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My Little Kumquat December 11, 2008

Posted by Toy Lady in Cooking, Food, Rochester.
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PhotobucketNo, not you, Mr. Goofy Head.

You may recall that this week’s mystery produce was kumquats.

I love that word.

Kumquat.  Kumquat.  Kumquat.  😆

Doesn’t it just sound like a made-up word?  Kumquat.

Anyway.  Snapping out of it now.

I’d never tasted – or even seen, to my knowledge – a kumquat.

I did not know what I was missing. 😯

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So kumquats are a citrus-type fruit that most closely resembles a wee little oval-shaped orange.  Kind of like a grape orange.  😯

Neat.

I picked up a basket at the market, which, once I got it home, weighed in at about 3/4 of a pound, for a buck.

Have I mentioned that I love the public market?  You never know what you’re going to find when you go, but if you look, you can always go home with something unexpected.  For a buck.  😆

Dude.  A buck for a basket of kumquats.  So what to do with them?

I mean, we can always do the basic kumquat marmalade, or maybe some candied kumquats.  Sure.  But I’d like to do something. . . different.

A while back, I stumbled on a recipe for steak with a chipotle-orange sauce.

Hmm.  I have some chipotles lying around in the freezer.  And a steak.  What if, instead of mandarin oranges, I used thin-sliced kumquats?  They seem to be kind of orange-y, and, with the skins, they should be a little more zesty than, say, boring old canned tangerines.

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Yeah.  Let’s do this.  😀

Photobucket - Video and Image HostingWe had one lone rib-eye steak in the freezer, so I pulled that out and let it partially thaw – not completely.  As soon as I could get a knife through it, I sliced the steak thinly.  Very thinly.  I also trimmed some of the fat off while I was at it.

Um, this is starting to look a little like a stir-fry, isn’t it?  No matter.  I like stir-fry, and, according to the Wikipedia article, kumquats are originally Asian anyway.  We’re good.  😀

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So.  The first thing I did was I browned the steak in a large sauté pan over high-ish heat – just until it was almost, but not quite, done.  Then I pulled it out of the pan, dumped it in a bowl, and covered it with foil in an attempt to keep it sort of warm.

At least not stone cold, anyway.

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At some point, either before starting to cook, or while the meat is cooking, get the sauce put together. It’s really very simple – slice up your kumquats (I used about half of the basket – it should amount to maybe ½ cup – and combine with ½ cup orange juice, a teaspoon or so of sugar, a quarter teaspoon of kosher salt, and maybe half a teaspoon or so of parsley.

My fresh parsley has finally given up the ghost out there – it’s all wilty and frozen and stuff – so I used dried.  Obviously, if you’re using fresh, you could use a bit more.  Just set this aside – you’ll want to have it handy soon.

Meanwhile, I minced a shallot and a couple of cloves of garlic, and combined them with some chopped chipotles in adobo.  About the chipotles – a little bit of smoked jalapeño goes a long way.  When we open a 4-oz can (I think it’s 4 ounces; it might be 6), we dump the whole thing – peppers, sauce, the works – into the mini-Cuisinart and pulverize it all, then freeze in an ice cube tray.  One cube is equal to about 2 Tablespoons, which is fine for most things.  In this case, though, I used half a cube.

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So this mixture got dumped into the same sauté pan, along with a splash of vegetable oil or canola or whatever.  There’s no need for olive oil here – not with the shallots and chipotle!

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Cook a couple of minutes, over medium-ish heat, until the mixture takes on a nice brownish color – scrape up any bits of fond as you go.

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Once you determine your aromatics are sufficiently browned (and softened), add the kumquat mixture and bring it to a simmer.

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Simmer, kumquats, simmer.  😀

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When you get a simmer, return the beef, along with any meat juices, to the pan, and heat through.

We served this with sautéed snow peas on a bed of basmati rice.

I thought it was great – the kumquats were, in fact, like little, tiny, extra-zesty oranges.

The thin skins were more zesty than pithy, so they weren’t at all bitter – just full of orange-y goodness.

There was a bit left over which made a lovely reheated lunch for me.

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And the really cool thing is that I have half a basket of kumquats to do something else with.

I’m thinking marmalade.  Or maybe a kumquat-cranberry chutney for Christmas brunch. . . say!  😯

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Comments

1. origamifreak - December 11, 2008

Kumquats are kind of funny, in that the skins are actually pretty sweet, while the insides are the sour part. (You can eat them fresh – when I do, I usually nibble all the skin off and then eat the middle slowly because I can’t eat it fast.) They don’t seem to have any of the bitterness often found in orange rinds.

Toy Lady - December 12, 2008

I actually was nibbling the sliced fruit while I was cooking dinner – and yes, there’s no bitterness at all, which would make them great for sauce – maybe with chocolate? Hmmm. . .

2. origamifreak - December 13, 2008

Oh wow – I didn’t even THINK of that possibility!

What about chocolate fondue, with grated kumquat zest stirred in at the last minute? (so the volatiles aren’t cooked out)

Or in a chocolate cake? Preferably a really moist one like my sister-in-law’s beet-root cake recipe: http://www.recipezaar.com/Maritimers-Mint-Chocolate-Beet-Cake-62501

3. Toy Lady - December 14, 2008

Every now and then, just a touch of orange-y goodness with good chocolate can be a really good thing, can’t it?

I actually think I’m going to try to start with a cranberry-ruby port conserve recipe and add kumquat slices to that – it should add a nice, tart orange-y flavor, which will be great with cranberries, along with the presentation of the sliced kumquats. . . mmmmm. 😀


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