Sunday, March 9, 2008

Citrus - March 2008

Diva: Ashley

Drinks: Mariah
CranRaz Juice
Red Wine
Dash of triple sec
Fresh squeezed mandarins
Mint leaves
Grapefruit wedges
Lemon wedges
Bubbly water
Mix it up your way, baby.

Minty Citrus Drink
The Syrup:
1 c sugar
1 c water
Handful of mint leaves
1 each orange juice and lemonade concentrate
Bubbly water

Boil the water, sugar and mint leaves and simmer 5 minutes with the lid off.
Remove mint, stir in juice concentrates

To serve:
Pour 3 Ts over ice and add bubbly water.

Appetizer: Ivy (sub for Lovina)
Pears with Spicy Lime Chili Chutney

3 pears
5 tsp lime juice and zest from 1 lime
¼ tsp cayenne pepper
1 clove garlic – minced
1 tsp soy sauce
¼-½ c raw almonds – roast on baking sheet until both sides are slightly browned
springs fresh mint for garnish

Cut each pair into 6 slices – lengthwise. Using a melon baller, create a well in the center of each slice.

Mix the lime juice and zest, cayenne, garlic, soy sauce and brown sugar.

Grind almonds in a food processor and add to other ingredients.

Spoon chutney in heaping spoonfuls into hollowed pears.

Garnish with sprigs of mint and drizzle with a syrup made from equal parts honey and lime juice.

Salad: Stacey
Orange Avocado Slaw

1 avocado
1/2 c orange juice
1/2 t. curry powder
1/4 t. ground cumin
1/4 t. sugar
2 t. white wine vinegar
1 T. olive oil
5 c cabbage/slaw mixture
(red cabbage, green cabbage and carrots)
1 t. sea salt
1/2 t. black pepper

Peel avocado, remove pit, and chop the meat into 1/4 inch pieces. In a medium bowl, whisk together the orange juice, curry powder, cumin, sugar and vinegar. Add the oil in a stream, whisking until emulsified. In a large bowl, toss the avocado with the slaw mix. Drizzle with the vinaigrette. Chill until ready to serve, and season with salt and pepper. Makes 6 servings.

Soup: Colleen
Chickpea, Ginger and Coriander Soup

extra virgin olive oil
organic canned garbanzo beans (chick peas)
ground cumin
ground coriander
half a seeded Serrano chili
fresh garlic,
fresh ginger
juice from a lime,
cilantro avocado and yogurt for the garnish.

Pour one can of organic garbanzo beans, liquid and all, into a food processor or blender. Blend the garbanzo beans into a smooth puree. The puree will be fairly smooth but still a bit grainy in consistency, that’s fine.

Get your ingredients ready. Mince or press a couple cloves of garlic, grate a one-inch cube of fresh ginger, mince a chili if you want some heat (I used half a seeded Serrano chili), measure out a tsp or two of ground coriander and half a tsp or so of ground cumin (the amounts are entirely up to you). Heat a medium saucepan and add a T or so of olive oil. Add the garlic and chili and cook for a minute or so. Throw in the grated ginger and cook for a minute or so longer. Add the coriander and cumin and stir for about half a minute until the spices are fragrant. Stir in the chickpea puree. If you want, you can thin the soup with a little chicken broth, vegetable broth, or water. If you are in a hurry, just cook the soup until it’s heated through then taste and season with a bit of salt and pepper. If you have the time, cook the soup for a bit longer on medium-low heat to let the flavors intensify. If you decide to cook the soup longer, it’s best to thin it with the broth or water first because it will thicken again as it cooks and the liquid evaporates. Garnish the soup with fresh chopped cilantro and a squeeze of lime juice (lemon would be fine if that’s what you have on hand).

Recipe Notes: If you prefer not to use the liquid from the canned beans, you can drain and rinse them and then puree the beans with some chicken or vegetable broth or water. I’ve done it both ways and I actually liked the original version the best. I’ve been using the organic canned chickpeas from Trader Joe’s that are just packed in water and sea salt. Another of my favorite brands of canned beans is Goya. But, use whatever you happen to like!
Beware of adding too much salt if you are using the bean liquid from the can. The beans are packed in salted water so you may not need to add any salt at all. Taste first, then season if necessary!
If you don’t have any fresh chilies but want to add a little heat to the soup, stir in a little crushed red chili. If you really want it spicy, try using both. If you prefer no heat, don’t add either. Feel free to use more garlic and/or ginger if those are flavors that you really like.
The soup is really great with a dollop of plain yogurt on top. Sour cream would also work.
This recipe makes two small servings of soup or one large serving.

Side Dish: Emily
Orzo and Tomato Salad in Lemon Cups

For the salad:

1 pound orzo 

2 cloves garlic, chopped 

2 lemons, juiced 

1 c extra-virgin olive oil 

2 c cherry tomatoes, halved 

¼ c roughly chopped Italian parsley leaves

For the lemon cups: 

6 lemons

For the salad: 
In salted, boiling water, cook the orzo until al dente. Strain and cool. Whisk together the garlic, lemon juice, and extra-virgin olive oil. In a large bowl, toss the orzo together with the tomatoes, parsley, and olive oil mixture. Season, to taste, with salt and fresh ground pepper.

