Thursday, October 27, 2011

eve should have tried this


Odd word that. 

On its own, it smacks of pinch-nosed Puritans clunking their way through Plymouth Colony in their not-so-comfortable shoes constantly worried about the state of their salvation while condemning anyone who was having the semblance of a good time. 

It is no coincidence that dour and sour are one consonant away from being Castor and Pollux.

But marry up that word with a tasty noun, and the little tug boat adjective pushes its noun into the heart of hedonism.

Sour cream, for instance.  (For a recent take on that union take a look at Felipe's Avocados and sour cream.)  The very essence of ambrosia.

But some marriages are far more complex than others -- the Windsors spring to mind.  As does sour orange.

I have one.  A sour orange tree, that is.  It is rather stunted due to the shade thrown by the paternalistic Flamboyant tree.  But it survives to throw its fruit.

When unripe, the oranges could be substituted for limes.  They are that acidic.  When ripe, they have a bit of sweetness.  Not much.  About the same measure you would expect to find in Joan Crawford's maternal well.

For the past two seasons, the oranges have gone to waste.  And that is too bad.  When I was in Oregon, I used them in my Cuban dishes.  There was no reason to let the harvest rot.

Making a Cuban marinade is easy.  Sour oranges.  Garlic (lots of garlic).  A bit of vinegar.  And a nice mixture of fresh ground black pepper, oregano, and cumin.  Swooshed together in an overnight bath for the chosen meat.

The marinade is not very particular.  Beef.  Pork.  Chicken.  They all work well with a marinade that is not the least bit subtle.

Baking is the preferred method for most recipes.  But I was in a fusion mood the other night.  Stir fried chicken Cubano sounded just about right.

One reason I like stir fry is that I get to grab fresh vegetables at the market.  Tomatoes.  Carrots.  Little zucchini.  Onion.  Serrano peppers.

Somewhere along the line I heard the voice of  my friend Carrol.  She once told me that men have a tendency to misread the effect of ingredients on each other.  To that I plead guilty.  I once made a salad dressing with mint and basil.  The combination was a disaster.  I would have been better using essence of lawn grass.

In this instance, the combination was not bad -- even though the acid in the marinade and the acid in the tomatoes did create an interesting taste choreography.

Poured over the top of multicolored farfalle, there was nothing understated for either the tongue or the eye.  One of those experiments that could have easily ended up in the trash can as on the dinner platter.  In this case, it was a success -- rather than a learning experience.


jennifer j rose said...

Comedian chef Shirley Fong-Torres once joked that “Fusion cuisine is whatever people find in the refrigerator when stoned."
What happened to your C-word food aversion? Cream, chicken, Cubano, carrots?

Steve Cotton said...

The C-rule often falls by the wayside when reality intrudes.  Much the same problem the president has when trying to explain why spending other people's money will somehow stimulate the economy for people whose money he spent on their own behalf.  Compared with that, my C-rule has the virtue of periodic consistency.

Tancho said...

One of the things I enjoy down south is the abundance of citrus,and the inexpensive prices.
In fact I had orange soaked grilled chicken for lunch today.....great flavors!

Steve Cotton said...

Sounds good to me. I make a quick orange sauce from regular oranges, as well. With a bit of honey and rosemary. Chicken and oranges are natural allies. Tomatoes and oranges -- not so much.

Kim G said...

Supposedly those things make fabulous marmalade.


Kim G
Boston, MA
Where we are starting to hear the word "snow" thrown casually into weather reports. God! Get me to Mexico.

Cdubee said...

Im with Kim G. marmelade is pretty easy. the pith of the orange has a natural thickening agent.

Steve Cotton said...

They make the best marmalade.

And that reminds me of one of my Dad's favorite corny jokes.  One chick says to the other: "Did you hear about the orange marma laid?"

Steve Cotton said...

I may give it a try one of these days. I love marmalade.

Ewa Platt said...

sour oranges, so hard to find in the stores, are often used in the Yucatan with great results!

Anna said...

All that is missing is a photo of your creation.

Steve Cotton said...

I thought about that -- after I ate it. Thus the orange photograph.

Steve Cotton said...

And I can now put them to good use.