Orange Cake

I know that it's another cake recipe.  I've decided though that I just have to stop apologizing.  It's part of who I am.  It's in my DNA.  I wish that I could tell you that it's vegan or no sugar or made completely with whole wheat flour and wheat bran.  I would love to be able to tell you that it's full of flax seed or whatever the hell the latest thing is that going to do everything from lower your cholesterol to adding about 20 years to your life span whilst simultaneously taking 15 years off your face.
It's not.  It's just cake.
I had to make it 'cause the oranges in my house were wilting and I had egg whites people.  EGG WHITES.  And anyway, who wants to eat whole wheat flour and flax seed when they get home from work/school?  Not me.  Even if it's flax seed cake.  I want cake.  Not a lot.  Just enough.  I'll eat a piece of fruit too.  I'll eat some whole wheat bread with natural almond butter... but sometimes I also want a little taste of cake.  And no chocolate this week Please.
Look, I'm not averse to all things healthy and natural and crap.  I like it too.  I use seeds and flax and whole wheat and oats.  I can proudly tell you that D now likes... prefers even... brown rice.  That makes me happy.  What makes me even happier is that my kids prefer to eat my treats than the crap in their hallowe'en bags.  That makes me proud.  Plus, having that little hit of sugar makes the getting home after work so much easier in the middle of November.  Not that November has been so bad.  I'm still collecting little raspberries from the bush and look at what was blooming the other day... it's actually a little weird.

I guess that sometimes you just need the hit.  That little punch to your system.  Maybe we're addicted.  Maybe it's wrong.  But please don't hate me for my cake.  This sweet, innocent little orange cake just needing to be wanted.  It's very unassuming.  It's very simple.  I prefer it with no icing but the rest of the people in my house wanted it so I obliged.

What can I say:
Beautiful flecks of orange peel.
A little icing sugar mixed with cream for the top.  
Egg whites whipped.  
Fantastic smell in the kitchen.
Lovely, spongy, orange, cake.  

Orange Cake adapted from The Silver Palate Cookbook

1/2 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs separated (or 1 yolk and about 3 eggs whites - jeez, maybe I used more than that)
grated zest of 2 oranges
1 1/2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup fresh orange juice

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Grease and flour a 10 inch tube pan and set aside.
Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt together in a bowl and set aside.
Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.  Add in the egg yolks and beat until fluffy.  Add in the orange zest and beat until combined.
Add the flour and orange juice alternately, beginning and ending with the flour.  Beat continuously.
In another bowl beat the egg whites until stiff.  Fold gently into the cake batter.
Pour into the prepared pan.
Bake for 30 - 35 minutes or until the sides pull away from the edge of the pan and a cake tester comes out clean.
Cool for 10 minutes in the pan and the remove to a cooling rack.
Glaze #1 (if you choose) while the cake is still warm.

1/4 cup fresh orange juice
1/4 cup sugar

Heat together for about 5 minutes until it forms a light syrup.  Pour over warm cake.

Glaze #2 (this is the one that I made)

1 1/2 cups icing sugar
enough cream to get it to the desired consistency.
Mix together adding cream a little at a time.
Pour onto cooled cake.

Collard and Roasted Butternut Squash Galette

Don't you just hate it when you've gotten things all ready the day before, you've got the camera set up for some kick-ass shots, you've even got the shot ideas in your head and then you get home from work and since it's the middle of November in the Northern Hemisphere it's already too dark to get those kick-ass awesome shots.  Winter's a bitch sometimes.
I'm not gonna go all freaked out and negative about winter and all that crap I'll just leave it at 'I'm not a fan'.   Remember all those awesome shots that I would get in the summer?  Outside... beautiful breeze (you wouldn't have known that)... probably 7:30 or 8 in the night... beautiful light.  Yeah, I'm missing that right now.
I'm fighting it.  I'm still biking.  I hate the TTC in morning and riding my bike means that I avoid the stress of the subway, save money on tokens AND get to work more quickly.  It's win/win... except for the bloody  cold wind this afternoon.  I'm over it though and I'm gonna keep biking.  It's like my way of giving the finger to winter.  I'm gonna start running again too... as soon as my foot is back in action.  As I've mentioned before, it makes me feel badass.
Truth is I've never felt especially happy about winter.  I think that my year and a half in the caribbean killed my 'Oh I'm Canadian therefor I've got to love winter'.  I've tried with the winter sports and everything.  I like to skate and all but the longterm winter'ness' of winter.  That's when I lose it.  I'm doing my best to keep focussed on the fact that in one month we'll be at the halfway mark of darkness.  The light will begin to come back.  The warm will come to us again.

It seems that the onset of winter has re-ignited my root vegetable quest.  As something that we didn't indulge in (nice phrase there huh?) much when I was a kid, I'm completely fascinated with what I can do with winter root vegetables.  Last year was my first foray into roots for real and serious.  Turnip, parsnip, rutabaga, squashes, beets.  I'm determined to continue.  I found this on the website that I use for my food box.  I've tweaked things a little here and there.  Added cheese, changed the greens, changed the crust recipe... you know tweaked it just a little.  The goat cheese makes it a lot more appealing in my opinion but if you want to go without it then by all means jump in with both feet.  All in all, I like that it's a creative way to use squash.  And it somehow feels very winter appropriate.

Collard Greens and Roasted Butternut Squash Galette
adapted from Front Door Organics
serves 4

Pastry Dough:

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cup + 2 tbsp unsalted butter COLD and cubed
3 - 3 1/2 tbsp ice cold water
3 tbsp sour cream (or plain yogurt - it's what I had)

Combine the flour and cold butter.  Using a fork or a pastry cutter combine the flour and butter until they form a crumbly texture.
Add the sour cream and then the cold water and mix (using hands is fine) until it forms a ball.  Cover and refrigerate at least an hour.

