Tag Archives: blood oranges

Blood Orange Poppy Seed Bundt Cake

If the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results, then I qualfy as insane. You might also say that I am a slow learner, and don’t always see the obvious clues that others spot so readily.

Last March I bought this beautiful heart shaped Bundt pan. I patiently waited 11 months to use it in a Valentines Day post. I decided to make a blood orange poppy seed cake. I used Ina’s recipe for Glazed Lemon Poppy Seed Cake as my base and adapted it so that I could celebrate blood orange season.

My pan was heavily buttered and greased and I followed the directions very carefully. I baked it for 45 minutes, cooled it in the pan for exactly 10 minutes. Holding my breath, I gingerly inverted the cake to release it from the pan. Half of it stuck to the pan. I cursed, chopped the broken pieces up and froze them for future snacking and hustled off to the store for more blood oranges and cake flour. Before starting again, I did a quick google search to see what went wrong. The King Arthur website advised me that buttering and flouring was not the way to go. I followed their tips and tricks and baked the cake again, and again and again. My freezer is now full of lots and lots of broken cake for snacking. Come on over!

I finally realized that this heart shaped pan was the problem. I’m not quite sure why. Nordicware baking pans are usually so reliable. But, slow as I am, I was not about to try this pan for a 5th time. I pulled out my trusty round fluted Bundt pan.Fifth time’s the charm! After a brief 10 minute cooling period, the cake slid out like a boss! Cue the fireworks.

While the cake cools, make a blood orange simple syrup. Pour this all over the warm cake to really intensify that blood orange flavour and keep your cake super moist.Once the cake is totally cool, it gets a final drizzle of the most gorgeous pink glaze. I adored this cake. Dense, but in the best possible way, buttery and bright, slightly tangy and not too sweet. A perfect ray of sunshine on a cold February day. Celebrate Valentines Day with this luscious love letter to blood oranges.

Click here to print recipe for Blood Orange and Poppy Seed Bundt Cake.

 

Blood Orange and Belgian Endive Salad

on platter 2Cutting into a blood orange always brings to mind that famous quote from Forrest Gump; My momma always said, “Life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.” Same thing with blood oranges. Sometimes you cut into them and the inside is pale pink, at times they are mottled pale orange and brilliant red, and, when all the stars are aligned just right you get this:making vinaigretteI get such a kick out of slicing into these oranges and finding this brilliant scarlett surprise inside. Tart-sweet and slightly berry-like they’re only available from January to March, so slice into one now and see what’s waiting for you.

Blood oranges have been popular for many years in Italy and Spain, where they grow with wild abandon. I decided to give my salad a Spanish twist by incorporating Sherry vinegar in the dressing, smoked paprika in the spiced nuts and some manchego cheese shavings to top it all off. It would also be delicious topped with some soft goat cheese or some  thinly sliced shards of Parmesan.

For the lettuce element of my salad I settled on Belgian endive, sliced lengthwise into wedges, instead of chopped up crosswise, the way I ususally do it. I added some arugula to ramp up the bitter flavours. If you are not a fan of bitter, and prefer a gentler flavour, use boston lettuce mixed with some red leaf lettuce.

Making your own smoked spiced nuts is easy to do. I decided on a combo of pistachios and almonds. Supporting cast members include sugar, salt and smoked paprika. Feel free to add some cayenne if you like things a little caliente.mise en place for smoked nuts 2Egg whites are whisked until frothy. whisking egg whiteNuts are added and mixed until coated with egg whites. The egg whites help the spices adhere to the nuts.coating nuts in spicesSpread out nuts on baking sheet and bake in 350°F oven for 15-20 minutes. You won’t need all the nuts for the salad. Store the leftover in an airtight container. They are great with cocktails or a glass of wine or just for late afternoon snacking!

Neatly breaking down the oranges into perfect little segments takes a bit of practice but with a sharp knife in hand, you should be fine.

in bowl

Click here to print recipe for Blood Orange and Endive Salad.

 

 

Vanilla Bean Ice Cream with Blood Orange Caramel Sauce

 

The inspiration for this dessert came about while I was cleaning my fridge. Underneath some slimy pears and moldy strawberries I unearthed six slightly wrinkled, but still perfectly serviceable, blood oranges. They were left over from my recent obsession two weeks ago.

Now before you go feeling sorry for me because I had to deal with mold and slime, I should reveal the view from where I am sitting right now, as I type this post:

So cleaning out the fridge before I left for Paradise was motivated primarily by the desire to avoid having my post holiday bliss balloon burst any sooner than necessary. Nothing like slime and mold to greet you upon return.

