kumquats

Brussels Sprouts, Kumquat and Avocado Salad

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My daughter Gillian recently gave me a box of kumquats and I was really tempted to candy them, but candied kumquats are the kind of thing I can't stop eating once I taste the first one, so, no. Not now. Maybe when I lose a few pounds.

I looked around to see what else I had in my fridge and cupboards that I could use with the kumquats: a few Brussels Sprouts, a couple of avocados, some cheese, and came up with this salad (I made half with cheese, half without.) 

Perfect -- plus healthy and low-cal -- use for kumquats.

Perfect for Passover as a symbolic dish of "bitter herbs/greens."

I usually don't save salad overnight because it becomes soggy. But this was so good that I kept it and even with its discolored avocado chunks it made a most delicious lunch item.

Brussels Sprouts, Kumquat and Avocado Salad

  • 1 pound Brussels sprouts
  • 18 kumquats
  • 1/2 cup chopped red onion or 2 shallots, chopped
  • 1 medium avocado
  • 1/2 cup crumbled goat or feta cheese, optional
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper, optional
  • 1/2 cup chopped pistachio nuts, optional

Shred the Brussels sprouts in a food processor and place in a bowl. Cut the kumquats in half, remove and seeds and chop the fruit coarsely. Add to the Brussels sprouts. Add the onion. Peel the avocado, cut it into bite size chunks and add to the salad. Add the cheese, if desired, and toss gently to distribute the ingredients evenly. Mix the olive oil, white wine vinegar and maple syrup and pour over the salad. Toss to coat all the ingredients. Add the crushed red pepper and nuts, if desired, toss. Let rest for 10-15 minutes before serving. 

Makes 4 servings

Kumquat and Mascarpone Crisps

My first experience with a kumquat was at a Chinese restaurant. It didn’t go very well. I must have been about 8 years old and I expected the tiny, orange looking thing to taste like an orange. 
 Surprise! 
 Kumquats are bitter, even when they’re cooked in loads of sugar, which they often are. And besides, the Chinese restaurant kind also came with a sticky syrup that was supposed to counteract the bitter fruit. 
 It didn’t, at least for my 8 year old self. 
 Time passes and our tastes change, don’t they? 
 I can’t recall when I next tasted a kumquat but it was a riveting sensation in my mouth. These kumquats were crusted with sugar and I couldn’t get enough of them to satisfy my now awakened taste buds.  
 It put me in a kumquat sort of mind and now, whenever the season comes around I buy a load and experiment with new ways to eat them. 
 I’ve made those  sugared kind  (not too often because I can’t stop eating them). Used them with  chicken , cut them into salad, stir fried slices of kumquat with vegetables, cooked them into  chutney . 
 But I’m always looking out for new hors d’oeuvre, so recently I cooked the kumquats with honey, to temper the bitterness, but also added hot jalapeno pepper and rich, creamy mascarpone cheese to bring all the taste sensations together. 
 This is a good one for New Year’s! 

  

 Kumquat and Mascarpone Crisps 

 8 ounces kumquats 
 2 teaspoons chopped chili pepper (such as serrano or jalapeno) 
 2 teaspoons vegetable oil 
 salt to taste 
 2 tablespoons honey 
 2 tablespoons orange juice 
 2 tablespoons mascarpone cheese 
 2- 3 teaspoons cream or milk 
 crackers or chips 
 freshly grated nutmeg 
 tiny shreds of kumquat or orange peel 
 Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Cut the kumquats in half and remove the seeds. Chop the kumquats and place them on the parchment. Add the chopped chili pepper. Pour the 
 vegetable oil on top and toss the kumquats and chili to coat all the pieces. Sprinkle with salt to taste. Bake for 20 minutes or until very soft. Place the ingredients in a food processor. Add the honey and juice and process until very fine and well mixed. In a bowl, mix the mascarpone cheese with the cream or milk (make it soft and smooth enough to pipe out of a pastry bag). Spread about one teaspoon of the kumquat mixture on crackers or chips. Pipe a small amount of the mascarpone mixture on top as a garnish. Grate nutmeg on top. Garnish with a tiny shred of peel. Makes about 36

My first experience with a kumquat was at a Chinese restaurant. It didn’t go very well. I must have been about 8 years old and I expected the tiny, orange looking thing to taste like an orange.

Surprise!

