Sunday, April 30, 2017

Rosie Makes A Blood Orange Upside Down Cake.

Oh, what a pretty orange the blood orange is!
There's a season for them (December - May) and it's almost over,
but I called Fresh Market and they still have them.  Take advantage while you can.

I'm making a blood orange infused olive oil cake accented with fresh berries along with some pretty whipped cream highlighted with blood orange juice.
The olive oil is available at Outer Banks Olive Oil Company at MP 6 in Kill Devil Hills.

Rosie's Blood Orange Cake
 2 TB unsalted butter
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
2 blood oranges
1 1/2 cups flour
3/4 cup semolina flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp cardamom
1/2 cup blood orange infused oliveo il
1/2 cup ricotta
3/4 cup sugar
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 TB blood orange zest

Heat oven to 350°.
Butter an 8"-round cake pan.
Melt butter in small sauce pan over medium heat.  Add brown sugar, stirring until sugar melts, about 4-5 minutes.  Press mixture into bottom of prepared cake pan.

Slice oranges into 1/4-inch rounds and arrange in single layer on top of brown sugar mixture.

In a bowl, sift flour, semolina, baking powder, salt, and cardamom.

In bowl of stand mixer with whisk attachment, combine blood orange infused olive oil, ricotta, and sugar, mixing about 3 minutes until smooth and well-combined.  Beat in eggs, one at a time.  Add vanilla and a tablespoon of orange zest.

Fold in dry mixture by hand in 3 additions until just mixed.

Spoon batter into pan, spreading evenly.

Bake 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, rotating pan halfway through baking.

Let cool in pan 15 minutes, then run a knife around the edges to loosen and invert onto serving dish.

Serve with homemade whipped cream brightened with fresh blood orange juice mixed in.  In a chilled bowl with chilled beater, whip 1 cup heavy cream with 3 TB sugar.  When soft peaks form, add in 1 tsp vanilla extract.  Beat in a few tablespoons of blood orange juice until you get a pretty pink whipped cream.

For serving, drizzle more orange juice over cake slices.  Add whatever berries you have and sprinkle with orange zest.
Heat the butter and brown sugar mixture, melting the sugar.

Pour into prepared cake pan.

Slice the blood oranges.

Arrange the blood orange slices on the brown sugar mixture.

Fill in with extra orange pieces.

Fold sifted dry ingredients into olive oil, ricotta, sugar, and egg mixture.

Pour batter on top of base.

Smooth top.

Bake and cool.

Invert onto serving platter.

Ooooh...  Pretty!

Serve with whipped cream with blood orange juice, orange zest, and blackberries.

I poured some extra blood orange juice over the slices for more oomph.

Friday, April 28, 2017

Red Beans And Rice. And Don't Forget The Shrimp!

I was in a New Orleans frame of mind.
My apologies to NOLA-phytes everywhere, but this is my blog and I can cook and write whatever I want.

So, Holy Trinity!
I'm making red beans and rice.  And shrimp.

First, a little history on red beans and rice.  I love it when my food comes with a history lesson. 
When I think about red beans and rice, I think about New Orleans cooking. Red beans and rice is a quintessential Nawlin’s dish.  

What I’m doing is NOT that.  I just happened to think about Creole, then basically put a Colington spin on it and came up with Shrimp with Red Beans and Rice.

First the history:  The New Orleans part.  Red beans and rice Monday.  Imagine, if you will, a more genteel New Orleans of decades past.  Monday is laundry day.  The women of the house do their laundry on Mondays, so the Monday dinner is something that cooks itself, by itself.  The beans simmer slowly on the stove top for hours on Monday while the dutiful housewives attend to their wash.  At some point, the “Holy Trinity” was produced – diced onion, celery, and pepper.  A bone from Sunday’s meal was thrown in.  Some kind of meat was added, be it Andouille sausage or ham.  Seasonings were added – bay leaf, herbs, Tabasco or some type of hot sauce.  And it was served over rice.   Louis Armstrong himself, as a nod to his gustatory preferences, was known to sign his letters with, “Red beans and ricely yours.”

Now the Colington part:  Rosie ain’t doin’ no stinkin’ wash on Mondays.  That said, she will be making Shrimp with Red Beans and Rice.  But it won’t be an all-day project.

