recipe: citrus inspirations for a summer day

Summer meals can taken on a myriad of flavors from the smokey barbecue, the crisp and cold salad-esque, to the light and clean detectability. Citrus flavor pallets tend to hold that summer association really well so the inspiration of this meal drew heavily from that principle combining flavors of orange (as well as lemon and lime) among a couple of meals. The fun of making meals like this is figuring out how to make a single ingredient, like an orange, work well in a series of integrated applications in order to put together a coherent meal.

Three bean citrus salad

The basis of the salad draws from some of the usual suspects in the three-bean scenario, but you’ll notice a few elements that run fairly consistent with others I make, which is why I found putting this together as a last minute combination so simple and gratifying. The beans can be swapped in and out with your preferences, black, red, pinto, black eyed peas, chick peas, wax beans, sugar snap peas, etc. so feel free to experiment. I usually use canned beans or frozen and thawed or dried and soaked is fine as well, as long as the final versions are rinsed and ready to eat. For the string beans, I use fresh: Remove the ends of the string beans, blanch in boiling water for a few minutes, drain and chill immediately in ice water, then cut into bit sized pieces. The dish is supposed to be served cold but it could be made warm depending on your taste.

Red kidney beans
Cannellini Beans (white beans)
String beans
Olive oil
Orange (juice and some slices, save the zest for later meal)
Lemon (juice, save the zest for later meal)
vadallia onion
bell pepper (red)
garlic cloves
Black Pepper
Large mixing bowl

Prepare and rinse all of your beans, then combine in the large mixing bowl
Chop the onion, bell pepper and garlic and add to the mixing bowl (reserved the unused parts of the veggies)
Zest the oranges and lemon and hold the zest aside
Juice some of the oranges and the lemon, the ratio should be about 3:1 orange to lemon in liquid, retain the rinds
Peel and retain the rinds and slice the remaining orange into bite sized pieces and place in the mixing bowl
Combine the olive oil with the juice about a 2:1 ratio
Mix in the cracked black pepper, cumin, coriander, and chopped clilantro to the liquids
Toss the liquids in with the contents of the large mixing bowl
Allow to rest, chilled, re-toss before serving.

Citrus couscous with fired veggies

Drawing off the flavors from the bean salad (and the left overs from prepping it) this is a fairly simple couscous dish to put together. The couscous should not be the flavored kind, as the stock and some simple seasonings should do the trick. If you feel the stock isn’t strong enough in citrus flavor you can use bottled juice to help strengthen it as necessary. The stock is made by combining the leftover parts of the onion, bell pepper, garlic, rinds of the orange and lemons and whatever trimming you have from the fired veggies along with some salt and boiling them for no less than 20 minutes. Strain out the fruit and vegetable parts inside the stock and then return the stock to the heat to prepare it for the couscous. The vegetables can be your choice, we originally went with broccoli which was good, but in re-thinking the recipe the squashes might have worked more like the recipe I was thinking of when I first started to throw the idea together so I’ve used them here. Eggplant, English cucumber and patty-pan squash would work as well as different bell peppers (although, I don’t like eggplant per se) but feel free to again, experiment with the what you include based on texture, color and flavor

Citrus fruit zest
yellow crookneck squash
bell pepper (red)
celery seasoning
onion powder
olive oil
roasting pan or grill
large pot

Clean and slice the squash, zucchini and bell pepper, coat lightly with oil and a dash of salt and either roast in the broiler or grill
While the vegetables are fired prepare the couscous
Measure out the liquid to couscous ratio according to the package instructions
Bring the appropriate amount of stock up to a boil and down to a simmer with a bit of olive oil
Add the onion powder, celery seasoning, coriander, cilantro and citrus zest to the stock
Add the couscous to the stock and mix well, cover, turn down / off heat and let rest according to the package instructions (about 5 minutes)
Fluff before serving the couscous
Place the fire roasted veggies over the couscous or on a separate dish to be served family style with the couscous

About thedoormouse

I am I. That’s all that i am. my little mousehole in cyberspace of fiction, recipes, sacrasm, op-ed on music, sports, and other notations both grand and tiny:
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