Kumquats are bitter, even when they’re cooked in loads of sugar, which they often are. And besides, the Chinese restaurant kind also came with a sticky syrup that was supposed to counteract the bitter fruit.

It didn’t, at least for my 8 year old self.

Time passes and our tastes change, don’t they?

I can’t recall when I next tasted a kumquat but it was a riveting sensation in my mouth. These kumquats were crusted with sugar and I couldn’t get enough of them to satisfy my now awakened taste buds. 

It put me in a kumquat sort of mind and now, whenever the season comes around I buy a load and experiment with new ways to eat them.

I’ve made those sugared kind (not too often because I can’t stop eating them). Used them with chicken, cut them into salad, stir fried slices of kumquat with vegetables, cooked them into chutney.

But I’m always looking out for new hors d’oeuvre, so recently I cooked the kumquats with honey, to temper the bitterness, but also added hot jalapeno pepper and rich, creamy mascarpone cheese to bring all the taste sensations together.

This is a good one for New Year’s!

Kumquat and Mascarpone Crisps

8 ounces kumquats

2 teaspoons chopped chili pepper (such as serrano or jalapeno)

2 teaspoons vegetable oil

salt to taste

2 tablespoons honey

2 tablespoons orange juice

2 tablespoons mascarpone cheese

2- 3 teaspoons cream or milk

crackers or chips

freshly grated nutmeg

tiny shreds of kumquat or orange peel

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Cut the kumquats in half and remove the seeds. Chop the kumquats and place them on the parchment. Add the chopped chili pepper. Pour the

vegetable oil on top and toss the kumquats and chili to coat all the pieces. Sprinkle with salt to taste. Bake for 20 minutes or until very soft. Place the ingredients in a food processor. Add the honey and juice and process until very fine and well mixed. In a bowl, mix the mascarpone cheese with the cream or milk (make it soft and smooth enough to pipe out of a pastry bag). Spread about one teaspoon of the kumquat mixture on crackers or chips. Pipe a small amount of the mascarpone mixture on top as a garnish. Grate nutmeg on top. Garnish with a tiny shred of peel. Makes about 36

Candied Kumquats

Do you think your dentist would like these sugar-crusted kumquat candies?  Mine would be horrified.  But if you like foods that have a distinctive contrast — like sweet and salty, sweet and sour, bitter-sweet and so on, you’ll love these too.  Anyway, my neighbor did. He had a “significant” birthday recently. Ed and I were invited to a party at his house but his wife told me “no gifts.” So, no using my Lord & Taylor 20% discount coupon to get him a sweater he would probably return. No using my 20% Bed, Bath & Beyond coupon to get him a knife he might need for fileting his own fish.   I couldn’t show up empty handed though. So I made some goodies, specifically candied kumquats, which are completely frivolous, certainly not as well-known (and probably not as well loved as, say, chocolate chip cookies) but absolutely spectacular to look at and to eat.  If you’ve never tasted candied kumquats, you’ve missed something special. The fruit is tender and vaguely resilient, the crust crunchy; the flavor is bitter and sweet all at once. Perfect harmony on your tongue.  I thought this made a very interesting birthday gift. But now that it’s Purim, the time to give  mishloach manot , little gifts of food to family and friends to celebrate the holiday, I’m thinking Candied Kumquats.      Candied Kumquats      12-16 ounces kumquats (one carton)  2 cups sugar  1 cup water  sugar for coating     Rinse the kumquats and remove any stems. Slice the kumquats in half lengthwise and remove any seeds. Combine the 2 cups sugar and the water in a large saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Stir to dissolve the sugar. Add the kumquats, reduce the heat and cook the kumquats at a bare simmer for 10 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat, cover the pan and let stand for at least one hour. Remove the cover, bring the liquid to a boil again over high heat. Reduce the heat and simmer the kumquats for 20 minutes. Remove the kumquats with a slotted spoon to sheets of parchment paper (or aluminum foil) to cool. Roll the kumquats in sugar to coat them completely. Store in an airtight container. Makes one pound      

Do you think your dentist would like these sugar-crusted kumquat candies?

Mine would be horrified.

But if you like foods that have a distinctive contrast — like sweet and salty, sweet and sour, bitter-sweet and so on, you’ll love these too.

Anyway, my neighbor did. He had a “significant” birthday recently. Ed and I were invited to a party at his house but his wife told me “no gifts.” So, no using my Lord & Taylor 20% discount coupon to get him a sweater he would probably return. No using my 20% Bed, Bath & Beyond coupon to get him a knife he might need for fileting his own fish. 

