At every holiday party, some joker shows up with a box of those bizarre tiny oranges instead of booze.
Now you have a million little "cuties" or "sweeties" or whatever they're calling themselves these days. I dunno, maybe you were that joker. Okay, maybe I'm that joker.
I admit, I do get kind of giddy this time of year, and it ain't for more indulgent sweets and rich sauces. Winter, once you get past the candy and cookies free-for-all, is all about lemons, limes, oranges and grapefruit. Here are five fabulous, but deceptively easy, ways you can get busy with citrus, whether at your next party, dinner date, or cozy morning at home!
1. Chinese Chicken Salad.
Perfect for an afternoon luncheon gathering or a casual evening get-together, this is a good go-to to keep in mind—but skip the grody canned oranges. This time of year, it would be a crime not to use succulent, fresh mandarins! Just peel the translucent skin off each segment and toss in a bowl of chopped Romaine with shredded chicken, thinly sliced scallions, chow mein noodles (skip these if "be less of a fatty" is one of your resolutions) and dress with an easy vinaigrette of soy sauce, sesame oil, rice vinegar, orange juice and sesame seeds. Instant buffet masterpiece.
2. Meyer limoncello.
I posted a recipe for it on Tablespoon
awhile back, but it bears repeating. This is, hands down, the easiest and most delectable way to use up a bag of Meyer lemons fast. If you're lucky enough to have a tree, this recipe is your new best friend. Regular lemons can be used, too; you'll just have to use the zest instead of the whole lemon. You can also fancy it up to serve at parties by adding a sprig of rosemary or lavender to your bottles. And it makes for an excellent gift, if one of your New Year's resolutions was to "quit being greedy all the time."
. I make several versions every winter, just to keep me on my canning A-game. Then I have dozens of pretty little half pints of sweet marmalade for my toasted English muffin every morning ("eat breakfast every day" is definitely one of my resolutions this year). My favorites are blood orange, lemon-vanilla and pink grapefruit marmalades. Sometimes, I'll just have a spoonful with some animal crackers and Greek honey yogurt and if I close my eyes it almost tastes like cheese cake. Here's a handy marmalade recipe that can be made right in your microwave
. If you’re big on brunch get-togethers, this is a sure showstopper.
4. Lemon Curd.
Or if you're really fancy, lime or grapefruit curd. It's just citrus juice, eggs, butter and sugar cooked over a boiling water bath until thick like pudding. This easy lemon curd recipe
can be turned into lemon bars, too, in case "no sweets unless they're homemade" landed on your resolution list. Again, I like to fancy it up by adding a bit of lavender — I simmer fresh lavender flowers in the lemon juice before adding the other ingredients.
5. Sole with fennel and orange
. This is a classic; fast enough for a weeknight, but impressive enough for a dinner date at home — maybe "put yourself out there" is your resolution? Thinly slice a fennel bulb and a fragrant heirloom variety navel orange. Layer in a baking dish and top with a pound of fresh sole fillets, drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Put on the lid and bake at 425 for about ten minutes, or you can do the whole thing en papillote
and have pretty paper packages and no cleanup.
More Citrus Delights!
How many ways can you think of?