Tag Archives: citrus

family eating popcorn

The Dish: Lime Popcorn

Closing out our month of citrus it’s time to talk about limes. I had a surprisingly difficult time coming up with a recipe to adequately showcase these little green buggers.

With award season and the Super Bowl upon us I thought this would be a great opportunity to make some snacks for while you’re gathered around the TV. Even if you’re not an award show junkie or a sports fan we can all rejoice in the return of Downton Abbey and Sherlock!

We know all about how delicious limes are in guacamole or how they make a margarita pop, but what are some other, unexpected places we can find them? How about a bowl of zesty chili-lime popcorn? And to wash it down a bonus recipe for a twist on a Dark and Stormy!

If you’ve never made your own popcorn before you’re missing out. It’s absurdly easy and makes for a great, fiber packed snack.

Chili-Lime Popcorn

about 3-4 cups of popcorn

1/3 cup unpopped popcorn

3 TBSP vegetable oil

1/2 tsp lime juice zest of 1 lime

1/4 tsp cumin

1/8 tsp chili powder

salt to taste (optional)

In a large pop, heat oil over medium heat. Place 3 or 4 kernels of corn in the pot and cover. When kernels begin to pop add rest of the corn and cover. Cook over medium heat shaking the pot occasionally until corn begins to pop. Continue to shake pot to make sure kernels on the bottom don’t burn. When you go 5-10 seconds without hearing popping remove from heat and pour into a large bowl.

In a small bowl combine lime juice, lime zest, cumin and chili powder. Pour over the popcorn and toss well to coat. Sprinkle with salt if desired and toss again. Serve with a cool beverage in front of the TV.


Maker’s Mark and Stormy


1-1/2 parts Maker’s Mark bourbon

Cold ginger beer (I like to use Reed’s Ginger Brew)


Fill a tall glass with ice. Pour in bourbon and a splash of lime juice. Fill to top with ginger beer and garnish with a slice of lime.

orange beet salad cropped

The Dish: Fresh Orange and Beet Salad

My ultimate go to salad for any occasion is this orange and beet salad. I found it in a cookbook on New Orleans cuisine years ago and I make it every chance I get. It’s great for serving a crowd or makes a light lunch during the week. This salad is perfect for the winter months when citrus and root vegetables are in abundance but canned beets and oranges can be substituted. Most importantly, it’s diet friendly without skimping on the flavor.

The Bibb lettuce is fresh and light, the spiced pecans add a great crunch and the creaminess of the farmer’s cheese works great with the sweet beets and tangy oranges. Certainly any one of the components to this salad can be substituted but I highly recommend trying it in its entirety with all the different flavors and textures working together in perfect harmony.

Farmer’s cheese is hard to come by but it is simple to make your own. However, if you’d rather not bother blending cheeses, crumbled goat cheese will be just fine.

Included with this recipe is my specialty vinaigrette. It’s perfect on any salad or spooned over grilled veggies and meat.

Fresh Orange and Beet Salad with Pecans and Farmer’s Cheese

4 small beets (whole canned beets can be substituted)

2 heads butter or bibb lettuce

8 clementine oranges (if using canned drain and rinse well)

1/2 cup chopped toasted spiced pecans (recipe follows)


For the Farmer’s Cheese

1/2 cup cottage cheese

1/2 cup cream cheese

1/2 cup goat cheese

salt and pepper to taste


For Deborah’s Specialty Vinaigrette

2 tablespoons local wild honey

4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

zest of 1 lemon

salt and pepper to taste

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil


Preheat oven to 450F. Scrub and trim unpeeled beets, wrap in foil and roast until easily pierced with the tip of a knife, about 1 hour. Remove from oven, unwrap, and when cool enough to handle, peel the beets, trimming off any remaining root and cut into 1/4 inch slices. Set aside to cool completely.

While beets are roasting, make the vinaigrette. Whisk together honey, lemon juice, zest, salt and pepper. Slowly drizzle in oil until it emulsifies. Taste and adjust seasoning.

To make the farmer’s cheese, in a food processor, combine the cheeses and blend until smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Cut and slice off the top and bottom of each orange. Stand each orange upright on cutting board. Following the curve of the orange, slice off the peep and pith without removing too much of the flesh. Cut each section free from the membrane into a bowl.

