Friday, December 19, 2014

Orange Syrup

I really dislike the fake maple taste of Mrs. Butterworth's syrup.  It's the only thing Derek will eat on pancakes and waffles.  So... I was the one to compromise and that trash is the only syrup that's been in the house for the past 2 years or so.

Until today!

Now I care less and less every day what he wants and do the things that make me happy and feed my spirit.  Today it was Orange Syrup that put a smile on my face.

Oh boy is this stuff YUMMY!!

My inspiration came from 3 things.  First, the bag of oranges in my fridge that needed to be used.   It's true:  necessity is the mother of invention! Second, the blueberry sauce I made recently to accompany a baked french toast dish for a Church potluck Christmas breakfast was my how-to basis.  But really I was thinking about the pancakes and syrup I had for breakfast on a trip to Boise when I was barely out of high school in the mid-1980's.  That was the only time I got to know my cousin, Dale Clarke, and his sweet wife, Cindy at all.  I remember that she was expecting their first baby, Stephanie.  I don't think they knew she was a girl yet...  And I remember their dogs.  They had two Pit Bulls who were the most gentle playful dogs.  I always wanted to go back and spend more time in Boise and get to know these cousins but, like many things, life happened and I didn't get back until many many years later on short business trips.  Dale and Cindy had divorced and he didn't live there any longer and I didn't know how to get ahold of her or if she would even be willing to see me.  Just a few weeks ago, though, Stephanie and I made a connection via the magic of Facebook.  It's going to be fun getting to know her a bit and sharing memories and old family pictures that were taken or collected by my Mother.

I can't remember the name of the restaurant we ate at to even search and see, if by some miracle, it's still there or not but the image I have in my mind is that it was across a very busy multi-lane street from Boise State University.  It was in the parking lot of a hotel.  And late one afternoon there was a storm rolled in and according to the marquis at BSU the temperature dropped nearly 20 degrees in 5 minutes time. Aren't the goofy details that stick with you funny?  That's about all I remember about the place. That and the house-specialty syrup.  It was a pineapple coconut concoction that just blew my young mind.  And now that I've got the how-to part figured out with the blueberries and the oranges, one of these days I'm going to make some of that and call it Pina Colada Syrup.  Pineapple, coconut milk, a hint of lime and just a touch of rum flavoring... and serve it over pecan encrusted french toast.

Ok, so that's my backstory.  And I know you're here for the recipe, so without further digression...

Orange Syrup

Grate the rind (just the orange part, not the bitter white pith) from 4 oranges into a saute pan.  Add the juice of all four oranges and sugar to taste.  I think I used about 1 1/4 cups but that could vary slightly depending on the sweetness of the oranges.  Add 2/3 cup water, a pinch of salt and 3 tsp of cornstarch and bring to a boil.  Whisk constantly until it thickens then remove from heat and stir in 3 Tbl butter.  Let cool.  You can use immediately but it's best to let it sit in the fridge for 48 hours to get all the orangey goodness incorporated well in the syrup and then warm slightly before serving over pancakes, waffles or french toast.  Garnish with a dollop of whipped cream.  Or just drizzle the syrup over ice cream...  This recipe filled a pint canning jar about 2/3 of the way.


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