That is what my breakfast said this morning. No, I am not crazy, maybe just a little starved for some fresh-food attention.
I really had trouble coming up with a post this week because we are in such a time of change! Is it winter? Is it spring? The weather is constantly contradicting itself, and my palette is hungry for something new and juicy. Just when I really didn’t think I could make another dish with root vegetables, I got this email from a friend:
Have you given tribute to citrus this winter on your blog? It took me until this year to get how much mother earth loves us, such that she sends us little delicious sweet suns in the darkest hour of winter, filled with vitamin C and all the rest of it to strengthen our bodies, enliven us, zest us through these rainy days. What a world we live in. So blessed.
Um, totally! That was exactly the high-vibe reminder I needed. And my heart leapt at the thought of a juicy-bright breakfast with a superfluity of sunshine colours. I was so inspired in fact, that my walk to the market to buy every type of citrus fruit in sight, also yielded another bright idea: a sweet sexy syrup to drizzle across the top of all those slices of light. How do you like them apples…err…oranges?
This syrup in fact, a Ginger-Bay-Lime Syrup, must have been a sun-drenched induced daydream because it sounds a little crazy, but tastes like eating the light in a clear summer sky. Bright and bursting with energy, the bay leaf offsets the sweetness of the maple syrup, while the ginger adds a surprise kick at the finish line. The lime leaves of course compliment the citrus flavours in the salad itself, plus add a warm familiar mellowness that I can’t quite describe. Oh I could seriously pour this stuff all over everything for the rest of my winter days and feel quite satisfied, I believe. Sigh.
What was I talking about? Right. Citrus.
All citrus fruits are veritable goldmines of nutrition goodness. Let me count the ways…
Well, we know about the vitamin C thing. Just one orange, for example, contains about 65 mg – the daily recommended intake for this important nutrient. But there are so many other wonderful benefits of citrus fruits! Did you also know that they are high in potassium and other minerals, as well as being a good source of the soluble fiber pectin?
The other groovy thing about citrus? It fights grease. Have you ever been out to one of those barbeque chicken or rib restaurants where they give you a little bowl of lemon water at the end of your meal to clean your sticky and grease-saturated fingers? (a distant memory, but yes, I recall…) Well, as it turns out citrus acts as a cleanser the very same way inside the body, aiding in the digestion and utilization of fat! How cool is that?!
Here are some more fun little tidbits about individual citrus fruits…
– consuming them burns as many calories as they contain, therefore an excellent choice for those trying to lose weight.
– helps in digestion and utilization of foods.
– one grapefruit contains about 75 mg vitamin C
– high potassium content
– red grapefruit is a good source of lycopene; a phytonutrient with anti-tumor properties.
– delicious enjoyed as juice, one glass contains about 125 mg of vitamin C
– high potassium content
– high calcium content
– out of all the citrus fruits, oranges contain the most vitamin A (as beta-carotene), which may help us fight infections by supporting the immune system.
– oranges contain a flavanoid called herperidin, which has been shown to lower high blood pressure as well as cholesterol in animal studies, and to have strong anti-inflammatory properties.
– excellent detoxifier, cleanser, purifier, and rejuvenator; especially in the liver.
– lemon water stimulates gastric juices when drunk 20 – 30 minutes prior to eating.
– good source of calcium, magnesium and phosphorous
– contains a compound called limonoid, which has been shown to help fight cancers of the mouth, skin, lung, breast, stomach and colon.
Get yourself to the shops quick and pick up some of your fav fruits before they are out of season! And perhaps get into some of the lesser-known citrus that is sure to please. Ever tried a kumquat? How about a minneola, or pummelo? Meyer lemon? All kinds of yum, I tell ya. Especially bathed in this syrup-from-heaven.
Finish the whole salad off with a good couple grinds of cracked black pepper (no, I am not insane, trust me…), and a sprinkling of the nuts or seeds you have on hand. I used some pumpkin seeds, lightly toasted in a dry skillet to bring out their nutty-ness, which added a whole other awesome dimension of flavour to this dish. Almonds would be a nice fit too, or walnuts. Toasted sesame seeds? Sheesh, that’s a good idea. Guess I’ll have to try that tomorrow. Oh darn.
You could even push things further with some chopped fresh herbs. Mint is the obvious choice and would be delish, but since I am not so into obvious, I would go with something like tarragon or flat-leaf parsley. Does it ever stop?!
Everybody Loves the Sunshine Citrus Salad
– a lovely selection of citrus fruits: navel oranges, blood oranges, tangerines, grapefruit, meyer lemons, mandarins, minneolas, pummelos, kumquats, clementines…
– Ginger-Bay-Lime Syrup (recipe to follow)
– freshly ground black pepper
– nuts or seeds for garnish
1. Prepare syrup.
2. While the syrup is cooling down, slice up the citrus fruits – slice off the rind on the top and bottom, then slice down the sides. Slice the fruit horizontally to make “discs”. (This is just one way to slice citrus, of course. Do it however you like!)
3. Arrange sliced fruit on a platter, pour cooled syrup over top. Add freshly cracked black pepper and garnish with nuts or seeds.
¼ cup maple syrup
¼ cup water
a few slices fresh ginger
3 kaffir lime leaves
1 bay leaf
Put all ingredients in a saucepan. Bring to a boil and let simmer for 1-2 minutes. Remove from heat and let syrup steep and cool down. Store leftovers in a glass container in the fridge for up to seven days. Makes about 4 servings.
I hope you all enjoy this uncomplicated dish as much as I do. It’s amazing how something so simple can be so breathtakingly tasty. Oh how the succulence goes on and on…