I was inspired by Bobby Flay (not for the first time, and I’m certain the last either!) to create a caramel sauce with the blood oranges. I watched him make a tangerine caramel sauce on the Cannoli episode of Throwdown.  Bobby put his twist on cannolis by tarting up the ricotta filling in the cannolis with some tangerine caramel. Instead of using water, he added tangerine juice to the sugar, caramelized it and added some cream. Such a brilliant idea, I decided to steal it! Of course, I would add my own twist and use blood oranges instead of tangerines.

I love how the Italians package things. They have such a wonderful sense of humour and don’t take anything too seriously. Last time I bought blood oranges they came all wrapped up in Ninja Turtle paper. This time the wrapping paper was decorated with Mardi Gras Masks. The colour variation inside the blood oranges was once again surprising! Some were pale orange and others deep blood-red.

As soon as I tasted the cooled Blood Orange Caramel Sauce, I instantly knew it was destined to be paired with vanilla ice cream.  I decided to kick it up a notch and use fresh vanilla beans in the ice cream.

After about 25 minutes the ice cream had a soft consistency, much like a Dairy Queen Blizzard. At this point, you have two options. You can transfer the soft ice cream into a wide rectangular plastic container and drizzle the caramel sauce right onto the ice cream, and then use a knife to swirl the caramel sauce into a beautiful marble pattern. Then cover the swirled ice cream and chill several hours until firm.

The second option would be to leave the ice cream plain, freeze and then scoop and drizzle sauce on top for a sundae.  Either way you make it, this ice cream will transport you right back to childhood. Remember Creamsicles from the Ice Cream Truck? That’s exactly what this sundae reminded me of. Topped with toasted chopped hazelnuts, this is a very grown-up dessert!

To print recipe for Blood Orange Caramel Sauce, click here

To print recipe for Vanilla Bean Ice Cream, click here.

Blood Orange and Green Bean Salad with Hazelnuts and Sherry Vinaigrette

For those of you who live in a place where the daffodils and crocuses are popping through the earth and spring is just around the corner, I say, how lovely for you. Well, I may add a few more descriptive words than that, but I prefer to keep this G-rated. If, like me,  you are suffering through a long and snowy winter and the end seems very distant, and the view outside your front door or bedroom window looks something like this, well, let’s all chant together… #@*&@!!

From my above rant, you can clearly tell I do not embrace winter. When I first moved to this winter wonderland we call Ottawa, many well intentioned people advised me that the best way to get through the long winter was to pick a winter sport and embrace it. After all, in the Nation’s Capital we have hundreds of miles of trails for snowshoeing or cross country skiing, not to mention the world’s longest (7.8 kilometers) skating rink, once the Rideau Canal freezes up. I have tried it all and to be honest, I just hate being cold. I prefer to spend my winters indoors. But I will admit to going a little stir crazy by mid-March. Just when you feel there is no end in sight and you can not look at another root vegetable or cabbage, these appear in the market.

These beauties are blood oranges. They typically appear in my market late February-March. Once I see them, hope blooms in my heart and I know that asparagus and strawberries will surely follow soon. Sometimes the blood oranges come wrapped up, like a present in colourful Ninja Turtle wrapping paper and sometimes they come unwrapped, naked for all the world to see. Mine came from Italy. They also grow them in Texas and California.

I am reminded of a line from the movie Forest Gump when I slice into a blood orange. You never know what you’re gonna get when you slice into a blood orange. The flesh can range anywhere from a blush coloured pink all the way to a profoundly deep crimson. Sometimes the flesh can will appear mottled, partly orange and partly red. I find those scariest of all, they sort of look diseased. The flavour is slightly less acidic than regular oranges. The colour variance inside the 3 oranges I sliced up was very surprising. I got orange, pale red and deep red flesh. Blood oranges have this unique color because they carry anthocyanins, which are powerful flavonoid pigments that exist in red and purple fruits and vegetables. These pigments are very effective in protecting the body from many diseases.

Blood oranges look especially pretty when you take the time to segment them into little wedges. I made a video demonstrating how to do that.

I paired the blood oranges with green beans, frisée, radicchio and belgian endive for a gorgeous salad. I tossed everything with a sherry vinaigrette and sprinkled on some toasted chopped hazelnuts. A few pomegranate seeds on top would really gild the lily!

I defy anyone to feel sad after feasting your eyes on this salad.

To print recipe, click here.