KQED Food Blog: Bay Area Bites: My (insert adjective of your choice here) Clementine
Bay Area Bites: culinary rants & raves from bay area foodies and professionals
Previous Posts
Speakeasy and Carry a Swizzle Stick: Bourbon & Bra...
The World in My Kitchen
Marion Cunningham's The Breakfast Book Buttermilk ...
Fancy Food Show Update
Fast Food, Fancy Food
The Joy of Cooking
Redwood Hill Goat Yogurt Granite, or, Eating Snow ...
Sweet Snowballs
The British Grocery
Going Nuts: Hui Mac
BAB Guidelines

'Bay Area Bites' is part of KQED's Blog Authors Collaborative. Blog contributors and commentators are solely responsible for their content. If you're interested in writing or contributing to a blog on kqed.org, email us with your idea.
Friday, January 26, 2007
My (insert adjective of your choice here) Clementine

I wandered into the Whole Foods Market on California and Franklin the other day where I was greeted by giant stacks of citrus. The clementines caught my eye, which was quite easily done due to the sheer volume of the little fruits-- boxes upon boxes of them.

I love tangerines, so I grabbed a box. Ideas kept popping into my head as to how I would use them. Sliced up and drizzled with olive oil, tossed with salt and toasted walnuts, made into pudding, squeezed for juice in the morning and, of course, eaten right out of my hand. Vinaigrettes, granitas, dipped in chocolate and crushed salty cashews. I planned on being one busy fellow in the kitchen.

When I got them home, I grabbed one out of the box, peeled off the skin and popped a segment into my mouth. I turned my back to the other surviving clementines, not wanting them to witness the disappointment that had immediately registered on my face. What I had just eaten tasted flabby and rather anemic. Then I remembered something fairly significant in terms of citrus purchasing:

Wasn't there a terrible cold snap a couple of weeks ago?

I went online to look up the what happened to the California citrus harvest this year. Nearly three-quarters of our state's citrus crops were destroyed when temperatures dipped into the 20's about two weeks ago. This year has not been good to citrus farmers. I was, however, glad that I had paid my $7.99 as some sort of support. I then realized that I had given Whole Foods Market my money and wondered how much of that actually went to the farmers. Whatever the answer, I thought I should go and make the best of my clementines.

I grabbed another clementine. It felt heavy in my hand for its size, as all good citrus should. It was sweet and juicy and unyielding. The first fruit I peeled must have been an anomaly. I decided to go ahead with my first recipe.

There is a buttermilk pudding cake I love to make once or twice a year when meyer lemons are good. I thought I might see how one made with clementines would turn out. There is a very good reason the recipe calls for lemons-- they are, by nature, tart and high in acid-- things critical to the success of the recipe. Clementines, on the other hand, are very sweet and low in acidity-- something I chose to ignore when preparing the dessert. I was so intoxicated by the smell of fruit's rind, which I kept scratching with my fingernail, that I thought enough zest would somehow make the alteration in the recipe work. Sadly, I was wrong. Sadly? Not really. I learned something about why certain foods work in specific situations and why others do not. It wasn't a total wash out. Besides, it at least looked good. Remind me to share the lemon recipe with you one of these days.

As I mentioned earlier, I love tangerines. I automatically assumed clementines were a type of tangerine. I was wrong again. While both are members of the Citrus reticulata species, the clementine owes its existence to the cross breeding of the sweet orange and Chinese mandarin and its name to the man who first accidentally bred them at an Algerian orphanage in 1902, Father Clement Rodier. Tangerines, if you hadn't guessed, got their name from the Moroccan port city of Tangiers-- the source of import for most of Europe's supply of the fruit. I suppose citrus growers should be grateful that Pere Clement had a catchy name, otherwise, they might today be growing algerines. Not quite the same market appeal as "clementines", to be certain.

I went back to the market to buy a tangerine so I might taste it side-by-side with a clementine. The clementine tasted dull when compared to the sweet-tart flavor of the tangerine. Tangerines have sass. Clementines are vaguely cloying and given names such as "cutie" or "little darling" and tend shed their clothes too quickly-- possibly the type of fruit appropriate for a one night stand. Tangerines, at least, make me want to come back for more. The fate of the clementine-- at least its role in my life-- was sealed. A few lines of a song made so popular by Huckleberry Hound popped into my head:

How I missed her, How I missed her
How I missed my Clementine
Till I kissed her little sister
And forgot my Clementine.

