Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Kumquat Extravaganza

Let's just not talk about why we've been out of touch for so long, it will only make it more awkward. Let's just be happy to be reunited.

About a month ago a friend gave DR a giant bag of kumquats from a back yard tree. If you didn't already know this, I am THRILLED beyond measure to help you eat your overwhelming backyard bounty. I can't think of very many things I would rather do than take a bag of homegrown produce off your hands. Bring on the late summer crook neck squash overflow, I promise to be just as willing to take that as I am to take your figs and avocados and your tangerine jam.

Though I am pretty sure there was no danger of them going bad since I was eating about five a day, I decided to take about a quarter of the kumquats and do an experiment I had been dying to try, preserving them. Actually, I had been dying to try preserving Meyer Lemons. Doesn't that just sound like all the good parts of being in a harem in Turkey around 900 AD? Preserved Meyer Lemons, so middle eastern, salty and sweet and sour. I'm afraid I missed the season on them this year, but I did have the kumquats and that almost seems more exotic.

It is also widely simple.

Rinse about 3 cups of kumquats. Cut a slit lengthwise down one side to the center (halfway). Put the fruit in a 3-4 cup jar with 2-3 tablespoons drained capers and a 1/4 cup kosher salt.
Cover airtight and freeze for at least 8 hours, then place jar upside down in the refrigerator and let stand for 24 hours. Then you can use anytime within the next month or so, just turn the jar over few days to keep the salt distributed. The juice will leak out of the slits and mix with the salt.
I think they kind of look like little orange jewels in soup. Lovely. I ate one on it's own. It was very salty. But then I realized you should probably rinse them before eating.

Now, besides just eating them what do you do with Preserved Kumquats? Why you make  Kumquat-Red Pepper Relish!
 4 preserved kumquats and 4 capers
1 7 oz jar peeled roasted red peppers. (I admit it, I bought a jar of roasted peppers. I could have roasted them myself, yes, of course I could have. But I didn't. Alright? I bought them.)
1 garlic clove
3/4 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp pepper

Rinse the kumquats and capers. (Important to not dehydrate yourself from all the salt) Coarsely chop kumquats, discarding seeds. (They have seeds!? I ate about 50 of these whole! Are kumquat trees growing in my stomach?!) Drain and chop red peppers. Mince garlic. In a bowl mix everything together. Serve or cover and chill up to two days. (I think about 8 hours is good to let it all marry together.)

I think this would be lovely poured over a cream cheese and spread on crackers. If I ever get around to making cream cheese (and crackers for that matter) I will do just that. But I served it for a lovely dinner with DR, my friend lex and her friend Josh. I hope Josh liked it because I found when the chicken was almost done that he was a vegetarian, so this was the bulk of his meal. He charmingly ate the potatoes that were roasted under the chicken...Anyway, I served the relish mixed with baby spinach, 1/4 cup cilantro, 2 tablespoons lemon juice and 1 tablespoon olive oil for a lovely spinach salad. 

I'm unapologetically going to get another jar of peppers and make this again. (Peppers aren't in season, or I would roast them... in fact, I will this summer, promise, I just got a hibachi.)

No comments:

Post a Comment