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Locally Yours: Mandarins sweeten an already wonderful holiday

By: Carol Arnold
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Two days until Christmas and then a week to the new year. Wow this year has gone by in a flash. I have been thinking about being Farmers’ Market Manager and writing for the Auburn Journal. I have a lot of fun at my jobs. I meet scores of new people at the market every week. I also get to talk to longtime friends when they come to shop. I talk to farmers about how they prepare brussels sprouts and mustard greens. Jim Muck from Jim’s Produce always has a simple, tasty recipe to prepare. The Vues taught me about the sweetness of Japanese sweet potatoes. The longtime Placer growers always have a tip about what the weather is doing to the crops or they will share how their growing season is going. Life is good when you get to talk about cooking and the weather as part of your job. Last week I was able to wrap presents and gather raffle tickets at the Auburn Old Town Market alongside my sister. We laughed a lot and gave away lots of free baskets. How fun is that? And then there is the column. This column allows me to explore seasonal cooking. Is the recipe easy to follow? Will it photograph well? Apparently I am really good at preparing brown food! I hope my column convey the message from my heart which is “eat locally produced food; it’s good for you in many more ways than you can guess.” Eating locally supports our local economy, supports our environment, and makes us healthier people. On to this week’s recipes. Mandarin Mimosas are a special treat for Christmas morning. My husband’s family drinks mimosas every year.  Because we live in Placer County I am able to add a deeply sweet, mandarin twist to the original recipe.  If you are looking for a way to break up your heavy holiday meal or just want to serve a light dessert, try Mandarin Ice.  It is flavorful, rich, but light on the palate.  Enjoy the one of the best crops of Placer County owari satsuma mandarins. From my heart and my house to yours. Live life large. Enjoy some locally grown food. Have a Happy New Year. Ed, Hudson, and Amelia — thank you for every thing you do, big and small, to make my life joyful. Carol Arnold is general manager for the Foothill Farmers Market Association. Contact her at foothillfarmersmarket@gmail.com. __________ Mandarin Mimosa 750 mls Champagne (1 bottle) or 24-26 ounces sparkling water 24-26 ounces mandarin juice The ratio of juice to champagne in mimosas is one to one or equal parts champagne and juice. Simply pour juice into glasses and fill with champagne. Sparkling water can be substituted for champagne to create a tasty non-alcoholic drink. Mandarin Ice 3 pounds mandarins, includes two mandarins for zesting 1/4 cup sugar 1 tablespoon lemon juice Salt Grate the zest of two mandarins into a saucepan. Juice the mandarins. There should be about 2 ¼ cups juice. Pour ½ cup of the juice into a saucepan with the zest and add sugar. Heat, stirring, just until the sugar is dissolved. Pour into the remaining juice. Taste the mixture; add the lemon juice, a tiny pinch of salt and additional sugar if needed. Pour into a shallow nonreactive pan and freeze. Stir after one hour or when the sides and top have developed ice crystals. Stir again after two hours or when slushy. Chop when solid but not hard. Transfer to a chilled container. To serve in mandarin cups: Save the mandarin halves. Just scrape out all of the membranes and freeze. Mash the ice to the consistency of a slushy, form it into a cup-shaped ball, place in the mandarin cup and then freeze the cup until ready to serve.