February 14, 2010 Begins The Year of the Tiger

Gung Hay Fat Choy

(Best wishes and Congratulations.

Have a prosperous and good year.)


Did you know that oranges and tangerines are passed out freely during Chinese New Year as the words for tangerine and orange sound like luck and wealth, respectively.

Or, that Pomelo, the large ancestor of the grapefruit signifies abundance, as the Chinese word for pomelo sounds like the word for “to have.” They believe that eating Pumelo brings prosperity and good fortune.

I just finished eating the Pumelo I bought at the Farmers’ Market today. Bring on the Tiger. This Monkey is ready! If you haven’t eaten your Pumelo get out to the Farmers’ Market this weekend and buy some. You might look for some nice oranges and tangerines too.

May the Tiger bring you a prosperous and Happy New Year!

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When The Season Hands You Lemons – Bake a Danish Lemon Apple Tart!

This weekend I picked up some plump, juicy Eureka lemons at the Farmers Market knowing just what I was going to use them for. Lovingly tucked away in my recipe files is a clipping, from Sunset Magazine circa 1970, highlighting a scrumpshish Danish Lemon Apple Tart. The clipping is yellowed, the paper is limp when you handle it and there are numerous little spots spattered about from years of use. It’s just one of those keepers I find I use over and over.

First you make the pastry crust by placing 1 cup unsifted all-purpose flour into a bowl with 2 tablespoons sugar. Add 6 tablespoons butter and crumble with your fingers until mixture becomes fine and crumbly, Stir in 2 egg yolks with a fork, then work dough well with your hands until it forms a smooth, non-crumbly ball.

On a lightly floured board, roll out dough to fit an 11-inch fluted tart pan with a 1-inch rim.

Press dough in place and prick with a fork.

Bake at 350° for 25 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool on rack.

For the filling, beat four eggs in the top of a double boiler, then beat in ¾ cup sugar, 4 tablespoons lemon juice, 2 tablespoons water, and grated lemon peel from 1 lemon.

Place over simmering water and cook, stirring constantly, until lemon mixture becomes thickened. Remove from heat; chill.

For apple topping, peel and core  four large apples and slice into 1/16ths. Melt 3 tablespoons butter in a frying pan, add 2/3 cup of sugar, 1 teaspoon vanilla and the apple slices. Cook over medium heat, lifting apples with a fork to cook them evenly, until they turn transparent, about 10 mintes cooking time; cook down juices until they almost disappear.

Spread the cooled lemon filling in the baked crust; with a fork, lift hot apple slices one at a time onto the filling, arranging them as in the first photo. Spoon any remaining apple syrup over the apple slices. Chill before serving.

Makes 8 servings.

What to buy at the Farmers’ Market

Lemons

Apples – Any of these varieties are recommended: Braeburn, Golden Delicious, Granny Smith, Gravenstein, Jonagold, Jonathan, Liberty, McIntosh, Melrose, Newtown Pippin, Rome Beauty, Spartan, or Winesap

Eggs

Postscript: It only took a second, as most accidents do, and my beautiful Lemon-apple tart  had  a large candle smashed onto one side of it. Apparently I bumped the candle when I was moving around trying to get the best angle.  Well, thank goodness I still had three good sides to photograph. The photography complete I fixed myself a cup of hot tea and I ate the broken pieces. When I brought out the tart that evening my grandson didn’t even ask why there were pieces missing. He was just happy I had dessert to offer.


Sacramento Farmers’ Market – Paige Tangerine – They’re Sunny Delicious!

Tangerines, like the Minneola and Clementine taste good. But, have you ever tasted a Paige tangerine? Well until last Sunday neither had I. If you haven’t, you are missing one of winters’ little treasures. These beauties are bursting with flavor. I’ll definitely be buying more this weekend.

Did you know: Tangerines have been cultivated for over 3,000 years in China, Japan, and Djibouti. They were also high in concentration in present day Burma. They did not reach Europe and North America, however, until the nineteenth century. The name tangerine comes from Tangier, Morocco, a port from which the first tangerines were shipped to Europe. Tangerines have been found in many shapes and sizes, from that as small as a small walnut, to larger than an average orange. You can find out other interesting facts here at Wickipedia.

This is my kitchen where I photograph the foods that I highlight on my blog. That’s my new assistant, Chica, in the background. She’s really not much help. More of a critic than anything. The plate in the foreground is the aftermath of the sweet lime/Paige tangerine photo shoot. You see, that’s the best thing about photographing food. You get to eat it.

