Thursday, May 19, 2016

Orange and Ginger Upside-down Cake

The ingredients for May's Improv Cooking Challenge were Orange and Ginger. A very tasty combination whether used in a savory dish or a sweet treat. Well since we've all been working so hard getting ready for our move next month  I decided we deserved a sweat treat for a reward. I thought it would be the perfect  way to cool down after all of our packing and purging.
I found this Orange and Ginger Upsidedown Cake recipe on The Chew website.  I decided that I was going to cheat a little though, and make the recipe using a white cake mix I already had at the house. It was very simple and worked out wonderfully. My family really enjoyed the finished product and I'm sure I'll  make it again. Here's my ingredients.

Zest the three oranges and set the zest aside.  Slice off the tops and bottoms of  the oranges. Now slice away the rind and pith, from top to bottom. Just  follow the curve of the fruit. Segment each orange, discard any seeds and set them aside. Reserve 2 tablespoons of orange juice.

In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt 3 tablespoons of butter. Add the brown sugar and reserved orange juice and stir until everything is dissolved, about 2 to 3 minutes. Place this mixture into the bottom of your cake pan. Place the orange segments on top of the brown sugar mixture in a circular fashion, overlapping as necessary. 
Now to get the cake mixed up. Put the cake mix, 3 eggs, 2 tsp. cinnamon, 1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg, 2 tsp. ground ginger, 1/3 cup of sour cream and 1/4 cup water. Mix on medium for about 3 minutes. Gently spoon over the oranges. Tap the pan on the counter a couple times to remove any air bubbles. Bake in a preheated oven at 350* for 25 minutes. Remove and allow to cool for 10 minutes. Run a knife around the edges and turn out onto your cake platter. Serve with a dollop of slightly sweetened fresh whipped cream.

*since I modified the recipe, I had a little leftover batter. I used it to make cupcakes for lunch treats for my brother.

Come check out the other tasty creations in this month's Improv Cooking Challenge.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Fresh and Tasty Tomato Soup

Here's what you'll need to make this wonderful fresh and tasty soup.
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, sliced
pinch of salt
2 lbs tomatoes (about 10 med tomatoes)
2 cloves garlic, sliced
1 tbsp uncooked white rice, this will thicken your soup
sprig of fresh thyme 
3-4 fresh basil leaves 
1/2 bay leaf 

Place the butter and olive oil in a heavy pot. I used my Dutch oven. To this add your pealed and sliced onions. Gently cook them over a medium heat while you wash and core your tomatoes. 
When your onions are nice and soft, toss the garlic into the pot and cook for a two minutes more.
Now, add the chopped tomatoes, salt, rice, bay leaf and your fresh herbs to the pot of onions.  Cover and simmer, stirring every now and then until the tomatoes are well cooked and break apart easily.

As I mentioned the rice is the thickening agent in this soup.  It does a good job, and it keeps the fat and calorie count down a little. However if you don't mind the calories you can substitute cream for the water. The calorie count goes up, but you will get a very fresh and tasty bowl of cream of tomato soup that quite frankly leaves Campbell's in the dust. 
Now you are going to add~ 

1 cup water or cream if you don't mind the ᑕᗩᒪoᖇieᔕ :)
1 more tbsp butter
another pinch of salt

Cover and cook for a few more minutes to melt the butter and to ensure that your rice is nice and tender.
Take the soup off the heat and remove the bay leaf and herbs. Puree it to your liking. I used my Ninja, but depending how thick or chunky you might like it an immersion blender would work fine too. 

Enjoy your soup with a salad or a grilled cheese sandwich.