On a lightly floured surface roll out the dough to about 1/4 inch thickness - it does not have to be symmetrical and pretty.
Place the filling in the middle, leaving about 2 - 2 1/2 inches around the edge.  Fold the edges over top of the filling.
Brush a little melted butter over the edges.
Bake about 30 minutes or until the edges are brown.


3 cups butternut squash cubed, oil rubbed and roasted for about 30 minutes at 350 degrees
3 cups collard greens coarsely chopped
1 cup onion sliced thin
dash of Worcestershire sauce
dash of soy sauce
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp paprika
1 tsp basil, oregano
1 1/4 cup goat cheese
1/3 cup parmesan freshly grated

Heat a large pan over med/low heat.  Add a little oil and then add the collard greens and onion.
Let that heat for about 12 minutes stirring as needed.
The onion and greens should be fully wilted.
Add the Worcestershire, soy sauce, salt paprika, basil, oregano and a little sugar if needed.  Stir and check the tastes.  Adjust if necessary.
Add the roasted butternut squash and mix.

Mound the filling in the centre of the galette crust leaving about 2 1/2 inches at the edge.  Dollop the goat cheese in small spoonfuls throughout the filling.  Sprinkle the parmesan on the very top.  Fold the crust edges over the filling.  Finish as above.

Bacon, Lentil and Cabbage Soup/Stew??

It's a cold day.  One of the coldest we've had so far.  I'm not going to tell you how cold because some of you will think that it's beyond imagination and others will laugh and think that it sounds balmy.  Either way, it's cold for Toronto and I've been biking... and I need soup... or stew.  I'm not sure which.
Life has this funny way of getting away from me.  I have all of these plans.  Plans for my day, for what I'm going to do, where I'm going to go, what I'll clean, what I'll cook, who I'm gonna see.  Then something happens.  It can be pretty random.  Someone breaks a finger nail.  Someone needs a stamp.  Someone has to sharpen a pencil... and the next thing I know it's 6pm and the day has flown.  (Toronto is in darkness by 5pm these days so it truly does feel later than it really is) The kitchen floor still has those nasty spots all over it, the toilet is still gross, the laundry that I managed to get washed hasn't been hung up and my awesome new bread recipe hasn't been made and I don't know what the hell happened to the last 8 hours of my life.  Poof and gone.
Then there are these other times when life gives you a present.  There are no kids in the house.  There is no partner in the house.  There are no animals in the house.  There is just you and some music and you've just crossed the last thing off your list for the day.  You open that bottle of wine and sit down.  You open the gift and find that time stands still.
Yeah... doesn't happen very often.

Today time stood still for me while I made this soup.  I was starving.  It was cold.  I knew that it was quite possible that I would be the only one eating it but I made it anyway.  I don't know if it's soup or stew.  I guess that the way I've made it means it's stew - there isn't a lot of liquid.  So just add more tomato or stock then if you want.  I didn't even care whether it was soup or stew.  I loved every minute of the preparation and I had two bowls full of it after that.  Sitting on the couch.  Just me, a movie and my soup/stew.  Glass of wine optional.

Bacon, Lentil and Cabbage Soup/Stew
serves 8 - 10 (maybe more)

1 1/2 cups puy lentils (the dark, tiny, french ones)
3 cups water
2 tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
2 tbsp Soy Sauce
salt to taste
2 tbsp brown sugar or honey
2 bouillion cubes (chicken or vegetable)
2 400 ml jars of diced tomatoes
1 onion, diced
4 rashers bacon, diced
1 cup potato, diced
1 1/2 - 2 cups (about 5 small) carrots diced (parsnip would work too)
3 cups cabbage (red or green), coarsely chopped
1 1/2 tbsp each thyme, parsley, marjoram

Combine the lentils, water, Worcestershire and Soy Sauce together.  Bring to a boil, turn down the heat and simmer for about 1 hour.
Meanwhile heat a lg dutch oven or soup pot over medium heat.  Add in the onion and the bacon.  Swish around for a few minutes letting the bacon cook and the onion get transparent.
Add in the potato, carrot and cabbage.  Swish that around for about 5 minutes, turning the heat down to low as necessary.
Once the lentils are ready add them to the soup pot along with the cooking water.  Add the tomatoes and stir well.  Season the soup with sugar or honey, the herbs and salt to taste.
Simmer over low heat for about an hour or until the carrots and potatoes have softened.
Enjoy with some crusty, chewy, grainy bread.

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St Michael's Choir School is celebrating it's 75th anniversary year of service to St Michael's Cathedral. Part of the school celebration is a trip to Italy where our boys from Grades 5 - 12 will be performing and celebrating Mass. This blog will be chronicling our adventures. Wanda Thorne is the Vocal Coach at St Michael's Choir School. Gerard Lewis is the Grade 7/8 Homeroom teacher at the Choir School.

My Favourite Cookbooks

  • Naparima Girls High School Cookbook
  • The Silver Palate Cookbook
  • More-with-Less Cookbook
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About Me

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Wanda Thorne
St Michael's Choir School is celebrating it's 75th anniversary year of service to St Michael's Cathedral. Part of the school celebration is a trip to Italy where our boys from Grades 5 - 12 will be performing and celebrating Mass. This blog will be chronicling our adventures. Wanda Thorne is the Vocal Coach at St Michael's Choir School. Gerard Lewis is the Grade 7/8 Homeroom teacher at the Choir School.
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