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Merry citrus!

From start (avocado-grape-fruit salad) to finish (orange-rum cake), this holiday party menu salutes the West's winter bounty of citrus. The fruit brightens each dish with its colors and flavors; it even makes the perfect centerpiece for the table.

For an early start, marinate the quail, cook the cabbage, crisp the salad greens, and make the cake up to a day before the party. Early in the day of the dinner, tie the quail legs. The salad can be started a few hours ahead, then assembled just before serving.

Grapefruit and Avocado Salad with Tangerine Dressing

1 large (about 1 lb.) ruby grapefruit

1/2 teaspoon grated tangerine peel

1/4 cup tangerine juice

1 tablespoon honey

1 tablespoon lemon juice

2 large (about 10 oz. each) firm-ripe avocados

12 to 18 washed and crisped medium-size butter lettuce leaves

Coarse salt

With a knife, cut peel and white membrane from grapefruit. Cut segments free from membrane into a bowl; squeeze juice from membrane into bowl. Add tangerine peel and juice, honey, and lemon juice. If making ahead, cover and hold up to 4 hours.

Peel, pit, and cut avocados to make 8 slices. If cutting ahead, put slices in shallow dish and pour juice mixture over them; let stand up to 1 hour.

Arrange lettuce leaves on 6 salad plates. Top with alternating pieces of grapefruit and avocado; pour dressing equally over salads. Sprinkle lightly with salt. Makes 6 servings.

Per serving: 142 cal.; 1.9 g protein; 11 g fat (1.7 g sat.); 13 g carbo.; 8.5 mg sodium; 0 mg chol.

Grilled Quail in Citrus-Herb Marinade

Buy butterflied quail to save work.

12 quail (about 1/4 lb. each)

Citrus-herb marinade (recipe follows)

Braised red cabbage with apricots and lemon (recipe follows)

1 or 2 medium-size oranges, peeled with a knife and sliced crosswise

2 limes, cut into wedges

Salt and pepper

With poultry shears or kitchen scissors, cut parallel to each side of backbone on each quail; discard backbone. Open up birds and press to crack bones so they will lie flat. Rinse and pat dry.

In a large bowl, mix birds with marinade. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours or up to a day, turning quail occasionally.

Lift from marinade, reserving liquid. Bring leg bones of each together at ends and tie with string.

Place quail on a grill 4 to 6 inches above a solid bed of hot coals (you should be able to hold your hand at grill level only 2 to 3 seconds). Cook, turning and basting often with the marinade, until breasts are still red but not wet-looking at the bone (cut from the wing joint into breast to test), 8 to 10 minutes. If making ahead, keep quail warm, uncovered, in a 150|degrees~ oven for up to 30 minutes.

Transfer birds to a warm platter, along with cabbage, orange slices, and lime wedges. Squeeze one lime and add juice, salt, and pepper to taste. Makes 4 to 6 servings.

Per serving without cabbage: 487 cal.; 40 g protein; 32 g fat (7.8 g sat.); 9 g carbo.; 335 mg sodium; 0 mg chol.

Citrus-herb marinade. In a large bowl, mix 1/2 cup brandy or regular-strength chicken broth; 1/4 cup each lemon and orange juices; 3 tablespoons each Dijon mustard and extra-virgin olive oil; 2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed; 1 teaspoon each grated lemon and orange peels; 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper; 1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage leaves or 1 teaspoon rubbed sage; 3 fresh rosemary sprigs (each 3 in. long) or 1 teaspoon dried rosemary leaves; 12 fresh thyme sprigs (each 3 in. long) or 1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves; and 12 fresh savory sprigs (each 3 in. long) or 1 teaspoon dried savory leaves.

Braised Red Cabbage with Apricots and Lemon

1 cup chopped dried apricots

2 cups dry or fruity red wine

1/2 cup honey

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1 large head (2 1/2 lb.) red cabbage, cored and finely sliced

In a 5- to 6-quart pan over high heat, bring apricots, wine, honey, and lemon juice to boiling. Cover and simmer 5 minutes. Add cabbage and stir often until wilted and most of liquid evaporates, about 15 minutes. If making ahead, let cool, cover, and chill up to a day. Boil uncovered, stirring often, until liquid evaporates. Serves 6.

Per serving: 196 cal.; 3.7 g protein; 0.6 g fat (.05 g sat.); 50 g carbo.; 29 mg sodium; 0 mg chol.

Orange-Rum Cake with Kumquats

1/3 cup butter or margarine

3/4 cup granulated sugar

1 tablespoon grated orange peel

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 cup each orange juice and rum (or 1/2 teaspoon rum extract and 1/4 cup water)

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

Orange-rum syrup and candied orange peel (recipes follow)

Powdered sugar and kumquats

With a mixer, beat butter, sugar, and grated peel until fluffy. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating after each addition. Add baking powder and soda.

Mix juice and rum. Stir flour and juice mixture alternately into batter; beat until well blended.

Scrape batter into a heavily buttered and flour-dusted, deep, plain or decorative 6- to 10-cup tube cake pan or steaming mold. Bake in a 325|degrees~ oven until cake pulls from pan sides, about 1 hour. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes, then run a small spatula between cake and pan sides. Invert cake onto rack to loosen it, then invert back into pan.

With a long, thin skewer, pierce cake to bottom at 1-inch intervals. Pour the orange-rum syrup over warm cake. Let cool completely, at least 3 hours. Dip pan in hot water almost to rim; wipe pan dry, then invert cake out onto a plate. If prettier, you can turn the cake over. Serve, or cover and hold at room temperature up to a day. Spoon candied peel on top of cake; dust with powdered sugar. Accompany with kumquats. Serves 8.

Per serving: 320 cal.; 3.9 g protein; 12 g fat (6.9 g sat.); 50 g carbo.; 202 mg sodium; 81 mg chol.

Orange-rum syrup. In a 1- to 2-quart pan, combine 2 tablespoons butter or margarine, 1/2 cup sugar, 1 teaspoon grated orange peel, and 2 tablespoons each orange juice and light rum (or use all juice). Stir over high heat until syrup boils and butter melts. Use warm.

Candied orange peel. With a vegetable peeler, pare colored part of peel from 1 small orange; cut into very thin shreds. Ream juice from fruit and save.

In a 1- to 1 1/2-quart pan over high heat, cover peel generously with water and bring to a boil; drain. Repeat step. Add juice and 1 tablespoon sugar. Boil on high heat, stirring occasionally, until syrup is reduced to about 1 tablespoon, 2 to 4 minutes; remove from heat and let bubbles subside before checking. Let cool. If making ahead, chill, covered, up to 2 days.
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Copyright 1992 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Special Issue: Best of the Holidays; recipes
Date:Jan 1, 1992
Previous Article:Simple supper buffets.
Next Article:A cheery start to Christmas Day.

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