“For what it’s worth: it’s never too late, or in my case too early, to be whoever you want to be. There’s no time limit, stop whenever you want. You can change or stay the same. There are no rules to this thing. We can make the best or the worst of it. I hope you make the best of it. I hope you see things that startle you. I hope you feel things you never felt before. I hope you meet people with a different point of view. I hope you live a life you’re proud of, and if you find that you’re not, I hope you have the courage to start all over again.”
Celebration Citrus + Spiced Vanilla Syrup
The idea of marinated oranges was introduced to me a few years ago at a dinner party in France. The host had peeled and sliced oranges and soaked them in the fridge with ground cinnamon and I don’t remember what else. I couldn’t stop eating them. It was such a simple but delicious dessert. Since then it has become my go-to for last minute dessert ideas and pot luck gatherings during the holidays. Quick and simple, something I think we can all appreciate right now.
Last year there was a pomelo celebration, so I thought i’d make it an theme here. My mom and I were talking over the holidays about how much our grocery stores have changed over the years. How we never used to be able to buy fresh strawberries in February and how cabbage was a star staple during the winter. I like the idea of celebrating the arrival of certain fruits that don’t come from around here, and really giving them a place to shine on a table. This dish puts all that gorgeous citrus in the spot light. I could see it going down nicely with a side of bubbly, or as a great way to start off 2016 on top of granola, yogurt or waffles. Any leftover syrup can be kept in the fridge and would make a great topping for pancakes, etc. or perhaps to flavor a fancy cocktail? Cheers you guys. I hope your coming year is filled with lots of love, courage and adventure. Here’s to all that and so much more.
A few notes:
- Vanilla beans make a real difference here and I love the little specks of black, but if you don’t have or don’t want to invest in them, pure vanilla extract will be just fine, about 1 teaspoon.
- Use whatever citrus you like. These are my favorites but clementines, tangerines or satsumas would be nice too. Adjust quantities as needed.
- If you don’t have a tea bag or don’t like it, simply add a little extra cinnamon and ginger, perhaps some cloves or cardamom too.
Serves 4. Vegan + Gluten Free.
- 3 pink grapefruit
- 2 blood oranges
- 3 cara cara oranges
- Seeds/arils of half a pomegranate
- 1 vanilla pod
- 1 bag of herbal chai tea or spiced tea of choice (I love this one)
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/4 cup brown rice syrup (or honey or maple syrup)
- 2 tablespoons ground almonds
- Pinch good quality flaky sea salt
What to do
Using a sharp knife peel the skin off the citrus. Slice between the membrane to cut out the segments, trying get as much flesh as possible and as little skin/membrane. Do your best but it doesn’t need to be perfect. Place citrus in a colander and strain the juices into a small pot.
Once the juices have drained place the citrus and pomegranate seeds in a large bowl and set aside.
Using a sharp knife slice the vanilla pod open lengthwise, then scrap out the seeds using the flat edge of the knife. Stir the seeds into the citrus juice, along with the contents of the tea bag, ground cinnamon, ginger and rice syrup. For less of a tea flavor just allow the bag to steep in the juice without opening it. For more vanilla flavor throw the pod in as well. Bring everything to a boil, then reduce to a low simmer for about 5-10 minutes, until thickened and brownish. Let cool.
While the syrup is simmering, toast ground almonds with sea salt in a sauce pan over medium heat – just until fragrant but not brown, about 1-2 minutes.
Pour a few spoonfuls of the syrup over the citrus and toss to combine. Sprinkle with almonds. Serve and enjoy!