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Celebrating Citrus
  Introduction and Garnishes
  The citrus family of fruits is one of nature's great gifts to cooks. The citrus fruits most common to Western palates — lemon, lime, orange, grapefruit — have varying degrees of acidity and sweetness; when used as a flavor base, they give both savory and sweet dishes a wonderful balance of acidity. Used to brighten a recipe, they awaken other flavors in an almost magical way. And let's not forget that citrus fruits are more than just juice: citrus zest (the colorful outer portion of the peel, not to be confused with the bitter white flesh just under the skin, known as the pith) has an additional depth of flavor that is invaluable.

  Lemon Pig
    1 lemon
    1 black peppercorn
    1 piece parsley
    4 toothpicks

1. Choose a lemon with a nicely pointed "nose." With the point of a knife, make one hole on each side of the nose and fill each with a black peppercorn to create eyes.

2. Cut a short horizontal wedge in the middle of the nose without separating the piece from the lemon to create a mouth.

3. Make small diagonal cuts on each side of the head, creating ears.

4. Curl up a little piece of parsley and place to imitate the tail and place toothpicks (whole or halved) underneath for the legs.
Yield: One pig.

  Oranges in Blackberry Sauce
    3/4 pound blackberries, fresh or frozen (unsweetened)
    1/2 cup seedless blackberry preserves
    6 oranges, large and seeded
    6 mint sprigs
    1 piece brioche or pound cake, or cookies

1. Put the fresh or thawed blackberries and the preserves in a food mill fitted with the finest screen, and strain. To remove any remaining seeds, pour the sauce into a sieve with a medium mesh. Bang the top edge of the sieve with a spatula or the palm of your hand so that the seeds jump up and most of the liquid goes through. Do not press on the mixture immediately with a rubber spatula, as any seeds in it will clog the holes. When most of the sauce has been strained through the sieve, press on what is left in the strainer with a rubber spatula to extract the remaining sauce. Clean off the bottom of the strainer to retrieve any extra sauce.

2. With a vegetable peeler, peel the rind from two of the six oranges.

3. Pile up the strips of rind, and cut them into a fine julienne. You should have about 3/4 of a cup.

4. Put the julienned rinds in a saucepan with 2 cups of cold water, bring to a boil and boil for 10 to 20 seconds. Drain, and cool under cold water. Dry with paper towels and set aside.

5. Peel the rest of the oranges with a sharp knife, cutting closely all around the flesh, so that the pith as well as the rind is removed and the oranges are completely nude.

6. Cut the orange flesh from the attached segments.

7. Spoon about 4 tablespoons of the blackberry sauce on each of the six plates. Arrange orange segments in a wheel design in the center of the sauce, and sprinkle the julienne of orange rind around the plate at the edge of the sauce to form a border.

8. Garnish the center of the plate with a mint sprig, and serve with a slice of lukewarm brioche, pound cake or some cookies.
Yield: 6 servings.

  Grapefruit Gratin
    2 grapefruits, preferably pink (about 1 pound each)
    3 tablespoons light brown sugar
    1 tablespoon unsalted butter
    1 tablespoon Cognac (optional)

1. Using a sharp, thin-bladed knife, remove the skin and underlying pith from each grapefruit, leaving the fruit totally exposed.

2. Cut between the membranes on each side of the grapefruit segments, and remove the flesh in wedges. You should have about 24 wedges.

3. Squeeze the membranes over a bowl to extract the juice, and save or drink.

4. Arrange the grapefruit sections in one layer in a gratin dish. When you are ready to complete the dish, preheat the broiler.

5. Sprinkle the grapefruit segments with sugar, and dot them with butter. Place the dish about 4 inches under the heat in the broiler, and broil for about 5 minutes to brown the edges of the segments lightly. If desired, sprinkle with the cognac, and serve immediately.
Yield: 4 servings.

  Candied Grapefruit, Orange and Lemon Chips
    1 ruby red grapefruit (about 1 pound)
    1 large seedless orange (about 12 ounces)
    1 large lemon (about 9 ounces)
    5 tablespoons sugar

1. Preheat an oven to 200 degrees.

2. Cut the grapefruit crosswise into 10 slices, each about 1/8-inch thick, and discard the end pieces.

3. Line a jelly roll pan with aluminum foil, and arrange the grapefruit slices in one layer in the pan. Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons of the sugar.

4. Repeat step 3 with the orange and lemon, cutting each into slices about 1/8-inch thich and sprinkling them all with the remaining 3 tablespoons of sugar.

5. Bake the pans on two separate racks in the preheated oven (or use two ovens, if available) for 3 1/2 to 4 hours, until the slices are dried and candied but not browned.

6. Remove them immediately from the pans and cool them to room temperature on a rack. Store the citrus chips in a plastic container, tightly covered. Serve them as a garnish or snack.
Yields: About 30 chips.


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