Tag Archives: Orange

Autumn Salads: Spinach with Goat Cheese, Cranberries, Walnuts and Crispy Prosciutto

Spinach, Goat Cheese, Prosciutto, Walnuts, Cranberries, Orange Vinaigrette

Just because it’s cold outside doesn’t mean we can’t have a salad. In fact, when the temperature drops, it’s even more important to eat vitamin and nutrient-rich vegetables. We might be craving stews and braises in the warmth of the kitchen, yet there is still a place for a salad on the menu. Fall salads are more robust than their summer counterparts. What they might lack for in heat, they make up in substance. Sturdy earthy greens, such as spinach, chicories, kale or radicchio, move into the salad bowl. Nuts and seeds add nutrients and heft. Dried fruit or seasonal pears, apples, persimmons and pomegranates add sweetness and color. Dressings become more rich and intense, with mustard, aged balsamic vinegar and garlic. Cheese and salume crown the salad, bringing a satisfying umami quality, as well as salt and extra protein. The variations are numerous, but you can be sure the results will be delicious and perfectly in season.

Spinach Salad with Goat Cheese, Dried Cranberries, Walnuts and Crispy Prosciutto

Serves 2 to 4.

Vinaigrette:
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon fresh orange juice
1 small garlic clove,  minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Salad:
2 ounces prosciutto
8 ounces baby spinach leaves
1/3 cup walnut halves, lightly toasted, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup dried cranberries
2 ounces fresh goat cheese
1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest

Make the vinaigrette:
Whisk all of the ingredients except the olive oil in a small bowl. Add the oil in a steady stream, whisking constantly, until emulsified. Taste for seasoning.

Prepare the salad:
Heat oven to 350 F. Arrange the prosciutto in one layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment. Bake in oven until crisp, about 20 minutes. Remove and cool. Break in to shards.
Place the spinach, walnuts and cranberries in a large bowl. Drizzle with half of the dressing. Toss to combine. Add more dressing to desired taste and toss again. Arrange on serving plates. Crumble the goat cheese over the spinach, then scatter the prosciutto shards over the salad. Sprinkle with orange zest.

If you like this, you might enjoy these hearty salads:
Roasted Beets with Feta, Mint and Pistachios
Kale and Quinoa Salad
Mixed Greens with Roasted Beets, Wheat Berries and Goat Cheese

Blood Orange Crostate with Salted Caramel Sauce

~ Blood Orange Crostate ~

When it comes to baking, I like my desserts messy. This is not to say that I like dirty dishes or wayward, disfunctional stand-mixers. It means that I like desserts that are free-form, imprecise and often referred to as “rustic.”  Thank goodness for the generations of country kitchens which devised homey, family-style and fabulous tasting desserts. Often involving fruit and usually containing folksy and forgiving words such as crumble, slump, crisp and fool, these desserts revel in imprecision, delightfully embracing dribbles, lopsidedness and even mistakes. Sure, some technique is involved, but the overriding rule is a relaxed unfussiness with a big helping of simplicity. Bring on the mess.

Which brings me to these slightly dissheveled crostatas (actually, I believe that’s crostate in the plural). Citrus is rampant in the markets right now, and with that comes the ruby blood orange. Sweet and tart, yet more complicated than the run-of-the-mill navel, this fruit has a unique flavor which borders on murkiness. If an orange can brood, then it’s the blood orange. I must have been in the mood for brooding when I stuffed a brown bag full of them, with the plan to make a dessert for a dinner this weekend. Scanning the web for inspiration, I found this recipe on the Kitchn, and, right away, I knew these crostatas were the dessert for me: brilliantly hued, cute as can be, and appropriately messy in a rustic free-form kind of way. I tweaked the recipe a bit to my taste and included a salted caramel sauce as an accompaniment.

Blood Orange Crostate with Salted Caramel Sauce

Makes 8 – 4 inch crostatas

For the crust:
1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, chilled, cut in cubes
1/2 cup sour cream

For the filling:
8 ounces mascarpone cheese
3 tablespoons granulated sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 blood oranges, skin and pith cut away, sliced crosswise, seeds removed
2 navel oranges, skin and pith cut away, sliced crosswise
1 egg beaten

Make the crust:
Combine flour, sugar and salt in the bowl of a food processor. Briefly pulse to combine. Add butter and pulse to achieve a crumbly consistency. Add sour cream and pulse a few times until the dough just begins to stick together. Turn dough out onto a piece of plastic wrap. Shape into a disk. Wrap and refrigerate at least one hour.

