Archive | March 2013

French Onion Soup

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When I spend money I like having instant gratification. Nothing is better than shopping in a store, selecting an item or two, walking to a cashier, handing them a credit card, and leaving with a purchase. Right then, right there.

Due to my lack of patience, I really don’t care for online shopping. Nothing about it is tangible and it feels like I’m giving away money and only getting the concept of an actual, physical item. I think this is part of the reason I like going out to eat so much. Long before you even have to worry about paying for your meal you’ve already enjoyed it.

Mastering the Art of French Cooking is a book I’ve wanted for quite a while. It’s a classic, you can learn some great technique, and it’s full of exceptional recipes. While not excessively expensive (about $45 at the store), I never quite justified the cost. I’ve been eyeing it on Amazon.com where it’s $20 something and seeing as I had a gift card, I decided to seize the moment and buy it. Of course you can pay more to have it shipped faster, but I’m cheap and settled on standard. An eternity passed and I still didn’t have it.

I was planning on making French Onion Soup (or as it’s called in MtAoFC “Onion Soup”) as my first recipe from the book and decided I didn’t want to wait any longer. So, I found a version of it online and cooked it. A few days later my book finally came (after being inexplicably delayed two days longer than expected).

Soupe à L’Oignon

Adapted from Julia Child

  • 1½ lbs (about 5 cups) of thinly sliced yellow onions
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon sugar
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 8 quarts boiling beef stock (you could use any kind of brown stock or mushroom or veggie stock but beef is the most common)
  • ½ cup dry white wine
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons cognac (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg (optional)
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 1 baguette loaf, cut into slices
  • 2 cups (or more) grated Gruyere cheese

1. In a large covered saucepan, stockpot, or Dutch/French oven, etc. (basically anything that will hold a lot of liquid) cook the onions on low heat with the butter and olive oil for 15 minutes (this softens them).

2. Uncover, raise heat to moderate, and stir in the salt and sugar. Cook for 30 to 40 minutes stirring frequently, until the onions have turned a deep, golden brown. This is probably the most important step of making this dish as it helps the onions develop a deep color and flavor. Whatever you do, do not rush this process.

3. Sprinkle in the flour and stir for 3 minutes.

4. Stir in the boiling broth (it’s really important the broth is hot as the flour will clump if the liquid is room temperature or cold). Add the wine, and season with salt and pepper to taste. At this point I wasn’t wowed at the flavor, but let simmer for about half an hour more. In those 30 minutes the flavors developed more and it was pretty tasty.

5. I was bummed I didn’t have cognac as I thought the soup was lacking a little something. Older cognacs (at least in my opinion) have extremely warm, spice flavor profiles (cinnamon, clove, etc.), so I decided to add in some nutmeg. I let it simmer a bit more, tasted again, loved the addition of nutmeg, and decided to add a few pinches of cayenne. While the cayenne is certainly unorthodox, people loved the mild heat

6. You can finish the soup a few ways. I found the easiest way was to ladle some soup into an ovenproof bowl, place two or three slices of baguette on top, and sprinkle on a handful of cheese. Place under a broiler for a minute or two (you’ll want to check frequently so it doesn’t burn). Another option is to spread your slices of baguette on a parchment lined baking sheet and sprinkle on your cheese, and place under a broiler for one to two minues. Transfer individual pieces of bread into a bowl of the soup.

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Arugula, Walnut, Tomato Pesto Linguini

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Growing up the only pesto I knew of was traditional basil and pine nut pesto. Maybe if you were daring you might heat it up and add some cream before tossing it with pasta. Sometime within the past 10 years or so it seems people started to make pesto from any variety of things ranging from peas to cauliflower to arugula.

While I love the flavor you get when you make pesto with ingredients besides basil and pine nuts, I love the cost even more. Have you bought pine nuts recently? They cost upwards of $32 a pound where you can get walnuts for $9. Basil? It’s really simple to grow but I rely on buying it (since, ya know, I live in an apartment) and it’s far from cheap at a store. Every now and then I love a traditional pesto, but most of the time I’m just too cheap to pay the price, plus I think variations offer more flavor.

Up until this week, a broccoli-based pesto was my personal favorite, but this arugula, walnut, and tomato pesto was spot-on (althought I lost a piece of my food processor while making this…. totally the pesto’s fault, not mine). Most importantly, it was so versatile. Perfect to spread on bread or crostini and exceptional when tossed with shredded chicken and linguini.

