This is another easy dessert–the only kind I make– courtesy of America’s Test Kitchen. I’ve adapted it to bring together one of my favorite flavor combinations; chocolate and orange but I think lemon would be equally as good. To add depth to the cake, I use a combination of semi sweet and bittersweet chocolate.
FLOURLESS CHOCOLATE-ORANGE CAKE
1 pound semi sweet or bittersweet chocolate, roughly chopped
16 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 16 pieces
1/4 cup strong coffee
Zest from 1 orange
8 large eggs, cold
Confectioners sugar or cocoa powder (for serving)
12 orange or Mandarin sections (for serving)
2 ounces dark chocolate melted (for serving)
Colored sugar crystals (for serving)
- Adjust an oven rack to the lower-middle position and heat the oven to 325 degrees. Lightly coat an 8-inch spring form pan with vegetable oil spray, then line the bottom with parchment paper. Wrap the outside of the pan with two sheets of heavy-duty foil and set in a large roasting plan. Bring a kettle of water to a boil.
- Heat the chocolate, butter, and coffee together in a large bowl in the microwave, whisking often, until the mixture is melted and smooth, 1 to 3 minutes. Let cool slightly.
- Fold the orange zest into the chocolate mixture.
- Whip the eggs in a large bowl with an electric mixer on high speed until they double in volume, 5 to 10 minutes. Fold one-third of the whipped eggs into the chocolate mixture using a large rubber spatula until only a few streaks of egg are visible. Repeat twice more with the remaining eggs, then continue to fold until there are no more streaks.
- Scrape the batter into the prepared pan inside of the roasting pan and smooth the top. Set the roasting pan on the oven rack and pour the boiling water into the roasting pan until it reaches about halfway up the sides of the cake pan. Bake until the edges are just beginning to set, a thin glazed crust has formed on the surface, and an instant read thermometer inserted halfway into the center reads 140 degrees, 20 to 25 minutes.
- Carefully remove the spring form pan from the water bath and let cool completely on a wire rack, about 3 hours. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
- About 30 minutes before serving, run a paring knife around the edge of the cake to loosen, then remove the sides of the pan. Invert the cake on a parchment-lined plate and peel off the parchment from the bottom. Flip the cake upright onto a serving platter, discard the second piece of parchment, and let come to room temperature.
- Dust the cake with confectioner’s sugar.
- Melt the dark chocolate in the microwave and dip each orange section into the melted chocolate then dip in colored sugar crystals. Place evenly along the edges of the cake.
YIELD: one 8 or 9 inch cake; serves 10 to 12
Its National Ice Cream day and nothing tastes better than the homemade version. So pick your favorite ingredients and whip up a batch today:
A non-dairy option:
Technically not ice cream but cold and tasty just the same:
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.
RED WINE SANGRIA
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
- 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.
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 cupsdips
Orange creamsicle ice cream served with a brownie for extra decadence
We’re on the verge of summer and that means it is ice cream season. Hard or soft, sorbet, frozen yogurt or full fat ice cream, I love all types of frozen desserts. I remember making ice cream as a child in one of those old fashioned wooden tubs packed with salt. Today I’m a bit more modern owning not one but two ice cream makers. I really started making my own ice cream when we lived in Albania since ice cream quality was so poor and with electricity so temperamental even the better gelato shops were apt to sell their goods filled with unappealing ice crystals. Now, even though I can buy really good ice cream from local Belgian farms, I continue allocate some of my precious freezer space to always having an insert frozen and ready to churn away when my ice cream cravings strike.
But not all ice cream requires an ice cream maker. And for that matter, not all ice cream requires dairy milk. Case in point this orange coconut milk based ice cream from superhealthykids.com. Full fat coconut milk ensures that the ice cream is creamy and provides a slightly tropical undertone to the ice cream. Add in the fresh oranges and you have a treat that is reminiscent of the orange creamsicles of your childhood. And like I already mentioned, no ice cream maker is required. A blender, food processor or even stick blender is all you need. So get a jump start on your summer and whip up a batch today.
ORANGE CREAMSICLE ICE CREAM
1 3/4 cups coconut milk
3 medium oranges
4 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon orange zest
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon orange extract
- Peel and section oranges. Lay the sections flat on a parchment lined tray and freeze until hardened.
- Place the coconut milk and half of the frozen orange sections in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade.
- Pulse until smooth.
- Add the remaining oranges to the mixture and continue blending.
- Add the honey, orange zest and the vanilla and orange extracts to the mixture and puree until blended.
- Pour the ice cream into a freezer safe container and freeze until solid.
- Allow to sit at room temperature for a few minutes before serving.
Yields 2 pints
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.
Pan sauces are my favorite way to dress up an otherwise simple piece of meat. And as this recipe, adapted from a Cooking Light magazine shows, pan sauces are the quickest way to infuse your meal with flavor. Here orange juice and mustard are reduced into a syrupy sauce while you pan sear your pork chops. Everything then goes in the oven to finish cooking. While your actual cooking time will depend upon the thickness of your meat, the meal is fast. Serve it with a side of vegetables and a starch of your choice and dinner is ready in no time.
ORANGE MUSTARD GLAZED PORK CHOPS
1/2 cup fresh orange juice
2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon orange zest
1 tablespoon whole-grain mustard
1 tablespoon olive oil
4- 6 ounce boneless pork chops, about 1 inch thick
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 medium red onion, cut into 1/2-inch wedges
Juice of 1 lime
- Preheat oven to 425°.
- Combine the orange juice, brown sugar, orange zest and mustard in a small heavy saucepan set over medium-high heat.
- Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes or until syrupy.
- While the juice mixture is cooking, heat a large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. (I prefer to use a cast iron skillet).
- Add the oil to the skillet, swirling to coat.
- Evenly sprinkle the salt and pepper over the pork then add it to the pan.
- Cook 5 minutes or until browned. Turn the pork over then add the onion wedges to the skillet.
- Pour juice mixture over pork and place the skillet in the oven. Bake for 10 minutes or until a thermometer registers 140°.
- Remove the skillet from the oven and drizzle with the lime juice before serving.
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.
CRANBERRY ORANGE RELISH
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