On my recent trip to Arizona, I brought an extra suitcase along with the intent of filling it with Arizona citrus to bring back home to the Midwest. My parents and my in-laws have bountiful citrus trees in their yards. It's always a treat to visit this time a year when the citrus is in full harvest. Both sets of parents have lemon trees, and each has a different variety of orange trees, Arizona sweets, tangelos, and my favorite, blood oranges.
Although my family has been enjoying freshly squeezed lemonade and snacking on oranges, I wanted to create a few recipes using the blood oranges.
First I made a beet and blood orange salad. Keith loves beets so I thought this would be an added bonus for him.
I bought golden and red beets from our local coop, trimmed them, coated them in olive oil, salt and pepper, and roasted them in the oven for about an hour until tender. After they cooled, I peeled and diced them up for the salad. I peeled the blood reds, removed the pith and thinly sliced them. I tossed the beets and oranges over mixed greens and added some toasted walnuts.
For the dressing, I blended juice from one blood orange with about 2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar, 1 clove of garlic, 1/4 cup olive oil, 1 tsp of orange zest, 1 tbs of honey, and salt and pepper. I was pleased with the end results and so was Keith.
Later in the week I made Barefoot Contessa's Orange Chocolate Chunk cake from her Parties! cookbook, only I substituted blood oranges for regular oranges. I think this is a great recipe because it has a good balance of orange and chocolate flavor. The recipe calls for a 1/4 cup of orange zest which really makes the orange flavor stand out, but not overpower the chocolate.
The only thing I might change, if using blood oranges in the future, would be to use regular orange juice instead of blood orange juice in the batter. I found that blood orange juice made the cake batter have a bluish tint. And if you're picky, like me, about how your food not only tastes but also looks, you'd be better off using regular orange juice. It bothers me when food looks deceiving, tricking you into thinking it's something that it's not. The cake tasted delicious even with the bluish tint, but I had inform people that it was orange cake because it looked more like banana or blueberry.