Tag Archives: Citrus

Blood Orange Week (In Lieu of Featured Cookbook Friday)

Not to worry, I am indeed quite happily up to my ears in new cookbooks since December 25th, thanks family!!! – but lately I haven’t been able to resist the blood oranges available for who even knows how much longer, probably not very. So instead of a Featured Cookbook Friday, I’m basically sharing my blood orange endeavors of the last week – a Blood Orange Friday, if you will indulge me.

First up:

Grilled Swordfish with Blood Orange Sauce (except I seared mine as it’s the dead of winter), from A Great American Cook by Jonathan Waxman.

This was wonderful! The swordfish sits on a bed of southwest-inspired relish, made from roasted poblano, blood orange segments, jicama, and cilantro – except I couldn’t find jicama the day I made this, so I subbed in thinly sliced red bell pepper. Then you make a buttery blood orange sauce that drizzles over everything. It tasted incredible after the overindulgence of the holidays.

Secondly:

Blood Orange Roast Chicken from Adventures in Chicken by Eva Kosmos Flores (recipe at the end of the post!).

There simply aren’t enough raves for this one! It was just beautiful, and I highly, highly recommend making it asap while blood oranges are still available!!

Third:

Blood Orange Stout Cake from Seven Spoons by Tara O’Brady

This is quite tasty, almost like a gingerbread that also happens to be an upside-down blood orange cake. It’s very earthy and spicy, with the simultaneous bitter/sweet of the oranges cutting into every bite.

Lastly:

Blood Orange Shaker Tart with Rosemary Almond Crust from Marbled, Swirled and Layered by Irvin Lin

This is a lot of steps, but oh so worth it – both to look at and to eat! A play on Shaker Lemon Pie, we use blood oranges instead, and it goes into a tart pan instead of a pie plate. But, Lin twists this up some more by adding rosemary and almond flour to the tart dough, and you put a dash of minced rosemary into the tart filling as well! Rosemary is strong, but the amounts here are just right – it doesn’t hit you over the head or anything.

Without further ado, here’s the recipe for that AMAZING roast chicken. Enjoy!

Source: Adventures in Chicken by Eva Kosmos Flores

Ingredients:

BRINE:
4-8 cups water*
¼ cup fresh orange juice
3-6 tbs kosher salt*
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 whole chicken, about 4 pounds, innards removed

GLAZE:
¼ cup chicken stock
3 tbs blood orange juice
3 tbs brown sugar
2 tbs white wine
2 tbs rendered duck fat
1 tsp kosher salt
¼ tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp ground allspice
¼ tsp ground cardamom

CHICKEN:
1 tbs rendered duck fat
2 tsp minced fresh rosemary
1 tsp kosher salt
1 sprig fresh rosemary
3 blood oranges, cut into eighths

Directions:
First, make the BRINE: to a large plastic storage or brining bag, add the water, orange juice, salt, and cinnamon. Squish it around until combined. Add the chicken, seal the bag, and refrigerate overnight.
*Depending on the size of your plastic bag, you may not be able to fit all 8 cups of water. That’s fine. If you use 4 cups instead, reduce the amount of salt to 3 tbs. If you use all 8 cups water, use the full 6 tbs salt.
Preheat your oven to 425 F.
Make the GLAZE: in a small saucepan, bring the chicken stock, blood orange juice, brown sugar, wine, duck fat, salt, cinnamon, allspice, and cardamom to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to low and simmer until thickened slightly, about 10 minutes. Set aside and let cool at least somewhat.
To roast the CHICKEN, remove the chicken from the brine and pat dry. Combine the duck fat, minced rosemary, and salt in a small bowl, then use your hands or a pastry brush to slather the chicken with the whole thing. Place the chicken in a 12-inch cast-iron skillet or other roasting pan where it will fit snugly, and stick the rosemary sprig into the cavity. Truss the chicken, then arrange the blood orange slices in the pan around the chicken. They can overlap. Pour the glaze into the pan around the chicken, then lightly brush the chicken with the glaze.
Roast 15-20 minutes. Reduce the temperature to 375 F and continue to roast, brushing the chicken with the pan drippings every 15 minutes until a meat thermometer inserted into the center of a breast reads 160 F. This will take 50-60 minutes, approximately. When the bird is done, remove from the oven and let rest at least 10 minutes (carryover cooking will take care of the remaining 5 degrees). Carve and serve, drizzling any pan juices over the chicken pieces as you so desire.

