sticky orange and almond cakes {gf}

These little orange and almond sticky cakes and me go back.

sticky orange almond cake GF @wendyellenthomas.comWay back. Back to my time in Paris working in and out of a kitchen that I think two people could maybe stand in… if one of those people was a child at least. I’m going to have to dig out some pics of that adorable little kitchen that served me and my two kids well for two years- and quite a few others for whom I catered.

sticky orange almond cake GF @wendyellenthomas.comIn real time it was 2004. Only ten years ago. But in terms of life chapters it could have been decades for some. I have the capacity to pick up and go and completely change my life and its circumstances. This can be a blessing and a curse and all in between. And I’m sure my kids wouldn’t disagree. I will say our time in France had a profound impact on broadening our cultural awareness, language skills, and we were flung far from our comfort zones. Spending nine months in a cooking school in an “anglo” class at Ferrandi and three months working in a restaurant gave me a foundation to begin building my cooking skills and the passion to bring cooking and merchandising together. I spent hours walking the streets of Paris, taking notes and creating Chez Chloe first in my head and on paper, then opened the original retail store and cafe in 2006. The cafe, though popular, lasted only two seasons. Not cut out for the stress of food service, I opted to keep going with only the retail. I suspect you might here more of this story as time goes on.

sticky orange almond cake GF @wendyellenthomas.comBut for now – let’s get on with these sticky cakes!

  • 2 whole oranges
  • 6 eggs beaten
  • 250g (8oz) sugar
  • 250g (8oz) almond powder
  • 1 tsp baking powder

This is such a simple recipe. It was gluten free before there was ‘gluten free’. I love this orange cake because it is always a no fail recipe, it taste good and travels well. The original recipe comes from a DK book, Canapés, published in 1999 in the UK. I think I picked up this version from the old Librarie Gourmande when it was small and still located in the 6th arrondissement. Published in 2007,  Hors d’Ouervres, the US version is just as good and I always highly recommend it.

In the past, I have topped them with a little greek yogurt or a yogurt/ whipped cream blend. And they are darling with a garnish of pomegranate seeds as is suggested in the book. But for this round, simple sifted powdered sugar was my desire.

{print sticky orange and almond cakes}

You start with boiling 2 oranges till completely cooked- then set them aside to cool. This is the only reason you need to think ahead as they take about 90 minutes to cook and then another 20 minutes to cool.

boiled oranges @wendyellenthomas.comThen split them up and take out the pips

orangesPop them in the cuisinart. Or maybe a blender but honestly I’ve never tried it.

Almond Orange Cake GF-3And chew those puppies up.

Almond Orange Cake GF-4Throw in 6 eggs, 8oz of sugar, 8oz of almond meal and 1 tsp baking soda. That’s it.

Almond Orange Cake GF-5I line my 9×13 glass baking dish with parchment paper

Almond Orange Cake GF-6

and here is how the thin poured batter looks

Almond Orange Cake GF-7Bake at 350 for about 40-45 minutes. It should be firm to the touch. Pull it out and as soon as you can, gently remove the cake from the baking dish and cool on a rack (with parchment). When cooled you can pull off the paper and cut.I use to follow the book’s suggestion of a jelly roll pan so they would be a little thinner. And I’d use a 1″ round biscuit cutter to turn them into bite size pieces with piped topping and a little pretty somethin somethin.

For this batch – I cut the edges off (and ate them), I like to think for a clean edge but maybe it’s just so I could get my paws on some without actually eating the ‘good’ parts.

sticky orange almond cake GF @wendyellenthomas.com

After the edges are off, I cut it into little individual square cakes.

I brought these to the concert for the band members of Ollie’s Seattle Tentet, who had their debut concert on Orcas Island a couple weeks ago:)

Almond Orange Cake GF-9

sticky orange almond cake GF @wendyellenthomas.com

So there you have it friends. Try it you’ll like it. Makes for a nice brunch menu item as well.

