Saturday, March 19, 2011

Freezer Magic and Picnics

Last Wednesday my mom and I spent the day cooking ahead for the coming weeks (sure to be busy with my last six weeks of the semester and my sister's wedding preparations!). We made Baked Rigatoni with Italian Sausage (click here for the recipe) and Green Chili Soup, as well as grilled chicken and London broil to slice up.

A friend joined me and Ryan for dinner that night and we ate one of the rigatoni dishes. It was a rousing success, I believe! I served it with roasted Brussels sprouts alongside.


You can see my stack of new plates in the background! White! They photograph so much better than my clear or black dishware. And you'll never guess how much...$1 each. I couldn't have been happier. About plates, that is.

I extended my freezing frenzy to the package of bacon in my fridge as well. I placed the slices on a big sheet of foil, rolling it up after each slice. This way when I need three slices for a recipe I don't have to feel like we need to eat the whole rest of the package for breakfast the next day (although I'm sure Ryan would disagree).

On Thursday, I baked my first successful upside-down cake. Ask my housemates from last year if you want to hear the story about my Nectarine Upside-Down Cake. This time, however, I made it with blood oranges, following a recipe I found on The Quinces and the Pea. I slightly reduced the sugar and will reduce the oil if I ever make it a second time.

Blood Orange and Olive Oil Cake

1/2 cup sugar
2 tbsp water
2 tbsp unsalted butter, cut into pieces

Orange Topping
3 blood oranges

1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp baking soda
2 eggs
3/4 cup blood orange juice
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup canola oil
2 tsp orange zest (I forgot this)

Preheat oven to 350.

Zest oranges and set aside. Peel and slice oranges into about 1/4 inch thick slices. (I recommend buying blood oranges that look like normal oranges. The ones that have slightly red rind tend to be dryer and sourer and fall apart.)

Oil bottom and sides of a 9x13 pan. (Critical step!!)

Heat sugar and water for caramel in a small saucepan over medium heat, scraping any sugar from the bottom with a wooden spoon. Bring to a boil, swirling occasionally, until it turns an amber color. This might take a while, so I recommend juicing the oranges for the cake while you wait and swirl.

Once the caramel is the right color, take of the heat and quickly add the butter, stirring with wooden spoon. Place back on the heat for a few seconds, constantly stirring. Quickly pour into pan, tilting so it coats evenly. (It will harden very fast, so work as quickly as possible!)

Arrange the orange slices on top of the caramel. Mix the flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt. In another bowl, whisk the eggs, oil, juice, and zest. Slowly pour wet into dry and stir just until mixed.

Pour batter over oranges/caramel and bake for 35-40 minutes, until toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool slightly in pan, then flip upside down to finish cooling.

As for those Grilled Chicken, Apple and Brie Sandwiches I told you about...they turned out dandy. It would have been nice to have some chutney to spread over the bread.

It was a beautiful day. I wish spring could last forever.

Today is gorgeous, too, so I must set aside my computer and enjoy it! I'm at my parent's house again...the day of the birthday celebration! I could hit myself for forgetting the bouchon tray I used to bake the pudding cakes...but I'll just have to use some mini muffin pans instead. I'll let you know how that goes!

1 comment:

  1. The Rigatoni was amazing! I am so glad you posted the recipe, because I have been dying to make it! Your hair looks so cute in your picture. love you!