Arugula, Walnut, Tomato Pesto Linguini

Adapted from a variety of sources

  • ½  cup of shelled walnuts
  • 2 cups of packed arugula leaves, stems removed (roughly half a bunch)
  • ¾ cup fresh Parmesan cheese
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • ¼ cup chicken stock (I used chicken stock in lieu of an additional ¼ cup of olive oil)
  • 3-5 peeled garlic cloves
  • Salt and pepper
  • 4 tomatoes (I used vine ripened, but any smaller to medium sized tomato like a Roma would work fine)
  • 1 lb linguini (I used whole wheat although any pasta would work)
  • 2 shredded chicken breasts (optional)
  • Freshly grated Parmesan cheese for garnish (optional)

1. In a dry pan, lightly toast walnuts over medium heat. This took about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally to ensure the nuts didn’t burn. Let cool.

2. Mix together nuts, arugula, cheese, olive oil, chicken stock, and garlic together in a food processor. Pulse until blended into a uniform, loose paste. Taste and add salt and pepper as desired. Feel free to use this as-is. It’s intensely green, garlicky, and light.

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3. Remove pesto from processor. Place chopped tomatoes in your food processor and lightly pulse.  Add your pesto and pulse until mixed. When you incorporate the tomatoes you’ll need to aggressively season with salt, as the tomatoes will absorb a lot of your existing flavor.

4. Prepare pasta per package instructions; however, cook for one minute less than instructed. Drain pasta and place pesto into the same pot. Heat pesto and add chicken (if using). Mix back in pasta and toss with pesto sauce. Let cook a minute or two more. Top with freshly grated Parmesan cheese, if desired.

Lastly, I want to point out how quick and simple this recipe is. I did my shopping at a new grocery store whose layout was…. confusing. I wondered around aimlessly trying to find everything on my list and then ended up getting stuck behind the slowest drivers in the world. By the time I got home I was hangry (so hungry I was angry) and the last thing I wanted to do was spend an eternity in the kitchen. Thankfully I walked in the front door with my groceries and within 20 minutes was eating pasta!

Rhubarb, Strawberry, Black Pepper Compote (and a failed cheesecake)

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One of my mom’s friends decided she likes my cooking and wanted to give me random ingredients to cook with. The first item I received? Frozen rhubarb that she had lovingly grown in her garden.

I absolutely love rhubarb and knew I wanted to make something with strawberry (such a classic combination). I thought about a crisp or pie or something, but the fact that I had five bricks of cream cheese led me to make a New York Cheesecake with compote on the side.

I was planning on blogging about one of the best cheesecake recipes I’ve ever made. It’s a recipe that I have made probably a dozen times and always turns out perfectly. It balances being dense and rich but not too heavy. It has the perfect amount of lemon in it and my genius self decided to use a combination of Girl Scout cookies (shortbread and the lemon ones) as a crust (instead of graham cracker), which resulted in the best crust I’ve ever made. The one problem… my spring form pan was in my mom’s kitchen and I didn’t want to drive across Seattle during rush hour to fetch it. Instead, I split the recipe into two smaller cake pans with okay results.

The cheesecake wasn’t bad. In fact, it tasted quite nice, but was kind of disappointing compared to the normal gloriousness it is. The element that made it memorable and really salvaged the massive caloric intake was the compote I made.

Rhubarb, Strawberry, Black Pepper Compote

  • 4 cups rhubarb sliced into approximately ½-inch slices (I used frozen and let them defrost)
  • 1 lb strawberries, hulled and cut into small pieces (not my intention to be vague… I had strawberries of all sizes and cut smaller ones into quarters and larger ones into sixths or eighths… but just use your best judgment)
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • ½ teaspoon cracked black pepper (optional)
  • pinch of salt
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg

1. Combine rhubarb, water, and sugar in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Reduce heat to medium and cook for about 10 minutes (I hulled and sliced my strawberries and then flipped through some recipes trying to figure out what was for dinner; I’m great at multitasking).

