Thursday, January 17, 2008

When Life Hands You Lemons...(or oranges)

For some reason my mother-in-law sent Kevin and me a big box of oranges. We received them two days ago. When I saw the box I asked, "What are we supposed to do with all of these oranges?" Kevin replied, "Eat them." Yeah Yeah. My husband used to be a professional comedian. Obviously we eat them, but there seemed to be more than what the two of us could possibly eat. He was urging me to take them with me to work with me for lunch or snacks yesterday, but I had a whole kitchen full of fruit I had purchased earlier in the week.

It was time for Disorder Cook to find other ways to put them to use. I went to the website and looked up recipes for oranges and chicken - and promptly rejected them all.

Last night I took two of those oranges and juiced them. I zested one of them.

I mixed the juice with two tablespoons of red wine vinegar and a tablespoon of chopped fresh rosemary. I hestitated on the next step, but ended up adding a clove of minced garlic.

Next I pounded some boneless skinless chicken thighs and dredged them in seasoned flour. I sauteed them in olive oil and butter until nice and brown. Then I took them out and kept them warm and added the OJ mixture to the pan. I let the whole thing reduce down a bit and poured that over the chicken.

Meanwhile I added a cinnamon and cumin to chicken stock and used the mixture to cook some rice in. When it was cooked, I threw in handfuls of sliced almonds and chopped dried apricots.

The last thing I did was thaw some frozen green beans in the microwave. (What? You expect me to clean, trim, and steam fresh green beans on a weeknight? Rachael Ray exists for a reason folks. I refuse to feel guilty.) I mixed the orange zest with a quarter cup of olive oil, 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar, and a teaspoon of dried oregano.

All in all it was a good meal. I wasn't sure if all of the flavors of all three dishes would tie together well. I think the chicken sauce could have been sweeter (or else a little white wine would have been nice too). My rice came out gloppy (my fault), but it's other fault was that it was a little too sweet. Kevin thought it contained oranges and it was the only thing I made that had no orange in it.

Now I'm thinking of ways I can turn the oranges into dessert.

Or maybe I could just eat them by themselves?


Emiline said...

You and me both need to find out what to do with oranges! I have a ton of them. Your chicken dish sounds really good. Maybe you could make an orange julius?

I'm working on our orange problem, at this very minute. If all goes well, I'll have a recipe for you.

Sue said...

The beginning of your post sounds like that Raymond episode where he sends his parents the fruit of the month club. They are completely at a loss as to what to do with all that fruit. They actually get mad at him. It is soooooooooo funny.

You COULD put them in the fridge and each of you could have a nice orange a day for as long as they last.

If you want to take a beautiful fresh healthy fruit and crap it up, you can make a thick sugar syrup, peel the oranges (including the white pith) and poach them in the syrup. Adding a few strips of the skin is good too. Here's a recipe for Caramelized Oranges: (I'd leave out the the clove and cinnamon.)

You could roast a chicken with orange slices under the skin and put some inside the chicken. You could make a Moroccan type salad with oranges, olives, red onions and a bit of pimento. You could make Orange Givree, where you somehow scoop out all the flesh from the orange and replace it with orange sorbet, then freeze the whole thing. Spectacular.

You could invite some folks over and play that game where you have to transfer the orange to the next person without using your hands.

Tanya said...

I just made an orange pound cake that freezes well (so long as, if you decide to ice it, you ice it after freezing.) Uses one orange for each loaf.

Oranges also go in carrot soup, or so I hear.