Do you ever look up from your grocery list in the produce section and look around you to notice who's knocked the most green beans to the floor, and who has put their shopping cart in the most obtrusive spot, blocking your favorite Honey Crisp apples? So do we. Grocery shopping is the sort of chore you can either loathe or love, and the next time you're feeling frustrated in the produce section, we have a little tip for you: Focus your eyes on the produce itself, and see if you can spot the fruits and veggies that are currently in season. You know what that might be currently, as we post this blog?
It's two of our favorite citrus fruits — Meyer Lemons and Blood Oranges! Both of these juicy fruits are at their peak smack in the middle of winter, or more specifically, in January and February. Meyer Lemons are thought of as a cross between a conventional lemon and a mandarin orange, so they're less sour than typical lemons. As for Blood Oranges, which get their name from their beautiful garnet-colored flesh, these are known to be more fragrant and stronger flavored than typical oranges, with even a hint of a raspberry-like tang. Because we love both of these fruits, we created two herbal teas with them in mind, both in our Organic Paisley Label line of traditional paper teabags: Organic Tart Meyer Lemon, and Organic Tart Blood Orange. These are teas that we drink hot or on the rocks, and we have been known to whip up some tasty cocktails with our tart teas (which also include Organic Tart Berry).
But if you want to avoid a grocery shopping rut right now, we recommend picking up a bag of Meyer Lemons and Blood Oranges right now, and trying these recipes ... maybe serve with a side of tea? It couldn't hurt!
Meyer Lemon Cornmeal Upside-Down Cake
3/4 cup butter, softened, divided
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
2 or 3 whole Meyer lemons, plus zest of 2 large Meyer lemons
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup flour
3/4 cup fine cornmeal, such as Bob's Red Mill
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1. Preheat oven to 350°. Spray inside of a 9-in. springform pan with cooking-oil spray. Snugly line pan with a 12-in. circle of parchment paper*, pressing pleats flat. Spray parchment with oil; set aside.
2. Bring 1/4 cup butter and the brown sugar to a boil in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly. Pour into lined pan and spread evenly.
3. Thinly slice 2 lemons crosswise, using a handheld slicer and removing seeds with a knife tip as you go. Discard ends. Set a small lemon slice in center of butter mixture in pan. Arrange more slices in overlapping circles to fill pan (each slice should overlap the previous one by half). Save any extra lemon for other uses.
4. Beat remaining 1/2 cup butter, the granulated sugar, and lemon zest in a large bowl with a mixer on medium speed to blend, then on high until pale and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes. Add 1 egg at a time, scraping inside of bowl and beating well on high speed, about 1 minute per egg. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt. Combine milk and vanilla.
5. Add a third of flour mixture to butter mixture and blend on low speed; scrape inside of bowl. Blend in half of milk mixture. Repeat to incorporate remaining ingredients, ending with flour mixture. Pour batter into pan; spread evenly.
6. Bake until cake springs back in center when lightly pressed, 50 to 55 minutes (it will be well browned). Let cool in pan on a rack at least 2 hours. Run a thin knife between parchment and pan; release rim. Invert cake onto a plate. Remove parchment and cut cake with a serrated knife.
*For an even circle, use a pencil to trace around a 12-in. plate onto parchment.
Make ahead: Up to 1 day.
Blood Orange Sugared Scones
makes about 16 scones
3 1/4 cups flour
1/3 cup granulated sugar + 2 tablespoons
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cups cold butter, cut into pieces
1 cup buttermilk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 blood oranges, zested
1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In a small bowl, combine 1/3 cup sugar with about 1/2 of the grated orange zest. Rub together with your fingers until combined and fragrant.
2. In large bowl combine flour, orange sugar, salt, baking soda and powder. Using your fingers, a fork or a pastry blender, cut in butter until it forms coarse crumbs. Stir in buttermilk and vanilla, and add half of the remaining orange zest. Add the juice from 1/2 of one blood orange. Stir with a spoon until a dough forms, using your hands to bring it together. Turn onto a lightly floured surface and knead gently.
3. Divide in half and pat into 7 inch round circles. Combine the remaining sugar and orange zest. Brush each scone with melted butter and sprinkle with orange sugar. Cut into 6 or 8 wedges, or use a biscuit cutter to make rounds.
4. Bake for 12-14 minutes (wedges) or 9-11 minutes (rounds). Top with blood orange glaze, see recipe below.
Blood Orange Glaze
the juice of one blood orange
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup powdered sugar
Stir ingredients together until a smooth glaze forms. Depending on how juicy your orange is, you made need more juice or more sugar. If glaze seems too thin, add in sugar 1 tablespoon at a time. If it seems too thick, add more juice 1/2 teaspoon at a time. Pour over hot scones.