Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Orange Pecan Cake

Coffee Break with Cake

Dense, moist, delicious with a kiss of orange - that describes this cake. If you follow The Cooking School's blog, it is evident that we enjoy a one-pan cake. This particular cake is not too sweet, so you might enjoy it for breakfast, dessert or coffee break. What makes this cake unusual is the use of the whole orange to impart flavor and aroma. If you happen to have leftovers, the taste and texture are still the same the next day. 

The cake will easily come out of the pan if you line the bottom with parchment paper. Grease the bottom of the cake pan, line with parchment paper and then grease the paper. If you've never lined a round pan, simply place the pan on top of a piece of parchment, trace the round edge with a pencil, then cut out along the inside of the pencil line. It should fit perfectly into the pan. You can use cooking spray to grease the pan or butter - whatever you have.

Quarter the orange, remove the seeds, and add it to the bowl of the food processor.

Process until smooth, stopping to scrape down the sides at least once.

You can tell from the photo that the end result should look somewhat like the texture of applesauce.

Dissolve the baking soda in 1/2 cup of water. Add all the ingredients except the nuts to the food processor bowl.

Process until combined. Add the pecans. You can fold them in with a spoon or pulse a couple times to combine. Take care not to over-pulse; you may lose the texture of the nuts.

Pour the batter into the prepared baking tin. Sprinkle with coarse sugar.

Bake 50-60 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean.

Cool on a rack for 15-20 minutes, run a knife around edge of cake and invert on to a cooling rack to cool completely.

Orange Pecan Cake


1 naval orange, washed and unpeeled
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ cup water
1 stick butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups flour
1 cup chopped toasted pecans
Coarse baker’s sugar, optional, for top

Preheat oven to 325°. Grease an 8-inch round cake pan, line the bottom with parchment paper and grease paper.

Cut the orange into quarters, remove any seeds and blend in a food processor until smooth, scraping down sides at least once.

Dissolve baking soda in ½ cup water and add to the food processor with butter, sugar, eggs, vanilla and flour. Process to combine. Add pecans and stir with a spoon or pulse a few times to incorporate.

Pour batter into prepared cake tin and sprinkle with coarse baker’s sugar. Bake 50-60 minutes, until a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool on a rack for 15-20 minutes, run a knife around edge of cake and invert on to cooling rack to cool completely.
Serves 8

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Quiche Lorraine Frittata

Summertime Picnic Fare

June is a good month to picnic outdoors whether at the park or on your deck. Served warm or at room temperature, a frittata is ideal picnic fare. It's delicious, not messy, hearty, yet surprisingly light. Along with a fresh green salad dressed with a simple vinaigrette and chilled wine, this Quiche Lorraine Frittata is a relaxing, fuss-free meal. We used our favorite Applewood smoked bacon and Gruyere cheese for a sensational flavor combination. Jungle Jim's International Market offers an incredible selection of domestic and imported cheeses, so you can experiment with something other than Gruyere if you'd like to. And if you are a frequent shopper, you know we carry a grand selection of beer and wine!

Applewood smoked bacon is heavenly! The aroma and flavor is hard to beat. You can use regular bacon, but we wouldn't suggest it. Cooking bacon in the oven is quick and less messy than frying on the stovetop. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees, line a baking sheet with foil and bake for 25-30 minutes or until the bacon is as crisp as you like. Applewood smoked bacon is thick, so thin bacon may take less time.

Remove the bacon from the pan and allow to cool on paper towels while absorbing some of the fat.

Line a 7x11-inch baking dish with parchment paper. The edges will bunch up a bit in the corners - you can see from the photo that it looks rustic, not so neat and tidy.

Chop the bacon. Try not to snack on a couple pieces. Better yet, bake a couple extra slices in anticipation of "sampling."

Have your ingredients ready. You'll have to shred your own Gruyere. Whisk the eggs and milk. Fold in the bacon and cheese, keeping back a small amount of each to sprinkle on top. Season with black pepper to taste.

 Pour into the parchment-lined baking dish. You can see the reserved amount of cheese and bacon that we scattered on top before baking.

Bake 35 - 40 minutes or until set.

Allow the frittata to rest 5-10 minutes before slicing and serving. You can cut the frittata right in the baking dish or you can lift it out by the edges of the parchment paper, transfer to a cutting board and slice.

Quiche Lorraine Frittata

8 large eggs
¾ cup milk
8 ounces applewood smoked bacon, cooked crisp and chopped
6 ounces shredded gruyere cheese
Freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 325°. Line an 11x7-inch baking dish with parchment paper – just scrunch it roughly at the corners.

Whisk together the eggs and milk in a large bowl. Stir in the bacon and cheese, reserving a little of each for the top. Season with black pepper to taste. Pour mixture into prepared baking dish and spread evenly. Scatter reserved bacon and cheese over top.

Bake for 35-40 minutes, until golden and set. Remove from oven and allow to rest 5-10 minutes before slicing and serving. May be served hot, warm or at room temperature.

Serves 4-6

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Sweet and Spicy Asian Chicken Tenders

Chicken and Noodles with an Asian Twist!

Vibrant color and taste are the hallmark features of this week's Sweet and Spicy Asian Chicken Tenders from the kitchen at The Cooking School at Jungle Jim's International Market. A plump jalapeno, a fragrant bunch of cilantro and tender scallions form the base of the sauce and give it a beautiful green color and sassy aroma! Consider this easy-to-prepare recipe for dinner tonight.

