Candied Clementines

Candied Clementines

When Valentine’s day rolls around, there are a lot of desserts to choose from. There’s a lot of red, and a lot of hearts, and lots of strawberries. In February. I’m not opposed to buying stuff out of season, but I decided to go with something a little different for a V-day dessert this year.

Clementines are in season, and they are totally yummy. They’re small, easy to peel, sweet as sugar, and seedless. You’d think that simmering them in simple syrup for a couple hours would be overkill, but in fact it actually tones down the sweetness, and brings out some of the bitterness of the peel. The sugary sweet clementines become more complex, slightly bitter, but retain their bright citrus flavor.

If you’re not into candying the whole fruit, I ran across this recipe online for candy-coating the segments. They’d stand in very nicely for the whole fruit, and it doesn’t take as long.

These make a simple but decadent dessert, topped with crushed pistachios, shaved bittersweet chocolate, and served with a small demitasse cup of hot cocoa. It’s the perfect treat for the darling clementine in your life.

Candied Clementines
Makes 12

12 Clementines, washed
4 Cups Sugar
3 Cups Water

Wash the clementines well. Pierce them 8-10 times with a toothpick. In a large, deep pot, combine clementines, sugar and water.

Clementines in Sugar

Bring to a simmer, covered, and simmer for 1-2 hours depending on the level of bitterness you’d like in your clementines. Be careful to simmer, and not boil! Let the clementines cool in the syrup. (Save the simple syrup for additions to drinks and desserts.)

Serve clementines with crushed pistachios and shaved chocolate.

Before you ask, I’m not exactly sure how to store these. I’d guess an airtight container, in the fridge to be safe. I’d bring them to room temperature before serving.

Hot Cocoa
Small Portions For two

2 Tbs Dutch Pressed Cocoa Powder
1 1/2 Tbs Sugar
1 Cup Soymilk (or other non-dairy milk)

Combine cocoa and sugar in a small pot. Add a dribble of soymilk and whisk to form a paste. Add the rest of the soymilk and heat until steaming. Serve in demitasse cups.

Candied Clementines

Crash Hot Potatoes

Crash Hot Potatoes

I love no-recipe recipes. This isn’t my recipe, but when I saw it on The Pioneer Woman, I knew I not only had to make it (over and over), but also share it with you guys.

It is EASY and it is TASTY.

Boil potatoes, smash them, cover them with olive oil, salt, and rosemary, and bake them until they’re crispy. There. Now you know how to make them.

The Pioneer Woman uses New Potatoes, and I think those are a good choice. They’re small and waxy, which means when you squish them they don’t explode into a fluffy mess.

I, however, used regular organic russets, but small ones. These also worked just fine, but I did get a bit of fluffy mess. No worries, if this happens to you, just scoop the potatoes into rough piles and proceed.

In November I bought a pressure cooker, and I adore it. Especially for making potatoes. It’s not that boiling potatoes is hard, but pressure cooking them is definitely easier. They come out nice and fluffy and delicious, and they cook quickly and evenly. No soggy potatoes from over boiling, no splashing and scalding, just well-cooked potatoes every time.

Also, keep in mind that this recipe does require a good deal of oil and salt to be tasty. Obviously fat and salt make lots of things tasty, but when you’re dressing up naked potatoes, they’re really required. You can add more salt at the table if needed, but do your tastebuds a favor and close your eyes when you’re putting the oil on before baking.

Crash Hot Potatoes
Makes as many as you please

Several Smallish Potatoes, red or russet
Salt
Pepper
Olive Oil
2-3 Sprigs Rosemary

Preheat oven to 450º F.

Scrub the potatoes clean. Boil them until tender all the way through. If you have a pressure cooker, cook the potatoes whole on a trivet with 1 cup of water for 10-20 minutes at high-pressure, depending on the size of your potatoes. Turn off the heat and let the cooker release pressure naturally.

Potatoes in pressure cooker

Place the cooked potatoes on a baking sheet drizzled with olive oil. I like to use parchment paper here to keep things clean and non-stick.

Pressure cooked potatoes

Make an X cut on the top of each potato for easier squishing. Use a potato masher and gently press on each potato until squished but not obliterated. You want them to stay together somewhat. If they fall apart, have no fear! Just scoop the bits into piles and proceed.

Once smashed, generously sprinkle salt over each potato. Follow with pepper, and douse everything with more olive oil. If desired, sprinkle each potato with freshly chopped rosemary.

Crash Hot Potatoes, before baking

Bake the potatoes at 450º F for 20-25 minutes, longer is better as long as they’re not burning. Serve hot! I sprinkled smoked paprika over them to finish, but I put that on everything.

Thanks, Pioneer Woman, for the awesome recipe!

Crash Hot Potatoes