One change that goes along with living in the Bay Area is that I can no longer complain about the endless cold days of January and February. No, no complaining here. In fact, you can’t get much closer to perfect for me. Sunshine and jacket weather, nicely balanced with a gloomy day that requires a scarf and maybe gloves.
I’ve always considered citrus season a bright spot in a long, dreary winter. Now it’s a bonus during an already enjoyable time of year. And wow, did I completely underestimated how amazing citrus season would be around here!
I’m not unfamiliar with regular access to amazing oranges. I had my pick of them when we lived in Brazil, but four varieties of oranges, mandarins, tangerines, lemons and sweet limes is a whole new ball game. We’ve purchased so much the past two weekends, we can barely carry them back to our apartment. Yet the fruit basket is completely empty come the following Saturday.
I’m incredible picky about my citrus. Mainly the seeds and tough membranes. It’s such an issue for me that I still serve my oranges old school cafeteria-style, sliced in quarters and eaten like a fourth grader. I’ve just now come around to the peel-and-eat citrus like mandarins, if they are small, tender and sweet.
Last week I was introduced to a new favorite that meets all my criteria – Page Tangerines. They are a cross of clementines and minneolas (tangelos). They are unbelievably sweet and tender. Some people at the Farmer’s Market stall complained that they are a little hard to peel, but I didn’t mind this too much.
Given that I can’t seem to control myself, and always buy way too much citrus, I decided to use some in muffins this past weekend. Along with the sweet citrus, I added walnuts for a little crunch and a sprinkle of raw sugar on the top.
Page Tangerine Walnut Muffins Recipe
Makes: 12 muffins
2 cups white whole wheat flour
3 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 cup raw sugar
3/4 cup milk
1/3 cup olive oil
1 large egg, beaten
1 tsp vanilla
3-4 Page tangerines, peeled and finely chopped
1 tsp Page tangerine zest
1/3 cup chopped walnuts
Raw sugar to top the muffins
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and grease the bottom of each muffin tin. Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside. In a separate bowl whisk together the sugar, milk, olive oil, egg and vanilla.
Gradually add the wet ingredients to the dry, mixing just until combined. Fold in the tangerines, zest and walnuts. Divide into 12 muffins. Sprinkle the top of each muffin with about a 1/2 tsp of raw sugar. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes or until muffins are browned and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool and remove from pan.