Tag Archives: orange

Bolognese Hot Chocolate


Does the cold, gray post holiday weather have you down? Are you dreaming of warmer and sunnier days? I know I am but in the meantime I’m keeping myself warm with this rich and spicy hot chocolate adapted from my all time favorite food podcast, The Splendid Table.

The combination of cinnamon, vanilla and orange zest bring a warming comfort to this drink and the chocolate makes it simply rich and divine. I like to use a combination of Belgian chocolates in my drink. And to make this drink that much more decadent, I’d added a splash of heavy cream to this otherwise dairy free drink. You don’t have to but go ahead and do it. It is sure to cheer you up during this post holiday slump!


 4 4-inch cinnamon sticks, crushed

2 to 4 8-inch long vanilla beans, split 

zest of one small orange

pinch of salt

1 cup sugar

2 quarts (8 cups) water

4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped

1-1/4 pounds bittersweet chocolate, chopped

3 teaspoons vanilla extract 

1/4 cup heavy cream

  • Combine all ingredients except chocolate, vanilla extract and heavy cream in a 4-quart pot.
  • Bring the mixture to a simmer, cover, and cook 5 minutes.
  • Turn off the heat, leave the spot covered, and let steep 15 to 20 minutes.
  • Strain the mixture into an 8-quart pot.
  • Return the pot to the stove setting it over medium heat.
  • Add the chocolate to the mixture and stir until the chocolate has completely melted and the mixture is smooth.
  • Whisk until just below the boil then stir in the vanilla and the cream.
  • Serve immediately.

Serves 8

Twenty-Five Days of Cookies: Orange Sesame & Honey Cookies


Christmas is twenty two days (gulp) away and what better way is there to countdown to the big event than to feature a cookie recipe each day? Think of it as a cookie recipe advent calendar. And to fill that advent calendar I’m featuring twenty five of my favorite holiday cookie recipes that are sure to fill your holidays with cheer. Bake them to fill your cookie trays, bring them to a cookie swap or eat them yourself; they are guaranteed to bring about holiday joy. And if you love baking as much as I do, making them is a fun filled gift unto itself. Enjoy!

I’m a fan of nuts but when I’m baking for friends with allergies sometimes it just isn’t possible to use them. So how do you make a special cookie with all of the richness and flavor of nuts without, well, the nuts? Use sesame seeds of course and this recipe from Cooking Light is just the answer. Sesame seeds are often thought of as belonging in savory dishes but I love them in sweets as well. When toasted they provide all of the nutiness of nut. Paired with the sweetness of honey and the brightness of orange, these cookies are the perfect addition to a holiday cookie tray.


1 1/4 cups sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup toasted sesame seeds
2 tablespoons honey
2 teaspoons grated orange rind
1/3 cup toasted sesame seeds
1 tablespoon orange juice
1 tablespoon honey
  • Preheat the oven to 350°.
  • Combine granulated sugar, brown sugar, butter, and vanilla in a large bowl.
  • Beat with a mixer at medium speed until fluffy then add the egg, beating again until just blended.
  • Beat in flour, baking soda, and salt.
  • Turn the beaters to low and mix in 1/3 cup toasted sesame seeds, 2 table­spoons honey, and the grated orange rind into cookie dough.
  • Place 1/3 cup toasted sesame seeds in a shallow bowl.
  • Scooping the dough by tablespoonfuls, use your hands to form balls then roll the balls in the sesame seeds.
  • Arrange cookies 2 inches apart on parchment paper-lined baking sheets.
  • Bake 10 to 12 minutes then remove from the oven, allowing to cool for 3 minutes before moving them to a wire rack to cool completely.
  • Combine orange juice and 1 tablespoon honey in a bowl; drizzle mixture over cooled cookies.

Yields: 4 dozen cookies


Cranberry Orange Quick Bread


Quick breads make for the perfect breakfast or snack and if you love cranberries and have cranberry orange relish leftover from Thursday’s big feast, this bread is the perfect way to use it up. The bread literally comes together in minutes, giving a whole new meaning to the term “quick”. And thanks to the cranberries and double dose of orange, the results are tangy and moist. My favorite way to eat the bread is warm with a pat of butter melted on top. Pair it with a nice cup of tea and you’ll be ready to power ahead into the holidays.


2 cups flour
3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/3 cup orange juice
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 egg, well beaten
1 1/2 cups cranberry orange relish

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly coat a 9 x 5 loaf pan with non-stick cooking spray and set aside.
  • Mix together flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and baking soda in a medium mixing bowl.
  • Stir in orange juice, butter and egg, mixing well until blended.
  • Stir in the cranberry relish.
  • Pour into the prepared loaf pan. Bake for 55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  • Cool on a rack for 15 minutes before removing from pan and cooling completely.

