Happy National Margarita Day! I went to my fridge to make a classic lime margarita and discovered I had NO limes, but still a few kumquats … hmm … kumquats are kinda like limes. They’re tart but also sweet … I bet they would be good in a margarita.
And the watermelon? I know, it’s not watermelon season. But I had some yellow watermelon in my fridge that I had ”pickled” a while ago by drowning it in tequila. It makes a really nice watermelon-flavored tequila. And the bonus is that you can use the drowned watermelon chunks in margaritas. I think you could really use this same idea with just about any fruit you like in your margaritas. Berries, mangoes, guavas, hey, whatever! Watermelon is REALLY nice in margaritas, though.
So this is my way of celebrating National Margarita Day. The way I see it, with all that blended fruit in there, it’s really quite healthy, right?
Yellow Watermelon Kumquat Margaritas
Adapted from Saveur
To make the drunken watermelon and watermelon-infused tequila:
- Yellow Watermelon, seeded and cut into chunks
- Silver Tequila
Put the watermelon in a glass jar. Fill the jar with tequila, completely covering all the watermelon chunks. Seal the jar, and keep it in the fridge for at least 2 days. (It keeps for a LONG time if you don’t use it right away.)
To make the margaritas:
- 1 cup of drunken watermelon chunks
- 1 kumquat (about 1 1/2 inches in diameter … if yours are smaller, toss in a few!), cut into chunks and seeded … (or substitute some lime or orange juice if you don’t have a kumquat)
- 1/4 cup watermelon-infused tequila
- 1/8 cup limeade concentrate
- 1/8 cup Cointreau or Grand Marnier or other orange liqueur
- Ice cubes
Put all ingredients in a blender (yes, the whole kumquat should go in, including the rind!) and add a few ice cubes. Blend till smooth. Add more ice cubes till the margaritas are the desired slushiness. I didn’t make mine too icy today because it is still February and although it is unseasonably warm here today, I’m not quite up for a slushy cold margarita yet.
This recipe was shared at Katherine Martinelli’s Cinco de Mayo Fiesta.
with cilantro, cucumber, and toasted pinons
I couldn’t stop eating this salad. It was one of those find-things-in-your-fridge-and-toss-them-together kind of meals … but once I got it all together, I could not believe how good it tasted.
I was telling my yoga friend about this salad and she asked how it is that I have all these strange things “on hand” in my kitchen … I think what I do is I just collect interesting ingredients and let them flow together. Oh, yes, there are times when I buy things specifically to make a particular dish, but it quite often doesn’t work out that way. Life gets in the way. My plans get thrown out the window. I have learned along the way that plans are only a point of departure, and you have to be ready at any point in life to make new ones. I find myself doing a lot of that.
In any case, this was a very happy accident.
Black Bean, Feta and Avocado Couscous Citrus Salad
with Cilantro, Cucumber, and Toasted Pine Nuts
If you haven’t got any kumquats, you could try substituting other citrus fruits.
- 2/3 cup uncooked whole wheat couscous
- 1/2 of a large cucumber, sliced and cut into small chunks
- 3/4 cup cooked black beans
- 2 cloves of garlic, chopped fine
- Roughly 1/3 cup feta cheese crumbles
- 2 kumquats (about 2 inches in diameter, add more to taste depending on how large your kumquats are), sliced thin and chopped (reserving a few slices for garnish)
- About 2 cups of green leaf or romaine lettuce, chopped fine
- About 3/4 cup of fresh cilantro leaves
- About 1/3 cup of toasted pinon nuts
- 1/2 of an avocado, peeled, pitted, chopped
- Prepare the uncooked couscous according to the package directions and make the dressing.
- In a medium bowl, toss everything but the avocado until mixed.
- Toss the avocado in the dressing to coat (the kumquat juice in the dressing will help the avocado from turning brown), then toss the avocado and the dressing into the salad and stir gently to combine.
- Garnish the top of the salad with extra feta crumbles, slices of kumquat, cilantro leaves and a few pinons.
- 2 Tablespoons of kumquat juice
- 1/2 teaspoon of granulated garlic
- 1/2 teaspoon of ground cumin
- 2 teaspoons of honey
- 2 teaspoons of rice vinegar
- 1 teaspoon of extra virgin olive oil
Whisk together all the ingredients in a small bowl.
