Archive for March 2017

blood orange bounty

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Got a bag of blood oranges for a couple of bucks at Trader Joe’s! So I made:

Slow cooker carnitas: http://www.recipetineats.com/pork-carnitas-mexican-slow-cooker-pulled-pork/

  • 5 lb / 2.5 kg pork shoulder (pork butt), skinless, bone-in (4lb/2kg without bone) (Note 3)
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 jalapeno, deseeded, chopped
  • 2½ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 oranges, juice only (or sub with ¾ cup fresh orange juice)
  • 1 tbsp dried oregano
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  1. Rinse and dry the pork shoulder, rub in salt and pepper.
  2. Combine the rub ingredients then rub all over the pork.
  3. Place the pork in a slow cooker (fat cap up), top with the onion, jalapeño, minced garlic (don’t worry about spreading it) and squeeze over the juice of the orange.
  4. Cook on low for 8 to 10 hours or on high for 6 hours (or 1h 30 m in an electric pressure cooker on high. If using stovetop pressure cooker, please see notes).
  5. The meat should be tender and falling off the bone. Remove from the slow cooker and let cool slightly. Then shred the pork using two forks.
  6. Skim off the fat from the juices remaining in the slow cooker and discard the fat. Then if you are left with a lot more than 1½ to 2 cups of juice, then reduce it (either in the slow cooker on the sauté setting with the lid off, or in a saucepan). The liquid will be SALTY, it is the seasoning for the pork. Set aside.
To Serve
  1. Heat 1 tbsp of oil in a large non stick pan over high heat. Place shredded pork into the pan, drizzle over some juices. Wait until the juices evaporate and the bottom side is golden brown and crusty. Turn and just briefly sear the other side – you don’t want to make it brown all over because then it’s too crispy, need tender juicy bits.
  2. Repeat in batches (takes me 4 batches) – don’t crowd the pan.
  3. Remove pork from skillet. Drizzle over more juices and serve immediately (if you are using defrosted carnitas, this is not applicable as the juices are already on the meat – see Note 4c).
  4. If you are reheating the carnitas (Note 4), then flip and cook the other side briefly just to warm through. I really recommend only making one side crusty and leaving the other side juicy and moist.
1. If you are using a piece of pork that is not the size I use, you MUST reduce the salt accordingly. If your pork is more than 1 lb / 0.5 kg larger or smaller than the prescribed size, ensure you adjust the other ingredients accordingly as well, not just the salt.

2. To make this in the oven, add 1 cup of water to the braising liquid. Place in 325F/160C oven for 2 hours, covered, then roast for a further 1 to 1.5 hours uncovered. Add more water if the liquid dries out too much. You should end up with 1½ to 2 cups of liquid when it finishes cooking.

If you make this recipe in the oven, you could skip the pan frying step because you will get a nice brown crust on your pork.

3. Use pork with the skin removed but leaving some of the fat cap on. The fat adds juiciness to the carnitas!

4. Taco Fixing suggestions: Diced avocado or make a real proper Guacamole, Pico de Gallo or Restaurant Style Salsa or even just sliced tomato, grated cheese, sour cream. Sliced lettuce or pickled cabbage / red onions would also be great, but unlike other tacos, you don’t need it for the texture because the carnitas have the crispy bits!

a) For overnight or up to 3 days, the best option is to shred the meat without pan frying, keep the juices separate, refrigerate, then pan fry to make it golden and reheat the meat, pouring juices over while it is browning per recipe.

b) To brown the meat ahead, the meat actually holds up pretty well in terms of staying crispy. It’s even pretty good refrigerated overnight – but a) is definitely better. Keep the juices separate and pour it over just before reheating the pork. You can reheat in the microwave, quickly reheat in the pan or if you have loads, in a foil covered roasting pan in the oven at 180C/350F for around 8 – 10 minutes.

c) To FREEZE: This holds up great in the freezer. Pour the juices over the pulled pork (pre browning) and store in ziplock bags or airtight containers. Freeze in small batches for convenience. To use, defrost completely before following the recipe to brown the pork.

6. STOVETOP PRESSURE COOKER – use a rack to elevate it from the base OR add ¾ cup of water. Then once the pork is cooked, remove it then simmer to reduce to around 2 cups of liquid.

Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas recipe video! NOTE: My Slow Cooker (Breville Fast-Slow Cooker) is multi-functional and is also a pressure cooker, hence why it looks like a pressure cooker with the twisting top. The slow cooking function is no different to any standard slow cooker.

