Say “Bye-Bye” to Citrus Juice & “Hello” to Citrus Zest (Part II)

May 17, 2011 § Leave a comment

I know you can’t see it, but there is actually an orange and lemon yogurt cake under all of the fresh berries and homemade whip cream.  Citrus zest intensifies this cake’s wonderful flavor and makes your house smell like a citrus grove on a warm day.  The aroma of lemon and orange completely fill your home as the cake is baking…it’s a great way to relieve stress.

The bottom line is that this is a very easy recipe that gives you a deliciously light and moist cake for breakfast, with tea or coffee, or for dessert with berries and cream.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 cup plain whole-milk yogurt
  • 1  cup sugar
  • 3 extra-large eggs
  • 1 tbsp. citrus zest (both lemon and orange)
  • 1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/3 cup freshly squeezed citrus  juice (use the juice from the orange and lemon that you zested)

Directions:

1.  Preheat the oven to 350 º.  Butter and flour a standard loaf pan.  Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt into a bowl.

2.  In a large bowl, whisk together the yogurt, sugar, eggs, lemon and orange zest and juice, and the vanilla.

3.  Slowly whisk the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients (a little at a time).  Fold the vegetable oil into the batter making sure it has been incorporated throughout.

4.  pour the batter into the buttered and floured loaf pan and put it into the oven for 50-60 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the middle of the loaf comes out clean.

5.  While the cake is baking, you can make the topping for the yogurt cake.  Put 1/4 cup low-fat cottage cheese in a bowl.  Sweeten the cottage cheese by adding sugar to taste.  Then add 1/4 – 1/3 cup homemade whip cream.  Fold the whip cream into the cottage cheese to keep the topping light and fluffy.

6.  When the cake is done, cool it on a wire rack for 10-20 minutes.  After 10-10 minutes, carefully take the cake out of the pan and allow it to cool completely through.  Serve with mixed berries and whipped topping.  I think a mixture strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries go really well with the cake.

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Say “Bye-Bye” to Citrus Juice & “Hello” to Citrus Zest (Part I)

May 11, 2011 § Leave a comment

Citrus is at its prime in the late winter and spring.  Now that it feels like summer is finally starting to come to Southern California,  citrus will slowly start to disappear from your local farmers’ market.  I have been thinking of how I can use citrus zest, so I can still have the sweet, tart, and fresh flavors of citrus in the things I eat.  I decided to try to make scones using orange zest.  I wanted to pair the orange flavor with cherries and almonds.  I result was a delicious flakey breakfast scone.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour (plus more for your work surface)
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tbs. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. coarse salt
  • 1/2 cup cold unsalted butter (cut into small pieces and chilled in the fridge)
  • 1/2 cup cold buttermilk (plus 2-3 tbs. for brushing the tops of the scones)
  • 1 tbs. finely grated orange zest
  • 1/4 cup fresh squeezed orange juice
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1/4 cup toasted slivered almonds
  • 1/4 cup dried Bing cherries
  • 2-3 tbs. sanding sugar (for sprinkling on the tops of the scones)

Directions:

1.  Preheat your oven to 400º.  You will need to put the ones in the lower third of your oven, so you might need to move your oven racks around.  In a food processor, place the flour, granulated sugar, baking power, salt, and butter.

2.  Pulse until the butter is incorporated into the flour and is about the size of a pea.  Empty the flour and butter mixture into a large bowl.

3.  With a fork or wooden spoon, make a well in the center of the dry ingredients.  To the well, add the buttermilk, orange zest, orange juice, egg yolk, cherries, and toasted almonds (make sure you toast them on the stove and let them cool before you add them into the batter).  Stir just to incorporate all the ingredients.  Do not over stir the batter.

4.  Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface.  Knead the dough several times.  make sure the dough is not sticky.

5.  Use a rolling-pin to shape the dough into a 7″ x 7″ square.  Cut the dough into 9 squares.  Cut each square in half diagonally.  Brush the tops of the scones with buttermilk and sprinkle them with sanding sugar.

6.  Put the scones in the oven for 15-20 minutes or until golden.  Make sure you rotate the pan half way through baking.  Cool on a wire rack.  Serve with honey almond butter and/or cherry jam.

The Canning Experiment

August 23, 2010 § Leave a comment

Happy first day of fall! To celebrate, I decided to experiment with making my own raspberry preserves. I have been reading about all the small batch jam-making (like here) and decided it was time to give it a try. So here it goes,

The mission: to make 2 jars of raspberry jam.

The ingredients:

  • 6 cups of fresh raspberries
  • 3 cups of sugar (see Note, below)
  • Orange zest

Note: some recipes recommend using equal weight fruit to sugar — I decided to try a low-sugar approach to how it would turn out. The 2:1 ratio of fruit to sugar works for me, but feel free to improvise to taste.

Making it happen:

Combine all the ingredients in a pot and cook at a low temperature for until the mixture turns into a nice liquid goo and starts to simmer. This will probably take anywhere from 20-40 minutes. Let the mixture simmer for about 5 minutes and then take it off the heat and let it cool.

In order to make jam properly, you apparently have to let it ‘set,’ which means letting it cool and then turning up the heat again to the sugars coagulate. So cool the mixture for an hour or so and then put it back onto low heat. When you place it back on the low heat, you will notice in about 5-7 minutes that the mixture changes consistency and becomes thicker. That’s what you want! Time to take it off the heat and can.

Scoop the mixture into sterilized jars (do not reuse old jars, as this can cause bacteria to grow inside the lids). I found that a funnel helps with this process. Because the mixture is very warm, it will cause the lid to seal once you put it on (allowing you to get that ‘pop’ sound from the lid the first time you open it).

Ta-da!!!

Enjoy!

This was my first time canning anything and I welcome any feedback, observations, tips, etc. 🙂

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