Tag Archives: orange zest

Orange Mango Banana Poppy Seed Bread

15 Jun


One of my fellow MasterChef 4 competitors invited me to write a guest post for her blog. I decided to share this delicious quick bread (or muffins – your choice!). Oh, and would you believe it’s low-fat and gluten-free?! Oh, yes!!! Please visit Celebration Generation for the recipe and other interesting tidbits about our MasterChef 4 experience.

Sweet Tea Ribs

16 Jun

This rib recipe is based off one from Food Network Magazine. It is unique and very tasty! I usually like my ribs dry rubbed & then with a little saucy finish, so I added some Sweet Baby Ray’s brushed on before serving. Tomorrow is Fathers’ Day and what better way to honor your dad than with these delicious, summery ribs!

Time: 30 min prep, 2 hour cook             Serves: 4-6


  • 2 racks baby back ribs, trimmed of membrane & patted dry
  • 6 bags tea (I used Celestial Seasonings Orange Zinger)
  • sea salt & black pepper, freshly ground
  • 1 orange, juiced & zested
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp brown sugar

How to make it

  • Empty 3 tea bags into a bowl and combine with brown sugar, salt (about 2 tsp), pepper (about 1/4 tsp) and orange zest. Rub the tea mixture over the ribs and place in a roasting pan. Bring to room temperature.
  • Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 275F. Steep the remaining tea bags in 2 cups of boiling water for about 5 minutes. Discard the bags and stir in the remaining 2 tbsp brown sugar and half of the orange juice. Pour mixture around ribs in the pan and cover with foil. Bake for about 1 1/2 hours, until tender.
  • Remove pan from oven and turn to 450F. Pour cooking liquid into a saucepan and simmer. Baste ribs with liquid and return to oven for about 20-30 minutes, basting occasionally, until they are dark and glazed. Cut into portions and serve. Brush with BBQ sauce if you so choose.
  • Note: These may be easily finished off on the grill for the last step.

Orange Crêpes with Rhubarb Compote for Koninginnedag

30 Apr

I know that crêpes are French in origin and the Dutch pannenkoek may have been more fitting for this occasion, but… They are rather similar! Also, when I set out to make this dish, I didn’t have Koninginnedag (Queen’s Day) in mind. In fact, I wasn’t very  familiar with it. But I am traveling to Israel soon, via Amsterdam, The Netherlands and began my research of the area yesterday only to find that Queen’s Day is today!  It’s a National holiday in The Netherlands in honor of Queen Beatrix’s birthday (though her actual birthday is Jan 31st, it is observed on the birthday of her mother & predecessor, Juliana). Flea markets are held in the streets, festivities include outdoor concerts, and everyone dons orange garb. The food also gets an orange makeover on this day. Thus, the orange crêpes are a perfect way to celebrate today!

Time: 5 min prep + chill, 15 min cook                 Serves: 6


  • 3/4 c AP flour, sifted
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tbsp confectioners sugar + more for sprinkling
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 c skim milk
  • 1 tsp grated orange zest
  • 1 batch rhubarb compote

How to make it

  • Sift the flour then resift it with the remaining dry ingredients.
  • Beat the eggs well with the milk and orange zest.
  • Whisk together the egg mixture and flour.
  • Let the batter sit in the refridgerator for at least 30 minutes (but it is a great thing to have made in advance).
  • Spray a medium skillet with Pam and heat to medium high.
  • Ladle about 1/4 cup of the batter into the heated pan and roll the pan to get a thin, even layer of the batter across the whole pan.
  • These will cook quickly and I test readiness to turn it by gently prying the edge of the crepe from the side and peeking underneath the cover to see if it is golden. When it is, I use a large spatula to turn the crepe over to brown the other side. When you see bubbles come up take it out of the pan and repeat with remaining batter.
  • Spoon about 2 tbsp of rhubarb compote onto each crepe and either roll up or fold over. Sprinkle with confectioners sugar.

Pasta in Lemon Cream Sauce with Salmon

17 Feb

Several weeks ago we went to a local restaurant that we’ve been to many times. They had a dish on special that sounded quite delicious but I was disappointed to find after ordering that it was bland and not very good at all. I was determined to take the ingredients and turn them into what I thought they should be. The results were delicious! This would also be great tossed with crab meat/tuna fish/shrimp.

Time: 25 minutes         Serves: 4


  • 8 oz. short cut pasta (I used rotini)
  • Lemon Cream Sauce

  • 1 medium shallot, diced
  • 1-2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1-2 tbsp lemon juice (depending on how tart your lemon is and your personal tastes)
  • 1 tbsp lemon zest
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine (or additional stock)
  • 1 cup half & half
  • 2 tbsp cream cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • cornstarch if needed for thickening (I used about 2 tsp)
  • Salmon

  • 4 salmon fillets, 4-6 oz. each
  • sea salt and pepper to taste (freshly ground if possible)
  • olive oil spray
  • Vegetables

  • 1 leek, well cleaned & trimmed – white and light green parts only – cut in half & sliced (about 2 cups)
  • 1 medium zucchini. diced (about 3 cups)
  • 4 cups packed baby arugula
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • salt & pepper to taste

How to make it

  • Preheat oven to 425F. Line a baking sheet with foil.
  • Salt 2-3 quarts of water and bring to a boil. Cook pasta al dente.
  • Lemon Cream Sauce

  • Heat butter in a medium sauce pan over medium heat. Add shallot and saute, stirring occasionally, for 3-4 minutes. Add garlic and continue to saute, stirring occasionally, for 2-3 minutes. Be careful not to let garlic brown too much, turn heat down if needed. Add lemon juice, zest, chicken stock and wine and stir. Bring to a boil and reduce to simmer until reduced by half, about 10-12 minutes. Stir in cream and cream cheese and continue to simmer for about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add cornstarch if needed, whisking well to incorporate.
  • Salmon

  • Place salmon fillets on lined baking sheet. Spray generously with olive oil (or brush on if you don’t have spray). Season to taste with salt & pepper. Place in oven and cook for about 10 minutes or until fish flakes with a fork.
  • Vegetables

  • Heat butter in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add zucchini and leeks and saute, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes. Add arugula, salt and pepper and toss just until wilted. Remove from heat.
  • To serve, toss pasta and vegetables with sauce. Divide into portions. Serve each with salmon on top or along side. Enjoy!

