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Thursday, June 30, 2011

Orange-Almond Olive Oil Cake (using Sunkist Valencia Oranges)

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Sunkist. All opinions are 100% mine.
Have you ever wondered why Valencia oranges sometimes look like they are not yet ripe?  You see them in the store and maybe you even pass them by because the peels are still tinged with green.  I mean, those naval oranges sitting right next to them are fully orange, so you toss those in the cart instead.  Well, I admit that I used to do that.  Key words: USED TO!!  I recently found out that Sunkist Valencia Oranges go through a natural process called re-greening.  Valencia Oranges, also know as Summer Oranges may occasionally "re-green" in warm weather. 
Valencias ripen on the tree and turn bright orange, but when temperatures begin to warm up, their skin reabsorbs chlorophyll as they hang on the tree and cause the orange to look partly green.  This has absolutely no effect on the inside of the orange, though.  The fruit remains ripe, juicy and oh-so-delicious.  If you like, you can check out this Sunkist Valencia Oranges Re-greening Video.  So, I tend to agree with the saying that Green is Good when it comes to Sunkist Valencia Oranges.  While I still like naval, mandarin, blood, or any variety of orange, actually...Valencia's have fantastic flavor for juicing and eating out of hand, as snacks.  If you want to squeeze your Valencia's for juice the night before, simply squeeze the juice, cover tightly and chill overnight.  If done like this, no loss of flavor or Vitamin C will occur.  Add a ½ cup of juice and a ½ cup of diced orange to a blender and add some fresh fruit, and/or berries and a ½ cup of yogurt and you've got a nutrition-packed way to start your day.  A great idea for snacking is to cut the Valencia's into "smiles" by cutting in half crosswise and then cutting 3 or 4 wedges from each half.  What kid (of any age) doesn't love sticking an orange wedge in their mouth and pretending it's their smile?
I wanted to create a recipe using the sweet citrus flavors of Sunkist Valencia Oranges, and this moist Orange-Almond Olive Oil Cake, that is perfect with a cup of coffee or a cup of tea, is what I came up with.

Orange-Almond Olive Oil Cake
an original from the kitchen of girlichef
serves: ~10

240 grams (8.5 oz. / ~2 c.) cake flour
141 grams (5 oz. / ~1¼ c.) finely ground almond meal/flour
2 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. fine sea salt
322 grams (11.4 oz. / 1½ c.) superfine sugar
½ c. (4 floz. / 102 g) olive oil
½ c. (4 floz. / 119 g) almond milk
finely grated zest of 2 oranges (~1 Tbs.)
¼ c. (2 floz. / 60g) freshly squeezed Valencia Orange juice
½ tsp. almond emulsion or extract
¼ tsp. orange extract
3 eggs

127 grams (1 c. / 4.5 oz.) powdered sugar
1-2 Tbs. (15-30 g / .5-1 floz.) freshly squeezed Valencia Orange juice

peeled, blanched Almonds (whole, sliced, or slivered), optional
Preheat oven to 350° F.  Grease a 10" x 4¼" tube pan (or a bundt pan) and flour lightly.

for cake:
Combine cake flour, almond meal, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a small bowl.

Combine remaining ingredients in a large bowl and beat with a mixer, at low speed until smooth and well combined, ~1-2 minutes. Add flour mixture and mix.

Pour batter into prepared pan.
Slide into oven and bake for ~45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Place entire pan on a wire rack and let cool for ~15 minutes.  Carefully turn cake out of pan, flip right side up again and set it back on the rack to finish cooling.

Stir about half of the orange juice into the powdered sugar, add a bit more until smooth and the consistency you want. Drizzle evenly over cooled cake.  Garnish with almonds, if using.
You can find additional Sunkist citrus recipes and ideas by visiting Sunkist.  And remember, when it comes to Sunkist Valencia Oranges, green is good.

