I absolutely love the combination of orange and chocolate and they both come through nicely in this bread. The cream cheese gives the loaves a great texture that is similar to a pound cake. As you can see in the photos, I poured a glaze on one loaf but not the either. The glaze adds some extra orange flavor and is delicious, but the bread is great without it too. Either way it is delicious and would be lovely for brunch or an afternoon treat!
Chocolate Chip Orange Bread
- 8 oz. cream cheese, softened
- 1/2 cup butter, room temperature
- 2 tbl. grated orange zest
- 1 2/3 cups sugar
- 2 eggs
- 2 1/4 cups flour
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 tbl. baking powder
- 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
- 1 tsp. ground nutmeg
- 1 cup milk
- 1 1/2 cups chocolate chips
- 1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
- 2 tbl. orange juice
- 1 tsp. orange extract
- Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees and grease and flour two loaf pans.
- Cream the cream cheese, butter and orange zest until combined. Add the sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time.
- In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt, ginger, and nutmeg. Add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture alternating with the milk; begin and end with the dry ingredients. Stir in the chocolate chips.
- Divide the batter between the two pans then bake for 55 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center of the bread comes out clean. Let the bread cool in the pans for about 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
- Whisk the powdered sugar, orange juice, and orange extract together until smooth. Add additional orange juice if necessary to get the right consistency. Drizzle the glaze over the cooled loaves and garnish with additional orange zest if desired. Serve and enjoy!
Makes: 2 loaves
Adapted from Food
We were supposed to have rain this weekend, but it ended up being pretty clear and nice. I finally pulled my lawn chairs out of the shed and set them up on my little deck, it was great to spend some time sitting outside reading. Boomer and I also went to the lake today for a hike and he was so happy to finally be able to swim again now that everything has melted.
While I certainly had time to make something more elaborate for dinner tonight, it was too nice outside to spend much time in the kitchen. This meal only took a few minutes to put together, but it tasted delicious. I’ll definitely be keeping this recipe in rotation for quick week-night (or lazy weekend!) meals.
- 2 cups fresh basil leaves, packed
- 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup pine nuts
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- salt and pepper
- 2 tbl. olive oil
- 1 lb. potato gnocchi (I used DeLallo)
- Parmesan cheese for topping, optional
- Combine the basil, garlic and pine nuts in a food processor and pulse until chopped. Slowly add the olive oil while the food processor is running and process until smooth. Add the cheese and pulse briefly until combined. Salt and pepper to taste, then set aside.
- Cook the gnocchi according to the directions on the package then drain. Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. When hot, add the gnocchi in a single layer and cook without stirring for about 3 minutes until the gnocchi is lightly browned and crisp. Flip the pieces of gnocchi over and cook for another 3 minutes until the other side is brown. Remove from heat and add 1/4-1/3 cup of pesto (you’ll have some pesto leftover) and garnish with additional Parmesan cheese.
Makes: 4 Servings
The other day the grocery was out of corn tortillas and on a whim I decided to look online to see what was involved with making them. I expected it to be a complicated process, but it’s super easy and the end result tastes so much better than the store-bought variety. I’m not sure I’ve ever had home-made tortillas before, but I’m definitely a convert.
It would be easy to scale down the recipe for a smaller number of tortillas, but for your first time I would recommend making the recipe as written. It isn’t difficult, but there is a bit of a learning curve to getting the tortillas rolled thin enough and not tearing them while trying to transfer the tortilla off the waxed paper and onto the skillet. I messed up the first two, but after a couple of practice tortillas it was smooth and easy!
- 2 cups masa harina corn flour (I used Bob’s Red Mill)
- 1/2 tsp. sea salt
- 1 1/2-2 cups hot water
- Combine the masa harina corn flour and salt. Slowly pour in 1 1/2 cups of hot water and stir to combine. Add additional water as necessary to achieve dough that has a firm consistency but isn’t dry or sticky. Cover the dough and allow to rest for an hour.
- Heat a skillet or griddle over medium heat. Divide the dough into 2-inch balls (I used a medium cookie dough scoop for this) press the dough between two sheets of waxed paper to form a 6 inch disk. You can use a rolling-pin or the bottom of a plate to press the dough. Gently separate the dough from the waxed paper and transfer to the hot skillet. Cook for about 1 minute until the bottom of the tortilla is lightly brown, flip and cook the other side for another 30 seconds.
- Transfer the finished tortilla to a plate and cover with a kitchen towel to keep the tortilla warm while you finish cooking the rest of the tortillas. Add your favorite fillings to the finished tortillas and enjoy!
Makes: About 12 tortillas
When I was in college I spent a few years working at the front desk of a hotel. By far the best part of that job was the amazing Thai restaurant that was located right next door. I had never eaten Thai before, but I quickly became hooked on their Pad See Ew and I always, always ordered extra peanut sauce.
I still haven’t managed to perfectly replicate their peanut sauce, but this is a pretty close rendition. I usually serve it with some brown rice and vegetables but it would also be a great salad dressing or dipping sauce for egg rolls.