Preheat oven to 400 F. Whisk mascarpone, 3 tablespoons sugar and vanilla in a small bowl to lighten and combine.
Remove dough from refrigerator. Divide into 8 equal portions. Roll out each portion in a circle about 6 inches in diameter and 1/4-inch thick. Place a tablespoon of mascarpone in the center of the dough, spreading it slightly, while keeping one inch clear around the edge of the dough. Place a navel orange slice in the center. Dot with blood orange sections. Sprinkle the oranges with a little sugar. Fold the exposed edges of the dough in around the oranges, shaping and pinching to create a rim of crust. Transfer to a baking sheet lined with parchment. Repeat this process with remaining dough. Brush pastry dough with the egg and sprinkle the dough with a little more sugar.
Bake crostatas until crusts are firm to the touch and golden brown, about 45 minutes. Remove and cool on a rack. Serve warm or at room temperature with a spoonful of the remaining mascarpone cream.  Drizzle with Salted Caramel Sauce (recipe below).

Salted Caramel Sauce
1 cup granulated sugar
6 tablespoons European-style unsalted butter
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon Maldon sea salt

While you are making the caramel be very careful, as the mixture will be extremely hot. Make sure that all of your ingredients are in place before you begin, since the sauce will come together very quickly. Use a high-sided heavy bottomed pot, since the caramel will foam up as it cooks. Be sure to use the best quality unsalted butter that you can find.

Add the sugar to a heavy-bottomed pot (3-4 quart) over medium-high heat. Cook until the sugar melts, whisking occasionally and swirling the pan to ensure even cooking. When the sugar is the color of dark amber, remove the pan from heat. Add the butter, taking care as it will foam. Stir until it’s melted into the sugar. Pour in the cream (it will foam again) and whisk until smooth. Add the salt. Cool the sauce completely. Makes about 1 cup. Store in a mason jar for up to two weeks.

Chocolate Orange Pots de Creme with Fleur de Sel

Inspiration comes in many packages. These chocolate orange pots de creme are the result of a baking mistake. I set out to make them for a recent dinner party, however I forgot to cover the ramekins while they baked in the oven. Covering the ramekins allows the chocolate to set without a thicker top crust forming and detracting from a smooth and creamy consistency throughout the entire pudding. My pots de creme were smooth and creamy on the inside, all right, but the top had a firmer mottled texture. The taste was the same, but not the look. So, I decided to cover the surface with a granular topping which would provide a pleasing and distracting crunch while hiding my mistake. I rubbed the zest of an orange into a bowl of sugar. The sugar helped to separate the grains of zest and suspend them in granular animation, while the orange added a colorful tinge to the sugar. To serve, I garnished each ramekin with a dollop of whipped cream and showered the cream and chocolate with the orange sugar. To top it off I sprinkled a few grains of fleur de sel over each. It was delicious. The orange sugar added a confectionary crunch before dissolving in the mouth, leaving a lingering wisp of sea salt. I love it when mistakes like this happen.

Chocolate Orange Pots de Creme with Fleur de Sel

Begin 1-2 days before serving. Makes enough for 6 (3/4 cup) ramekins or 12 espresso cup servings.

For the pots de creme:
2 cups heavy cream
1/2 cup whole milk
6 ounces bittersweet or semi-sweet dark chocolate, finely chopped
6 egg yolks
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon Cointreau or Gran Marnier

For the whipped cream:
1 cup whipping cream
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
2 teaspoons Gran Marnier or Cointreau (optional)

For the orange sugar:
Finely grated zest from one untreated navel orange
1/3 cup granulated sugar
Fleur de Sel (or flakes of another sea salt, such as Maldon)

Make the pots de creme:
Preheat oven to 325 F. (170 C.) Heat the cream and milk in a saucepan over medium heat until it reaches a simmer. Remove from heat. Whisk in chocolate until melted and smooth.
Whisk the egg yolks and sugar together in a large bowl until blended. Add the cream in a steady stream, whisking to combine. Whisk in Cointreau. Strain through a fine meshed sieve into another bowl.  Cool 5 minutes. Pour into ramekins or espresso cups. Place the ramekins in a baking pan. Fill the pan with boiling water half way up the ramekins. Cover ramekins with foil and transfer to oven. Bake until set, but still a little wobbly when jiggled, about 55 minutes for ramekins and 45 minutes for espresso cups. Remove from water bath and remove foil. Cool completely. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Make the whipped cream:
Beat the cream in a bowl of an electric mixer until traces of the whisk appear. Add sugar and Gran Marnier. Continue to beat until peaks form.

