Cake

Chocolate Orange Charlotte

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This is a special farewell and birthday cake all rolled into one.  The post-doc in our lab is leaving after 6 years and another labmate was celebrating the big 3-0 birthday, so the cake had to be special.  Chocolate and Orange pair wonderfully; infact, it is my mother’s favorite and incorporated it into her birthday cake last year.  The recipe requires several ingredients,  but I used store-bought short-cuts to help me.   I hope this cake stuns your table as much it did mine !

Ingredients:

Store chocolate cake mix (and eggs and oil, all the things that you will need to make the batter)

Orange marmalade

Chocolate mousse mix and milk to make the mousse

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2 dozen soft lady fingers ( you will not need all of them, but having extras is good)

Cannoli Filling (refer to either Chocolate Cannoli Cupcakes or Cannoli Cup recipes I have)

Method:

Bake the cake according to the package directions.  I used some of the batter to make 6 cupcakes  and saved the rest of the batter to make 2, 9″ rounds.  Allow to cool completely.  The cake layers can be made upto three days in advance.  Make sure to wrap and store the layers in a cool dry and dark place.

Heat an entire jar of orange marmalade in a saucepan.  Once the jam thins, strain through a sieve to separate the rinds from the jelly.  Save the jelly.  I put the rinds in my morning oatmeal.

Make the chocolate mouse according to package directions.

Level off both cake layers and place one layer of the cake on the bottom of a springform pan.

Line the edges of the pan with lady fingers

Brush the surface of the cake with the orange jelly and also the surface of the lady fingers which are exposed (i.e facing the inside of the cake)

Fill with mousse and top with the second cake layer.

Pour the remaining orange jelly on the top layer and let it seep into the cake.

Add the cannoli filling on the top.

Decorate the top with mini chocolate chips and pistachios.

Chill the cake for 30 mins and then remove the springform ring.

Wrap the cake with a piece of ribbon and secure with a toothpick.

Serve chilled !

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Cake

Almond Pistachio Cake with orange chocolate ganache and orange cream cheese frosting

This is a very special cake.  Not for the flavors, not for its looks, but for whom it was made.  My mother is visiting from India and my Dad drove in from MI, and, for the first time in decades, we celebrated my Mommy’s birthday with this cake.  I make cakes for pretty much everyone who is near and dear to me, but to make a cake for my mother…….well it has by far been the greatest joy of my life thusfar !

Asian · Fish Course · Quick Dinner

Sweet Sticky Swai !

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I love cooking fish.  It is quick and easy and healthy.  Of late, I have become a huge fan of Swai.  The fillets tend to be a little larger than tilapia, with the same mild flavor.  Here is an Asian twist on your regular old fish fillet.

Ingredients:

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2Tbsp of cornstarch

3 Tbsp of honey and soy sauce

Zest of half an orange

1Tbsp of sambal

1tsp of ground ginger

1tsp of white pepper

Sesame seeds for garnish

Method:

Sprinkle (through a sifter for better coverage) cornstarch over the fish, make sure you get both sides.

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Mix the rest of the ingredients in a bowl, thoroughly.

Arrange the fillets in a skillet, snugly.  You want it to be cozy with the sauce.

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Pour the sauce over the fillets

Bake at 375 for 15-20mins, till the fillets are flakey and cooked through.

Sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve hot with veggies of your choice.

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Middle Eastern · Poultry

Orange Saffron Drumsticks

  
A unique flavor spin on your typical of drumsticks.  Roast it or grill it, this will become a new staple in your recipe box.  If you are not a fan of drumsticks, try it on chicken breasts or thighs.

Ingredients:

1lb bone-in, skin-on chicken drumsticks

zest and juice of 1 large orange

2 tbsp of rosemary

1 tsp of red pepper flakes

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

1/4 tsp of saffron

salt and pepper to taste

Method:

Marinade chicken in all the ingredients for 3hrs upto overnight.

  
Bake in a 375F oven for 45mins till cooked through.

Savor !

   

Classics · Dinner · French · Poultry

French Chicken Breast with Orange Tarragon Sauce

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A classic French dish is a perfect romantic meal for two ! Pair it with roasted asparagus and a crisp chardonnay !

Ingredients:
8 chicken breasts, skin on and wing bone attached
4 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper
1/2 cup orange juice
2 cups chicken broth
2 sprigs tarragon
4 TBS unsalted butter, cut into bits

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Put 2 tablespoons of the butter and 2 tablespoons of olive oil into a large skillet and place it over high heat for 2 minutes. Season the chicken breasts with a sprinkling of salt and pepper and place 4 of the breasts in the pan skin side down. Sear for 1 minute or until the skin is crispy and a golden brown. Turn the breasts and sear 1 more minute. Remove to a baking dish and repeat the process with the rest of the butter, oil and breasts. Place the baking dish into the oven for 10 to 15 minutes.

Add orange juice, chicken broth, and tarragon to the hot skillet. Cook until reduced by about 3/4 (sauce should coat the back of a spoon). Right before serving, whisk in the butter. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Serve the chicken with the sauce spooned over the top.

Brunch · Cake · Dessert

Almond Saffron Cake

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Rich and exotic, this cake is bound to be a hit.  I like to pair it with Earl Grey Tea or a nice cold glass of Chardonnay !

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 (.01-ounce) jar saffron threads (a generous 1/2 teaspoon)
  • Grated zest of 1 orange (about 2 teaspoons)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 (8-ounce) can or 1 (7-ounce) tube almond paste (about 1 cup)
  • 1 cup powdered sugar, plus more for topping, if desired
  • 5 large eggs
  • 1 (8-ounce) container sour cream
  • Juice of 1 orange (about 1/3 cup, optional)

Method:

Preheat oven to 350°. Lightly grease and flour 2 (8-inch) round cake pans. Heat milk in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add saffron and zest. Bring just to a simmer; remove from heat, and set aside.

Sift together flour, baking powder, and baking soda in a large bowl. Stir in salt.

Beat together butter and almond paste at medium speed in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment about 3 minutes or until creamy. Gradually add powdered sugar, and beat until fluffy, scraping down sides.

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Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating just until blended after each addition. Gradually add flour mixture alternately with sour cream, beginning and ending with flour mixture and beating at medium speed just until blended after each addition. Add reserved milk mixture; beat just until blended. Do not overmix.

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Shake pans gently, or use a spatula to smooth tops. Bake at 350° for 25 to 30 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center of cake comes out clean. Let cool in pans on wire racks 5 minutes. Remove from pans, and serve warm, dusted with more powdered sugar or drizzled with orange juice combined with 2 to 3 tablespoons powdered sugar, if desired.

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