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TIP OF THE DAY: Citrus Salads

Beet & Citrus Salad

Citrus Onion Salad

Pear Gorgonzola Salad

[1] Citrus with beets and greens have eye appeal and taste great (here’s the recipe from Southern Living). [2] Pretty as a picture (here’s the recipe from Today). [3] An elegant take on ambrosia (recipe at right, from Fosters Market).

 

When cold weather limits the choices of both fruits and vegetables, a sprightly citrus salad can be a treat for the eyes and the palate.

It can be served for lunch or dinner:

  • As the salad course
  • As the main course with a protein—poached salmon, scallops, shrimp or other shellfish a salad course, as a main with seafood
  • As dessert, with burrata, goat or other soft cheese
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    When you mix colors, the results are truly glorious. They’re pretty, taste and good for you!

    You can have a base of greens:

  • Baby arugula and/or spinach
  • Endive and/or radicchio
  • Mesclun
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    The dressings can be:

  • Balsamic vinaigrette
  • Blue cheese (add a pinch of brown sugar)
  • Fruit yogurt
  • Vinaigrette with a teaspoon of honey or maple syrup
  •  
    Garnishes can add:

  • Crunch (grated carrots, sliced or julienned celery or radish, nuts)
  • Color (carrots, dried cranberries or cherries, green sprouts or cress, pomegranate arils, red bell pepper, red chili flakes or jalapeño)
  •  
    You can also add another colorful winter favorite, beets, to the salad.

    There are endless variations of citrus salads. Here are two classic combinations; elaborate on them as you wish.

    RECIPE #1: AMBROSIA WITH CITRUS & FLAKY COCONUT

    In Greek mythology, the gods ate ambrosia and drank nectar, fragrant foods that were typically reserved for divine beings.

    While no descriptions of either these foods survive (the word ambrosia means delicious or fragrant and nectar indicates a delicious or invigorating drink), scholars have long believed that both ambrosia and nectar were based on honey.

    The elegant recipe that follows (photo #3) is from Fosters Market Cookbook, recipes from a fine market and café in Durham, North Carolina.

    Here’s a recipe for another style of ambrosia from Alton Brown, with a sour cream dressing, pecans, grapes, mini marshmallows and more.

    Ingredients For 8 To 10 Servings

  • 2 navel oranges
  • 2 cara cara oranges
  • 2 blood oranges
  • 2 red grapefruits
  • 2 clementines
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries or cherries
  • 1/2 cup sweetened flaked coconut
  • 1 Meyer lemon (substitute other lemon or lime)
  • Preparation

    1. PEEL the citrus. First cut off the tops and bottoms with so the fruit sits flat. Then place on a cutting board and cut away the skin and pith, working around the circle between the fruit and the pith.

    2. SLICE each fruit into rounds or half rounds, depending on the size. Remove any seeds.

    3. PLACE on a large platter or individual plates, and sprinkle with any juice that has collected on the board. Sprinkle the dried cranberries/cherries and coconut over the top.

    4. ZEST the lemon over the salad; then cut in half and squeeze the juice over the citrus.

    5. SERVE, or cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

     

    RECIPE #2: AVOCADO GRAPEFRUIT SALAD WITH MACADAMIA NUT DRESSING

    Hannah Kaminsky of Bittersweet Blog developed this recipe by browsing the produce aisle and picking up what was available.

    “Something about the acidic, subtly sweet citrus, creamy avocado, and crunchy macadamia nuts make this salad utterly unforgettable,” Hannah says. “Don’t just take my word for it, because I’m afraid I can’t do it full justice in a few short sentences. It’s just too good to fully explain in words. This simple, invigorating combination will brighten short winter days.”

    If you don’t like avocado, or can’t find a ripe one, she recommends:

    “Mix citrus segments with any other fruits that are available; or make an all-citrus salad, combining segments from grapefruits, oranges, blood oranges, cara cara oranges, and so forth. The mix of colors is absolutely gorgeous.”

    Ingredients For 2-3 Servings

    For The Macadamia Nut Dressing

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 scallions, sliced
  • 1/4 cup raw macadamia nuts
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
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    For The Salad

  • 8 cups arugula
  • 2 cups thinly sliced fennel
  • 1 small sweet onion, sliced
  • 1 large pink or red grapefruit, sliced into segments
  • 1 large, ripe avocado, sliced
  • 1/3 cup toasted macadamia nuts, roughly chopped
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
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    Preparation

     

    Grapefruit Avocado Salad

    Grapefruit Avocado Salad

    [4] Grapefruit and avocado with macadamia nut dressing (photo courtesy Bittersweet Blog). [5] A pretty preparation: dressed TexaSweet red grapefruit segments in an avocado half (photo courtesy Texasweet).

     
    1. MAKE the dressing. Combine the ingredients in a blender or food processor and purée on high, until creamy and completely smooth.

    2. PLACE the arugula and fennel in a bowl and toss with the dressing; or if you prefer, serve the dressing on the side. Divide the greens between 2 or 3 bowls.

    3. TOP with equal amounts of grapefruit, avocado, and macadamia nuts. Sprinkle with additional salt and pepper as needed, or simply place the shakers on the table for self-service.
     
