Orange

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.

 

*There are a couple more citrus recipes to follow up with this post so stay tuned.

Duck Leg In Orange Sauce with Creme Fraiche

2 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 Soup

4 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 Salad 

1 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.
 
Citrus Pica De Gallo w/ Avocado & Jicama
 
1 C. Cara Cara and or Navels Oranges – supremed & segmented-  cut into bite size pieces
1 Avocado – diced 
1/2 C. Jicama Diced
Cilantro – roughly chopped
1 Seranno or Jalapeno – De-veined and Seeded
1/4 C. Red Onion- thinly sliced 
1/8 C. Lime Juice 
1/8 C. Olive Oil 
Salt 
 
Place Jicama in bowl with Serrano, lime juice, salt – let sit for 5 minutes.  Add Cara Caras, Red Onions, and cilantro toss.  Add Olive Oil, toss.  Cut avocado in half, remove seed- using a large spoon scoop out flesh.  Make bite size dices of the avocado.  Fold in- making sure you are not being too aggressive.  
Works great with grilled meats- or poached fish. 

 In Sunny California you always await the tender abundance of fresh produce…and the chirping of birds. 

It’s a Gamble…Ramble…

Lord knows that most the time I rarely use a recipe, and if I end up using one I never follow everything to a T.   I am often inspired to make something sporadically but rarely do I ever know how to recreate it.  So as soon as I figured this recipe out I knew I just had to write it down.  This recipe was created for my client.  This same recipe will also be used for a baby shower for which I will be catering later next month.

I adapted this recipe from  Saveur.com and it was one of Richard Olney’s recipes for a poultry liver terrine, from Simple French Cooking.  I assumed that pâté should have a certain consistency.  I was worried about not having a proper machine to make a smooth pâté but surely enough the idea of a very earthy and herbaceous chicken liver spread delighted my senses.  The instructions called for hand minced liver, and a bit of weight was lifted from my worries.

Everything and the kitchen sink in this one.  I opted for more butter, the addition of creme fraiche  and a bit more herbs.  So, forgive me if this isn’t the normal protocol for creating a liver spread.   It was a bit of a gamble to create something like this and not really knowing how it would turn out.  But to my surprise I had the upper hand on this one.

This spread is enriched through bacon fat, the creme fraiche, and butter which becomes extra decadent when it solidifies.  But it doesn’t taste heavy or overly rich at all.  So with my handy scissors I went out to the garden and cut up a few sprigs of sage, rosemary, thyme, and marjoram.

If you do not have Creme Fraiche handy I am sure you could work with sour cream. Bacon fat is also optional.  However, I would have really liked to have used Duck Fat.  It would have lent a bit of a cleaner taste and would have been really pretty to have a nice set layer atop the spread.

 
 
 
 
 
Rustic Chicken Liver Spread w/ Garden Herbs 
 
1 1/2  lb Chicken Livers
1/2 C.  Creme Fraiche ( I used Cow Girl Creamery)
1/2 C.   Softened butter
1/2 T.  Fresh Rosemary
1/2 T.  Fresh Marjoram
1/2 T.  Fresh Thyme
1/2 T.  Fresh Sage
1     Medium Yellow Onion
2  Cloves Garlic s
3 T.  Bacon Fat or Duck Fat or Goose Fat
2     Medium Eggs
1/2 C.  Milk.
1 1/2 C. White Bread Crumbs
1 T. Freshly cracked black pepper
1/8 C. White Wine
Salt

 
 
Directions
 
Things to Prepare and Set Aside…
  • Have your butter at room temp.
  • Finely dice your onions, almost a mince.
  • Make very skinny slivers of your garlic.
  • Clean your livers of any discolorations or sinewy pieces. Chop your livers for a small (not fine) consistency.
  • Take pull apart the fragrant leaves from the stems of the herbs and fine chop.
  • Lightly toast your bread, remove the crust and place in a plastic bag.  Crush with heavy object to make the crumbs.

Turn on your skillet to high let skillet come to temp, and add a bit of olive oil.  Add your onions and garlic let cook till softened.  Add your livers and cook till there is no longer any visible pink.  Add your wine and scrape bottom of pan, now add all your herbs.  Season livers with salt to taste.

In bowl combine your breadcrumbs, milk, eggs, and creme fraiche.  Season with salt about 1/2 a tablespoon.

Take your livers off heat and your fresh cracked pepper.  Let cook to room temp.  Add your softened butter.  Combine bread crumb/egg mixture.  Place in your desired dish. Let cool, and let it set in your refrigerator overnight.  However there is one other important step

Note: I like to use a potato masher or a large fork to further mash the livers after they get off the heat in order to get a much smoother paste-like consistency.


This is why I love cooking.  It’s the ability to make something ordinary like chicken livers into something completely heavenly and scrumptious.  I also love the ability to invent, re-invent, and experiment with the mammoth supply of food items around us.   It can sometimes be a gamble, but at least this time the end result gave me a winning hand.