Monday, February 29, 2016

Add a Little Zip to Your Meal

  • Leap Day arrives every four years except for years ending with "00" that are not divisible by 400. Why the fancy math? The earth rotates around the sun once every 365 and about 1/4 days. So, by adding an extra day every four years, we get mighty close to keeping the calendar consistent with the earth's annual trip around the sun. Trivia fans: Only about one in 1,461 people celebrate their birthday on Leap Day. 
  • It was tradition for women to propose to men on leap year. 
In months filled with root vegetables, casseroles and soups, it's nice to know you can depend on the seasonal citrus surge. When it's too cold or gray to think about going outside, Meyer lemons, blood oranges, and grapefruit can brighten your winter day. Sweet and sour, citrus perks up any recipe.
It did not take me too long to decide what to use these citrus fruits for. It's not often a neighbor comes over and gifts you with fruits from their trees. 
Cardamom is available in whole pod, seed, and ground forms. Cardamom is a highly perfumed spice, especially important in Indian and Arab cuisines. It has both savory and sweet applications. It is a key ingredient in the Indian spice blend called garam masala. In Arab countries, it is also used to flavor coffee, tea, and pastries. A touch of cardamom is great in carrot dishes, in spice rubs for salmon, and in vanilla or chocolate cakes, cookies, and puddings.
Substitute for Cardamom pods
For 10 whole pods substitute:1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom or substitute 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon or combine 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon + 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

Winter Citrus Compote with Yogurt
Cook's notes: By themselves, oranges and grapefruits may be too acidic to pair with plain yogurt. Steep them in honey and it's a whole different story. In this compote made with honey, cardamom and ginger, the citrus fruits are sweetened and softened just enough to turn into a flavorful topping for a healthy breakfast of yogurt or oatmeal.
Recipe from TheKitchen and makes 3 cups
Citrus Compote 

  • 2 grapefruits, 2 oranges, and 4 mandarin oranges, or other mix of citrus fruits to make about 3 cups of total fruit segments
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • A few strips of orange zest or curls 
  • 2-3 tablespoons honey, depending on taste
  • 1 cardamom pod, lightly crushed or 1/2 tsp. ground cardamom or 1/4 tsp. cinnamon combined with 1/4 tsp. nutmeg  
  • 1-inch piece of ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
  • pomegranate seeds
  • yogurt, oatmeal, or other breakfast food
  • Peel and separate the citrus, into segments, reserving the juice. Place the citrus segments in a heat-proof bowl.
  • In a small saucepan, mix 1/2 cup of the reserved citrus juice (top off with orange juice if necessary) with the zest, honey, cardamom, and ginger. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 5 minutes.
  • Strain the syrup, drizzle it over the citrus segments, and gently stir to combine. Cover and refrigerate the citrus for at least an hour and/or up to 3 days.
  • Top with pomegranate seeds and serve chilled or at room temperature with yogurt, oatmeal, or other breakfast foods.
Citrus Salad
Serves 4

  • 1 ruby red grapefruit –peeled and sectioned
  • 2-3 oranges peeled and sectioned (pat dry on paper towel)
  • 1-½ cups cucumbers, diced
  • 1 bag of baby spinach, mixed greens or watercress greens 
  • ½ red onion-sliced and separated into rings
  • 1 cup toasted coconut-optional
  • 1 cup pom poms (pomegranate seeds) 
  • crushed pistachios
  • Toast coconut on a cookie sheet @ 350 degrees for 5 minutes, stir several times.
  • In a large bowl toss all ingredients, add enough dressing to moisten greens and sprinkle with coconut, crushed nuts.
Suggested Dressing: Prepared Lite Balsamic Dressing
or Citrus Dressing
  • 2 TB. white balsamic vinegar or Balsamic Vinegar Fig and Orange (World Market)
  • 1 tsp. grated orange or clementine zest
  • 1/4 cup clementine, tangerine or orange juice
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil or Blood Orange Olive Oil 
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp.thyme
  • 1/2 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 2 tsp. honey
Dressing Directions:
  • Mix all ingredients in a blender

Check out Bella's latest story for Wonderful Women's Network (WWN) 
Alive and Well in Arizona  

1 comment:

  1. Oh, how I would love to taste one of these fresh tree oranges. I bet they are divine.