I'm going back to tangerines. Dreadful sorry, Clementine.

Though not specificallly clementine in nature, the following link is citrus related and made me extremely happy. Check it out if you have nothing better to do. See the opera-singing orange.

Labels: , , ,



Blogger wendygee said...

geez...Huckleberry Hound...what a flashback...and yes, I have been disappointed by the "Cuties" too...been really into the Cara Caras navels though...have you tried those?

1/26/2007 9:34 AM

Blogger Stephanie V.W. Lucianovic said...

Oh, god -- the Carmen orange (I always thought it was a grapefruit) brings back such lovely, fun, sort of trippy memories.

1/26/2007 5:32 PM

Blogger shuna fish lydon said...

When it comes to citrus, it's impotant to know what you want and like in a fruit. Acidic? Pungent? Sweet? Juicy? Aromatic? Colorful?

When Clementines come in boxes it tends to mean they're coming from Spain. (Whole Foods, in fact, is being publicly criticized for not buying and selling local fruit, especially in California where over 80% of America's fruit and vegetables are grown!)

Before giving up on your Whole Foods bought Clementine, I beg of you to buy one from a local grower. My experience is that both the fruit and the rind are markedly different when the food is picked recently and locally!

I grew up eating these boxed Clementines. They are a mere shadow of what a California grown Clementine tastes like!

1/26/2007 5:34 PM

Anonymous Crunchy said...

Forget the fruit. Do something cool with the zest. Surely, Michael, you can think of something stunningly original and shockingly tasty that uses the thing you liked most about those Clems. Or just twist a ribbon of zest in some vodka and forget the whole thing.

1/27/2007 12:29 AM

Anonymous asherandeva said...

But I am incredibly intrigued by the buttermilk pudding cake. Is this an original recipe or could I seek it out somewhere?

1/27/2007 11:14 AM

Blogger cucina testa rossa said...

oh you beat me to it, i was going to write about my darling clementines (pun intended). i buy them by the case and pop 'em like candy. little bites of sunshine in the middle of the winter. love the carmen orange!

1/27/2007 3:47 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Coments! Yay.

Wendy-- I am very fond of Cara Caras myself. I think it's the acidity. I hope the flashback was good for you...

Stephanie-- Come on. Get real. A grapefruit? Grapefruits don't sing opera, they sing show tunes.

Shuna-- Acid, definitely acid. For me, sweetness is only good if it is balanced by acidity, salt or both.

The clementines, though in a box, came from Orange Cove. California. I had actually thought that these fruits might not have been that sweet, due to the inclement (no pun intended) weather and possible early picking. No such luck. I'll give them another chance next year...

"Crunchy"-- Thank you for your generous faith in my culinary abilities. I have, in fact, used the zest in a vinaigrette (I get my acid one way or another) and even made a syrup to mix with grain alcohol.

I really love your website, by the way. I hope Jason found a date with the help of your photos. If not, please give him my phone number.

Asherandeva-- Is this Asher calling or Eva? Or both? I make no secret of any recipe. I believe they are for sharing. If you are still interested, please email me and I will send you the information requested.

CTR-- I'm glad I beat someone to something for a change. Stephanie beat me to Bourbon and Branch. I beat you the the clementine punch. Tag, you're it.