I love salsa. The heat of it. The variety. The fun ways you can use it. You can put so many things in a salsa. I had some tomatoes that were begging me to make them into salsa, but I wanted to do something a little different this time …
I’ve heard of mango salsa, but I’ve never seen or tried kiwi in a salsa. Or pomegranate seeds. I threw those in just for fun … I don’t know that the pomegranate seeds added a lot to the flavor or even the look because the background of the salsa is already red … but they are so pretty. Like little jewels. Why not have jewels in your salsa?
So I put the kiwis and the pomegranate in and still it needed something. There were three mangoes sitting there in my fruit bowl, so I decided to toss one of them in the salsa too. And then I thought: this needs something … so I added some of the flavors of a jerk seasoning. There! That is it. That is exactly what my funky fruity salsa needed. Honestly I think I might add some more jalapeno now because I am craving something so hot it almost hurts but really, this version is quite awesome just like it is. Add more jalapeno if you want it to hurt. Use less if you like a milder salsa.
Funky Bejeweled Kiwi, Mango, and Kumquat Salsa
- 1 medium sized onion
- 2 cups canned tomatoes (or 1 15-oz. can)
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1/4 cup finely chopped jalapeno (adjust this amount to more or less, depending on how hot you like your salsa)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/8 teaspoon allspice
- 1/8 teaspoon cloves
- about 1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves
- 2 kumquats (my kumquats were about 2 inches long, but I have seen some that are MUCH smaller … if you have smaller kumquats, use more!) … one goes into the blender, chop the other one into little chunks.
- 2 kiwis, peeled & chopped into small pieces
- 1 mango, peeled & chopped into small pieces
- 1/2 cup pomegranate seeds
- In a blender or food processor, blend the tomatoes, onion, garlic, jalapeno, 1 of the kumquats and the salt and other spices.
- You can pour the salsa into a bowl or just stir in the rest of the ingredients right in the blender. Don’t blend it up, though, because it will ruin those beautiful hunks of fruit!
I tried the salsa with baked vegie and corn tortilla chips, but it would also be lovely with nachos, burritos, or over fish or chicken or pork or … well, salsa is just such a fun thing to have around. Especially a funky salsa like this.
This recipe was shared at Totally Tasty Tuesdays, Tasty Tuesdays, Talent Show Tuesdays, Cast Party Wednesdays, Newlyweds Recipe Linky, Tastetastic Thursday, Katherine Martinelli’s Mango Bloghop and Full Plate Thursday.
This is another great find in my quest for kumquat recipes … I had already tried a yeasted bread, but then also I wanted to try a quickbread. This one turned out so yummy it’s almost gone already. My friend came over last night because she wants help with setting up a food blog and she brought along her little boy who is just a toddler. We were looking for a little snack to feed him and this bread was right there. I cut him a slice, which he scarfed down immediately. As we were distracted on the computer, he went over and grabbed my glass loaf pan off the counter and came walking towards us saying “Toast!” … it was so cute! (aside from the fact that I totally panicked that he would drop the pan and it would shatter and hurt the little guy) … so yes, he got another slice. And so did his mom.
I think I am going to have to make another loaf of this “toast” … I just love the pretty orange specks of color in it, the tang of the citrus, and the crunch of the toasted walnuts.
Kumquat Basil Walnut Quick Bread
Adapted from Kumquat Growers.
I wanted to add some spices to the basic recipe and was having a hard time deciding which spices I wanted … I opted for fresh basil just for something different, and I like the subtle hint of basil, but I am thinking next time I will try switching out the basil for some ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, a bit of cardamom, some vanilla and maybe some cloves.
- 2/3 cup 1 % or skim milk
- 2 eggs
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 cup flour
- 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
- 1/4 cup flaxmeal
- 1-1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 3/4 cup pureed kumquats
- A small handful of fresh basil leaves, chopped fine (or pureed with the kumquats)
- 3/4 cup chopped walnuts, toasted
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- About 1 Tablespoon raw sugar for the top
- In a mixing bowl, combine milk, eggs and oil.
- Add the dry ingredients and stir until well mixed.
- Fold in the pureed kumquats, basil and nuts.
- Pour the batter into a 8″ x 4″ x 2″ loaf pan and sprinkle the top with raw sugar.
- Bake in a greased in 350 degree oven for 50-60 minutes or until a knife or toothpick inserted comes out clean. (I had to cook it for about 15 – 20 minutes longer than that.)
