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valencia oranges with pomegranate vinaigrette

Posted Jun 06 2009 12:04am
Pomegranates on the porch
I've had very little experience with pomegranates other than enjoying the Persephone myth. I think that until I moved to California (at the age of 25) I assumed they were some sort of exotic Ancient Greek food that wasn't even around anymore. (We just didn't have pomegranates in Rhode Island.) But they've become all the rage recently because of their healthy juice. I tried it once, a couple years ago, and wasn't that impressed. When I saw that pomegranates were coming in season I decided to give them another chance. I'm supposed to be trying new things--or revisiting and retrying old things.

I got 2 pomegranates in my Planet Organics order this week and they've been sitting on the counter for the last few, days waiting for me to decide their fate. I browsed through some books and the Melissa's website. Finally I settled on juicing them for a syrup. I had grandiose ideas of making buckwheat pancakes with pomegranate syrup one morning. Yeah, that didn't happen. I drink coffee and eat a banana. I don't make breakfast.

Per the directions in Melissa's Great Book of Produce, I rolled the pomegranates on the hard countertop, listening for the popping juice sacs. Then I tried to make a little slit in the first one. Juice spurted out all over. I managed to get most of it into the dish. I squeezed and squeezed, and juice was dribbling out. So I made the slit bigger. More juice. But eventually I squeezed the poor thing to death and it ripped apart in my hands. Heh, seeds. I nibbled on a few. The ones that still had red stuff around them were sweet, like little candies. Since some seeds fell in my juice, and I didn't feel like straining or scooping them out, and the pomegranite didn't yield as much juice as I thought it would, I changed my mind to making a vinaigrette. I've made a raspberry vinaigrette for citrus salad before and I had some citrus on hand, so it was a perfect new plan. The seeds would be a nice little crunch.

The skin of the second pomegranate started to tear as I was rolling it on the countertop so I had to quit doing that and try to squeeze out as much juice as possible, before all the juice sacs were actually broken. So, not as much juice, but more sweet seeds.

After juicing pomegranates, your kitchen will look sort of like a crime scene.
The scene of the crime
I whisked the juice with some champagne vinegar and olive oil. It turns out the only citrus I had were valencia oranges. (I usually like to make a citrus salad a little further into the winter, with a mix of blood oranges, tangerines, ruby red grapefruits, ie, more of a variety.) I sliced the peels off, then separated each segment.
Peeling an orange
I had planned to have this for dessert, but I changed my mind and ate it as a snack before I started cooking dinner. It was so sweet and tasty.
Oranges with pomegranate vinairgrette
I saved the orange peels and later in the evening, after I was done making and eating dinner, I simmered them on the stovetop with a cinnamon stick. Garlic smells great while it's cooking, but afterwards it needs to be eliminated. Orange and cinnamon is much more pleasant.

This is my entry for Weekend Herb Blogging. This is a weekly event that collects recipes for herbs and vegetables, sponsored by Kalyn's Kitchen. This week it's being hosted by Cook (almost) Anything, so head over there on Monday to check out the weekly recap of recipes.

(I got a new camera this week. Thanks Mike! Clicking on any photo will take you to the full-size image on flickr.)
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