Thursday, January 17, 2008


With all the great citrus available in the Bay Area in the winter, my kitchen counter fruit bowl always stays pretty full as I restock with new varieties of oranges, lemons, limes, and kumquats. Remember January '06 ?
Last month I bought keffir limes and yuzu from Monterey Market.
Last week Monterey Market had lots of Mandarinquats and Fukushu Kumquats to keep my snack bag full and my mouth puckered up all week long.

This week at the Alameny Farmer's market, I paid a visit to my Italian friends who grow lots of different citrus and always seem to surprise me with something new. There is always a crowd staring at the fruit from their buddah hand tree, but I always look under the table to see if they have brought any fresh keffir limes or keffir lime leaves. This week I found a wonderfull little fruit that the old Italian couple called Calamandini. The name sounded like an Italian version of the South East Asian Kalamansi that I grew to love in its canned juice version sold at Pacific Supermarket. I later got to meet Kalamansi face to face in Singapore in it's pure, fresh, raw version. And sure enough, the Calamandini is the same as the luscious, tangy, sour, sweet Kalamansi. It was like bumping into an old classmate from kindergarden somewhere half way around the world, randomly, decades later. The best way to enjoy kalamansi is to find the little ones that can be eaten in one big bite, skin and all, to enjoy the contrast of flavors and textures of the skin and fruit. At the stand at the Alameny market, they had a whole box of the little Calamandinis. The price was high, but I had to buy a big sack. They were very comfortable on my kitchen counter next to mandarins, honey tangerines (not as good this year, for some reason), cara cara oranges, kumquats, lemons.....
I also bought some sugar cane at the market. I baked a chocolate pot de creme with slices of calamandini baked into the custard with a stick of sugar cane to use as a spoon. Paying homage to the wonderful Italian citrus growers, I used Maglio 75% dark chocolate.
Chocolate Calamandini Pots De Creme

2 1/2 cups Heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup Sugar
1/2 pound 75% dark chocolate, chopped
4 each Egg yolks
1/2 Vanilla bean
8 each Calamandinis or kumquats, sliced into 1/4" rings
1/2 teaspoon Orange liquor

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Scrape seeds from vanilla bean and add to 1/2 cup cream in a metal mixing bowl and chill. Bring the remaining cream with all the sugar to a simmer in a stainless steel sauce pan. Remove from heat and add the chocolate. Whisk to melt and disolve all chocolate. Let rest at room temperature for a minute. Whisk in the eggs and orange liquor. Pour into 6 ramekins and bake in a water bath for 15 minutes until partially set. Add the calamandini pieces and continue to bake until just set (about 35 minutes). The outside should be completely set and the inside a little "wobbley". Chill. Whip the cream and garnish with the vanilla cream and a thin stick of peeled sugar cane.

Tune: Le Radici Ca Tieni by Sud Sound System

Tune: Just to Get a Limb a Cutty Ranks dubplate for DJ Smoke One

Tune: San Antonio by Choc Quib Town from Colombia. This song is on repeat on the Soul Cocina Soundsystem this week. Peek the video too.

Tune: Orange Moon by Erykah Badu
We are patiently waiting for Badu's ne album to drop in February.

Tune: Nice Nice Paloma Cumbia Song by Unknown artist from a mix cd from Puebla, Mexico courtesy of Salvador the Savior

Tune: Shake Sugaree by Elizabeth Cotton sung by her granddaughter. Elizabeth Cotton was born in January 1895. Happy birthday.

Tune: The Chocolate Butterfly by dunkelbunt feat Raf MC & Fanfare Ciocarlia


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katie kwan said...

Found calamandinis at the market bc they reminded me of the ones in Vietnam and did a quick search. You had the top result. <3 K