Key Lime Pie

Key Lime Pie

One of my favorite pies on this planet is Key Lime Pie, but over the weekend, I was harshly reminded of why I rarely ever make one. I once again completely see why so many published recipes for this pie advocate for using regular limes with a vehement lack of apology. Key limes are a real pain in the butt.

Key Lime Pie

This recipe needs ¾ cup of key lime juice, and at first I decided I would be Rambo or something and just juice all those limes with a handheld reamer. One of those teeny limes slipped out of my fingers as I was squeezing it, flew across the kitchen and knocked over the measuring up of almost ¼ cup of already-juiced lime juice. I was not impressed.

Key limes

So I busted out the stand mixer juicer attachment, and things went much more smoothly from that point. I eventually got my juice and baked the pie. One bite in, and I was reminded of why I went to all this hassle. So. Incredibly. Worth it.

Key Lime Pie

Sweet and tart, with a perfect custard texture and the slight crunch of the graham cracker crust, this pie is just perfect in my book. This particular recipe is a classic version, but expertly done. It turned out, well, perfect. Enjoy!

Key Lime Pie

Source: slightly adapted from First Prize Pies by Allison Kave

Ingredients:
1 ½ – 2 cups finely ground graham cracker crumbs
6-8 tbs unsalted butter, melted
1 (14 oz.) can sweetened condensed milk
¾ cup Key lime juice
4 large egg yolks
Zest of 3 Key limes
¼ tsp salt
Whipped cream, for topping (optional)

Directions:
Preheat your oven to 350 F. Combine the graham cracker crumbs and melted butter. Grease a 9” pie plate, then pat the graham cracker crumb mixture into the pie plate and up the sides. Chill the crust for 15 minutes. Bake for 10 minutes, then allow to cool completely.
In a large bowl, whisk together the milk, lime juice, yolks, lime zest, and salt until fully blended.
Place the pie crust on a baking sheet. Pour the filling into the crust and bake 30-40 minutes, until the filling has just set and the custard is smooth and not browned. Remove the pie to a wire rack to cool at room temperature for at least 20 minutes before refrigerating. Serve sliced topped with whipped cream, if desired.

Meyer Lemon French 75

Meyer Lemon French 75

Why is the first week back to work after the holidays always so sluggish and difficult? Every year, it’s the same. I have trouble waking up in the morning, I’m bushed every night for no apparent reason, my workouts feel terrible, and my mood is… out of sorts, to put it politely. Then that first weekend comes, and everything is okay again. I don’t know…

Winter citrus has arrived, and I said that this year I wasn’t going to go crazy trying to make as many recipes as possible, and thought maybe I’d skip it altogether, but I’ve already used Meyer lemons, key limes and kumquats, plus some blood oranges sit on my counter patiently awaiting their fate, so there goes that, I guess.

Meyer Lemon French 75

No matter! This drink is certainly worth sharing. A French 75 is a classic New Orleans libation, supposedly named after French military artillery (???), and while it sounds fancy, it’s actually a very simple drink made of simple syrup, lemon juice, and either gin or cognac, then topped off with Champagne or sparkling wine.

Meyer Lemon French 75

Today we make it more seasonal with Meyer lemons, but regular lemon juice would obviously do just fine. Meyer lemons have an almost bitter yet sweet quality to them that I thought played well off the strong gin. This drink certainly sounds and even looks a bit fancy, so I say bust it out for an appropriate occasion! Enjoy!

Meyer Lemon French 75

Source: Down South by Donald Link

Ingredients:
1 oz. freshly squeezed Meyer lemon juice
½ oz. simple syrup
1 ½ oz. gin
Champagne or sparkling wine
Twist of Meyer lemon peel

Directions:
Combine the Meyer lemon juice, simple syrup, and gin in a cocktail shaker with a scoop of ice. Cover and shake vigorously. Pour the strained drink into a champagne flute or coupe glass. Top off with Champagne and garnish with the lemon peel.
Makes 1 drink as written.

