Vanilla Scented Orange-Lemon Bourbon Sour and some notes on Vanilla

Vanilla Scented Orange-Lemon Bourbon Sour and some notes on Vanilla

Serves 1

1/2 c Fresh Orange Juice (I used Navel oranges from my mom’s tree, but Valencias yield great juice)

1/4 c American Prairie Bourbon

3 tbsp fresh lemon juice (I used half Eureka lemon, half Meyer lemon)

Vanilla Sugar for rimming the glass*

1-2 drops real vanilla extract*

Orange or lemon slice for garnish

Use a lemon or orange wedge to moisten the rim of your chosen glass. Rim the edge of your glass in vanilla sugar. If you don’t have that, you can use demerara or turbinado sugar or make your own quick vanilla sugar by combining some vanilla powder with sugar. Nielsen-Massey makes a decent vanilla powder. Combine orange and lemon juice in a cocktail shaker with ice. Add bourbon. Shake until well combined.

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Vegan Blood Orange & Coconut Velvet Cake.

One of my favorite memories of my life is of picking oranges. I was little. The sky was clear and blue and the sun was shining in the way that southern California does, big and bright. The air in the grove had this overwhelming sweet smell and mixed with those beautiful orange orbs against the green leaves of the trees, I was in love! Birds and rustling leaves and joy. Ever since, I have always loved picking fruit.

I grew up loving oranges and tangerines, but never got to experience the blood orange until I was much older. Now they are one of my loves. This cake is amazing. It’s one of the incredible creations from Eat the Love, but in vegan form. I’m going to proclaim that it’s one of the best cakes I’ve ever made. Forgive the sunken appearance–it did not sink in the middle, I just put it on the wrong size plate.

Blood Orange & Coconut Velvet Cake

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Hey there, Pamplemousse: The One Where I went Grapefruit Picking in the Valley by Myself and then Made Cookies.

Thank goodness for Vegan Yack Attack. I had no idea Vegan MoFo (Vegan Month of Food) was approaching in September. I’m glad I know now as I’m headed to Maui September 2nd and now I have time to prepare some posts for when I’m gone. I am so behind on posts anyway that it should be easy. Maybe. Hopefully. I said I was going to come back this time with a recipe, but I’m terrible, so I may save some of the for MoFo…it’s so close!

For now, here is this short one about grapefruit. 

A friend told me about this grapefruit pick in the valley. The grapefruit was chemical free and cheap, so I took myself picking. The place was called Orcutt Ranch and the grounds were gorgeous. I basically had the place to myself. I proceeded to frolic about like any good hippy would do and take pictures and pick yummy grapefruit. When I got home, I made Grapefruit Shortbread Cookies. 

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Bergamot Orange Semolina Cake w/ Olive Oil & Thyme.

 

Last year I saw this cake on Eat the Love. All of the components really jumped out at me, as Eat the Love recipes often do. I start reading the flavors and in my mind I’m going down the ingredient list saying yes. Yes. YES. Oh, I make right now! Honestly though, everything on Eat the Love is inspired, but this one was destined to be in my mouth immediately. Well, boo to me. It was May and while I was scuttling around town collecting the very last of the season’s blood oranges, I knew it would be absolutely impossible for me to find bergamot oranges.

The bergamot; believed to be a cross between the sweet lemon or was lime? and sour orange.
The bergamot; believed to be a cross between the sweet lemon or was lime? and sour orange.

Firstly, they are an extraordinarily rare fruit to find. This is not something you will likely ever see in a grocery store or even at the farmer’s market. They are most popular in Italy where they are commercially grown and I believe they’re also grown in the south of France and tiny handful of other places. Of course one of those places is California because California is amazing. For years and years I did not appreciate living here. I was always grumbling about our traffic and distinct lack of seasons, but I’ve evolved and now a deep appreciation lives inside of me for this gorgeous and unique land. I could still do without certain things, like all the Hollywood douche types I’m surrounded by, but what this lovely place may lack in people’s humility, it certainly makes up for it with the best tasting, best looking fruit and veggies in this grand country. And the best weather…..hence our fabulous fruit and veg.