Yields: 16 slices


Cranberry Orange Relish


photo 1-74


Here’s an oldie but goodie that never fails to earn rave reviews on Thanksgiving.

Who wants that cranberry jelly from a tin can when you can make a fresh and flavorful cranberry relish in a matter of minutes.  This dish always brings me back to my childhood and to this day I can’t eat turkey without thinking of and longing for this side dish.  Try it, you’ll love it.


1 pound fresh cranberries, washed and picked over

1 whole organic orange, scrubbed

1/2 to 3/4 cup sugar

Pinch of salt

  • Working in batches, pulse the cranberries until coarse in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade.  Place the chopped cranberries in a large bowl.
  • Cut the orange into eight pieces, leaving the peel on but removing any seeds.  Place the orange pieces in the food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped.  Add to the cranberries.
  • Add the salt and 1/2 cup of the sugar to the cranberries; stir to combine.  Cover and allow to sit for several hours or preferably overnight.
  • Stir the relish and add more sugar if needed.

Yields 3 cups


Oregano Chicken & Sausage w/ Orange-Tomato Salad


It’s Fast Friday again and time for another fast and fabulous dinner suggestion. If you are anything like me, by the time Friday rolls around the last thing I want to do is cook a big meal yet we all still have to eat. The dishes featured in this series aren’t necessarily fancy but they bring together simple ingredients most people already have in their pantries or have easy access to and allow you to put a real meal on the table in between 30 and 45 minutes. Enjoy and if you have your own fast recipes you want to share, please send them my way and I will in turn share them with all of my readers.

Here is a quick and satisfying dinner option that I adapted from a Cuisine at Home recipe. The combination of sweet Italian sausage and chicken breast dusted with oregano is simple yet flavorful. What makes this dish special though is the salad; orange sections and grape tomatoes make for a refreshing and juicy contrast for the meat. The salad comes together quickly while the meats are cooking so don’t skip them. To complete the meal I serve this alongside brown rice; put a pot of it on to cook before you start the meat and everything will be ready to serve at the same time.


For the chicken:

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 teaspoons dried oregano

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

4 6-ounce boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite sized pieces

8 ounces sweet Italian sausage, cut into bite sized pieces

Juice of 1 lemon

  • Heat the olive oil in a large skillet set over medium-high heat.
  • Sprinkle the chicken and sausage with the oregano, salt and red pepper flakes.
  • Add the meat to the pan, cover and saute, stirring occasionally, until the internal temperature of the meat is 165 degrees. This should take a total of 8-10 minutes.
  • Off the heat and squeeze the lemon juice over the meat.

While the meat is cooking, make the salad.

For the salad:

2 seedless oranges, pith removed, sectioned and cut in half

1 cup grape tomatoes, halved

1 shallot, thinly sliced

2 tablespoons minced parsley

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

Salt & pepper to taste

  • Combine all of the ingredients in a medium-sized bowl.
  • Serve alongside the chicken and sausages.

Serves 4

Vietnamese Beef w/ Black Pepper & Citrus

photo 3-83

It is Fast Friday again and time for another fast and fabulous dinner suggestion. If you are anything like me, by the time Friday rolls around the last thing you want to do to cook a big meal yet we all still have to eat.  The dishes featured in this series aren’t necessarily fancy but they bring together simple ingredients most people already have in their pantries or have easy access to and allow you to put a real meal on the table in between 30 and 45 minutes.  Enjoy and if you have your own fast recipes you want to share, please send them my way and I will in turn share them with all of my readers.

Like so many of the best recipes, this one has been adapted from its original form.  Originally published in Fine Cooking magazine, it was adapted by the Noble Pig food blog and the I made my own alternations to make it my own.  I like to think this recipe, like others before it, just keeps getting better with age.  And even if I must say so myself, this recipe is good.  As is the case with my favorite recipes, this one cooks up quickly.  Because it cooks fast and you don’t want to overcook the meat, make sure you have all of the ingredients prepped before you begin cooking.  I served this over jasmine rice which I started cooking before I began prepping the other ingredients.  The result?  A perfectly timed meal that goes from panty to table in less than 30 minutes.