2. Stir in remaining ingredients. The pepper is totally optional (although I highly recommend adding it, especially since it’s in the title). I’m not a fan of excessively sweet things so I liked the bite the pepper gave it. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5 more minutes (I spent the time searching for the nutmeg I couldn’t find in the cabinet [only to see it on the counter] and then added it in at the end).

3. Remove from heat and let cool slightly then refrigerate until ready to use.

This is great with any number of things. I made it with the intention of serving it with my sad, sad, little cheesecakes but I also spread some on a piece of crusty French bread that had been toasted and lightly buttered. It’s great on vanilla ice cream, yogurt… the sky is the limit (okay, maybe the ceiling is the limit. I’m not sure it would be good slathered over asparagus).

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Chicken Tikka Masala

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Applying for jobs is pretty sucky. The economy seems to be improving and I’ve gotten a fair amount of phone interviews and interviews, but no offers (someone recommended I shower and change out of sweats before in-person interviews, which I rarely do… that can’t be it, can it?). While I understand the market is competitive, I came across a great job opportunity that I was perfectly qualified for. My interview went well, I thought I did an awesome job on a practice exercise they sent me to complete… but no, they went with someone else. Don’t get me wrong, I’m rejected all the time, but for some reason this particular “no” made me feel especially substandard.

While I wanted to drown my sorrows in booze and bad reality television, I decided the healthier alternative was to have a cupcake and cook something. I am, after all, a responsible adult and can’t drink all the time (brunch is my exception… or days ending in “y”).

Indian food is something I’ve always enjoyed, but rarely eat. Also, I’ve never cooked anything remotely Indian (unless you consider heating up pre-made naan to be cooking). Typically my Indian restaurant experiences have involved Chicken Tikka Masala, so I figured if I made that I’d at least know if it was dismal or delicious as I had something to compare it to.

While job rejection made me feel a touch depressed, cooking this easy and delicious recipe made me feel like a winner.

Chicken Tikka Masala

Adapted from Aarti Sequeira

Marinade:

  • 1 cup plain yogurt, whisked until smooth
  • 1 tablespoon grated or finely minced fresh ginger
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 ½ pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs or breasts (or combination of both)

Sauce:

  • Drizzle of olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons butter plus 1 tablespoon
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 2-inch piece of ginger, grated or finely minced
  • 2 Serrano peppers, minced (I kept the seeds in, but remove some or all of them if you want something more mild)
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 ½ teaspoons garam masala
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 8 Roma tomatoes, diced
  • 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 to 2 cups water
  • Oil, for sautéing
  • 1 tablespoon dried fenugreek leaves (optional and I didn’t use it because I don’t think it actually exists, see below)
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • Minced fresh cilantro, for garnish (I didn’t pick up any at the store so I just used sliced scallions)
  • Basmati rice and naan

1. In a large bowl, mix together the marinade ingredients. Add the chicken and toss to coat. Marinate at least 30 minutes, or in the refrigerator up to overnight.

2. When you’re ready to make the sauce, place a large skillet (I used a French oven, which worked perfectly) over medium heat and add the olive oil and 3 tablespoons of butter. When the butter has melted, add the ginger, garlic, and Serrano peppers. Sautee until lightly browned around the edges.

3. Add the tomato paste and cook until the paste has darkened in color (it should resemble the color of a brick), about 3 minutes.

3. Add the garam masala and paprika. I shifted the other ingredients to the side to ensure the garam masala and paprika toasted a bit, which I think really brought out their flavor.

4. Add the tomatoes, salt, and 1 to 1½ cups of water. Bring to a boil, turn down to a simmer, and cook until thickened, about 20 minutes (I started with 1 cup of water and at about 15 minutes realized the barely ripe tomatoes I used hardly let out any juice so added ½ cup more of water).

5. Meanwhile, heat up a skillet and drizzle in some olive oil. Once the skillet is very hot, shake off some of the marinade from the chicken and sear in batches (you don’t want to put too much chicken in at once, because you want a really good crust and it might steam if there’s too much in). My chicken developed a really good crust (that was slightly blackened) after about 2 minutes. While these are small pieces of chicken, it won’t be fully cooked, but will finish cooking later on when you put it in the sauce.

6. Once the chicken is seared, you’ll want to blend your sauce. I used a blender, but you can use a food processor or immersion blender…. or any other device you may have. Return sauce to the pan, and bring back to a boil, then back to a simmer. At this point you can add your fenugreek if you’re using it or can actually find it.

