As I step into another new career change I realize there will be more responsibilities ahead. Don’t you worry, I’ll still be cooking. In the meantime while I sit and wait for the training to begin, my precious solitude and laziness needs a charge. I have so many recipes that I just need to get out of my head that maybe a theme would help…
This post is mostly about the color orange is that it induces memories of summer, sun, citrus and beautiful pure mornings – and of course my dear Daniel whose favorite color also happens to be orange! In a state where citrus is abundant nearly year round I just can’t get my fill of it, so I include you dear orange and your cousins into this post.
The oils that are released when you zest a lime, meyer lemon, a lemon, cara cara, blood orange, or grapefruit ETC ETC are truly intoxicating. All of these fruits impart such a lively smell, that sometimes I just cant help but to close my eyes each time I come across a large amounts of citrus! I imaging nuzzling my nose up against the bulbous tree ornaments, scraping the skins to spray my nostrils with the oils that release to parfume the air.
Duck Leg In Orange Sauce with Creme Fraiche2 Duck Legs 1 C. Carrots – about 1 inch thick-roll cut 1 C. Fresh Orange Juice – pulp OK! 4 cloves Garlic – lightly smashed skins still intact 1/2 C. White Wine 1 Bay leaf 2 Sprigs Thyme or Marjoram 1/2 C. Water or Chicken Stock 1/2 C. Creme Fraiche or Heavy Cream Salt Pepper Olive Oil Lightly Pay dry each leg and generously Salt and pepper each leg. Let sit for 1 hour. Pat dry a second time. Heat pan add a bit of olive oil to pan and brown both sides of the duck legs about 3-4 minutes each side – Set aside when ready. Pour out excess fat from pan and discard. Add white wine to scrape the fond and drippings from the pan. Place Duck legs in oven proof dish- Arrange carrots and garlic, thyme and bay around, or on top of legs. Pour in Orange Juice, Water or chicken Stock (chicken stock will add more richness and depth), and white wine from pan. Season with Salt – and a drizzle of olive oil on top. Bake at 375° for 1.5 hours or till tender and meat pulls from bone. When finished take out legs. Strain the cooking liquid, discard the carrots and aromatic herbs except the garlic -remove skin from the garlic cloves and reserve . Skim off fat from cooking liquid and place in saucepan. Bring to simmer and reduce 1/3 of the liquid. Smash and incorporate the soft buttery rich garlic cloves into sauce. Whisk in Creme Fraiche when close to serving. Season to taste. Place duck legs on plate and spoon sauce generously over legs.
Persimmon and Carrot Soup4 Carrots – Washed and roughly cut 1/2 inch pieces 3 Persimmons – Peeled and roughly cut 1/2 inch pieces 2 cloves Garlic – minced. 1 Yellow Onion – Diced 2 quarts Water or Chicken Stock 1 Fresh bay Leaf or Dried 2 T. Fresh Ginger – Grated 1 T. Fresh (Grated) or Dried turmeric 1/4 tsp. Nutmeg Olive Oil Salt White Pepper Heat soup pot or any pan with high walls add olive oil. Saute Onions, garlic, turmeric, nutmeg, salt add bay leaf – til onions are soft and translucent- cook on medium. Add carrots- and liquid either chicken stock or water. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes. Add Persimmon, ginger and white pepper and continue to cook for another 20- Remove Bay leaf before serving. For a creamier soup, blend til smooth or for a heartier more rustic soup lightly mash vegetables. Season to taste. Serve with a drizzle of olive oil, toasted sesame seeds and Cilantro.
This next dish was inspired by my time spent at NOPA- where I worked with some of the nicest cooks not to mention owners and managers. I never knew that you could eat the exterior or a squash but it was a revelation!!! Absolutely no waste and all the nutrients! I also made a similar dish when a couple of cook friends and I managed to cook about 15 + items at a farm dinner a couple of months ago. I topped some roasted delicata with some minted yogurt, and topped all of that with some freshly cut watercress that was dressed in a simple sherry shallot vinaigrette. Watercress would also be very delicious intertwined in this farro version.
Roasted Delicata, Artichokes and Carmelized Onion Farro Salad1 Medium Sized Delicata squash- Cleaned,Cut in half, Seeds scooped out and cut in half moons about 1/2 inch in size 1 large or 2 small artichokes- properly cleaned- Hearts only cut into 1/4 inch wedges 1 small Yellow Onion 1 T crushed dried Oregano 1 1/2 C. Farro (Cous Cous – can also be supplemented) Olive Oil Sherry Vinegar Salt Pepper Red Pepper Flakes (optional) Lightly toast farro grains in pan or oven till slightly nutty aroma imparts. Boil Farro in 1 quart of water – when it comes to a boil turn down to a simmer. Cook till farro grains are tender but still toothsome – Drain and cool. (30 minutes) In large bowl place Onions, Delicata, Oregano, red pepper flakes (optional) Artichokes, 1/4 C. of olive oil, salt and pepper into bowl. Toss well and place in oven-proof roasted pan. Roast on high at 400º- partially covered with parchment for the first 10 then uncovered for another 10 – till delicata is tender and till onions become roasted and carmelized. Stir every 5 minutes. Place Farro in bowl, season with olive oil, salt, sherry vinegar – immediately place cooked vegetables straight from oven into the farro – this ensures the farro to capture the roasted flavors of the oven. *This dish is also delicious cold, integrated with some arugula.
In Sunny California you always await the tender abundance of fresh produce…and the chirping of birds.