Almond Short Bread Wedges with Lemon Icing

Almond Short Bread Wedges with Lemon Icing

It would appear that the holiday baking season is wholly upon us, and I personally couldn’t be happier seeing as I love to bake and this is a terrific excuse. That being said, I know the holiday season can be stressful and harried, and sometimes we’re supposed to bake a treat to bring somewhere or serve to guests and we just don’t have time to do anything elaborate.

Almond Short Bread Wedges with Lemon Icing

That’s where this recipe comes into your life and saves it. First of all, you start with cold butter. Yes, really – cold butter!! What cookie recipe lets you do that? Secondly, you don’t have to take the time to scoop each individual cookie onto a baking sheet; you just press the entire ball of dough into a greased tart pan and bake it off.

almond short bread wedges with lemon icing

Almond Short Bread Wedges with Lemon Icing

And now you might be thinking that cookies this easy surely must taste awful, but occasionally too good can be true. These are completely amazing. Perfectly buttery, soft texture, and a light crunch of almond to contrast, and then the tart bite of the lemon glaze all come together in a perfect bite. These are wonderful little cookies to throw together when you’re backed up against the wall this holiday season. Enjoy!

Almond Short Bread Wedges with Lemon Icing

Source: Down South by Donald Link

Ingredients:

COOKIES:
16 tbs (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cold, cut into cubes
¼ tsp kosher salt
¼ cup confectioners’ sugar
¼ cup granulated sugar, plus more for garnish
1 cup cake flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
½ cup sliced or slivered almonds

LEMON ICING:
1 ¼ cup confectioners’ sugar
2 tbs fresh lemon juice
½ tsp vanilla extract

Directions:
To make the COOKIES: preheat the oven to 350 F. Grease a 9” round tart pan with a removable bottom and set aside.
In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and salt on low speed until softened, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the confectioners’ sugar and granulated sugar, increase the speed to medium, and beat, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed, until light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the flours in 3 batches, turning the mixer off before each addition and mixing on low until just combined.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface, gather into a ball, and flatten into a disc. Using your hands, press the dough into the prepared tart pan. Sprinkle the top of the dough with extra sugar and the sliced almonds.
Bake 15 minutes, then decrease the oven temperature to 300 F and bake until light golden, an additional 25 minutes.
Remove the pan from the oven. Press up on the bottom of the tart pan to release the sides of the pan. Using a long knife, slice the shortbread into 12 wedges while still warm. Allow the wedges to cool completely.
While it’s cooling, make the LEMON ICING: in a medium bowl, whisk together the confectioners’ sugar, lemon juice, and vanilla extract until very smooth.
Once the cookie wedges are completely cool, use a fork to drizzle the lemon icing over them. Either serve right away or let set before transferring to an airtight container for storage.

Orange and Dark Chocolate Chunk Scones #SundaySupper

Orange and Dark Chocolate Chunk Scones

Welcome, welcome to Sunday Supper (yes, I’m ba-ack!!), where our theme this week is Easy Holiday Entertaining. We can all use some help there, am I right?

Orange and Dark Chocolate Chunk Scones

My contribution is scones. When we have overnight guests over the holidays, I think the tendency of so many of us is to plan and plan for the dinners, the cocktail parties and the drinks, and then at the last minute we have the “Oh crap!” moment when we realize our guests might want breakfast too.

orange and dark chocolate chunk scones

Enter scones. Scones are SO easy to make, yet for whatever reason, I’ve discovered that people generally don’t seem to realize that. So they think you went all out for them, they are so impressed at your baking prowess, and you barely broke a sweat. Not to mention, scones are delicious, and I’ve yet to meet anyone who disliked them.

orange and dark chocolate chunk scones

These are some of the best scones I’ve tasted, and guys, I think it’s the cake flour. It lends the softest and flakiest texture, and I’m thinking all my scones from now on will have to have some cake flour. The dark chocolate chunks are lovely – sweet enough but not too much so, and make this perfect for a holiday breakfast or brunch treat. Try these out on your guests this holiday season! They’ll love you. Enjoy!

Orange and Dark Chocolate Chunk Scones

And check out the easy holiday entertaining ideas the rest of my Sunday Supper crew brought today!

