Thursday, October 31, 2013

Whole Orange Cake with Honey

I don't have much of a sweet tooth, so I hardly ever make cake, but somehow the idea of this cake made with whole oranges got me. The recipe is adapted from one in a recent issue of Sunset magazine, which is similar to one published in the Australian magazine Taste a couple years ago. It was so delicious, not too sweet, but very moist and flavorful. And it came out fine with no modifications for high altitude. Next time I might try adding some cocoa for a chocolate orange cake!

Since I've been interested in baking with honey, I adapted it to use honey in the cake, but I didn't quite go all the way to using honey in the glaze. It didn't rise quite as high, and it came out perhaps a little too moist, but it was still fantastic! Next time I'll add maybe 1/4 cup more flour.

1 lb. oranges, ends trimmed, then cut into chunks and seeded
1 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup honey
3 large eggs
2 1/2 cups flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
2 Tbs lemon juice

Preheat oven to 325° and butter a 10-cup Bundt pan. Cut a thick slice off each end of the oranges, and cut into about 1-inch chunks. Pick out as many seeds as you can. Grind orange chunks in a food processor until the mixture has the consistency of relish (not puree).
Cream together softened butter and honey, and beat in eggs one at a time. Beat 1 1/2 cups of the orange mixture into the batter. In a separate bowl mix flour, salt, baking soda, and baking powder. Add this gradually to the batter and mix until smooth.
Spread batter in prepared pan (it's pretty thick). Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with only a few crumbs clinging to it, about 55 minutes. Cool pan on a rack 10 minutes, then invert cake onto rack and let cool completely.
Whisk together powdered sugar, lemon juice, and any remaining orange puree in a small bowl. Drizzle the glaze over the cooled cake and let it set before slicing. Although I have to admit, I couldn't wait! So I put the glaze on the hot cake and just let it soak in/drip off, and it was still delicious.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Roasted Cauliflower with Pecans and Cider Vinaigrette

I was thrilled to find cauliflower at the Growers’ Market last weekend! Roasting this delicate vegetable gives it a whole new character – bold and nutty. A vinaigrette made with reduced apple cider and a sprinkling of pecans make this dish irresistible. Like all cole crops (the cabbage family) it goes well with mustard, so don’t leave it out even if you’re skeptical. I can easily eat a whole cauliflower all by myself this way, but it is great as a side dish with just about anything.

It is a rare sight at our Growers’ Markets, but Aaron of Majestic Valley Farms in Corrales has grown a huge, beautiful crop of cauliflower, broccoli, and cabbages. I consider these crops some of the most difficult to grow in Albuquerque because of our hot summers. As I marveled, he explained that for a good yield, cole crops must be planted in July, much earlier than most people think to plant them. That way, the plants are big and healthy by the time they start to “head up” in September’s cooler weather. Next year I will have to plan ahead! They need lots of water, rich soil, and full sun. Many people think shade will keep them cooler, but they won’t grow as well. It may help to cover the young plants with a row cover during the summer, however, to keep the cabbage loopers off of them. If you see those pretty white butterflies flitting about your garden, you know you’re going to have a problem. As fall turns to winter, the cabbage family survives frosts that kill most pests, and the plants will thrive well into December and even January.

The reduced apple cider in this recipe is a real treat, and if you find yourself with plenty of cider, you can make more of it using this recipe from the Washington Post.

1 large cauliflower
1/4 C. olive oil, divided
1 clove garlic, unpeeled
1 cup unfiltered apple cider
1 T. apple cider vinegar
1 T. Dijon mustard
1/8 t. salt

Preheat oven to 450°F. Cut or break cauliflower into about 1-inch pieces. (The smaller you break them, the faster they will cook.) Toss with 2 tablespoons olive oil on a large roasting pan, and spread out in a single layer. Set the garlic clove on the pan with it.

Bring apple cider to a rolling boil in a small saucepan. The goal is to reduce it to about 1 tablespoon. It doesn't need much stirring at the beginning, but as it boils down you'll need to keep a close eye on it.

Roast cauliflower for about 10 minutes, until browned on the bottom. Turn the pieces so they can brown on the other side, and roast 10 more minutes. Take out the garlic clove. Add pecans and roast about 3 minutes more, until they smell toasty.

Whisk together the vinegar, mustard, salt, and 2 tablespoons more olive oil. Mash the garlic clove and whisk it into the vinaigrette with the reduced apple cider. Toss the cauliflower and pecans in the vinaigrette and serve hot or warm.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Lamb Meatballs with Rosehips and Rosemary

For the Eat Local Challenge this month, I'm seeking out a variety of local meats. Northern New Mexico lamb is available at the Los Ranchos Growers' Market from MaƱanica Farm, or at the Santa Fe Farmers' Market from Shepherd's Lamb. At the Downtown Growers' Market, Ranchline All-Natural Meats sells lamb raised at Felix River Ranch in southern New Mexico. This year, I'm thinking of buying a whole lamb!

These rich, savory meatballs are a warming meal for a cold fall evening. The flavors of rosemary and rosehips mingle beautifully with a sauce of red wine and figs. Serve with mashed potatoes or polenta to keep it local.

6 oz. fresh rosehips
1 lb lamb
1 large onion
2 T. rosemary
1 t. cinnamon
1 t. salt
1/2 t. black pepper
1 egg
1 T. oil
6 shallots
1 bay leaf
2 C. red wine
2 C. beef stock
4 oz. dried figs

Cut rosehips in half and use a small spoon to scoop out all the seeds and fine hairs. Chop coarsely. Thoroughly mix rosehips, lamb, onion, rosemary, cinnamon, salt, pepper, and egg. Form into meatballs about the size of a golf ball.

Heat oil over medium flame. Brown meatballs on all sides, working in batches, and set aside. Add shallots to the pan and cook until soft. Add wine, stock, bay leaf, and thyme. Arrange the meatballs in the pan with the figs in a single layer, and simmer for about 30 minutes, until the sauce is nice and thick. Serves 4.