Recipes and Tips for Foodies like you!

Orange-Honey Glazed Pork Medallions

It’s another busy weekday for me, and I have to rush lunch. I am always looking for new recipes to try, and with our healthy weekday regime, thankfully I don’t have to spend a lot of time cooking it.  I mostly grill during the week, so I adapted this pork chop recipe to make Pork Medallions. I found the recipe thanks to Kristen’s obsession with Everyday Food videos!

The combination of rosemary and citrus is a classic one, and it imparts so much flavor to the meat.  And I loved the grilled oranges that go with it.  This is an easy, make ahead meal that you really should try it at home with some green salad, and some couscous maybe?

Helga

Orange-Honey Glazed Pork Medallions

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Chocolate Pancakes with Orange Chocolate-Maple Syrup

It’s Sunday again and I am debating whether to get up and make breakfast, or keep lounging in bed. We’ve been blessed with a child who is a late sleeper on the weekends. She crawls into bed and the three of us can keep snoozing until 10am. It is late though, I should probably get up. We said we were making pancakes. As we were heading for the kitchen, Kristen thought it would be a good idea to try chocolate pancakes. I don’t know where she got the idea from, we’ve never made chocolate pancakes at home. I was a little reluctant at first.  Really?  chocolate pancakes, with honey on them?  It sounded like something only a child would like. But…. ok. Chocolate pancakes it is.

I started browsing for recipes.  Some of them had too much sugar, and too little cocoa. Some called for melted chocolate…too sweet! I read this recipe and it seemed perfect.  This recipe had a chocolate sauce to pour over them.  It had cream and chocolate in it.  No.

But all the photographs looked to pretty with the chocolate sauce drizzled on top!  And I wanted you guys to see pretty photos, so I thought maybe if I made a semi sweet chocolate honey type of sauce, it would be Ok.

You need to make this recipe this weekend, so go out and get all the ingredients. I really, really mean it. I can’t explain how great these pancakes are!  Since they are made with unsweetened cocoa powder, they are not oversweet. They taste like a rich semi sweet chocolate cake.  As for the sauce, same thing.  I added unsweetened cocoa powder so it was just chocolatey. We kept pouring it as we ate our pancakes.  Make sure you get strawberries and whipped cream, too.

I did not use the melted butter in the recipe, because sometimes I feel like having a denser texture on my pancakes.  I don’t like it when they come out too fluffy.  But that’s just my personal preference.  If you prefer a fluffier, more cake-like texture then please add the butter.  Also, we’re using natural cocoa here so don’t skip on the baking soda. We need it because there is a reaction between this type of cocoa with the baking soda, which tempers its acidity.

Treat yourself and your family, and let us know what you think about this recipe!

Helga

Chocolate Pancakes with Orange Chocolate-Maple Syrup

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Zesty Almond Poppy Seed Cake with Swiss Meringue Buttercream

I can’t believe my Tita (Grandma) is 91! She is a pie master and cook extraordinaire. And, she also helped me create my first cookie business when I was about 9 years old. Tita Flory had this adorable little store called Rainbow, which sold smock dresses, baptism baby gowns, first communion dresses and even hand sewn wedding gowns. I had the pleasure of being awesomely dressed with her creations since I was a baby. Here is a picture of a very excited Kitty with her Hello Kitty Piñata. Rocking a smock dress made by grandma.

Kitty

Back in 1989, she opened this little store in zone 10, and since I was enjoying my end of year vacations, I offered to help her out. Mostly sorting hangers, greeting customers and rearranging dresses. Since there was nothing near by to snack on, I thought that would be a great business idea to sell cookies door to door to the sale clerks around my grandma’s store. She said she would help me if I could get the ingredients for her. Called my dad and  I presented my business idea: selling cookies at $1.25 for a bag of 10. I had no idea how the priced worked out with the costs, but dad agreed. Ingredients, check. Kitchen and assistance with the oven, check. Plastic bags (provided by grandma), check.

The next day I went out around the store offering cookie bags. It was a success. We sold out on the first day, and for the next few days I was a busy 9-year-old: I would work (more like hang out) at the store, went to sell the cookies at around 10AM,  and in the afternoons I’d bake. Later on, I’d pay back my dad (in cookies, of course) and ended up having some little money saved up for the holidays. Grandma Flory gave me my first entrepreneur adventure. Not that I did it perfectly (never paid the investors), but in my 9 year old mind, it was the most profitable business ever.

So, about a month ago, when I asked her what cake did she want for her birthday she said “A cake with orange and poppy seeds”. That was all I needed to know, so I went on a search for the best cake I could find. A week before her birthday, I already had it narrowed down to 3 recipes. Then, that Monday, an email came from Corinne Regalos. My KitchenAid was here!

I ordered my KitchenAid mixer a few months back for my birthday in April, but since it was a special order (a beautiful Aqua Sky KitchenAid Artisan 5-Quart Stand Mixer), they had to bring it in for me, meaning I’d have to be very patient and wait 3 months for it to get here. The wait was all worth it, and what better way to break it in than with Tita’s birthday cake. I went to get the mixer, but as I had a couple of meetings lined up, it wasn’t until her birthday that I was able to use it.

I decided on using Martha Stewart’s Orange Almond Cake with Swiss Meringue Buttercream – on her video, she says that this cake can easily be doubled for a wedding cake, so it gave me a very good idea on the flavor it would be. Since I didn’t have orange zest, I replaced it with lime zest, made my own cake flour (see the note at the end of the recipe), and added poppy seeds after the birthday girl’s request. Don’t let the numerous steps scare you. It is an easy cake to make, and I was able to bake it at 10AM, decorated by 4PM and served at 6PM that same day (with a 45 minute drive in between).  I specially love the Swiss Meringue Buttercream as it doesn’t crystalize, making it so much easier and faster to whip the recipe.  The cake was perfect. it was not overly sweet nor heavy, but still had the almond taste you get from wedding cakes. The cake was a success after seeing it fly off the dinning room table… and the most important thing: grandma loved it.

¡Felíz Cumpleaños Tita!

Kitty

Zesty Almond Poppy Seed Cake with Swiss Meringue Buttercream

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Whole-Wheat Brownies

I didn’t think I’d get away with these Whole-Wheat Brownies but I totally did. Both my dad and my brother are huge chocolate fans, and they love simple desserts. Every time I bake cupcakes or a cake that have something else other than your usual ingredients, they raise a brow. These brownies not only have Whole Wheat Flour in them, but also have Apple Sauce. I honestly thought it was going to be a big flop with those two.

Thankfully, they passed the test. These brownies came out a bit cakey on day one for my taste, but the next day they took a turn for the best. They are chewy and delicious… but they do not have the crunchy top that you would usually see on brownies. That’s what my dad missed from the old brownie recipe. But, all around, they didn’t even notice the whole wheat flour, and much less the apple sauce. That, in my book, is a win!

Kitty

Whole Wheat Brownies

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