Wednesday, February 16, 2011

When the World gives you oranges, and you have them too long, make marmalade

I'm usually not one for lumpy jams, fruit compote, or sauces. I was one of those kids who picked tomatoes out of tomato sauce and left the margins of my plate littered with lumps.

However, I was recently liberated by a very, very good jar of black cherry fruit spread.

This week, caring for sick kids...again, I see that the oranges my husband picked up a few weeks ago are still in their bowl on the table. You don't really want to know about the last bowl of oranges we had sitting out over Christmas. It wasn't pretty and is probably the reason this bowl is still here. Perfectly good but in that almost-too-ripe stage.

Then I start daydreaming about my own fruit spread. Would it be good a piece of ginger? Or with a few lemons? Or with some canned pineapple? I don't think I've tried marmalade since 1983, so there's a lot of room here for innovation.

I didn't get too crazy because I was simultaneously trying to tell I. stories about his grandparents and great-grandparents for an assignment, make L. eat his food, do dishes, and tend the stove. No pineapple. No lemons. No ginger. Just standard orange marmalade with too much sugar.

Orange Marmalade

8-10 'Cutie' oranges (the small ones) and 4 large Navel oranges

I peeled them, then opened them and took the hard white strings out. (Some people shave the orange peel off, soak it in water & baking soda, and then dispose of the bitter white rind. That seemed like too much work to me.) Then I chopped them across the segments. Get ready for a lot of juice. You have to empty the oranges and juice into the pot fairly often.

2 cups of orange juice

You can use water instead but I wanted that orangey taste with a bit less sugar. I put these two together in a pot and let it simmer on low while I was peeling and chopping.

3 cups of sugar

I started with 1 cups, and added more a little at a time. I think 2 cups would have been fine, but it wasn't jelling well so I added a third at the last minute. Next time I'll just trust the process. I would recommend adding a little at a time and seeing what you like first. Usually I like to taste the fruit over the sweetness. This can also work with Splenda.

1 box of pectin (Sure-jell, etc.)

At this point I brought it to a rolling boil. You can add seasoning (ginger, all-spice, anything you like) at this point too. Once it's boiling for a few minutes (stirring well) you can put it back to a simmer and let it simmer for 20 minutes or so.

Then either can or put in containers for the freezer or fridge. It should last a month in the fridge.

Friday, February 11, 2011


I was at Goodwill earlier this week. It appears that Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid's book Mango & Curry Leaves is being sold as overstock for $3.99. Amazon retail is $30.

If you haven't heard of them, they're a couple who writes an interesting combination of travelogue and cookbook, with nice photographs and a good variety of authentic regional recipes. They have several books out including The Seductions of Rice, Flatbreads and Flavors (flatbreads from around the world), Hot Sour Salty Sweet (south-east Asia), and The Great Wall (China).

This one deals with India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka and does a good job of including more than just dal and naan. There are many salads and pickles, as well as meat dishes. It also does a good job of showing food by regions. India is a very diverse place with different cuisines.

So if you're out this weekend and you like Indian food...or travelogues...go see if your local Goodwill has this book. I'm looking forward to the ginger pickles myself

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Valentine's Day Special: 10 Ways to Show Someone You Love Them

That day is coming again. The one where we celebrate the maryred priest who supposedly married people in secret but might actually be the martyred priest who died on another day entirely. Oh, or the other martyred priest with the same name, who was killed on the same day, but doesn't seem to have anything romantic about them at all. Whatever the case the middle ages liked the idea of silent crushes and star-crossed lovers and we've kind of devolved into greeting cards, chocolate, and over-priced cards.

But love is good, right? Let's stick with that.

10 Ways to Show Someone You Love Them.

10. Ask. Who is this person and what do they want to do with their life? What's going on?
9. Listen and Remember. Seems easy, but most of us are so full of thoughts, feelings, plans, and to-do lists that this can be incredibly hard.
 8. Make yourself uncomfortable sometimes. I don't necessarily mean this literally, but put the last 2 things into action and do something you normally wouldn't consider for their sake, for their comfort or growth.
7. Give a little Grace. When you're annoyed ask yourself if this is a hill worth dying on. Sometimes it is. Often times we just need to let go. Assume the best of people.
6. Challenge them. Just as important as giving grace is knowing when to (nicely) stand up and question something the person says. Create healthy boundaries.
5. Be involved. You can love someone from a distance, but the other person can't feel that love. Put in the time to be someone trusted.
4. Know what makes them feel loved. You can be loving someone in a language they can't understand. Ask questions. Make observations. Learn what works for them.
3. Remember the good times. Nothing ever runs completely smooth. Remember what you like about the person. Be aware of how those things can also drive you crazy. Respect them for who they are, not someone who makes you feel good.
2. Ask for what makes you feel loved. Be specific. No one is a mind reader, and some are more intuitive than others. ASK for what you want. Help them learn how to love you.
1. Say it. This doesn't look the same for all people/all relationships. I love you. Hey, you're cool. I really like how you ____. You're really interesting. Swweeeeet. Good job. Awesome, dude. Use the language that's appropriate and use it often.

Ann Landers hat off.