This morning, we were invited to an impromptu brunch with some dear folks from the Bloomington Community Orchard, a nonprofit that has stolen my heart since arriving in Bloomington. The basics were already covered–quiche, mimosas, muffins. I was straining to think of something summery & simple to bring.
Then, I remembered one of our favorite recipes from last year, a flavor that reminds me of evenings with two friends, their raclette machine*, generous amounts of raclette cheese & good conversations (even if the boys did try to fill the evening with basketball talk).
Like the simple orange & chêvre salad I posted a while back, I love the basic ingredients & elegant flavors if this snack. It’s perfect after a heavy dinner, on a sunny summer morning or at a family picnic.
- 1 large spoonful of granulated sugar
- 1 whole vanilla bean
- 5 navel oranges
- Like making vanilla sugar, we want the seeds of the vanilla. Slice down the length of the bean; peel back the sides & run your knife down the length of the bean. You should get a black paste, almost tar-like. These are your beans. Toss them with your sugar, & whisk the two a bit to break the seeds apart.
- The oranges let out more juice & soak up more vanilla flavor if you don’t just peel apart the slices. To peel, cut off the ends & then peal back the rest of the skin. Slice the orange in half, & then slice into thin sections.
- Toss the oranges with the vanilla & sugar. Allow to sit for 10 minutes to soak up all the flavors, & then try not to eat the whole bowl at once.
The oranges were perfect for a morning of slow food-talk, passion for the Orchard & for gardening & a general feeling of being completely, comfortably at home in this town that’s gone quick for the university’s summer.