Over the last few months we’ve devoured bags of cuties, puckered up for tangelos, peeled navel orange after navel orange, and cooked up a storm with meyer lemons from my mom and dad’s tree. But our favorite citrus of the season has to be the elusive sumo orange. Continue reading
Gratuitous Blood Orange Picture
Tis the season for wonderful citrus. My whole family has been, as my friend Shani would put it, on a serious Clementine bender. We just can’t seem to get enough of those sweet little orange bundles of yum. I’ve been falling deeper and deeper into my obsession for pink grapefuit, and just yesterday I snagged a hoard of gorgeous, jewel-like blood oranges at my favorite produce store. Then there are the bags (bags!) of meyer lemons that my mom has been bringing by from her prolific front yard harvest (along with the occasional lemon meringue pie — keep ’em coming, mom!). I think my whole family is in heaven right now.
The sight of a pile of juicy meyer lemons in my refrigerator jogged my memory about a recipe that I haven’t made since my husband and I were dating. “Chicken with Roasted Lemon & Rosemary Sauce” from Michael Chiarello’s Tra Vigne Cookbook: Seasons in the California Wine Country. I can vividly recall the night we cooked this in his minimally equipped, bachelor kitchen by the light of a fluorescent bulb. I believe we also made our own pasta that night, and drank copious amounts of wine — we were probably listening to Green Day. Isn’t it amazing how a certain recipe or taste can bring you right back to such a specific time and place? Roasted meyer lemons = hubby’s bachelor apartment; steamed fish and wintermelon soup = my childhood kitchen table, Hungarian goulash = my first collage apartment.
So with fond memories of our breezy single days, we uncorked some wine and enjoyed this easy, delicious dish all over again — this time around our family table. I’m not quite sure why we waited so long to reprise this one, but I’m glad we did.
Chicken with Roasted Meyer Lemon, Rosemary and Garlic
(adapted from “The Tra Vigne Cookbook: Seasons in the California Wine Country“, by Michael Chiarello)
- 2 Bone-In, Skin-On Split Chicken Breasts
- 3 Meyer Lemons (or substitute regular lemons as in the original recipe), cut in half, drizzled in olive oil, seasoned with salt and pepper, and broiled for 5-7 minutes until tops are very lightly charred
- 3 Cloves of Garlic, Minced
- 1 Sprig of Fresh Rosemary, Leaves Finely Minced
- 2 Cups Chicken Broth
- Several Sprigs of Parsley, Leaves Finely Minced
- ** 10-12 Small New Potatoes, Steamed Until Tender and Sliced in Half ** (optional)
- Heat oven to 450 degrees. Put the broth in a pan on a back burner to let it reduce while you start cooking everything else.
- Season chicken with salt an pepper. Heat an oven-safe skillet on the stove and add 1 Tbl of olive oil. Sear chicken in the hot skillet until golden brown on all sides. [At this point, the original recipe calls for you to remove the chicken, crisp the steamed potatoes in the pan, then return the chicken skin side up back to the pan on top of the potatoes].
- Baste the chicken with a little of the pan juices and turn the pieces are skin side up. Then move the skillet into the oven until chicken is cooked through. A thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the chicken should reach 165 degrees. Remove chicken to a platter and cover it loosely with foil to keep it warm while you finish the sauce. (Keep a pot holder over the skillet handle so you don’t accidentally grab it while it is still hot. I speak from experience here!)
- Pour off most of the fat from the pan then add the garlic and minced rosemary and saute until the garlic is lightly golden, about 2-3 minutes. Be sure to scrape up any brown bits from the bottom of the pan and if they or the garlic start to get too dark, quickly add some broth and stir.
- Squeeze the roasted, cooled lemons into the pan through a fine mesh sieve. Add 3/4 cup of the warm, reduced broth (you should have some left over) and let the sauce simmer for several minutes to let it thicken to a saucy consistency. If you remember, add in the juices that have collected on the platter with the chicken as well. Taste and season with salt and pepper. You can add additional chicken broth to balance the flavor if needed (or a little hot water).
- When the sauce is to your liking, drizzle it over the chicken and sprinkle with minced parsley.
You might also like these citrus-y posts: Pink Grapefruit Granita; Sweet Lemon Thyme Crisps; Bar Jules Lamb with Preserved Lemons; Pickling Project: Preserved Lemons; Keeping Lemons Fresh and Other Tasty Tidbits
This year a big bag of clementines inspired me to try my hand at something new… a homemade holiday wreath. This project turned out to be much easier than I imagined and is a fun one to do with a friend or older kids. No floral arranging experience required!
With citrus as my inspiration, I started by drying thin citrus slices in a low oven (1/8″ slices, 170 degrees n a cookie sheet for 6-8 hours or until totally dry – or use a dehydrator is you have one). From there it was just a matter of gathering other festive looking materials (cedar boughs, pink pepper berries, dried lavender from my friend Rachel’s garden) and a few simple floral supplies (a wireframe wreath form and floral wire which you can find at any craft store). You’ll also need some gardening shears to trim the branches. You could easily assemble all the materials you need for $5-$10 dollars per wreath especially if you raid your kitchen pantry, garden and/or gift wrapping supplies — and you can keep reusing the wireframe form from season to season.
With materials assembled, the actual wreath-making was quite easy and only took an hour or two from start to finish which made it a fantastic project to do with a friend over a cup of coffee. No big secrets here:
- Trim heavier branches from your cedar boughs so you are left with thin to medium branches that are very pliable.
- Tuck the branches around the wireframe and secure them here and there with floral wire. My wiring was really clumsy. Luckily, the cedar branches do a fabulous job of hiding any ugly handiwork.
- Overlap the branches and keep adding more greenery until you have a nice, even wreath with the fullness that you prefer.
- I would suggest taking some time to experiment with the layout of your embellishments before diving in and attaching them to the wreath.
- Once you are happy with your design just attach your embellishments with floral wire. If needed, you can use hot glue for heavier or harder to secure items. Light items, like the lavender, didn’t require any wiring at all. We just left a 3-4 inch stem and tucked the flowers in.
Given our damp, costal air, this particular wreath is probably best suited for indoor display (besides which you’ll love the way it will make your house smell), but you could certainly choose more weather proof items (cinnamon sticks, holly, pine cones) if you are planning to make a wreath for your front door.
This craft is sure to put you in the holiday spirit, so pour some eggnog or mulled wine and have a wreath making party!