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Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Hibiscus Popsicles w/ Mango {Jamaica Paletas con Mango}

Okay, so I think it's kind of funny that I can go weeks at a time without posting any type of dessert and this is the third dessert that I've posted in a row.  Crazy.  And this isn't the end of it folks, there's another one comin' atcha tomorrow.  But that will be the end of them.  At least for a few days.  This one is a fantastic way to use some Hibiscus or Jamaica water concentrate.  While I did talk about Agua de Jamaica last summer, that was a full batch of the water.  This is a batch of concentrate and popsicles (or paletas) made from that concentrate.  You can dilute the rest of the concentrate about 50/50 concentrate to water (or to taste) and pour it over ice for a cool, refreshing beverage.  You could also heat it up at the same ratio for some hibiscus tea.  Or use the concentrate to make a fantastic marinade for some steak.  The possibilities are endless.  Just like adding chunks of mango to the mango popsicles, this adds a great sweet, smooth contrast to the tang of the hibiscus.
Hibiscus and Mango Popsicles
Jamaica Paletas con Mango
from the kitchen of girlichef
yield: lots...or a few...

concentrate (yield: ~2 qt):
2 oz. dried Hibiscus flowers (Jamaica)
8 c. water
~1 c. superfine sugar

for popsicles:
hibiscus concentrate (how much depends on size of your popsicles molds)
mango, peel & diced small (~1 mango for every 16 popsicles)
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Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Rum Raisin Ice Cream with Cajeta

What is it about Rum Raisin Ice Cream that seems so classy?  Oh, wait...that's just me who sees it that way?  Well, okay.  But it's true, I've always seen it like that.  Rum Raisin: the Sophisticate's Ice Cream.  Could that explain why I've never eaten before now?  I mean, I can be sophisticated if the moment calls for it, but that's not one of the words that I'd pull out of my proverbial hat when someone asks me for three words to describe myself.  If you know what I'm sayin'.  But anyhoo...I figured since I was riding the rum train right now, I'd finally cross it off my my never-shrinking, ever-growing "to make" list.

I found a great book that I sticky-tabbed up like crazy, but the very first page I happened upon when I picked it up to flip through it at the library, happened to contain Rum Raisin.  A sign.  I think that perhaps it's partly just the romance of rum-macerated raisins that seems all-grown-up to me.  And though I joke when I stick words like "classy" and "sophisticated" on this ice cream, it's really not all that far from the truth.  It really is an ice cream for grown-ups.  My oldest ate a bowl and promptly declared himself drunk.  Pshaw, as if he'd know.  Middle child took one bite and ptooey-ed all over the yard.  That left Sweet Thang.  He "just said no".  As in...he wasn't even gonna go there.  However.  The adults in the family enjoyed this batch.  It was sort of strange to me.  I mean, raisins in ice cream.  I must have initially been more focused on the rum part.  Raisins are kind of a weird addition to frozen dessert, if you ask me.  I thought they needed a little foil, for which a rich ribbon of Cajeta was perfect.  Mexi likes it alot because it brings back memories of when he was a bodybuilder.  Huh!?  Really.  His trainer would give him a big bowl of Rum Raisin Ice Cream on the morning of competition.  For warming up the veins?  I dunno...that's my slightly uneducated guess.  And personally, I'm not going to declare this my favorite new ice cream or anything, but I did enjoy it and I can see myself getting cravings for it every now and again.  But I will definitley add cajeta to all future batches.
Rum Raisin Ice Cream with Cajeta 
adapted from Scoop: 125 Specialty Ice Creams
yield: ~1 qt.

⅔ c. raisins
½ c. light rum (I used my bottle of DonQ Cristal)
2 c. heavy whipping cream, divided
¾ c. whole milk
½ c. superfine sugar
¼ c. light corn syrup
2 Tbs. nonfat dry milk powder
2 Tbs. cornstarch
pinch of kosher salt
¼ tsp. pure vanilla extract

cajeta (goat's milk caramel), for serving*
Combine raisins and rum in a small saucepan and heat until just simmering.  Remove from heat, cover pan, and allow raisins to macerate for at least 30 minutes, or up to 1 day (I went about 8 hours).

Combine 1½ c. of the cream with the milk, sugar, and corn syrup in a pan.  Cook over medium heat, stirring often, until mixture begins to steam...watching carefully to make sure it doesn't come to a boil.

