11/11/12

Ambrosia

David Tanis really knows how to put me in my place. Like Maverick in Top Gun, I've been going up against MiGs, err, tough recipes, and coming out on top. So, feeling pretty good, I request a fly-by on my way home. I want to hot dog. I want to buzz the freakin' tower. When the control guy (David Tanis) says no, I buzz the tower anyway. Surprised, Tanis spills coffee all over himself, and I get brutally chewed out by my CO before he sends me to Top Gun to compete with the best. Are you still following this metaphor? Me neither.

Here's the thing: Matt and I definitely watched Top Gun on our last movie night, and pretty unrelatedly, I made a grown-up ambrosia that called for a smattering of different fruits, namely, kumquats, blood oranges, and navel oranges, none of which were available at the giant Whole Foods in Glendale the morning I needed them for my dinner party that night. How can that be possible? No kumquats (which I had to Google-image search to familiarize myself with what they look like) was one thing, but no navel oranges? I wanted to run down the row of the dry goods containers, lifting latches, unleashing lentils and almonds alike, and shouting "You call this a Whole Foods?!" But alas, cooler heads prevailed. 

Instead, I decided to make it work. I knew I had one lonely blood orange at home, and after all, the store did have grapefruit and pineapple. I grabbed those and then asked myself what else I could throw into this fancy fruit salad. That's when I picked up a pomelo and called it day.   
I'd never dealt with a pomelo before and had to give it a lot of credit for its formidable peel. (Another potential joke for a culinary-focused stand-up routine: "What's up with the pomelo? I mean, can I get some fruit with my peel! [wild laughter] Am I right?! Am I RIGHT?! [wild laughter]")
Uhm, point being, Tanis says to peel all of the fruit by hand, making sure to remove all of the white pith, but I found that to be a fool's task. Instead, I cut the tops and bottoms off of each one before slicing the peels off, trying to follow the curvature of the fruit as best I could. This recipe calls for a lot of fruit, so doing this and then sectioning out the wedges is no quick job, but it is a beautiful one. 
I used unsweetened coconut, but I think I'd recommend using sweetened. I mean, it's a delicious fruit salad, but it didn't exactly answer the cries from my ravenous sweet tooth. The slice of chocolate cake Matt brought home the other night, however? That did the trick. 

In non-ambrosia related news, I have a few links to share. 
1. An essay I wrote for The Rattling Wall is now out in the universe! Get your copy here!
2. A group of my talented friends gathered to sell some of their wares last night at Platform in Highland Park. I could have purchased one of everything, but kept myself in check, picking up the flower arrangement photographed below, a sweet mug, and a jar of body scrub.
3. This 2-minute story almost made me cry on my way to work yesterday.
4. This is quite possibly the most mind-blowing episode of This American Life I've ever heard. 
Hope you're having a lovely Sunday!

Ambrosia via A Platter of Figs with some thoughts/edits from me
serves 8-10
Quick note: I think it's important to remember that we're just making fruit salad here, so please use this recipe as a guideline. For example, do you really need 8 blood oranges? I mean, I only used one, so you be the judge!

4 pink grapefruits
6 navel oranges (or 1 or 2 pomelos?)
8 blood oranges
One 6-ounce can crushed pineapple or a cup or so of fresh pineapple
8 kumquats (if you can find them!)
Sugar if necessary
1 cup organic coconut flakes (sweetened or not, but like I said, I'd recommend sweetened!)

With a sharp serrated knife, cut off the top and bottom of the grapefruits, navel oranges, and blood oranges, then either peel, making sure to remove the white pith, or, if this seems impossible, slice off the rest of the peel leaving as much fruit as you can. Working over a bowl, section the grapefruits into wedges, cutting between the membranes. Before discarding the grapefruit carcasses, squeeze them over the wedges--they will yield a cup or two of juice. Slice the navel oranges and blood oranges crosswise into 1/4-inch diskd and add them to the bowl. Add the crushed pineapple or sweet fresh pineapple.

Slice the kumquats into the thinnest rounds possible, then mix them gently with the other citrus, to avoid breaking the fruit. Taste the juice, adding sugar only if it seems too tart. Transfer the compote to a serving bowl, cover, and refrigerate for up to several hours.

Just before serving, sprinkle the coconut over.
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21 comments:

  1. I feel the need. The need for ambrosia. xoxo

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  2. I'm so confused about buzzing the tower. But I'm hungover; it could be that. Also, being hungover, a big bowl of citrus fruit salad sounds like just about the best thing ever. Points for making me lick the screen.

    xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxo

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  3. I love "The Invention of Money". It makes me want to pay for a fancy pair of jeans in pomelos. Why not? Money is fake, fruit is real.

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    1. "Money is fake, fruit is real." This needs to be the title of a poem, or at the very least, on a t-shirt.

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  4. Congrats on your essay being published! Funny about Platform--I haven't been there, but I recently saw a house tour of the couple who opened it, on Apt Therapy.

    I can't help but imagine the cat with the pomelo hat when I see photos of the fruit.

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  5. Oh my god, Amy, you are the first person to inform me that ambrosia, "the immortality drink of the gods," is actually fruit salad. Am I missing something? How did I not know this before???

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    1. I think we're both right!

      "ambrosia |amˈbrō zh (ē)ə|
      noun Greek & Roman Mythology
      the food of the gods.
      • something very pleasing to taste or smell : the tea was ambrosia after the slop I'd been drinking.
      • a fungal product used as food by ambrosia beetles.
      • another term for beebread .
      • a dessert made with oranges and shredded coconut."

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  6. LOLing throughout this! How awesome is Top Gun? Still totally holds up!!:-)
    -Jess

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  7. How did you like that all-peel pomelo? I find it a bit sour, but *love* melogolds. Melogolds are also all peel, but they're a bit sweeter, kind of like a sweet grapefruit that is gigantic and super-fun to keep in your fruit bowl so people can walk by and ask just what that monstrosity actually is.

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  8. That has to be the prettiest fruit salad I've ever worn!

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  9. Hm. I think it's safe to say i'm against the pomelo. That is just an unacceptable peel to fruit ratio! That peel probably cost you $2! In other news, I've always wanted ambrosia. Finally, you really SUPREME'd the heck out of all that fruit! Way to buzz the tower!

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    1. Way to supreme me by pulling out the word SUPREME.

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  10. When we moved to the bay area there were pomelos in the yard. I had no idea what they were other than the fact that they looked liked mutant grapefruit so they just sat there. Thanks for the education this am...That looks so much better than the ambrosia of my youth which always included some kind of jello with stuff (including lettuce)in it!

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  11. Very funny ... Top Gun kicks ass!

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  12. Need a little help in the restaurant industry? Try going to Culintro.com to take the weight of staffing and job searching off your shoulders.

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  13. Prior to this, the word "ambrosia" conjured up images of a creamy, mini marshmallow-laden goop you'd find next to the jello salad at Hometown Buffet. This version just expanded my horizons. Thanks for sharing!

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  14. I mean, who needs this much peel? Who ARE these people? [deafening, teeth-rattling laughter]

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  15. I love Rattling Wall cover! Also, when I was little, I totally wanted Goose, not Maverick...An early glimpse of my asocial ways?

    Love movie night! Was it a guest stack??

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  16. Amelia! I love this post. Had me howling out of loud. HOL. xoxo

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  17. Very nice and colorful recipe.I will try this in the home.I will bookmark your blog for the regular visit.Keep update the blog.
    Pong R Us

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I love hearing from you guys. Thanks!