I went the first half of my life disliking grapefruit and most other bitter things. I can’t pinpoint when it happened, but one day, I just started craving pink grapefruit. Something about that sweet, bittery pulp became so delicious and refreshing. After becoming a grapefruit convert (and general citrus fan), I have had a few wonderful citrus themed opportunities.
If you live in Southern California and know a bit about its history, then you know that there was a time when citrus dominated the area. When large portions of Los Angeles were nothing but groves of yellow and orange gems. I have had the pleasure of touring UC Riverside’s rare citrus collection, that is only open to the general public on one special day per year. A gorgeous walk through the groves, filled with endless interesting facts and juicy tastings. The only thing that really compares is the docent led tour at California Citrus State Historic Park, which may even have the UCR tour beat, as you can take home a bag of your own fruit, the picking of which, is otherwise prohibited.
On these tours, I had the opportunity to taste several types of grapefruit that I didn’t know existed, as well as one of my favorites, the Oro Blanco. It’s got a greenish-yellow skin and a pale white-yellow interior. It’s aromatic, as grapefruit tends to be and has an equally intoxicating flavor. IA completely different experience from typical supermarket grapefruit and it makes a unique and tasty Paloma.
1/4 c Tequila Blanco (I used Suerte)
1/4 c freshly squeezed Oro Blanco Grapefruit Juice
1/4 c La Croix Grapefruit/Pamplemousse
1 1/2 tsp agave
*optional course salt for rimming glass
First, if you’re using salt, use a grapefruit slice to wipe around the rim of your glass and then dip your glass in salt. Place some ice or one large cube in a glass.
In a cocktail shaker, combine tequila, grapefruit juice and agave. Give a few vigorous shakes. Pour into glass and top with La Croix.
*If you find yourself in Southern California in the winter time, look for the UCR tour in January. The California Citrus State Historic Park tour is offered several months per year, I recommend going Jan through April for the best citrus.
I made my way into Colorado on I-70; the second leg of my first long road trip. I was alone, wide-eyed and free. I’m glad the roads were fairly empty and that the drivers in Utah and Colorado seem better mannered than those back home in Los Angeles. It afforded me the opportunity to take in all that I could from the car. Every second of it was glorious.
I was making my way to the small mountain town of Breckinridge, where I would stay for several days to explore the surrounding areas. It was August, but the my time in Colorado would turn out to be mostly cold and rainy. I had packed for all weather, I like to be prepared that way.
I arrived at sunset. I stopped at Whole Foods in Frisco, CO for provisions and headed on. After I made my way into the a-frame cabin I had rented, I realized it was so dark. So quiet. I have become so used to city lights and sounds, or even the gentle sounds of the pacific (when I visit Maui) that I found the darkness, the still and quiet environment unnerving. I could feel I was in for a restless sleep. However, I awoke early and ready to start my first day, visiting Rocky Mountain National Park.
Vanilla Scented Orange-Lemon Bourbon Sour and some notes on Vanilla
1/2 c Fresh Orange Juice (I used Navel oranges from my mom’s tree, but Valencias yield great juice)
1/4 c American Prairie Bourbon
3 tbsp fresh lemon juice (I used half Eureka lemon, half Meyer lemon)
Vanilla Sugar for rimming the glass*
1-2 drops real vanilla extract*
Orange or lemon slice for garnish
Use a lemon or orange wedge to moisten the rim of your chosen glass. Rim the edge of your glass in vanilla sugar. If you don’t have that, you can use demerara or turbinado sugar or make your own quick vanilla sugar by combining some vanilla powder with sugar. Nielsen-Massey makes a decent vanilla powder. Combine orange and lemon juice in a cocktail shaker with ice. Add bourbon. Shake until well combined.
A: Do you want to go on a hike?
A: Okay, we will go up here around my house
L: Okay, sounds good.
A: We are not going to go around my house anymore. We’re going up to Haleakala. Do you still want to come?
L: For sure.
A: Okay, wear layers and bring water.
That was a paraphrased conversation between me and my wonderful friend who lives on Maui. Originally, we were going to hike near her house in upcountry Maui, but last minute, plans changed and it turned into a group hike up on Haleakala.
If you’re not familiar with the islands, Haleakala (means House of the Sun) is Maui’s massive, sleeping volcano. At the summit, you are transported to another world. You might think you were suddenly on Mars, from the vibrant orange-red rock and dirt that surrounds the very top of the crater. When you look out, you cannot see the ocean. You cannot see the rest of Maui. There are the fluffiest, puffiest, most pillowy white clouds as far as the eye can see. The only plant you’re likely to find is the silversword if you can even spot that at the summit.
A warm hello, to whoever out there might still be reading!
I have been away for a long while and was away for a while before that it seems as well. I’ve come back to tell you all some tales of new adventures and turns my life has taken. There will still be vegan food, good vegan food, but more too.
Where and how do I begin to tell you? I was browsing through my last couple of posts, which date about a year ago around this time. I’m not sure if I included in any of those posts that I was recovering from a thyroidectomy and thyroid cancer.
I will save the details of my thyroid and health journey for another post, but I finally do feel ready to talk about it. An emotional rollercoaster, equipped with weight loss and gain, crises in energy, not wanting to cook, and so much more in between. It became hard to blog.
For this post however, I’d like to tell you a story about the last time I was on Maui.
It starts in May, 2016. It began with nothing unusual, other than I was still trying to get my wits and health about me after surgery (Feb 10, 2016). It had been a few months and I had remained mostly inactive during that time, trying to adjust to new doses of levothyroxine and my new life, post-cancer.
There I am on Maui. Enjoying the warm, but not-too-hot west Maui sun. Taking in morning and early evening rains of Kapalua and swooning over the white-blue glow of the Maui moon….untouched by light pollution, so bright that street lights and flashlights and other forms of artificial light have no place because the light of the moon is enough to guide you through the night. A true, blue beauty.
It’s not often that I will work with key limes. I find them tedious to juice, but ultimately am always glad that I took the time to work with them because dang….. they are the best limes. This cake came into my life by a friend’s Facebook “like” of a non-vegan Epicurious recipe. After looking the recipe over and having a pretty good stock of Follow Your Heart’s VeganEgg, I decided that the great Coconut-Key Lime Sheet Cake test of 2016 should commence immediately.
First, you should know that this recipe will give you life. It is a rich, dense, flavorful and unique cake, but you should be warned that this recipe is time consuming. If you decide to take it on, read through the recipe and make sure you have everything set up the way you like. If you love cake, coconut and key lime, you won’t be sorry. 🙂
Did you know that coffee can grow in Southern California? Turns out there’s the perfect little microclimate out in Goleta for such things. Last August, I had the opportunity to tour the beautiful Good Land Organics Farm and harvest coffee cherries. Along the way, we also visited passionfruit vines, dragonfruit, flowering cherimoya, finger limes and more.
Finger lime and passionfruit samples to try before the tour.