Tag Archives: oranges

Oranges with Lavender and Mint

24 Aug

Recipe Source: The Kitchn

I almost feel like I’m cheating to post this recipe, but I would never have thought of it, so maybe you haven’t, either! This really is the perfect dessert – quick, simple, fresh, and healthy. It makes a beautiful presentation and feels gourmet with hardly any work. It’s the kind of recipe that makes me want to get poetic about simplicity, the purity of ingredients, food in its natural form, maybe something about the earth’s bounty and, um, being earthy… but I’ll spare you.

The only catch to it is the orange flower water, which I couldn’t find. It’s a traditional Moroccan ingredient and has a lot of fascinating applications, but around here, somewhat exotic. While on the hunt I discovered Stirrings Blood Orange Bitters instead (thanks BevMo!), which has its own delightful possibilities… I’ve already had fun splashing it into gin-tonics!

The tartness of the oranges, sweetness of the orange water and honey, and freshness of the mint complement each other perfectly, with the lavender adding a layer of floral complexity. Light and refreshing, this dessert won’t weigh you down after a full meal.

Oranges with Lavender and Mint
Serves 2

2 teaspoons orange flower water
2 teaspoons honey
1/8 teaspoon dried lavender buds
3 medium Mandarin oranges
1-2 mint sprigs

Combine orange flower water, honey, and lavender in a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer over low heat, stirring to dissolve the honey. Remove from heat.

Peel and cut the oranges into 1/4-inch thick slices and remove any seeds. Arrange on a plate and drizzle the syrup on top.

Garnish with mint and serve.


Citrus Salad with Lemongrass Syrup

2 May

Recipe source: The Kitchn

Promo! I got this recipe from a new favorite food and lifestyle site, The Kitchn (see link above). I love their recipes and tips, and the writing style is fun and down-to-earth. The design of their site is really unique in the way they use pictures, and some of the pictures themselves are inspiring ideas of things I’d like to do creatively. They also have tips and contests on home decorating, focusing on design for small spaces, and ways to be environmental with your living space, repurpose old items, make crafts, etc… sheesh, you’d think they’re paying me for this. Enough of my gushing review, just go check them out! 🙂

So I chose this recipe to share with friends on a picnic at Belle Marie Winery.  It fit my qualifications of late – combining several different flavors for a taste I wouldn’t be familiar with, being “gourmetish” (hellooo, vanilla bean!), and most
importantly for this occasion, cold, portable and healthy. I also learned a couple new things along the way.

Peeps, I had no idea what an oroblanco was before this recipe. For your information, it is a white grapefruit. And not easy to find. After baffling the produce staff of a few local markets, I finally found these and the lemongrass at Whole Foods. For whatever smack I may talk about Whole Foods (aka “Whole Paycheck”), God love ’em for carrying some exotic sh*t.

I also learned what lemongrass looks like, and the various ways to process it. (See this article from The Kitchn for more info.) The recipe called for bruising the lemongrass, but I pretty much murdered it… I cracked it in about a bazillion places so I could really be sure the flavor would come out. Next time I think I’ll just grate it with a microplane.

Anyhoo, the basics of this recipe are a combination of oranges and red and white grapefruit, tossed with a syrup made of citrus juice, honey, lemongrass and vanilla bean, and garnished with lime zest and mint. The tart flavors in the syrup, combined with the creaminess of the vanilla bean was truly amazing. This salad got rave reviews from my friends, so I will definitely be making it again! Next time I’ll make extra syrup to mix in cocktails, ooh la la…

citrus salad with lemongrass syrup
RECIPE – Citrus Salad with Lemongrass Syrup

1/2 pink or red grapefruit per person, segmented, juice reserved
1/2 oroblanco per person, segmented, juice reserved
1/2 navel orange per person, segmented, juice reserved
1/2 cup honey
2 stalks lemongrass, white part only, cut into 2-inch pieces and bruised
1/2 vanilla bean, split and scraped
Zest of 1 lime
Mint leaves for garnish

Combine the citrus segments in a bowl. Cover and chill.

In a small saucepan, mix 1/2 cup reserved citrus juice (top off with water if necessary) with honey, lemongrass, and vanilla pod and seeds. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally, and simmer until honey is dissolved. Remove from heat and let stand 30 minutes. Strain.

Divide citrus segments among serving dishes. Drizzle with syrup and garnish with lime zest and mint.

Although pink or red grapefruit is highly recommended, feel free to make substitutions for this and the other citrus varieties and quantities.

This recipe makes enough syrup for about 8 servings. Store any leftover syrup in the refrigerator for up to a week and use it in soda water, mixed drinks, etc.

[orange] Carrot Salad, Orange Brownies

12 Apr

Greetings, and welcome to Day 2 of ROYGBIV Week! Today’s color is orange, in recognition of the sacral chakra.