Blood orange-almond cake–I added extra almond extract, and topped it with slivered almonds and sugar crystals. Baked it in a pyrex. Everything just got blitzed in the food processor, no stand mixer nonsense. http://www.mattersofthebelly.com/blood-orange-almond-cake/

  • • 2 blood oranges, or 1 regular navel orange
  • • 300g almond meal*
  • • 1½ tsp. baking powder
  • • 3 eggs
  • • 200g sugar
  • • 1 tsp. vanilla extract or seeds from ½ a vanilla pod
  1. MAKE THE CAKE: Place the orange(s) in a large pot. Cover with water, place lid on the pot and place on the stove on high heat. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer and cook the oranges for 1 hour, until soft and beginning to crack. Drain the oranges and let them cool for a few minutes until you can handle them easily. Remove the tiny tough green stub on the end of each orange where it was attached to the tree. Cut the oranges open and remove the seeds. Place the rest of the oranges, peel, flesh and all, into a food processor and blend until completely pureed & smooth, scraping down sides as needed. Place puree in a bowl, cover & refrigerate till needed.
  2. Preheat oven to 170 degrees C (340F).
  3. Grease a standard 23cm (9”) loaf pan with a little neutral oil or butter and line with baking paper. Lightly grease the baking paper as well. You may alternatively use a muffin tin or small ramekins to make individual small cakes: grease 10-12 muffin holes/ramekins and place a circle of baking paper in the bottom of each. Set aside.
  4. In a bowl, combine the almond meal and baking powder. Whisk to combine and set aside.
  5. In another bowl, crack the eggs and add the sugar and vanilla. Beat with an electric or stand mixer until pale and fluffy, about 8 minutes. Add the orange puree and mix until just combined. Pour the egg mixture onto the almond meal mixture and fold gently until well combined. Try not to over-mix.
  6. Pour the batter into the prepared pan(s) until three quarters full. If there is too much batter, bake the rest in extra ramekins or muffin holes.
  7. Bake the cakes for: 45-50 minutes for the loaf size, 30-35 minutes for the muffin tin/ramekins, until golden brown & a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from the oven and leave the cakes to cool completely in the pan(s).
  8. Once the cakes are cool, cover with plastic wrap & refrigerate them for an hour (still in the pans).
  9. To un-mould the cakes, place them in a 200 degree C (400F) for just 5 minutes to loosen them up, then invert onto a plate, carefully remove the pan(s) and peel off the baking paper. Decorate with orange segments, flaked almonds & candied orange & lemon peel (method below), or simply dust with powdered sugar if you prefer.
  10. TO MAKE THE CANDIED CITRUS PEEL: using a vegetable peeler, peel large strips off the oranges and lemon, careful not to include the white pith. Slice them into thin (about matchstick width) strips.
  11. Blanch the peel 3 times: Place the shredded peel into a saucepan, cover with cold water and bring to the boil over high heat. Boil for 10 seconds, drain, rinse & repeat with fresh cold water 2 more times.
  12. Place the sugar with ¾ cup clean water into the (clean) saucepan, bring to the boil and stir till the sugar dissolves. Add the blanched peel, reduce heat to low and simmer until strips are translucent, about 10-15 minutes. Leave the strips to cool in the syrup and then use or store with the syrup in a jar in the fridge for several weeks.
*Almond meal, also known as almond flour, is simply ground blanched almonds, and can be found in most health stores or even some big supermarkets. If you cannot find it, you can simply make it yourself by grinding up blanched almonds in a food processor until fine.

Recipe adapted from Jean Michel Raynaud’s Flourless Moroccan Orange & Almond Cake.


Written by orata

March 23, 2017 at 10:32 am

Posted in recipes

tuna sweet potato paleo cakes

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Made these from an issue of AllRecipes magazine that came to my house for some reason. After a little Googling, I was about to be annoyed that they’d stolen the recipe from Nom Nom Paleo, but then turned the page and saw that the writer of that blog is the author of this recipe… so there you go. The only difference is ghee vs. olive oil, and specifying zest in teaspoons vs. per lemon.

  • 1 1/2 lb sweet potatoes
  • 1 (10-oz) can tuna packed in water, drained
  • 3 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 Tbsp finely minced cilantro
  • 1 1/2 tsp finely grated lemon zest
  • 1 Tbsp minced jalapeno pepper
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
  • black pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees, pierce potatoes and roast till soft, about 45 mins. Cool, peel, mash. Reduce oven temp to 350.

