Stuff and Nonsense: citrus

Showing posts with label citrus. Show all posts
Showing posts with label citrus. Show all posts


Improv Challenge: Lemon & Rosemary

January's Improv Challenge Cooking ingredients are the bright, sunny flavors of lemon and rosemary. I decided to keep my dish simple and combined the lemon and rosemary with garlic and fresh breadcrumbs to make a light topping for baked fish. It's not a very adventurous dish, but it's pretty and spring-like. In this dark, bitter January I need everything that is pretty and spring-like.

I used cod in this dish, which is not a fish we eat very often, but I thought it’d be a fun change from the usual tilapia or salmon. Cod is, after all, a very versatile fish as it is mild and sweet-flavored, making it a good fit for many recipes.

I also used "Spanish Roja" garlic bought at last fall's very rainy Connecticut Garlic and Harvest Festival. The flavor is quite pungent, hot, and lingering. If you don't like strong garlic flavor, the plain ol' ordinary grocery store garlic will work just fine in this dish.

We had leftover sandwich/kaiser rolls so I blitzed one of those to make the breadcrumbs, rather than let it get stale, and that yielded about a cup of fresh crumbs. Obviously, you could use any bread or roll you like to make the crumbs. I'm betting that the garlic ciabatta or rosemary focaccia would be lovely.

Lemon & Rosemary Cod

Yield: 4


  • 2 lbs certified sustainable cod loin, cut into 4 portions
  • 2 Tbsp lemon zest
  • 1 Tbsp fresh rosemary
  • 1 Tbsp minced Spanish rojo garlic
  • 1 leftover sandwich roll
  • Salt and pepper, if desired
  • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • Lemon wedge, for squeezing


  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. Blitz the rosemary, lemon zest, garlic, and roll in a food processor until the roll forms fine crumbs. Season with salt and pepper, if desired.
  3. Place the butter in a 7x11-inch baking dish. Melt in the preheated oven. Remove dish from oven.
  4. Lay the cod in the baking dish and then flip the fish over to coat. Press the crumb mixture onto the top of each cod portion.
  5. Bake cod for 20 min, uncovered, or until the fish has reached 145°F or is opaque and flakes easily with a fork. Remove fish from the oven, squeeze lemon wedge over it, and serve.

For anyone new to my blog, the Improv Cooking Challenge is a monthly blog hop where two ingredients are assigned, participants must make a new-to-their-blog recipe using both ingredients, and publish a blog post about it on the third Thursday of the month. If you think that sounds like fun, click on the Improv Cooking Challenge logo below.


Easy Peasy Lemon Squeezy

I'd bought a mixed bag of lemons and limes, because the price was very nice and thought I would use far more of them in cooking and baking then I actually did, so I ended up with a bowl of wonky looking citrus giving me the side-eye every time I went into the kitchen. Obviously, something needed to be done.

Well, when life gives you wonky lemons (and limes), make lemonade. I used Imperial Sugar's "Old Fashioned Lemonade" recipe as my guide, but reduced the sugar to one cup. The lemonade had a very bright, sweet-tart flavor that kept us coming back for more.

My lemon has a heart!

And then that was it. No more home-made lemonade. Back to the Farmer's Cow, I thought. The Farmer's Cow makes perfectly yummy lemonade -- The Husband is partial to strawberry, but I totally ❤ watermelon -- and buying it supports local agriculture and business. Meaning, I get to feel extra virtuous while being a lazy cook.

Except. While The Husband, who functions as The Shopper of Groceries & Carrier of All That Is Heavy since my surgery, has been buying Farmer's Cow lemonades he also keeps bring home bags of lemons. Because he wants more lemonade. Oh, sweet lemonade.

So I keep making lemonade. It's actually the perfect cooking activity for me, right now, as lemonade don't care how long it takes you to make it. Need a little sit down after juicing the lemons? That's fine.