    MORE WAYS TO USE CITRUS

  • As a garnish on everything from vegetables to mains.
  • Recipes from chiles rellenos to sushi.
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    THE HISTORY OF GRAPEFRUIT

    But the grapefruit’s ancestor, the pummelo (also pomelo or shaddock), comes from far away—it’s native to Malaysia and Indonesia. Pummelo seeds were brought from the East Indies to the West Indies in 1693 by an English ship commander. The grapefruit may have been a horticultural accident or a deliberate hybridization between the pummelo and the orange

    Here’s more.
     
    HOW TO SEGMENT CITRUS

      

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    FOOD FUN: Blooming Marshmallows For Your Hot Chocolate

    First there was blooming tea: a specially tied bundle of tea leaves and flower petals that opens into a flower when placed in hot water.

    Now, there’s the blooming marshmallow, from innovative pastry chef Dominique Ansel.

    Blossoming Hot Chocolate—more accurately, blossoming marshmallow—is a thin marshmallow, cut like a flower, and bunched up to resemble a closed flower bud. Some dabs of white chocolate keep the bud closed.

    When placed in a cup of hot chocolate, the chocolate melts and the bud expands into the flower.

    Check out the videos from Ansel, then the fan recipes (we like the poinsettia the best), in the videos below.

    Make plain versions (all white or tinted pink marshmallow) before you try more elaborate colorations.

    TIP: Ansel added a small chocolate truffle to the center of the flower. The flower itself is anchored in chocolate. We think that’s a lot of chocolate!

    Instead, we’d use a small pecan cookie ball (a pecan sandy), a ball of cookie dough, a piece of caramel hand-rolled into a ball, or a small hard candy ball (as in the photo at right).

     

    Blooming Marshmallows

    Drop the “bud” into hot chocolate and watch the “flower” open (photo courtesy Dominique Ansel).

     

    WATCH THE MARSHMALLOW “BLOOM”

    THE RECIPE

    PIPE BEAUTIFUL SNOWFLAKE MARSHMALLOWS

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY & VIDEO: How To Make Good Espresso

     

    It’s National Espresso Day, so trade your regular cup of java* for an espresso.

    Some people are intimidated by an espresso machine. This video shows how easy it is to use one.

    Espresso can only be made in an espresso machine, which exerts a specific amount of pressure on the ground coffee beans. The beans need to be an espresso roast, the darkest roast of coffee beans. The objective is a strong, pleasantly bitter shot of coffee.

    You can get an espresso machine with a small footprint that will pay for itself in two weeks, assuming you purchase one espresso daily. With your own machine, you can enjoy a shot—or a double or triple shot—as often as you like, for pennies.

    The Capresso espresso machine shown in the video is less than $60.00. Take a closer look at it on Amazon.com).

    What if you don’t want to buy an espresso machine? The closest cup of strong, bitter coffee is a brewed Italian roast, made in a regular coffee maker.

    Find everything you want to know about espresso in our Espresso Glossary.
     
    See all of the national food holidays.

       

       

    *The Dutch began to cultivate coffee trees on Java, a large island in the Dutch East Indies, in the 17th century; hence the nickname “java” for a cup of coffee.

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    COOKING VIDEO: How To Ice A Cake

     

    It’s easy to follow a recipe and bake a delicious cake. Icing it beautifully is the challenge.

    Pastry chefs practice long and hard until they perfect an absolutely smooth icing. And they learn some tricks along the way.

    You can use the holiday season to practice, practice, practice. The people upon whom you bestow your homemade cakes will be thrilled, not critical.

    A rotating cake stand and an angled spatula will be your two best friends.

    Here’s a video demonstration on how to ice a cake from Clarice Lam of The Baking Bean, an online pastry business that delivers delicious desserts straight to your door.

    THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN ICING & FROSTING

    The difference between frosting and icing is in the sugar:

    Icing is made with confectioners’ sugar (also called icing sugar), frosting is made with granulated sugar (table sugar). The two words are often used interchangeably, but that doesn’t make it correct!

       

       

    More on how to frost a cake.

    Find our favorite cakes and cake recipes in our Gourmet Cakes Section.

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    COOKING VIDEO: How To Make Beef Jerky

     

    Sales of jerky and beef sticks more than quadrupled between 1995 and 2006. We don’t have statistics on homemade jerky, but given how easy it is to make, we’re surprised that more people don’t make their own—especially when there‘s a good sale on beef.

    Making jerky is a great way to preserve meat when you have more than you can immediately eat. That’s why our ancestors learned to make jerky thousands of years ago! Today we’re blessed with freezers; but instead of freezing that extra meat, make jerky.

    All you need are the meat, Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, black pepper, red pepper flakes, onion powder, liquid smoke and honey. The equipment: just two resealable plastic bags, a cooking rack, tin foil and an oven or food dehydrator.

    After you’ve made the basic recipe in this video, you can get creative with flavoring. And remember: The more tender the cut of meat you use, the more tender the jerky will be.

    If you love your jerky, your friends and family will love it too. It might become your signature gift.

       

       

    Find more of our favorite beef recipes.

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