green is the new orange…

Hey, if a tv show can do it (Orange is the New Black – a Netflix Original series), so can I!  This, however, is not another episode of Piper Kerman’s memoir-turned-tv-show, but a tribute to an island. Okinawa, that is.

I visited the local fruit market yesterday, and walked away with way too much for just Tony and I. Today, I utilized some of these gems for muffins; OrangeRosemary Muffins with an orange-scented brown sugar glaze.img_0861

  • 1 c white sugar
  • 1/2 c brown sugar, divided
  • 2 sticks butter, softened
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 c buttermilk
  • zest & juice of 5 Okinawan oranges (or 2 Naval)
  • 1-1″ sprig of Rosemary, leaves finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 c flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt

Preheat oven to 375 degrees; prepare muffin tin with liners – spray with non-stick spray. In a large bowl, combine sugar, 1/4 brown sugar and butter; stir with a wooden spoon uimg_0868ntil creamy (if you must, you can use a hand mixer – I find it just as easy to use the wooden spoon, and gives me outlet for any built-up frustrations!). Stir in buttermilk, zest, Rosemary, vanilla and eggs. Add in dry ingredients and 1 T orange juice; stir just until combined. Drop, using a cookie scoop, into prepared muffin tins. Bake for 22-25 minutes. Move to cool slightly on cooling rack – meanwhile, stir together remaining 1/4 c brown sugar and some of the reserved orange juice, using just enough to make a thin glaze. Spoon over tops of warm muffins – enjoy!

 

A Brief History:

Okinawa is made up of a number of islands scattered around the southeastern part of Japan. Now a group of separate islands sandwiched between mainland Japan and the continent of Asia, Okinawa is said to have been connected to the Asian continent by land in ancient times, a theory that is backed by the fossil record of animals and plants.
The discovery of human bone fossils of the Yamashita Cave Man dating back some 32,000 years has confirmed that humans have lived on Okinawa for many thousands of years. The remains of an ancient human, Minatogawa Man, found in the Minatogawa area of Gushikami Village, the present-day Yaese Town, have been proven to be at least 17,000 years old. Although details of these earliest humans have yet to be revealed, they are believed to have arrived on Okinawa from mainland China by crossing ancient land bridges. In addition, the human remains and artifacts unearthed in various places in Okinawa also indicate that Okinawans started having contact with neighboring nations as early as the 12th or 13th century. (Okinawa Island Guide: A History of Okinawa, 2002).

img_0814
Sunset over Sea Wall – near Kadena Air Base

Okinawan Cuisine:

Okinawan cuisine differs significantly from Japanese cuisine due to the islands’ unique history, during which its food culture was influenced especially by China, South East Asia, Japan and the United States, and due to the different climate with its effects on agriculture and the appetite.

Okinawan dishes are widely available at restaurants throughout the prefecture. For trying out a variety of dishes, we recommend a visit to a local izakaya, where multiple smaller dishes are shared at the table. Some establishments offer live Okinawan music to further enhance the dining experience, especially at restaurants in tourist districts like Naha’s popular Kokusai dori Street. (Okinawan Food Guide, 2016)

Please visit: http://www.jpn-okinawa.com/en/products/ – for a more detailed list of foods from Okinawa!

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