Luscious blackberries from Litchfield Hills Farm-Fresh Market

Because I can't leave well enough alone, I had to fancy up this recipe and make blackberry lemonade. (Also, the blackberries were in danger of going off).

Blackberry Lemonade

Yield: 2 quarts


  • 2 small containers blackberries (makes about 1¾ cups puree w/ sugar)
  • 1-1½ cups sugar
  • 1½ cup lemon juice (about 9 juicy lemons)
  • 4 cups cold water


  • Blitz sugar and blackberries in a food processor or blender until a smooth puree forms. Press puree through a sieve into a large pitcher. Add lemon juice and water, stir well, and taste. Add additional water or sugar, if needed.

The ripeness and relative size of your fruit will determine how much juice you get, which will effect the amount of sugar you'll want to use. One cup usually works just fine, but sometimes the blackberries aren't so sweet and need a little boost.


Orange-Ginger Salmon

Came up with the salmon recipe while I was playing around with orange and ginger for May's Improv Challenge. I'd hoped the salmon would steam cook (oven poach?) with the oranges and ginger, creating a succulent salmon infused with a subtle heat and gentle aroma. Well, there's no heat to speak of, but the dish is wonderfully fragrant and tender. Melt-in-your-mouth salmon. Totally yum, even if you can't taste the ginger.

Orange-Ginger Salmon

Yield: 2


  • 2 6-oz portions boned & skinned salmon fillet
  • 1 navel orange, sliced thin
  • 2 Tbsp coconut aminos
  • 1 Tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • ⅛ tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • ¼ tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp grated fresh ginger


  1. Preheat oven to 425°F.
  2. Brush a pie plate or baking dish with olive oil. Line with orange slices (you will have extra slices -- save them for something else).
  3. Pat the salmon dry with a paper towel and place in the orange-line pie plate. If your salmon has a thin end, fold it under for even cooking.
  4. Combine coconut aminos, rice wine vinegar, sesame oil, red pepper flakes, garlic powder, and ginger. Brush salmon with mixture.
  5. Cover with foil and bake 10 minutes or until fish reaches 145°F and flakes easily with a fork.
  6. Drizzle some of the pan juices over the salmon and serve.
I served the salmon over basmati rice with steamed broccoli and, really, it was just a great combination of textures and flavors. Kind-of wished I'd made enough for seconds!


Juice All the (Citrus-like) Things

For my birthday, The Husband gave me a citrus juicer attachment for my KitchenAid stand mixer. I'm still not one hundred percent on why The Husband gave it to me. If it's because I've been buying lots of "weird vegetable" juices from the yoga place down the street and he thought I might like to make my own juices ... well, it's the wrong juicer attachment for that sort of thing. If it's because he hoped I'd start buying caseloads of citrus from the warehouse club and make him fresh orange juice ... well, that hasn't happened. Yet.

Because I forget to buy citrus when I'm at the warehouse club? Yeh. That's probably why. The warehouse club is just one giant distraction after another. Go in for vitamins and egg whites, come out with antihistamines and four kinds of butter ...

Happily, December is satsuma mandarin season and, as usual, I picked up a big case of the delicious darlings from Chaffin Family Orchards. Which meant we ate satsuma after satsuma until we were positively stuffed with citrus and didn't want to see another satsuma before next December. Unfortunately, there were still a half dozen slowly fossilizing satsumas left and I was darned if they were going to go to waste so (you guessed it) I got juicing.

The citrus juice attachment is very simple to use -- just slot the bits together and screw them into the "power hub" on the front of the stand mixer. It takes seconds to assemble and then you just juice all the things! Rather like shredding cheese with the food processor, juicing turns out to be quite an addictive thing and I really had to work hard to stop myself from juicing all our lemons and limes, too.

