For some reason best known by the Great Universal Intelligence, zest has appeared in my life. Repeatedly. Often. The kind of zest I’m talking about is hanging on trees!
I’m always one to follow where my nose and taste buds lead me, for good or for bad. What kind of a friend would I be, not to share my journey with you? In January when we were in Sydney I saw Dukkha ‘with zest’ being sold in the markets and thought, why not try it myself? (my recipe from Sophie Grigson spells it Dukkha, but I notice most people spell it ‘Dukkah’, so whatever floats your boat). So I started drying my own zest and then adding it to my Dukkha–about two tsps Dukkha to one tsp dried zest.
My technique, if you can call it that, is to use a Microplane. The zest is much finer and will dry more easily. I use the narrow Microplane, and hold it so the underside is facing me, and I can see how much zest is accumulating. At the same time I can see how deeply on the skin I am grating. Don’t scrape too deeply because the white part is bitter. Because we live in a dry climate I simply spread it out on a plate and leave it for a a couple of days, and it is dry. If you live in a humid climate you may need to place it on a baking tray in a slow oven, then turn off the oven and leave it to dry overnight.
I recycle my little spice bottles and put the various flavours in each one. Do make certain the zest is very dry before bottling it, or it will go mouldy.
When the limes began to ripen at an alarming rate, I started zesting the outside and squeezing the juice and making ice blocks out of it for cooking, later in the year. I did talk about this in a previous kitchen post so I won’t labour the point. I make some blocks with zest and some without.
A week or so ago I saw a very simple idea to roast fresh beets, peel them, quarter them, and simply add the zest and juice from an orange. Let them marinate over night and voilà! Simple, tasty, zeeesty, yeah!
I’ve been known to ‘freelance’ my cooking here and there, ahem– just ask my family– they ask me all the time, ‘did you write it down so you can do it again? Usually no, but this time I took a photo! These chicken livers, sautéed with bacon, salt and pepper and topped with fresh chive and fresh zest were so simple, who needs more than a photo reminder?
I don’t zest grapefruit, but I do love eating it… with a pinch of salt! My Mother ate it this way when I was young and our whole family likes it like this. Section the grapefruit, sprinkle a small amount of good quality salt around then let it sit for five or 10 minutes before consuming. When you eat it, the salt seems to accentuate the sweetness of the grapefruit very nicely. I’m not saying it will convert you if you don’t like grapefruit or salt to begin with, but if you like to try simple things that are healthy and change up the tastes a bit, it’s worth a go. Our friends gave us these luscious pink grapefruit, how lucky are we?
Here’s another recent bit of kitchen knowledge… Even though we don’t use pesticide on our citrus, we do sometimes pick it up off the ground when it drops, and use it. So it needs washing. A tip I recently saw is to keep a spray bottle of vinegar under the kitchen sink (which I always do anyway, for cleaning purposes) and use it to spray all vegetables before washing. Apparently it removes as much wax, pesticide and mould or other unwanted things, as antiseptic soap does. And why wouldn’t you want to use vinegar instead of soap?? Some people scrub their veggies, and that is fine, but with more delicate fruits, that doesn’t work so well. Rub the vinegar around as if you are washing the fruit, or not, with more delicate fruits. Rinse and presto! It doesn’t affect the taste at all.
Betty Davies said:
None on this I’ve either. Don’t know if this happens on other recipients mobiles??? xx
Sent from my iPhone
I don’t know why you aren’t able to see this on your mobile device, Betty. Perhaps if anyone else has had this problem they will comment, although obviously if they have had the problem with this particular post they won’t be seeing this comment either!!
Excellent! Love the light!
Thanks Fabio! I love the light too!
David Prosser said:
Your accidental Still Life is very artistic Ardys. You could sell prints of that. I like the idea of the beetroot with some zest though I confess that pickled beetroot is my favorite. I’m thinking when I do my beetroot jelly to have with salads, a little lime juice might not go amiss either.
There we are, I’ve commented on a food blog that hasn’t required the use of a microwave and I’ve managed to keep the salivation to a minimum.
xxx Massive Hugs xxx
You are being very brave to view one of my food posts again, David! Pickled beets are delicious too!
Excellent blend of colour, light, texture and pattern in Accidental still life with citrus… would make a lovely postcard.
I’m pleased you ennumerated your zesting technique. I was given a cheap microplane and recently frustrated threw it out and bought a good one. Now I might manage to use it. I like the idea of pre-zesting and drying because it seems whenever I want zest I’m in a hurry. Bad combination.
I also always have vinegar spray to hand and use it to clean everything including fruit and vege. Market produce isn’t too bad but some produce from shops especially if they are near a busy road is astonishingly grimy.
I don’t eat much grapefruit although I love it, because the -ose makes me shake but I think there’ll be some on the tree at Taylors Arm in a couple of weeks. I might eat just a half with some good salt.
Thanks for reading EllaDee. I have to watch my grapefruit intake too, EllaDee. Glad to know others have discovered the vinegar wash. So sensible.
Last photo is marvelous, as well! Very sophisticated cuisine, but you give your hints in a natural manner – everything seems simple! Great job, Ardys!!! 🙂
I like that vinegar idea. I think I am going to do that too, we don’t get lemons grown here, so they are all imported, from Italy, from South Africa, you name it, they get here somehow, even one year those Meyer lemons turned up. Some stores sell organic ones, unwaxed but they of course mould far faster than the other sort. So I try to buy organic ones when I see them and hope that it is not just a label and that they really haven’t been sprayed. So a gentle vinegar bath would be just the thing!
Yum, yum, yum! I’m addicted to lemons. Puckery perfectness!