samedi 21 février 2009

Glazed Orange Loaf

Blood oranges were something new to me when I moved to Paris. The oranges look very similar to regular oranges on the outside but when cut open they reveal a surprising red and orange interior. The mix of the two colours varies from orange with a few spots of red to very red with little orange. The oranges produce a lovely red coloured juice.  I used blood orange juice in this recipe.

Glazed Orange Loaf

160 mL (2/3 cup) butter, softened

125 mL (1/2 cup) sugar

2 eggs

125 mL (1/2 cup) plain yogurt

125 mL (1/2 cup) orange juice

15 mL (1 Tbsp) grated orange zest

625 mL (2 1/2 cups) all-purpose flour

2.5 mL (1/2 tsp) baking powder

2.5 mL (1/2 tsp) baking soda

2.5 mL (1/2 tsp) salt

125 mL (1/2 cup) icing (confectioners) sugar

10 – 15 mL (2 - 3 tsp) orange juice
5 mL (1 tsp) grated orange zest

Preheat oven to 180°C (350°F).

In a large mixing bowl, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs one at a time. Stir in yogurt, orange juice and zest. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt; add to creamed mixture and stir until well blended.
Pour into a greased 23 x 13 x 8 cm (9” x 5” x 3”) loaf pan. Bake for 55-65 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the centre comes out clean. Allow to cool for 10 minutes before removing from pan; place on a wire rack to cool completely.

GLAZE: Combine icing sugar, zest and enough orange juice to achieve desired consistency. Drizzle over loaf.

dimanche 8 février 2009

Valentina's Hot Chocolate Shrimp

While trying to come up with some new recipes, my friend T creatively challenged me to make Hot Chocolate Shrimp. We knew that we liked chocolate and chocolate with chiles. We love shrimp in many different forms. There are lots of unusual taste combinations in South American cooking and the chocolate and chiles combination is used in mole sauces in México. So why not something similar for shrimp? I checked and this had been done before and as a main course even. I gave it a try and had some brave friends try it as well to rave reviews.

For me, I think this works best as an appetizer. A few chocolate coated shrimp on a plate garnished with orange or lime slices.

Since Valentine's Day is coming up, why not surprise your favourite person with this interesting combination?

Valentina's Hot Chocolate Shrimp
Adapted from a recipe by Chef Jim Shirley


16 jumbo shrimp (about 300 g or 10 oz), peeled, deveined and butterflied
45 mL (3 Tbsp) cornstarch

125 mL (½ cup) vegetable oil
45 mL (3 Tbsp) freshly ginger, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 chile pepper (Jalapeño, Habanero, Serrano, or other hot pepper), thinly sliced*

30 g (2 oz) dark chocolate, chopped
30 mL (2 Tbsp) Tequila reposada
Juice of 1 orange

Heat oil in a skillet, add ginger, garlic and chile; sauté for 3 minutes, remove from heat and let stand for about 10 minutes. Strain solids and set aside.
Melt chocolate over double boiler (or in microwave). Stir in orange juice and tequila. Set aside.
Reheat oil in large skillet. Coat shrimp in cornstarch and sauté in batches until opaque and lightly browned.
Dip shrimp in chocolate sauce. Serve hot or cold.

*Adjust amount of chile depending on the type used and personal taste.

dimanche 1 février 2009

Chocolate Hazelnut Cookies

There is something wonderful about the combination of hazelnuts and chocolate. It is the combination in Nutella, a favourite spread in France. It is used on bread, toast and crepes that are served for breakfast or snacks.

These cookies just melt in your mouth. And they taste so good.

Chocolate Hazelnut Cookies
Makes about 4-5 dozen cookies

250 mL (1 cup) butter, softened
250 mL (1 cup) icing sugar
375 mL (1-1/2 cups) all-purpose flour
80 mL (1/3 cup) unsweetened cocoa powder
125 mL (1/2 cup) ground hazelnuts

170 g (6 oz) semisweet or bitter chocolate
180 mL (3/4 cup) hazelnuts, finely chopped

In bowl, cream together butter and sugar. Mix together flour, cocoa and nuts; stir into creamed mixture. Turn out onto waxed paper; shape into 2 logs about 3 cm (1-1/4 “) in diameter. Wrap in the wax paper and chill until firm.

Preheat oven to 160 °C (325°F).

Cut logs into 65 mm (1/4”) thick slices. Bake on ungreased baking sheets for about 15 minutes or until set. Leave to cool then dip cookies in melted chocolate*, place on a rack and sprinkle with nuts. Let stand until set.

* To melt chocolate, bring water to a simmer in the bottom of a double boiler, place chocolate in top and stir until melted. Alternatively place chocolate in a bowl set over a pan of hot water or use the microwave.