Sunday, March 22, 2009

a cake that's perfect for breakfast

what do you think of when you hear about a cake made with olive oil and oranges? i think, "wow, doesn't that sound like the perfect breakfast cake?" hence the sunday morning bake-fest with my favorite baking pal, becky crocker. crocker is the perfect person to bake with since she let's me do all of the things i deem "fun." in this case, it was supreming oranges. that is, until i had done 6 of them and the cut in my hand was stinging of citrus. enter crocker to the rescue, finishing off the job. then there's mixing. i am known to have the amusement level of a small child aka enjoy whipping heavy cream until it's almost whipped cream and my arms are so tired they feel like they are going to fall off. remind me again why i don't just go buy a freaking hand mixer. enter crocker again, to the rescue.

this cake
recipe appeared in last week's nytimes dining section and uses olive oil as the fat source. oranges, orange juice and yogurt ensure its moist texture. we used mostly regular oranges instead of blood oranges since the blood ones are not so plentiful
in our respective neighborhoods. we weren't so careful about keeping our wet and dry ingredients separate until the end; becky crocker defies the laws of baking.

an alternative serving method to the recipe: serve cake warm (microwave if you have to) and top with vanilla frozen yogurt--YUMMMMMMMM...

blood orange olive oil cake
  • Butter for greasing pan
  • 3 blood oranges
  • 1 cup sugar
  • small container of plain yogurt
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 3/4 cups flour (i used spelt, as per usual)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Honey-blood orange compote, for serving, optional (see note)
  • Whipped cream, for serving, optional.

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan. Grate zest from 2 oranges and place in a bowl with sugar. Using your fingers, rub ingredients together until orange zest is evenly distributed in sugar.
  • Supreme an orange: Cut off bottom and top so fruit is exposed and orange can stand upright on a cutting board. Cut away peel and pith, following curve of fruit with your knife. Cut orange segments out of their connective membranes and let them fall into a bowl. Repeat with another orange. Break up segments with your fingers to about 1/4-inch pieces.
  • Halve remaining orange and squeeze juice into a measuring cup. You will have about 1/4 cup or so. Add buttermilk or yogurt to juice until you have 2/3 cup liquid altogether. Pour mixture into bowl with sugar and whisk well. Whisk in eggs.
  • In another bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Gently whisk dry ingredients into wet ones. Switch to a spatula and fold in oil a little at a time. Fold in pieces of orange segments. Scrape batter into pan and smooth top.
  • Bake cake for about 55 minutes, or until it is golden and a knife inserted into center comes out clean. Cool on a rack for 5 minutes, then unmold and cool to room temperature right-side up. Serve with whipped cream and honey-blood orange compote, if desired.

Yield: 8 to 10 servings.

Note: To make a honey-blood orange compote, supreme 3 more blood oranges according to directions in Step 2. Drizzle in 1 to 2 teaspoons honey. Let sit for 5 minutes, then stir gently.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

go go zo calls food trends?

i might just be onto something here...

it all started with the oatmeal. i read
this article in one of my favorite food blogs, grub street. however, this trend seemed like a relatively obvious one and so i read the blurb, smiled and only mentioned it to one or two people. i received quite a few weblinks to the $1 jamba juice coupon after i had posted it.

but NOW, the nytimes featured an article in the dining section today about the popularity of whoopie pies (vs. cupcakes). for you 4 loyal readers out there, this just might sound familiar. if you said birthday brunch dessert, you win!

is this like horoscopes? throw enough general things out there and eventually you'll be right? i'm not sure but as long as this week's nytimes dining section is current, i'll bask in the glory. next food trend, you ask? chocolate covered popcorn. but that's only because i'd like some right now.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

my perfect swiss meal

i was eager to fall into the eating trends of switzerland but alas, as one who does not eat red meat, wheat and limits their dairy intake, this was rather difficult. it wasn't until my last day in geneva that i experienced a true swiss meal that i could eat and enjoy (with the aid of lactaid, of course)! where did this magic happen, you ask? at the restaurant les armures, at les armures hotel in old town. it's the oldest restaurant and hotel in geneva and is the perfect place to go for swiss specialties.

we ate a deliciously fresh green salad and small portions of raclette. raclette is a white cow's milk cheese that is melted and served with small potatoes. it's portioned in small amounts so that you can get just a taste of it or eat a large amount, for those more dairy inclined. the cheese is melted so that there's almost a thin crust formed and tastes delicious with a good amount of fresh ground pepper. raclette is eaten with white wine--no water because it can form cheese balls in your tummy! there's some information about making raclette at home here. if you're looking to go out and try this dish in new york, the best option (based on internet research alone) seems to be swizz, where you can choose to order an appetizer or full size portion. according to their online menu, you can also get raclette at the bourgeois pig, which is a small fun restaurant to go to with two downtown locations.

to finish off the meal, i had pear sorbet with williamine, a pear liqueur. the sorbet was quite fresh and had chunks of pear. as i am somewhat of a lightweight, it tasted best when it was all mashed together. i picked up a bottle of williamine to bring back home. i plan to either drink it neat, serve it over sorbet or try it on top of vanilla ice cream.

and a closing note about chocolate: because what would switzerland be without it? besides gorgeous...although most supermarket brands are supposed to be good (coop and migros) you can also find more gourmet brands in all of the train stations. the best kind i found was laderach, which can be purchased by weight from giant sheets of all different kinds of chocolate. according to their website, laderach chocolate can be found at the trump palace food emporium at 3rd and 68th street but this is yet to be confirmed. the other brand of chocolate that was recommended to me is villars. it comes in many different flavors and fillings, including liquors of the area: kirsch and williamine.

Friday, March 6, 2009

road trip! red arrow diner (new hampshire)

i am hopelessly addicted to the food network. there is nothing i rather hear in the background while puttering around at home. a person cannot watch a lot of food network without catching diners, drive-ins and dives every once in a while. now i realize it is pretty disgusting to watch guy fieri stuff his over-tanning-booth-tanned face HOWEVER, this guy (haha) has come up with some deeeliiccious looking places. that being said, it is hard for me to get in a car and go somewhere without checking if one of these spots is on the way.

enter red arrow diner in manchester, new hampshire. thanks to the food network, i now visit this diner when i am visiting family and consume massive amounts of (tasty) grease.

apparently, guy deemed american chop suey the house specialty. however, as far as i'm concerned, this is the red arrow star- "special" hash browns. i get mine veggies and cheese style. it has lots of veggies: mushrooms, onions, peppers, tomatoes, and crispy hash browns, all topped with that delicious slightly artificial white american cheese that gets all gooey and melty...on this particular trip, i also got 2 eggs along with it AND ATE THE WHOLE THING. ignore that toast trying to creep into the corner of my picture (i didn't eat it).

ok, this was just overkill but you cannot leave this place without ordering a slice of pie. they are so beautifu and beckon to you from the fridge. chocolate cream pie seemed like the obvious choice here. this one was the kind where the cream has more than it's fair share of shortening in it. i was only slightly disappointed at how much it dominated the chocolate portion of the pie. needless to say, i left quite full and happy.