Have a great weekend!

sticky orange almond cake GF @wendyellenthomas.com

kimchi bacon fried rice and eggs

So this is far from Irish… but I’m not so on top of the calendar:)
Kimchi bacon fried rice and eggs-8Spring is so near I can practically touch it. The sun and cold do their dance like a strip tease that excites and taunts. You don’t know what’s coming next. I picked delicate new spinach and arugula leaves from plants in the greenhouse creating a bed for my baked salmon lunch today. This first minimal picking sparked a little excitement for the coming growing season. What I realize too, is I don’t mind the winter break and it almost takes a strong nudge to get me in the growing mood. Fresh garden food does not arrive without somebody’s hard work. My first little seeds, planted last weekend will become the seedlings for the first of spring planting. Brassica’s, lettuces, peas… the tomatoes and peppers will grow longer in the glass house.

What we relied on this winter besides store bought veggies was our fermented foods.

Kimchi @wendyellenthomas.com

The red sauerkraut was made first with our own Red Mammoth cabbages last fall but I continued to make it with organic cabbage from the market. I played with many napas, bok choy, radishes and conical cabbages for the kimchi and can’t wait to try my new Korean coarse chili powder. I’ll try some napa in the garden this year but it’s a little more finicky than the standard head of cabbage.

This recipe was inspired by my weekend brunch in New York City at The Dutch.

Start with the bacon – about 3-4 slices of Hempler’s thick cut uncured bacon is a nice way to go. Cut into small pieces and fry up.

Kimchi bacon fried rice and eggsThen add about 2 cups of rice- either freshly made or even better, leftovers.

wendyellenthomas.com

I had a little pineapple hanging around from juicing and thought why not? I diced this and added it to the bacon and rice.Kimchi bacon fried rice and eggs-6Throw in about a cup of kimchi – homemade or one of the lovely store bought varieties like one from Seattle’s Firefly Kitchens. Mine below got a little pink from adding red radishes. Kind of fun huh?

Kimchi bacon fried rice and eggs-3Give it all a good toss and that part is done.I scooted the kimchi rice to the side of the frying pan and heated a little red cabbage for some color.

Kimchi bacon fried rice and eggs-5I fried up some of our farm eggs…

Kimchi bacon fried rice and eggs-7And what I’m also loving? Fried avocado. Not new to some but new to me. I had this recently at Irving Street Kitchen in Portland with scrambled egg nachos. A little crispy on the outside, soft in the middle, with the heat bringing out the sweetness of the avocado. I garnished our kimchi fried rice and egg with fried avocado and a little fresh cilantro.

Kimchi bacon fried rice and eggs-11This was a Sunday meal for me and my sweetie.

Kimchi bacon fried rice @wendyellenthomas.comAnd in the real world it looked like this

Kimchi bacon fried rice and eggs-12Just to pull it all together:

  • 2 cups brown rice
  • 3-4 strips of bacon cut into pieces
  • half a slice of pineapple cubed
  • 1 cup kimchi
  • fried egg
  • optional garnish of warmed red cabbage, fried avocado,fresh cilantro, pepper flakes

chocolate mousse to ring in the new year

Here’s a little sweet treat you can make ahead for New Year’s Eve

Chocolate Mousse* in all it’s divinity

chocolate mousse-27

It’s really a simple feat that can be done in less than an hour. Continue reading

Chicks 2013…warning: a lot of pictures!

As much as I love to eat chicken and believe in the values of farm life and homesteading, I could not eat these little guys we picked up May 11th from our one boothed post office in Olga. With only the loss of two, we have a brood of fourteen. Of course, I told O it would only be about eight but it was barely economical to buy  the small amount of fifteen (plus my our free exotic… who kicked it within 16 hours). And now I think I have found a new home for 4-6 of the girls, but how on earth could I choose? The first year we moved to Orcas, in 1993, I bought fifty with not a clue of how to raise poultry.
chickens May 2013For those of you who have had chicks and love them, you’ll probably enjoy the next thirty or so photos. And those who don’t, well I’ve got an excellent roast chicken with Sumac to share on FB- but I couldn’t bare to put it here.

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Coffee and Kahlua Pots de Creme

Ok… did you leave a little room for dessert?  These posts are short on story and long on taste. The third course for our dinner for two will be a Coffee and Kahlua Pots de Creme featuring Nielson Massey’s coffee extract, yet another treasure hidden in the black cotton goodie bags at Plate to Page. I can only imagine what it’s like to partake at the Emmy’s!

I’ve been on a pots de creme kick as they are just too easy and their flexibility in taste is exponential. Basically, this little dessert will take on the personality of your choice. Here we’ve got a grown up combination that doesn’t even require any infusion.

