Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Mother Says Eat Your Citrus

I am a big proponent of eating seasonally and locally but I freely admit there are somethings I can't imagine not having all year long. Lemons for example, not even worth discussing giving them up to achieve "locavore" status. I got to pondering this as I snapped the final pictures of my latest "blog worthy" recipe.

Mother Nature really has everything down pat. Think about a beautiful beefsteak tomato, sliced and lightly salted, not a grocery store tomato but the homegrown kind. If it were possible to have a still warm garden tomato in the clear white light of a Chicago land winter would it taste as good?

Part of the joy of seasonal eating is the anticipation. The hot sun beating down as you select the perfect tomato from the farmer you missed all winter, makes it taste even better. The just warm breeze of spring only magnifies the first sweet bite of a tender strawberry. As I look out onto several feet of snow, I won't argue the thoughts are delicious, but the anticipation is better. Winter is hearty and substantial. Winter is bright citrus.

Interesting produce fascinates me. I want to bring it home and figure out something unusual to do with it. Recently, two pints of rather costly kumquats found their way to the yellow house. Perhaps as a follow up to last year's Honey Preserved Clementines, I bring you Kumquat-Riesling Sauce.

The method is straight forward and one you've seen here many times before. I love to cook up a pot of fruit and spice and see what happens. This recipe won't disappoint. How can it with vanilla bean, cinnamon and honey?

Riesling with just a bit of water.

Fresh ginger warms but doesn't bite. I always use a "lunchbox spoon" to peel fresh ginger. The thin edges of an inexpensive teaspoon make peeling ginger easy while still leaving the flesh in tact.

Bring the liquid to a boil, add 1/8" slices of kumquats and leave it on easy heat until the fruit is translucent and syrupy.

From the moment I saw this recipe, I knew I would love it. The dichotomy of sweet and bitter is always appealing to me. The spicy warm richness of the syrup and bright bitterness of citrus rind. Amazing.

What's even more amazing would be if you were to put it on vanilla ice cream and watch a repeat of Top Chef in the middle of a Wednesday afternoon.

I really need to try that.

Kumquat-Riesling Sauce
With more high praise Fine Cooking
February/March 2011

2 1/2 cups Riesling
2/3 cup mild honey, such as clover
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3) 1/4" thick slices peeled fresh ginger
1) 3" cinnamon stick
1/4 vanilla bean, split length, seeds scraped out
12 oz. kumquats (2 1/2 cups), sliced to 1/8" thickness and seeded.

In a 4 quart saucepan, combine the Riesling, honey, sugar, ginger, cinnamon stick, vanilla bean and seeds and 1/4 cup water. and bring to a boil over high heat. Add the kumquats adn reduce the heat to medium-low. Cook until the kumquats are tender and translucent, and the liquid is syrupy, about 30 minutes. Cool and serv at room temperature (or cold if serving with ice cream). the sauce will keep in the refrigerator for about 2 weeks.

1 comment:

Emily said...

Um, that sounds and looks...AMAZING!!! You always get me in the mood to cook and bake!! Thank you for this wonderful recipe, especially with the step-by-step pictures. Hope you enjoyed to the fullest!