Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Orange Blueberry Smoothie and My Acme Juicer

I spent the early part of the morning juicing Valencia oranges from our trees.
I love my Acme Juicer! I remember back in 1973 when I bought a used Acme juicer from an old women that used it to make juice for her husband.  He had had cancer and had passed away a few years before. She said it was the best juicer I would ever own.  She even gave me a few books on juicing.  I paid her a mere $25.00 for it then.  I used that juicer for years until one day I decided to sell it at a garage sale.  I don't know what possessed me to do that, but I did.

Now, we live in a home that has 13 citrus trees. It took me a while to find another used Acme juicer for a reasonable price; I finally found this one on EBay and paid around $50.00 for it; that was about 7 years ago.  When it arrived it was not very clean but with some soap and water and a few Q-tips and toothpicks I was able to clean it up and it now looks like new. This one also came with the citrus juice attachment that my other one did not have. I am not sure if they even had that attachment available in the 70's.

 It only took me about 15 minutes to juice all these Valencia's.  This juicer also has two sections for the pulp, the first one for the seeds that allows the smaller parts of pulp to rest in the second reservoir. I always put the pulp back in the juice since I don't want to waste the extra fiber and nutrients. I happen to like pulp in my juice.
 I was able to get about 4 quarts from this batch of oranges. Still lots more on the tree that need to be picked and juiced.  I think we will have plenty for the hot summer months.  I don't want to wait that long for a smoothie so I made one this afternoon and enjoyed the warm afternoon sun on the patio. We had quite a bit of rain the last few days and it was cool out but still warm enough to enjoy the smoothie.

Here is the recipe:

Orange Blueberry Smoothie for One

1 cup fresh squeezed Orange Juice, make it California orange juice if you can!
1/2 cup Low-Fat Plain Yogurt
1/4 cup Blueberries, frozen
1/2 of a frozen small Banana
2 teaspoons Flax seed meal
Lavender sprig (optional)

Place everything in a blender and whirl until smooth.  Add a nice long lavender flower for a stir stick, if you have it.

Each time I use this juicer it brings back memories of the orange groves in our area during the early 60's and 70's.  You could drive just about anywhere and find bags of oranges set out alongside the driveways of the homes with groves.  You would pull up, put a dollar or two depending on what the owner wanted for a large grocery bag full, in a jar. Generally it would be a dollar! Now this was for a huge bag, probably about the amount of oranges that I juiced today.  That would put your quart of fresh squeezed orange juice at about 25 cents.  Our area was first planted in 1893 with 50,000 fruit trees.  In the early 1900's grove owners formed the Citrus Union. The citrus was marketed under the Sunkist brand.

Nutritional analysis provided by NutriMirror

Friday, January 13, 2012

Julio's Hot Carrots

Julio's Hot Carrots
I was up early this morning cutting up vegetables and realized I had an abundance of fresh carrots.  I remembered having a recipe for hot carrots that I have not made in some time.

You know those hot carrots that you are served in Mexican restaurants or fast food Mexican restaurants, well now you can make your own.

This recipe is one that I have been making for over 30 years.  I believe it came from Julio's Mexican Restaurant in San Diego. 

The original recipe uses canned Jalapeños, but my version uses fresh and since I have some still growing in the garden I used one of those; I also never liked the taste of the brine from the canned Jalapeno's but if that is all you can find, you could just drain them and then follow with my version.  You can also adjust the spiciness by using a milder pepper, like a Poblano or Anaheim if you like. The longer the pepper stays in the mix the hotter your carrots will be.

Julio’s Hot Carrots

Original Recipe:

1 gallon fresh carrots, sliced about ⅛ inch thick
1 -12 or 13 ounce can of whole Jalapeños in juice
2 onions thinly sliced
2 Tablespoons oil
1 cup Vinegar
Salt and Pepper

Lightly blanch carrots to firm tender. Drain; add Jalapeños with juice, onions, oil, vinegar and salt and pepper. Chill overnight.

My Version:

1 quart fresh Carrots, thinly sliced to ⅛ inch (about 6 large carrots)
1-2 fresh Jalapeño, cut in half lengthwise (depending on degree of spice you want)
1-2 white Onions, sliced thin
2 Tablespoons dried Mexican Oregano
½ teaspoon Sea Salt
1 ½ cups White Vinegar (cider vinegar will be fine also)
1-2 cups of water (or to fill jar)

Place brine ingredients in saucepan and heat to boiling. Toss carrots and onions together and place in large canning jar or bowl that has a tight fitting lid.   

Pour hot brine over carrots, onions and Jalapeño. Let cool; cover and refrigerate. Allow at least 2 days for brine to penetrate the carrots. The longer they marinate the better. These will keep for months in the refrigerator, but keep in mind that the carrots will soften over time.