Giving Citrus a Big Squeeze
Lemons, limes, oranges, tangerines, grapefruits: We love them all. A squeeze here, a cupful there, a bit of zest sprinkled over the top. Citrus is part of our landscape (lemons are the county’s second most valuable crop, after strawberries) and our culinary fabric.
L.A.-based writer and food stylist Valerie Aikman-Smith and Ojai-based photographer Victoria Pearson celebrate our beloved hometown fruit through vibrant photos, words and recipes in Citrus: Sweet & Savory Sun-Kissed Recipes (Ten Speed Press, 2015).
The book is organized by citrus variety—think lemon, orange, grapefruit—with each chapter kicking off with information about the citrus and mention of some its less-familiar relatives. Under “Lemon,” Aikman-Smith describes the Pink Lemonade lemon, which has light pink flesh, and the Ponderosa lemon, likely a lemon-citron cross, she writes.
From there, she incorporates the featured citrus in a wide range of recipes that showcase its flavor and versatility. They go beyond the typical to broaden how we think about using the various citrus. Grapefruit, for example, gets tossed into Szechuan Shrimp & Ruby Grapefruit Salad and is stuffed into Prosciutto Roasted Pork Loin. Candied lime peels are added to granola, one of Pearson’s go-to recipes in the book.
The 75 recipes span from breakfast to dessert and cocktails, making this cookbook one cooks can reach for any time of day.
Though the book is available nationally, it feels like home. Maybe it’s because Pearson shot the book’s stunning photos at her studio in Ojai. Or that two popular growers from the Ojai Certified Farmers’ Market—Churchill Orchard in Ojai and Mud Creek Ranch in Santa Paula—get shout outs on the acknowledgement page.
Reprinted with permission from Citrus, by Valerie Aikman-Smith and Victoria Pearson, copyright © 2015, published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC. Photographs copyright © 2015 by Victoria Pearson