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Posts Tagged ‘Citrus’

When we got married, we had the most adorable woman catering our wedding.  She was hilarious and so sweet.  In one of our conversations, she started talking about Tyler Florence, and referred to him as “a little slice of heaven.”  A couple weeks ago, I caught an episode of his, and he made a salad that looked just incredible.  I mentally added those ingredients to my next farmers market list, determined to make it.  And when I did, OMG.  If it’s possible for a salad to be a little slice of heaven, well, this is it.

Like most recipes anywhere, but especially for salads, the original is way too complicated.  I skipped a lot of steps and ingredients.  It was still delicious.   The basics are beets, greens, and toasted bread.   The ingredients all taste good together, and none are so delicate as to be overpowered by the others.  So, just play around with proportions and just work with what ingredients you have.  Because this was my dark days meal, I skipped a few things (goat cheese, balsamic vinegar) that wouldn’t have been local, and nothing was missed.

Winter Panzanella Salad
adapted from Tyler Florence

Ingredients
Beets
Greens (recipe recommended arugula, I used baby chard.  Radicchio would probably be amazing.)
Pancetta
Italian bread, cut into crouton size pieces
Dates
Orange
Honey
Olive oil
Salt and pepper

Directions

Spread the bread on a baking sheet, drizzle with oil, and bake on 350 until they start to become dry and crispy, like croutons, about 10-15 minutes, depending on how big your cubes are.  When they are done, add to a large salad bowl.

Scrub the beets and cut them in half.  Cut the shallots in half.  Place on some tin foil, drizzle with oil, and wrap up.  Roast in the oven at 350 for 30 minutes or until the beets turn soft (mine took about 40 minutes).

When the beets are done, pour off the juices into a bowl (this is why you should wash the beets first).  Peel the beets and cut in to 1 inch chunks and put in a large salad bowl with the bread.  Mash up the shallots and add those to the roasted beet liquid.

Pit the dates and chop them into smaller chunks.  Add to the beets and bread.  Chop of the salad greens if needed and add those to that mixture.

Juice the orange or whatever citrus you have, and add that to the beet liquid.  Add a bit of honey and some vinegar if you’d like.

Dice the pancetta, and cook in a skillet.  When it’s cooked, pour that and the fat into the beet liquid with the citrus and honey.  Whisk together, pour over the salad, and toss.  If you want, add goat cheese.  Blue cheese would be good too.  But even without the cheese, the salad was incredible and made for a super delicious weeknight dinner.

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The best thing about spring is that I get to make this salad.  I adore it.  Fresh peas are absolutely amazing, and this salad has lots of them.  Freshly shelled and left raw, they are sweet and crunchy and perfect with the spinach, feta, and lemony dressing.

The recipe comes from Jamie Oliver’s Naked Chef cookbook.  Like most Jamie Oliver recipes, it’s pretty relaxed and not very precise.  Just toss a few handfuls of baby spinach with a handful of fresh shelling peas and crumble some fresh feta over it.  To dress, mix one part lemon juice with two parts olive oil, add a sprinkle of salt, and some freshly cracked pepper and whisk together.  Toss the dressing over the salad and you are good to go.

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I love olives.  I am one of those people who can’t leave Whole Foods without stocking up on some goodies at the olive bar.  So when I saw these cookies on Lottie and Doof, I was completely intrigued.  Like, obsessing over day and night until I had a lazy weekend afternoon to devote to them.

The recipe hails from David Leite’s The New Portuguese Table, a cookbook I’ve been lusting after but have yet to purchase.  See, I went on my honeymoon to Portugal and basically ate presunto, Serra da Estrella cheese, and pasteis de Belem for two weeks straight.  So, in addition to this recipe being awesome for having olives in it, it’s awesome because it reminds me of my lovely vacation.

The recipe is a little tricky but by no means difficult.  The dough is dry and crumbly so you’ve got to be patient.  Use good quality olives because you don’t want a really briny, tinny taste coming through.  These cookies would be lovely with some tart frozen yogurt or lemon sorbet, or with a nice glass of prosecco.  Or if you want to be super Portuguese, white port.

Sweet Lemon and Black Olive Wafers
recipe from David Leite

Ingredients
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup mild oil-cured black olives, rinsed quickly if particularly salty, pitted, and coarsely chopped
1/4 cup granulated sugar, plus more for coating
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
2 tablespoons grated lemon zest
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pinch of kosher salt
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 large egg, beaten

Directions
Preheat oven to 375°F.

In a bowl, mix together the flour, olives, sugar, baking powder, zest, cinnamon, and salt.   In a separate bowl, whisk together the oil and egg.  I’ve never made mayonnaise before but it was easy for me to see how egg and oil do turn into mayo from this.

