A little splash will do ya when it comes to adding flavor … as long as the splash is citrus. And that same glug will help put something special on the table with less than 30 minutes work.
Until fresh orange juice became practical, thanks to processing and refrigerated transportation, frozen concentrate was an important part of citrus recipes. It still has a place in cooking for the family. You get a pile of flavor with not much quantity.
Take macaroni and cheese. It takes 10 minutes to cook the pasta while you whip up the sauce. Melt butter (two tablespoons per cup of sauce), add flour (two tablespoons per cup of sauce), and cook it slowly for a few minutes. Don’t let it brown. Whisk in milk and cook until slightly thickened. Now, add the kicker … a few tablespoons of frozen orange juice concentrate. Stir in two cups of grated cheddar and a sprinkle of parmesan cheese. Cook until the cheese melts. Pour this over the cooked pasta, mix, and bake until it’s hot. Crumb topping is optional. Four cups of sauce is sufficient for a pound of macaroni.
Poaching is a great way to cook fish because the house doesn’t end up smelling like the back door of a bad fish market.
Mix equal amounts of orange juice and water, with a sprinkle of salt. Bring it to a simmer and slide the fish in. Let it cook about 10 minutes per inch of thickness.
For the crowning touch, heat OJ in a frying pan until it reduces and starts to get syrupy. Add an ounce of maple syrup and mix. Slide the fish in and turn it until the surface is glazed. The whole job takes much less than 30 minutes.
The next time you poach fish, add some herbs or spices to the juice.
Citrus and chicken or pork are natural combinations. Chicken breasts and lean pork chops fry in a few minutes. When they are almost done, add some orange juice to the pan and a small spoonful of curry powder. Let the sauce reduce until it’s as thick as you like it.
Orange rice on the side takes no more time than plain, boring rice. Use orange juice as part of the liquid. Toss in a cinnamon stick while the rice cooks. For a bigger kick, try lemon or lime juice stirred into the cooked rice before serving.
What could be more refreshing on a hot Florida day than a glistening pitcher of ice tea? A glistening pitcher of iced tea with flavor kicked up by lime juice and lime slices, of course.
All it takes for fun flavors is a few minutes, a little imagination, and Florida citrus.
story by TRENT ROWE
Trent Rowe is the Food Editor of Central Florida Ag News.