I love cooking in winter. My family, friends and customers are actually hungry. There are no dainty appetites when it is cold outside-everyone is eager to eat. While it is often cloudy and the daylight hours are short it is possible to feel sunny-especially on the inside. Winter is citrus season. All the bright flavors and colors of summer are available in season during the winter months. It is no accident that when most of us are cooped up inside and colds and flu abound that some of our best protection in food happens to be in season. High in vitamin C, loaded with flavenoids and part of the Mediterranean Diet, citrus fruits are incredibly good for you. So, scoop up all the tangerines, grapefruits, blood oranges and Meyer lemons you can-they will help you feel sunny on the inside.
Here I offer my Citrus Extravaganza with recipes and tips for using citrus:
For the Goat Cheese and Citrus Salad with Beets, Candied Kumquats and Tangerine-Honey Vinaigrette you will need to cut out the citrus segments. These beautiful citrus sections or supremes-in French, look picture perfect on a plate and are easy to cut if you know what you are doing.
- Start with a sharp paring knife and cutting board. Cut off a small section from the top and bottom of the fruit. This will give the fruit stability and keep it from rolling around.
- Cut down the rind from top to bottom following the curve of the fruit. The goal is to remove the rind and the pith (white bitter part) but not the fruit. Continue until all of the rind has been cut off.
- Hold the fruit in one hand and cut 1/2 into the fruit at one of the dividing membranes. Cut on the other side of the segment along the membrane. This should release the segment or supreme. Continue until all of segments are cut out. Squeeze the juice into a bowl and discard the membranes. Reserve the juice for another use.
Kumquats are beautiful and irresistible when you see them in the store. They are not for eating out of hand though and need a bit of WORK before they can be added to your menu. You need to plan ahead at least 3 weeks to make Candied Kumquats. This should not discourage you though. Once candied - the kumquats are delicious and will hold up for several months in the refrigerator in their syrup.
Here are a few more of my favorite citrus recipes, enjoy!