{Print Recipe} for Coffee and Kahlua Pots de Creme

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup (225ml) cream
  • 1/2 cup (112ml) milk
  • 4oz (115g) chocolate (milk if you want a little sweeter or dark)
  • 4 large yolks
  • 3T (42g) sugar
  • 1T (15ml) Coffee Extract
  • 1T (15ml) Kahlua
  • 1 tsp(5ml) vanilla
  • 3/4 c (175ml) whipping cream for garnish

You will heat your milk and cream and whisk in the chocolate. Beat your yolks, sugar and salt till a little lighter in color. Then add coffee, Kahlua, and vanilla. Slowly pour heated cream and chocolate into yolk mixture, tempering the yolks, not scrambling. Gently whisk together. Pour into ramekins and skim the foam off the tops or go all out and use a sieve.

These ramekins are a little on the small size at 4oz. They are recycled pudding cups from the grocery store. I love that. I have a collection of lovely terra cotta yogurt pots from France too! Europe still sees their fair share of paper and plastic containers, but I prefer to purchase glass when possible.

You can see here a bit of foam here that I didn’t skim.

The only downside, which is really minor, is a little sponginess on top. NO BIGGIE! But if you want extra smooth. SKIM.

And there you have it…. Short and sweet. In real life these got ate up quick. Not a lot of hanging around for a photo shoot!

You’ve got now a fabulous three course dinner that is perfect for summer, garners a sense of sophistication, and is ‘doable’!

Goat cheese Salad with Candied Pistachios and Citrus vinaigrette followed by Seared Scallops and creamy goat cheese polenta with a light citrus sauce, ending with a coffee & Kahlua pots de creme. And don’t forget the honey pots de creme might also be a nice fit in here. Enjoy.

On Saturday we head to the states for our summer US of A fix, spending a majority of time on Orcas Island, a little time in Seattle and a visit to Atlanta where I’ll have a little real time visit with Jodi from Biscuits and Bobbins. In the meantime, stay tuned for a blueberry treat from Jodi in a few days time.

Tschüß for now,

P.S…..Here’s a couple photos I took flying into the San Juan Islands…

Honey & Vanilla Pots de crème

Honey and Vanilla Pots de Crème

for the Monthly Mingle hosted by CookRepublic featuring ‘honey’

Walking through my local market yesterday, iPhone in hand, Epicurious on my screen, I struggled to flip through recipes while pushing my cart at an unacceptably slow pace. Searching for a good recipe that featured honey, I perused options …

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Veggie quiche and a collage

There are many versions of baked eggs. One of my favorite cookbooks containing all egg based recipes is Michel Roux ‘Eggs’

As much as I love a light quiche, this is a denser, eggy version of quiche if you don’t want to use as much cream (or you don’t have any on hand). I started with my pie crust in the morning.  See below for crust recipe.

This is a tried and true savory crust recipe from cooking school and in the crust bible:

  • 250g flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 125g butter
  • 50ml (call it a gram) cold water
  • 1 yolk
  • Flour, salt, butter pulsed in cuisinart.  Place in bowl or on counter.
  • Add water and yolk. Lightly knead to bring ingredients together and form into a disc. Wrap in plastic and let it rest in the fridge for at least 30min.
  • Roll out, place in pie dish, cover with parchment paper, fill with pie weights or garbanzo beans like I do.(If your fridge is bigger than my Euro under the counter you can put rolled out crust back in fridge for another 30 min or longer.
  • Bake at 400° for 12 min
  • Remove weights and paper, bake another 5-8 min.

The filling is on the collage. Except I forgot green pepper, zucchini, salt to taste and maybe a grate or 2 from a fresh nutmeg…. and since what I wanted to say is it took me as long to figure out how to do the collage as it did to make this quiche (including the crust making and resting, pre-baking, cooking the filling and cooking the quiche itself), I just thought I’d add it on here. Did I mention the app was free?

  • Sauté your veggies, cool slighty, put in pre-baked pie crust.
  • Mix eggs and whole milk and gently pour over sauteed veggies
  • Place slices of chevre on top
  • Bake at 400° for 30min.

And you can be completely creative with this….. Quiches are the perfect place to use your last scraps of things including veggies, meats, cheeses.

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