2 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce

2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

2 tablespoons fresh orange juice

1 1/2 tablespoons light brown sugar

1 tablespoon fish sauce

6 cloves garlic, minced

1″ piece fresh ginger, finely grated

3 tablespoons peanut oil, divided

Salt & freshly ground black pepper

1 1/2 pounds rib eye steak, cut into 3/4 inch pieces

3 tablespoons chopped, salted peanuts

2 scallions, finely sliced

  • In a small bowl, combine the soy sauce, lime juice, orange juice, sugar, and fish sauce, stirring until the sugar dissolves.  Set aside.
  • In another small bowl, stir together the garlic, ginger, 1 1/2 teaspoons of the oil and 1 1/2 teaspoons of the black pepper.  Set aside.
  • Generously season the beef with salt and pepper.
  • In a 12 inch skillet, heat 1 1/2 teaspoons of the oil until it shimmers.  Swirl it to coat the pan then add half of the beef in a single layer.
  • Cook the beef, without stirring, until well browned, 1 to 2 minutes.  Using tongs, turn the pieces over and brown on the other side.
  • Remove the cooked beef to a bowl and add 1 1/2 teaspoons of oil to the pan.  When the oil shimmers, repeat the cooking process with the remainder of the beef.
  • Put the remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons of oil in the skill and heat until shimmering hot.  Add the garlic mixture and cook stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  • Return the beef and any of the accumulated juices to the pan and stir to combine.
  • Add the soy sauce mixture and cook, stirring constantly, until the beef is coated and the sauce thickens slightly, 2 to 3 minutes.
  • Serve immediately sprinkled with the peanuts and scallions.

Serves 4

Spicy Black Bean Soup

photo 3-64

It is Fast Friday again and time for another fast and fabulous dinner suggestion. If you are anything like me, by the time Friday rolls around the last thing you want to do to cook a big meal yet we all still have to eat.  The dishes featured in this series aren’t necessarily fancy but they bring together simple ingredients most people already have in their pantries or have easy access to and allow you to put a real meal on the table in between 30 and 45 minutes.  Enjoy and if you have your own fast recipes you want to share, please send them my way and I will in turn share them with all of my readers.

The recipe, adapted from the Splendid Table, is the ultimate in fast since it literally cooks in minutes.  I like my food with a bit of heat but if you think it will be too spicy for your taste you can use less Tabasco and cumin.  While the soup cooks you can make the avocado, cucumber, and orange salsa, which when paired with a dollop of sour cream tempers the heat of the soup.  Don’t skip this addition; this simple salsa takes the soup from good to unbelievable.


2 tablespoons olive oil

1 large red onion, diced

4 cloves garlic, minced

3 cups vegetable broth

2 – 15 ounce cans black beans, rinsed

1 cup roasted red peppers, diced

1 – 15 ounce can corn

2 teaspoons ground cumin

2 teaspoons dried oregano

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

2 teaspoons Tabasco sauce

1 avocado, cubed

Juice of 1 lime

1 orange, peeled and chopped

1/2 English cucumber, peeled and chopped

1/4 cup sour cream

  • Heat the oil in a large pot set over medium heat.
  • Add the onion and garlic and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes.
  • Add the broth, beans, corn, red peppers, seasonings, and hot sauce and bring to a boil.
  • Reduce the heat to low and simmer uncovered for 10 minutes.
  • While the soup is simmering, combine the avocado, lime juice, orange, and cucumber in a small bowl. Toss well.
  • Serve the soup in bowls topped with the avocado and orange mixture and top with a dollop of sour cream.

Serves 4

Arugula & Fennel Salad with Oranges and Dry Cured Olives


This simple salad celebrates the best of the Mediterranean winter season and is the perfect way to end a dinner.  (In our house, we always serve salad after the entree and before the dessert course).  It is so easy but the combination of the sweetness of the oranges, the saltiness of the olives, and the bitterness of the arugula simultaneously please all of the taste buds.

I serve the salad with a simple dressing of olive oil and balsamic vinegar with just a touch of salt and pepper.  Because there are only four ingredients, be sure to use a good quality olive oil and vinegar.  Too many balsamic vinegars are heavy on the acid and light on the sweetness so taste test it before offering it to your guests.  The dressing is also served on the side, guests can add as much or as little as they like.


For the salad:

4 cups arugula, washed, dried, and broken into bit sized pieces

1 large fennel bulb, sliced thinly

1 orange, peeled, seeded and cut into bite sized pieces

1/2 cup dry cured olives

  • Divide the arugula evenly between four plates forming a compact bed of leaves.
  • Distribute the fennel, oranges, and olives over the top of the arugula.