Pardon this regularly scheduled paragraph for an image of this cake I haven't really talk about yet. Keep reading. :)
Pardon this regularly scheduled paragraph for an image of this cake I haven’t really talk about yet. Keep reading. 🙂

So here I am in wonderful California and naturally there is a charming little farmed named Pearson Ranch up in Porterville that grows bergamots as well as lots of other great citrus. I placed an order for bergamots over the phone thinking I would be getting something like a dozen. Little did I know that I would come home and find a giant crate of them on my doorstep. I ended up with about 30 or so oranges and began getting a little nervous. I only had plans for one cake….which I needed like 2 or 3 oranges for. I started researching what else I could do with these fruits and could not find much. Then it hit me….Kevin West! Kevin West writes this amazing canning and preserving blog called Saving the Season. He is a master preserver and also teaches classes at The Domestic Institute of Technology (join me in February’s citrus workshop!). I feel like I knew from his blog that he lived in LA, so I took a chance and emailed him. To pick his brain and to see if he would like some of the oranges in exchange for some information and ideas. I was delighted to hear back from him and we discussed bergamots and various other bits about canning and such. I do my fair share of canning, usually small batch stuff because big batch stuff overwhelms me. My favorite things to make are liqueurs and preserves, although I’d like to do more pickles and would love to try my hand at beer making someday. Anyhow, Kevin was an absolute plethora of knowledge as well as completely delightful person. He gave me a jar of boysenberry jam—which suited me so well. It was the first flavor I fell in love with as a kid that wasn’t regular ol’ strawberry or Welch’s grape jelly (which I now think is NASTY.) Kevin was nice enough to mention me in his own blog and he’s posted an amazing recipe for bergamot marmalade. Pearson Ranch is still taking orders for crates of bergamots. I’m not sure if they ship nationwide, but California orders arrive in 1-2 days. I got about 30 oranges for around $40 which is a STEAL in my opinion. It’s a lot to spend on fruit, but if you’re into baking, preserving or just rarities in general, it’s a must. Plus, the people over at Pearson are the nicest and the friendliest, so give them a call and they’ll set you up nice.

As for me, I now have bergamot sugar infusing, as well as simple syrup, plus some juice for freezing and some finely grated zest for dehydrating among other things. But on to the cake. This is a delightful and delicious cake. It’s very Italian tasting to me….semolina and olive oil will do that I guess. Perfect for dessert or for afternoon tea.

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Bergamot Orange Semolina Cake w/ Olive Oil & Thyme

vegan edits:

Sub out 4 eggs for 1 tbsp + 1 tsp of Ener-G Egg Replacer dry–do not mix with water

Sub out the Greek yogurt for equal parts So Delicious Greek Style Coconut Milk Yogurt

*For those of you who do not eat honey, you can use agave or Bee Free Honee for the glaze. I used blueberry honey from Temecula Berry Co.

*Use a high quality olive oil for the cake

Otherwise, mix and bake according to directions in the original recipe found here.

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Valencia Orange Ice Cream w/ Olive Oil & Chocolate Chunks.

Wow. Totally did not intend to take a two week hiatus from this blog, but it’s been getting real over here. Really real. I am moving unexpectedly this weekend. While moving is probably the most stressful business ever, I know that I am going to be much happier after the move. Anyone who knows me though, knows I have an insane amount of stuff. I love cooking and baking, so naturally there are a million plates, dishes, pots, pans, etc plus a Kitchenaid stand mixer, food processor, Vitamix, ice cream maker, slow cooker….ahhhh….so many kitchen things. And don’t get me started on my books and clothes. Or my pantry….I have two refrigerators and one of them just holds different types of flour and nuts….I’m a loon what can I say. A kitchen happy flour hoarding loon.

I also saw a surgeon on Monday who says it’s finally time for my gallbladder to come out. I’ve known I’ve had gallstones for about 7 years, but I wasn’t really having symptoms until recently. He told me that my healthy diet* has probably prevented me from having symptoms for a long time, but one of my stones has grown pretty large and now I’m having some issues. Sept. 13 is the date–any well wishes sent my way on that day would be much appreciated! It’s a relatively simple procedure, but general anesthesia always a little scary and I will wake up one organ less than before. Weird.

But enough of that noise. In all this stress a girl needs ice cream. A girl needs a vegan version of this wildly delicious sounding ice cream from Eat the Love.

