It’s that perfect time of the year where citrus is at its absolute peak, and I stock my fruit bowl with clementines, limes, and grapefruit, my absolute favorite. Although grapefruits are essentially available year round, January-February seems to be the time they get that very sweet, intense grapefruit flavor. I usually end up eating so much of them that I get blisters in my mouth. I would probably eat even more, except that I absolutely hate peeling/cutting/spooning out grapefruit, so that keeps me within my boundaries a little. If anyone knows an easy way of dealing with grapefruit, I’m all ears, because it’s honestly the biggest pain.
Equal to grapefruit on my list of Citrus I Get Too Excited About is the blood orange. I tend to forget about it every single year until the day I walk into the grocery and have the good fortune of spotting dark red oranges out of the corner of my eye. I then buy at least a couple pounds of them, because I can think of endless ways to incorporate blood oranges into my favorite recipes. Plus, their season is so short that you have to take advantage of the opportunity to buy multiple while you have the chance.
If you’ve never experienced a blood orange, I highly encourage you to head to your local grocery, especially if you have a food co-op or health food shop that frequently carries seasonal ingredients, and buy at least a couple. I know the name doesn’t necessarily sound appetizing, but the blood orange is one of the most beautiful fruits in my opinion. The flavor is tart like a regular orange, but has sweeter berry-like tones. My favorite part of blood oranges is how versatile they are – while they are perfectly delicious on their own, I prefer to take advantage of their beauty to use them in salads, desserts, and with a splash of tequila, because I’m fun like that.
My first round of blood oranges was used in an almond-blood orange cake that had a truly delicious, fresh flavor but lacked a textural component I was looking for. Not to worry, I will continue to practice making this cake, even if I have to use regular oranges until next year…
I also threw some segments into a salad that I made for dinner, and of course I ate one or two on their own, but then I realized that blood oranges were made for alcohol. The tart-sweet taste would blend perfectly with a little vodka or gin or tequila (!!!) so I decided to go for it, because life is short, and margaritas are good. Plus, I was looking for a simple Valentine’s Day recipe that was not couple-y (because single, yo), but one that would also have the pretty V-Day colors I was looking for. How fitting that blood oranges happen to show up in late January-early February, right as I’m trying to think of a drink to make for my Galentine’s celebration! Yay for love and female friendships!
Also! Whilst walking out of a grocery store alone at 4:30 p.m. on a Friday night carrying only a large bottle of tequila, I discovered one of the ultimate forms of self-loathing. If you’re going to partake in these types of activities, I’d recommend also grabbing a bag of tortilla chips, some salsa, and maybe a puzzle, because it’ll earn you less judgmental stares, and it may even make you feel better about trying margarita recipes by yourself when you should be out socializing with friends.
Are you ready for some margarita action?!
Further notes: If you can’t find blood oranges, because they are unavailable or not in season, go ahead and use regular oranges or another citrus if you’d prefer. The recipe is perfectly versatile!
P.S. I chose my tequila based off of a list of “Best Cheap Tequilas” I found on the interweb while in the middle of the liquor aisle at my grocery store. (In Nevada, they sell liquor at grocery stores, which I guess is shocking to some. Born and raised Nevada-girl does not understand why this is surprising). Use whichever tequila you have laying around the house, or go for a silver tequila made with 100% agave – just stay away from Jose.
P.P.S. How fun would it be to have a Mexican-food-night-Valentine’s-Day?! If you don’t want to rush through dinner crowds, you could make some delicious carnitas (or order in), and have ruby-red, romantic margaritas with your lovie (or girlies or dog or….). If you decide to have a Valentine’s Day-girl’s night, pls invite me, and I’ll make a big pitcher of blood orange margaritas to share. Just promise me no weird anti-V-Day hooliganism, because I’ve already been to a singles party before, and I don’t need that in my life again.
XO Sara Lynn
*Song of the Day: Unfucktheworld by Angel Olsen