In the ingredients list I mentioned I don’t think fenugreek leaves actually exists. A little over a year ago I tried making Gormeh Sabzi, which is a Persian stew (found the recipe at http://mealsbymisty.wordpress.com). Fenugreek leaves were one of the ingredients and I couldn’t find them at the first store I went to, or the second store I went to, or the three stores I called. I could find fenugreek seeds in abundance, but no leaves. After consulting teh interwebz and texting Misty a few thousand times, I found out the lack of fenugreek wouldn’t ruin the dish, so I decided to just make it without. The dish was unlike anything I’ve ever had and I recommend everyone check out that dish (and all of Misty’s blog). To this day I always keep an eye out for fenugreek leaves and have yet to see them anywhere. I think the world is playing a joke on me and they’re made up.

7. Anywho, back to the Masala… at this point you’ll add in your chicken pieces and simmer for about 15 minutes.

8. Right before serving mix in your cream and the reserved tablespoon of butter. While I found the dish a touch too spicy before this addition, the cream really mellows it out.

9. Serve on a bed of basmati rice with a piece or two (or three or four) of naan. Garnish with chopped cilantro (or in my case, scallion).

It’s Friday! Time for a Moscow Mule (with homemade ginger ale)

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I don’t know about y’all but I’m happy it’s Friday. It’s been a long, stressful week for me and I could use a good cocktail. My week has been packed with having lunch at various Seattle restaurants for Dine Around Seattle, searching store after store for birthday gifts, and of course, applying for and being rejected from jobs. Woe is me.

I love me a good Moscow Mule (vodka, ginger ale or ginger beer, and lime). While you can’t go wrong with anything that has vodka and is served in a really cool copper mug, the ginger ale/beer is what can really make or break the drink.

There are some really good gingery drink options available at specialty stores but I figured I’d give it a shot and try and make my own ginger ale. Can’t be that hard, right? I lucked out and found this pretty simple and delicious recipe, courtesy of Jean-Georges Vongerichten (from his book, Cooking At Home With a Four Star Chef).

Homemade Ginger Ale

  • 1 pound fresh ginger, unpeeled and cut into small dice
  • 2 stalks lemongrass, trimmed and roughly chopped
  • 2 small fresh chilis, stems removed (I used Fresnos)
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 4 cups water
  • Club soda
  • Lime wedges

I really like the warmth and spice of ginger so I was pretty intrigued by the addition of chilis (although who knows, maybe all ginger ale has chili peppers in it?) and I’ve never made anything with lemon grass before. In fact, I didn’t really even know what lemon grass looked like. Does it look like grass? Eh, kinda since it is green. Lemongrass vaguely resembles a large scallion or a small leek. If you’re worried about finding lemongrass, don’t worry. I found it at my local grocery store. The hardest part about this recipe was actually figuring out what lemongrass was.

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All you do is chop up the ginger, lemongrass, and chilis then pulse in a food processor. Then you mix it in a big ol’ pot with the sugar and water. Bring to a boil. Then simmer for 15 minutes. I’m sure the label I missed on a piece of ginger (one of 5 labels on the same piece) gave it some extra flavor.

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Doesn’t it look appetizing? No? Just looks gross? That’s okay. It will taste good. Image

If you decide to make your own ginger ale, I hope you like ginger, because it will make the entire kitchen (and in my case, entire apartment) smell like ginger.

After you’ve simmered you’ll let the mixture cool, strain it, and refrigerate it. Apparently this can be stored in the fridge for weeks but it’s so awesome you’ll probably consume it all within a few days.

If you want to drink this sans alcohol, mix ¼ a cup of the ginger syrup with club soda in a glass full of ice. Garnish with wedges of lime. Unless I’m drinking something with alcohol or coffee, I only drink water. However, this was really good on its own and doesn’t even warrant the addition of booze. Best of all, it’s really appropriate to drink all year. It’s really light, crisp, and refreshing on a summer night, but the warmth and spice make it comforting on a fall evening.

Moscow Mule

  • ¼ cup ginger reduction
  • ¼ cup vodka (or more…)
  • Club soda
  • Ice
  • Lime

Fill a glass (or preferably, a copper mug) with ice. Add first two ingredients then fill up with club soda. Lastly, spritz in some fresh lime.