Combine all the other ingredients and spoon into prepared muffin tins (greased or lined, I used silicone muffin cups and had enough batter for 14 of them). Bake till a toothpick comes out clean, about 35 mins. Serve with lemon wedges.

Next time, I think I’d microwave the sweet potatoes (had to do this anyway since they were too firm to mash after I peeled them and put them in the bowl), add another egg since they seemed to be falling apart a bit, and maybe some fresh parsley. It all seemed like way too much in the way of fresh herbs but it was really nice, actually.


Written by orata

March 22, 2017 at 12:32 am

Posted in recipes

cream cheese stuffed banana bread muffins

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For the bread:
1 large egg, beaten
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup sour cream (Greek yogurt may be substituted)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 ripe bananas
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder

For the cream cheese filling:
1 large egg
4 ounces softened cream cheese (1/2 block)
1/4 cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour


1. Preheat oven to 350F (180C).
2. To prepare the bread, combine egg, sugars, butter, sour cream and vanilla in a large mixing bowl. Whisk together. Add the bananas and mash together.
3. Add flour, baking powder, baking soda and mix lightly to combine. Set aside.
4. To prepare the cream cheese filling, mix egg, cream cheese, sugar, and flour in a small bowl.
5. To assemble the muffins, spoon a layer of bread batter into a greased muffin tin. Then spoon a layer of cream cheese filling, then top off with another layer of bread batter.
6. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Baking times may vary. Muffins are done when a tooth pick inserted in the center comes out clean.
7. Allow muffins to cool for 15 mins.
8. Enjoy!

from this buzzfeed article

Written by orata

March 18, 2017 at 11:43 pm

Posted in recipes

world peace cookies

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Made these with a bit of cayenne pepper and kosher salt! they came out delicious.

from here

The original recipe for these cookies was given to me by my friend, Pierre Hermé, the wonderful Parisian pastry chef.  In the cookies’ first incarnation, they were called Sablés Chocolats, or chocolate shortbread.  In their second, the one in which chopped chocolate was added to the sweet/salty dough, they were dubbed Sables Korova and were served at the Paris restaurant of the same name.  Finally, a neighbor of mine gave them the name they truly deserve:  World Peace Cookies.  He was convinced that if everyone in the world could have these cookies, there would be planetary peace.  I hope he’s right.  What I know for sure is that everyone who has these cookies smiles and smiles are pretty powerful.


  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 stick plus 3 tablespoons (11 tablespoons; 5 1/2 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2/3 cup (packed) light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon fleur de sel or 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 5 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped into chip-size bits, or an equal amount of store bought chocolate mini-chips


Sift the flour, cocoa and baking soda together and keep close at hand.

Working in the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or in a large bowl with a handheld mixer, beat the butter on medium speed until it is soft and creamy.  (If you’d like, you can make the dough by hand using a rubber spatula or wooden spoon.)  Add both sugars, the salt and the vanilla extract and beat for 2 minutes more.

Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the sifted dry ingredients, mixing only until they are incorporated – the dough may look crumbly, but that’s fine.  For the best texture, you want to work the dough as little as possible once the flour is added.  Toss in the chocolate pieces and mix only to incorporate.

Turn the dough out onto a smooth work surface, divide it in half, gather it together and, working with one half at a time, shape the dough into a log that is 1 1/2 inches in diameter.  Wrap the logs in plastic wrap and chill for at least 3 hours or for up to 3 days.

Getting ready to bake:  Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.  Have two lined baking sheets at hand.

Working with a sharp thin-bladed knife, slice rounds that are 1/2 – inch thick.  (The rounds often crack as you’re cutting them – don’t be concerned, just squeeze the bits back onto the cookie.)  Arrange the rounds on the baking sheets leaving about 1 inch of spread space between each round and slide one of the sheets into the oven.  Bake the cookies for 12 minutes – they won’t look done nor will they be firm, but that’s just the way they should be.  Transfer the baking sheet to a cooling rack and let the cookies rest until they are only just warm, at which point you can serve them or let them reach room temperature.

Repeat with the second sheet of cookies.

Storing:  The dough can be made ahead and either chilled or frozen.  In fact, if you’ve frozen the dough, you needn’t defrost it before baking – let it warm just enough so that you can slice the rounds; bake the cookies 1 minute longer.  Packed airtight, baked cookies will keep at room temperature for up to 3 days; they can be frozen for up to 2 months.

Cook time:
12 minutes

Makes about 36 cookies

Written by orata

March 6, 2017 at 12:50 pm

Posted in recipes