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Bright, tart and bubbly, a beverage worthy of a toast

Recipe: Blood orange mimosa completes a festive brunch

Pink cocktail with orange slice
How pretty is this? Blood orange juice is a special
addition to this mimosa. Pulp in the juice creates
the decorative ring when the sparkling wine
is added. (Photos: Kathy Morrison)

More gray, more rain. Little things help brighten the winter days. If you're hosting a brunch, or just fixing breakfast for two, a mimosa is a lovely addition to the menu.

I took the citrus element one step further by using blood orange juice. Blood oranges are a little smaller and a littler tarter than navel oranges, but they produce gorgeous reddish-purple juice and the prettiest beverage this side of a Shirley Temple. And make the version with sparkling cider if you want a nonalcoholic cocktail; the simple syrup and orange liqueur are both optional with that one.

Make a simple syrup quickly to lightly sweeten the tartness: Mix 2 tablespoons granulated sugar and 2 tablespoons tap water in a Pyrex measuring cup. Microwave for 1 minute on HIGH. This produces simple syrup for several servings of this drink.

Blood orange mimosa

Makes 1 serving

Blood orange cut in half on green cutting board
The pulp of blood oranges varies from deep red-purple,
as above, to mostly orange with just a hint of red. Look
for fruit with at least some red on the skin.

Ingredients:

Juice of 1/2 a blood orange, about 1-1/2 tablespoons juice

1/2 teaspoon simple syrup (see above)

1/2 teaspoon orange liqueur, such as Cointreau or Grand Marnier (optional)

Chilled Prosecco or another white or rosé sparkling wine, or nonalcoholic sparkling cider

Blood orange slice, for garnish

Instructions:

Strain the blood orange juice if desired. A regular wire mesh strainer will leave some pulp, as in the photo above; a fine mesh strainer will remove nearly all the pulp. (But don't strain it into the sink, as I did the first time!)

Pour the juice into a fluted glass. Stir in the simple syrup and, if using, the orange liqueur. Fill the rest of the glass with the sparking wine or cider. Add the garnish, and enjoy. Happy New Year!




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Dig In: Garden checklist for week of Nov. 27

Before the rain comes later in the week, take advantage of sunny, calm days:

* This may be your last chance this season for the first application of copper fungicide spray to peach and nectarine trees. Leaf curl, which shows up in the spring, is caused by a fungus that winters as spores on the limbs and around the tree in fallen leaves. Sprays are most effective now, but they need a few days of dry weather after application to really “stick.” If you haven’t yet, spray now.

* Rake and compost leaves, but dispose of any diseased plant material. For example, if peach and nectarine trees showed signs of leaf curl this year, clean up under trees and dispose of those leaves instead of composting.

* Make sure storm drains are clear of any debris.

* Give your azaleas, gardenias and camellias a boost with chelated iron.

* Trim chrysanthemums to 6 to 8 inches above the ground after they’re done blooming. Keep potted mums in their containers until next spring. Then, they can be planted in the ground, if desired, or repotted.

* Prune non-flowering trees and shrubs while dormant.

* Plant bulbs for spring bloom. Don’t forget the tulips chilling in the refrigerator. Other suggestions: daffodils, crocuses, hyacinths, anemones and scillas.

* Seed wildflowers including California poppies.

* Also from seed, plant sweet pea, sweet alyssum, bachelor buttons and other spring flowers.

* Plant most trees and shrubs. This gives them plenty of time for root development before spring growth. They also benefit from winter rains.

* Set out cool-weather annuals such as pansies and snapdragons.

* Lettuce, cabbage, broccoli and cool-season greens can be planted now.

* Plant garlic and onions.

* If you decide to use a living Christmas tree this year, keep it outside in a sunny location until Christmas week. This reduces stress on the young tree.

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