Mandarin Orange Cake

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? The Next Step: Mandarin Orange Cake! For all those gloomy days out there, a taste of sunshine comes to greet you in a naturally sweet cake. Did you realize mandarin oranges don’t only come in a can? Actually, you know them by other names in the produce department: “Halos” and “Cuties”. Sometimes people refer to mandarin oranges as clementines or tangerines. Small world, huh? Whatever you choose to call them, their pretty color and ease in peeling make them a popular choice. This cake recipe is versatile enough to be baked in a muffin tin, miniature bundt molds, or as a single-layer coffeecake. Something else to think about. The sugary glaze tops it all.

MANDARIN ORANGE CAKE

Ingredients:

1 1/4 cup flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

3/4 cup sugar

1/3 cup butter, melted

1 large egg

1/2 teaspoon orange extract

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

zest of one orange

1/2 cup milk

Ingredients for Orange Glaze:

1 cup powdered sugar

2 tablespoons orange juice

Orange peel zest, for garnish

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350°. Spray miniature bundt molds with nonstick oil with added flour. Sift together flour and baking powder in a bowl. Set aside. Cream together sugar and butter in a medium bowl. Add egg; mixing well before adding orange extract, vanilla extract, and zest of one orange. Gently fold in flour mixture, alternating with milk. Stir until combined. Divide mixture into miniature bundt molds, filling 2/3 full. Bake 30 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean. Prepare orange glaze by combining powdered sugar and orange juice. Stir until smooth. When cakes are golden brown, remove from oven. Cool slightly before inverting molds onto a wire rack. Remove molds. Transfer cakes to a platter to finish cooling. Drizzle with orange glaze and garnish with orange zest. Serve warm.

Eating My Way Through the Holidays! Yuletide Favs: Fabulous Fruit Dip!

Eating My Way Through the Holidays! Yuletide Favs: Fabulous Fruit Dip! Recently I served a delightful fruit cup for breakfast when family came to visit. Because it is made with Greek yogurt and nutmeg, it’s an impressive alternative to ordinary yogurt. Think of it as Fabulous-in-a-Cup. Whether you decide to arrange a generous fruit platter for a crowd or scale it down to individual portions, the results are the same: heavenly delicious!

FABULOUS FRUIT DIP

Ingredients:

1 large orange*

8 ounces of Neufchâtel cheese, room temperature

4 ounces marshmallow Creme

1/4 cup Greek yogurt

1 teaspoon orange extract

1/8 teaspoon orange zest

Smidgen nutmeg

Assorted fresh fruits

Mint Sprig for Garnish

Instructions:

Cut 1/3 off the top of the orange to create a “bowl”. Carefully run a sharp knife around the inside. Do not cut through the peel. Gently scoop out the fruit. Set aside. In a medium bowl, mix together Neufchâtel cheese and marshmallow creme. Beat until smooth. Fold in Greek yogurt. Make the zest by using the top portion of the orange peel. Add orange extract, zest, and nutmeg. Blend thoroughly. Chill one hour. Scoop into the orange “bowl” before serving. Garnish with fresh mint sprig. Place on a serving platter surrounded by fresh fruit.

* For individual servings, choose four small navel oranges.

Eating My Way Through the Holidays! Special Edition: Pomegranate Arils

#Eating My Way Through the Holidays! What’s cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Home For the Holidays: Precious Pomegranate Arils! Never mind the antioxidants, vitamins A or C, or it’s antiviral benefits; these seeds are amazingly sweet. Add lime zest for zing and pizzazz. Did you know there are over a hundred juicy gem-like seeds in every pomegranate? Another reason to choose this powerfully magnetic mythological mystery. 
PRECIOUS POMEGRANATE ARILS
Ingredients:

1 ripe pomegranate 

1 fresh lime
Instructions:

Make sure the pomegranate’s skin is hard to the touch. No dark spots or blemishes which indicate bruising. There’s more than one way to open a pomegranate. For me, the underwater technique wins my vote. It’s less messy without staining my fingers red and can be done in a few minutes. Fill a large bowl with cool water. Cut the end that looks like a small crown. Then score the skin as though you were going to quarter the fruit. Basically this gives you a line where you can separate it into four sections. Now place one section under water. Turn the skin inside out. The seeds will sink to the bottom of the bowl and the membrane will float. Remove the membrane pieces and repeat with the remaining three sections. When finished pour the bowl of water through a strainer to rinse the pomegranate arils. Transfer them back to the empty bowl. Take a fresh lime and zest the entire skin. Quarter the lime squeezing the juice over all. Use the ruby red seeds to garnish beverages, top yogurt, embellish a smoothie, or as a simple indulgence. 

Eating My Way Through the Alphabet; Letter Z

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Appetizers to Desserts: Zested Orange Cranberry Sauce! Infuse the traditional cranberry sauce with cinnamon, orange, and citrus to reap a perfect blend of holiday flavors. By simmering the mixed fruits together, it transforms ordinary sauce into a fancier version of a popular classic. Elevate your taste buds from semi-sweet to welcome complement. Top off baked Brie, spoon onto a dish of yogurt, or slather across a piece of toast. It’s perfect for now as well as all season long. 
ZESTED ORANGE CRANBERRY SAUCE
Ingredients:

1/2 cup orange marmalade 

2 tablespoons grated orange rind

1/8 teaspoon granulated lemon zest

3/4 cup sugar

2 cinnamon sticks

1 cup fresh orange juice, from 2 oranges

1 12-ounce package fresh cranberries 
Instructions:

Combine marmalade, orange rind, and lemon zest. Set aside. Combine juice, sugar, and cinnamon sticks in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil. Add cranberries and return to boil. Reduce heat. Simmer for 10 minutes or until cranberries pop and sauce begins to thicken. Remove from heat. Stir in marmalade mixture. Cover and chill.