When Life Gives You Oranges

Salutations there all. Great apologies for my blatant delinquency in posting the past couple of days. It has been a hell of a week. Pardon my French. The time change completely took me for a doozy. I was knackered all week and my sleeping patterns were definitely affected. I have no idea why but I was no stranger to sitting up in bed circa 2 am, bright eyed and bushy tailed. If we had a pet, this would have made for a win-win situation. I have also had an insane amount of hay on my fork. The joys of life I suppose. So, I would like to thank my audience ever so greatly for your outstanding patience. The above shenanigans aside, it has been a busy weekend of celebrating my Irish heritage, enjoying the beautiful weather that is forecast to change radically starting tomorrow and cooking. In short, I have some fantastic recipes to bring you this week.

By now, you should know that I am a big fan of do it yourself. If I see cookies or a cake, I know I can make it myself. I get ideas in my head thanks to restaurants or other varied sources and I get cracking in my own kitchen. I heart inspiration in the arena of food. Girlfriends tell me I have to try this marinated x, y or z from this or that place but in all honestly, I will not. I am a big fan of making my own rubs and marinades. Why purchase a tin or jar in the shop or something already slathered when I can create my own. This way, I always know what is going into what I am making. No hidden salts, additives, nonsense or surprises.

Despite multiple doctors’ tests stating otherwise, I am convinced that gluten hates my guts. No pun intended. If you do suffer from any food allergies, you are very familiar with the need to be vigilant in the context of reading labels. Glutens are in everything. Ditto nuts and dairy. The list is shocking. So no surprise here, I keep things as simple as possible, procuring only the best ingredients and I make my own version. This revelation is possibly going to come as a crushing blow to native North Carolinian Matthew once spring officially arrives. Warm weather ignites cravings for his favorite packaged bottled sauces. 2014 will be all about self expression through creation in the kitchen! Special sauces included.

In terms of simplifying your life and preparing your own goods, a hand grater is a must for any kitchen. I like the brand Microplane. You can pick one up at Williams Sonoma for under twenty bucks. This simple tool will simplify your life. It makes it uber easy to zest oranges, lemons, limes and grapefruits. You can use it to grate fresh nutmeg, gingers and garlic. It is outstanding for manipulating hard blocks of cheese. Pecorino, Romano and Parmesan. You can hold it at a tilt on your cutting board and accumulate a pile on your workspace or it is versatile enough to simply hover over things. Salads, sauces, pasta dishes, casseroles and meats alike. The world is your oyster with this puppy. In fact, I have started incorporating more grating and zesting into dishes simply because I have this on hand.

I was at the grocers this week and stopped to try oranges. I almost never sample goodies outside of ripe cantaloupe but these were so inviting, I could not resist. I had one followed by another and another. They were sweet, juicy and just spectacular. I was instantly taken back to my days of soccer when during halftime, a Mom would procure Gatorade and bags of quartered oranges. I bought a bag of them thinking that someone and probably not me, would eat them. When I arrived home and unpacked the bags of goodies, I looked at the gorgeous orange skin and knew the pork loin chops in the fridge would love a date with them. So I pulled out my Microplane and got to work. A nanosecond later I had a fragrant rub with which I lovingly introduced to our pork chops. When Matthew arrived home from work, he threw them on the grill. The weather was stunning so why not. Otherwise, I would have popped these into the oven. We ate the oranges themselves for dessert sans skins of course. Recycling at its best. Easy peasy and absolutely delicious.

Coriander Orange Paprika Rub
Adapted from Bon Appetit

You Need

Zest of two oranges
1 TBS coriander seeds
2 tsp paprika
1 TBS olive oil
1 generous pinch of salt

Do It Yourself

Throw everything in a bowl, mix with your hands and slather on your meat. You can use this on any cut of pork – tenderloin, chops, you name it. The above decorated 4 boneless pork loin chops generously. Let it sit for around twenty minutes or overnight if you get your ducks in a row early. Grill, roast, bake or braise as you know best. Guten Appetit!

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