Mango Butter Squares

15 Jan

I LOVE mango butter and have been exploring ways to use it. The brand I have is American Spoon and it is special! These are good room temperature or warmed slightly with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Time: 1o min prep, 20 min cook           Serves: 9


  • 1 cup + 2 tbsp flour
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 stick butter, room temp
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp orange zest (fine)
  • juice from 1/2 a medium juicy orange (about 2 tbsp+)
  • 1/2 cup mango butter

How to make it

  • Preheat oven to 350F. Grease an 8×8 pan.
  • Combine flour, salt, and baking powder in a small bowl. In a larger bowl, cream butter and sugar. Add egg, orange juice and zest to butter mixture. Slowly mix dry ingredients into wet, stirring to incorporate. At this point, if the dough is too sticky to handle, refrigerate for about 15 minutes.
  • Press 2/3 of dough into pan. Spread mango butter over it evenly. Top with remaining dough – either grate it over or crumble it. Bake for about 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean (the mango butter will be sticky and might get on the toothpick but don’t let that fool you into thinking the dough hasn’t set – pay close attention). Allow to cool and cut into 9 squares – or smaller if you want.

Tangy Chicken Thighs in a Crock Pot

29 Oct

A quick dish that yields tender, flavorful chicken with a tangy tomato based sauce. I served this with rice.

Time: 15min prep, 6 hour cook            Serves: 4


  • 1 14oz can diced tomatoes, with liquid
  • 6 oz can tomato paste
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 cups carrots, diced/sliced
  • 1 tbsp dried basil
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/2 tsp rosemary, crumbled
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper, freshly ground
  • 1/2 cup orange juice, freshly squeezed
  • 1 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 2 lbs boneless skinless chicken thighs, fat trimmed
  • 2 tbsp orange zest, divided
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 4 slices bacon, cooked & crumbled

How to make it

  • Combine first 12 ingredients & half of orange zest in crock pot. Mix thoroughly. Nestle chicken thighs in mixture. Cook on low for 6 hours, until chicken is cooked through. Stir in lemon juice and remaining orange zest. Sprinkle with bacon & serve.

Farewell to Summer – Sweet Sunshine Strawberry Orange Bread

22 Sep

It’s the last day of summer and what better send-off than this delicious loaf?

I had a bunch of fresh strawberries to use up and an urge to bake something, so this is what I came up with. The syrup topping is optional and special 🙂

Time: 1 hour+           Serves: 8


  • Bread

  • 1 cup unbleached flour
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 6 tbsp butter, melted & cooled
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tbsp orange zest
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup orange juice, freshly squeezed
  • 1 cup strawberries, chopped
  • Basil Orange Syrup

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup orange juice, freshly squeezed
  • 1 cup basil, chopped

How to make it

  • Bread

  • Preheat oven to 350F. Prepare loaf pan with cooking spray.
  • Combine first 4 ingredients in a mixing bowl. In a separate bowl, cream butter and sugar. Add eggs one at a time. Beat in orange zest and vanilla. Put milk and OJ in a measuring cup together. Next, intermittently add flour mixture and milk/OJ mixture – starting & ending with flour. Bake in oven for about an hour or until top is golden brown and toothpick inserted comes out clean.
  • Basil Orange Syrup

  • Allow bread to cool completely. Combine sugar, water, and OJ in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, mix well and take off heat. Allow to cool and add basil. Drizzle over each piece of bread or poke wholes in whole loaf with a fork and top with sauce.

Zucchini-Pecan Cake w/Cream Cheese Frosting

27 May

I made this in honor of National Pecan Day (4/14). It’s an adaptation of a recipe I found on bon appetit’s website by Ian Knauer who said “carrot cake was the inspiration for this delicious dessert”. It does have some similar qualities but is excellent in it’s own right.

Time: 1hr + cooling time        Serves: 8-10


  • Cake

  • nonstick cooking spray
  • 1 cup unbleached white flour
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp ground allspice
  • 3/4 cup olive oil (not extra-virgin)
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups grated zucchini
  • 3/4 cup toasted pecans, chopped + a handful for garnish.
  • Frosting

  • 4 oz cream cheese, room temperature
  • 3 tbsp butter, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp+ orange zest

How to make it

  • Cake

  • Preheat oven to 350F. Line two 9″ diameter cake pans w/parchment paper. Spray with cooking spray.
  • Combine flours, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and alspice in medium mixing bowl. Blend well. In a separate large bowl, combine oil, sugar, eggs, and vanilla. Mix until well blended. Fold in flour mixture, then zucchini and pecans. Divide evenly between two cake pans.
  • Bake cake about 45 minutes, or until tester inserted in center comes out clean. Cool completely in pan on rack until completely cool (very important!) at least one hour. Turn cakes out and peel off parchment paper.
  • Frosting

  • Combine cream cheese and butter in a mixing bowl, using an electric mixer. Add vanilla, cinnamon, orange zest and sugar. Spread about half onto one top, place other cake on top lining up the sides as closely as you can. Use the rest of the frosting to cover the top & sides. Sprinkle a handful of pecans on top.