And what did I do with the beautiful, fragrant, sweet satsuma juice? The Husband did a shot of it ... and then I used the remainder in cookies. Followed Pillsbury's "Fresh Orange Cookies" recipe and ended up with some really yummy cookies ... that look, strangely, nothing like the one's pictured on Pillsbury's site. Mine are much flatter whereas theirs are domed. Mine are quite cake-like actually -- very much like biting into a light and fluffy orange muffin top -- and theirs looks sturdier and more scone-like. Regardless, the Husband has been eating them in quantities that suggest they're the best "biscuit" (cookie) I've baked it quite a long time. Having lots of good citrus flavor and being not particularly sweet for an American cookie (putting them more in line with a UK biscuit), they go down a treat with a big mug of black tea.


Improv Challenge: Cranberry & Orange

The deli near my work occasionally sells this really yummy couscous salad that's studded with cranberries, spinach, and chunks of dried apricots. It's very flavorful and I love the texture so, when I saw December's Improv Challenge ingredients were cranberry and orange, I immediately thought about cloning that deli salad. I know a salad in December might not sound quite like the thing, but we can't live on cookies and cake all month ... can we? I kinda think, given enough cups of tea, I could live on cookies and cake?

While this recipe is good either at room temperature or chilled, I think it works best at room temperature and recommend that's what you serve it at. Obviously, we're a household of two, so there was leftovers -- the following day I just left it on the side for 15 minutes or so to warm a bit while I reheated the rest of my lunch.

I used pearl (sometimes called Israeli) couscous in this recipe, because that's what the deli uses, but you could probably use another small pasta like pastina or acini di pepe. Obviously, you'll need to ignore my preparation instructions and make it according to the packet.

Cranberry-Orange Couscous Salad

Yield: 4


  • 1 cup pearl (Israeli) couscous
  • 1¼ cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 cups baby spinach
  • 3 Tbsp fresh orange juice
  • 1 Tbsp orange zest
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp runny honey
  • ¼ cup dried cranberries
  • ¼ cup diced dried apricots
  • ¼ cup sliced almonds, toasted
  • salt & pepper, to taste


  1. Put the spinach in a large serving bowl and set aside.
  2. In a medium saucepan, bring broth to a boil over high heat. Add couscous, and return to a boil. Immediately cover and reduce heat to low. Simmer for 8-10 minutes or until the couscous has absorbed all of the broth. Fluff couscous and dump over spinach so that the residual heat from the couscous wilts the spinach. Set aside.
  3. Whisk together orange juice, zest, oil, vinegar, mustard, and honey in a small bowl.
  4. Gently mix the almonds, cranberries, apricots, and spinach into the couscous. Pour dressing over couscous mixture and gently toss to coat. Serve immediately for tastiest results.


Lemon & Garlic Chicken Thighs

Had a quantity of fresh parsley leftover even after the garlicky lemon-parsley sauce I made to jazz up some baked barramundi. While I wasn't quite sure what to do with the leftover parsley, I knew it had to be done soon as parsley just doesn't keep in my fridge (the whole "wrap it in a damp paper towel and store inside a plastic bag" technique doesn't work for me).

As there were chicken thighs in the freezer (when aren't there?) and I had lemon and garlic so I thought "Why not marinade the thighs and then whack them in the oven when I get home from work?" And that is exactly what I did.

I tend to buy boneless chicken thighs more often than not because I find them more flavorful and less expensive than boneless chicken breasts. They're definitely better suited to slow cooking than boneless breasts and even short, high-temp oven excursions suit them better than breasts. Or maybe I just still don't know how to cook boneless breasts properly!

Anyway, this dish is quite lemony so feel free to cut back on the juice and zest! When The Husband first tasted the chicken, he thought he wasn't going to like it because it was too lemony, but he ended up really liking it so ymmv.

Lemon & Garlic Chicken Thighs

Yield: Serves 3-6, depending on appetite


  • 1 large lemon
  • ½ cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 6 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • ¼ tsp sea salt
  • ¼ tsp black pepper


  1. Place chicken thighs in a food-safe storage container.
  2. Zest lemon. Cut lemon in half; squeeze lemon juice over chicken. Add zest, parsley, garlic, salt, and pepper. Cover container and toss to coat. Refrigerate one hour or until ready to cook.
  3. Preheat oven to 425°F. Lightly brush a baking dish with a little olive oil.
  4. Turn the chicken out onto the baking dish. Bake 25 minutes or until chicken reaches 165°F.


