Citrus: 150 Recipes Celebrating the Sweet and the Sour
Every once in awhile, we receive a cookbook to review that just screams “themed dinner.” Citrus: Recipes That Celebrate the Sour and the Sweet by Catherine Phipps was one of those. Phipps provides an excellent explanation of different types of citrus –– most of them I never really heard of. She also teaches how to properly zest, juice, and cut each type. There’s a section on drying citrus, which I have not ever tried with any type of fruit. But if you’d like to try your hand on that, her instructions are excellent. Having grown up with a mother who canned all summer, I am surprised that she never canned any sort of citrus. I was once given preserved lemon from Morocco, which was an other-worldly thing to taste, I think I may try canning this summer, because Phipps makes it look very fun.
The entire book is beautifully laid out –– thick pages, photos are lovely, recipes are logically organized into categories. Made it easy for me to find what I was after for planning our citrus-themed dinner. There’s a well-organized index in the back, too.
Being from California, we’re in the heart of farmland. Most of these citruses should have been easily found; however, I had a heck of a time finding Yuza for two of the recipes. The produce manager at my local organic supermarket said she sees it on her order list, but nobody ever asks about it, so she doesn’t ever put it on her order. I suppose I could have visited several farmers markets to find it, but a quick Google search showed me what I could concoct as a substitute for Yuza (orange and lime).
When I plan a themed dinner, I go all-out –– from the table centerpiece to the place settings to the tableware to the music. When our guests arrived, my chosen steel drum accompaniment played nicely in the background to set the mood.
We started with Yuza Prawn Cocktail (p.55). The dressing on it –– never would have thought to put those ingredients together: mayonnaise, Greek yogurt, wasabi, chili paste, honey, fresh dill, lemon, salt, pepper. When I tasted it, it was overly yogurt, so my husband recommended I amp up the wasabi and honey. He’s good at figuring out what is missing. Sure enough, that did the trick. Was delicious!
The rest of the meal was also quick and easy to make. The Lemon Linguini + Asparagus (p.120) was good, BUT it either needed less linguini or more sauce. That was my fault. I used the whole box of pasta, which was about 2 oz more than it called for. Excellent, nevertheless.
The star of the night –– the Sea Bass Ceviche –– I managed to source from our local wholesale fish market, much to my surprise. I was expecting to have to donate a kidney to afford it, but it was actually fairly affordable (and worth every cent!). I put my husband in charge of prepping it. He tweaked the recipe a bit (he always does). He used blood oranges, instead of sweet oranges, and used orange juice to top off the amount of liquid in the recipe. Whatever he did was amazing. You have to admit that the fish looks raw in the photo below, right? Nope! The acid from the citrus “cooks” it. It just melted in your mouth! I’d make this recipe again in a heartbeat. And it took only about 40 mins — start to finish (and that includes 30 minutes of the fish being in the freezer).
I was wishy-washy about which dessert to choose from the cookbook, but kept going back to the Bergamot and Rose Turkish Delight Pavlova (p.166), which was pretty labor-intensive. Two days, actually, because certain things need to cool or dry before going onto the next step. It took both me and my husband to make the Turkish Delight, because I literally was getting blisters on my hands from stirring it for an hour. I’d never tasted, let alone heard of, Turkish Delight.
They taste like soft gummy bears. I was a bit on the fence about both the texture and lemony flavor, but once I got all the different recipes together for the filling, I was delightfully surprised when I taste-tested it, calling my husband into the kitchen “Hey, this is actually REALLY good!” Meringue –– just like pie crusts –– you either have the gene to make them or you don’t. I mostly don’t. My mother’s meringue was always perfect. I tend to struggle with it. However, it turned out just fine.
The day before, I had made the sugared rose petals and rose water.
Everything came together so beautifully (although I think I over-whipped the cream a bit). When you took a bite, everything just melted in your mouth.
Would I make it again? Probably not. Too much work. But it was a memorable dessert to make once.
There are several other recipes I tagged in the book that I’ll make for other dinners. Citrus will be a cookbook on regular rotation in my kitchen.
|Author||Catherine Phipps, Mowie Kaye|
|Page Count||256 pages|
|Amazon||Buy this Book|
|Category||Cooking, Food & Wine|