So recreated it has been and eaten it was. For those of you with ice cream makers….make this. This was some of the creamiest most ridiculous ice cream ever. I would not suggest subbing out the coconut milk for anything else. This ice cream is certainly not diet food. It’s filled with fatty fat fat and should be eaten either in moderation or entirely in one sitting. Just putting it out there.

Valencia Orange Ice Cream w/ Olive Oil & Chocolate Chunks

Ingredients:

3 c canned coconut milk, full fat, not light

2 tbsp arrowroot powder

2 tbsp Valencia orange zest

1/2 c freshly squeezed Valencia orange juice

1/2 c extra-virgin olive oil, cold pressed and local (if you’re in CA)

heaping 1/3 c or 1/2 c unbleached cane sugar ( I used a heaping 1/3 c, but if you like really sweet ice cream, use 1/2 c)

1 1/2 tbsp vanilla extract

1 tbsp vodka

1/2 to 3/4 c dark chocolate chunks

Method:

In a small bowl, mix 1/4 c coconut milk with the arrowroot powder. Set aside. In a medium saucepan, whisk together the remaning coconut milk, orange zest and juice, olive oil and sugar. Bring mixture to a gentle boil, making sure not to get it too hot. You just want to dissolve the sugar. Remove from heat and add in the arrowroot/milk mixture. Next whisk in the vanilla and vodka. Pour everything into a large metal or glass bowl. Chill in the fridge until ice cream base is cold. Use this mixture in your ice cream maker and mix according to the directions. You are going to add in the chocolate chunks during the last few minutes of the process. Don’t add them sooner unless the directions for your ice cream maker allow you to do so. I have a Cuisinart brand one that is very affordable and works great. With my model, you have to save add-ins for the very end or you risk breaking your machine.

*I eat a pretty healthy vegan diet compared to the S.A.D, but not 24/7 you know…I mean, I’m posting about ice cream and this blog is loaded with pies and cookies and things, but I don’t live on desserts or even eat them everyday (I’d like to though!) So, I don’t eat the world’s healthiest diet because I would be even crazier than I am now living a life without pie, but I’d like to think that my diet is still considered healthy by most people’s standards.

Earl Grey Shortbread Hedgehog Cookies with Pixie Tangerine Zest & Citrus Glaze.

Earl Grey is my favorite tea; a distinct black tea with bergamot and citrus. Okay, I am going to make myself a cup after I finish writing this post. I saw this recipe for Earl Grey Shortbread cookies over on Clockwork Lemon. It looked easily veganizable and I had to use the last of my amazing Ojai citrus.

It also turned out that there was a Worldwide Vegan Bakesale event going on right down the street from my house. This bakesale was raising money for the awesome organization Compassion Over Killing. I decided to make up a batch of the above cookies and donate most of them to the bakesale.

I am happy to say they were buttery and delightful. I hope everyone else who got to try them feels the same.

Earl Grey Shortbread Hedgehog Cookies w/ Pixie Tangerine Zest & Citrus Glaze

Veganized from the adapted Martha Stewart recipe found on Clockwork Lemon

Ingredients:

2 c unbleached all purpose flour, minus 1 tbsp

1 tbsp arrowroot

2 tbsp earl grey tea

¼ tsp salt

1 c Earth Balance, room temp

½ c confectioner’s sugar

1 tbsp pixie tangerine zest

Method:

Preheat oven to 375°F. Line two baking sheets with silpats.

Combine flour, tea and salt. Next, in the bowl of your stand mixer, cream together Earth Balance, sugar, and zest until fluffy. With the mixer on low, add the flour mixture.

Gather dough into a ball and chill in the fridge until cool enough to roll out. Roll dough out to about ¼” thick and cut into desired shapes. I don’t know, I was feeling hedgehogs! Bake 10-13 min until edges of cookies just start to turn golden.

For the glaze, I juiced my remaining citrus. It was a combo of navel oranges, pixies, gold nugget tangerines, and a Minneola tangelo. The juice was so good!

Anyhow, take  1-2 tbsp of orange, tangerine etc juice and the zest of a pixie or orange or whatever. Add confectioner’s sugar until a glaze of your desired thickness and consistency comes together.

Blood Orange & Strawberry Fry Pies w/ Rosemary Crust.

Hello glorious blog reading and blog writing friends!

