Posts tagged oranges

Fancify Friday: Carved orange elephants

Carved orange elephants

 

Meet Ed and Edward. That’s what my daughter named her carved orange creations. When I asked why, she looked at me liked I’d just asked why leaves are green. “Because they’re elephants, mom.” Well, that answers it.

 

When I was cleaning out some of my cookbooks the other day I stumbled on The Fine Art of Garnished, publishing date, 1978. My mother-in-law sent it to me awhile back and I haven’t had a chance–or the hutzpah–to give it a try. My youngest? Well, when she saw it as I was stacking up books she immediately started thumbing through it, planning out what we were going to try. Luckily, I talked her out of making the viking-inspired watermelon boat this time…

These elephants are actually easy to make–and don’t require a sharp knife. I was making an apple bird while my youngest settled on the Apple birdelephants. Well, you can see how my bird turned out (in my defense, it was a very, very small apple). But my daughter followed the instructions and stopped at two elephants just because we ran out of oranges.

 

How to make a carved orange elephant:

  • Find the end of the orange with a circle (where it was picked). Use a paring knife to cut a long “V” in the skin, going down from the circle. Gently pull the skin away from the pith.
  • Lay the “V” portion onto a cutting board (still attached to the orange) and then shape it into a trunk.
  • Use the paring knife to cut a circle on either side of the trunk for the ears. To do this, push the knife into the orange skin but not all the way through to the juicy part. Make a circle starting above the trunk and ending just below the trunk–it’s almost as if you were cutting a slice. Do not slice the circle all the way around. Repeat on the other side and then carefully pull the “ears” away from the base of the orange.
  • With toothpicks, secure grapes for the elephants’ “eyes” and gumdrops for their “feet.”
  • Add kiwi fruit “grass” (optional, but fun).
Ed, not to be confused with Edward the Elephant

Ed, not to be confused with Edward the Elephant

Child looking at carved orange

 

Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Buzz This
Vote on DZone
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Kick It on DotNetKicks.com
Shout it
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter
Google Buzz (aka. Google Reader)

Fancify Friday: Fruity fizzy drinks

Fruity drinksHere’s a quick way to add some ambiance to a family meal that you want to make a little special (and yes at my house it’s required that you say ambiance with a fake French accent–the worse it sounds, the better).

I have my kids cut up fruit into small pieces to put into water goblets. Add seltzer (or club soda) water and you’ve got a fancy, colorful drink.

I’ve found some kids are reluctant to try seltzer water (La Croix is my favorite). The sugarless, fizzy water is an acquired taste but it’s such a great replacement for soda it’s worth trying to get your kids to sample it.

 

How did I get my kids hooked on seltzer water? Well, I used to drink it all the time and my kids would ask for sips. At first they didn’t like it, but I kept drinking it. Fast forward several tries and my kids are regular seltzer drinkers.

 

If your kids tend to be especially picky, my suggestion is to mix half seltzer water with half juice. We’ve tried the half-half approach with apple, orange, lemonade, grape…and pretty much any other juice we might have on hand (tomato juice the big exception, of course).

 

Now, I haven’t mentioned the best part–once you’re kids have downed their drink they can eat the fruit. And the fruit will be “fizzified” (yes, it’s true we do make up words at our house). The carbonation in the drink works its way into the fruit giving it a bit of a bubble bite.

 

Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Buzz This
Vote on DZone
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Kick It on DotNetKicks.com
Shout it
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter
Google Buzz (aka. Google Reader)

Why aren’t you eating…kumquats

Nagami kumquats

Kum-what? I let my 13-year-old chose something new for us to try in the produce section. Her find–kumquats. As you can see from the picture, they look like oranges in the shape of a grape. But apparently there’s a debate as to whether they belong in the citrus family or deserve their own designation. I say kumquats are in a category all their own.

They taste exactly the reverse of what you’d expect (and you eat them whole). The sweet outside rind encases the wickedly sour fruit inside. It was fun to watch my kids give ‘em a try. My middle daughter kept asking, “Are you sure you eat the skin too?” It wasn’t until she bit in that the sour punch hit her. Instant pucker face.

