Blood red flesh, crimson juice like nectar for the gods, blood oranges are a treat this time of the year. Beyond yummy on their own, they are like eating an orange blossom the way their intoxicating flavor and fragrance fill one’s headspace. A native of Sicily (but luckily are now grown here in California), these ruby jewels are wonderful paired with paper thin shavings of fennel in a salad with toasted almond slivers and a drizzle of really good olive oil. I like to macerate the fennel while I prepare the other ingredients in the juice of an orange or, if you have it on hand, Orange Muscat Champagne Vinegar (find it at Trader Joe’s if there’s one near you). Perhaps also add a bit of chopped basil or flat leaf parsley, grated zest to add brightness and season to taste.
“To sit in the shade on a fine day and look upon verdure is the most perfect refreshment.” ~Jane Austen
When I was growing up in Virginia, I used to spend countless balmy summer afternoons with my best friend hiding out from her mom and chores on the school-yard side of their back fence. It was ensconced with the most prolific honeysuckle vines that EVER existed.
We would sit in the sweet meadow grass, our ears buzzing from the symphony of busy bees visiting every flower. They serenaded us as we plucked the white and yellow blossoms and inhaled their heady fragrance. Then, we would pinch the stems and draw out the stamens. Our reward for the delicate technique? An intoxicating bead of nectar we let drip on our tongues.
In sort of stuporous swoon from the hours spent imbibing that ambrosial elixir, we’d climb the fence and swagger home for supper.
Little did I know then that it was the beginning of my quest for endless adventures in the realm of food. A dauntless explorer seeking out the most palate pleasing experiences…