Thai Peanut Sauce
- 1 can (13.5 oz) coconut milk (full-fat or light)
- 1/4 cup Thai red curry paste
- 1 cup natural (unsweetened) creamy peanut butter
- 3 tbl. soy sauce
- 1/4-1/3 cup sugar (depending how sweet you want it)
- 2 tbl. white vinegar
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/4 tsp. seasame oil
- Combine all the ingredients except the sesame oil in a medium sauce pan over medium-low heat. Whisk frequently until the mixture begins to simmer, continue stirring and allow the mixture to simmer for 4-5 minutes. The sauce will burn easily, so stir frequently.
- Remove from the heat and stir in the sesame oil. Let the sauce thicken and cool for at least 5 minutes before serving.
The sauce should keep in the fridge for several weeks. It can also be frozen.
Makes: About 3 cups
Sorry for the long delay in posting a new recipe! Last week I was really busy with a work event and then I took a long weekend to see my family. I had a great time with my family; it was a low-key weekend with lots of time for talking and tons of delicious food.
These rich cookies are filled with chocolate flavor from the cocoa and chocolate chips. The tart dried cherries are a great contrast to the chocolate and they really turn this into an awesome cookie.
- 1 1/4 cup flour
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- 2/3 cup cocoa powder
- 1/2 cup butter, softened
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1 1/2 tsp. almond extract
- 1/3 cup milk
- 1/2 cup white chocolate chips
- 1/2 cup chocolate chips (semi-sweet or dark chocolate)
- 3/4 cup dried cherries
- Additional chocolate to melt and drizzle (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
- Whisk the flour, salt, baking powder and cocoa powder together and set aside.
- Beat the butter on medium-high speed until light then add the sugar and brown sugar and cream until fluffy. Add the almond extract.
- Stir in half the flour mixture followed by the milk and the remaining flour. Add the white and semi-sweet chocolate chips and dried cherries.
- Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 15 minutes. Scoop the dough by rounded tablespoon to a parchment paper lined cookie sheet. Gently press down on the top of the cookie to flatten it slightly. Bake for 14-15 minutes then allow to cool for a few minutes on the pan before transferring to a wire rack.
- If desired, melt additional chocolate or white chocolate chips and drizzle over the top of the cookies.
Source: My mom
I was recently introduced to farro in the cafe at work and I’m completely hooked. If you aren’t familiar with farro, it’s a grain that tastes somewhat similar to brown rice. The texture is great and it is just as good re-heated for leftovers as it is the first night. I had a hard time finding farro locally, but finally located it at Trader Joe’s, I would imagine you could find it at Whole Foods or a similar store as well.
For my inaugural batch of farro, I decided to make my favorite pasta dish and use the farro instead of pasta. Honestly, it was even better than the pasta version! I loved the nutty flavor of the farro with the fresh vegetables, caramelized onions, and tart cranberries.
Fresh Vegetable Farro
- 8 oz. farro
- 3 tbl. olive oil, divided
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 1/2 cups broccoli flowerets
- 1 red or green pepper, chopped
- 1 cup thinly sliced carrots
- 3/4 cup dried cranberries
- 1 tbl. dried Italian herb mix
- Coarse ground sea salt and pepper
- Boil a pot of water and cook the farro according to the directions on the box. While the water is heating up and the farro is cooking, prepare the rest of the vegetables.
- Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. When the oil it hot, add the onions and cook until brown and caramelized. Add the broccoli, carrots, and peppers and cook until the vegetables are slightly tender. It’s best if the vegetables still have a crunchy texture, so don’t overcook. Add the cranberries, herbs and salt to the cooked vegetables.
- When the farro is done, drain it and return to the pot. Pour in the vegetables and stir to combine. Salt and pepper to taste.
Source: An Original
Yesterday I finished up a two-week ‘cleanse’ where I didn’t eat any dairy, sugar, gluten or soy. It was an interesting experiment and it forced me to really think about what I ate. With the exception of a couple Larabars, everything I ate was made from scratch which naturally included a lot of vegetables. For the most part I didn’t crave too many foods, but I was really excited to pour a splash of milk over my oatmeal this morning!
I love pesto and it was great on these roasted potatoes. When I made the pesto I left out the Parmesan cheese, but it is included in the recipe below.
Roasted Pesto Potatoes
- 2 cups packed basil leaves
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese (optional)
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup pine nuts
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- salt & pepper
- 5 red potatoes, cut into cubes
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
- Use a food processor to chop and combine the basil, garlic and pine nuts. Slowly add the olive oil while the food processor is running and continue processing until smooth. Add the cheese and pulse a few times to combine. Salt and pepper to taste.
- Combine the potatoes and pesto in a bowl, then pour into an ovensafe pan (I used a 9 x 9 inch pan, but size isn’t very important)
- Cook the potatoes for about 45 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes, until the potatoes are tender and slightly crisp on the outside.
