Serves 2.

  • 1/2 pound of spaghetti
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan
  • 1/4 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice (about one large lemon)
  • slivered basil leaves, as desired
  • salt and pepper, as desired

Whisk the oil, Parmesan, and lemon juice in a large bowl to blend. Set aside.

Cook the spaghetti in a large pot of boiling salted water until tender, stirring occasionally.

Using tongs, transfer the pasta from the pot to the bowl with lemon sauce. If a little cooking water gets in the sauce, it’s okay, it’ll add needed moisture. Toss the pasta (and add-ins, if desired – see below) with the lemon sauce. Season with salt and pepper. Garnish with lemon zest and slivered basil.

Add-ins: Shrimp; chopped asparagus; frozen peas.

And, if you can’t pick California lemons…California lemons

Drive ’em.