6 to 8 tangerines (or clementines)
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
2 cinnamon sticks
4-6 cardamom pods
1 star anise
1 16 oz tub of cottage cheese*
In a medium saucepan combine the sugar, water, cinnamon sticks, cardamom pods and star anise. Bring to a boil, and simmer for at least 10 minutes.
While the simple syrup simmers, peel the tangerines, break into 4 quarters** and cut into slices about 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick. Place the tangerine pieces in a dish that will allow the syrup to submerge and soak all of them equally. Pour the hot syrup over the tangerine pieces and leave them to marinate for about an hour.
In a food processor or blender, whip up the cottage cheese until very creamy and smooth - it will take on a beautiful silky texture.
To serve, spoon out the cottage cheese cream equally among 6 bowls, and top with tangerine pieces and plenty of the delicious syrup.
*The cottage cheese was wonderful, and a little salty, in a really pleasant way combined with the tart and spicy tangerines and syrup, and I recommend trying it that way, considering it was so cheap and uncomplicated. However I'm thinking the next time I try this I might do half cottage cheese and half mascarpone, which seems like it would have to be awesome; or 2 parts cottage cheese to one part yogurt, which I read is a way of imitating fromage blanc. ACTUALLY I just found this recipe for making fromage blanc at home (which looks a lot like a great Michael Chiarello recipe I've used for homemade ricotta)... which I'll do when I want to turn this fast and easy recipe into a bigger project, because it sounds delicious.
**As you see in the picture, I just sliced the tangerines whole, across the sections, into rounds. It's very beautiful looking, but we all agreed it was a little hard to eat, which is why I suggest breaking it into quarters before slicing. If you love the look of the rounds, go for it that way - it wasn't THAT hard to eat, honestly.