Friday, January 15, 2010


I had a post ready to roll on Meyer Lemons.  But it does seem ridiculous now.  Everything seems frivolous after watching Haiti crumble. 

I am very much thinking about the abundance that surrounds me.  Husband, 2 kids, warm house.  Just the basics.  I did go through the Loma Prieta earthquake here in the Bay Area 20 years ago and remember the horror.  I didn't sleep for many weeks, and each after shock renewed the terror  That period seemed to go on forever - even though we had very little damage to our house.

I'm making chicken stock.  I make chicken stock for a million reasons.  It's soothing work.  I feel very safe while making it.  The house smells wonderful.  A freezer full of home-made stock is all it takes to make me feel very rich.  Try it.  It's completely intuitive, but if a recipe is required, so be it.

Chicken Stock

The carcass from a previously roasted chicken
chicken parts and bones (don't waste the breast - use wings, legs.  My butcher give me endless bones from the breasts he has fileted)
a few carrots
an onion, peeled and cut in half (or a leek or 2)
a stalk or 2 of celery
you can add bay leaf, thyme, garlic, a touch of curry powder (thanks ChezPim for that one) but these are just extras
Cover all with water plus an extra inch or 2 of water
Salt and pepper

simmer for 2 - 4 hours depending on your patience and need to eat said soup asap.
You can skim or not - I never do.

There.  Feeling rich yet?

Friday, January 1, 2010

Golden Globes of Another Sort

Tangelos have always been magical. During each of my pregnancies, I consumed enormous quantities of them, coming home from the market double-fisted with bags of the fruit. "And what will you do with all of those?", my husband would say, only to have them gone by the next day. That subtle, sour tang underneath the sweet citrus is so tantalizing.

Said to have originated in Southeast Asia over 3500 years ago, they are a hybrid of tangerines and Pomolo or grapefruit. Juicy, a tad mishapen with a nob on the stem end, they are in season from November through March and tend to get sweeter as the season progresses. Minneolas and Orando varieties are the most frequently seen in markets, but there are more and more types appearing recently.

I spent some time at my local nursery to see if growing tangelos in Northern California was an option. It's not, not really. Lemons, meyer lemons do well, but tangelos need hotter heat, as do oranges,grapefruit, and Uglis. One of the produce managers at Berkeley Bowl also smiled when asked about them. Minneolas in Feb. and March - it doesn't get any better. I agree.

Tangelo Olive Salad
One of those wonderful examples of the whole being far greater than the sum of its parts

1 cup dry-cured olives pitted and halved

4 tangelos sliced cross wise into thin slices

good fruity olive oil

Kosher salt and pepper

fennel or cumin seeds, sliced red onion all optional

Layer sliced fruit and olive halves on a plate. Splash generously with olive oil, salt lightly and pepper. Let sit for a bit so flavors can blend. You can add either of the seeds above, and/or plate on a bed of arugala or mixed greens, and all of that will be lovely, but will take away from the purity of the flavors. I never do anything but the basic, and am happiest. Mark Bittman has another varation.

Tangelo Curd

Ah citrus curd. Best eaten with a spoon, also great on buttered brioche toast or English muffins. Oh, all right, in tarts and between layers of genoise. Tangelo curd has that additional tang that sets in apart.

3 large eggs

1/3 c. fresh tangelo juice

1 Tbsp grated tangelo zest (opt)

3/4 c. granulated white sugar

4 Tbsp unsalted butter at room temp

In a stainless steel bowl placed over a saucepan of simmering water, whisk together the eggs, sugar, and tangelo juice until blended. Cook, stirring constantly until the mixture becomes thick (160 degrees F or 71 degrees C). This will take about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and pour through a fine strainer to remove any lumps. Cut the butter into small pieces and whisk into the mixture until the butter has melted. Add the zest if desired and let cool. The curd will continue to thicken as it cools. Cover immediately to prevent skin from forming and refrigerate for up to a week.
Makes 1 1/2 cups

A footnote. I'm looking for gardeners, aggie types, and specialty produce experts, to connect with. If you know of anyone with a website, blog, store, or wholesale business that you can recommend, I'd love to start a dialog. Thanks in advance