Sacramento Farmers’ Market – Sweet Limes

Early last Sunday my eight-year-old grandson, who was visiting for the weekend, and I headed out to the Sacramento Farmers’ Market. I like to get to the market early as it tends to be less crowded and the selection is, in my opinion, best. Also the merchants have more time to chat. Besides shopping for my weekly needs, we looked for the unusual, and for things we could sample, and of course we stopped to look at the breakfast “goodies”. We found some huge heads of cauliflower that we joked around about. We were sure it would take at least a month to eat one. We also had an interesting discussion about the differences between a head of Savoy cabbage and a large head of broccoli. My grandson is pretty creative thinker so some of the concepts he comes up with can be pretty interesting. One of the last places we stopped offered a nice selection citrus.

The young man at the citrus booth asked if we wanted to try some samples. “Of course,” we replied, “What do you have that’s interesting? I have some sweet limes. Sweet limes? Yes, they are very sweet, sweeter than most oranges. OK, we’ll try some.” They were very sweet indeed. We both liked them and decided to buy a few to eat later. But, first we would eat the cinnamon roll, my grandson had picked out. It would be our second breakfast of the day.

Here’s what I found out about sweet limes. Throughout the world, they are commercially grown in central and northern India, northern Vietnam, Egypt, and along the Mediterranean coastline. They arrived here in the U S in 1904, from Saharanpur, India and are mainly grown in Florida and California. The ones I bought were grown around Orosi, CA, which is located southeast of Fresno.

Their sweet flavor comes from their very low acidity and like all citrus they are high in vitamin C and dietary fiber. 
Sweet limes can be eaten like you would eat an orange. I also think they would also be good for juicing. In the West Indies and Central America, they cut off the stem end, pierce the core with a knife and suck out the juice. Think I’ll try this version with my younger grandson. I also found that hey are a popular ingredient in homemade marmalade.

If you like sweet and juicy citrus, you’ll definitely should give sweet limes a try.

Sunshine on a Dreary Day

Off to the Farmers’ Market last Sunday in the cold grey fog. It’s been foggy like this for days. No sun, just grey skies. Ever hear the phrase, grey skies bringing me down? Well I’m so there.  So I’m thinking, what will perk me up? What can I find at the Farmers’ Market that looks and tastes like sunshine?  Something big and yellow with a taste that is crisp and sweet.  I know, a pomelo.

I know the picture looks like a grapefruit, but it’s so much more. A pomelo is an exotic citrus fruit that is an ancient ancestor of the common grapefruit. It may also be called Chinese grapefruit, shaddock, pommelo, or pompelmous. It is the largest of the citrus and has a very thick, soft rind. Think of it as a grapefruit on steroids. It is sweeter than a grapefruit and can be eaten fresh, although membranes around the segments should be peeled because they tend to be bitter.

A history check says it’s grown in many eastern countries including China, Japan, India, Fiji, Malaysia, and Thailand. It is also now grown in the Caribbean and in the United States, in California and Florida. They’re in season November through March, so right now.

Pomelos are especially popular for Chinese New Year. The Chinese believe the delectable pomelo is a sign of prosperity and good fortune – good things will happen if you eat it. A good thing to keep in mind since Chinese New Year, The Year of the Tiger, is just around the corner.

They are a good source of Vitamin C and potassium.

I’m one of those funny people who eat grapefruit like most people eat oranges. And so it is with the mighty pomelo, I just peel em and eat em. But in my research I came across quite a few interesting recipes that might just be worth a try.

Pomelo and Crab Salad

½ cup crabmeat

1/2 cup julienned carrot

½ cup cubed cooked chicken breast

1/4 cup sliced cucumber

1 medium pomelo fruit

1/4 cup fish sauce (dipping sauce)

1 tablespoon finely chopped mint leaf

2 tablespoons coarsely ground peanuts

1 tablespoon finely chopped cilantro

1 tablespoon fried shallot (optional)

Peel pomelo, extract the segments as intact as you can, separate into small 3/4″ pieces.

Combine all ingredients except cilantro and peanuts.

Toss gently in a mixing bowl.

Serve lightly chilled with cilantro and fried shallots if desired.

Serves 4 – 6

Pomelo Mojito

4 peeled sections of pomelo chopped

6 mint leaves

2 tablespoons orange juice concentrate or orange sorbet

1 1/2 ounces white rum

Ice

Club soda

1 lime wedge

In a cocktail shaker, muddle the pomelo with the mint and orange juice concentrate. Add the rum and ice and shake well. Pour into a highball glass. Top with club soda and garnish with the lime wedge.

What to buy at the Farmers’ Market:

Pomelo

Carrots

Cucumber

Mint leaves

Cilantro

Shallots