New Castle News

January 27, 2012

Culinary Conversation: It’s time to get your orange on

Lugene Hudson
New Castle News

NEW CASTLE — Life is about routines.

Get up, shower, have coffee, get dressed and go to work.

Most of us probably eat the same type of breakfast every day. Some skip it all together.

For me, breakfast — considered the most important meal of the day — revolves around a sustaining protein. However, no matter what I have for lunch, there’s a constant. It includes an orange, which is my favorite fruit and one I never tire of.

Oranges are the most commonly grown tree fruit in the world, I learned from online research.

The trees are widely cultivated in tropical and subtropical climates. In 2008, 68.5 million tons of oranges were grown worldwide, primarily in Brazil, and California and Florida. Much is processed to extract orange juice.

My mother used to say that an orange tasted good when nothing else did. It was her “go-to” food when she didn’t feel at her best.

It got me to thinking about a recipe from home economics class at Shenango called orange milk. It sounds a little unappetizing now, but at the time, it was the only combo that that got me to swallow the one dairy product I dislike. Now I realize the drink that uses only a few ingredients was actually a sort of predecessor to the Orange Julius stands that erupted in malls everywhere in the 1970s.

That led to a succession of oranginess thoughts. I had orange shorts in 11th grade, but that was a fashion faux pas I’d rather forget. But orange has found its way into movies, songs and more. There’s “The Orange Blossom Special,” “Orange Colored Sky,” “A Clockwork Orange” and of course, the Orange Bowl.

The citrus fruit itself is a favorite in so many recipes and it was hard to decide which ones to include today.

The cake is one I have made often. I first used a blender but changed to electric mixer. Take my word for it — the cake is delicious.

And remember —  Culinary Conversation is always glad to hear from you. Please keep your letters and e-mails with recipes coming.

Orange-Cauliflower Salad

Toss orange segments, cauliflower segments, green pepper, spinach and salad dressing. Serve in lettuce cups.

Orange Burgundy Chicken

In large skillet, brown chicken in margarine. Sprinkle with 1/2 tsp. salt and pepper.

In small bowl, combine remaining ingredients, except burgundy wine and orange slices. Pour over chicken. Cover; simmer 25 to 35 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. Add wine and orange slices. Continue simmering for 10 minutes.

To bake in oven, first brown chicken. Sprinkle with 1/2 tsp. salt and pepper. Arrange chicken in ungreased 13x9-inch pan. Combine remaining ingredients except wine and orange slices. Pour over chicken. Cover with foil. Bake at 350 for 1 hour, adding wine and orange slices during last 15 minutes of baking time.

Blender Orange-Raisin Cake

 Heat oven to 350. Grease and flour 9x9x2 or 8x8x2-inch- baking pan. With vegetable parer, remove thin outer layer of peel from orange. Set orange aside and use for juice in frosting. Place peel in blender; chop on low speed and set chopped peel aside.

In order listed, measure egg, shortening, milk, vanilla, flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, walnuts and raisins into blender; add 1 tbsp. of the chopped peel (reserve 1/2 tsp. chopped peel for frosting.) Mix 1/2 minute on high speed, stopping blender occasionally to scrape sides with rubber spatula. Batter may be slightly lumpy.

Pour batter into pan. Bake 9-inch square about 35 minutes and 8-inch square about 40 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool and frost.

Note: To prepare cake with electric mixer, measure all ingredients except orange and frosting into large mixing bowl, using 1 tsp. grated orange peel, 1/2 cup chopped walnuts and 1/2 cup chopped raisins. Blend 1/2 minute on low speed, scraping bowl constantly. Beat three minutes at high speed, scraping bowl occasionally.

Creamy Orange Frosting:

Mix all ingredients until smooth.