Divide the lettuce on individual plates or spread on one large platter. Arrange the beet slices and orange segments. Dollop the farmer’s cheese and sprinkle the pecans on top. Whisk the vinaigrette and drizzle it over the salad.


Sweet and Spicy Pecans

1/2 cup pecan halves

1 tablespoon butter or margarine, melted

2 tablespoons sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/8 teaspoon smoked paprika


Preheat oven to 325F. Toss all ingredients together in a small bowl until evenly coasted. Spread in a single layer on a lined baking sheet. Bake until lightly toasted, about 10 minutes.



preserved lemons

The Dish: Spicy Spaghettini with Preserved Lemon

Preserved lemons are an amazing addition to pasta dishes, roasted or grilled meats, vegetables, even cocktails! Their tangy and salty flavor adds a Mediterranean vibe to any dish.

Preserved lemons can be bought at specialty food stores or ordered online, but if you have a lemon tree in your backyard like I do, try your hand at making your own. They’re easy to do, make great gifts and keep for well over a year! Check out Epicurious.com for instructions on how to make your own. Add a bay leaf, some peppercorns, chili flakes, or even a cinnamon stick to impart a little extra flavor and some added beauty to the jar.

To get you started on your preserved lemon obsession, try this recipe for Spicy Spaghettini (a type of thin spaghetti). It’s quick and simple but doesn’t skimp on the flavor. The crabmeat is optional but is a nice addition for a more filling meal. This is also a great opportunity to use your homemade chili or lemon oil from December.

Spicy Spaghettini with Preserved Lemon


  • 1/2 lb. spaghettini (spaghetti or angel hair pasta can but substituted)
  • 1/2 cup chopped red onion
  • 3 cloves thinly sliced garlic
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons thinly sliced fresno chili or homemade chili oil
  • 1/2 pound shelled cooked crabmeat, cut into 1-inch pieces (from about 1 1/4 pound thawed frozen king crab legs)
  • 2 pieces preserved lemon, pulp discarded and finely chopped (1 tablespoon)
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped mint
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • salt and pepper to taste


Cook spaghettini in a pot of boiling salted water (3 tablespoons salt for 6 quarts water) until al dente.

Meanwhile, cook onion in oil in a large heavy skillet over medium heat, stirring, until softened. Stir in garlic and chili. Continue cooking for 1 minute, then add preserved lemon and crabmeat. Reduce heat to low and cook, stirring frequently, until crabmeat is heated through.

Drain pasta, reserving 1/2 cup of cooking liquid. Add pasta to skillet along with remaining ingredients and toss to coat well. Add some of reserved cooking liquid for a looser sauce. Add more salt or pepper if desired.


citrus platter

The Dish: Citrus Salad with Star Anise

Any Arizona native can tell you that this is the best time of year for citrus and for the month of January I’ll be giving you refreshing, pucker worthy recipes to utilize these tangy fruits.

To start off the new year right, try this light simple salad. Splash it with your favorite anise liqueur like Ouzo for dessert or try something exotic that pairs great with citrus like Arak. You can skip the hooch all together and serve over Greek yogurt and some granola for a healthy breakfast.

This recipe uses blood oranges and pink grapefruits but navel oranges and tangerines would be great additions as well. Toss in a cinnamon stick or some cardamom pods to the syrup for a lovely floral flavor.

Citrus Salad with Star Anise

Makes 8 servings

4 blood oranges

5 ruby red or pink grapefruits

3 whole star anises

1/3 cup sugar

1/3 cup water

Dissolve sugar in water in a small heavy saucepan over medium heat, stirring. Add star anise and simmer 5 minutes. Let stand off heat 30 minutes.

Peel fruit, including white pith, with a sharp knife. Cut segments free from membranes or slice lengthwise into a bowl. Squeeze any excess juice into bowl.

Add syrup with star anise to fruit and juice and stir gently. Remove star anise before serving if desired.

Salad can be prepared 1 day ahead, covered with plastic and chilled.

Click below for a printable version of this recipe

Citurs Salad with Star Anise


The Five C’s of Arizona

Copper, cattle, cotton, citrus and climate. These “Five C’s” were the core of Arizona’s economy when it first became a state. Though not as important today, they assist in bringing residents and tourists alike to Arizona. If you went to elementary school here you may have heard of these in the classroom. If not, here is a quick breakdown:

The five C's of Arizona's economy