One of the beautiful things about Winter is the explosion of citrus—a burst of sunshine amidst all that dreary cold weather. Mother Nature takes care of us, doesn’t she?
My mother has a couple of citrus trees that are exploding with fruit right now. Jack and I have been checking them every week waiting for them to ripen. Finally, the kumquats have gotten big, fat and super sweet. I think I ate as many as I picked off the tree. Mmmmrrmm, good.
But there’s no way I can eat that many kumquats so I went looking for ways to preserve them. Opposite of a traditional orange the peel of a kumquat is sweet while the inside is bitter, therefore, it’s important to do something that uses the rind.
As it happens, orange marmalade is my favorite spread so kumquat marmalade seemed a logical direction. I’ve never made it before, but most of the recipes that I checked online complain about the labor intensity. Ugh. Long drawn out recipes are so not for me. I don’t have that kind of time. So, I tried a few different things and found a tip that gets you marmalade in a snap.
Here are the ups and downs. See if it works for you.
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It’s less than a week to Vietnamese New Year, Tet 2012, the year of the dragon. To get us into the celebratory mood I thought I would share some Vietnamese and New Year-inspired recipes and traditions.
First up, we’re using Buddha’s Hand citron. My mom has a citron tree in her front yard and throughout Fall and Winter it produces prodigiously. Lucky us. They’re crazy looking fruit, aren’t they? I think the biggest question is always: “What in the world do I do with it?” Good question. I wondered the same for many years.
The Buddha’s Hand citron is a really mellow lemon that is all peel and spongy pith. You can actually eat this gem raw, the pith does not have the bitterness that we generally associate with more commonly known lemons. The lemony flavor is quite soft and very aromatic. You can slice up the fingers and body of the fruit into long thin slices, add it to salads or pastries. You can use it with braised meats the same way that you would traditional lemons. (I think it would make an amazing glaze for salmon.) It can work beautifully to infuse vodka or to make limoncello. However, it’s most commonly found candied: cooked in a sugar syrup for long-term preservation amd use in sweets or even over ice cream. David Leibovitz has a great recipe for candied citron.
Today, I’m showing you a quick tea and a beautiful vinaigrette that brings a taste of Spring into the dead of Winter.
To make tea just steep a few slices or chunks of raw citron in hot water to make a gentle, mild lemon tea. Once brewed (~5 minutes) enjoy straight or add a little honey and oh, my—it’s a gentle, aromatic essence—soooo good!
Now, for the vinaigrette we’re going to make a wonderful base vinaigrette that can sit in your fridge for months. It’s so fresh and Springy, it feels decadent.
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