I digress.

Pour the oil-egg mixture into the dry ingredients.  Combine it together with your hands for a minute or two, until it holds together when squeezed.  It’s going to feel a little like pie crust or short bread – dry and crumbly and a little tricky to work with.  I had some crumbs that wouldn’t stick but I managed to get it about 95% there.

Fill a small bowl with sugar and set nearby. Pull out a small ball of dough, about a tablespoon worth, and roll it into a ball, then coat it in sugar.  Repeat this a few times and set the balls down on parchment.  You now need to flatten them out.  The recipe suggests covering them with more parchment, then using a rolling pin to flatten.  I had some difficulty with this so I just left out the top piece of parchment and flattened them out.  You want them to be about 3-4 inches around and 1/16 an inch thick.  None of mine resembled anything like a circle, which if you’ve seen my pie crust attempts, shouldn’t come as a surprise.  No worries, these are rustic cookies.

Place the cookies on a baking sheet lined with parchment.  Since I had rolled off most of the sugar that I had rolled onto the cookies, I got a pinch of sugar and just sprinkled it lightly over the cookies on the sheet.  Bake until the wafers edges start to brown, about 10-12 minutes.  Cool on a wire rack and store for up to a few days in an airtight container.

They tasted amazing.  Unlike any cookie I’ve ever had.  The olives mellow out and don’t taste olive-y… almost like the taste a date gets when it’s been cooked wrapped up in bacon – just rich, fatty, slightly salty, slightly sweet.  The lemon makes it fresh and the cinnamon is just perfect.  I feel prepared for an Iron Chef olive battle.  Now, I just need a dessert with arugula.

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I love limoncello.  It’s one of my favorite adult beverages.  I haven’t tried to make my own yet, but it’s on my cooking bucket list.  Until then, I will just have to buy the bottles of stuff to drink straight or add to these cupcakes.

I think this recipe might have originated with Martha Stewart, though I might be mistaken.  In any event, there’s several iterations of it floating around the internet, though I followed the instructions from Brown Eyed Baker, who got hers from Tartelette.  Their recipes involved making a lemon curd and filling the cupcakes with that, but I wasn’t that ambitious.  I figured the cupcake and frosting was enough of a project for a Saturday afternoon. 

 I loved the frosting.  The cupcakes were good, though they were a little dense for my liking.  Despite the cupcakes’ flaws, they were a perfect base for the delicious frosting, which I wanted to eat with a spoon.  

I had visions of piping beautiful swirls of frosting onto the cupcakes, but after an epic battle with my pastry bag, I remembered that I don’t have any hand-eye coordination.  I wound up making a huge mess and had no lovely swirls. 

Thankfully, colored sugar sprinkles can really make non-artistic white blobs look quite sparkly and cute.   Woot!

Limoncello Cupcakes

Yield: 1 dozen

Ingredients

For the cupcakes
1½ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
2 ounces (½ stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
3 large eggs
2 tablespoons limoncello
½ cup buttermilk
¼ cup lemon juice
Zest of one lemon

For the cream cheese limoncello frosting
2 ounces (½ stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1 tablespoon limoncello
2 cups powdered sugar, sifted

Directions
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and position a rack in the center. 

Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt, and set aside.  In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter, cream cheese and sugar on medium speed until light and creamy, about 2-3 minutes.   Slowly add in the eggs one at a time, and beat well after each.    Add the limoncello and beat an additional minute. 

Reduce the speed to low, and slowly add in the flour and milk.  Alternate each, beginning and ending with the flour mixture.  Finally, add the lemon juice and zest and mix on low speed just until incorporated. 

Divide the batter between 12 muffin tins.  They should be filled almost to the top.  Bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the middle comes out clean.

Cool them completely before frosting.

To make the frosting, fit the mixer with the paddle attachment.  Beat the butter and cream cheese on medium speed until light and creamy, about 2-3 minutes.  Add the limoncello and beat for an additional minute.  Reduce the speed to low and gradually add the sifted powdered sugar and beat until fully incorporated and smooth.

The lemon flavor in the cupcakes will be subtle, so I think next time I might double the lemon zest.  But, they are a lovely spring or summer dessert – particularly because the frosting is so creamy and tangy.  We had them for dessert after my friends’ amazing home cooked Indian feast, though I think they’d be great for just about any occassion.

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This week, I prepared another piece of meat from my meat CSA through Marin Sun Farms – a boneless leg of pork.  Not something I’ve ever eaten before, as apparently the vast majority of this cut goes to making hams.    There wasn’t even any useful instructions in the Joy of Cooking.  The series of tubes to the rescue! I discovered that it’s about 30 minutes at 350 for every pound, until it hits around 160.  Easy peasy.