1/28/2007 9:16 AM


Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home

Locate CP Restaurants:
Check, Please! Google Map
KQED Food Sites
Check, Please! Bay Area
Jacques Pépin Celebrates!
Jacques Pépin:
Fast Food My Way
Jacques Pépin:
The Apprentice
Jacques Pépin:
The Complete Pépin
KQED Wine Club
KQED.org Cooking
Weir Cooking in the City
Tasty Food Sites
Chowhound SF
Eat Local Challenge
Edible San Francisco
Food Network
Food Talk
Group Recipes
Hungry Magazine
Leite's Culinaria
Mighty Foods
NPR: Food
Om Organics
Serious Eats
SFGate: Food
SFGate: Wine
SF Station: Restaurants
Slow Food SF
Top Chef
Wikimedia Commons: Food & Drink
Yahoo! Food
Yelp: Reviews
Tangy Food Blogs
101 Cookbooks
A Full Belly
Accidental Hedonist
An Obsession with Food
Anna's Cool Finds
Becks & Posh
Between Meals
Bunny Foot
Butter Pig
Cellar Rat
Chez Pim
Chocolate & Zucchini
Confessions of a
Restaurant Whore
Cooking For Engineers
Cooking with Amy
Cucina Testa Rossa
Culinary Muse
Denise's Kitchen
Eater SF
Feed & Supply
Food Blog S'cool
Food Musings
Food Porn Watch
I'm Mad and I Eat
In Praise of Sardines
Knife's Edge
Life Begins at 30
Love and Cooking
Mental Masala
Moveable Feast
Organic Day
Passionate Eater
San Francisco Gourmet
SF City Eats
Simply Recipes
The Amateur Gourmet
The Ethicurean
The Food Section
The Grub Report
The Petite Pig
The Wine Makers Wife
Vin Divine
Wandering Spoon
Well Fed Network
Word Eater
World on a Plate
Yummy Chow
Search BAB

