An orange day, a happy day, a brand-new day in the secret language that only the three of us seemed to understand. “Mmmmm,” Daddy said, taking a bite of his roll. “Orange wakes you up(…) cinnamon makes you remember. – Judith M. Fertig, The Cake Therapist
Hurrah! Late varieties of oranges mean that citrus season isn’t limited to the 3 or 4 months of winter, as it was when I was a kid growing up in Florida, citrus country. I can now, indeed, enjoy oranges all the year round, even if, I will admit, they are sweeter and more flavorful in some seasons than others. And oranges go so well with spring and summer flavors, and especially berries, such a treat.
Oranges are my thing. That’s clear by now. So when the group of blogging friends known as Progressive Eats chooses citrus as their theme of the month, I know that I had better make a bit of time in my high-season schedule (let’s just say that bustling is putting it mildly) to create and share a recipe.
Back in the day, my pre-hotel days, I participated in blogging-group cooking and baking challenges, from Daring Bakers and Bread Baking Babes to Progressive Eats, and I did love a challenge. And the camaraderie of friends together in the virtual kitchen. And the surprise and excitement discovering what others had made inspired by the same theme. And now that theme is citrus. My friend Barb, who has already baked from Orange Appeal, then tapped me on the shoulder and said “I think you might want to join in this time!”
And oranges sing to me. When I began my Orange Appeal cookbook adventure, I realized – much to my surprise – that although I grew up eating oranges, one by one and two by two, and still enjoy, nay, can’t get by without an orange after every meal, I really had never cooked with my favorite citrus, nor had my parents. Yes, I’ve added orange juice and zest to cake and cookie batter; nothing is better than orange and chocolate so hello marble cake, marbled madeleines, and orange-kissed brownies, ganache, and layer cake! But orange hadn’t otherwise ever been used as an ingredient. I researched and researched, and trialed and tested, and little by little understood the magic of an orange, the versatility and the unexpected, astonishing metamorphoses of flavor due simply to the addition of orange.
So what to do for this challenge? High season means that I have little time and even less energy to concoct something new and complex for a challenge. But I didn’t want to share a recipe straight from the pages of Orange Appeal.
So I came up with something new, a twist on 2 different recipes in the cookbook, the Moroccan-Spiced Orange Slices in Orange Blossom Water and the Orange Marmalade Whipped Cream that I created to top the Rye Spice Cake with Orange Syrup. In kicking up a couple of recipes, in starting with existing recipes and playing with flavors and style, I hope to show not only how versatile the orange is, but how easy it is to begin with the orange as a blank slate and create something delicious and new, even astonishing.
Moroccan-Spiced Orange Slices using orange navels & pink Cara Caras
The weather has turned in Chinon this week, from on-again-off-again rain and cold to summer. The terrace is set and the parasols open, cold beers and chilled white wine flow as Mitzi darts between chairs and legs. The peonies are in full bloom, the rose bushes are richly laden with buds, and Chinon is overflowing with gorgeous tumbles of wisteria. Summer has arrived and with it the first of the hotel’s bikers and walkers and the market’s first strawberries and blueberries. And now we crave treats that are cooling and lighter than those heavier baked goods we relished and took comfort in during the colder, greyer weather. And this orange salad is it.
This special treat seems simple on the surface. But a couple of secret ingredients turn a light and refreshing fruit plate into a spectacular dessert. Don’t hold back on the cream.
Progressive Eats is the monthly food and drink extravaganza where friends share a virtual event much like the Progressive Dinners of old when participants would go from home to home to enjoy a different course at each location. With Progressive Eats, a theme is chosen each month, members share recipes suitable for a delicious meal or party, and you can hop from blog to blog to check them out.
Each recipe in our menu this month features citrus in some form and is hosted by Laura from Mother Would Know.
Our Progressive Eats meal and our cooks and hostesses:
Blackberry Lime Margaritas made by Coleen at The Red Head Baker
Orange Frosty from Orange Appeal Cookbook made by Barb at Creative Culinary
Asparagus Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette from Jane at The Heritage Cook
Crab and Mango Salad in Endives with Spicy Lime Dressing from Carol at From a Chef’s Kitchen
Fish with Lemon Caper Sauce from Laura at Mother Would Know
Stir-Fried Crispy Orange Beef from Karen at Karen’s Kitchen Stories
Roasted Asparagus Salad with Preserved Lemon from Beth at OMG Yummy
Cauliflower Scampi in Garlic Lemon Sauce from Susan at The Wimpy Vegetarian
Glazed Lemon Pound Cake from Liz at That Skinny Chick Can Bake
my own Fruited Summer Orange Dessert Salad with Orange Marmalade Whipped Cream
- 4 large oranges
- 2 tablespoons Grand Marnier
- 1 teaspoon or ½ tablespoon powdered or confectioner's sugar
- ¼ rounded teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 pint strawberries, rinsed, hulled, and sliced in half
- 1 pint blueberries, rinsed
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- 2 rounded tablespoons mascarpone, more as desired
- 1-2 tablespoons powered or confectioner's sugar
- 4-5 tablespoons your favorite brand orange marmalade, or to taste
- Dark Chocolate, optional garnish
- Coarsely chopped nuts, optional garnish
- Have ready a large serving platter that will hold any liquid and juice under the oranges.
- Cut off the top and bottom from the first orange, at least ½ inch in, leaving a clear round of orange fruit visible. Reserve these orange ends. Cut away all of the orange rind, pith, and outer membrane from the orange. Turn the orange on its side, the center "core" parallel to the work surface, and slice the orange into 5 equal slices; each should be about a scant ½-inch thick. Poke out any white, spongy center and discard.
- Repeat with the remaining oranges. Fan the orange slices in concentric, overlapping circles on the serving platter. Squeeze any juice remaining in the small orange rind ends over the fruit.
- Drizzle the Grand Marnier evenly over the orange slices.
- Place the powdered sugar and the cinnamon in a small, fine mesh sieve and dust evenly over the orange slices.
- Allow the oranges to macerate for at least ½ hour but this can be prepared before the meal and refrigerated.
- Place the heavy whipping cream in a medium-sized chilled bowl. Beat at high speed until thick and peaks hold when the beaters are lifted.
- Beat in the mascarpone and 1 tablespoon powdered sugar.
- Beat in 4 tablespoons orange marmalade.
- Taste and beat in more sugar or marmalade to taste; additional marmalade will add both sweetness and orange flavor so you might not want to add more sugar until you have added as much marmalade as you like.
- Distribute strawberry halves and blueberries over the orange slices; save some to pass around separately at the table so guests can add as many as they desire.
- Either add a large dollop of the orange marmalade whipped cream to plated individual servings or allow guests to serve themselves both the salad and the cream passed separately.
Once served, generously grate some dark chocolate over the top of the salad or individual servings and even add a dusting of chopped pistachios or hazelnuts, if you want the crunch.