I wasn’t going to put up a post today. It is clear to me that I have reached that stage in my blogging journey where I feel like quitting. That stage where it seems all my flaws become apparent. It is the stage where I compare myself to everyone else and somehow manage to lose every round. Then I stopped and challenged myself to talk about something I am good at. That thing is apparent when you see this chocolatey blood orange curd tart.
My one thing that I choose to hold on to today is that I know how to read and transform recipes. I am the queen of using one idea and turning out a million and one things. A few days ago, I shared a parfait that featured a blood orange curd, a creamy yogurt layer and homemade granola. While making that recipe, I remembered that I once made my sister a jam and yogurt tart. Then I decided to make it again with the blood orange curd.
The crust on this tart is from Pretty Simple Sweet. When I was building this chocolatey blood orange curd tart in my head, I knew that I had to find a super easy crust recipe. This one from Pretty Simple Sweet delivered. The only amendment I made to the recipe was to replace some of the flour with dark chocolate powder. Everything else stayed the same.
Food is one of my most important creative outlets. It is one arena in my life where I feel confident. Sometimes I find my relationship with food strange. On one hand, I have a history of disordered eating. On the other hand, I have loved cookings since I was a child. The one thing I have learned from examining my relationship is that the joy I derive from cooking is often the power that allows me to focus on building healthy eating habits.
When I am able to play with my food, I am happy. I am happy when I realize that I have new skills and knowledge about food. By writing this post today, I choose to honor my creative relationship with food.
To make the Chocolatey Blood Orange Curd tart, make the tart crust following the Pretty Simple Sweet recipe, substituting in some dark chocolate powder for flour. Then layer in the components from the Blood Orange Curd parfait.
The other day, I noticed that I had a couple of blood orange starting to wrinkle in my food pantry. I knew it was time to get about figuring what to make with the blood orange. The result of my search was this blood orange curd parfait layered with a coconut flavored yogurt and crunch pistachio granola.
Citrus is one of the things I love about this time of the year. The abundance of oranges, grapefruits, and even the bewildering buddha’s hand makes for a wonderful winter. Every time I go to the market and I see the blood orange cut open, I am drawn to its deep color. There is just something about seeing the ruby red instead of the orange that is jarring and intoxicating to my senses. I often find myself buying it just for the pleasure of looking at it. The juices end up tasting just like a regular orange and work perfectly for making this curd.
One of the things I crave in recipes is simplicity. I love making simple things that look that they require more effort than they actually do. This blood orange curd and yogurt parfait is a prime example. Just thinking about blood orange curd seems like a cumbersome process. In truth, the process of making the blood orange curd is simple as long as you follow the process closely. The best recipe I have found for blood orange curd is the one by Melissa Clark of the New York Times. It is wonderfully written and produces a beautifully thick curd.
The yogurt layer and the granola layer are so simple as well. The coconut cream in the yogurt layer adds an unexpected tropical touch and adds structure to the decadence. These can be done from start to finish in 30 minutes. The Blood Orange curd and yogurt parfait would feed a crowd just as well as a small group of friends.
The St.Clements drink is a classic mocktail. Since I am that person that just can’t let things be, I decided to play around with the recipe for the St.Clements. A classic version of the St. Clements features orange juice and bitter lemon. It actually sounds really yummy.
I decided to play on the name of St.Clements drink by using clementine juice. It is the middle of winter and there is an abundance of citrus around. One of the reasons why I wanted something other than orange juice is because I find it a bit much. Clementine juice is much softer and has a floral note when compared to an orange.
For the lemonade or bitter lemon aspect of this St. Clements drink, I made my own syrup. It pretty much follows the formula for the Grapefruit Thyme syrup I shared before. Except, I am using a mix of lemon and lime in this recipe.
The other adjustment to the classic recipe is using a mix of ginger beer and sparkling water to finish up the drink. The ginger adds a bit of heat to the drink to compliment the hint of florals from the clementine and the bitterness of the lemon-lime syrup.