We like the brown rice and wheat udon noodles found in the Natural Foods department. They come in just the right size - 8.8 ounch package - for this dish. No one or two ounces left over to find their way to the hidden spots in the back of your cupboard! Any soba or udon noodle will work if you can't get the Eden noodles we used. Get your pot of salted water boiling before you start the chicken. The noodles should be drained and kept warm in anticipation of being slathered with sauce.

A food processor makes quick work of the sauce ingredients:  a roughly chopped jalapeno, one peeled garlic clove, 1 tablespoon peeled and finely chopped fresh ginger, 1/4 cup honey, 2 teaspoons sesame oil, 3/4 cup cilantro, 3 tablespoon white wine and salt and pepper. 

Process the ingredients until smooth. It smells so good!

Add the sauce to the browned chicken tenders. If you have boneless, skinless chicken breasts in your refrigerator, you can slice them diagonally into "tenders."  Purchasing pre-packaged chicken tenders makes this dish really easy to put together.

Simmer for 2-3 minutes. The sauce will thicken a bit and coat the chicken pieces.

Put the drained, warm noodles in a large serving bowl and place the pieces of chicken on top. Spoon the sauce over the chicken and noodles. Sprinkle the chopped green onions and black sesame seeds over the dish and you are ready to dine!

Sweet and Spicy Asian Chicken Tenders

2 tablespoons olive oil
12 uncooked chicken tenders (or you can slice boneless chicken breasts)

1 clove garlic, peeled
1 jalapeno, seeds removed
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped
1/4 cup honey
2 teaspoons sesame oil
3/4 cup chopped cilantro
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly group black pepper
3 tablespoons white wine or chicken broth or orange juice

8 oz. cooked, warm Japanese noodles (soba or udon)
1/2 cup chopped green onions (green and white parts)
1 teaspoon black sesame seeds, optional garnish

Heat olive oil in an 11-inch non-stick skillet over medium heat. Place chicken tenders into the hot pan and cook for 5-6 minutes until just cooked through.

Drop garlic into running food processor and process until minced. Add jalapeno, ginger, honey, sesame oil, cilantro, salt and pepper and process. Scrape sides of the bowl and add wine. Process until smooth. Pour sauce over chicken tenders in skillet. Cook for an additional 2-3 minutes until chicken is hot and sauce has reduced slightly. 

Place warm noodles into a large serving bowl. Pour sauce and chicken tenders over noodles. Garnish with chopped green onions and black sesame seeds. 

Serves 4

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Baked Spanish-Style Chicken and Vegetables

Dinner in One Dish

This recipe for Baked Spanish-Style Chicken and Vegetables proves that you can eat a low-fat, healthy meal and still appreciate great flavors. No additional fat is added to the beyond what is in chorizo. The Cooking School at Jungle Jim's International Market is committed to helping you become an everyday gourmet! Introduce your family to the flavors of Spain. Sweet smoked paprika is a definitive spice found in Spanish cooking, so you'll want to purchase a jar. There really is no substitute for it's smoky flavor. The Cooking School sells our own spices and we carry smoked paprika in a small, 2.5 ounce jar.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Have a 9x13 inch baking dish ready. Put the onions, potatoes, garlic and tomatoes in the baking dish. Season generously with salt and pepper, toss, and roast for 20 minutes.

While the vegetables are roasting, skin the chorizo and slice into thin rounds. Spanish-style chorizo is cured and ready to eat as opposed to a fresh, Mexican-style chorizo which must be cooked. Prepare the chicken thighs, slice the pepper and mix the spices. Remove the vegetables from the oven and stir in the sliced chorizo. Increase the oven temperature to 425 degrees.

Layer the prepared boneless, skinless chicken thighs on top and season with the spice mixture.

The sweet smoked paprika and oregano smells delightful. It's okay if some of the mixture gets on the vegetables! 

Return the baking pan to the now 425 degree oven and roast for another 20 minutes.

Remove from the oven and baste the chicken with the pan juices and then add the sliced yellow pepper strips. Return the pan to the oven and bake another 20-25 minutes or until the chicken is browned and done. This is a complete, one-dish meal, so serve and enjoy!

Spanish-Style Chicken Bake

1 white onion, cut into 8 wedges
1 red onion, cut into 8 wedges
1 pound small new potatoes, quartered
8 whole peeled garlic cloves
6 Roma tomatoes, quartered
Salt and pepper
2½ ounces Spanish cooking chorizo, skinned and thinly sliced
1 teaspoon smoked paprika, divided use
1 teaspoon dried oregano, divided use
8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed and each slashed 2-3 times
1 yellow bell pepper, cut into strips

Preheat oven to 400°.

Place onions, potatoes, garlic and tomatoes in a 9x13-inch baking dish. Season generously with salt and pepper. Toss everything together and roast for 20 minutes.

Remove pan from oven and stir in chorizo, ½ teaspoon smoked paprika and ½ teaspoon dried oregano. Place chicken on top of vegetable/chorizo mixture and season with salt and pepper. In a small bowl, stir together remaining ½ teaspoon smoked paprika and ½ teaspoon dried oregano and sprinkle over chicken.

Return pan to oven, increase heat to 425°, and roast an additional 20 minutes.

Remove pan from oven, baste chicken with pan juices and tuck yellow pepper strips in around the chicken. Return pan to the oven and roast another 20-25 minutes, until chicken is browned and cooked through.

Serves 4