Month: February 2011

The Sweet Taste of Blood… Oranges

There is one fantastical creature in the world that has blood running throughout it’s body, and it is still considered to be vegetarian fare. Ah yes, the sweet, the juicy, the refreshing – blood orange. Blood oranges offer a magical pop of colour among the drab whites and greys of winter. They also offer superior antioxidant power compared to their plain orange counterparts, thanks to their anthocyanin content, which is the compound that is also responsible for their distinctive colouring. This peculiar citrus fruit is sweeter than a regular orange, and is about ten times as beautiful when you cut into it. It’s mystical crimson-coloured segments make for lovely dried pot-pourri, and it’s peachy marbled zest makes for an even lovelier olive oil cake!

Inspired by my one of my favorite food bloggers, and by the handful of blood oranges that I had in my fridge, I decided to have a date with my oven last night. I tried to follow the recipe as outlined on the blog that I was reading, however, I was missing one ingredient – yogourt. And, as you may recall from my previous post, I’m trying a buy-nothing week, I didn’t want to have to go get it. Rummaging through my fridge, I found a substitute – which also might just have been the magical ingredient that took this cake over the top – a tropical vanilla YOP! What does the YOP change, you ask? It makes the cake batter smell and taste like a creamsicle. Yeah. That’s right.
Childhood memories anyone?


Blood Orange YOP! Cake
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

what you’ll need
2 blood oranges
1 cup white sugar
½  cup Vanilla YOP!
3 large eggs
2/3 cup light olive oil
¼ cup orange juice
1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
1 ½ tsp baking powder
¼  tsp baking soda
½  tsp salt

how to do it
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter or line a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan.
Grate zest from 2 oranges and place in a bowl with sugar. Using your fingers, rub ingredients together until orange zest is evenly distributed in sugar.
Peel blood oranges with a knife, ensuring that there is no residue left. Peel away membranes. Break up segments with your fingers into small pieces.
Combine YOP! and orange juice. Pour mixture into bowl with sugar mixture and whisk well. Whisk in eggs and olive oil. In another bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Gently stir dry ingredients into wet ones. Fold in pieces of orange segments. Pour batter into prepared pan.
Bake cake for 50 to 55 minutes, or until it is golden and a knife inserted into center comes out clean.

Gone Fishin’

Mission of the week: I am going to attempt to buy absolutely no groceries for 7 days – with the exception of a few necessities if I absolutely need them (limited to eggs, greek yogourt and one or two fresh vegetables.) I believe that by posting this here, on the internet, where millions of people can read it, my commitment to my experiment has become slightly more real. Yeah, that’s right, I said millions.
High hopes, high hopes.

It’s going to be a week of – what-can-I-make-with-what-I-have-lying-around?
Tonight’s menu: breaded tilapia fillets with dill, capers and lemon zest, served alongside rice and green beans.

Yeah. So turns out, I don’t really like tilapia.

But I do like breaded fish. And I really enjoyed the combination of lemon zest and dill. Next time, I’ll stick to my favorite, tried and true fillet of sole. You can choose whichever fish you prefer – I do advise however, the thinner the fillet better. A thinner fish will yield crisper breading, and as you may already know, crispness equals deliciousness.

Lemon & Dill Breaded Fish

what you’ll need
4 fish fillets (cod, sole or tilapia)
½  cup breadcrumbs
zest from 1 lemon
1 ½  tbsp chopped fresh dill
½ tsp sea salt
½ tsp ground black pepper
1 egg
3 tbsp butter, melted

how to do it
Preheat oven to 450F. Thaw fish according to directions.
In a small bowl, beat egg with butter. In a shallow dish, (one that is large enough to dip the fish into), mix breadcrumbs with lemon zest, dill, salt and pepper.

Dip each fillet in egg/butter mixture, then into breadcrumb mixture, coating well. For large fillets, you may want to double the crumb mixture quantities.

Place on parchment lined baking sheet. Bake for 8 minutes, or until fish flakes easily with a fork.

Good For The Heart

Many of you might recall a little jingle from childhood, you know, the one that relates beans with flatulence a certain bodily function that shall remain nameless. Well, that little ditty also suggested that beans are good for your heart – and that was smack on! While it is widely known that beans are chock full of fibre, making them your digestive track’s most powerful alli, a lesser known fact is that beans are also loaded with unique phytochemicals that protect against certain cancers as well as heart disesase. Oh, and they’re yummy. Especially when you make them into this deliciously refreshing salad!

Before you go on and read the recipe, I must let you know – it really is the cilantro that gives it a the perfect little kick of Mexicana, and makes it reminiscent of an authentic salsa.  So for all of you cilantro haters out there? I sympathize. I really do. I used to be one of you. Then, something changed inside of me. It began one faithful evening, while I was out with a few of my girls, dining at a local mexican resto that I’d been wanting to try.  I requested that they omit the cilantro on my dish, however, to my horror, the dish came to me brimming with the evil green leaf. The little piles seemed like mountains, mountains of cilantro that I would never be able to conquer. But, being a pushover extremely polite, I will very rarely send anything back at a restaurant. I decided at that moment that I was just going to have to bite the bullet and eat it. I told myself, hey, it’s meant to be prepared this way, right? And I came here for the experience of authentic cooking afterall, right? So I’ll eat it this exactly how it’s supposed to be eaten! Right.

And then something really weird happened. I. Liked. Cilantro.

So go ahead, be brave, try it for yourself, because it really does make this dish what it is. Replace it with flat leaf parsely if you must, or omit it alltogether, but definitely do make this bean salad.
Your heart will thank you.

Black Bean Salsa Salad
an original recipe by Allison Sklar

what you’ll need
1 cup of canned black beans, rinsed and drained
1 small italian tomato, diced
½ an avocado, cut into cubes
1 tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped
1 tsp hot sauce (I used Frank’s)
1 tsp lime juice
½ tsp sea salt
½ tsp ground cumin

how to do it
Combine salad ingredients. Toss with hot sauce, lime juice and seasonings, just until coated. Serve immediately. Keeps well in the fridge for two days. Serves 1, adjust quantities depending on the number of servings you desire.