Cooking is not unlike life itself, it is filled with all that you know and filled with much you have to discover. Unless you are open to experiencing new foods you will never truly get to experience what it is to grow as a cook as well as a person. The What the heck do I do with this section of my blog is pretty much to showcase and highlight accessible and also non accessible items that you should be discovering and using. You have to see past the ordinary to use these things and to get creative with your thinking about them. This month’s out of the ordinary item is the bittersweet kumquat. The kumquat is somewhat of an anomaly as typically we see the peel of citrus as the sour part and the insides sweet, in the case of the kumquat it’s the exact opposite. The peel is sweet and the inside bitter. They are a lovely snack to snack on and an even better fruit to use in cooking and concocting!
The kumquat is a little oval shape orange looking creature, the size of a large grape, originating from China, the name translates to yellowish –orange in Cantonese. The kumquat is a unique citrus as you eat the entire fruit, peel and all, again the kumquat has a sweet peel and a tart inside, unlike other citrus. Its main uses are in sauces and stews and jams as well as salads and drinks. The seeds are edible as well so never mind them when you pop them in your mouth, eat the WHOLE thing. Kumquats are in season at the end of winter and move through early spring. Store the kumquats in your refrigerator for up to two or three weeks or let them sit on your counter like oranges for a few weeks. Pick kumquats that are firm and blemish free. We are seeing the last of this seasons bountiful harvest so check them out! They are fully loaded with high doses of vitamin C and are again not only a great snack ( I tend to have a bowl on my desk in peak season) but they are excellent for cooking and at Ger-Nis we love them in drinks!
Here are some of my favorite kumquat recipes that are a bit more daring and less ordinary than the usual suspects!
Makes 5 cocktails
1 cup kumquats, sliced medium
½ cup brown sugar
½ cup fresh mint leaves
1 ¾ cups ginger infused dark rum (recipe follows)
In a small bowl mix together kumquats and brown sugar until the sugar is all over the kumquats. Set the kumquats aside for at least 2 hours. In 5 large beer glasses or tall Collins glasses, divide up the kumquats and place at the bottom of the glasses. Next tear up all the mint leaves and divide them up amongst the glasses as well. Muddle the mint and the sugared kumquats in each glass until the kumquats begin to break apart. We want most of the kumquats to remain intact and just slightly muddled. Fill the glasses with ice and place about 3 ounces of ginger infused dark rum in them. Fill the glasses with seltzer water and mix well, keeping the kumquats towards the bottom and allow the mint to float to the top.
Fresh Ginger Infused Dark Rum
Makes 1 quart
1 cup fresh ginger, sliced thin (does not need to be peeled)
1 quart dark rum
In jar place the fresh ginger slices. Add the dark rum and let infuse for about 4 days. Remove the ginger and store in a dark place for up to 3 months.
2 chopped chicken breasts
1 medium yellow onion
1 cup of chopped kumquats
¼ cup of cilantro
2 tablespoons of curry powder
½ cup of chicken stock
½ cup of plain yogurt
Sauté two chopped chicken breasts, one medium yellow onion, one cup of chopped kumquats and ¼ cup of cilantro with two tablespoons of curry powder. After sautéing, add ½ cup of chicken stock and cook until all ingredients are done. Mix in ½ cup of plain yogurt and mix well.
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