5 Readers Most Favorite Blog Posts Ever and Happy New Year and Thank you

After making this list of most popular-with-readers blog posts ever I noticed some common threads that must have made them so. One thing is there are lots of folks who respond to “boozy” posts. The exotic Buddha Hand citron is such a seductive subject in all its glory.  Sweet things are universally appealing as are family stories. Enjoy.

# 1. “Pear Infused Vodka” Holiday Gift Idea / E.A.T. #11   Folks all over the world have clicked on this post…so I figure lots of folks like boozy pears? Thanks to each and every one of you.

Homemade Pear Infused Vodka

#2. “Buddha’s Hand Good Luck Marmalade”     A few years ago I ran across my first “Buddha Hand” citron. I purchased, I blogged and for over 6 years this post has been the second-all-time most popular, hit on, reposted of all my posts. It didn’t hurt that Smithsonian Magazine included a link to my site in their story about the subject. Who knew?

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#3.  Blood Orangecello and Bootlegging    This post contains a family tale depicted in the title which must have proved irresistible to more than a few lovers of homemade hooch and blood-red, very-short-seasonal, blood oranges.

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#4. Blackberries, A Snake and An Upside Down (Gluten Free) Cake  One of my favorites. It has a story about a dramatic blackberry picking experience with my Grandmother that left a definite impression on me as a child. I cannot hear a store of blackberry picking without thinking of it. The cake recipe is pretty good too.

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#5.  Give Me Some Sugar, Sugah!   Sugars flavored with so many good things such as ginger, lavender, star anise, vanilla beans and citrus peel just to name a few appealed to the sweet tooth in so many readers. This story was also an homage to all the real aunts, aunts-in-friendship, grandmothers and mothers who could never get enough of our sweet “sugah” when we were young.

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“Buddha’s Hand Good Luck Marmalade”

  “Buddha’s Hand Citron

Tis the season for citrus…Rio Star Grapefruits, Honey Bells, Clementines, Kumquats…markets have piles & piles of seasonal citrus from all over the world so when I brought my grocery cart to a screeching halt in front of a pile of these fascinating “creatures” earlier this week I knew it was the time to take some Buddha’s Hand Citron home to my kitchen. Upon arriving home I was greeted by our “front porch Buddha” ….I went into the kitchen where there is a photo of a Buddha statue over the sink…(see photo gallery below)…hmmmm..this is  food for thought.

I am very drawn to objects/foods that have an “unearthly” quality…in fact Buddha’s Hands look  like much sea life I have encountered while snorkeling in the Caribbean…they could just as easily be attached to a coral reef as be sitting on my kitchen counter.  What to do with these beauties? For a couple of days I just left them sitting around…they are beautiful in shape & made an interesting centerpiece…they smelled good. They are very popular in China and Japan at New Year’s as they are believed to bestow good fortune on a household. This nugget I learned yesterday so was even more happy to have them just sitting around!

After a bit of surfing I found little in the way of recipes on the internet…uses in salads & a few recipes for preserving…lots of info about the history, origin (China/Japan/India now grown in California as well) folklore & beliefs attached to these hands, but little in the way of recipes….so lack of information led me to …citrus = marmalade.

“Buddha’s Hand Good Luck Marmalade”

A rich caramel colored marmalade with hints of cardamom & balsamic vinegar.

Recipe/Ingredients (this recipe would also work with any fresh, seasonal citrus):

1 Buddha Hand Citron(rinsed & wiped dry)

3 cups raw/or white sugar

1/4 cup of your local honey

4 cups water

1 cardamom pod slightly crushed

1 cup fresh squeezed citrus juice (I use Rio Star Grapefruit & Clementine juice)

2 TBSP Balsamic Vinegar Syrup/Reduction

Instructions:

1. With a vegetable peeler cut the peel & most of the pith (it is not bitter like most citrus) from the Buddha Hand.

2. Into a large enamel or stainless steel pan add the peel-pith, sugar, honey, water, cardamom pod & juice. Stir to mix well. Bring to a boil over medium high heat. Reduce heat to low & simmer mixture for about 45 minutes until liquid is reduced by a bit more than half. Stir frequently as liquid is reduced & thickens.

3. Remove cardamom pod & stir in balsamic syrup/reduction. Simmer for another 10 minutes or until a candy thermometer reads 220 degrees.

4. While marmalade is cooking sterilize two glass canning jars in hot water or hot oven for a few minutes. Remove from water & dry with a clean towel. Fill jars with rich caramel colored hot marmalade mixture & seal with lids. Let jars cool completely & store in refrigerator until ready to use (keeps for weeks or give away a jar for more good luck).

My “Buddha’s Hand Good Luck Marmalade” ready for my “tea & toast test”.

 Hot buttered toast with marmalade & Chia tea…cozy & yummy..I am feeling lucky with every bite…

Thematic Gallery of Buddhas & Hands:

Food on Fifth front porch Buddha head.
Over the sink Buddha photo.
Dizzy Buddha heads.
Buddha Hand diptych.
Bedside Buddhas - brown wooden Buddha I have had since I was a child...from Uncle James, in Japan.
Not-a-Buddha Hand with rings.
Little Buddha head in a box.
Buddha Hand citron on photo of a hand.
Buddha with serving platter, Malaysia.
Three Buddha Hands on platter.
Two Buddhist monks, Malaysia.
Buddha Head ashtray sighted at an antique mall in Nashville this week. Who knew?

I will end this last post of 2011 with this “Buddha Bar” story that was online this week on NPR:

http://www.npr.org/2011/12/29/143804448/the-real-buddha-bar-tended-by-tokyo-monks

Have a healthy, happy & kind new year….see you in 2012 my friends.