Friday, February 25, 2011

It's In the Bag!

Today was the Farmer's Market Bag class at Great News and this is what was in the bag---how gorgeous is this produce?  From left baby golden beets, Cara Cara oranges, Easter Egg Radishes, Vulcan lettuce, purple pepper, pea tendrils, cauliflower, fresh dates from Santee, asparagus, and a white bell pepper.  My job, figure out how to make all of these fit into a class of 2 1/2 hours with recipes that are simple and tasty---this is my favorite class to teach since everyone is so eager to learn about what's seasonal, local and delish!

I'm very grateful to the gang at Specialty for trusting me with their gorgeous produce, and to Great News for taking a chance on a class without a menu (it's a surprise every time!) and to the students who come and enjoy every bit of what is done in class.  Today we featured the Brandt beef that you can order with your Farmer's Market bag and it was sensational!!!

I'm going to post a few more recipes, if you bought the FMB and were not at the class, these are some delicious ways to use some of the produce in the bag.

Cara Cara Orange Layer Cake with Orange Curd Filling and Whipped Orange Mascarpone Frosting
Orange Curd
Makes about 4 cups
1 cup sugar
6 large eggs
1/2 to 2/3 cup fresh squeezed Cara Cara Orange juice
1/2 cup unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1.      In a 2-quart saucepan, combine the sugar, eggs, and juice and whisk until smooth. Set over medium heat and continue to whisk until the mixture begins to thicken, this may take about 5 minutes. 
2.      Stir in the butter cubes, a bit at a time, and continue to cook, stirring constantly, until the curd is thickened. 
3.      Remove from the heat, press a piece of plastic wrap directly against the surface to keep a skin from forming, and let cool to room temperature.
4.      Do-Ahead: At this point, you can refrigerate for up to 1 week or freeze for up to 2 months. Defrost before continuing. 
For the cake

2 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
2 1/2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla paste (or vanilla extract)
2 teaspoons grated orange zest
1 teaspoon orange oil or 2 teaspoons orange extract (optional)
5 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup Cara Cara orange juice

1.      Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, and coat the inside of two 9-inch round cake pans.
2.      In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar until they are light and fluffy.  Add the vanilla, zest and oil, if using.
3.      Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition, scraping down the sides of the bowl.
4.      Mix the sour cream and orange juice together, add with the flour, baking soda and salt, and beat until the mixture comes together and is smooth. 
5.      Transfer the batter into the prepared pans.  Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until a skewer inserted in to the center comes out clean. 
6.      Transfer the cake pan to a rack and allow to cool for EXACTLY 10 minutes.  Remove from the pans, and cool completely on cooling racks.  
7.      The cake keeps wrapped airtight at room temperature for up to 5 days, freezes for about 2 months. 

For the Frosting

2 cups whipping cream
1 1/2 cups mascarpone cheese
1 1/2 cups orange curd (see recipe above)
1.      In the large bowl of an electric mixer, using the whisk attachment, whip the cream until stiff. 
2.      Add the mascarpone and orange curd, and whip again until stiff. 
3.      At this point, the frosting can be refrigerated for up to 2 days, or frozen for up to 2 months. 

To assemble the cake

1.      When all the components are cool, put one cake layer on a cake stand or a cardboard cake round.
2.      Spread the orange curd over the cake to make a 1/4-inch layer. 
3.      Top with a layer of the frosting. 
4.      Put the second layer on top of the first. 
5.      Using an off-set spatula, spread the frosting on the top and sides of the cake. 
6.      Refrigerate the cake for at least 4 hours, or up to 2 days.  

Roasted Baby Golden Beets with Pomegranate Vinaigrette

Serves 4

One bunch baby golden beets

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and line a baking sheet with a silicone baking liner, parchment or foil  To roast the beets, scrub them, cut off the tops and lay them on the baking sheet.  Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, for tiny beets, 25 to 35 for 1 1/2 to 2-inch beets, and 55 to 65 minutes for larger beets.  Cool completely, and peel—it’s a lot easier to peel them after they are roasted. 

Pomegranate Vinaigrette

Makes about 2 cups

1/2 cup Pomegranate juice
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
2 teaspoons sugar
1 medium shallot, finely chopped
1 cup canola oil
1 teaspoon salt
2 drops Tabasco
1.      In a large bowl, whisk together the ingredients, until blended.
2.      The dressing will keep refrigerated for up to 4 days. 

To Assemble the salad

Slice the beets about 1/2-inch thick, and toss with some of the vinaigrette.  Allow to mellow at room temperature for at least 40 minutes before serving.    Serve them over mixed greens, or on the side with grilled chicken, fish or steak. 

Roasted Shallot and Cauliflower Soup
Serves 6 to 8

One medium head cauliflower, cut into florets
2 medium shallots, finely chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup good quality olive oil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
1/2 cup heavy cream (optional—add more broth if you prefer)
2 to 4 tablespoons snipped chives for garnish

Line a baking sheet with a silicone baking liner, or aluminum foil and preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  In a bowl, toss together the cauliflower, shallots, salt, pepper and oil.   Transfer to the baking sheet and roast for 12 to 15 minutes until the cauliflower is crisp, but tender.  Remove from the oven and let it cool.  In a large saucepan, or Dutch oven, melt the butter, and whisk in the flour, cooking the flour for 3 minutes.  Add the broth, and bring to a boil, whisking until it is thickened.  Add the contents of the baking sheet to the soup, and stir to blend.  (If you would like a puree, use an immersion blender to puree the soup, otherwise, if the cauliflower is cut into bite sized pieces, you can leave them whole.  Add the cream and bring to serving temperature.  Serve the soup garnished with snipped chives or cooked crumbled bacon. 

The hammering continues here at Chez Phillips, but I can see progress, I'll post some photos over the weekend, but the best part is that I can see the progress.  We will have a dead spot here after the granite people measure for counter tops, and that will seem like we are waiting for grass to grow.  I hope you all have a wonderful weekend, and enjoy whatever you are doing.  Me, I'm watching the San Diego State Mens' Basketball game tonight and eating lobster mac and cheese with Dr. C.  Go Aztecs!

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