While mixture heats, combine remaining cream with milk powder, cornstarch, salt, and vanilla in a small bowl.  Stir until smooth and powders have dissolved (and formed a slurry of sorts).

Whisk cornstarch mixture into pan and bring to a boil over low heat, stirring constantly.  Whisk until smooth, simmering and stirring constantly for ~2 minutes, or until thickened.  If lumpy, strain.  Stir the raisin rum mixture in to the "custard".

Transfer hot liquid to a storage container and press a sheet of plastic wrap directly onto surface (so it doesn't form a skin).  Refrigerate until completely chilled.

Freeze in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer's instructions and then transfer to a storage container and freeze until hard.

Serve on a pool of cajeta. *Cajeta was a last minute addition...and I thought it was a match made in heaven.  I will probably stir a good cup full (at least) into the ice cream when transferring to storage container next time so that it has ribbons of the rich goat's milk caramel in every scoop.
Okay, I know somebody's going to ask if this really freezes because of the large-ish amount of alcohol in it.  Yes, it really does.  I don't know how.  I don't know why.  But it really, really does.  It was pretty loose (which had me worried) after the ice cream machine finished it's cycle...but once I transferred it to a freezer container and let it sit in the freezer for a few hours, it was just as firm as any other type of ice cream.

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Monday, June 27, 2011

Tiramisú ...inspired by No Reservations for Food 'n Flix

In the film No Reservations, Kate is an uptight, work-obsessed control freak.  She is a first-class chef who takes pride in her work and does not subscribe to the popular belief that the customer is always right.  Her whole world is turned upside down when her sister is killed in a car accident on her way to visit her.  She gains custody of her young niece, Zoe, who is now left without the only parent she has ever known.  While they struggle to get to know each other better (a whole new world for both of them), Nick enters the picture.  Nick is brought on as the new executive sous chef when Kate is forced to take some time off and her sous chef leaves to have a baby.  Nick is completely the opposite of Kate.  Outgoing, fun, friendly, patient, and easy-going.  And very easy on the eyes.  Is it any wonder that this odd-group fits together so nicely?  When Zoe cashes in on a wish that Kate promises to grant her, Nick winds up in Kate's kitchen cooking dinner with Zoe...which they then share in a magical, candle-lit, tent-covered dinner.  They make homemade pizza (a complete 180° from Kate's "upscale" menus) and eat on the floor without utensils or shoes and we can see a change starting to take place in all of them.  This is one of my favorite scenes from the film.  It ends with Nick carrying a sleeping Zoe to her bed and spending some quiet time with Kate.  He pulls a box that he brought with him from the fridge to share with her.  As they begin to eat in the seduction of fire light...

"You know, in Italian, Tiramisu means The Food of Gods."  (Nick)
"No it doesn't."  (Kate)
"It should."  (Nick)
adapted from Martha Stewart's Dinner at Home
serves ~4

¾ c. boiling water
3 Tbs. instant espresso powder
⅔ c. mascarpone cheese
⅔ c. heavy cream
3 Tbs. rum
½ tsp. vanilla extract
⅓ c. sugar
12 (~6 oz) ladyfingers (savoiardi)
1-2 oz. chunk/bar bittersweet chocolate
Combine boiling water and espresso powder.  Set in fridge to cool.

Whip the mascarpone, cream, rum, vanilla, and sugar together at medium speed until soft peaks form.
Dip ladyfingers into the cooled espresso mixture quickly and then lay in a single layer in a loaf pan (~8"x5").  Spoon half of the mascarpone mixture on top and smooth it down.  Grate half of the chocolate over that.  Repeat with another layer of espresso dipped ladyfingers.  Smooth on the last of the mascarpone mixture.  Grate the last of the chocolate over that.  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until set, at least an hour but up to overnight.

This is rich and not too sweet...and a total adult's dessert.  Just ask my daughter.  She took one bite, then promptly turned to me to ask if I could make a kid's dessert next time.  I suppose.  
Deb at Kahakai Kitchen is hosting Food 'n Flix this month with her chosen film: No Reservations.
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