I couldn’t show up empty handed though. So I made some goodies, specifically candied kumquats, which are completely frivolous, certainly not as well-known (and probably not as well loved as, say, chocolate chip cookies) but absolutely spectacular to look at and to eat.

If you’ve never tasted candied kumquats, you’ve missed something special. The fruit is tender and vaguely resilient, the crust crunchy; the flavor is bitter and sweet all at once. Perfect harmony on your tongue.

I thought this made a very interesting birthday gift. But now that it’s Purim, the time to give mishloach manot, little gifts of food to family and friends to celebrate the holiday, I’m thinking Candied Kumquats.

 

Candied Kumquats

 

12-16 ounces kumquats (one carton)

2 cups sugar

1 cup water

sugar for coating

 

Rinse the kumquats and remove any stems. Slice the kumquats in half lengthwise and remove any seeds. Combine the 2 cups sugar and the water in a large saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Stir to dissolve the sugar. Add the kumquats, reduce the heat and cook the kumquats at a bare simmer for 10 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat, cover the pan and let stand for at least one hour. Remove the cover, bring the liquid to a boil again over high heat. Reduce the heat and simmer the kumquats for 20 minutes. Remove the kumquats with a slotted spoon to sheets of parchment paper (or aluminum foil) to cool. Roll the kumquats in sugar to coat them completely. Store in an airtight container. Makes one pound

 

 

Roasted Chicken Breast with Buddha’s Hand Citron, Kumquats and Dates

Some people can’t resist a gorgeous handbag or a swell looking tie. But for me, it’s about food. So, when I saw this strange looking fruit that’s in the top photo yesterday there was no question about it, I had to buy it.

It’s called Buddha’s Finger Citron. A citrus member of course, with skin like lemon, and with a bitter taste. It’s not the kind of fruit you eat out of hand like an orange or pear. In fact, it’s mostly used as a table decoration or cooked as candy (with lots of sugar) or marmalade (with lots of sugar).

I’d used citron before, but only the candied kind (for fruitcake and such). I wasn’t sure what to do with this thing.

Thanks thanks for the internet.

After doing a little research and then getting into experimental mode, I decided to pair it with kumquats, which are also bitter, but also dates, which are devastatingly sweet, so there would be some ying-yang of flavor to the chicken breast I was going to roast for dinner.

The results were delicious. 

The Buddha’s Finger Citron gave a haunting, deep lemony taste to the pan juices. The citron remained bitter, the kind of taste you either love or hate, appealing to those who like candied fruit-studded fruitcake/Panettone/Panforte and so on, or, on the other hand, distressing to those who purposely pick the chopped up candied fruit out of those desserts.

Fortunately (or not) you can make the recipe without the citron — add a strip or two of lemon peel and remove it before serving. 

If you bought one of these too, you can make candy or marmalade. Or use the skin as you would lemon peel (for vinaigrette, marinades, scattered on top of fish, etc.) Or to flavor vodka or a cocktail or holiday punch. 

Roasted Chicken Breast with Buddha’s Hand Citron, Kumquats and Dates

  • 1/4 cup diced Buddha’s hand citron
  • 8-10 kumquats, cut up and seeded
  • 8-12 large Medjool dates, pits removed
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 chicken breasts
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon powdered ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons honey

 

Preheat the oven to 500 degrees. Place the citron, kumquats, dates and onion in a roasting pan. Place the chicken breasts on top. Rub the surface of the chicken with olive oil. Sprinkle the chicken with salt, pepper, ginger, cinnamon and cumin. Roast for 5 minutes. Turn the heat to 350 degrees. Roast for another 15 minutes. Mix the orange juice and honey and pour over the chicken. Continue to roast, basting occasionally, for another 30 minutes or until the skin is golden brown and the chicken is cooked through (160 degrees on a meat thermometer).

