022: Citrus

You may be asking, “hey, where did Persimmon go?” If you actually asked that, thank you for following this blog! The answer, though, is that I waited too long to write the post and so lost most of the details. I might do a quick post with my vague impressions of the dishes, and show you how they turned out.
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Right now, it’s citrus time!
From the back left: Mandarin, Red navel orange (Cara cara), Juice orange, Ruby grapefruit, Lime, Buddha’s hand, Another, larger lime.
Pretty pedestrian, aside from the Buddha’s hand. Buddha’s hand is a crazy citron. It’s almost entirely rind, and that’s the part you eat. It has a very quiet flavor. It tastes like what it is, but when the volume is turned down enough, that’s a really nice flavor!
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Menu (Serves 3)
Grapefruit-Glazed Chicken Wings with Orange Juice Mashed Potatoes
Spicy Coconut Mandarin Soup with Wood Ear Mushrooms
Lemon and Black Pepper Risotto
Cara Cara, Buddha’s hand, and Arugula Salad in Lime Vinaigrette
Orange Custard with Crushed Cookie Base

Grapefruit-Glazed Chicken Wings with Orange Juice Mashed Potatoes
-3 whole chicken wings
-1 ruby grapefruit
-2T honey
-1/2t salt
-1/4t pepper
-1.5lb russet potatoes
-2T butter
-1c diced onion
-1/4c sour cream
-1/3c orange juice
-white pepper

Zest the grapefruit. Cut it into quarters, and juice three of them into a bowl or measuring cup. Add the honey, some salt and pepper, and whisk it up.
Separate the wings into the pieces you would have them in when you go to a wings place. The little tiny drumstick and the weird bar thing. Cut off the pointy bit. Pat them dry. Put a bit of flour in a bowl with some salt and pepper, and roll the chicken in it. Make sure they’re all powdery and dry.
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Start some oil heating in a pan. Brown the chicken on all sides. Remove it to a bowl as it cooks; I did two batches cause I had a small pan. When the chicken is done, pour the oil out of the pan into some safe container, wipe it out a little, and refresh with a little more oil. Put all the chicken into the pan, and pour in about half the grapefruit glaze. I also added a little cornstarch slurry to be safe. Toss the pan to coat the chicken. The liquid will start cooking down. You can see in the second photo that the glaze has kind of cooked on and made the chicken shiny. When the liquid’s reduced, add the rest of the glaze and repeat the process. Remove the chicken when the liquid has become a thick sauce.
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Zest a couple oranges and juice them to get the 1/3 cup. Skin the potatoes and cut them up. Boil them in some water until a fork pierces easily. While they boil, saute the onions in some butter until they’re soft. When the potatoes are ready, drain them, and mash. Add sour cream, enough juice that the potatoes still hold together. Stir in the onions, zest, and salt and pepper to taste.
Serve two pieces of chicken with a scoop of potatoes, and some of the grapefruit sauce.
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Spicy Coconut Mandarin Soup with Wood Ear Mushrooms

-1 can coconut milk
-1c chicken stock
-1/2c mandarin juice
-mandarin zest
-1T fish sauce
-1t chili bean sauce
-2 thai peppers
-1/2c wood ear mushrooms
-1/2c basil

Zest two or three of your mandarins, and run them through a juicer. They’ve really got a lot of juice in them! I was surprised 3 was enough. Cut and seed the peppers, and mince them. Chop up the mushrooms.
Open up the coconut milk, and pour it in a pot with the stock, juice and zest, fish sauce, chili sauce, and peppers. Heat the soup to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer. Add the mushrooms and cook for about five minutes. Season with salt and pepper. When the soup is done and ready to serve, chop up some basil and garnish the soup.


Lemon and Black Pepper Risotto

-6c chicken stock
-2c arborio rice
-1c grated parmesan
-1/4c chopped onion
-1/4c white wine
-3.5T butter
-2T lemon juice
-4t lemon zest
-2T parsley
-1.5T olive oil
-salt and pepper

Zest and juice the lemons, grate a huge amount of parmesan, and chop up some parsley.
Melt about half the butter in a large pan, and saute the onion in it with a bit of salt. When they’re soft, add the rice, and stir it while it goes a little white. Pour in the wine, stirring it in until it evaporates. Add 1.5c of stock, stir constantly while the rice absorbs it. When the liquid evaporates to leave the rice porridgey, add another half cup or so of liquid. Keep this up until the stock is gone and the risotto is still kind of puddly. Add the cheese, lemon juice and zest, a TON of black pepper, the rest of the butter, and the parsley. Cook it to risotto consistency.
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Cara Cara, Buddha’s Hand, and Arugula Salad in Lime Vinaigrette

-3 cara cara oranges
-Buddha’s hand
-1/4c dried cranberries
-1/4c chopped walnuts
-how do you decide on the amount of greens in a salad (some arugula)
-1/4c lime juice
-2T honey
-1t dijon mustard
-1/4c olive oil

Zest the limes, and juice them. Three should be enough.
Halve the Buddha’s hand, and slice it as thinly as possible. The oranges I got were very pithy, so I cut the skin off with a knife. Pull them into sections. Chop up the walnuts. Pour all that stuff in a salad bowl with the cranberries.
Whisk together the lime juice, honey, mustard, and oil. Dress the salad.

