Brighten Up Your Winter Blues with Fresh Citrus

Sometimes — usually between November and March — I think I was born in the wrong state. While I like looking at snowy landscapes, and the trees are gorgeous with their glistening winter coats of ice and snow, I’m happiest on days like this past Monday, when I can wear a hoodie to run my errands, and roll the car window down a crack while I drive, without feeling like my nose will freeze off my face. So maybe Maine isn’t the best place for me to live, during those months, but I look for the good in nearly every situation, and right now the good is low citrus costs. Seriously. Believe it or not, citrus is in season right now, so depending on their distributors, the grocery stores can afford to practically give it away. Navel oranges 5/$1 and lemons and limes nearly as low? It’s not a beach day in July, but if it’s all you’ve got on offer, I’ll take it!

I think it’s important to own up to something right now, too — specifically, a failure. There are only two recipes, and I know you’re used to seeing three. Well, there’s a reason there are only two — the third is currently a ice cream maker bowl full of painstakingly-squeezed blood orange juice and sugar water, still in my freezer, failing to behave even remotely sorbet-like. I tried, but apparently there’s more involved in making sorbet than I understood! Figuring out where I went wrong will be an experiment for another day, I think.

I was excited to break in my brand-new Kitchenaid mixer, a Christmas gift from my amazing and always kitchen-enabling mother Barbara, for the cookies — and they did not disappoint. They are chewy and just tart and sweet enough to keep you coming back for another one. After munching down two or four of those, the salad is just what you will want for supper, whether you are trying to eat lighter as part of a New Year’s resolution, or you just want an excuse to get some more sunshine in your meals. And, of course, a sorbet would be just the thing to follow it up with, but alas, I can’t offer you any help with that — yet.


Lemon-Grilled Chicken with Arugula Salad

  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 4 navel oranges
  • 2 lemons, juiced
  • 1 teaspoon maple syrup (or honey)
  • 1 package baby arugula
  • 1 Fresno chile pepper
  • feta cheese crumbles
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons dijon mustard, divided
  • 1/2 c. balsamic vinegar
  • 1 1/2 c. salad oil
  • cracked black pepper and salt

In a bowl, combine lemon juice, 1 tablespoon mustard, maple, garlic and about 1/2 teaspoon each black pepper and salt. Marinate chicken in mixture while you heat up a grill or pan. Cook thoroughly on both sides and set aside to cool slightly before slicing. In two salad bowls, arrange a handful or two of arugula (or other bitter greens) each and place one sliced chicken breast on top. Peel and slice 3 oranges and place orange pieces on the salad as well. Juice remaining orange. In a container with a tight seal, combine remaining mustard, orange juice, balsamic vinegar, and oil. Add salt and pepper to taste and seal to shake well. Dress salad with as much or as little as you’d like and top with sliced or chopped chile pepper and crumbled feta cheese.


Glazed Lime Sugar Cookies

  • 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 cup butter-flavored shortening
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 limes, zested and juiced
  • 1 1/2 cups confectioner’s sugar (for glaze)

In a bowl, cream together shortening and granulated sugar, then add vanilla, egg and 1 tablespoon lime zest (minced fine.) Reserve the rest of the zest for the glaze. Add flour and baking powder and mix well before adding juice of two limes, reserving the third for the glaze. Scoop onto parchment-lined cookie sheets and place in fridge to chill for at least an hour or overnight. Preheat oven to 350°F. Bake 7-9 minutes and while cooling, make glaze using remaining zest, juice and confectioner’s sugar. When cookies have cooled, dip tops into glaze and allow to harden before serving.

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Fia Fortune

About Fia Fortune

Fia Fortune is a home cook who enjoys gardening, creating recipes for her two blogs, cooking for herself and her boyfriend, and trying to keep up with their blended family of four cats.