Easy Baked Lemon & Parsley Barramundi

This is any easy baked fish recipe made just a little fancy with a lemon and garlic butter sauce. I used fresh parsley, because I'd bought a bunch of it for something ... but I can't remember what that something was and have no notes to guide me. It's also possible I wasn't supposed to buy parsley at all, but thyme. Anyway, feel free to use dried parsley, but the flavor may not be the same.

I know. Everyone's "Parsley is there for garnish, right? It doesn't have a flavor?" but I beg to differ. Parsley tastes fresh and green (like spring) with a little hint of bitterness and can brighten up a dish. I only used the leaves in this recipe, saving the stems to flavor the stock I'll make from the Thanksgiving turkey carcass.

Even though I baked the fish at a high temperature, I didn't cover the barramundi, because I knew the sauce would keep it moist. As expected, the fish came out flaky and moist. Quite lemony and garlicky, obviously, but both flavors compliment rather than overwhelm the flavor of fish.

Baked Lemon & Parsley Barramundi

Yield: 2


  • 1 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 3 cloves garlic, pressed
  • 2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
  • ⅛ tsp black pepper
  • 8 oz barramundi fillets
  • Salt, to taste


  1. Preheat oven to 425°F.
  2. Melt butter in the microwave or in a small saucepan on the stove. Whisk in lemon juice, garlic, parsley, and black pepper. Set aside.
  3. Blot fillets dry and place in a baking dish or glass pie plate. Pour butter mixture over fish. Bake for 10 minutes at 425°F or until fish flakes easily with a fork and has reached 145°F.
  4. Season with salt to taste, if desired, and serve.


Improv Challenge: Halloweeny Orange & Black Marble Cake

October's Improv Challenge theme is orange and black so I baked a cake ... a marbled cake which is a cake I'd never attempted before because artistic swirls and flourishes are not really my thing. And by "not my thing" I mean "a thing I've never tried, because it looks fancy and I'm bound to mess it up." But what's the point of doing a challenge if it doesn't encourage me to move outside my comfort zone?

This marbled cake is based on a classic sponge cake and is light, fluffy and totally yum (The Husband really likes it and that's no small thing) that I've tarted up with orange zest, cocoa powder, and gel colors. While my marbling isn't as awesome most of the marbled cakes you'll see on, say, Pinterest I'm still quite pleased with the results and have satisfactorily conquered my fear of marbling. Next time, though, I might try three colors and swirl the batter just a bit more vigorously.

Orange & Black Marble Cake

Yield: 8 slices


  • 8 oz unsalted butter, softened
  • 8 oz superfine sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 8 oz self-rising flour
  • 3 Tbsp milk
  • ½ tsp orange extract
  • Zest of 1 orange
  • 2 Tbsp cocoa powder
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • Black and orange gel paste food colors


  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a 8-inch square baking pan and line the bottom with parchment paper. Put the butter, sugar, eggs, flour, and milk into the bowl of your food processor and whizz around until everything is smooth.

  • Divide the cake batter evenly between 2 bowls. Stir the cocoa powder and vanilla into one of the batter bowls. Stir orange extract and zest into the other. Slowly whisk black gel paste into cocoa batter, adding a little at a time, until the batter is blacker than a moonless night. Repeat with the orange batter and gel paste, until that batter is as orange as The Great Pumpkin.

  • Using two spoons, plop batters into the baking pan in a checkerboard(ish) pattern. Gently tap the baking pan against your counter edge to remove any air bubbles and help spread the batters up against the edge of the tin. Swirl a skewer or knife through the mixture to create a marbled effect.

  • Bake the cake for 45 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Remove the cake form the oven and let cool it completely on a rack. When cool, cut into 8-pieces and serve with orange or vanilla infused whipped cream.


