Winter Citrus

citrus fennel saladDuring the coldest months of the year, citrus is in the back of our minds but we should be tapping in to the fresh aromatic flavors of winter citrus. The vibrant colors and burst of flavors are what make winter citrus a true jewel this time of year. Oranges, grapefruits, lemon, limes, and kumquats are just a few of the seasonal flavors that are ripe, refreshing and perfect to add any menu.

grapefruit sage 75

Fresh squeezed juice and citrus syrups will brighten and sweeten any winter cocktail or mock-tail. A favorite cocktail of mine, French 75, is a classic menu item that I have modernized with a splash of grapefruit juice and sweetened with an herbal sage simple syrup. Whether you are mixing or drinking the juice fresh, sipping on winter citrus is sure to keep the cold weather blues away.

Grapefruit Sage 75
Serves 1
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Ingredients
  1. 1 oz Gin
  2. 3/4 oz sage simple syrup (see recipe below)
  3. 3/4 oz grapefruit juice
  4. Champagne
Instructions
  1. Shake the gin, sage simple syrup and grapefruit juice with ice until chilled
  2. Strain into a champagne glass and top with Champagne
  3. Garnish with a sage
Notes
  1. Sage Simple Syrup
  2. 1 cup granulated sugar
  3. 1 cup water
  4. 6 sage leaves
Directions
  1. Combine sugar, water and sage leaves in a sauce pan and stir until sugar is dissolved
  2. Bring sugar and water to a boil until slightly thickened; remove from the heat
  3. Allow sage syrup to cool completely and strain leaves out through a fine sieve
  4. Store simple syrup in a air tight container and store in the refrigerator for up to one week
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citrus fennel saladYour choice of winter citrus served with cheese, yogurt or sliced over a leafy greens, is a perfect way to kick off a meal. A variety of oranges; blood orange, cara cara, and navel and grapefruit will pair well with the pungent flavor of fennel, mint and silky goat cheese for a refreshing and light salad. Fennel not only has an aromatic quality, it is also rich in vitamin c. What we eat will help keep the common cold behind us.

Citrus Fennel Salad
Serves 4
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Ingredients
  1. 2 small grapefruit
  2. 2 blood orange
  3. 2 navel orange
  4. 2 cara cara oranges
  5. 1/2 fennel bulb, sliced thin
  6. 1/4 cup goat cheese, crumbled
  7. 2 Tbsp mint leaves, chopped
  8. watercress, garnish
  9. Champagne Shallot Vinaigrette
  10. 1/4 cup olive oil
  11. 1 Tbsp champagne vinegar
  12. 2 tsp shallots, chopped
  13. 1 tsp honey
  14. 1/4 tsp sea salt
  15. pinch of pepper (to taste)
Instructions
  1. Peel all citrus, removing as much pith as possible
  2. Slice citrus into thin wheels, removing all seeds
  3. Layer the sliced citrus onto a serving platter
  4. Garnish the citrus with thinly sliced fennel, crumble goat cheese, chopped mint leaves and watercress
  5. Whisk together champagne vinegar, shallots, honey, salt and pepper
  6. Slowly add olive oil into vinegar mixture until fully combined
  7. Drizzle 4 Tbsp of dressing onto citrus salad (add more or less dressing to taste)
  8. Serve immediately
INK foods : In Nanny's Kitchen http://inkfoods.com/
kumquat upside down cakeA sweet finish to your evening, candied citrus is as simple as it sounds. The peel of citrus is equally as flavorful as the juice that comes from inside. To enjoy the most basic form of candied citrus, it is best to blanch the peel in order to remove the bitter flavor and later coat in sugar to add a crunch. Candied citrus can also be enjoyed as a cake with a variety of winter citrus. I absolutely love the idea of kumquats, they are small, you can enjoy the whole fruit (skin and all) and they are best during the winter months. Although kumquats can have a bitter flavor, once it is combined with brown sugar and butter topped with a decadent butter cake, there is only love for this tiny fruit.

Kumquat Upside-Down Cake
Serves 6
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Fruit Layer
  1. 8 Tbsp unsalted butter
  2. 3/4 Cup light brown sugar
  3. 2 Tbsp honey
  4. 2 Cups Kumquats, sliced and seeds removed
Cake
  1. 8 Tbsp unsalted butter
  2. 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  3. 1 tsp vanilla extract
  4. 2 eggs
  5. 1 1/2 Cups all purpose flour
  6. 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  7. 1/4 tsp salt
  8. 1/2 Cup whole milk
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and prepare 8” cake pan with oil or non stick spray
  2. In a sauce pan over medium heat, melt butter completely, but do not brown the butter
  3. Add brown sugar and honey to the butter and stir until fully combined
  4. Pour sugar mixture into the bottom of the 8” cake pan
  5. Arrange sliced kumquats to cover the entire bottom of the pan (it is ok to overlap)
  6. Prepare cake while fruit layer cools
  7. In a mixing bowl with paddle attachment cream butter and sugar
  8. Add vanilla extract and eggs, one at a time
  9. In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt
  10. Alternate flour and milk into mixing bowl and beat until fully combined (do not over mix)
  11. Spread cake batter over kumquats
  12. Bake at 350 degrees F for 35-40 minutes or until baked through
  13. Allow cake to cool for 10 minutes before flipping onto serving dish
  14. Enjoy!
INK foods : In Nanny's Kitchen http://inkfoods.com/
In the midst of winter, we tend to eat heavy, warm and comfort foods that are very familiar to us and satisfy our cravings but with these recipes and the fresh produce at our local markets, lighten up your cold weather must haves and let the bold flavors of winter citrus work for you.

This story was featured in The Dallas Morning News 

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