Blood Orange Sangria
We are so glad you have decided to join us once again for our Cooking Light Virtual Supper Club. This is a monthly event where 5 ladies and now one gent in two neighbouring countries get together to create a delicious meal with a theme in mind. We are now in our second year and continue to share a love for Cooking Light magazine which has an emphasis on healthy eating and living. This is a team effort where we combine what Cooking Light readers like best...good food with great company!!! Every month millions of readers turn to Cooking Light for recipes, advice on nutrition and fitness.
This months theme " Notes of Citrus"was chosen by long time member Jamie following her Floridian roots. We've mixed and matched these tropical-flavoured recipes for an aromatic menu that includes a splash of sunshine from start to finish. If you have a dish that would fit into this months theme please feel free to add your link at the bottom of this post with the Linky Tool.
Next month we will be highlighting local ingredients with "100 Miles of Flavour"
For my contribution this month I chose the seasonal blood orange. There is just something about them that appeals to all of my senses. They sport a thin, red-blushed orange skin, with flesh that ranges in colour from pink to brilliant red to burgundy. They're tart-sweet and slightly berry-like in flavour. The two most popular varieties are the dark-fleshed Moro and the delicately flavored Tarocco. The former is available from December to March, and the latter from January to May. Because the orange tree can simultaneously produce flowers, fruit, and foliage, these succulent fruits have long been associated with fertility. Although some are grown in California, most blood oranges come from Mediterranean countries (Southern Italy in particular) and are often considered to be among the finest dessert oranges in the world. Imagine picking one right from the tree!!!!
The brightly coloured outer layer of citrus fruit, the zest, contains scented essential oils that impart a handsome flavour to dishes. When a recipe calls for strips of zest, a vegetable peeler works very well. But for fluffy, grated zest, try using my favourite kitchen gadget a micro plane zester. Years ago I remember watching an episode of Martha Stewart where she used a woodworkers microplane to zest her lemons. I am sure this is where the idea came from to create a microplane for cooking. Best invention yet!
When juicing your citrus to extract the maximum juice, either roll your citrus fruit around on a flat work surface, pressing down firmly with the palm of your hand (this method is particularly useful for limes, which can be hard to squeeze), or warm through gently by dropping into a pan of hot water, popping into the microwave for a few seconds, or even placing in a warm oven for a minute or two. I use the microwave method myself and there is never a drop of juice wasted. One pound of fruit equals about three medium oranges and one cup of juice.
Oranges are rich in antioxidants which are vital for healthy cells, including vitamin C, which aids in healing, boosts your immune system, helps your body absorb iron, and even helps reduce the risk of cancer. One tasty, medium-sized blood orange will provide you with 70 calories, 3.0 grams of fiber, 1.0 gram of protein, and no fat, sodium, or cholesterol.
Now lets see what we have cooked up for you for this months theme.
First of all Mary Ann of Meet Me in the Kitchen starts our Notes of Citrus menu off with a tantalizing appetizer of Lime-Spiked Black Bean Dip. This dip is so easy and perfect for our virtual gathering. It tastes best served at room temperature.
Next Sandi of The Whistlestop Cafe wowed us with our main event Lemon Sage Chicken. The bright flavors of lemon and sage transform bland chicken breasts in this simple and fast marinade. Plan on marinating the chicken at least 4 hours before grilling or baking.
To amp up our Notes of Citrus menu Jamie of Mom's Cooking Club compliments the menu with Mixed Lettuce, Pear and Goat Cheese Salad with Citrus Dressing. Thanks for choosing this months theme Jamie. Our taste buds definitely needed to be awakened like the buds on the trees.
Jerry of Jerry's Thoughts, Musings and Rants brings the King of side dishes with Braised Fennel with Orange. Orange juice and rind delicately flavour wedges of fennel. This slightly sweet side is the perfect foile for the rest of our menu.
Roz of La Bella Vita ends our meal with that WOW factor with an absolutely stunning Nathan's Lemon Cake. Cooking Light adapted this recipe to trim the fat and calories, and it's still a moist, lemony finale...gorgeous too!!!
To accompany our meal I brought along an outstanding drink with Spanish roots a Blood Orange Sangria. Any good-quality, fruity red wine works well in this cold sipper; a combination of pinot noir and Beaujolais is particularly good. The vermilion flesh of blood oranges is lovely. But if they're not available, substitute navel oranges. The only change to the recipe is that I added the juice of 3 blood oranges. They were so juicy I needed to wash the wall!!
**Blood Orange Sangria**
2 cups sliced strawberries
2 cups apple juice ( added juice of 3 blood oranges juiced to make 2 cups of juice in total)
2/3 cup Triple Sec (orange-flavored liqueur)
1/2 cup sugar
4 whole cloves
3 seedless blood oranges, each cut into 16 wedges
2 (750-milliliter) bottles fruity red wine
2 (3-inch) cinnamon sticks
1 lemon, cut into 8 wedges
1 lime, cut into 8 wedges
Combine all ingredients in a large pitcher, and stir until sugar dissolves. Cover and chill 8 hours or overnight. Discard cloves and cinnamon sticks. Pour sangria into individual glasses, including the fruit.
Serves 16 or 8 or 4......wink )
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