Source: ever so slightly adapted from Homemade with Love by Jennie Perillo

Ingredients:
½ cup whole wheat flour
½ cup cake flour
1 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
¼ cup granulated sugar
1 tbs baking powder
¼ tsp kosher salt
Freshly grated zest of 1 orange
6 tbs unsalted butter, very cold, cut into cubes
½ cup plus 1 tbs buttermilk, divided
1 large egg
6 oz. dark chocolate chunks
1 tsp turbinado, or other raw/coarse sugar

Directions:
Preheat your oven to 425 F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or a silpat.
In a large mixing bowl, use a whisk to combine the three flours, granulated sugar, baking powder, salt, and orange zest. Scatter the butter cubes over the flour mixture and use a pastry blender or 2 forks to cut the butter into the flour mixture. You want it to form a sandy-looking texture with some pebble-sized pieces of butter throughout.
Quickly whisk together ½ cup buttermilk and the egg, then pour it into the flour mixture. Add the chocolate chunks, and use a rubber spatula or wooden spoon to stir the dough together. When it has mostly come together, use your hands to knead for no more than 1 minute to get the little scraggly bits to come together.
Turn the dough out onto a floured surface. Pat the dough into a circle between ½-inch and 1-inch thick. Use a sharp knife to cut it into 8 triangles. Transfer them to the prepared baking sheet, spacing them evenly apart. Brush them with the remaining buttermilk, then sprinkle the tops with the turbinado.
Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, until the bottoms are lightly browned and the tops are golden. Remove from the oven and set on a wire rack to cool for a few minutes before serving.

Beverages

Appetizers

Main and Side Dishes

Desserts and Baked Goods

Plus a No Stress Party Checklist and Recipes for Easy Entertaining by Sunday Supper

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Cilantro Jalapeno Limeade

Cilantro Jalapeno Limeade

Welcome to Secret Recipe Club reveal day!! This month I was assigned Steak ‘N Potatoes Kinda Gurl. I can certainly identify with steak and potatoes (who can’t, really?). This lovely food blog is written by Desiree, a grad student at Xavier from Cincinnati OH. She lives with her cute fiancé in a house they just bought, who happens to be her high school sweetheart!

Cilantro Jalapeno Limeade

I *really* enjoyed perusing through Desiree’s blog to try and find something to make for this month. So many wonderful sounding recipes to make here, but I ended up with this beverage because I’d literally never heard of such a limeade! I am incredibly glad I chose what I did – this is unique and completely delicious.

Cilantro Jalapeno Limeade

The flavors are very complex, the heat from the jalapenos builds as you sip, and may I let you in on a little secret? It’s also insanely good spiked with a little silver tequila. 🙂

cilantro jalapeno limeade

I highly recommend this drink. It’s most likely an adults-only (I can’t quite imagine kids flocking to this one, but hey, you never know!) non-alcoholic, non-mocktail (mocktails drive me nuts) party drink. Sometimes you really want a sophisticated beverage without alcohol (says the girl who spiked hers with tequila) and this one really fits the bill. I can’t wait to make a pitcher of this for a summer rooftop party or cook-out!

Cilantro Jalapeno Limeade

Definitely give this one a go and do yourself a favor and check out Steak ‘N Potatoes Kinda Gurl!

Source: Steak ‘N Potatoes Kinda Gurl

Ingredients:
2 and 1/4 cups water
3/8 cup sugar
1/4 cup agave nectar
1/2 cup coarsely chopped cilantro
1/4 cup jalapeno peppers, seeded and chopped (and 2 large jalapenos)
1 tsbp sugar
1/8 tsp salt
3 lime wedges, divided
3/4 cup fresh lime juice (about 3-4 limes)
ice

Directions:
Combine the first 3 ingredients in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil. Remove from heat; stir in cilantro and jalapeno. Let stand for 30 minutes. Pour jalapeno mixture into a large bowl or leave in pot, cover, and chill for at least 3 hours. I let mine sit overnight.

Combine 1 tbsp sugar and the salt in a shallow dish. Rub rims of 2 glasses with a lime wedge. Dip the rims of the glasses into the sugar/salt mixture.

Strain cilantro and jalapeno mixture through a fine sieve over a bowl, discarding solids. Stir in lime juice. Fill each prepared glass with ice. Add limeade to each glass. Garnish with 2 remaining lime wedges.


