Tag Archives: orange

rhymes with orange

The other night we cracked one of our wedding presents and started experimenting. How to Cook Everything Vegetarian, along with the original (non-vegetarian) book, is an excellent resource that I think will turn into a regular go-to book for us.

Looking at what we had in the fridge and thinking about what we felt like, we decided on two dishes involving orange – Black Beans with Orange Juice and Chard with Oranges and Shallots. Unfortunately, they didn’t complement each other all that well – the chard, with its sweet taste and strong flavour, totally overshadowed the subtle, earthy bean dish. The chard was the better-received of the night, with it’s almost-candied bits of orange, colourful presentation, and strong, sweet flavour. The beans were good – I think everyone had seconds – but next to the screaming orange of the chard, they seemed like regular beans. They’d do much better against something plainer, I think. Aw well, that’s what family dinners are for – experimentation. Recipes follow.

Black Beans with Orange Juice

3 c cooked or canned beans (2 15 oz cans) with about 1 cup of their cooking liquid
1.5 tsp ground cumin
salt & freshly ground pepper
1 orange, well washed
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 bell pepper, preferably red or yellow, cored, seeded, and chopped
1 tbsp minced garlic
1/2 c dry red wine
chopped fresh cilantro or parsley leaves for garnish

Put the beans in a pot over medium heat (with liquid); add the cumin and a good pinch of salt and pepper.

Halve the orange. Peel one half and add the skin to the beans, then divide the sections and set aside. Squeeze the juice out of the other half and set aside.

Put the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and bell pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until the pepper softens, 8-10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for 1 minute more. Add to the beans.

Turn the heat to high and add the red wine to the skillet. Cook until the win is reduced by about half, about 5 minutes. Add to the beans along with the reserved orange juice. Taste and adjust seasoning. Serve with rice, garnish with the reserved orange sections and some cilantro, or store, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.

chard with orange pieces

Chard with Oranges and Shallots

1 lb white, red, or rainbow chard, washed and trimmed
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 shallots, thinly sliced
2 tbsp sugar
1 small unpeeled orange or tangerine, seeded and coarsely chopped
2 tbsp sherry vinegar
salt and freshly ground black pepper

Cut the stems out of the chard leaves. Cut the leaves into wide ribbons and slice the stems (on the diagonal in you like); keep the leaves and the stems separate.

Put the oil in a large skillet with a lid (I ended up using a small stock pot) over medium heat. When hot, add the shallots and sugar and cook for a minute, then stir in the orange or tangerine bits and lower the heat to low. Cook, stirring frequently, until everything is caramelized, about 20 minutes. Stir in the vinegar.

Return the heat to medium and stir in the chard stems. Cook, stirring occasionally, until they soften a bit, just a couple of minutes. Add the chard ribbons, cover, and turn off the heat (I had to cook them for a minute or two). Let the chard steam for 2 or 3 minutes, then stir and re-cover the pan for another couple of minutes. Sprinkle with salt and lots of pepper and serve immediately, or within an hour or two at room temp.

Other vegetables you can use: any chard, bok choy, kale, or any cabbage. For the citrus, use kumquats (quartered) if they are available.

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jordanian juice

Fresh-squeezed orange juice. Date juice. What could be better after a long, hot walk through the city? Not much, fellow juice enjoyer, not much.

taiwanese fruit unite!

Alright, it’s the last fruit update from Taiwan. *Sigh* I’m going to miss the fruit here, both the familiar and the strange, as well as the easy access to fruit. Fruit stands on the corner are fantastic, I have to say, not to mention convenient. Well, on to the fruit.

First up, the custard apple ‘family’. Custard apples look like a big green pinecone, at least to me. They are full of delicious custard-like flesh and inedible black seeds that you get at by peeling the green sections off one by one. Eventually you can just scoop the delicious innards out. It’s a slow eat, due to the seeds, but the taste of custard is delicious. It has the consistency of a ripe to overripe banana, or maybe a really squishy, beat-up apple – soft, but with underlying firmness.

There’s also the pineapple-custard apple, a crossbreed which we only saw right before we left Taiwan. I think a friend called them Buddha fruit once. They’re a cross-breed and are close to custard apples (obviously), but with fewer seeds, firmer flesh, and a sweeter taste. I quite enjoyed them and was sad that this was probably a once-in-a-lifetime taste. Oh well, once is better than never!