Make the orange sugar:
Combine zest and sugar in a small bowl. Rub with fingers to evenly distribute the zest.

To serve, sprinkle each ramekin evely with the orange sugar. Spoon a dollop of cream over the center. Sprinkle with additional sugar and a few grains of fleur de sel.

Orange, Chocolate and Almond Biscotti


~ Orange, Chocolate and Almond Biscotti ~

Biscotti are a twice-baked crisp Italian cookie, famously crunchy and perfect for dipping in coffee or milk. Many variations exist, including the traditional anise or almond biscotti, as well as cocoa infused chocolate biscotti. In this recipe I threw in everything I like in a cookie: chocolate, raisins, toasted almonds and orange zest. It sounds like a busy list of ingredients, but the resulting cookie was delightfully simple and not overly sweet.

Orange, Chocolate and Almond Biscotti
I added raisins to the biscotti as an afterthought for a little sweetness and texture; they may be omitted if you prefer a drier biscotti. I recommend using golden raisins for their color and flavor if you can find them.

Makes  approximately 30 biscotti.

2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons Cointreau or Gran Marnier
1  teaspoon vanilla extract
1 heaping tablespoon orange zest
3.5 ounces (100 g.) finely chopped or grated dark chocolate
1 cup finely chopped toasted almonds
3/4 cup raisins (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Combine the flour, sugar, cinnamon, baking powder and salt in a bowl of an electric mixer. Mix briefly to combine. Whisk eggs, oil, orange liqueur, vanilla and zest together in a separate bowl. Add the wet ingredients to the flour. Beat on medium speed until combined, 1 minute. Stir in chocolate, raisins and almonds.
Divide dough in half. Transfer to baking sheet and shape each half into a log the length of the baking sheet. Flatten each log into a 2 inch wide strip. Bake until firm and beginning to color, about 30 minutes. Remove from oven and cool 15 minutes.
Reduce oven to 300 F. (150 C.)  Transfer biscotti to a cutting board. Cut in 3/4 inch strips with a serrated knife.  Arrange cut side down on baking sheet. Bake until they are lightly golden, about 20 minutes, turning them halfway through cooking. Remove from oven and cool completely on racks. Store in an airtight container for up to a week.

 

Orange Spiced Pound Cake


Orange Spiced Pound Cake

The egg yolks made me do it. Do you ever have an ingredient you feel compelled to use, and end up building an entire recipe around the singular ingredient? That’s how I came about this recipe for an Orange Spiced Pound Cake. I had 6 egg yolks sitting forlornly in my refrigerator, cast aside when I needed just as many egg whites to create a salt crust for a whole-baked salmon. I couldn’t throw them away, so I decided to make a pound cake. It was a bit of an experiment, because normally I use 3 whole eggs in a pound cake, and this time I substituted 6 yolks instead.

Anticipating a yellow-tinged cake enhanced by the yolks, I decided to run with it. Instead of my go-to lemon, I added orange juice and zest which would be visually asserted by the rich cake color. Since oranges are sweeter and rounder than puckery lemons, I added a teaspoon of coriander to ground the orange flavor. The result was a softly sweet and light cake, redolent of orange with a faint hint of earthy spice. Best of all? It had a rich and beautiful color.

Orange Spiced Pound Cake
Makes one loaf

3/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
6 egg yolks
2/3 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups cake flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon finely grated orange zest

Preheat oven to 350 F. (180 C.) Butter a cake or loaf pan. Line bottom with parchment and butter parchment. Dust with flour.
Combine sugar and butter in bowl of electric mixer. Beat until light and fluffy. Beat egg yolks in a separate bowl until thick and lightened. Whisk into the sugar and butter.
Combine buttermilk, orange juice and vanilla in a small bowl. Sift flour, baking powder, coriander and salt together in another bowl. Add 1/3 of the flour to the eggs, mixing well to combine. Add 1/2 of the buttermilk, and continue to alternate, finishing with the flour. Mix in the orange zest. Pour batter into the prepared pan. Bake until golden and a skewer inserted in center comes clean, about 1 hour. Cool on rack 10 minutes. Remove cake from pan and cool completely. (The flavors will develop as the cake cools.)