It may be the middle of winter here in the Midwest, but I’m getting my Sun Belt on with a celebration of citrus. Although I use citrus all year long in marinades, dressings, cookies, cakes, pies, salads & cocktails, when the Cara Cara and Blood Oranges roll in to the grocery store, it’s time to up my game. For this post, I’ve chosen five recipes that I don’t make often, but enjoy tremendously. Each one is fairly simple and highlights a different citrus & a different meal course. So head to the kitchen and grab your juicer, cocktail shaker and ice cream maker if you’ve got ‘em and get ready to make like it’s Florida!
I spent a lot of winter vacations in Florida growing up in the 50s & 60s. In the 70s, my parents had a place nextdoor to my Dad’s sister, my Aunt Jane, near West Palm Beach. Dad loved helping her harvest her amazing crop of grapefruit and oranges. Clearly the “take home” was his incentive! When I was older, Aunt Jane and I would enjoy a Salty Dog cocktail out on her patio under those trees. And Ken & I always loved a free beach vacation! Lots of good memories surround that sun-kissed citrus.
BREAKFAST AMBROSIA featuring Navel Oranges & Ruby Red Grapefruit
Breakfast Ambrosia is something I often served guests when we had Main Street Bed & Breakfast in the late 80s-early 90s. The recipe is more of a concept: Toss orange & grapefruit supremes with a the juice from both fruits & a pinch of coconut. That’s all there is to it. One large orange & one grapefruit will serve two people. I like to serve the ambrosia in a glass bowl to show off the pretty colors of the fruit.
A “supreme” is a citrus segment with the peel & connective pith removed. Check Martha Stewart’s instructions for cutting perfect citrus supremes if you’ve never done it. I always enjoyed watching my grandmother peel apples with one large curl, so I peel my fruit that way. (Martha’s way is easier, just not as much fun.) It’s fine to make the Ambrosia ahead and store in the frig – saves a little time on a busy morning.
GREEK LEMON CHICKEN SOUP
The recipe for this soup comes from my small Pampered Chef cookbook, It’s Good for You, but you can find it online here. The recipe is straightforward and easy to follow. Most of the time I make a chicken and noodle soup like my Mom made, which both Ken & I love. I make this Greek Lemon Chicken Soup for a change of pace, and what I love about it is the brightness the lemon brings. Give it a try – I think you’ll like it!
BLOOD ORANGE COSMO
The reddish-orange juice of the blood orange makes a beautiful drink. And the juice tastes awesome, too! I much prefer this version to its cranberry juice cousin. I use an Ina Garten recipe (because you can’t go wrong with Ina, right?), but I cut it down for a pre-dinner cocktail for just Ken & I. Divide all the ingredient amounts by 4, put all the liquids into a metal cocktail shaker, and hold it in the freezer compartment until ready to serve. I put a coil of blood orange peel in the glass, add the mix, and voila!
I must add that when daughter Carrie visits in February, I hope to make Ina’s full batch recipe in the lovely cocktail pitcher Carrie gave me for Christmas. It’s like she knows me…
ROMAINE SALAD WITH HEARTS OF PALM & HONEY-ORANGE VINAIGRETTE featuring Cara Cara Oranges
This is an unusual salad. I’m probably the only person I know that has a jar of hearts of palm in the pantry just to be ready to make this salad. I found the recipe in Cooking Fresh magazine (Winter 2016), but can’t find it for you anywhere online. The dressing is a perfect complement to this simple salad and the pinky-orange Cara Cara oranges. Aside from the orange-honey vinaigrette, there are only 5 ingredients in the salad – romaine, hearts of palm, sliced onion, kalamata olives and cara cara oranges. This salad with just a simple grilled chicken breast – or all alone – is a wonderful meal.
Romaine Salad with Hearts of Palm and Orange-Honey Vinaigrette
FOR THE VINAIGRETTE
- 3 Tbsp Dijon mustard
- Finely grated zest of 1 orange (about 1 Tbsp)
- juice of 1 orange (about 1/4 cup)
- 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 1 Tbsp honey
- 3/4 tsp ground coriander
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1/4 cup canola oil
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
FOR THE SALAD
- 1/2 red onion, sliced into 1/8-inch thick rings
- 2 Cara Cara Oranges
- 2 hearts of romaine, washed, dried, and torn into large pieces (about 8 cups)
- 6 canned hearts of palm, sliced into 1/4-inch-thick coins
- 24 kalamata olives
MAKE THE VINAIGRETTE
- In a bowl, combine the mustard, zest, orange juice, lemon juice, honey and coriander. Season with salt & pepper to taste and blend well with a whisk. Combine the oils in a measuring cup and, while constantly whisking the mustard mixture, slowly drizzle in the oils. Taste for seasoning. Cover and set aside until needed.
PREPARE THE ONION RINGS AND ORANGES
- Rinse the onion rings in a strainer under cold water to tame their strong flavor and crisp the rings. Prepare orange supremes. Slice off the ends of the oranges and set the fruit on one end. Following the fruit’s contours, slice off the peel and the white pith. Hold the peeled orange over a bowl and slice along the membranes to free the segments.
- Put the lettuce in a large bowl. Stir or whisk the vinaigrette and pour 1/4 cup of it over the lettuce; toss to coat., adding more salt and pepper to taste. Distribute the greens among the salads. Top with the onions, orange segments, hearts of palm, and olives. Drizzle 1 Tbs. Of the vinaigrette over each salad and serve immediately.
LIME CHIFFON ICE CREAM
In my search for a yummy citrus ice cream that would be a great palate cleanser, I came across this recipe for Lime Chiffon Ice Cream. Couldn’t be easier, and it’s super tangy. I like a good sorbet, but they can be pretty icy. I give this recipe a thumbs up for its simplicity, texture and flavor.
You can go really old school and juice your limes with a reamer, but since the recipe calls for strained juice, why not get a head start by using a juicer? My old Hamilton Beach juicer from the Bed & Breakfast days is still hanging in there – pretty good for 30+ years! I still needed to strain out more of the pulp, but it only took a minute. My countertop Cuisinart Ice Cream Maker makes short work of any recipe, and in 20 minutes from turning on the machine, I had soft serve ice cream. As instructed in the recipe, I kept the ice cream in my frig freezer for an additional 2 hours to firm up a bit.
The next big deal in our citrus world will be the delivery later this month of Ken’s order of Honeybell oranges, the sweet & juicy offspring of the Darcy variety of tangerine and either the Duncan or Bowen variety of grapefruit. But don’t expect any recipe ideas with those… “These are Ken’s – Keep Off!”