Blood oranges: Mother Nature’s ombre playground

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It’s blood orange season! They are just absolutely gorgeous, I never get tired of that beautiful color.

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They remind me of stained glass… appropriate, considering architecture and food are two of my fave things (really?! I’m sure you had NO idea). Case in point: old and new! A favorite juxtaposition.

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I love how they’re variegated in color too – you never quite know what you’re getting. Dark red? Ombre? Everything is fair game when mother nature gets involved.

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It’s sunny and beautiful today!! I’ve been enjoying the rain but I must say I’m not minding the sun either… AND it’s ski season! Tahoe-bound this week to get back on my K2 babies — it’s been way too long. Actually I’m currently sitting OUTSIDE to write this, what?! Weird. But awesome. Hooray for wifi that extends into the back yard!

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But back to food. This tart is perfect winter dessert — I’m also pretty sure I’ve said that about the last five citrus desserts I’ve made but that’s because it’s TRUE! Citrus + winter = made for each other. The brightness of the citrus perks up even the greyest of days, even for someone like me who *likes* the grey! (I like sun too, don’t get me wrong)

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Highly recommended, easy and delicious. This can also be made in stages and left overnight in the fridge before serving, so it’s a user-friendly experience all around. Lightly sweet, lightly tart, orangey & chocolatey.

Happy weekend!

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Blood Orange Curd Tart on a Chocolate Coconut Crust with Candied Ginger

Blood orange curd is like lemon, only it’s orange! Brilliant, no? Ha. Lightly sweet, somewhat tart (though less so than it’s lemony cousin), complemented by a chocolate coconut crust and candied ginger… for breakfast and dessert! Gluten free, grain free, dairy free, refined sugar free, pretty much paleo. Yield: 1 9″ pie dish; serving sizes are up to your discretion. A Wait are Those Cookies original – the curd is riffed off of my usual go-to, and the crust is an easy favorite I’ve modified many times for different tarts.

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For the curd (make at least one day ahead so it can chill overnight in the fridge)

  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 c coconut oil
  • 1/4 c honey
  • 1/8 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 c blood orange juice
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • zest from 3 blood oranges
  • 1 tsp vanilla

In a saucepan over medium-low heat, combine eggs, coconut oil, honey, sea salt, blood orange juice, lemon juice and orange zest. Whisk to combine and continue to cook, whisking constantly for about 10-15 minutes – it should be just on the edge of a low boil. The curd should thicken and your whisk will make tracks – it will still be runny but will firm up a bit in the fridge. Strain curd through a metal strainer into a glass container and let cool completely before storing in the fridge (overnight is preferable, but at least 4 hours if pressed for time).

For the crust:

  • 1.25 c almond flour
  • 1/4 c unsweetened cacao powder
  • 1/2 c unsweetened shredded coconut
  • heaping 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp pure maple syrup
  • 3.5 tbsp coconut oil, melted

In a large bowl, stir together almond flour, cacao powder, coconut, sea salt, and baking soda. Add in vanilla, maple, and melted coconut oil and stir until completely combined. The dough will look crumbly, but you’ll be able to press it together with your fingers.

Preheat the oven to 350, and lightly grease a pie plate with coconut oil. Press the crust into the plate and up the sides with a spoon or your fingers, creating a smooth edge (or not, your call!). Poke the bottom with a fork a few times, and bake for 15 minutes. Remove and let cool.

For garnish:

  • 2 small blood oranges, sliced thinly
  • candied ginger
  • shredded coconut

Assembly:

Once the crust is cool, pour the curd into the crust and bake at 350 for 10-15 minutes or until the curd is just set when you jiggle the pan. Let cool completely and chill for an hour or two before topping.

Top the cooled tart with sliced oranges & candied ginger + shredded coconut if that’s your jam (melted chocolate wouldn’t come amiss either, I’m sure)… Serve immediately, or store in the fridge for a few hours before serving. Refrigerate any leftovers – I usually just cover the original pie dish with foil but an airtight container works just fine too.

Happy eating!

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An obsession with perpendicular vaulting and also rice pudding

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I kind of love Harry Potter.

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As in, not the kid. Obviously. But the books! And the movies, on a certain level. They’re just so my generation. And besides, when I turned eleven and didn’t get a Hogwarts letter, I convinced myself that the yank version of Hogwarts started later, and that I still had a chance to be magical. Doesn’t every little kid at some point want to do magic? Wand waving type magic though, not the sawing people in half variety…

My patronus would undoubtedly be a tiger… which is really just a big kitty!!

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I also wish I had classes in a castle. I mean, HELLO have you SEEN the perpendicular vaulting in there?! It’s freaking gorgeous (Side note: during the epic battle of Hogwarts takes place in the last book, I kind of had a mini panic attack until I reminded myself that it was a set, and not some piece of glorious architecture). And um, turrets?! Lancet windows? The great hall ceiling?? And staircases that move? (wait, maybe no on that last one for expediency’s sake…) Anywayyy. Nerd alert! Ever since I wrote my thesis I’ve been startlingly aware of gothic architecture. At one point I toyed with the idea of proposing a thesis discussing the Hogwarts architecture in relation to the neo-gothic, but I kind of didn’t think that would go over real well… Whatever. It would have been an entertaining presentation!

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Anyway. Enough babble: time for dessert (which is obviously why you’re all here anyway, riiiight? Or can it be that you really like reading my random tangents? Wait. Don’t answer that). I have an Italian dessert for you today, which is kind of a cross between baked rice pudding and a soufflé. It’s delicious. I don’t care if you don’t like rice pudding, you should make this anyway. Big thanks to Elaine and Ramona who dropped off a massive bag of blood oranges for me! I’m still figuring out what to do with the rest, but never fear, they’ll go in many delicious things I’m sure.

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Torte di Riso

Ever so slightly adapted from Nutmegs, seven, here! I was able to get 9 servings out of my 10″ springform pan. This torte is delicious, worth every minute of stirring over the stove. It is dense yet light, chewy yet fluffy. The blood oranges lend it just a little bit of citrusy overtones, and the vanilla bean makes your kitchen smell like heaven. I know those little beans are expensive, but seriously: this is worth it!

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  • 4 c milk (I used 3.25 unsweetened almond milk, 0.75 c 1% dairy, as that’s what I had)
  • 1 vanilla bean, split
  • zest of 1 blood orange
  • 1/3 c granulated sugar
  • 7/8 c arborio rice
  • 3.5 tbsp blood orange juice
  • 3 large eggs, separated

Add milk, vanilla bean, orange zest, and sugar into a saucepan, and bring to a boil. Add the rice and simmer for 30 minutes, until the rice has absorbed most of the liquid (Mine went for more like 40 minutes, so use your best judgement). The rice should be cooked and slightly al dente. Whisk it good a few times, then leave to cool (if you can prevent yourself from eating it straight out of the pan… not that I speak from experience or anything *ahem*). It should thicken a bit more as it cools.

Preheat the oven to 350, and grease a 10″ springform pan (I used coconut oil as usual).

In a small bowl, lightly whisk the egg yolks; then add in orange juice and whisk until thick and gorgeously orangey. Stir this into the cooled rice. Whip the egg whites until they hold stiff peaks, then fold 1/3 of them into the rice. Once incorporated, fold in the rest.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan, evening out the top with a spatula. Bake for 60-65 minutes, until a tester comes out clean (mine went for exactly 60). If the cake browns too much during baking, loosely cover the top with foil. Let cool, then cut with a sharp knife! I stored mine in the fridge and it kept well for a few days (let’s be real, it only lasted about two).

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