Makes 6 servings

Kumquat-Date Chutney

Aren’t these beautiful? They’re kumquats, which I mentioned yesterday. They’re small, oval and bitter and most people don’t like them raw. But they’re good stuff when you cook them. Kumquat chutney is a real winner. Goes very well with roasted chicken, turkey or lamb, so you can use it as a special little side dish for New Year’s dinner if you’re entertaining at home.  You can also use it as an hors d’oeuvre: serve it with mascarpone cheese, cream cheese or Brie and crackers.    Kumquat-Date Chutney   1 teaspoon mustard seeds  1/2 teaspoon anise seeds  1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns  6 whole cloves  1 2-inch cinnamon stick  1 cup sliced, deseeded kumquats  8 large Medjool dates, halved  1/2 cup raisins or dried cherries  1-1/4 cups orange or tangerine juice  1/3 cup apple cider vinegar  1 cup sugar  2 tablespoon chopped crystallized ginger  Place the mustard seeds and anise seeds in a saucepan over medium heat and cook for 1-2 minutes or until fragrant. Let cool slightly, then place the seeds in a small muslin spice bag (or use a few layers of cheesecloth) with the peppercorns, cloves and cinnamon stick (fold the cheesecloth over the spices and secure with string or a plastic bag tie). Place the spice bag in the pan. Add the kumquats, dates, raisins, orange juice, apple cider vinegar, sugar and ginger. Bring the ingredients to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat, stir and simmer the ingredients for 35-40 minutes or until the chutney is thick. Let cool. Remove the spice bag. Makes about 2-1/2 cups

Aren’t these beautiful? They’re kumquats, which I mentioned yesterday. They’re small, oval and bitter and most people don’t like them raw. But they’re good stuff when you cook them. Kumquat chutney is a real winner. Goes very well with roasted chicken, turkey or lamb, so you can use it as a special little side dish for New Year’s dinner if you’re entertaining at home.

You can also use it as an hors d’oeuvre: serve it with mascarpone cheese, cream cheese or Brie and crackers. 

Kumquat-Date Chutney

1 teaspoon mustard seeds

1/2 teaspoon anise seeds

1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns

6 whole cloves

1 2-inch cinnamon stick

1 cup sliced, deseeded kumquats

8 large Medjool dates, halved

1/2 cup raisins or dried cherries

1-1/4 cups orange or tangerine juice

1/3 cup apple cider vinegar

1 cup sugar

2 tablespoon chopped crystallized ginger

Place the mustard seeds and anise seeds in a saucepan over medium heat and cook for 1-2 minutes or until fragrant. Let cool slightly, then place the seeds in a small muslin spice bag (or use a few layers of cheesecloth) with the peppercorns, cloves and cinnamon stick (fold the cheesecloth over the spices and secure with string or a plastic bag tie). Place the spice bag in the pan. Add the kumquats, dates, raisins, orange juice, apple cider vinegar, sugar and ginger. Bring the ingredients to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat, stir and simmer the ingredients for 35-40 minutes or until the chutney is thick. Let cool. Remove the spice bag. Makes about 2-1/2 cups

Braised Chicken with Kumquats

Ever tasted a kumquat?  
 My granddaughter Nina bit into one the other day, assuming that that tiny oval orange fruit was some sort of miniature tangerine or orange or clementine. 
 Boy was she surprised! 
 Kumquats are bitter. Sure, some people eat them raw, maybe sliced into salad. But they’re really best for cooking, especially in a stew or braised chicken dish like the one in the photo. Or cooked into chutney. And they are really really delicious candied, when you get that bitter and sugary sweet all at once in the middle of your mouth. OHHHHHHH I could eat a pound of it right now. 
 I first found out about kumquats when I was a little girl and my family had dinner once a week at our local Chinese restaurant. Dessert was always either ice cream (vanilla, chocolate or, for some who-knows-why reason, pistachio!) or fortune cookies. 
 Or preserved kumquats from a jar. They were whole (seeds and all) and served with the thick, ultra-sweet syrup they were cooked in. 
 They gave me the shivers. 
 They still do. Bottled kumquats are mushy-soft and way too sweet and the bitter tang tastes like rust and fights too much with all the sugar. There’s no balance. 
 In those days you couldn’t get fresh kumquats anywhere. Not anywhere near where we lived anyway. 
 But you can today. And they are right smack in their seasonal peak at the moment. 
 Most of the stores I’ve been to sell them in a box, like strawberries. Our local Fairway market sells them by the pound so you can buy as much or as little as you wish and pick your own. 
 I can’t remember when I got up the nerve to try kumquats again, but lately I’ve been way deep into kumquat recipes. The chicken dish is one of the better experiments.  
 Braised Chicken with Kumquats 
 2 tablespoons olive oil 
 4 large chicken breasts or whole legs (or a combo) 
 salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste 
 1 onion, chopped 
 1 clove garlic, chopped 
 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger 
 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon 
 1/8 teaspoon ground cumin 
 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper 
 2 cups chicken stock 
 2 tablespoons honey 
 1 pound peeled and cut up butternut squash 
 12-15 halved fresh kumquats, seeds removed 
 6 large dried figs or pitted prunes 
 1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint 
 Heat the olive oil in a saute pan over medium heat. Add the chicken, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and cook for about 6-8 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove the chicken to a dish and set aside. Add the onion to the pan and cook for 6-8 minutes or until lightly browned. Add the garlic and cook for about one minute. Add the ginger, cinnamon, cumin and cayenne pepper and stir the ingredients. Pour in the chicken stock and honey and bring the liquid to a boil. Return the chicken plus any accumulated juices to the pan. Spoon some of the pan fluids and vegetables over the chicken. Cover the pan. Simmer for 10 minutes. Add the squash, kumquats and figs. Cover the pan and cook for another 15-20 minutes or until the chicken is tender and cooked through, turning the pieces occasionally. Remove the chicken to a serving platter. Remove the vegetables with a slotted spoon and surround the chicken with the vegetables. (Keep warm, if desired, in a preheated 250 degree oven.) Place the pan over high heat and cook for 3-5 minutes or until the sauce is reduced and slightly thickened. Pour the sauce over the chicken and vegetables. Sprinkle with mint and serve. Makes 4 servings

