Wednesday, January 07, 2009

An Epiphany of My Own

My sisters and I have a very dear uncle and aunt who send us each a huge box of citrus fruit for Christmas every year. As Christmas approaches, we all begin to look forward to the arrival of the fruit, and often ask amongst ourselves if anyone's coveted citrus has arrived yet! When we were growing up, just the one box came to my parents' house, and it seemed to be a good amount for five of us. But then we all got married and the same sized box was kind of a lot for just two people in each household. So over the years, we have gotten the hang of planning how to use the oranges and grapefruit before they even arrive. I will clip recipes that call for citrus all winter so that the next Christmas, I will have some new things to try. I have tried candied citrus peel, which did not work out of me at all, some sort of orange shortbread, which also failed miserably- though I think that time it was the recipe's fault, marmalade, which I can't remember so it must not have been too bad- or too good, for that matter, and various salads, one with mint and yogurt and I can't remember what else. At this point, August and Amabel are old enough to chip in with an appetite for a nice sectioned orange and those are gone without me even thinking about it. So the "problem" becomes how to use the grapefruit.

My mother-in-law really likes grapefruit, so I often give her a few. This year, she seemed to feel bad about taking any and refused them. I explained to her that Amabel and I are really the only ones who care much for grapefruit, and she wanted to know why August and George didn't care for it. I explained that they couldn't get past the sourness. So she sent me a link to a bunch of recipes from allrecipes.com which called for grapefruit. This was very thoughtful and sweet of her and I really appreciated it. But just between you and me, I am not a fan of allrecipes.com. I feel like it has a lot of low-end recipes put out by a bunch of amateurs. It's just the place to go for a cream of mushroom soup recipe! Maybe there are some good ones on there, but I just don't have the patience to sift through the bad. I feel the same way about looking for clothes at TJ Maxx. Anyway, the idea was a good one, look for recipes online that will use the grapefruit in interesting ways you have not tried yet. It isn't much of a leap from clipping them from magazines, I know, but it's more of the whole not wanting to hunt for things thing. If it's right there in front of me from a trusted source, like a magazine I subscribe to, then okay, fabulous! But it doesn't often occur to me to go looking for things, or if it does, I cringe because it seems like looking for a needle in a haystack. However, if I were going to look for a recipe, and I couldn't find it on Cooks' Illustrated, or on their website, where would I go? Food Network, of course! There may be a lot of junk on their website too, who knows, but I know which chefs I like, and because the chef's name is by every recipe, and every recipe has a rating and reviews, I find it pretty easy to pick out a winner (and in a reasonable amount of time). I found a lot of appealing looking grapefruit recipes on their website from chefs that I have copied before. They have a handy little device called "my recipe box." If a recipe looks interesting to you, you don't have to print it out or make a note of it, just click "save in my recipe box." Fantastic! I am way behind the rest of you, right? Y'all all knew about this feature didn't you? It's probably on every recipe archiving site on the web. Well, it's new to me, and extremely handy.

So last night, I decided to run on over to foodnetwork.com and "my recipe box" and give Giada's Grapefruit, Onion, and Basil Salad a try. If it sounds weird to you, just think about if you put lemon juice with the ingredients in the recipe- it would go perfectly. And I have to tell you, the recipe is truly fabulous. I have made it two nights in a row! I even emailed it to my sister who recently confessed to giving many of her grapefruit away because she doesn't really like them. I had told her what I will tell y'all, just in case you don't know, you have to get the fruit completely out of the membranes, even the thin ones between the segments- that is where the bitterness comes from. If you use a sharp serrated knife, it's a piece of cake, and it tastes much sweeter! And now, I am adding to my previous grapefruit wisdom. I realized that this recipe is so brilliant because it puts the grapefruit with savory things, which pulls out the sweet. I usually put the grapefruit in a dish that uses oranges as well, presumably to make the grapefruit seem sweeter with the sweetness from the other fruits. And I think that is a mistake- the oranges are so sweet that they actually highlight the less sweet flavor of the grapefruit. But put the grapefruit with something more savory, actually salt the grapefruit, and you are on to something! I will be trying several more grapefruit recipes with this in mind over the next week, and will let you know if I find any other winners. In the meantime, this one just has to be shared!

Grapefruit, Onion, and Basil Salad from Giada De Laurentiis and Food Network- I believe I used more grapefruit to less of everything else, but as you like it

2 grapefruits, trimmed of skin and sectioned
1/2 red onion, peeled and thinly sliced
1/3 c. pitted, chopped black olives
1 bunch of basil, leaves thinly sliced
2T chopped chives (I had green onions, so I used those instead)
3T balsamic vinegar
3T extra virgin olive oil
salt and freshly ground black pepper
-toss everything together in a bowl.

1 comment:

Wright Family said...

That sounds good! I'll have to try it. We, too, have relatives {from Florida} who send the citrus box each year. I love to try new recipes. I hope you are doing well. Still praying each day for you all...

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