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.
This sauce was a surprise that came out of nowhere. I needed a sauce to plate my smashed twice cooked cumin potatoes. I was fiddling with items in the kitchen for the sauce. Suddenly I remembered I had tahini in my cupboard. This is the origin story of this lemony yogurt tahini sauce.
I am writing this particular lemony yogurt tahini sauce recipe as much for you as for me. Just like I am writing this blog as much for me as it is for you. I am not even sure if it is for you. To be honest, as at the time I am writing this, this food blog is really nothing other than a project to soothe my anxiety. By embracing the idea of writing and creating food once again, I am finding control in some place. Every other part of my life is out of my control at the moment. But, this blog is within control.
Yes, I don’t control if anyone would see this. But I control my creativity. Everyday when I go into my kitchen and I cook another item for the blog, it is another modicum of control over a situation that has escaped from my grasp. Perhaps making lemony yogurt tahini sauce is the way I will get unstuck from my life. Or maybe it will just be another thing that I do and quit when it gets too hard. Who knows? All I know is that at this moment the process of creating this space is making me happy and that is the only valid metric.
Okay! I have said too much. This is a food blog after all. This lemony yogurt sauce is just the right amount of tangy and nutty. It is what I imagine I would make if I like eating crudites (I don’t) But I’ll definitely use this on chickpeas and maybe that chicken shawarma bowl.
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.