For the lemon cups: 
Cut a small piece off both tips of the lemon. Make sure the cut does not expose any flesh, only pith. Cut the lemon evenly in half across the diameter. Use a spoon to remove the flesh of the lemon and scrape the skin clean, being careful not to cut or damage the skin.
To assemble: 
Fill each lemon cup with the orzo salad and arrange on a platter for service.

Entree: Nicole
Chicken Breasts with Citrus Pan Sauce

4 bone-in chicken breast halves with skin
5 tsp ground cumin, divided
4 T olive oil, divided
2 garlic cloves, pressed
½ c chicken broth
½ c orange juice
¼ c fresh lemon juice
2 tsp grated orange peel
1 ½ tsp grated lemon peel
1/3 c chopped fresh cilantro

Preheat oven to 425°F. Slide fingertips beneath skin of each chicken breast to loosen. Sprinkle each chicken breast with 1 teaspoon cumin and salt and pepper; rub seasoning beneath and on top of skin.
Heat 2 tablespoons oil in heavy large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Place chicken, skin side down, in pan and cook until skin browns, about 5 minutes; turn chicken over. Place skillet in oven and roast until chicken is cooked through, about 15 minutes.
Transfer chicken to plate. Add remaining oil to drippings in skillet; add garlic and sauté over medium-high heat 30 seconds. Add chicken broth, orange juice, lemon juice, orange peel, lemon peel, and remaining 1 teaspoon cumin; boil until reduced to 1 scant cup, about 3 minutes. Pour sauce over chicken; sprinkle with cilantro and serve.

Dessert: Sara

6 tight-skinned tangerines
1 (1/4-ounces) envelope unflavored gelatin
8 large egg yolks
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 cup chilled heavy cream

Remove side of spring form pan and invert bottom, then reattach side (to make Bavarian easier to remove). Lightly oil pan.

Grate enough zest from 1 tangerine to measure 1 teaspoon, then juice tangerines. (You will need 1 1/4 cups juice.)

Sprinkle gelatin over 1/4 cup tangerine juice in a small bowl and let stand about 5 minutes.

Whisk together yolks, sugar, lemon juice, and remaining cup tangerine juice in a heavy medium saucepan, then cook over medium-low heat, whisking constantly, until mixture just comes to a simmer (do not let boil). Remove from heat, then whisk in gelatin mixture until completely dissolved. Transfer to a metal bowl and chill in an ice bath, stirring frequently, until mixture has thickened to consistency of raw egg whites. Remove from ice bath.

Meanwhile, beat cream with zest until it just holds soft peaks.

Stir one third of whipped cream into yolk mixture to lighten, then fold in remaining cream gently but thoroughly. Spoon into spring form pan and chill until set, at least 4 hours and up to 24.

Candied Tangerine Peel

8 tight-skinned tangerines, washed well
2 cups granulated sugar
2 cups water Superfine granulated sugar for coating

Remove peel, including a little of pith, from tangerines in (2- by 1-inch) strips with a sharp vegetable peeler (preferably Y-shaped). Cut into thin (1/8-inch) julienne strips.

Cover strips with cold water in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Drain in a sieve, then repeat procedure with more cold water 2 times.

Bring granulated sugar, water, and zest strips to a boil in a heavy medium saucepan, stirring until sugar has dissolved, then simmer until zest is translucent and syrup has thickened, 45 to 50 minutes.

Lightly oil a large rack and set over a wax-paper-lined baking sheet. Transfer candied peel to rack with a fork, separating strips. (Discard syrup or reserve for another use.) When peel is cool (but not completely dry), toss with superfine sugar in a bowl to coat. Return to rack until dry to the touch, about 30 minutes.

Cooks' note: Candied peel keeps in an airtight container at room temperature 2 days.

Tangerine Caramel Sauce

Tangerine juice plays two roles here: It stops the cooking of the sugar, and its bright perfume brings complexity to the sauce.

Makes about 1 ½ cups

6 tight-skinned tangerines
1 ½ c sugar
¼ c water
2 Turkish bay leaves or 1 California
1 T fresh lemon juice

Remove 3 (2- by 1-inch) strips zest from 1 tangerine with a sharp vegetable peeler (preferably Y-shaped), then scrape off any white pith. Juice tangerines. (You will need 1 1/4 cups juice.)

Bring sugar, water, bay leaves, and zest to a boil in a small heavy saucepan over medium heat, stirring until sugar has dissolved, then wash down any sugar crystals from side of pan with a pastry brush dipped in cold water. Boil, without stirring, until sugar is deep amber. Remove from heat, then carefully add tangerine juice (mixture will bubble and steam vigorously) and simmer, stirring, until caramel has dissolved, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in lemon juice and a pinch of salt, then remove from heat and cool. Chill, covered, until ready to serve (sauce will thicken slightly). Discard bay leaf and zest.

Cooks' note: Sauce can be chilled up to 3 days.

WildCard: Tamara (absent)

Lottery: Aven

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