I marinated it in this marinade from the December 2008 Food and Wine, using local citrus, rosemary, and bay, and not local fennel seeds and juniper berries.  I’ve made this marinade it a few times for pork roasts and rarely have every single ingredient and it doesn’t really matter.   Zest a couple oranges and a couple lemons, juice them and whisk in some olive oil.  For herbs, crush some fennel seed and juniper berries in a mortar and pestle, add in a few springs of rosemary and some bay leaves, and you are good to go.  If you don’t have a few of these things – no worries.  It’s still going to be amazing.  Let it marinate overnight, flip it over a couple times, and wipe the meat dry just before cooking.  

The leg needed to be covered for the first half hour or so, so it didn’t dry out.  All and all, the 2.5 pound roast took about an hour and 10 minutes to hit 155, then I let it rest under some tin foil for about 5-10 minutes, which got it just perfect.
 

I picked up some cute little potatoes at the farmers market, so I tossed them in some olive oil, rosemary, salt, and pepper, and put them in the pan with the pork to roast.  I made a quick pan sauce with the drippings, a pat of butter, and a bit of white wine.  And along side of it, a salad of radicchio, walnuts, and blood orange infused olive oil from Stonehouse here in Berkeley.  My walnuts were not local , or maybe they were, as the bag from Trader Joe’s says “California Walnuts” on it.  Not bad.

While prepping everything, it was all starting to look pretty delicious and seemed like a good time to open up something good.  My “Hello Vino” app for my iPhone suggested viognier, gerwurztraminer, or zinfandel to go with fruity pork dishes.  No viognier or gerwurtz were on hand, but this is Northern California, so zins are plentiful chez arugulove.  Hello Vino even suggested a zin from Mazzocco, a lovely little vineyard in Healdsburg which we visited in November with friends.  So, we happened to have a bottle of their zin on hand, making the choice very easy.  What luck!

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I recently attempted an olive oil polenta cake that was a major fail.  I don’t know if the recipe was bad, if I missed a step, or if it was supposed to taste dry and bland.  So, I won’t be making that again.  What I will be making again is the syrup I drizzled on top.  I wanted to eat this stuff with a spoon.  It’s sweet and thick, and the bay leaf adds an herbal note that rounds it out and makes it interesting.  Drizzle it on cakes, pancakes and waffles, ice cream, or anything you can think of.   I bet it would be fantastic over some goat cheese too. 

Bay Infused Blood Orange Syrup
Recipe by me

Ingredients
5 Blood oranges
1 large bay leaf or 2 small ones
1/2 cup of sugar
1/4 cup of honey

Directions
Segment the oranges, collecting as much of the juice as possible.  Squeeze out the membranes to gather up more juice.

Bring 1 cup of water to a boil and dissolve the sugar in it.  Add the honey, the orange segments and juice, and the bay leaf.  Bring to a boil and simmer for about 5 minutes.  Remove the bay leaf, and continue to simmer another 5-10 minutes, until it reaches desired consistency.  Drizzle over anything you like.  It will gel up a bit if it sits for too long, so to thin it out, just reheat with a couple drops of water.

Makes about 1 cup.

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In case you haven’t noticed, I’ve been on a broccoli rabe kick lately.  I have no idea how much longer it’ll be at the farmers market, so I’ve been buying it up like it is going out of style. 

This combo really works.  The bitter lemon and broccoli rabe with the tangy goat cheese – mmm, perfect.  I had some friends over for dinner, and served it along with my winter pizza and a basic margherita sprinkled with a bit of green garlic.   They all ate it up, so I think it’s safe to say that it is actually delicious. 

 

The recipe comes from Saveur.  Either my rectangular crust is much bigger than what they used or they like scantily dressed pizzas because they had some skimpy topping measurements.  So, I’m printing my portions below.

Pizza with Broccoli Rabe, Lemon, and Goat Cheese
Recipe by Saveur, adjustments by me

Ingredients
1 batch of pizza dough
1 bunch of broccoli rabe, stems and leaves cut into 1-2 inch chunks
zest of 2 lemons (about a 1/4 cup)
3-4 oz goat cheese
olive oil
salt & pepper

Directions
In a large skillet, warm up about 2 tablespoons of oil.  Add the chopped broccoli rabe and saute over medium heat, about 5 minutes.  Add salt and pepper.

Roll out pizza dough.  Spread the broccoli rabe evenly all over it.  Sprinkle with the goat cheese and lemon zest.   Drizzle a bit of olive oil over the entire pizza and finish off with a sprinkle of salt and lots of freshly ground pepper.

Bake in the oven at 425 for about 15 minutes and serve.

 

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