How to can Seville (Bitter) Orange Juice

Well as Spring is finally warming up, one of California’s best and most valuable assets is winding down: Citrus.

When the lilies start growing, Spring is in full swing

One citrus that I think a lot of Americans don’t completely utilize is the Seville Orange.  It goes by a myriad of names, including: Bitter Orange, Sour Mandarin or Naranja Agria in Spanish.  This is the citrus that marmalade (great recipe for marmalade is here) is made out of.  The British have on lock the whole sour/sweet/bitter thing that is a staple on many a breakfast table.  But many cultures use the fruit in other ways.

Puerto Ricans use this fruit in marinades and sauces as well as making “Lemonade” out of them (even though they aren’t lemons).  It is kind of difficult to keep up with being local and organic with some of the Puerto Rican ingredients (How about Achiote!)- but I have now kicked another one out!  Adios Goya Naranja Agria marinade- you are out.

It is super simple to can your own citrus juice, but there seems to be some contention throughout the interwebs about the flavor of canning your own.  In my experience, I have never had an issue or off flavors.  But as always, results may vary.

First, find some primo fruit.  I was lucky enough to be gifted a HUGE bag of Bitter Oranges by my friend’s Aunt and Uncle.  Their tree was loaded with them and I happily took some off their hands.

Extract/Squeeze the juice.

Heat the juice until it boils and keep it there for 1 minute exactly.  You don’t want it longer or else it changes the flavor profile.

Pour into jars and process for 5-10 minutes for half-pints and pints or 15 minutes for quart jars in a water bath canner.

If you don’t thoroughly strain your juice through cheesecloth, filters, etc. there will be cloudiness and some settling.  I have no problem with it; my canned juice isn’t being entered into any beauty pageants.  Store out of direct light in a cool, dry place and you can easily store for over a year with no refrigeration until you open.  Enjoy!

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Crabbing

Crabbing is probably my favorite extremely early Saturday/Sunday morning adventure.  There is this excitement that builds when you wake up at 4:30 a.m. and trek for a couple of hours to the coast.  When you get a couple of miles out you can start to smell the intoxicating scent of the ocean.  More excitement, more pent-up hope.  Will this be the big day?!  Tons of crabs?  Lots of keepers?  Maybe a Dungeness or two?  You get to the coast, which is still enveloped in morning fog, but with a faint hint of the sun peeking over the hills.  The steady lap of the ocean with high tide coming in.  “This is going to be the day” you say to yourself. 

9 keepers in total, and being good stewards of the ocean, we tossed back the two females that we caught.  What could make crabbing even better?  Sharing the time with your younger brother (Who is an even more avid crab fan than myself).  

The first HUGE one

 

Caught ya sucka!

 

Crabs in a bucket

 

ラン!ゴジラ! (Run! Godzilla!)

 

Number 9 and the little brother is happy as hell!

Happy Friday

I’m so happy!  Oh so happy!  Happy as can beeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

Ha!  Food will do that for me.  I have been feigning for some Chinese food for whatever reason and on top of that for the past couple of weeks anything I eat- the spicier the better!  So I ordered some good ol’ Szechuan Pork, extra spicy and a side of this chili paste they have.  Yeah!  Burnt my mouth off!  But Nick is not only no longer hungry- he is happy!

Hi, I'd like a side of "Burn Your Fucking Mouth Off"

Do as the box tells you, and no one gets hurt!

Mantecaditos

Since they were so popular at work, I thought that I would share the recipe.  They are Puerto Rican cookies called mantecaditos (Little Butter Cookies).

  •  ½ cup vegetable shortening
  • ¼ cup of butter, softened
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 2 ¼ cup flour
  • Maraschino cherries (or Almonds)

Pre-heat oven to 350°F

Measuring shortening can be a challenge, except my Mom taught me the best trick growing up- place it in a large measuring cup filled with water.  Since water is more dense than shortening, it floats.  That way you  get an exact measurement through displacement.  Just fish out the shortening with a slotted spoon.

Cream shortening and butter together.  Then add sugar and whisk for 2 to 3 minutes, until it turns lighter in color.  Add rest of ingredients until well combined. 

 Roll into teaspoon sized balls and flatten slightly with the palm of your hand and place on ungreased baking sheets. Garnish with maraschino cherries (or almonds, I ran out of maraschino cherries), quartered and placed on top.

Place in oven and bake for 15-20 minutes until light, light brown (just a little tan, we’re not talking about Guido tan)

 Let rest for a couple minutes and then place on rack to cool.  Then keep in airtight container.

I’ve been cheating on Michael Pollan with…

Heston Blumenthal.  I am usually super strict about reading one book at a time through and through.  Unfortunately, Michael Pollan’s A Place of My Own is boring the shit out of me.  There I said it.  The genius behind The Omnivore’s Dilemma, wrote a crappy book about building his own Man Cave.  I am already to page 68 and there aren’t even plans drawn up for the place.  His writing, footnotes and thoroughly researched material in TOD was like ecstasy to the Foodie in me.  I thought that I would read his earlier book and be amazed again by his writing, but so far have been dissapointed beyond belief.  He is overly indulgent in his own intricacies and OCD complexes.  Seriously!  Who has to read 6 books to ‘choose a good site for a little building’?!  Just pick a spot you pussy. As you can probably tell, I am quite frustrated with the book.  Hence the wanderlust that followed.

I knew of Heston Blumenthal and The Fat Duck for several years, ever since he beat out Ferran Adria for the Best Restaurant in the World.  However, I never knew that he was on TV shows!  Well over the weekend I was on a TV break from reading A Place of My Own and happened upon the show Big Chef Takes on Little Chef.  It showcases his brilliance in taking a crappy chain that is like a British equivalent of Denny’s and taking some of the magic of The Fat Duck and updating the menu.  In 2008 he released his classic, The Big Fat Duck Cookbook which is $250 and was (and still is) out of my budget.  Well, he just released  The Fat Duck Cookbook which is just a fraction of the price at $50.  I have been so inspired by his dishes and journey that I broke the cardinal sin and actually went to Barnes and Noble yesterday and bought the book instead of waiting for it through Amazon.  Oh so worth it.  It is like a clusterfuck of wonderfulness.  Three books in one: his biography, cookbook and the science behind food.  It is like crack to the chef in me.  I am so happy!

However, since I have taken a much needed break from the drudgery of APoMO, I will go back and try to finish what I started with much gusto: just so that I can read The Fat Duck Cookbook cover to cover in all of its awesomeness. 

Eggs for Breakfast

For my first meal from the chicken eggs, I decided on something simple and decidedly eggy- an omelet.  It is amazing to see the difference in color in the egg yolks (bright orange) and the taste.  They just taste better.  I know that is hard to quantify, but trust me; the difference is there.  Made homemade biscuits to go with and had some of the last of the homemade Olallieberry jam.  Breakfast was basically as local as you could get.  Well, I guess I could mill my own flour, but I think that I have enough committments at the moment.

See how orange!

Breakfast was delicious

Can’t wait for tonight

Martinis.  Multiple.  Dirty.  Shaken.  With three Olives.  Drank fast.  And then just repeat…  F this week!

martini