Citrus Season Sweetness

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It’s been a [very] long time since a recipe post. While I had big ambitions at the beginning of the year to make these more frequent and better planned (and better photographed!), a new ambitious plan has sort of taken everything over. So this will probably be the last food post for a while (and the blog itself will probably remain quiet as well) while I focus my energy into getting the magazine off the ground. The GOOD news on that front though, is that the magazine itself will feature a dozen or so beautiful full color pages of recipes and food photography!

(You can like, preorder the magazine right here btw)

But, anyway, today we have a couple recipes all about citrus, which is in season usually at the end of winter. And of course, it’s Spring now — that’s my bad. But early Spring in Minnesota is basically still winter, and these are some beautiful, bright and colorful tasties to brighten the dreary days.


Upside Down Blood Orange Cardamom Cake

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Count this among the decadent ways to enjoy citrus, but one that is not totally over played (looking at you, lemon bars). The question of how to capitalize on the striking beauty of blood oranges but still bake them into a tasty dessert is answered perfectly with this upside down cake. The batter itself is simple and not overly sweet- the caramel does most of the heavy lifting there. Cardamom, which can go savory or sweet, lends a much needed floral quality here. It compliments the citrus and the caramel nicely without overpowering. It should be noted that the recipe calls for a whole vanilla bean, which has a very high market price at the moment. You can use vanilla extract in its place, or even better if you can find vanilla bean paste and substitute the amount per the packages instructions. We served this with citrus sorbet, because I like doing a sorbet with a cake to lighten it up a bit, but try serving it with ice cream or unsweetened whipped cream as well if you’d choose.

Ingredients

– Nonstick Spray
-3/4 cup light brown sugar
-1 1/2 sticks unsalted room temperature butter
-6 small blood oranges, peeled with pith removed, cut into round slices (make sure to remove any seeds)
-1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
-3 tablespoons polenta
-1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
-1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
-1/2 teaspoon baking soda
-1 cup granulated sugar
-1 teaspoon cardamom (or more, to preference)
-1 vanilla bean (or 1 tablespoon vanilla extract)
-4 eggs at room temperature
-3/4 cup buttermilk at room temperature

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Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. You will need a 9” springform pan for this recipe, as well as a baking sheet lined with foil.

In a small pot on the stove, cook the brown sugar, 1/4 cup of the butter, 2 tbsp of water, and a dash of sea salt. Stir until the brown sugar is dissolved. Once sugar is dissolved and smooth, bring to a boil and stop stirring for about 2 minutes. Spray springform pan with oil and place on the foil lined baking sheet. Pour caramel into pan and let it sit for a few minutes before arranging the orange slices on the caramel, filling in any gaps for an even layer.

Combine the dry ingredients in a medium mixing bowl. Whisk together the flour, polenta, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and cardamom. Using a large bowl, combine the white granulated sugar, 1/2 cup butter and vanilla with an electric mixer. Beat for about 4 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, beating the mixture between eggs. Mix all together for about 3 minutes.

Using the lowest setting on your mixer, alternate adding the dry ingredients and the buttermilk. Start with a third of the dry ingredients, and then half of the buttermilk. Continue using the same proportions until everything is incorporated, mixing between each addition.

Once the batter is fully combined, pour into the springform pan over the caramel and oranges.

Bake until golden, and your cake tester comes out clean, 50-65 minutes. I recommend the full 65 minutes. Cool on a wire cooling rack for at least 10 minutes, run a knife or offset spatula around edges, and unmold pan. Place a plate on top of the cake and carefully flip over. Slowly remove the bottom of the pan. Let sit and cool completely before serving. Recipe adapted from epicurious.com


Citrus Fennel Salad

All these flavors are such a bright spot in the dead of winter. They can border on being a bit astringent, so that’s why the olive oil and sea salt is so important. There are many fantastic ways to mix and match ingredients to make a satisfying winter citrus salad, but this one is super simple. A nice sharp knife or a mandolin will be essential to get the thinly shaved fennel just right.

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Ingredients

-1 large grapefruit, peel and pith removed
-2 clementines, peel and pith removed
-1 medium blood orange, peel and pith removed
-1 small bulb of fennel, thinly shaved
-Mint leaves Olive oil for drizzling
-Maldon sea salt

Method

Turn grapefruit on it’s side and slice off a portion of the peel to create a flat bottom and top. Turn onto the cutting board flat bottom side down, and run a sharp knife down the sides to remove the peel. Make sure to take off all the excess white pith as well. Once peeled, use knife to cut between the sections to create supremes. Repeat until all sections are cut out. Squeeze the leftover grapefruit over a bowl to capture all of the juices. Use the same method for peeling the blood orange and clementines, however cut the fruit in round slices instead, making sure to remove any seeds.

Arrange the citrus on a plate, dress with the grapefruit juice, drizzle generously with olive oil, a few leaves of mint, and a sprinkle of the Maldon salt.

Served immediately.

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