Now that we are in the holiday season I can smell the cinnamon in the air, all kind of spices, citrus zest, apple cider, apple pies and more. The other day, while I was food shopping I came across the most amazing citrus I have ever seen. Literally a master piece of nature. Its botanical name is Citrus medica- sarcodactylis, commonly known as Buddha’s hand. I could not resist buying it, even if I had no idea what to do with it. It has practically no juice inside, but the smell released is incredibly intense and pleasant. I put it on my dining table and just admired it all day long. The day after I moved it to the kitchen counter top and despite my will, before it was going to lose its freshness and bright yellow color, I decided to chop it in different shapes to make holiday citrus candies.
1 large Buddha’s hand (= 2 cups ) sliced or diced, or any other citrus fruit (like lemon or orange)
2 cups of water
2 cups og sugar ( I like to use dark brown sugar)
Extra sugar for coationg (for this final step it’s better to use regualr white granulated sugar or granulated cane sugar)
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add diced Buddha’s hand, return to a simmer and cook until citrus softens, about 30 minutes. Drain.
It’s a classic. Mostly a Summer dish, served as an appetizer or as a salad to accompany another dish. Even if the ingredients are not in season yet, I decided to publish it now because I was asked by one of my sons’s teachers to visit their classroom to do a ‘cooking’ demonstration about a traditional Italian food.
I picked this dish because it is easy to assemble and it doesn’t require any cooking. It’s also delicious and resembles the colors of the italian flag!
There are many legends around the origins of the Caprese salad. One of the most accreditated stories goes back to after world war II, when a laborer, who was very patriotic liked to include the colors of the italian flag in his ‘panino’ for his lunch break. Legend also has it that this dish appeared during dinner around 1920 in a hotel in Capri (the famous island off the coast of Naples) to please Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, the poet and founder of the futuristic cultural movement.
One more story includes the Egyptian Sovereign Farouk. In 1951, he went to visit the island of Capri with his family. It was a very sunny afternoon and he requested to have a quick meal prepared to satisfy his hunger. On that occasion he had the chance to taste a crunchy sandwich with pomodoro, mozzarella e basilico. He fell in love when tasting these three fresh local ingredients together!
The dish was improved when the traditional mozzarella from cows started to be replaced with bufala (buffalo) mozzarella, a dairy product typical to Campania.No matter where and when it was exactly created, this dish has become a signature Italian dish around the world.
There is a new healthy trend out there, which is BONE BROTH. If you pay attention you will find it in the refrigerated section of almost every health food store and in many healthy take out places as ready to ‘drink’. ( I personally think that it should be consumed hot, especially in the winter months to achieve its maximum health benefits ).
I give credit for this new healthy trend to the Weston A. Price Foundation, which I am proud to be a member of. WPF is a nonprofit foundation. For decades it has been trying to spread the word about traditional cooking, raw dairy and bone broth.
I like to prepare my broths (both bone and mineral ) before winter starts and have them ready in the freezer, in case someone in our family catches a cold or the flu. It’s the perfect food to consume when you are ill to speed up the recovery process, because it is so nutrient dense and even if you don’t have much of an appetite because you are ill, taking small sips from a cup throughout the day is all the body needs.
It warms your body and your heart…
An alternative to bone broth, for those who are vegetarian or vegan is mineral broth, which will provide you with the same health benefits because it is so rich in potassium and other trace minerals. I learned how to make this magic mineral broth in my holistic nutrition course and have been using it since.
3 unpeeled carrots, cut into thirds
1 unpeeled medium yellow onion, cut into chunks
1 leek, both white and green parts, cut into thirds
1 bunch of celery, including the heart, cut into thirds
3 unpeeled cloves of garlic, halved
1 /2 bunch of fresh flat‐leaf parsley
2 medium red potatoes with skins on, quartered
1 Japanese or regular sweet potato with skins on, quartered
1 Garnet yam with skin on, quartered
1 8‐inch strip of kombu
1 bay leaf
6 black peppercorns
3 whole allspice or juniper berries
1/2 tablespoon sea salt
Rinse all the vegetables well, including the kombu. In a 6‐8‐quart stockpot, combine all the ingredients except the salt. Fill the pot to 2 inches below the rim with water, cover, and bring to a boil.
Remove the lid, decrease the heat to low, and simmer a minimum of 2‐3 hours. As the stock simmers some of the water will evaporate; add more if the vegetables begin to peek out. Simmer until the full richness of the vegetables can be tasted. Add the salt and stir.
Strain the stock using a large coarse‐mesh strainer (remember to use a heat‐resistant container underneath). Bring to room temperature before refrigerating or freezing.
Makes 3 to 4 quarts.
Source: – 2008 Rebecca Katz. Recipe from One Bite at a Time by Rebecca Katz, The Inner Cook