With the holidays here, I'm often found experimenting. I love making food gifts. I have a whole collection of treats and nibbles that I like to make and package to give friends and loved ones. I try and push further than your typical cookies and 10 bean soup mixes. That means researching, making and tasting new finds to add to my collection. Sometimes you have to wait until the star ingredient is in season to test out a new recipe and so it was with Kumquats in Spiced Syrup over at Cooking Light.
Not everyone enjoys kumquats. I don't fall into that camp. I love the fragrant citrus sweetness of the skin and the sour pop of the flesh. It's like a sweet and sour popper in your mouth. It only gets better when you marinate the fruit in a spicy syrup of cinnamon, star anise, cloves and vanilla, topped off with a little brandy. It's a fairly easy recipe with the exception of one caveat...there is a monotonous annoyance factor. The recipe, as written, calls for 2 pounds or about 8 cups of kumquats. Each kumquat has to be pieced several times with a wooden skewer or toothpick. That's a lot of kumquat stabbing. Sounds like a job for...The Kids. (I'm quite sure had my mother known of this recipe when I was a kid, this job would have been all mine). Now the tricky part is if can you trust your kids to complete the massive task and not to stab themselves or their siblings (what?? poke my brother with a wooden skewer?? Never!). Once you get past any potential whining and poking, the rest is a breeze. You're on your own explaining to The Kids that after all their hard work they're still going to have to wait two weeks to taste the fruits of their labor. Just tell them all good things come to those who wait.