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The Dip for a Book Club That Dips (Caramelized Onion Dip)

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Dip, as defined by Merriam-Webster: to examine or read something casually or superficially.

A few years ago a friend from high school invited me over to a small gathering at her apartment. She said it was her weekly “Book Club.”

Me: What’s the book? I don’t think I’ll have time to read it before Saturday.

Her: Don’t worry, it’s just an excuse to get together with friends and eat and drink. We don’t even pretend to read a book.

Me: Okay. Are you a classy book club that drinks wine or are you a klassy book club that drinks cheap beer and margaritas made from cheap tequila?

Her: Somewhere in between, we drink everything, but it’s the good quality booze.

I figured sparkling wine was fitting. Who doesn’t love a good bubbly? (Btw, Schramsberg is my personal favorite.)

I’ve been in a book club before. I actually enjoy them. However, it seems most people use the pretense of book club to hang out and eat and drink. And I’m fine with that. I love reading, but I like parties even more.

While there were delicious cocktails and great conversation, the thing that stood out the most was the onion dip my friend made. She took onions, chopped them up, and mixed them with some seasoning, mayo, sour cream, and Swiss cheese. Then she baked it until it was golden brown on top and molten cheesy on the inside. While this was awe inspiring and perfect as it was, I made a few changes and have been serving it since.

Caramelized Onion Dip

  • 2 large onions, somewhat finely chopped
  • Salt and pepper
  • Garlic, finely minced (I like garlic so I usually use 4 or more cloves, but feel free to use less)
  • ¾ cup mayo (I hope you use Best Foods, because that’s the best)
  • ¾ cup sour cream (I wouldn’t recommend using a low-fat sour cream since it’s just not the same and this is so far beyond calorie laden it probably doesn’t matter)
  • 1 ½ tsp cayenne pepper (feel free to use more or less based on your preference for spice, this amount gives a very mild heat)
  • ½ tsp nutmeg
  • 4ish cups Swiss cheese (Trader Joe’s sells a packaged blend of Swiss and Gruyere that’s dirt-cheap and is roughly 4 cups that I always use)

1. Caramelize the onions (be sure to lightly coat in olive oil and season with salt and pepper). I find I can usually watch a 30-minute sitcom during this process (Modern Family preferable). Just stir during the commercial breaks. You want them to darken in color and bring out the natural sweetness. They should resemble a caramel color. Towards the end of the cooking process, you’ll want to add the minced garlic. It doesn’t matter if the garlic cooks completely, because the dip will be baked later on. Let mixture cool.

2. Mix together remaining ingredients and cooled onion mixture, stir, taste, adjust seasoning. Transfer to oven-proof dish. I usually use a glass Pyrex thingy. At this point you can cover the dip and refrigerate it for a few hours or a day (if you’re preparing it in advance).

3. Bake in an oven, preheated to 350, for about 40ish minutes. You can usually watch an episode of Breaking Bad or two episodes of Big Bang Theory (so long as you’ve DVR’d and can fast-forward the commercials) while the dip is baking. When the episodes are done, so is your dip!

4. This dip is best served with pita chips and potato chips. You’ll want to let the dip cool slightly before you devour it. When it’s fresh out of the oven it’s really hot and rather difficult to eat due to intense strands of cheesiness.

Notes for leftovers: A few weeks ago three of us ate almost the entire serving of this. Healthy, I know. However, there are great things you can do with leftovers in the rare event you have any. It’s delicious mixed in with mashed potatoes with a fried egg on top. Once I wrapped it in some frozen puff pastry with some spinach…. very delicious and it was healthy because it had spinach.

A Perfect Cake and a Mediocre First Post (Orange Chocolate Chunk Cake)

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While a lot of people might argue that having a soup, salad, or appetizer (or exceptional cocktail) is the ideal way of starting a meal, I disagree. Have dessert first.

Don’t get me wrong, I love me some savory foods, but sometimes my eyes are bigger than my stomach, and after a starter and entrée I just don’t have much room left for a sweet. While I could just order less food (HA!), a sure solution to always have room for dessert is to just order it first.

Seeing as this is my first blog post I decided to share a delicious cake recipe.

