Cuties Clementine Oranges and Why I Will Likely Never Make These Recipes

Cuties Clementine Orange, cut open

Orange makes me a hypocrite.

Since this is a “food” blog, let’s start this discussion with the obvious, and talk about…color.

I quite like the color orange.

And that’s all I have to say about that, which doesn’t make me a hypocrite, so let’s talk about food.

I love Orange Tic Tacs. Based on this statement, one would believe it safe to assume that I love the flavor orange.

Unsafe to assume! Unsafe!

Other than Orange Tic Tacs, I do not like orange-scented or flavored foods. I never liked Tang — though that may also have something to do with the name itself, though how would I know that given I was five years old around the time of Tang — nor any other orange drink mix, Fanta, Faygo, Fresca, Sunkist Crush or otherwise. When ordering a mimosa or screwdriver, I ask them to “hold the orange juice.” The thought of cranberry-orange baked goods that seem to always pop up around the Holidays makes me gag, and I pluck out the orange and yellow skittles, starburst or other rainbowed candy as if I had heard somewhere that citrus colored dyes causes brain tumors.

In other words, I am a hypocrite because I do not like orange.

However, the real fragrance in the air when someone peels a ripe, room temperature orange is one of the greatest things to happen to olfaction since Acqua di Gio. I am fond of, in fact, eating almost all fresh citrus fruit, particularly pink and Oro Blanco grapefruits that have been peeled, segmented, and skinned of their thin, segmentatory membrane. I believe the foodie term for this is “peeled all the way down to the mutha effin’ good sh*t.” Or maybe “supreme.” When I was little, grapefruit, oranges, and tangerines all took their seasonal turn on The Delicious Family post-dinner fruit-as-dessert plate.

In other words, I am a hypocrite because I love orange.

Howeverever, as much as I love eating fresh citrus fruit, I cannot stand fresh oranges of any kind in food. As an ingredient. Or a garnish. I shudder at the thought of oranges zested into cranberry sauce, orange supremes mixed into some sort of fruity ambrosial cocktail dessert, or orange supremes tossed with salads. (Whoever thought to add oranges to Chinese Chicken Salad should be punished. After being punished for inventing Chinese Chicken Salad in the first place.)

In other words, I am a hypocrite because I don’t like fresh orange in food.

Which is why even though Cuties, a brand of tiny hybrid mandarin oranges, delivered a box of their fruit to sample, I will likely never make any of the four recipes re-printed below.

At least I’m consistent.
Cuties Clementine Oranges in Box

Grilled Shrimp & Mandarin Black Bean Salad Recipe

from the Cuties website: Fresh mandarins add a blast of sweet-tart juiciness to this memorable combo of flavors, colors and textures. Put this soon-to-be-family-favorite salad on the table in just minutes. Need another shortcut? Substitute a pound of cooked frozen shrimp, thawed under cold water, for the grilled shrimp.

Serves 4

Grilled Shrimp & Mandarin Black Bean Salad Ingredients:

2 15-ounce cans black beans, rinsed and drained
3 fresh mandarins, peeled and separated into segments
½ each sweet red and yellow bell peppers, seeded and sliced
½ small red onion, thinly sliced
Spicy Vinaigrette (recipe below)
4 cups baby greens or butter lettuce leaves
1 pound medium shrimp, peeled and grilled or broiled
Fresh cilantro sprigs, for garnish

Grilled Shrimp & Mandarin Black Bean Salad Directions:

In large bowl, gently toss beans, mandarins, peppers and onion with Spicy Vinaigrette. Line four dinner plates with greens and portion salad onto each plate. Top each salad with grilled shrimp, garnish with cilantro. Serve immediately.

Spicy Vinaigrette Directions:

In small bowl, whisk together 2 tablespoons fresh mandarin juice OR cider vinegar,1 teaspoon chili powder, ½ teaspoon EACH ground cumin, sugar and salt, ¼ teaspoons freshly ground black pepper, ¼ cup canola or other vegetable oil, and ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro.