For the dressing:

1/3 cup good quality olive oil

4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

Salt & freshly ground pepper

  • Divide the olive oil between four small dishes or dressing cups.
  • Place one tablespoon of balsamic vinegar into each cup on top of the oil.
  • Add a pinch of salt and freshly ground pepper to each cup.
  • Nestle the dressing cups onto the salad plates and serve.

Serves 4

Red Wine Sangria


I drink wine year around.  As a rule I prefer red to white any day but depending on the meal a rich red or a crisp white is the perfect accompaniment to food.  During the cooler months a warm and spicy gluhwein hits the spot.  Gluhwein, or mulled wine, is a staple at Christmas markets throughout Europe and as I’ve discovered, each county–or region for that matter–puts their own twist on this winter staple.  Some may be spicier and others may be sweeter.  Regardless of the ingredients, each cup is sure to please.  However, hot wine doesn’t excite me during the summer months.  Hot weather calls for something lighter and cooler so for this wine drinker, that means sangria.  As my recent trip to Spain showed me, there are just as many varieties of sangria as there are gluhwein.  Within the greater Madrid area alone I sampled sangria that was sweet or spicy or sometimes both.  And this was just the versions made with red wine.

I’ve long had a favorite sangria recipe.  My red wine version includes oranges, lemons, and limes making for a citrus filled and refreshing drink. (Be on the lookout for my white wine version later this summer!)  This recipe calls for a single liter of red wine but the recipe can easily be doubled, tripled, or more depending upon the size of your crowd.  Any dry red wine works for this recipe.  If you like it, use it.  For larger quantities I used to use Trader Joe’s infamous “Two Buck Chuck” since it was drinkable without being too expensive.  (Save your really good wine for drinking as is).  Back in our Norfolk, Virginia days I would mix up a cooler full of sangria for our annual Belvedere block party.  As the summer wore on I’d make up the same amount to enjoy during our long lazy weekends on our boat.  Regardless of the quantity you make, the longer it sits the stronger it becomes.  You can easily dilute it by adding more juice or ice.  However you make it or where ever you drink it, it is sure to refresh.  To me, sangria is the ultimate summer drink.


1 liter dry red wine

1/4 cup (or more) white sugar, depending on taste

1/2 cup fresh orange juice

1/2 cup Triple Sec or other orange liqueur

1 orange

1 lemon

1 lime

ice cubes

Thoroughly scrub the rinds of the fruit to remove any waxes.  Thinly slice the fruit taking care to remove any seeds.

Place the fruit in a large pitcher.  Add the sugar and using a wooden spoon, muddle to combine the sugar and fruit.

Pour the wine, juice, and liqueur over the fruit; stir to combine.

Let the sangria sit in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours.

Before serving, add ice to the pitcher.

Orange Hummus


Hummus is one of my favorite food items.  I love its versatility; you can serve it as an appetizer, as a between meals snack, or slathered on your favorite bread as part of a sandwich.  Despite our geographic location I have yet to find hummus in any of the local markets or grocery store.  This doesn’t have to be a deterrent however, since homemade hummus is very easy to make.  Garbanzo beans are like a blank slate; their neutral flavor makes them the perfect backdrop for whichever flavors you like.  If you love garlic, add more.  In lieu of the orange you could also incorporate roasted red peppers for a colorful and flavorful addition.  Personally I love the addition of orange juice and orange zest.  The hint of citrus adds a bright note to the garbanzo beans.

If you have the time use dried garbanzo beans.  You will be able to taste the difference.  If you don’t have dried beans or are making the hummus on short notice, go ahead and use canned beans.  You will still be happy with the results.


2 cups dry garbanzo beans (or 3 1/2 cups canned beans)

1 teaspoon kosher salt

8 garlic cloves

2 teaspoons ground cumin

Zest and juice of 2 oranges

10 tablespoons olive oil

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Salt to taste

  • Rinse the garbanzo beans under cool water.  Place in a large stockpot, cover with water, and let soak overnight.
  • Drain the beans, cover with water again and bring to a boil over high heat.  Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 1 hour.  Add 1 teaspoon of salt to the pot and continue to cook for an additional 45 minutes to an hour until the beans are tender.  Drain and allow to cool.
  • Place the garlic cloves into a food processor and pulse until finely chopped.  Add the garbanzo beans and continue to pulse until coarsely chopped.  Add up to 2 tablespoons of olive oil to help moisten the mixture.
  • Add the cumin, cayenne, orange zest, orange juice, and remaining olive oil to the food processor and pulse until smooth and combined.
  • Season with salt to taste.
  • Serve with pita wedges or your favorite dipping items.

Yields 4 cups

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