- Cool and remove from pan.
and a Kumquat Ginger Yogurt Dressing
This is an intense salad, with bursts of contrasting flavors all over the place. Smoky salty prosciutto contrasting with the sharp cheese, nutty almonds, onion, and then those kumquats come along and blow your taste buds away. Top it all off with some a tangy sweet kumquat ginger yogurt dressing and oh my your taste buds will start dancing.
Not for the faint of heart … this salad is bold and feisty.
First make the dressing and let it sit while you mix up the salad …
Kumquat Ginger Yogurt Salad Dressing
This dressing has an intense ginger taste. If you are not a ginger fanatic, or if you are not sure if you are, I would recommend seriously toning down the amount of ginger in the dressing.
- 1/8 cup plain greek yogurt (nonfat or lowfat)
- 1 Tablespoon rice vinegar
- 1 Tablespoon freshly grated ginger root (if you’re not a ginger fanatic like me, cut it down to 1/2 – 1 teaspoon)
- 1/4 teaspoon granulated garlic
- 1 teaspoon of honey
- 1 tablespoon kumquat syrup (from making candied kumquats … you could substitute orange marmalade)
Mix all ingredients until well blended.
Kumquat & Prosciutto Salad with Toasted Almonds, Feta, and Romano Cheese
- Mixed greens
- Thinly sliced red onions
- Thin sliced prosciutto
- Kumquat, thinly sliced
- Feta cheese crumbles
- Shards of fresh Romano cheese (slice off very thin slices of the cheese)
- Toasted almonds
Fill your salad bowl about 3/4 of the way with the greens, then add the rest of the ingredients as you please. Drizzle with the dressing and enjoy the party in your mouth.
I was searching the internet looking for interesting recipes to make with my kumquats … when I found this recipe for Portuguese Kumquat Cornbread. When I read the ingredients and his description of it, I was totally entranced. This is what Chef Ron Oliver says about the bread:
“This is a yeast-leavened cornbread – more of an artisanal bread than your typical quick cornbread that is leavened with baking powder. The addition of olive oil is a signature of Portuguese cornbreads, and the kumquats, which grow abundantly in Central Portugal add a nice touch of fruitiness to complement the fruity olive oil.”
So really this bread is not much like a cornbread. It’s soft and moist and almost orange-flavored, but not quite. There is just a slight crunch from the cornmeal, and lovely little flecks of orange color from the candied kumquats. I don’t know quite how to describe it other than to say it is an amazing taste sensation.
Artisanal Portuguese Kumquat Cornbread
Adapted from Chef Ron Oliver
Makes 1 10-inch round bread
- 3 tsp active dry yeast
- 1 cup cornmeal
- 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tsp coarse sea salt
- 1/2 tsp dried thyme
- 2 tsp chile powder
- 1 cup milk
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 2 cups bread flour
- 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
- 1 egg
- 1/2 cup candied kumquats (Recipe here … or use Kumquat Conserve), finely chopped (measure after chopped–I used my handi chopper and chopped them up till they were almost a puree)
Bread machine instructions:
- Put all the ingredients in the bread machine. Set the bread machine on the dough setting and start it up.
- When the dough is ready, pull it out and shape it to fit in a 9 or 10 inch round pan (Chef Oliver suggests a springform pan, but I used one of my pottery dishes.)
- Spray or brush with oil, sprinkle with coarse salt, and let it rise for an hour or so until the dough is big and puffy.
- Bake at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes to an hour … if the bread is getting too dark brown during baking, cover it with foil. I covered mine after about 30 minutes of cooking.
If you don’t have a bread machine, see Chef Ron Oliver’s Instructions.
Chef Oliver suggests serving it with an Almond Parsley butter, but I decided it needed something creamy. So I took an ounce or so of light cream cheese mixed with a small spoonful of the kumquat syrup (from candying the kumquats) and that creamy sweet-citrus taste was absolutely heaven on this bread.
I had a hard time stopping myself from inhaling the whole loaf. And it’s a BIG loaf. I managed to stop myself after two good-size wedges … and now I’m imagining the sandwich I am going to make with this flippin’ amazing kumquat bread tomorrow.
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For my birthday, my sweet aunt who lives in Florida, sent me a bunch of kumquats from her kumquat tree. Kumquats are something of a new experience for me … the first time I ever tasted them was at Christmas, at my parents’ house, and of course they were a bunch of kumquats from the same tree. I was so excited to have my very own box of kumquats to play with!