Today’s chakra: Svadhisthana – One’s Own Place (Sacral)
Color: Orange: passion, optimism & tolerance
Location: Along the spine behind the genitals
Associated body organs: hips, sacram, genitals, lower part of intestine, bladder & kidneys, lower back
Controlled emotions: Feeling, desire, sensation and movement

[For an explanation of the chakras, see yesterday’s post.]


The first food I think of when I think of orange is not oranges, as would be obvious, but carrots. So today I decided to make a carrot salad, and I found a unique one from Bobby Flay. One change though; I decided to alter the dressing to use up some Greek yogurt in my fridge. David’s mom makes salads with yogurt dressing and I’ve never been able to completely duplicate what she puts in there, but I love it just the same.

I also halved the original recipe since this week is making my refrigerator ridiculously full. First, I strained the Greek yogurt to make it as thick as possible.

Greek yogurt

I boiled the carrots and made a dressing of lemon juice, garlic, cumin, cayenne, salt, yogurt, olive oil and fresh cilantro. (The original recipe called for parsley, but I had cilantro in the fridge as well.)

carrot salad

In the end, the yogurt did not tone down the spice nearly as much as I thought it would. Next time I’d probably reduce the cayenne. The recipe also made more dressing than I needed. But all in all, this was a unique dish. The freshness of the cilantro definitely helps balance out the garlic and cayenne, and the sweetness of the carrots adds and interesting dimension.

4 medium carrots, peeled
1/8 cup fresh lemon juice
1 small clove garlic, pressed
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon salt, plus more for water
1/4 cup Greek yogurt, strained
2 teaspoons olive oil
1/4 cup finely chopped parsley or cilantro

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the whole carrots (cut them in half if they don’t fit in the pot) and cook until just cooked through, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain and cut carrots into 1/2-inch thick slices.

Whisk together the lemon juice, garlic, cumin, cayenne and salt in a large bowl. Mix in the yogurt and slowly drizzle in the olive oil. Add the cooked carrots and toss to combine. Sprinkle with fresh parsley or cilantro. Serve cold or at room temperature.

Serves 2.


For dessert, I made Paula Deen’s orange brownies. No, I don’t think this is what’s meant by eating all the colors of the rainbow for your health, per se… and I’m trying to be [mostly] healthy this week, I swear… but this is the part where the cooking blog takes over and “chakras” becomes more of a loose idea. Plus, I wanted to finish off the 1/2 package of cream cheese in my fridge. Good motivation, am I right?

To make the cake batter, the dry ingredients (flour, sugar and salt) are added first, then joined by the wet ingredients (butter, eggs, orange extract and orange zest).

wet & dry ingredients

The orange extract REALLY punched up the flavor of the batter. I’m telling you, it’s a good thing I was home alone making this, because I couldn’t stop licking every beater, spatula and spoon I could find after pouring the batter into the pan. Gluttony… embarrassing…

orange extract

I love the little spout they've added to the bottle!

The cake bakes at 350 degrees F for approximately 30 minutes. Next, on to the frosting. Beat softened cream cheese and butter until fluffy, then gradually add in powdered sugar. I’m learning that whenever powdered sugar is involved, you can probably half what the recipe calls for and be just fine. At least, that’s what my tastes dictate. (Half amount is written in the recipe below.) Once blended well, beat in orange juice and orange zest.

orange cream cheese frosting

The cake is done. I halved this recipe too, and used an 8 x 8-inch glass baking dish instead of a 9 x 13. I think this is why the brownies came out thin; will be intrigued to see if they’re thicker in the full version of the recipe.

orange brownies

Once the brownies are completely cool, top with frosting. The final texture is sort of a moist, spongy cake. Light and refreshing; I would make this again in the summer. It’s a nice twist to a lemon cake or lemon bars.

orange brownie

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups granulated sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
4 eggs
2 teaspoons pure orange extract
1 teaspoon grated orange zest

Orange Cream Cheese Frosting
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
4 tablespoons softened butter
2 cups confectioners’ sugar
2 tablespoons orange zest
2 tablespoons orange juice

To make brownies
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9 by 13 by 2-inch pan. Stir together flour, granulated sugar, and salt in a bowl. Add butter, eggs, orange extract, and orange zest. Using a handheld electric mixer, beat until well blended. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 30 minutes, or until light golden brown and set. Remove from oven, allow to cool and pierce entire cake with a fork. Spread the Orange Cream Cheese Frosting over completely cooled brownies. Cut into squares.

To make frosting
In a large mixing bowl, whip the butter and cream cheese together with a hand-held electric mixer. Gradually beat in the confectioners’ sugar until it is all combined and smooth. Beat in the orange zest and juice.

Makes about 20 to 24 brownies.