Lemon Basil Roast Chicken

lemon basil roast chicken

It’s been said countless times, and I’m reiterating it one more time: I (like many others) truly believe that one of the best investments a home cook can make is learning to properly roast a chicken. (Unless you’re vegetarian/vegan, of course.)

lemon, basil and garlic

Roasting a whole chicken is one of the more satisfying meals I make, and this is echoed throughout the land of chefs and home cooks everywhere. But I’ve always wondered if our diners feel the same way. There’s something romantic and grounding about getting that chicken prepped perfectly, then while it’s cooking, hearing the crackling of the skin and the spattering of fat drippings that you know make really tasty gravy or jus later, and then the whole reward of taking it from the oven to the table.

Lemon Basil Roast Chicken

Lemon Basil Roast Chicken

Looking at that perfect bird, sitting there proudly with her perfectly crispy skin and juicy, moist flesh. It’s a sight to behold. But it’s really, when you think about it, all about the cook. Do diners really feel the same about roasted chickens? I of course think chicken is incredibly delicious when cooked just right, but I’m probably biased to like the taste even more because I put in all the work and saw the entire process through. I always wonder how others feel, when the only part of the process they participate in is the eating part.

Lemon Basil Roast Chicken

But, I’ve yet to get a complaint about roast chicken from any diners who regularly eat my food, so I’ll doubtless keep making it. Chickens are such blank flavor slates, so there’s about a bazillion different directions in which you can take any one particular meal. This one is lemon and basil.

Lemon Basil Roast Chicken

Happy and cheery, a reminder that warmer temperatures are coming our way, thank god, this one is everything you want your roast chicken to be. I’d love to tell you this is so easy and comes together in a snap, but neither is really true. Prepping a roast chicken always takes longer than I think it will, but I want to get it just right. And it does take some practice, time and experience to truly feel comfortable and in command of cooking the bird, but I’ve found that using a meat thermometer cuts down on the uncertainty and produces consistent results. Please enjoy this beautiful main course.

Lemon Basil Roast Chicken

{One Year Ago: Queso Flameado with Chipotle Ranchera Shrimp Salsa; Oatmeal Raisin Muffins; Nutella Pie}
{Two Years Ago: Tin Roof Ice Cream; New Orleans Barbecued Shrimp; Cranberry Orange Waffles}

Source: Real Cajun by Donald Link

Ingredients:
1 small lemon
2 cloves garlic, left whole
6 large leaves of fresh basil
1 garlic clove, thinly sliced into 6 pieces
1 (3 ½ lb.) whole chicken, trimmed and patted dry
1 tbs kosher salt
1 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp sweet paprika
1 tbs olive oil
1 whole onion, peeled and sliced into ½-inch rounds
1 cup white wine
1 cup chicken stock
1 tbs unsalted butter

Directions:
Preheat your oven to 425 F.
Slice 6 very thin slices of the lemon (discarding the very end). Cut the remainder of the lemon into chunks. Place the chunks of lemon into the cavity of the chicken, along with the whole garlic cloves and the stems of the basil leaves.
Place the basil leaves on a flat surface, then place a lemon slice on top, then a garlic slice on top of the lemon. Set aside.
In a small bowl, mix together the salt, black pepper and paprika. Generously rub the spice mixture all over both sides of the chicken, really massaging it in. Without cleaning your hands, use your index finger (preferably with clipped nails!) to very gently loosen the breast skin from the flesh. Work at this from both sides of the breast. Now gently roll the basil leaves up and over the lemon and garlic slices. They should look more like an envelope than a roll. Very gently, slide 3 basil-lemon packets underneath the loosened skin on the chicken breast, then slide the other 3 on the other breast. I found it easiest to insert one from the neck end and the other two from the cavity ends. Now wash your hands off.
Place the sliced onion in a single layer in a 12-inch cast-iron skillet, or another oven-safe skillet or baking dish of equal size. Truss the chicken (to ensure it cooks evenly), then place it breast side up on top of the onions. Insert a meat thermometer into the thickest part of the thigh.
Transfer the skillet to the oven and bake for 10-15 minutes. Without removing the bird from the oven, lower the heat to 350 F. Bake until the meat thermometer registers 165 F, which will be about another hour, but possibly more or less, depending on the size of your chicken and the particulars of your oven. When the bird is cooked, remove from the oven and transfer the chicken to a cutting board. Tent with foil and let rest while you prepare the jus.
First, drain the excess grease out of the skillet and into a small bowl without removing the onions. Place the skillet with the onions still in it on a burner over medium-high heat. Pour in the white wine and gently scrape the browned bits off the bottom of the skillet. When the wine has reduced by half, pour the onion and wine mixture into a small pot and add the chicken stock. Let this simmer for 5 minutes or until it reduces by one-third. Now add the butter and as much or as little of the reserved pan drippings (grease) as you like. Once the butter melts, stir to combine, then lower the heat to low and keep the jus warm while you carve the chicken.
Once the chicken has been carved, transfer the jus to a gravy boat and serve alongside the chicken pieces.

