Sunday, March 8, 2015

Food Ramble

Day 8 of 31 posts for the Slice of Life Story Challenge hosted by the team at Two Writing TeachersStaceyTaraDanaBetsyAnna, andBeth
Head over to the link up for seconds or to serve up your own slice!

I woke up this morning thinking: lemon. Sunday is a cooking day. I get ready for the week and prep a few meals. It was a stay-home day today. I have a sinus thing happening: allergies or a cold. I'm telling myself it's a twenty-four hour thing. Lemon (and garlic) would be just the cure I needed. Nothing perks up a day like time spent reading recipes and photographing food.

We have a great market in Orlando. It was Mom's Meats and Pop's Produce at one time. Now it's Freshfield Farms. They only carry meat and produce.Lemons are often less than thirty-three cents each--who can resist citrus at those prices? We keep a bowl of lemons and limes on the counter at home; think: salad dressing, chicken marinade, frozen juice cubes for water, so good. 

This morning, lemons called. I zested a couple and put chicken breast to marinade until tomorrow. Zesting lemons is like smelling sunshine. I imagine if I lived in a snowy climate, I'd zest a lot of lemon. 

The lemon made me think of a pizza I've had at Prato's, a local spot on Park Avenue in Winter Park. The pizza has a super-crispy thin crust, thin slices of lemon, zucchini, chicken, maybe a bit of broccoli with a pesto, olive oil base. Yesterday I bought a bunch of carrots and basil and pistachio. I turned those into pesto--so green! It will be a delicious pizza base. 

Puree carrot tops with a packet of basil, six cloves of garlic,
some olive oil, a 1/4 of chopped pistachio, a dash of salt and twenty grinds of pepper.


My husband has a sourdough starter in the fridge; he's in charge of dough--later, we're going to try this recipe from Cultures for Health.   

The zested lemon reminded me of the Blood Oranges I got yesterday at the market. Sweet and tart, Blood Oranges are nature's candy. So I started peeling and removing the white-string pith (good fiber but it can make the juice bitter). The color is just amazing: deep purple flesh. I was surprised at the thickness of the peel and dismayed I hadn't thought to zest it (next time). I couldn't resist the color so I played a little with the camera. 
Once during lunch at school I was telling a restaurant story to teacher friends and I said, "the food was so good, I just had to take a picture." My friend Erin (whose a first-time Slicer this year blogging at Sweet Onions) laughed out loud and said, "Lee Ann you always take pictures of food." I guess, I do too. I just love how it looks.Food can be beautiful. I don't indulge my food photography love too often at home in the kitchen (it tends to slow the whole process down), but when I do, it's like playing outside. I played a lot today.  
Blood Oranges need a cold snap during the growing season. It helps develop the anthocyanin pigments (ruby red to deep purple) in the fruit. Curious, I read a bit about the Blood Orange while cooking the bread. I don't know enough to tell the story of the orange, but what I learned can be summed up in a few words: antioxidants, Mediterranean, mutation, cold ("Solved: The Mystery of the Blood Orange"). Mysterious and delicious, the blood orange is.

Once I got the oranges juiced I dug around for a container to hold it. 
So dark, the Blood Orange juice.
The last thing you want to see in your juice Tupperware is a ... 


Dead spider. Ewww! I resisted the urge to power clean the Tupperware cupboard and just cleaned the container--think soap, water, vinegar, watery bleach rinse. No spider guts survived that onslaught. Juice stored, I searched for a bread recipe (so far we have chicken marinating, carrot-top pesto and orange juice). Though mid-lemon zesting I did put together a crustless quiche we'll eat for breakfast all week: zucchini, broccoli, tri-color pepper, egg,  a sprinkle of blue cheese. 



Back to the oranges,  I hate to waste the food pulp leftover after juicing. And I remembered this Jalapeno Peanut Butter Honey spread I found at a local market. 


 I found a bread recipe, so I went for it jalapeno honey, pulp and all. As I was mixing the dough, I remembered that my deans talked about how shared baked goods go a long way. I tried making two small loaves of Blood Orange bread. Not a good idea.

While the orange juice is delicious, the bread loaves came out like bricks: short, dense. Moist, yes, flavorful, yes, but boy are they ugly fibrous things. It would have been better had I put all of the dough into one container. We'll eat it, but it's not gift suitable. 

The lemon-chicken pizza, well, that, we ended up having for dinner.The best part? My son's reaction, "Who's idea was the lemon pizza? It's delicious!" 


 

11 comments:

  1. What a deliciously productive day. Blood oranges? I have never heard of them, but your description of them makes me want to try. Glad your cooking day was successful.

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    1. I hope you can find some, Mary Helen. Blood Oranges are so tasty. I can usually find them only in January here, so this weekend's find was a rare treat.

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  2. Wow, you make me feel bad. I just don't cook much anymore, but you've inspired me to try, maybe over spring break? When I retire, maybe I'll try some new things, Lee Ann. I've had lemon pizza before, but at a restaurant. Yours looks wonderful. Yum yum Sunday!

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    1. There is a time and season for all things. I love the idea of eating out more but for now it's more affordable at home.

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  3. Were you channeling the Food Network today? That pizza does look/sound great! I've always been curious to try blood oranges, but they are rarely available in our grocery stores. Now I will have to search one out to give it a try. What an adventurous food day this was!

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    1. Ha! I'd love to channel food t.v.! I'll admit to being a foodie though and it helps that husband is in the food business. He's taught me a lot about flavors and cooking.

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  4. Hi Lee Ann, just saw your comment. I have loads of quilts too. My mom, aunt, my husband's family-all quilters. I've given many to my daughter and daughter-in-law, but this one, the dining tablecloth, is one I found at an antique shop a long time ago. No family, but soft colors, fits a long table, and I like the look. I hope you do write about your quilts. Let me know in case I miss it!

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    1. That's so neat. We have quilted table clothes too. I'm terrible at sewing--can't sew a straight seam, but boy I love my mother's quilts. I love the quilt look too.

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  5. Good food work and photogs.

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    1. One day you should just visit on a Sunday (when there is no book club).

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  6. Now I'm dreaming of blood orange margaritas, sunshine, and having someone cooking in my kitchen!

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