Thursday, December 5, 2013

2d Annual MarMar Event

Eastside Road, December 5, 2013—
Digging out the pips
Scooping out the flesh
Julienning the peels
WHAT DO WE SEE here? About 75 Yuzus — nearly 24 pounds, I think — in our kitchen sink. Yuzus are apparently a kind of lime, but they look more like a tangerine; they're fragrant almost like a Bergamot; they have a lot of seeds. Friends of ours have a garden-supply and housewares shop, and Yuzus are among the citrus trees they offer in pots. They are apparently quite prolific. Last year, asked what they might do with all this fruit, I suggested they bring them over for a marmalade-making party, for which I'd supply Martinis as a sort of reward for an afternoon's work.

It was such a success that we decided to do it again this year. In fact it's a two-day operation. After washing the fruit we cut them in halves, using stainless-steel knives, and dug out all those seeds. Last year we did this with the point of a small paring knife; this year we discovered an ordinary dinner-fork did the job more easily.

Then, still using the fork, we pulled the meat out of the shells. The pips were reserved in one stainless-steel mixing bowl; the meat went into another.

That done, we turned to the most tedious part of the job: cutting the empty shells into fine strips, à la julienne. Simplest way to do this: cut each half into halves again; flatten one of them onto the board, inside down, with the left hand; then, using a sharp stainless-steel knife, make parallel cuts for strips about 1/8 inch wide.

That done, we took a break for lunch: a couple of boxes of miso-and-ginger soup with a couple of handfuls of kale and chard thrown in. Delicious!

Then it was time to chop the reserved Yuzu flesh that we'd scooped out earlier. First we pressed the juice out of it, reserving it of course; then we put handfuls of the flesh on the board and chopped it roughly, removing cores, stray pips, and especially tough membranes.

At the end of the afternoon we put flesh and peel into a big 24-quart plastic container, nearly filling it, and added cold water to the brim, along with the pips, tied up in cheesecloth so we'll be able to remove them easily when they've done their work. Then we sat down with our reward: a nice gin martini, three to one, with a twist of — what else? — Yuzu. Tomorrow comes the hard part.

Oh, yes: dinner. Well, naturally, cold roast turkey, warmed mashed potatoes, dressing, and gravy, and cranberry sauce. Green salad. Pumpkin pie. A very nice day!

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