Improv Challenge: Lemon & Lime

I really had my heart set on making a beautiful lemon-lime gelatin mold for May's Improv Challenge, but time got away from me and suddenly it was the day of the Challenge and I had nothing! So I turned to my second choice recipe, "Creamy Lemon-Lime Sherbet," and I am so glad I did. The recipe is so very simple to throw together and yields sherbet that is just totally yum. Cool, creamy, and super citrusy. And, anyway, who doesn't want to be able to say they've made sherbet from scratch? Especially as we head into warmer weather and ice cream season?

This recipe is based on one I found in one of my grandmother's old recipe booklets, Cooling Dishes for Hot Weather, published by the Culinary Arts Institute in 1956. The original dish used lemon or lime and I, obviously, wanted to use both. Also, I was a little heavy-handed with the zest simply because the original amount didn't seem like nearly enough!
Creamy Lemon-Lime Sherbet
Makes about 1½ pints

1¼ cups sugar
¼ cup lemon juice
¼ cup lime juice
[I used a mixture of fresh & bottled]
1 Tbsp lemon zest
1 Tbsp lime zest
⅛ tsp salt
2 cups heavy cream
2 drops green or yellow food coloring, if desired

If you have a stand mixer, put the bowl and beater in the freezer now. If you don't, put a whisk and large mixing bowl in the freezer instead.

In a large bowl, mix together all ingredients until the sugar is dissolved. Add a few drops of food coloring, if desired.

Put bowl in freezer and freeze until "mushy" (about two hours in my fridge).

Pour mixture into chilled bowl and beat with chilled beater until smooth. Immediately return mixture to freezer and freeze until firm.

When making this dish, I recommend freezing the first stage in a shallow square or rectangular metal pan for greater surface area and a more consistent freeze. The large ceramic bowl I used was great for mixing, but froze unevenly -- edges faster than middle, etc -- making it hard to guess what "mushy" was. In the end I decided mushy meant "jiggly in the center, but the edges are firm and indentations, while easily made with a finger, don't fill back in."

I have no idea how long the sherbet took to firm in the final stage of freezing, because I made this before work and then just left it the freezer for nine hours. I worried about it more or less constantly while I was at work -- had it been the right kind of mushy when I beat it? would use of lime concentrate make a difference to how it froze? -- but it was fine. And now I'm thinking "Sherbet all the citrus fruits!!!"

Thanks to this recipe, I've learned I've spelled sherbet wrong my entire life. There's only one r -- it's not sherbert -- but everyone I know pronounces in sureBERT so I am thoroughly confused. (Sorbet's not the same thing, imho, but more like Italian ice and we pronounce it soreBAY).


Improv Challenge: Lime & White Chocolate

When I saw December's Improv Cooking Challenge ingredients were lime and white chocolate, I immediately knew I wanted to make a pudding. Essentially, I wanted something like a pavlova -- a soft meringue nest filled with lime curd mousse topped with white chocolate whipped cream and berries. I've never actually eaten or baked a pavlova, but I've made several Eton Mess and what is that but a deconstructed pavlova?

white chocolate & lime clouds

I used King Arthur Flour's pavlova recipe, because their recipe for Angel Kisses (a meringue cookie) always come out well. While the pavlova recipe makes one big meringue, I chose to make five smaller single-serving meringues. If I'd been a bit neater I could have gotten six meringues from the recipe, but I'm not(and probably never will be) a neat baker.

The meringue recipe only needs five common kitchen ingredients and goes together easily so do give it a try if, like me, meringue makes you a little nervous.

Meringue Ingredients
Meringue Ingredients
Unbaked Small Meringue Shells
Unbaked meringues (the baked ones look almost exactly the same)
Lime Mousse

11 oz jar lime curd [Thursday Cottage]
1¼ cups whipping cream
zest of one lime

Put curd into the bowl of your stand mixer with the zest and cream, and whisk until thickened and fluffy. Chill 2 hours. (Whisk in a few drops of green food coloring with the cream, if you like, otherwise the dish will be very white).