Eye Candy: Food Photos
BAB on flickr.com
Join Flickr for free and share your photos with the Bay Area Bites and Beyond group pool.
Food Books
The Moosewood Cookbook
by Mollie Katzen
Baking: From My Home to Yours
by Dorie Greenspan
Grand Livre de Cuisine: Alain Ducasse's Desserts and Pastries
by Alain Ducasse, Frederic Robertmison
The Big Book of Outdoor Cooking and Entertaining
by Cheryl Alters Jamison, Bill Jamison
Tasty: Get Great Food on the Table Every Day
by Roy Finamore
Whole Grains Every Day, Every Way
by Lorna Sass
The Soul of a New Cuisine: A Discovery of the Foods and Flavors of Africa
by Marcus Samuelsson
Michael Mina: The Cookbook
by Michael Mina, Photographer: Karl Petzktle
What to Eat
by Marion Nestle
The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals
by Michael Pollan
Essence of Chocolate: Recipes for Baking and Cooking with Fine Chocolate
by John Scharffenberger, Robert Steinberg
Romancing the Vine: Life, Love, and Transformation in the Vineyards of Barolo
by Alan Tardi
What to Drink with What You Eat: The Definitive Guide to Pairing Food with Wine, Beer, Spirits, Coffee, Tea -- Even Water -- Based on Expert Advice from America's Best Sommeliers
by Andrew Dornenburg, Karen Page, Michael Sofronski
The Lee Bros. Southern Cookbook: Stories and Recipes for Southerners and Would-be Southerners
by Matt Lee, Ted Lee
Bread Matters: The State of Modern Bread and a Definitive Guide to Baking Your Own
by Andrew Whitley
Coloring the Seasons: A Cook's Guide
by Allegra McEvedy
All-new Complete Cooking Light Cookbook
by Anne C. Cain
Modern Garde Manger
by Robert B. Garlough
The Spice and Herb Bible
by Ian Hemphill, Kate Hemphill
The Improvisational Cook
by Sally Schneider
Lunch Lessons: Changing the Way We Feed Our Children
by Ann Cooper, Lisa M. Holmes
Cradle of Flavor: Home Cooking from the Spice Islands of Indonesia, Singapore and Malaysia
by James Oseland
My Life in France
by Julia Child, Alex Prud'Homme
A Passion for Ice Cream: 95 Recipes for Fabulous Desserts
by Emily Luchett, Sheri Giblin (photographer)
Au Pied De Cochon -- The Album
by Martin Picard
Memories of Philippine Kitchens
by Amy Besa, Romy Dorotan
Simple Chinese Cooking
by Kylie Kwong
An Invitation to Indian Cooking
by Madhur Jaffrey
Hungry Planet
by Peter Menzel, Faith D'Aluisio
Sunday Suppers at Lucques : Seasonal Recipes from Market to Table
by Suzanne Goin, Teri Gelber
Simple Soirees: Seasonal Menus for Sensational Dinner Parties
by Peggy Knickerbocker, Christopher Hirsheimer (Photographer)
The Cook's Book
by Jill Norman
Molto Italiano : 327 Simple Italian Recipes to Cook at Home
by Mario Batali
Nobu Now
by Nobuyuki Matsuhisa
Cheese : A Connoisseur's Guide to the World's Best
by Max Mccalman, David Gibbons
Bones : Recipes, History, and Lore
by Jennifer McLagan
Whiskey : The Definitive World Guide
by Michael Jackson
The New American Cooking
by Joan Nathan
by Lisa Yockelson
Easy Entertaining: Everything You Need to Know About Having Parties at Home
by Darina Allen
Cooking at De Gustibus: Celebrating 25 Years of Culinary Innovation
by Arlene Feltman Sailhac
Dough: Simple Contemporary Breads
by Richard Bertinet
Chocolate Obsession: Confections and Treats to Create and Savor
by Michael Recchiuti, Fran Gage, Maren Caruso
The Food Substitutions Bible: More Than 5,000 Substitutions for Ingredients, Equipment And Techniques
by David Joachim
Recipes: A Collection for the Modern Cook
by Susan Spungen
Spices of Life: Simple and Delicious Recipes for Great Health
by Nina Simonds
Mangoes & Curry Leaves: Culinary Travels Through the Great Subcontinent
by Jeffrey Alford, Naomi Duguid
Chocolate: A Bittersweet Saga of Dark and Light
by Mort Rosenblum
Vegetable Love: A Book for Cooks
by Barbara Kafka, Christopher Styler
A History of Wine in America: From Prohibition to the Present
by Thomas Pinney
Fonda San Miguel: Thirty Years Of Food And Art
by Tom Gilliland, Miguel Ravago, Virginia B. Wood
Matzoh Ball Gumbo: Culinary Tales of the Jewish South
by Marcie Cohen Ferris
Washoku: Recipes From The Japanese Home Kitchen
by Elizabeth Andoh, Leigh Beisch
Weir Cooking in the City: More than 125 Recipes and Inspiring Ideas for Relaxed Entertaining
by Joanne Weir
Rick Stein's Complete Seafood
by Rick Stein
The Great Scandinavian Baking Book
by Beatrice A. Ojakangas
Serena, Food & Stories: Feeding Friends Every Hour of the Day
by Serena Bass
John Ash: Cooking One on One: Private Lessons in Simple, Contemporary Food from a Master Teacher
by John Ash
The New Mayo Clinic Cookbook: Eating Well for Better Health
by Donald Hensrud, M.D., Jennifer Nelson, R.D. & Mayo Clinic Staff
Foods of the Americas: Native Recipes and Traditions
by Fernando and Marlene Divina
The Provence Cookbook
by Patricia Wells
Olive Trees and Honey: A Treasury of Vegetarian Recipes from Jewish Communities Around the World
by Gil Marks
Last Chance to Eat: The Fate of Taste in a Fast Food World
by Gina Mallet
by Thomas Keller
A Blessing of Bread: The Many Rich Traditions of Jewish Bread Baking Around the World
by Maggie Glezer
All About Braising: The Art of Uncomplicated Cooking
by Molly Stevens
On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen
by Harold McGee
Entertaining: Inspired Menus For Cooking with Family and Friends
by George Dolese
The Breath of a Wok: Unlocking the Spirit of Chinese Wok Cooking Through Recipes and Lore
by Grace Young, Alan Richardson
Cooking New American: How to Cook the Food You Love to Eat
by Fine Cooking Magazine
The Japanese Kitchen: A Book of Essential Ingredients with 200 Authentic Recipes
by Kimiko Barber
Arthur Schwartz's New York City Food: An Opinionated History and More Than 100 Legendary Recipes
by Arthur Schwartz
Poet of the Appetites: The Lives and Loves of M.F.K. Fisher
by Joan Reardon
Bread: A Baker's Book of Techniques and Recipes
by Jeffrey Hamelman
Everyday Dining with Wine
by Andrea Immer
Copyright © 2005-2008 KQED. All rights reserved.