Mandarin Chicken Couscous Salad with Curry Vinaigrette

from the Cuties website: Lively curry-spiked vinaigrette highlights the vibrant flavor of fresh mandarin. This stunning entrée salad comes together in just minutes when you start with super-fast couscous and ready-to-serve chicken. Frozen grilled chicken strips get this on the table in just minutes; substitute 2 cups shredded rotisserie chicken, if desired.

Serves 4

Mandarin Chicken Couscous Salad Ingredients:

1 10-oz package plain couscous
3 fresh mandarins, peeled and separated into segments
½ cup dried cranberries
¼ cup pistachios, coarsely chopped
1 bunch green onions, sliced, including some green top (about ½ cup total), divided
12 ounces frozen grilled chicken strips, heated according to package directions
Curry Vinaigrette (recipe below)

Mandarin Chicken Couscous Salad Directions:

Prepare couscous according to package directions, remove to large bowl. Stir mandarin segments, cranberries, nuts and half green onion into couscous; add half of vinaigrette and toss well. Arrange on large serving platter; top with chicken. Drizzle evenly with remaining vinaigrette and garnish with remaining green onion. Serve immediately.

Curry Vinaigrette Directions:

In small bowl whisk together ¼ cup mandarin juice OR white wine vinegar, 1 teaspoon curry powder, ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon, ½ teaspoon salt, 1/8 teaspoon cayenne, 1 teaspoon honey and 1/3 cup canola or other vegetable oil.


Mandarin Parfait Recipe

Juicy mandarin segments play a starring role in this colorful mixture of favorite flavors. Looks elegant, but easy to do and fun to eat: This parfait is perfect for breakfast, a special after-school snack or for dessert. It’s pretty made in a glass goblet but tastes just as good from a bowl. This recipe is easily doubled. A crumbled oatmeal cookie can be substituted for the granola, if desired.
Makes 2

Mandarin Parfait Ingredients:

3 fresh mandarins, peeled and separated into segments
¼ cup sliced almonds, toasted*
1 6-ounce containers lowfat vanilla yogurt
½ cup granola
1/3 cup seedless raspberry jam/preserves, stirred to thin consistency

Mandarin Parfait Directions:

In glasses or goblets, layer ingredients in this order: segments of mandarin, almonds, yogurt, granola and jam; repeat twice.

*To toast almonds, heat in a small nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, for 3-5 minutes, until lightly browned and fragrant. Remove from heat, let cool.

Cuties Clementine Oranges in Box

Ginger Mandarin Bites Recipe

Zingy with ginger, the slightly sweetened creamy topping makes a perfect marriage with tart-sweet juicy mandarin segments. Little hands will have fun making these as an after-school snack, but these bite-size mandarin treats also make a great “one bite” dessert, or an elegantly simple appetizer.
Makes about 44 pieces

Ginger Mandarin Bites Ingredients:

4 fresh mandarins, peeled and separated into segments
8 ounces spreadable cream cheese
¼ cup sugar
1/3 cup minced crystallized ginger
Fresh mandarin peel, thinly sliced, for garnish

Ginger Mandarin Bites Directions:

In small bowl, stir together cream cheese, ginger and sugar. Spread about 1 1/2 teaspoons cream cheese mixture on each mandarin segment; arrange on a serving plate. Garnish with mandarin peel.

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  • Kevin H

    That top-down picture of the box of madarin oranges is amazing. The photograph really pops off my screen. Nice shot.

  • Diana

    LOVE orange in citrus form, LOVE LOVE chocolate (which you know), but I LOATHE anything chocolate orange. It makes me want to gag. Oranges do not belong in dessert. Period.

    But I do enjoy supremes in salads. When I don’t have to do the supreming myself.

  • Sarah J. Gim

    Kevin: Glad you like the picture! I wasn’t sure how to do it, so I was teetering on my frilly little vanity chair on the balcony to get the natural light. Thank goodness I didn’t fall over. I live on the third floor.

    Diana: one of life’s mysteries: the existence of chocolate covered orange peels. whenever i see them, my violent internal reaction is “WTF?!?!”

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