Blood Orange Mezcal Margaritas

Blood Orange Mezcal Margaritas

Winter citrus is still going strong in all my local grocery stores, so I’m taking as much advantage as possible, while I still can. I’ve given you a Blood Orange Margarita before, and it was so delicious and became pretty popular on Pinterest – with good reason! But I wanted to revisit the beloved drink, this time with a smoky twist.

blood orange mezcal margaritas

Mezcal is a type of tequila made in Oaxaca, Mexico. It’s smoky and a little more pungent than regular tequilas, and far less popular. Most Mezcal consumption is in the form of exports to Japan and the United States.

Blood Orange Mezcal Margaritas

I must say, this American was quite excited to pick up a bottle of Mezcal! We got it home and started brainstorming what drink to make with it, and then before you know it, winter citrus season is upon us, blood oranges are plentiful, remember that blood orange juice makes fabulous margaritas, what about a smoky Mezcal margarita, and you can see how the whole thing just flowed from there. And here we are!

Blood Orange Mezcal Margaritas

This is strong, smoky, sweet, tart, and really in your face. But it’s so smooth! I do implore you to find some Mezcal and give this one a try while we can still get our hands on blood oranges, it’s really impressive and delicious! Enjoy!

Blood Orange Mezcal Margaritas

{One Year Ago: Frozen Cactus Pear Margaritas}
{Two Years Ago: Mexican Green Rice}

Source: heavily adapted from Muy Bueno: Three Generations of Authentic Mexican Flavor by Yvette Marquez-Sharpnack, Veronica Gonzalez-Smith, and Evangelina Soza

Ingredients:
Juice of 2 blood oranges
Juice of 1 Cara Cara orange, or 1 navel orange
Juice of 1 lime
4 shots Mezcal
2 tbs simple syrup
2 wedges of blood oranges, for garnish
Kosher salt, for rimming the glasses

Directions:
Add ice to a cocktail shaker. Add all the citrus juice, Mezcal, and simple syrup to the shaker. Shake vigorously for a few seconds.
Prepare your glasses. Run a blood orange wedge around the rim of each of 2 martini or margarita glasses. Spread the salt in an even layer on a small plate, then gently dip the rim of the glass in the salt.
Strain the cocktail into each prepared glass and place the blood orange wedges on each glass. Serve immediately.
Makes 2 drinks.

Blood Orange Tabbouleh

Blood Orange Tabbouleh

Tabbouleh – it’s new to me. While I’d like to think I wasn’t totally sheltered from international cuisines growing up, Middle Eastern food just wasn’t a thing for me in my formative years. There weren’t restaurants in my area (that I knew of, anyways), my friends didn’t eat it, and my parents didn’t seek it out.

I’m not sure if it’s just that the tide has changed over the past couple of decades, or it was me moving to New York, but now I’m surrounded by this fascinating (to me) and novel (again, to me) cuisine. Geopolitical quagmires aside, they’ve got some good food over there!

Blood Orange Tabbouleh

Take tabbouleh. Oh sure, I’d heard of it in recent years, but hadn’t tried it until somewhat recently. One of Matt’s foodier relatives made a batch at a family reunion, with tomato, lots of fresh herbs, and couscous as the base. Upon a little (admittedly cursory) research, I learned that tabbouleh originated in Syria and Lebanon, and it’s a grain-based salad with tons of fresh herbs. Some version (like my first one) use couscous while others (the one I’m sharing today) use bulgur wheat as a base. I find both please my palate, but as I’ve gotten more into whole grains lately, I chose a bulgur wheat based tabbouleh to feature on the blog.

And also, it’s February. I mean, you were probably aware of that, but the fact remains, it is February in the northeast United States where I’m shopping and cooking, so as you can imagine – no tomatoes. Instead, we’ll feature what we do have in abundance right now: winter citrus!!!

blood orange tabbouleh

The original recipe I’m adapting here called for grapefruit, a citrus I’ve never been too crazy about, so I decided to sub in blood oranges (while I still can!).

