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As we continue our culinary tour of the alphabet, we come to L and M. There are several options, but I’ve chosen lima beans and mandarin oranges. Those are well known in the produce section at the grocery, but today I have some information you might not know about the two and some recipes.
Lima beans, or as some country cooks call them, butter beans, have been cultivated in Peru for more than 7,000 years; historians are unsure whether they originated there or in Guatemala. Lima beans were introduced in the United States in the 19th century.
Mandarin oranges were cultivated for more than 3,000 years in China and did not reach Europe and North America until the 19th century. “Mandarin oranges” is a term that applies to an entire group of citrus fruits including varieties such as Clementine and tangerines in general. Most are sweeter than their citrus cousins and have a bright orange skin that is easily peeled and inner segments that are easily separated. “Mandarin” refers to the bright orange robes worn by the public officials of the ancient Chinese court.
The terms “Mandarin orange” and “tangerine” often are used interchangeably, particularly outside the U.S. This can be confusing, because although a tangerine is a mandarin orange, not all mandarin oranges are tangerines. Tangerines are the most common variety of fresh mandarin orange found in the United States.
Mediterranean Lima Beans
2 cups cooked or 15-oz can lima beans
2 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tomato, chopped
3 tablespoons chopped green onions
Sea salt and pepper to taste
Press or mince garlic and let sit for 5 minutes. Drain liquid from lima beans and rinse under cold running water. Combine lima beans, garlic, olive oil, tomato and green onions and salt and pepper to taste.
Source: The George Mateljan Foundation
Crock Pot Lima Beans with Ham
1 pound dried baby lima beans
2 medium onions, coarsely chopped
1 meaty ham bone plus leftover diced ham
3 to 4 cups water, to cover
1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning blend
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Dash cayenne pepper
Salt, to taste
Soak the lima beans overnight. Drain and put lima beans in the slow cooker insert. Add water just to cover the beans and stir in the chopped onions and add the ham bone and ham. Cover and cook on high for 3 hours. Add the Cajun seasoning and black and cayenne peppers. Cover and cook on low for 4 hours or until very tender.
Nora’s Note: This would be delicious served with corn bread.
Mandarin Orange-Pineapple Mold Recipe
1-1/2 cups boiling water
2 (3 ounce) packages Sparkling Mandarin Orange Flavor Gelatin
2 cups cold club soda or seltzer
1 (11 ounce) can mandarin orange segments, drained
1 (8 ounce) can pineapple chunks, drained
Stir boiling water into gelatin in large bowl at least 2 minutes until completely dissolved. Refrigerate 15 minutes. Gently stir in cold club soda. Refrigerate about 30 minutes or until slightly thickened to the consistency of unbeaten egg whites. Gently stir for 15 seconds. Stir in mandarin orange segments and pineapple gently. Spoon into a 6-cup mold and refrigerate for 4 hours or until firm. Unmold onto a plate. Yield: 12 servings
Mandarin Orange Cheesecake
1 cup graham cracker crumbs
3/4 cup almonds, toasted and coarsely ground
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
3 8-ounce packages cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup sour cream
1-1/2 tablespoons orange zest
1/4 cup orange juice concentrate
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 10-ounce can mandarin orange segments, drained
1-1/2 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
1/2 cup whipping cream
2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a 9-inch springform pan with 3-inch sides by greasing sides only.
In a medium bowl, combine graham crackercrumbs, almonds and butter. Press into bottom of cheesecake pan and freeze.
In a large mixer bowl, beat cream cheese, butter and sugar on medium-high speed for 3 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition. Mix in sour cream, orange zest, orange juice concentrate and vanilla. Fold orange segments into batter. Pour over frozen crust. Bake in preheated oven for 45 to 55 minutes or until the top is light brown and the center has a slight jiggle to it. Cool on the counter for 10 minutes. Do not turn off the oven. The cake will sink slightly. In a small bowl, combine sour cream, sugar and orange juice. Pour into center of cooled cake and spread out to edges. Bake for 5 more minutes. Cool on a rack for 2 hours. Cover and refrigerate for at least 6 hours before decorating or serving.
In a well-chilled bowl, whip cream on medium-high speed until soft peaks form. With the mixer still running, sprinkle sugar into cream and continue whipping until firm peaks form. Ice top of cheesecake or pipe a border around cake, if desired.
Nora Sweat is a native of Hardin County and a retired home economics/family and consumer science teacher. She can be reached at email@example.com or by mail at 408 W. Dixie Ave., Elizabethtown, KY 42701.