You can eat kumquats like you would grapes (although 2 or 3 and I’d had enough sourness) and/or experiment with them to add a sweet-sour taste to different dishes. To use them in other dishes, cut them in half and remove the seeds then add them to a blender to create a puree. My puree went into some kumquat cookies (I’ll pass along the recipe next week), but if you had any leftover–which I didn’t–I was thinking you could freeze them in small packets and use them to add a zing to barbecue sauce, a viniagrette, so many possibilities. Now I just need to get more kumquats!

You can thank China for the kumquat. Their name means, “golden orange,” and they’re often given as gifts around the Lunar New Year since they symbolize prosperity. In the U.S., there are generally two varieties, the Nagami, which I tried, and  the sweeter, juicier, rounder, Marumi. Doing a little research, I found there are also several kumquat hybrids, like the Limequat–you guessed it: lime + kumquat; and the Calamondin–stumped? tangerine + kumquat. I’m going to have to keep my eyes peeled (sorry, couldn’t resist the lame pun) to find the hybrids.

Your turn–Ever tried a kumquat? Did you like it?

Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Buzz This
Vote on DZone
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Kick It on DotNetKicks.com
Shout it
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter
Google Buzz (aka. Google Reader)

The orange bowl: a new take on muffin tins

Have you noticed more sniffling lately? On Sunday at church I couldn’t help but notice a plentiful chorus of coughs and sneezes mixed in with the music. Along with washing my hands just a little more carefully these days (and insisting my kids do the same), I’m searching my kitchen for ideas to ward off colds.

My favorite cold-buster: rich-in-vitamin-C oranges. Juiced. Zested. Peeled. My guess is you’re already a master of all those methods of serving oranges. So I tried brainstorming new ways to add more vitamin C to my kids’ snack times. Along with other good-for-them ingredients (any excuse to use ground flax, seriously I’m glad its good for you because I love the nutty flavor it gives anything you put it in).

I remembered a few weeks back after reading Cooking for Geeks I tried out brownies baked in an orange shell. I wondered if I could do the same, only with something a bit, well, healthier.

My first batch of muffins al a orange failed. Miserably. Think gooey gobs of half baked batter in a nearly burnt orange shell. Ew, just ew. I figured maybe brownies was the only batter meant for oranges (man, I would have liked that excuse to keep making exclusively chocolate-filled oranges:).

I tried to remember what I’d done with the brownies that I might be missing here. I thought of it: my husband. See, before, he’d been the one to clean out the oranges. This time I’d done it myself leaving plenty of orange meat inside thinking, Eh, it’ll bake in. Not quite.

Once I passed over the orange shelling duty, the problem of gooey batter disappeared. I also decided to put the orange rinds right into the muffin pan instead of balancing them on a cookie sheet. As you can see, properly shelling the oranges did the trick. And my kids snacked on the leftover orange sections while the muffins cooked (I mixed in regular paper wrappers too).

Here’s the recipe:

2 Oranges (or however many you want to shell)

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1.2 cup whole wheat flour

3/4 rolled oats

1/4-1/3 cup brown sugar (depending on how sweet you want it)

3 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg (optional, but good)

1 tablespoon ground flax (again, opt. but good)

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 egg

1/4 cup oil

1/3 cup milk

2/3 cup apple sauce

1/2 Tablespoon fresh orange juice

  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  • Cut the oranges in half and then remove the orange sections from the rind carefully (I suggest using a grapefruit spoon although a regular spoon will work too).
  • Mix all of the dry ingredients in a regular-sized baking bowl. (I like to pulse my old-fashioned oatmeal a few times in a food processor before adding it in.)
  • Mix all of the liquid ingredients in a smaller baking bowl.
  • Add the wet ingredients to the dry mixture and stir just until moistened.
  • Fill each muffin cup (or orange shell) about 2/3 of the way up. DO NOT overfill.
  • Top with whole oatmeal, if desired.
  • Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until just browned.
  • Note: I’d suggest serving the orange-shelled muffins within a day or so of baking for the best flavor.

But I’m not stopping at vitamin C, there’s a few more tricks I’m trying out this year to keep colds away. For a slideshow of up-to-date research on what you can do at home, look through these suggestions. (I like the idea of mushrooms as cold-busters.) I’ve been looking through the site as part of the Motherboard team. Once a week, I’ll be posting about the exciting things not to miss on the their site, and their affiliates.

How about you? Any family recipes or tips for keeping running noses from, well, running?

Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Buzz This
Vote on DZone
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Kick It on DotNetKicks.com
Shout it
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter
Google Buzz (aka. Google Reader)