I have a feeling this St.Clements is about to be a drink I reach for constantly. It is such a ready palette to play to with other flavors like basil or even a bit of thyme. I also imagine that infusing some jalapeno into the lemon-lime syrup would make for a memorable drink.
Let me know if you try this recipe. Follow me on Instagram and use the hashtag #willeatthis.
3ozClementine juiceI found that this is the juice of 1.5 clementine
In a drink shaker, add in ice, clementine juice, lemon-lime syrup. Shake.
Strain the clementine juice mix into a tall glass. Add in the ginger beer. Top it off with sparkling water to taste.
The lemon-lime syrup in this recipe refers to my recipe for Grapefruit Thyme syrup. Also, I only added a few ounces of ginger beer because I wanted slight heat. If you prefer, you can top the drink up completely with ginger beer. You can also entirely skip the ginger beer and just use sparkling water. This drink is versatile.
Poaching is one of those things that seems to put fear in the heart of many. Maybe because it sounds so fancy. Who hasn’t had anxiety about poaching an egg? Or maybe a pear? Citron Honey Tea Poached pear is one of those things that I find to be delightful in the winter.
Poaching is one of my favorite cooking techniques. It requires patience because it is not the quickest option. However, poaching is an act of gentle love because it allows flavor to be impacted while maintaining the softness of the food. When a pear is well poached, it does not fall apart. Instead, it maintains its integrity while absorbing the flavor it has been bathed in. This citron honey tea poached pea definitely captures flavor well.
When I was thinking of poaching pears this winter, I really wanted to tap into unconventional flavors like citron. Citron, also known as Buddha’s hand, is one the most mysterious fruits. It is a citrus with a juice flesh. The Buddha’s hand despite is lack of juice is one of the most perfumed fruits or flowers I have encountered. The smell on this fruit is divine. The citron is best used to infuse food.
One of the first way I ever tasted citron was via the citron honey tea that I buy from the Asian food market in a massive jar. I love the citron honey tea because I can drink it on its own merit. Or, I can also use it make other types of tea. Since citron has not juice, it lacks the sour edge of a citrus. This means when I use it in tea recipes, it mostly adds an olfactory experience to the tea drinking.
Poaching the pear in a bath of citron honey tea was like capturing winter on a plate. I loved it. Especially since I served it with a toasted slice of a pound cake I made using King Arthur Flour recipe. I added in some orange oil and zest into that recipe to add another dimension. I often toast my pound cake on the stove to give it a crunch. The plate is rounded out with a dollop of unsweetened whole milk greek yogurt. I almost feel like I could have this citron honey tea poached pear plate for breakfast.
1CupCitron Honey TeaIf you can’t find citron honey tea, you substitute with a citrus marmalade.
Fit your unpeeled pear into a smaller sized pot to test which would hold the pears snuggly and allow the fluid to cover the pears mostly.
Peel and core the pears. If you prefer, you can also cut the pears into half lengthwise.
Once you have found a good sized pot, add the citron honey tea, cinnamon, orange slices, and water. If you are using the sugar, add it in now. Bring the mixture to a simmer and stir until honey and sugar dissolve.
My trick for getting the poaching bath to the right temperature is turn off the heat. Once it cools a bit, I put on the heat back on to a “barely there” level, then add in the pears. You don’t want to see any signs of boiling or simmering. It should be a very gentle heating process.
After 15 minutes, start checking at regular intervals is the pears are soft yet. The pears are ready if a clean toothpick inserted goes in without pressure.
Retrieve the pears from the poaching bath.
This step is optional: Strain out the poaching fluid and put it back on the heat. Reduce the poaching tea until it coats the back of a spoon. This citron honey syrup can be used to serve the poached pears or even to sweeten beverages and oats.
Let’s redefine the meaning of a G and T! It shall henceforth be known as Grapefruit and Tonic.
The other day I was shopping and I found that the Fevertree Indian Tonic water was on sale. Thinking about the tonic water took me back to my childhood in Nigeria. Back in those days, when you go buy a crate of soda ,the seller would want to mix the variety of the 24 bottles. It would be split between the ever popular cola drinks, then the orange soda as well as lemon and lime ones. The most unpopular flavor was always tonic water.