Makes: About 3 servings as a side dish
A few weeks ago, I had a free weekend and decided it would be a great time to tackle a time consuming baking project. I’ve always wanted to try croissants so they seemed like the perfect option. I spent a while comparing recipes before deciding to use Cook’s Illustrated, it seems like their recipes always work out great.
I’m not going to re-write the whole recipe here. The recipe is long and detailed and since I followed their recipe exactly I think you’ll be better off just checking out their site for directions, step-by-step photos and even a video of the process.
Making the croissants took a lot of time, but it was actually pretty easy. This homemade version doesn’t even compare to anything I’ve tasted at a coffee shop or the grocery store. The results were incredible- light, flaky and buttery.
The only change I made to the recipe was to add some tasty fillings to my croissants. Here are a few of the ones I experimented with, they all turned out great!
- Chocolate- this is a classic filling for croissants. I used dark chocolate and bittersweet, they were both good but I slightly preferred the dark chocolate.
- Chocolate and raspberry- this was probably my favorite. I used about a teaspoon of raspberry jam and 4-5 dark chocolate chocolate chips. Coarsely chopped chocolate would work too.
- Biscoff spread- this was awesome too, you can never go wrong with Biscoff!
- Cheese- I didn’t have any cheese on hand, but I think these would be great with some sharp cheddar cheese for a savory option.
I’m still waiting for spring to arrive this year, I keep thinking we’re almost there and then we have a day like yesterday when it’s cold and windy. I didn’t make it on the hike I had planned for Sunday, but I finally got around to organizing a ton of recipes that I’ve bookmarked, so at least it was a productive day!
I also made these green beans which turned out great. Once you get the vegetables prepped it’s pretty ‘hands off’. This would be a great recipe when you’re cooking for a group and need an easy side dish. The beans came out full of flavor and just the right texture, they were soft but still had a bit of crunch.
Fresh Green Beans
- 1 lb. fresh green beans
- 2 tbl. olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 cup chopped onion
- 1 cup vegetable broth
- 1/2 cup chopped red pepper
- salt and pepper
- Pour the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat. While the oil is warming up, trim the ends off the green beans (if necessary). Once the oil is hot, add the onions and garlic and cook for a minute. Add the green beans and cook until the beans turn bright green.
- Pour in the vegetable broth, red pepper, salt and pepper. Turn the heat to low and cover the skillet with a lid, leaving it slightly ajar so the steam can escape. Cook for 20 to 30 minutes, stirring occasionally until the beans are softened but still crisp.
Makes: 4-6 servings
I have to admit that I love those orange sweet rolls that you can buy in the tubes in the refrigerator section of the grocery store. Something about the sweet orange frosting is hard to resist.
Last month I shared the recipe for my favorite cinnamon roll recipe. I’ve made that recipe many times before and is pretty delicious just the way it is, but I also wanted to try an orange version. I still love the original cinnamon rolls too, but the orange variety is perfect for spring!
Orange Sweet Rolls
- 2 cups whole milk
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 package Active Dry Yeast (0.25 ounce packets)
- 4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, divided
- 2/3 tsp. baking powder
- 1/3 tsp. baking soda
- 2 tsp. salt
- 8 tbl. orange marmalade
- 1/3 cup butter, melted
- 3/4 – 1 cup brown sugar (adjust the amount based on the sweetness of the marmalade)
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1 1/2 lbs. confectioners’ sugar, sifted
- 4 tbl. butter, melted
- 1/2 cup orange juice
- 2 tbl. milk (plus more if needed)
- dash salt
- To make the dough, heat the milk, vegetable oil and sugar in a medium sauce pan over medium heat until just before the mixture boils. Set aside to cool until it is warm to the touch. Sprinkle the yeast over the top and let it sit for 1 minute.
- Add 4 cups of flour and stir until just combined. Cover with a kitchen towel and set aside in a warm place for 1 hour. After an hour, add the baking powder, baking soda, salt and the remaining 1/2 cup flour. Stir to combine. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour or up to 3 days.
- Roll the dough into a 30 by 10 inch rectangle on a lightly floured counter, the dough will be very thin.
- Spread the marmalade evenly over the top. Pour the melted butter over the top of the marmalade. Sprinkle the brown sugar and salt over the butter.
- Starting at the end farthest from you, roll the dough tightly towards you. When you’ve finished rolling the log, pinch the seam together. Use a sharp knife to cut 1 1/2 inch rolls. Place the rolls in a well buttered pan, leaving space between the rolls to allow them to rise. A round pie pan will hold about 7-8 rolls.
- Cover the pans with a towel and place in a warm area to allow the rolls to rise for at 30 minutes. Bake at 375 degrees for 15-18 minutes until the top of the rolls are golden brown.
- While the rolls are baking, you can prepare the frosting. Combine the powdered sugar, butter and milk. Slowly add the orange juice until you reach the desired consistency.
- When the rolls are finished, allow them to cool for a few minutes then pour the frosting on the warm rolls. Serve and enjoy!
Makes: About 2 dozen rolls