Saturday, February 03, 2007

Orange Honey Almond Sauce

If the name doesn't sell you, let me fill you in a bit on bees. New Zealand and Australia, until recently, were the only two countries on the planet unaffected by a mite blight that has been striking (and snacking on) bee populations, wild and tamed. Alas, NZ's North, and now South, Islands were invaded. In a globally unprecedented action, South Island retaliated by moving their apiaries (boxes full of kept bees) up to North Island, allowing the predator insects to gnosh on the wild bee population until it there were none. Then the bad guys, starving to death, would either flee South Island or perish, making it safe to return the bee boxes back.

Honey in NZ is mainly Manuka, which is a rich and different (thicker, rougher, darker) flavor than our windsome little American wildflower make. So when I say "Make this orange honey almond sauce!" my recipe advice is to support NZ in these troubled buzzy times and try a midgen of manuka. (What the hell is a midgen? It's a bit more than a smidgen.)

If this recipe seems overwhelming (Saffron threads! Sherry vinegar!), don't worry. Sliced oranges with almonds and honey are great on top of salads, ice cream, yogurt or just together as friends in your mouth. You don't HAVE to make this whole dish. But Gold Star for You if you do. It's not a local meal, but it sure does make winter (yours, not mine!) snow taste sweeter.

Now here is a flower that comes from a tree near my "bach"(holiday home): will it get pollinated by bees, or will it be last of its kind? The drama never stops in NZ.

Orange Honey Almond Sauce
Preheat your oven to 400*F.

Meanwhile, in a large pan over medium high heat, fry 'til golden:
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped

Push onions aside. Fry until savory;
2 garlic cloves
1 red chilli, deseeded and chopped
2 cinnamon sticks

Mix onions back in. Lower heat slightly, and add to pan until carmelized (1-2 minutes):
2 tablespoons h