Ever tasted a kumquat? 

My granddaughter Nina bit into one the other day, assuming that that tiny oval orange fruit was some sort of miniature tangerine or orange or clementine.

Boy was she surprised!

Kumquats are bitter. Sure, some people eat them raw, maybe sliced into salad. But they’re really best for cooking, especially in a stew or braised chicken dish like the one in the photo. Or cooked into chutney. And they are really really delicious candied, when you get that bitter and sugary sweet all at once in the middle of your mouth. OHHHHHHH I could eat a pound of it right now.

I first found out about kumquats when I was a little girl and my family had dinner once a week at our local Chinese restaurant. Dessert was always either ice cream (vanilla, chocolate or, for some who-knows-why reason, pistachio!) or fortune cookies.

Or preserved kumquats from a jar. They were whole (seeds and all) and served with the thick, ultra-sweet syrup they were cooked in.

They gave me the shivers.

They still do. Bottled kumquats are mushy-soft and way too sweet and the bitter tang tastes like rust and fights too much with all the sugar. There’s no balance.

In those days you couldn’t get fresh kumquats anywhere. Not anywhere near where we lived anyway.

But you can today. And they are right smack in their seasonal peak at the moment.

Most of the stores I’ve been to sell them in a box, like strawberries. Our local Fairway market sells them by the pound so you can buy as much or as little as you wish and pick your own.

I can’t remember when I got up the nerve to try kumquats again, but lately I’ve been way deep into kumquat recipes. The chicken dish is one of the better experiments. 

Braised Chicken with Kumquats

2 tablespoons olive oil

4 large chicken breasts or whole legs (or a combo)

salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

1 onion, chopped

1 clove garlic, chopped

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon ground cumin

1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

2 cups chicken stock

2 tablespoons honey

1 pound peeled and cut up butternut squash

12-15 halved fresh kumquats, seeds removed

6 large dried figs or pitted prunes

1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint

Heat the olive oil in a saute pan over medium heat. Add the chicken, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and cook for about 6-8 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove the chicken to a dish and set aside. Add the onion to the pan and cook for 6-8 minutes or until lightly browned. Add the garlic and cook for about one minute. Add the ginger, cinnamon, cumin and cayenne pepper and stir the ingredients. Pour in the chicken stock and honey and bring the liquid to a boil. Return the chicken plus any accumulated juices to the pan. Spoon some of the pan fluids and vegetables over the chicken. Cover the pan. Simmer for 10 minutes. Add the squash, kumquats and figs. Cover the pan and cook for another 15-20 minutes or until the chicken is tender and cooked through, turning the pieces occasionally. Remove the chicken to a serving platter. Remove the vegetables with a slotted spoon and surround the chicken with the vegetables. (Keep warm, if desired, in a preheated 250 degree oven.) Place the pan over high heat and cook for 3-5 minutes or until the sauce is reduced and slightly thickened. Pour the sauce over the chicken and vegetables. Sprinkle with mint and serve. Makes 4 servings