The rind of a kumquat is lightly sweet and the center is sour, so they are often eaten whole. I am not sure my palate could handle that kind of intensity, but I found I really love the sour-sweet taste of the juice in salad dressing and also thin slices of kumquat on a salad are quite welcome. Kumquats add a little citrus zing that almost tickles your tongue. They are small and a lovely orange-yellow in color.
When they arrived, a few of the kumquats were beginning to rot on one end, so I knew I had to do SOMETHING fast! Katherine Martinelli came to my rescue, graciously sharing some of her favorite kumquat recipes. This one was clearly the one to rectify my situation and save the precious half-kumquats. I’m not sure exactly how many of them I used in the recipe as they were parts of several kumquats, but the method worked beautifully. Thank you so much, Katherine.
Candied Kumquats & Kumquat Syrup
Recipe from Katherine Martinelli. I think the syrup would be wonderful over french toast or pancakes … or even for adding a tangy sweet taste to mixed drinks.
- 1 to 2 cups simple syrup* (I used 1 cup water, 2 cups sugar)
- About 15 kumquats, sliced or chopped
- Put the kumquats and simple syrup in a small pot over medium heat.
- Bring to a boil then reduce the heat; simmer for 10 – 25 minutes, stirring often.
- The kumquats are done when the syrup is slightly thickened and sticks to the fruit. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the kumquats to a clean glass jar.
- Spoon a few tablespoons of simple syrup on top. Transfer the remaining syrup to another glass jar. Allow both to cool before sealing and refrigerating.
* To make simple syrup combine 1 part each water and sugar in a pot and simmer until the sugar is dissolved.
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and how the turnips ended up in the Merlot …
So my sister and I were having a glass of Merlot together as I was preparing the salad for dinner on Christmas Eve. I love making salad-scapes so the task of making the salad often falls to me …
I was cutting up a turnip from Dad’s garden to put in the salad and I noticed as I held the turnip slices up to the light, there was a beautiful pattern of lines there. I remarked on that to my sister, who said we should try soaking one in wine because that would bring out the gorgeous pattern in the turnip. She grabbed a slice from my pile of turnip bits and dunked it in her wine, pulling it out after a moment and yes, indeed the lines were more pronounced and the turnip had changed to a lovely purplish tone.
So I said to her that we should soak the turnips in wine for the salad … she said “are you serious?” … and in the wild sweet mood I am in that day, yes, of course I was. So we soaked half the turnips in a small cup of wine. The picture didn’t turn out all that well, but you can see the pattern of lines in the turnip … isn’t that just gorgeous?
And then we turned to a discussion of salad dressing. I asked if we should do the tahini yogurt dressing again, but my sis wanted something different … A vinaigrette, she said. I didn’t want the same old boring vinaigrette, though, and that’s when she got the idea to use Kumquat juice in the salad dressing.
Now I have not ever had a Kumquat before, but apparently my aunt who lives in Florida had sent Mom and Dad a bag full of kumquats from her tree. My sister had already been experimenting with them before I got here. She told me the way to juice these tart little Kumquats is to roll the little fruit in your hands first, then slice off the top and the juice comes pouring out. She juiced three Kumquats for me and then we went to work finding things to put in the dressing. This is what we ended up with. We were really quite delighted with ourselves.
Herbed Kumquat Honey Merlot Salad Dressing
- Juice of 3 kumquats
- A small spoonful of honey
- 1/2 teaspoon chopped garlic
- About 1/8 cup balsamic vinegar
- About 1/8 cup Merlot or other dry red wine
- About 1 Tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil
- About 1 Tablespoon fresh sage and rosemary, chopped fine
- About 1/4 teaspoon salt
- Freshly ground pepper to taste
- In a small bowl, stir together the kumquat juice, honey, garlic, vinegar, and Merlot till thoroughly mixed.
- Whilst whisking the juice mixture, add the olive oil in a thin stream to combine with the juices.
- Stir in herbs, salt and pepper.
We served this dressing with a salad of fresh spinach leaves sprinkled with Merlot-soaked turnips, tomato, avocado, shards of fresh Parmesan cheese, and thin slices of Kumquat. It was a delicious and decidedly unique salad. We had spiral-sliced ham and scalloped potatoes as well, but if you were to ask me, I would say the salad stole the show.