This was crazy delicious and so healthy and clean. And it’s very adaptable – you could definitely use grapefruit if that’s your thing, or feel free to sub in regular navel oranges once the blood oranges disappear for another season (sniff). If you’re a regular tabbouleh consumer, I feel certain you’ll enjoy this version; and if you’re new to this dish, I’d highly encourage giving it a shot!

Blood Orange Tabbouleh

{Two Years Ago: Coffee Rubbed Bacon}

Source: adapted from Carnivore by Michael Symon

Ingredients:
½ cup bulgur wheat
Kosher salt
Grated zest and juice of 3 small regular or Meyer lemons
1 garlic clove, minced
Up to ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 generous cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
½ cup chopped scallions
1 cup chopped fresh cilantro
6 blood oranges, peeled and segmented

Directions:
In a small saucepan, bring 2 cups water to a boil over medium heat. Add the bulgur and cook until the bulgur has absorbed all the water and is slightly tender, 12 to 15 minutes. Start stirring when the water is almost gone, otherwise the bulgur touching the bottom of the pot will stick.
When done, season with ½ tsp kosher salt and set aside.
Meanwhile, add the zest and juice of the lemons to a small bowl. Add the garlic and the olive oil. Whisk to combine and season very lightly with salt. Set aside.
In a large salad bowl, combine the parsley, scallions, cilantro, and blood orange segments. Add the cooked bulgur wheat, then pour just enough dressing to lightly coat everything. Toss gently, coating the entire salad with the dressing, adding more as needed. You may have some dressing leftover though. Taste for seasoning and add salt as needed. Serve and enjoy!

Creole Garlic Lemon Shrimp

Creole Garlic Lemon Shrimp

What is it about shellfish that is just so freakin’ sexy? Is it that all shellfish get lumped in with oysters – actual aphrodisiacs – or is it something else? Is it the whole slightly messy eating-with-your-hands thing, which makes consuming the food more primal and sensuous?

Creole Garlic Lemon Shrimp

Whatever the reason, I find a huge bowl of flavorful shrimp accompanied by hunks of bread and glasses of wine to be extremely sexy, date night food; and since Valentine’s Day is this weekend, I thought I’d give you an idea of what to make for your date!

Creole Garlic Lemon Shrimp

This took two tries to get just right, but here it is in all its light, sumptuous, delicious glory. This dish is Creole, not Cajun, so it’s really not spicy. But it is garlicky and lemony and hugely flavorful. Don’t worry about the garlic on a romantic evening – you’re both eating it, so you cancel each other out!

Creole Garlic Lemon Shrimp

Instead of worrying about the garlic, just think about perfectly cooked plump shrimp that give that lush snap when you bite into them, accented with Creole flavors and bright lemony goodness. A sip of wine, a bite of bread mopping up that luscious sauce… Sounds like a great Valentine’s Day to me! Oh, and as an added benefit – this couldn’t be easier and comes together in mere minutes! I hope y’all enjoy it!

Creole Garlic Lemon Shrimp

{One Year Ago: All-Purpose Mexican/Tex-Mex Spice Mix; Curry Powder; Pecan-Crusted Coconut Custards with Brandied Banana Sauce}
{Two Years Ago: Gin and Orange Juice Braised Endives; Beans and Greens Soup}

Source: adapted from Food & Wine Magazine, January 2008

Ingredients:
1 lb. large shrimp, shelled and deveined
3 tbs minced garlic
2 tbs Creole seasoning
Kosher salt, to taste
1 red bell pepper, finely chopped
2 tbs olive oil
Juice of 2 lemons
2 tbs unsalted butter, cold
¼ cup chopped fresh parsley

Directions:
In a large bowl, toss the shrimp with the garlic, Creole seasoning, salt, and bell pepper. In a large skillet, add the oil and preheat over medium-high to high heat until very hot. Add the entire contents of the bowl of the shrimp mixture. Saute, stirring frequently, until the shrimp is just cooked through, 3-4 minutes. Lower the heat to medium-low and add the lemon juice and the butter. Stir quickly to melt the butter. Once melted shut off the heat, stir in the parsley, and serve immediately.