Recipes to Share: Florida Orange Rice

florida orange rice May 2013

Florida Orange Rice

Note: A special thanks to  “Florida Citrus Treasure Cookbook-A Collection of Heritage Treasures”, a great University of Florida IFAS Extension book that contains a collection of recipes handed down by UF Extension employees and their friends.

3 tablespoons butter, margarine or olive oil

1 cup uncooked rice

2/3 diced celery with leaves

1/8 thyme (dried is fine)

2 tablespoons chopped onion

2 tablespoons slivered orange rind

1  1/2 cups water

1  1/4 teaspoons salt

1 cup orange juice

Melt butter (margarine or heat oil) in heavy saucepan. Add celery and onion; cook until onion is tender, but not brown. Add water, orange juice, rind, salt and thyme.  Bring to a boil; add rice slowly. Cover; reduce heat and cook at a low heat for 25 minutes.

My notes: I found this to be a delicious side dish to accompany citrus broiled lamb with brown sugar glaze and steamed artichokes.  Wonderful summer rice and it has room for experimentation, garnish with fresh parsley, cilantro and orange slices!



florida orange rice with meal May 2013

Recipes to Share: Florida Fresh Salsa and Fun Drinks for Kids (and adults too!)

Salsa and Tropical Drinks for kids

Recipes to Share: Florida Fresh Salsa and Fun Drinks for Kids (and adults too!)

Note: As I’d like to start sharing more recipes on my blog here at, I invite readers to share their ideas too if you have made similar recipe and want to add or offer more ideas through comments–happy meal-making!

The summer heat for Floridians makes fresh, cool produce an appealing choice for snacks and meals–especially for our children who can get easily overheated after playing outside during days that easily see air temperatures in the 80s-90s and humidity levels consistently over 70%. Here’s a fun pairing of fresh options for a light lunch, in-between snack or anything else.

Florida Fresh Salsa

4-6 ripe tomatoes (any kind or color you prefer–except green of course, those are generally for frying!)

1 sweet onion (I prefer sweets for milder flavor for children, purple are good too)

1 jalapeno (banana pepper or cubanelle can be substituted for those sensitive to spicy)

1/4 to 1/2 cup of freshly squeezed lemon or lime (or both and adjust amount to taste)

1/2 cup of cut fresh cilantro

Dice tomatoes, onions and pepper in a bowl, drizzle juice on top and mix cilantro in. Serve with your favorite tortilla chips, I personally love either Garden of Eating organic blue corn chips, Late July or Florida Gourmet Chips found at many of our south Florida produce stands. Note to Parents: it is advisable to serve your young children the salsa by placing it on top of each chip arranged on a plate. Tostitos brand has the Scoop chips that are perfect for little ones as well.

Non-alcoholic Tropical Drink

Crushed ice – or any ice

Kennesaw’s lemonade (or fresh lemon juice or other lemonade)

Florida orange juice

Spritzy or sparkling water

citrus wedges (lemon, lime, orange…)

colored sugar (in photo above it’s red)

This is a refreshing drink that can be manifested in so many different ways–mix the above ingredients together as you see fit in whatever fun cups you have and straws are always a hit for little ones. Garnish with wedges and top the drink with colored sugar. I’ve even used a little splash of Pom juice to help the color for visual enjoyment.