Staying on a green streak, next up are jujubes. I don’t know the Chinese, or even if this is the ‘proper’ name for this fruit, but that’s what I’ve heard it called in English the whole time I’ve been here, so I’ll stick with it. This fruit is like a small, tart apple – very crisp and juicy, with a pit in the middle. They’re great for traveling around with – no worries about bruising, tasty, and cheap.

Changing over to red, but staying with fruit that was new to me in Taiwan, here we have wax apples. While jujubes might have the consistency of an apple, wax apples, surprisingly, do not. I think the name comes more from their shape and colour, but that’s where the similarities end. Wax apples have the consistency of watermelon – rather porous, but not as juicy. They’re crunchy, but more crunchy like that fresh-cut watermelon, rather than crunchy like an apple. They’re terrific, just as long as you get that idea of apples out of your head. There’s a little twist to the taste, but it’s hard for me to describe. I guess you’ll just have to try it yourself, sorry!

We’ve discovered a couple of different types of melon while here – the red cantaloupe, as it’s called in Chinese, and the meinong gua (meinong melon), which as far as I know has no English name other than the one I just gave it (Meinong is a town outside of Kaohsiung, but I have no idea if the two are connected). The red cantaloupe was quite tasty, definitely looking more reddish than a normal cantaloupe, but tasting pretty much the same.

The meinong melon is yellow on the outside and white on the inside and has a taste closer to a honeydew, but with much firmer flesh – it’s almost crunchy. I quite enjoyed both, but the meinong melon wins out in my estimation here (Chris isn’t a big melon fan in the first place).

Chinese New Year has come and gone. Oranges are a huge symbol for the holiday, representing wealth, I believe. This year, we saw giant oranges for sale and just had to pick one up. They were almost as big as your head and looked especially huge sitting next to the regular oranges and the kumquats. When we peeled it, however, we found that it was mostly peel and the fruit wasn’t terribly great. Go figure. Ah well, it was worth the experience.

Lastly, I have to give a shout-out to candied fruit. You see it all over, anyplace there is a gathering of people. Usually you find candied strawberries and cherry tomatoes, but there’s also a dark fruit (not pictured here) that I haven’t figured out yet. Figs? Sometimes they stuff it in the tomatoes as well. It’s all covered with a delicious red candied topping – no candied apples here, but candied strawberries more than make up for that fact for me!

And that’s it for fruit in Taiwan. Goodbye, my tropical sweets!

magnificent malaysian meals of fruit

Time for more fruit! Some of these I’ve tried before and not blogged, some are new to me. Here we go!

Snake fruit is a big of a strange one. We saw this last time in Indonesia, while we were exploring Sumatra. They really do look like a snake’s skin on the outside, and the fruit inside is a pale golden colour. I’m not a big fan of this fruit, as it always tastes like it’s started fermenting. It’s quite firm, almost crunchy, a little bit like an Asian pear, but not quite so apple-like. I probably won’t try this again.

The tiny oranges here taste more or less like real oranges (though quite sweet), but they’re just so small and cute that I had to post them. Really easy to peel, we went through a bag of these for breakfast one morning. The pieces were half the size of your pinky. Wonderful.

Mangosteens are possibly my favourite fruit. I’ve been entranced by them since I first saw them on a fruit poster in my classroom when I first came to Taiwan. Purple fruit does that to me: that shade in fruit always means tasty to me (saskatoonberries and blueberries spring to mind). I can’t remember if we tried this before when we were traveling in SE Asia, but if so, I fell in love again. The purple skin is a bit of a lie – the fruit inside is a very pure white. The texture is really soft and….stringy, I guess, but not in a bad way. Fibrous, maybe, but not too much to make it unpleasant to eat, more just that it’s a very cohesive fruit. The taste is sweet, rather like nectar, but not sickly-sweet, just in a natural, fruity kind of way. Yes, I do believe it’s my new favourite.

Lastly, the tiny bananas. They’re local – all the supermarkets have larger bananas grown in China, of all places – and quite sweet again (yay Malaysia and its sweet fruit!). I ate of bunch of these at breakfast one bad (don’t worry, no stomach problems for me!) and even Chris had a few.

I wish I could stay here longer – Malaysia’s spread of tropical fruit is even better than Taiwan’s! Long live delicious fruit, that’s my new battle cry.