When Life Gives You Lemons #pickingupthepieces

During Portia Joyce Wellness’s Beyond The Resolutions: 11-Day, Winter Clean Eating Program, I probably use about 2 whole lemons in one day. My morning lemon elixir, to get my digestive enzymes started and to release toxins from my liver, alone uses 1 whole lemon for juicing. Then, throughout my day, I can possibly use a lemon or two for a massaged kale salad, to give a pâté some acidity or to season a soup. Thinking ahead, I realized there is a much wasted ingredient every time I juice a lemon and throw it in the trash.



The lemon zest is an essential part of flavoring in modern day cooking. Citrus fruit have the outer layer called a peel. The peel is made up of two parts, the flavedo and the pith. The pith is the white under layer of the peel which gives the citrus fruit its bitter characteristics. The flavedo, which is what the zest comes from, is the outer most layer of the peel. It contains the essential oils in citrus that is key to flavoring dishes without the use of its juice. Using the zest eliminates the addition of liquid and the “sour” and/or “sweet” taste of the fruit. The zest gives us the basic, yet powerful, flavor and smell of the fruit itself.


1. MICROPLANE/GRATER: This ingenious tool is designed to finely grate zest from citrus fruit such as lemons, limes, and oranges (oh, my). However, I have used my microplane to finely grate Parmagianno-Reggiano or hard cheeses, finely mince garlic, top off my coffee with ground nutmeg, or even use it to finely grate dark chocolate to top off a panna cotta. Depending on the size of the microplane or grater, you will get a different coarseness of zest.

  4414ZESTER_07_10_2012__17_55_32_456  microplane-zester-L 

2. ZESTER/CHANNEL KNIFE: This is very useful when trying to remove strips of zest from citrus fruit for garnish or to chop up finely and use as zest. The beginning product comes out a bit larger than if you were to just grate a lemon for zest finely. The channeling knife produces larger and longer ribbons of zest. Usually found on the opposite end of the zester or right beneath it on the same metallic piece. This is a great way to store citrus zest before use. Once ready to use, you can finely chop these ribbons of zest into a finer product.

                                                      brio-bar-zester-largezest1-300x260           citrus-zester


3. PEELER or PAIRING KNIFE: This method produces the largest portions of zest. This is the best way to zest citrus for later use. Whether using a peeler or knife, you just remove the zest, which is the first layer of rind. You never want to remove the white pith part of a citrus fruit. It is the most bitter part of the citrus. Removing these larger pieces can give you the best advantage of more yield. You can then julienne, cutting into long strips, them into a zest size, then finely chop those strips into a fine grated size. This is my favorite way of zesting in bulk to store for later use!


I take the zest and use it in many aspects of my cooking. I add orange zest into coffee to make an orange spiced coffee and some added cinnamon for more flavor. I always use lemon zest in making my homemade vinaigrettes or dressings. This is the best way I know to add the lemony citrus flavor to my recipe without adding additional acidity or liquid. Zest is amazing any way you use it. So please, next time you know you are about to juice lemons for a cleanse, drink, or recipe, ZEST IT FIRST! You never know when you need that extra burst of citrus in your life.

What an Effin B****…

Oh, let me clarify!

WHAT AN EFFIN BEAST when it comes to her ZUMBA/LATIN HEAT class!!!!

I finally went back to the gym yesterday and just had to start it off with a Latin Heat sesh. It’s like Zumba but with more dance moves! I mean it’s the most perfect workout for someone that doesn’t enjoy to workout. I love to dance. I have been Latin Ballroom dancing since I was 10 years old. I met my ex-wife at a ballroom dance studio. And now my daughter is a young Cheryl Burke! Yeah, I said it! I’m one of those parents. Anyhow, it was the best. I actually didn’t know they had one at that time. I was confused by the schedule listed on LA Fitness’s website but it ended up working out. Get it?!? ;-P

It was an early day sesh, so it wasn’t that packed. The young to middle aged women that were there left some room for me in the back corner. I love walking into these workout rooms and getting all the wonderful attention. They all give me that stare of “What is he doing here? Eww!” Cue Jimmy Fallon…



I settle in and claim my space. Of course I made friends with the older women making enough room for them. I love to dance with older women. That’s for another post.

The class begins and I’m immediately in love! Why wouldn’t every workout dance sesh start off with Prince Royce’s bachata rendition of “Stand By Me?” Whaaaaat!




At that moment, I knew that this was going to be the start of a beautiful journey! But I ain’t gonna lie, my body is aching from my first day back into the workout world. But don’t they say “No pain, no gain?” Well, I’m in pain and I better NOT be gaining any weight. The only gain I accept is an increase in losing the weight.

If you have the chance, Take Joelle’s Zumba/Latin Heat class at LA Fitness in Clifton. She teaches every Monday and Thursday at 11AM! Click back <– there for the club and class info! Tell her Flo sent you. I’ll be there next Monday at 11AM!


LA Fitness | Class Schedule (Print Version) – CLIFTON – CLIFTON, NJ





Watch out ladies, Chef Flo is ’bout to show y’all that my moves extend out of the kitchen! Yassssssss!


And if you come and try out Joelle’s Zumba or Latin Heat class, don’t forget to holla at me in the back corner. Oh…