Orange Bowl and citrus fruit open thread

I’m no college football fan, but I was glad to see that Mediacom and Sinclair Broadcast Group reached a temporary agreement on New Year’s Eve so that thousands of Hawkeye fans who are Mediacom subscribers will be able to watch tonight’s Orange Bowl game between Iowa and Georgia Tech.

This thread is for Bleeding Heartland readers to discuss the game. Cyclone fans, please accept my belated congratulations for Iowa State winning the Insight Bowl.

Alternatively, feel free to post any favorite dishes involving citrus fruit. I like oranges and grapefruit so much that I almost always eat them plain. However, I’m interested to hear other recipes for using them in salads, side dishes or desserts. I use a little lemon or lime juice frequently in Indian or Thai cooking, but the citrus isn’t the centerpiece of the dish.

After the jump I’ve posted a recipe for lemon-sesame salad dressing and a cake with lemon syrup that I haven’t made since before I had kids. It’s not even that time-consuming, but making the syrup seems to be one step too many for me these days.

UPDATE: Congratulations to the Hawkeyes for beating Georgia Tech 24-14.

desmoinesdem’s Lemon-Sesame salad dressing

This was inspired by a dressing in Moosewood Cooks at Home, but I use different proportions, and I substitute toasted sesame oil for sesame seeds.

I don’t measure ingredients when I make salad dressing, but I use approximately one part lemon juice (bottled is fine if you don’t have fresh), one part toasted sesame oil and one part neutral-tasting oil. I like grapeseed oil best for salad dressings, but canola oil or most kinds of vegetable oil would work. Add a tablespoon or two of soy sauce or tamari and shake well. Like all salad dressings, this can be adjusted to your own taste. It also works as a dressing for steamed green vegetables.

Middle Eastern Semolina Yogurt Cake, from The World of Jewish Desserts by Gil Marks

Syrup (sometimes I halved this part of the recipe):

3 cups sugar

1 1/2 cups water

1/4 cup lemon juice

1 Tbsp orange blossom water (optional–I always left out)


1 cup coarse semolina or farina

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp salt

4 large eggs

1 cup sugar

1 cup plain unsweetened yogurt

1/2 cup vegetable oil (you can use less if you are using full-fat yogurt)

1/4 cup fresh orange juice or water

1 tsp lemon zest

1 tsp orange zest (tastes fine without the zest if you don’t have fresh fruit on hand)

Make syrup: Stir sugar, water and lemon juice in medium saucepan over low heat until sugar dissolves, about 5 minutes. Increase heat to medium, and boil until the syrup begins to thicken. I don’t have a candy thermometer, but the book says it will register 225 degrees if you do. Remove from heat, stir in orange blossom water if using, and let cool.

Preheat oven to 350 F, or 325 F if using a glass pan. Grease a 13 by 9 dish/

Combine dry ingredients. In separate bowl, beat together eggs and sugar, then beat in yogurt, oil, orange juice and zest. Combine wet and dry ingredients and spoon into prepared pan, leveling the top. Bake about 35 minutes, until golden brown.

Drizzle cooled syrup over hot cake (you don’t need as much syrup as this recipe calls for–either save some extra or make less syrup). Cover and let stand until syrup is absorbed. Keeps for up to 3 days at room temperature.

About the Author(s)


  • Go Pummelos!

    I’m not at all a football fan, plus I’m a Cyclone, so I’ll just discuss fruit.  If you can get a hold of them, which I think most can, try Cara Cara oranges.  They’re a type of Navel w/ pink fruit, a little sweeter in taste than regular Navels.  They’ve been all over my local grocer’s.  They’re fast becoming my 2nd favorite citrus, the 1st and all-time being Pummelos.  I’ve been snacking on Cara Caras a lot lately, as well as some Moros (blood orange variety) I found this evening.

    Anyone who hasn’t tried Lemon Curd should do so stat, while all this lovely citrus is in season.  Absolutely smashing on a piece of pound cake, and so easy to make your own.  

    • I used to live in the UK

      so I know all about lemon curd. I would be afraid to try to make it, because I would eat too much of it!

      • My recipe's a closely guarded family secret...

        passed down from my Scottish ancestors, or so I’m told, but it really seems more like a half-batch compared to most other recipes, maybe a touch thinner than most.  But that’s why I only make it when I’m making lemon tarts or otherwise giving it away.  1/2 pint jars are perfect sizes for gifts, and it stores so well in the fridge.  I’ve heard you can even freeze it, but I’d probably be tempted to scoop it out like sorbet.

        I actually have some leftover from my holiday baking, so I might have to try it on that cake recipe in lieu of the syrup.  I have almost everything on hand for it, and it sounds delicious.