“Lives there one with taste so dead, who never to ‘hisself’ hath said, I can’t bear to suck an orange?” and answered, “Guess not!” – Chicago Daily Democratic Press February 18, 1854 (quote from Waverly Roots’ Eating in America)
Moroccan-Spiced Orange Slices in Orange Blossom Water
Citrus season, that lovely, graceful Florida season sandwiched somewhere between the last of the summer’s peaches and the best of Florida’s sugar sweet, ruby red u-pick-‘em strawberries, the season of gentle charm and clear, blue skies. A simple town in a simple era, far from the flamboyant, luxurious lifestyle found a day’s drive further down the coast as different as a foreign land, we found our joy in running barefoot and shooting baskets, playing ball in the street and board games indoors. Bundled up in sweaters, meandering through the orange groves, Harvey’s and Hale’s, picking the ripe fruit right off the branches or visiting one of the many orchard shops lined up and down the main stretch of road through Old Florida where we were allowed to pick up a box of chocolate-dipped coconut patties along with the orange mesh sacks of oranges, these were the pleasures, the magic of my childhood. I hold an orange in my hand and caress the smooth skin, breath in the sharp fragrance, the scent of my youth. I press my thumb deep into the skin in one quick movement, trying to avoid the joyous spurt of oils and juice that spurt out and pull off the skin to reveal the beautiful, voluptuous, delectable orange. I bite into that first segment and I’m home again.
August 22. My first cookbook, Orange Appeal is released. I’ve created or recreated more than 70 homey and comforting, celebratory and spectacular recipes that reflect my cooking style, that reflect my multi-cultural kitchen, each featuring the orange in one of its myriad forms: the fruit itself in slices, chunks, or wedges, the juice, zest, peel, orange marmalade, liqueur, extract, orange flower/blossom water, orange sugar, salt, or powder.
The recipes were created for the curious home cook of every and any level of experience and expertise, from the novice to the professional; there are recipes for when you are rushed or lazy and recipes for when you have the time and inclination to prepare something more complex or time-consuming. And every dish, snack, dessert was created for a family just like mine, both the finicky and the gourmand.
Orange, Red Onion, Fennel, and Carrot Salad
Orange Appeal is both savory and sweet – be tempted by the Blood Orange Hummus Vinaigrette and North African-inspired Sweet and Spicy Caramelized Onion, Raisin, and Orange Compote; a delicate, sophisticated, yet utterly refreshing Chilled White Asparagus Velouté with Orange Chantilly, Orange and Brown Sugar-Glazed Sweet Potato wedges; Beef (or lamb) in Bourbon Sauce or a Tahitian Curried Cod Poached in Coconut Milk, Lime, and Orange or the luscious baked chicken dish I served at my wedding lunch. Be astonished by the Orange, Ricotta, and Chèvre Tart in an Orange-Almond Crust, Oranges in Spiced Wine Syrup, or the creamy, delicate Orange Riz au Lait. Be comforted with a plate of warm Orange Cardamom Scones served with Honey-Orange Spiced Butter, Orange, Date, and Pecan Muffins, or a wedge of Glazed Apple and Orange Braid. Be seduced by the Oranges in Spiced Wine Syrup, Oven-Roasted Vanilla Blood Orange and Rhubarb Compote, or the voluptuous Orange-Glazed Orange Cream Puffs.
Just to name a few.
Orange, Ricotta, and Chèvre Tart in Orange-Almond Pastry Crust
Don’t be surprised that this Florida girl wrote her first cookbook all about the orange. Save your astonishment for the way that the orange in one of its many forms will absolutely transform the flavor profile of a dish. Be blown away by just how versatile an ingredient the orange can be in your own kitchen.
Savory Orange, Onion, and Olive Focaccia
A multitude of work, a countless amount of passion went into Orange Appeal, from my amazing agent Martha Hopkins to my wonderful editor Michelle Branson and publishers Gibbs Smith. To my spectacular, tireless, funny recipe testers and my friends who shared their recipes, their ideas, their expertise and opinions with me, making Orange Appeal the best cookbook it could be. And, of course, food photographer extraordinaire Ilva Beretta. And I thank them all, each and everyone of them.
Spiced Red Lentil and Carrot Soup
Orange Curd Tartlets in a Coconut Pastry Crust
Zucchini and Spinach Quiche with Orange, Dates, Feta, and Thyme
I won’t share a recipe with you here but I will be sharing reviews and my recipes made and shared by fellow writers and bloggers so follow along on my Facebook page Life’s a Feast for all links and updates! And you can order your copy here now!