Orange Tea Loaf

I switched departments in my company a little over a year ago. The work I do now is a lot more interesting, but the environment is … less fun. I used to work with a team the handled Canadian trades only, then switched to the International side. The work in both departments is very stressful. They are high risk jobs with tight deadlines. My old department dealt with the stress by joking around and helping each other out. Even though there was a lot of pressure coming to work was fun.

Now it’s every man for himself. In my new department I sit beside a man who swears all day long and likes to slam his phone. The other day he picked it up and slammed it down even though it wasn’t even ringing. I think he got an email that upset him; you can’t slam an email.

I’m thinking of starting a swear jar in the office. I’m pretty sure it will pay for my morning coffee. It might even cover lunch sometimes. And if it manages to curb the swearing, then it will make coming to work that much more pleasant.

Until the day my neighbour calms down, I have an afternoon ritual that gets me through the day. Just before 3PM (when the Fed closes and things get extra stressful), I make myself a tea, put on my noise reducing headphones, and I listen to music that makes me happy. This afternoon it was Graceland. Sometimes it’s the Dirty Dancing soundtrack.

If I’ve got my act together, I have a piece of cake with my tea.  This cake is one of my favourites. It’s a modification of one of my moms recipes. She uses raisins and walnuts, and puts an orange glaze on the cake. Today was particularly bad, and I could have used a little glaze on my cake, so I’ll post the recipe for even though I didn’t use it.

Orange Tea Loaf

  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • zest of one orange, divided
  • juice of one orange
  • 1/4 cup yogurt
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup pistachios

For glaze

  • orange zest (leftover from cake)
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla
  • 4-5 tsp milk
  1. Preheat the oven to 350, line a loaf pan with parchment paper (or grease it)
  2. In a large bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder and salt.
  3. In a separate bowl, beat the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Mix in the vanilla and 1 tsp orange zest.
  4. Add 1/2 the flour mixture the butter, mix well. Stir in the orange juice and yogurt, followed by the remaining flour. Stir in the cranberries and pistachios.
  5. Pour batter into the prepared loaf pan. Bake for 1 hour to 1 hour 15 minutes. Test the loaf after an hour with a toothpick to see if its done.
  6. Once done, let cool in the pan for 10 minutes then cool on a wire rack.
  7. For the glaze: Stir together the powdered sugar, vanilla, milk, and remaining orange zest. Pour over cooled cake.

Enjoy!

Chocolate Pistachio Biscotti

Sometimes I think the only reason I have cable is to watch the Food Network. All weekend long I have the TV on as I do my cooking and cleaning. Ina Garten, Laura Calder and Bobby Flay are like the soundtrack to my weekend.

I’m not a huge fan of competition shows in general but one of my favourite cooking shows is Top Chef, which in Canada airs on Food Network Canada a few weeks after it begins in the United States. I love watching chefs come up with incredible (and sometimes terrible) meals, and seeing their creativity grow each week. I would also love to know the truth about the pea puree. Unfortunately, I got my December issue of Food and Wine before the finale aired in Canada, so despite all my efforts to live in a bubble, I knew who was going to win.

All this to say these cookies are from Food and Wine’s feature of Kevin Sbraga. The cookies all looked delicious, but I decided the first one I had to try was the chocolate biscotti. My dad makes biscotti every Christmas, but I had never made them myself. The batter is just as easy to put together as a sugar cookie. The only real difference is the baking process. First the cookies are baked as a log, the log is then sliced and the pieces are baked again until they dry out.

These biscotti were very tasty. The chocolate and pistachio go together very well, but to be honest with you, I prefer my dads. Just because.

I’ll be submitting these cookies to Cream Puffs In Venice for Magazine Mondays. Magazine Mondays are a weekly event designed to help us get through those stacks of magazine recipes we’ve put aside to make “one day.”

Chocolate Pistachio Biscotti

From the December 2010 issue of Food and Wine

  • 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped
  • 1 tablespoon dark rum
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 cups raw pistachios
  • 1 large egg white, lightly beaten
  • Melted bittersweet chocolate, for dipping or drizzling
  1. Preheat the oven to 350. Line a baking sheet with parchment or a silpat.
  2. Cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, vanilla, and rum beating until well combined.
  3. In separate bowl stir together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and cinnamon.
  4. Mix the dry ingredients into the wet. Beat in the pistachios.
  5. Divide the dough in two, shape each half into a log. Brush the logs with the egg whites. Bake for 25 minutes.
  6. Remove from the oven and let cool slightly. Cut the logs into slices, return to the oven and bake for an additional 20 minutes until the cookies have dried out. Let cool completely. Drizzle with melted chocolate.

Enjoy!