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Orange Custard with Crushed Cookie Base

-2T butter
-2/3c sugar
-2 eggs
-2T flour
-1/4c orange juice
-1.5t orange zest
-1t lemon juice
-1/4t salt
-1c milk
-lime zest
-3/4c crushed cookies
-1/6c sugar
-3T butter

Preheat the oven to 375. Put a bunch of cookies in a ziploc and crush them up with a mallet or something. Melt the 3T butter in the microwave, and mix it with the crumbs and 1/6c sugar. This isn’t a big recipe, and I only squeezed four crusts out of it. I spread the crust into the bottom of four ramekins. When the oven is up to heat, put the ramekins into the oven and bake for about seven minutes. Pull them out when they’ve hardened.
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Soften the butter, then use an electric mixer to beat it together with the sugar. Break up and whisk the eggs, then add them to the bowl along with the flour and salt. Beat for 2 minutes until it thickens. Add the juices and zest, then the milk.
Pour the custard into the baked ramekins. Once again I ended up with a very small recipe, and couldn’t even fill the four dishes.
Dial the oven down to 325. Put the ramekins into a metal baking pan with an inch of water. Bake for 35-40 minutes, until a knife comes out clean. When the custards are finished and a little cooled off, top them with a pinch of lime zest, cover them in plastic, and put them in the fridge to chill.

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Awesome! Only one big problem in the whole menu. Everything else was great. Super great. I had been looking forward to this menu for a while, and I’m really pleased with how it came out. P1070435 Standard e-mail view
Chicken and Mash: My idea for this was to make an appetizer out of a main course. The honey-grapefruit glaze is this magic trick I learned from a fried rice recipe. It’s really excellent. Use honey! I’ve actually only used this on honey-soy and honey-grapefruit glazes, but it seems like this would work with most types of sauce. The caramelization turns the glaze all crispy and sticky and makes it feel like it came out of a restaurant or something. The flavor was EXCELLENT. Slightly bitter, but sweet from the honey and with a nice tartness. It was really unique, and tasted great.
The potatoes were good as well. Very subtle orange flavor, pretty nice texture. I didn’t mash them as smoothly as I wish I had, and they were colder than I wanted when I ended up serving them. I wasn’t sure how to reheat them. However, these were nice, and they went well with the chicken. I also love the presentation. One of the best dishes I’ve done for the blog, definitely.
Soup: I adored this soup. It has a strange (not bad strange) smell to it that I couldn’t quite place, but kept making me think of cheese for some reason. It tasted like mandarin! The mushrooms added a really strange (again, good strange) texture to it; I really enjoyed the feel of the soup in my mouth. The chilis, with a scoop of chili bean sauce, gave the soup a powerful spice level, but one that was completely manageable and was just very pleasant overall. This is a small recipe. There was barely enough for three servings. The juice and paste gave it a neat color, and the mushrooms look really crazy in there.
Risotto: Good. I’m not crazy about it, because I’m starting to think of risotto as kind of lazy and boring. It was good though, communicated its flavors well, particularly the tartness of the lemon, and was nice and rich despite the acid. I used four cups of chicken stock and about two of turkey stock we had in the fridge.
Salad: I like the salad a lot. Buddha’s hand is really interesting. It puts a nice texture into a salad, and a hint of citrus. The cara caras were excellent. Also called “red navels,” these were REALLY red. Most I’ve seen are red-orange or pinkish, but these were red, despite the photo of the salad making it look otherwise. Walnuts and dried cranberries can go in any salad, in my opinion. They add meat and little patches of sweetness. They do tend to gather at the bottom of the bowl, though. The dressing was good. Originally, I wanted to put skinned lime segments in the salad, but I tasted them and they were not an okay thing to put in salad. There were sweet limes at the grocery, but I didn’t know anything about them so I didn’t get any.
Custard: This is the dish that I was most dissatisfied with. It tasted really good, is the good thing. On the downsides, it got extremely thick and heavy. The crust was kind of just a layer at the bottom that you had to scrape off. This also tasted good, but that’s lame. What I wanted in the first place, before using this recipe, was just an orange pudding, but almost everything involved either jell-o packets or baking the pudding into something like this. So, this was nice, but really not what I wanted and I’m pretty sure this isn’t how it’s supposed to come out.

Overall, this menu was great. I’m really happy with it. Everything looked great, everything tasted great, the ingredient was expressed well. My main complaint (to myself) is that every course involved oranges or orange-y fruits. I think a lime mousse might have been a better choice for the dessert. Knock out an orange dish, and feel better about lime kind of getting short shrift. But, it all came out good anyway. Good job, me!

Next Week: Winter Squash

Leave a comment


  1. Anonymous

     /  December 12, 2012

    Grapefruit chicken – make it again! Orange potatoes – yummy! Loved the chunky onions in the potatoes. Very rich and delicious, they would also be great with turkey. Great salad – I got to eat the leftovers. Good job!

  2. Joanne

     /  January 29, 2013

    This all looks great!


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