Ingredients for lazy lime mousse
Lime Mousse Ingredients
White Chocolate Whipped Cream

2 ounces white chocolate, broken into small pieces [Ghiradelli]
1½ cups plus ¼ cup heavy cream

Microwave chocolate and ¼ cup whipping cream in large microwaveable bowl on high 1 minute or until chocolate is almost melted, stirring after 30 seconds. Stir until chocolate is completely melted. Set aside and allow to cool to room temperature.

Whip the cream in a chilled bowl to soft peaks. Fold in the cooled white chocolate mixture and beat to stiff peaks.

Or, if you have a whipped cream dispenser, pour the cooled chocolate and cream into the container. Replace cap, charge with one cylinder, shake, and maketh with the whip creameth.

white chocolate whipped cream
White Chocolate Whipped Cream Ingredients
Fill meringue shells with lime mousse, top with white chocolate whipped cream, and garnish with blackberries and additional lime zest, if desired. (You will have extra mousse and whipped cream. The mousse will keep. The whipped cream probably won't if you didn't add stabilizer or make it in a whipped cream dispenser).

These lime and white chocolate pavlovas where very light and bright-tasting. Tangy, with most of the sweetness coming from the meringue itself. I'd expected the mousse to be quite sweet as there was a fair amount of sugar in the prepared curd, but it wasn't. It was wonderfully fragrant, though, and made my whole kitchen smell fantastic. I was also rather impressed by the white chocolate whipped cream as the flavor of the chocolate really came through.

These pavlovas are very pretty served as I photographed them, but I admit that when it actually came time to eat them, we found it easier to bash the pavlovas up into small pieces and stir them into the mousse ... Eton mess, all over again.

The meringues will keep indefinitely in an airtight container and the mousse is good for two or three days, so these are easy enough to make ahead.


Second Thanksgiving

A few weeks ago, I bought a case of satsuma mandarins from The Fruit Company for The Husband. Alas, they weren't very good satsumas -- watery and bland, sayeth The Husband -- and have been lurking in the basement since the third failed attempt to find a "good" one in the box.

I was loathe to compost the satsumas, because even if they weren't good for straight out noshing, surely they might be good for cooking? I had dreams of satsuma-glazed mini bundt cakes and satsuma-roasted chicken thighs, but those dreams never got off the ground.

And then it was Thanksgiving and, while we were going to my parents, I picked up a turkey for us because THANKSGIVING. I recalled that roasting whole chickens on beds of thickly sliced red onion made for phenomenal chicken. So why not satsumas under the turkey? Because, you know, alliums and citrus are so similar ...

I took a bunch of satsumas, plus a few oranges that had been malingering in the produce drawer, and trimmed a thin slice off opposite sides so they would lay flat(tish) in the roasting pan. Then I halved them and arranged them in the pan, packing them as closely as I could.


Roaster lined with Citrus

I whizzed some of the citrus trimmings 'round in my food processor until they were well chopped, then mixed in four tablespoons softened unsalted butter, and one teaspoon Bell's Seasoning. I gently slid the butter mixture between the turkey breast meat and skin. The excess butter mixture was smeared all over the outside of the turkey and then I sprinkled it with a teaspoon of sea salt.

Citrus Peel

Citrus Turkey

I stuffed the turkey cavity with three or four quartered satsumas -- some didn't fit, so I just tucked those pieces in any gaps in the orange carpet at the bottom of the roasting pan -- and roasted the turkey at 325F°, uncovered, for about four hours.

Then I remove the turkey from the oven, tented it with foil, and allowed it to rest for fifteen minutes while I mashed potatoes and microwaved vegetables.

Our Thanksgiving

The roasted turkey was fragrant, moist, and tender without being overwhelmingly citrus-y. If I ever have satsuma troubles again, I will certainly use this method to dispose of them!