I probably shouldn’t post when I’ve had so much beer and wine (yes, both) and by “so much” I naturally mean one beer and one glass of wine. BUT….I plan to have more! Maybe one more. I don’t know. So, basically I’m finally (at 27) understanding why people need to either come home and have a drink after work or, drink on the weekends….or weekdays, whatev, I don’t judge. Although I love beer and consider myself an amateur connoisseur of such things, in actuality, I don’t really drink very much….especially with the idea of being drunk.

I don’t want to talk too much about my job, but for those who may not know, I am a self-employed dogwalker & petsitter (and very occasional babysitter). You may be thinking, oh snap!!! That’s the best job ever! And… it is in so many ways. But sometimes it’s a lot of pressure. It’s always a lot of responsibility. It’s sometimes stress….so much stress. When you care about people and animals as much as I do….sometimes it can be hard. I don’t know how many people out there are reading my blog, but I bet some of you are are thinking, that’s my job too!! Alas! Such is working….I have my ups and downs, like everyone. I am in need of a vacation, but in reality, I will probably not take a real one until Summer or Fall.

Okay enough about that shit. Oh snap, I  cursed, but seriously, onto a post with a recipe!!!

My latest veganization. I saw these fry pies on Eat the Love and instantly fell in love. Lucky for me I had just enough blood oranges left over from my Ojai trip and had coincidentally gotten some fresh organic strawberries. I love when desserts just fall into place. And into your mouth. I can always manage to cut some fresh rosemary from the garden (so easy to grow), so these came right together for me. I was never about frying them; first, I am nervous to fry in general because I know how unhealthy it is and also has the potential to drench me in a warm yucky nausea….ugh. Since I fry things so rarely, I’m no expert. Needless to say I did the best that I could and they were a success. My testers enjoyed them and so did I.

Blood Orange & Strawberry Fry Pies w/ Rosemary Crust

Adapted from Eat the Love

Recipe requires ADVANCED PREPARTION

Ingredients:

Crust:

2 c flour

½ c non-hydrogenated vegetable shortening

2 tsp fresh rosemary, chopped

½ tsp sea salt

½ c non dairy milk mixed with:

½ tsp apple cider vinegar

Filling:

2 blood oranges, as much skin and pith removed as possible, sliced into thin segments

1 c unbleached cane sugar

¼ tsp salt

1 tsp vanilla

about ½ lb fresh strawberries, hulled and sliced

¼ c plus 2 tbsp arrowroot

A few cups of safflower oil to fry-

Method:

Take your blood orange slices and place them in a bowl with the sugar. Mix it around and refrigerate overnight/8 hours.

After the oranges have sat overnight, add the arrowroot, vanilla and salt. Mix until arrowroot dissolves. Pour mixture into a saucepan and cook over medium high heat. Be careful not to burn the mixture or overcook. Cook until it starts to look translucent. Remove the mixture from the heat and add the strawberries.

To make the dough, combine flour, rosemary, and salt in a mixing bowl and stir. Cut in the shortening using a pastry cutter until the mixture starts to form crumbs. Start adding your vegan buttermilk mixture (non-dairy milk plus apple cider vinegar). Add a few tbsp at a time until the dough comes together.

To assemble, divide the dough into about 6 pieces. Flatten out dough into 4-5 inch disks and place a tbsp of filling inside. Add more if you think it needs more, but be careful not to overfill. Fold your dough over and use a fork to seal the edges closed. If your edges are not sealing, add just a touch of liquid.

Pour oil into medium sauté pan. Heat oil to about 350°F. If you don’t have a candy thermometer, test your oil by sticking the bottom of a wooden spoon into the hot oil (tip courtesy of the Spork Sisters). If bubbles start to form around the base of the tool, the oil is ready for frying.  Alternatively, you can reserve a small scrap of dough and do a test fry as well. Never let the oil smoke. If your oil smokes, remove your pan from the heat, wipe out the burnt oil and start again.

When the oil is ready, use tongs and a spatula to place the first pie into the oil. You can use your spatula to help some oil onto the side facing upward, so that it cooks a bit while the other side is cooking. After a minute or two, flip your pie over and fry the other side. This should only take a few minutes per pie. They will turn golden brown and crispy when they’re done—Fry one pie at a time and place cooked pies on a plate lined with paper towels. Safflower oil tends to lend a less greasy quality to fried foods, so I like it for that reason.

Irvin added a glaze to these once cooked, but I thought they were sinful enough as is. 😉