Every party we held, the tonic water was always the last one to be consumed. A lot of people just could not stand the taste since it was just sugar laden like the other soda options. Eventually, someone desperate for a drink would grab the tonic water. The memory of the interesting flavor of the tonic water compelled me to buy a bottle of the Fevertree Indian Tonic. I figured I would eventually figure out how to use it. It was only while I was mixing myself a drink with the Grapefruit and Thyme Syrup that I realized that I should try the tonic.
Oh my goodness! It was so delicious; I knew I had to write down the recipe. So here is my non-alcoholic version of the G and T! This Grapefruit and Tonic drink is beyond words. It is not too sweet. It has the bitterness from the syrup but the freshness of the grapefruit juice. Of course, the subtle tingle of the tonic water and the grapefruit oil elevates the bubbles in this drink. The Grapefruit and Tonic is a mocktail for the adult palette.
Please let me know if you try it! Don’t forget to use #willeatthis when you post a picture on Instagram.
There are days when I get really frustrated and the way I communicate is by text to my dearest saying, “Today is a good day to drink.” I will usually get a response reminding me that I don’t drink alcohol and that it is not a good time to try. We laugh over it and I move on. Mostly, I get annoyed about my teetotal status when I dine out and my options are severely limited.
Alcohol is such a big part of many cultures. Due to the prominence of alcohol, it is so normal to see many alcoholic options on the menu. Even private functions often have varied options for alcoholic drinks. Non-alcoholic drinks tend to be very few with mostly soda. Many times I have gone for food-centric events that featured different kind of wines and beers but nothing for the non-drinker. Bartenders in their kindness would often offer me a cup of soda for free. Sometimes I am stuck drinking water because I just don’t want to drink soda.
Even when there are non-alcoholic menus at the restaurant, it tends to be designed more to suit the palette of a child. Hence, the ubiquitousness of Shirley Temple and other color heavy drinks with an overpowering presence of sugar. I don’t have anything against sugar. I just believe that it is possible to drink non-alcoholic drinks that are not overly reliant on sugar. There is a whole world of non-alcoholic drinks that can be created with complex flavor profiles.
One of my favorite ways to create complex flavors in drinks is to play with citrus. Citrus fruit like orange would feature a juicy center, white pith, and the skin/zest. Each part of the citrus has a different flavor that can be played up in a drink. The often sweet and acidic center is often the most used part of the citrus fruit. For me, I find that because I love bitterness as a flavor, the pith of the citrus fruit is valuable. The zest of the fruit often contains the oil as well as the scent of the fruit. Smell is a huge part of the experience of having a drink. By using the zest of citrus fruit in a drink, it is possible to greater sensual experience in a single drink.
This thought process is what inspires me to create drink mixes like this grapefruit thyme syrup. The use of the whole grapefruit in this recipe creates a balance of flavors without any harshness. The final taste of the drink can be manipulated by adding in other flavors and textures.
The easiest way to use this syrup is to mix it with sparkling water. By playing with the ratio of grapefruit thyme syrup to sparkling water, the flavor intensity of the drink can be manipulated. The syrup can also be used to add flavor to baked goods, either by soaking the baked goods or using it to make icing.
As a non-alcoholic drink mixer, this syrup celebrating the wholeness of the grapefruit. the syrup features a bitterness that allows the delicate flavor of the grapefruit to shine through.
Keyword: Grapefruit, Grapefruit Thyme
3 SprigsThyme leaves
Rinse and cut the whole grapefruit into thin slice. Transfer into a jar with the thyme leaves
In a saucepan, add in 1 cup of water and the 2 cups of sugar. Bring the sugar solution to gentle simmer into the sugar crystals have melted. You now have syrup. Allow the syrup to cool to room temperature.
Pour the syrup over the grapefruit and thyme. Cover the grapefruit mixture with a tight lid. Place in a fridge for at least 12 hours. Preferably about 48 hours. This allows the grapefruit and thyme to infuse properly into the syrup.