The only time I allow for is cooking dried red kidney beans.  I’m not a can-o’-beans kind o’ gal.  I always cook dried beans.  Figure on 1-3 hours for the beans, depending on your personal preferences and 30-40 minutes for the rice, depending on directions.  Toss the rice and beans with the Holy Trinity for a sautéed buttery jumble.  Dust some cumin over top. The shrimp is but a flash in a hot pan. 


Start with the beans.  One cup dried beans will yield three cups cooked beans.  Measure accordingly.  You can soak the beans overnight, but I never do.  I simply rinse my beans, then cook for about two hours, refreshing the water a couple of times.  Always test for taste and texture.  I prefer my beans on the “toothy” side, or al dente.  If you like yours more tender, cook longer.  Season with kosher salt.  Drain. 

Next, the rice.  Again, the conversion factor is one cup dried rice equals three cups cooked.  I used a combination of both white rice and yellow rice since both were available.  Cook the rice and add to the beans.

Rosie's Beans and Rice and Shrimp
2 TB unsalted butter

a yepsen of rice and beans
1 cup of The Holy Trinity

The Holy Trinity is the workhorse of the New Orleans kitchen.  It's equal parts onions, celery, and bell pepper and it's the distinctive, aromatic, classic flavor base of Cajun and Creole cooking.
The trio should be finely chopped.

Melt 1 TB butter.  Sauté the Holy Trinity until softened and fragrant - 2-3 minutes.  Add another plug of butter, melt, and add the cooked beans and rice.  Heat through and dust with cumin. Remove from heat, cover, and keep warm.

A yepsen, in case you didn't know, is a unit of measurement, and a fine one at that.
A yepsen denotes the amount that can be held in two hands cupped together.
Now, be sure to work that word into your conversation.

Next, prepare the shrimp.  Peel and de-tract the shrimp.  I don’t say “de-vein.”  That line running down the back of a shrimp is not a vein.  It’s the digestive tract.  Remove it.  Toss shrimp lightly with a Cajun or Creole seasoning.  You can use a prepared seasoning or you can easily make your own.  Combine equal parts onion powder, granulated garlic, oregano, thyme, parsley, paprika, cayenne, and ground pepper.  Taste test and give the shrimp a light sprinkle.  I rarely add salt to shrimp.  They’ve been living in the ocean and don’t need it.

Heat one tablespoon each unsalted butter and peanut oil in skillet over medium high heat.  The butter is for flavor; the oil is to raise the smoke point of the butter.  When butter gets sizzly-wizzly, add shrimp in a single layer.  Cook, turning after 30 seconds, for about a minute.  Immediately remove from hot pan. 

Here’s a tip:  Most people overcook their shrimp, resulting in tough, rubbery shrimp.  Take the shrimp out before you think they’re done and you’ll be fine.  Wait for the shrimp to just turn from gray.  The shrimp will tense up as they cook.  If they form a “C,” the edges not touching, then they’re “C”ooked.  If the shrimp form an “O,” with the head and tails touching, they’re “O”vercooked.  

I used a handful of shrimp.  Yes.  Half a yepsen.

Plate the dish.  Make a bed of beans and rice, then deliciously nestle the shrimp on top.  I like cilantro sprinkled over and if you’d like some drops of Texas Pete or other hot sauce (Tabasco or Sriracha), I won’t stop you.

Youngest Hawthorne particularly liked this.
His preferred serving method?
Wrapped up in a soft tortilla that's been charred a bit over an open flame.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Please Join Rosie In Her April Garden.

Welcome to Rosie's Garden.
Yellow and orange California poppies.
Purple irises.

More irises.

Yellow iris.

Bearded iris.

Red Flanders poppy.
Papaver rhoeas.

 I love spring.
So much going on in the garden.
New tulips up here.

This is Lunaria.
Money plant.
Honesty plant. 
Silver dollar plant, so named for the seed pods.

Oxalis (shamrock), parsley, and money plant.

Love the colors.
Orange poppies.
Purple irises. 

 I love my red poppies.

Split trunk of the Leyland Cypress in my front yard.
Lost it during Hurricane Matthew last fall. 


 Irises and poppies. 

 And then I found this pretty little columbine.

Bachelor button.
Centaurea cyanus.
Blue cornflower.
And then, the Hawthornes left home for a quick road trip.
This was the scene at Jockey's Ridge State Park.

Shot on the fly.