Sunday, November 23, 2014

Caramelized Candied Mandarins and Cranberries are Simple and Good!


If you've been reading my blog for awhile, you will know that I am a big fan of St- Germain. It was served to me in a cocktail a good four years ago, and I haven't stopped drinking it since. I love this blended with wine, champagne or prosecco and of course, in cocktails. St-Germain has a lovely, fragrant, floral taste and unlike many liquors, I think it is of the subtle variety. I often mix up cocktails with it and friends that haven't tasted it before always ask what the secret ingredient is. Yes, you can see what drew me to this recipe.

No, it wasn't the cute, brightly colored mandarins. And it wasn't the red cranberries. It was the three tablespoons of St Germain, that attracted my attention. I liked the simplicity of this recipe and I do love mandarins. My mother never bought them for us, though I do remember seeing them in the countless jello molds that graced every holiday table. My sport of the day was fishing out those tiny slices from the jello and disposing of them quickly in my mouth! For dessert, I surreptitiously took out the bottoms of the Fannie May chocolates to discover which one of those would be my prize.

My kids loved mandarin oranges. I remember dumping them on to their high chair trays and watching them gorge themselves. It wasn't the most appetizing way to serve them, but plastic plates always ended up on the floor! (I am sure new mothers cringe at this thought.) I surmised that since those little slices were in a low sugar syrup, that they must be OK. And as they grew they discovered new ways of eating mandarins. Besides the bags and bags of them that were at every sporting event, they were also found in spinach salads with almonds and goat cheese, and Asian chicken salads and various other concotions. Yes, mandarins were always a part of our life in their own understated way.


Well, this year finds us alone at Thanksgiving. Well, not alone as we've had three requests for our presence at the big meal, and let me tell you this was no easy choice to make! However, we are without the presence of kids so I will have to eat these oranges. Their loss!  Right now Manservant is in Sweden and won't be back until Wednesday night, and so I am cooking. I will get to the cleaning, but right now, I'm having fun catching up on blogging and experimenting with new recipes.

Which leads me to this one. I really liked these jewels! They are glorious and will brighten any table and save the kids from fishing out orange slices from jello molds. I don't know. Do people still make jello molds? These keep in the fridge awhile and are also great over ice cream or in yogurt, or even on pound cake. Or you could do what I did. You could mix them into your favorite gin drink and feel great satisfaction that this simple little recipe also makes a great cocktail! So remember, don't throw away any of this very simple syrup! If you eat all the oranges, strain the syrup and keep it for a rainy day when you need a special drink to see the sun. 


Caramelized Candied Oranges with Cranberries (Bon Appetit, 2011)
Time to make: As long as it takes to peel the oranges
Serves: 10 adults or 5 hungry kids (I halved this recipe without a problem)

Ingredients:
10 large or 20 small mandarin oranges
3 c sugar
3 T St-Germain or Gran Marnier 
1 c fresh cranberries

Directions:
Peel oranges and cut off all the white pith. Bring sugar and 3 c water to boil over medium high heat to dissolve the sugar. Stir in St-Germain and oranges. Remove from heat and cover. Leave overnight. (I actually left these for 24 hours.)

Preheat broiler. Line a rimmed baking pan with foil. Using a slotted spoon transfer oranges to pan.(Keep syrup in pot.) Broil until oranges are browned in spots. (I do believe you could skip this step as I think the wee little oranges would still taste good without broiling.) If you want to broil them, broil them about 3-4 minutes on each side, until browned in spots. Transfer to platter or bowl.

Place cranberries in the pot with the syrup. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until the berries are soft and begin to pop. Spoon cranberries over mandarins and admire their beauty! I chilled this mixture in the syrup in the refrigerator which is where they've been until I spooned them over my yogurt this morning! It is also OK to serve them right away or leave them at room temperature for a few hours and then serve.

Don't forget to enter the Whole Foods Giveaway!

Other November Dishes:
Pumpkin Brown Sugar Muffins
Mushroom Lover's Pastry
Smoky Pumpkin Hummus
Hot Brown Sandwich
Tamale Stuffing with Chorizo
Frozen Cranberry Salad
Fresh Cranberry and Apple Salad
Tequila Cranberry Sauce
Waldorf Salad
Brown Sugar Spice Cake with Caramel Glaze
Gingerbread Pear Upside Down Skillet Cake
Whipped Cream Biscuits
Maple Glazed Challah Rolls