Lemon Olive Oil and SAD


I think that Seasonal Affective Disorder has finally landed. I was feeling like I had dodged it, but no. February is usually when it happens, especially after several snow storms drop a couple of feet of snow on you, like it has here. I had been feeling mildly surprised that my spirits have been so even keeled. One of those feelings that you are quiet about, internally knocking on wood, when you wake up and check your inner mood barometer: depressed? No? Great!

But just yesterday, the low feelings started to swirl around me like a sand storm, making it hard to see clearly. In the evening, I was sitting watching my son play with his trains, and somewhat suddenly, this swarm of darkness descended upon my head. I can’t help but to wonder if he felt it too because for some reason he immediately stopped playing and decided to go to sleep a half hour earlier than normal. That NEVER happens. EVER. Unless he’s sick, and of course I began feeling his head searching for fever. But maybe he knew that I needed to check out, watch some TV (Top of the Lake–finally watched the first episode. Wow.) and sip on a little liqueur. And then fall in a deep deep sleep, bones weary from so much heavy snow shoveling. (Only to be disturbed  in the middle of the night by a cat struck by cabin fever and a full moon who was alternately meowing and chasing imaginary mice. I glared at her all morning, and she knows it.)

We know why citrus is so good for us during these winter months. Sunny and full of vitamin C, we sun-deprived northerners understand we’re on a ship out to sea and the only thing that will get us safely to shore is citrus. Even though I just discussed my reigned in stance on citrus, it doesn’t stop me from buying a few beauties from the store. Two little Meyer lemons, perfect and smooth, the size of a medium egg when cupped in your palm. This recipe from Saveur immediately rang the gong in my head; I was seeing steamed vegetables drizzled with it, among other delectables. Of my two precious Meyer lemons, this is where one is headed.


I halved the recipe, because it seems you will have quite a lot using two lemons. I used one small Meyer lemon, 1/3 cup of good extra virgin olive oil, and a hearty pinch of salt. It blended up nicely in the Vitamix, although I am sure the food processor would have been fine, too. I didn’t strain it because it seemed fine–nice and thick. It also seemed like it would take a while; I started straining it, and I could tell it was going to take forever. Why bother? A thought for future incarnations: I will bet that throwing in a half of a can of anchovies wouldn’t be such a bad idea.

I will bet that along with dipping or dressing for raw or steamed vegetables, this lemon olive oil will also do nicely on greek yogurt for a savory breakfast, or over feta to serve with crackers and olives. It would also be delicious drizzled on a nice steak or pork chop.

Pro tip: I’m extremely frugal, and I was sad to see so much lemony goodness clinging to the sides of my Vitamix. So I blitzed up a quick vinaigrette in the container with some oil, a garlic clove, white wine vinegar, salt and pepper to make a bright dressing.

Having all these sunny, lemony dressings on hand makes me cheer up, if only just a touch.


  1. february sucks. cooking projects and some decent tv. are how i try to deal with it too! i LOVE to top of the lake. have you been watching true detective? that’s another good one.

    1. It does Caroline! It always does. Yes, the cooking helps: today I baked like a crazy person because we got another few inches of snow. And no, never saw True Detective. I’ll check it out. Thanks!!

    1. I think it was third by a hair, but I am still so happy you came by! ; ) Thank you, Kate, it means a lot.

  2. Consider yourself lucky that SAD just hit you; I have been a disaster since early Jan. We went to Mexico from 12/30-1/6; the intense decline in sunlight always exacerbates the situation for me; just today I began to feel better as I can feel the seasons changing; good luck to you! I’m going to read Mood Cure; but in my experience, low carb diet helps a lot;

    1. Oh, Marianne, January! At least you had a respite in Mexico (how lovely!) despite it possibly making things worse. I do know Spring is close; only a little bit more and we’re there!

  3. I’m loving your new spot too, Julia! And, my last meyer lemon just found it’s use. I’ve been blessed with an unusually large amount of sun this winter and still more coming up in spring, so I am not feeling the winter as depressingly as I usually do. Hang in there! xo

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