So, I’m gradually in the process of procuring* every conceivable kitchen item. I like gadgets, I like toys, I like electronics, I like machines, I like this, I like that, I like everything. While I have two garlic presses, I recently realized I didn’t have a Bundt pan. Being unemployed and all, it only made sense to immediately purchase one.

After perusing a few zillion recipes, I settled on a Bundt cake that involved one of my favorite flavor combinations: chocolate and orange.  Everything about the cake was perfect. Moist, chocolatey, and aromatic with citrus. If you’re a fan of chocolate and/or orange, I cannot recommend this recipe enough.

* I tend to have a lot of free time on my hands these days and researching words is something I find entertaining. While I’m not a complete idiot and know how to use procure in a sentence, I hadn’t actually looked it up in the dictionary before tonight. I found Merriam-Webster’s definition to be fascinating: (a) : to get possession of : obtain by particular care and effort; (b) : to get and make available for promiscuous sexual intercourse. For the record, my use of procurement is in reference to the first definition. I like clean, sanitary cooking utensils.

Orange Chocolate Cake

Recipe from smitten kitchen where it was adapted from Barefoot Contessa Parties!

Cake:

  • 1/2 pound unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 extra-large eggs at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup grated orange zest (from 4 large oranges)
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour plus 2 tablespoons
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cups good semisweet chocolate chunks

Syrup:


  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice

Ganache:


  • 6 ounces good semisweet chocolate chips
  • 6 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 3/4 teaspoon instant coffee granules

1. Preheat your oven to 350°F and grease and flour a 10-inch Bundt pan.

2. Cream the butter and sugar. I believe the original recipe instructed you to mix for 5 minutes, but I just turned it on, tossed my 2 cups of chocolate chunks (I actually used semi-sweet Godiva chocolate chips) with two tablespoons of flour (and set them aside), and caught up on my facebook status updates. In my humble opinion, you can’t over-mix butter and sugar. The fluffier, the better, so no need to set a timer.

3. Once you’ve run out of facebook stalking (err, when the butter and sugar is puffy like a cloud), add the eggs one at a time, and then add the orange zest.

4. Sift together 3 cups flour, the baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a bowl. The original recipe specified a large bowl, but my large bowl was in the dishwasher so I used a medium sized bowl and kept my fingers crossed it was big enough (I’m a rebel who doesn’t follow recipes). In another bowl (use whatever size bowl you want, the sky is the limit!), combine the orange juice, buttermilk, and vanilla.

5. Freak out because the carton of buttermilk you left on the counter to bring to room temperature expired a week ago. While I googled “buttermilk substitute” and found ways of making buttermilk at home, I didn’t have milk, just rice milk, and figured you kinda needed milk from a cow. My MacGyver solution? Half rice milk and half sour cream. I figured the thickness and tang of the sour cream, when thinned out with rice milk, would do a decent job of substituting. This mixture wasn’t room temperature, and while I believe you should always bake with room temp ingredients, I was in the middle of a recipe and decided to chance it.

6. Add the flour and buttermilk (or in my case, faux-buttermilk) mixtures alternately to the creamed butter, beginning and ending with the flour. Be sure you pause occasionally to scrape down the bowl. Once everything is incorporated, you’ll want to fold in the chocolate chunks coated in flour you prepped earlier.

7. Pour the batter into the prepared pan, smooth the top, and bake for approximately 50-55 minutes. Your oven may be faster or slower than mine, so at 50ish minutes you can stab your cake with a toothpick. If the toothpick comes out clean, it’s done. If the toothpick comes out with something that resembles batter on it, it probably isn’t finished since it’s still batter.

8. Whenever your cake is no longer raw in the center, take it out of the oven, and let it rest for a few minutes.

9. At some point you’ll want to make sure the syrup for your cake is done. I made my syrup while the cake was baking, but you can make it whenever you feel like it. The syrup is pretty easy (even I didn’t mess it up!) and all you do is mix together the OJ and sugar in a pan. Just heat it till the sugar dissolves. You’ll want to take the cake out of the pan relatively quickly and brush on the syrup while the cake is still hot. It absorbs the moisture and prevents the cake from drying out. Let the cake cool completely.

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10. For the ganache, melt the chocolate, cream, and coffee in the top of a double boiler. You’ll want to stir occasionally until everything is nicely melted together. If it looks too thick, add a few more splashes of cream.  Drizzle over the completely cooled cake.

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