Bitter Orange Cocktails

What do you do with bitter/sour oranges? Due to their acid, they’re probably not anybody’s favorite fruit to peel and eat. But that abrasive personality makes them ideal for marinades, marmalades, salad dressings, sauces and spreads, homemade bitters and cocktails. Like other citrus, the bitter orange is native to southeast Asia, but it spread to Spain in the 10th Century and later to Mexico and the Caribbean as a side effect of colonialism in the new world....

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Day 3: Merry Citrus!
Recipes Day 3: Merry Citrus!

*This post marks Day 3 of Miss Ginsu’s 2007 Advent Calendar. Some people begin lighting candles for Hanukkah this week, some folks are more about Christmas, others get into Saturnalia or Kwanzaa or Festivus… but pretty much everyone (barring maybe the northernmost locavores) can get behind citrus season as a reason for celebration. The clementines are back, the grapefruit are rich and juicy and I’ve seen some excellent oranges recently. Cold months are a little sad and spare in the farmers' market, but the shops are robust with crates of sweet-tart juiciness.

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Day 2: Soup for a Rainy (or Snowy) Day
Recipes Day 2: Soup for a Rainy (or Snowy) Day

*This post marks Day 2 of Miss Ginsu’s 2007 Advent Calendar, but you can read a longer version of my chicken soup story at The Food Keeper. Photo above by Fanette Guilloud. Now that chicken soup is scientifically proven to alleviate symptoms of the common cold (even if it wasn’t… it’s warm and soothing and we probably shouldn’t care about the scientific justification that much anyway). I think it makes sense to keep a few pints of it in the freezer.

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Day 1: Wonder Dough
Recipes Day 1: Wonder Dough

I’m a sucker for one thing that does many things. The Swiss Army knife. The cast-iron skillet. Duct tape. With that in mind, what’s not to love about the efficiency of a single cookie dough that offers endless variation? Around the time-crunched holidays, a versatile recipe makes gift baking simple. If need be, you can make just one little batch of sugar cookies, one batch of ginger cookies and just one batch of chocolate-peppermint cookies.

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Apricots, Apriums, Plumcots, Pluots & Plums
Recipes Apricots, Apriums, Plumcots, Pluots & Plums

Am I the only one that’s confused by exactly what the difference is between a pluot and a plumcot? Heck… It was only very recently that I discovered the existence of the aprium . As it turns out, pluots and apriums aren’t just recently popularized fruits. They’re the result of hard work by the Zaiger family of Modesto, California, who for the last 30 years or so, have been quietly marrying apricots and plums — among other stone fruits — in an effort to create crazy new fruits (with Zaiger-registered trademarks, of course) for the marketplace.

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The Tomato Sandwich. Simple. Succulent. Summer-y
Recipes The Tomato Sandwich. Simple. Succulent. Summer-y

Anything you’re forced to eat over the sink or off the edge of the deck is a sign of a life well-lived. Case in point: the Summer Tomato Sandwich. My landlord leaves tomatoes and cucumbers on the ledge of my kitchen windowsill. A neighborhood blessing. These very welcome offerings arrive mysteriously, no fanfare, as if on the wings of fairies, so it seems appropriate that they should make their way into my meals in a whimsical, offhand fashion.

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Horchata = Cold Comfort
Recipes Horchata = Cold Comfort

The cool, damp spring screeches to a sudden halt with a day so muggy it’s like walking around in someone’s mouth. And of course the air conditioner is out of service. Under these circumstances, I can’t think, I can’t focus and I feel so sweaty and gritty I want to peel my skin off. But a cool, sweet liquid hovers in my mind with a shimmering promise of sweet refreshment. Ahh, Horchata.

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About Me

Miss Ginsu is a nom-nom-nom de plume of Leitha Matz, who worked at Tabla and FreshDirect in NYC, wrote about the food scene from 2004 to 2009 in Brooklyn and presently lives in Berlin. Occasionally seen on TV cooking segments, Leitha has also written for FreshDirect, contributed to Cee Cee Berlin, The Food52 Cookbook and has been interviewed/quoted in The Food Keeper as well as The Washington Times and Salon.

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