Tag: oranges

Fig and Olive Oil Challah

Fig Challah // Serious Crust by Annie Fassler
Fig Challah // Serious Crust by Annie Fassler

Fig Challah // Serious Crust by Annie Fassler

On Rosh Hashanah, I did something really un-Jewish and un-Kosher by making shrimp for dinner. But I kind of half made up for it by making fig, olive oil, and sea salt challah from the Smitten Kitchen cookbook. And that makes things kind of ok, right? (Let’s not even talk about the fact that there was no fasting or breaking of fast on Yom Kippur as I had band practice and work, both of which require much sustenance. Don’t tell my Bubbe.)

This challah has been on my “to make” list for so long. I was waiting for figs to be in season (only to realize after I went to the store and bought fresh figs that the recipe calls for dried figs… oops… way to follow your own rules, Annie) AND I’d never made challah before. TERRIBLE JEW, I know. But you know, bread is mildly scary to me, and braided bread that’s supposed to look all shiny and pretty? That much scarier. But a holiday is a good enough reason to man up and do anything, so I went for it. And man oh man, it was good. This recipe is pretty much straight from Smitten Kitchen.

Fig and Olive Oil Challah



2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast (1 packet)
1/4 cup plus 1 tsp honey
1/3 cup olive oil, plus some for the bowl
2 eggs
2 tsp flaky sea salt (such as Maldon, which you really should have around because you should be putting it on everything because it is awesome)
4 cups all-purpose flour

Fig Filling

1 cup dried figs, stemmed and roughly chopped
1/8 tsp orange zest (I eyeballed this, because you know, who has an 1/8 tsp measure)
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup orange juice
1/8 tsp sea salt
freshly ground black pepper (you’ll only need a few grinds)

Egg Wash

1 egg
flaky sea salt



In a small bowl, combine the yeast and 1 tsp of honey with 2/3 cup of warm water. Stir it up, and let it sit for a few minutes until it gets foamy. In the bowl of your mixer with the paddle attachment (or you know, with a wooden spoon and a bowl if that’s your jam), combine the yeast mixture with the rest of the honey, the olive oil, and the eggs. Then add the flour and salt, and mix it until the dough starts to come together. Once it comes together, switch to the dough hook and let it run on low for 5-8 minutes. Put the dough on the counter for a moment while you coat the bowl in olive oil, put the dough back in the bowl, and cover with saran wrap for an hour, or until the dough doubles in size.

Fig Filling

While the dough is rising, it’s fig paste time. Put the figs, zest, water, juice, salt, and a few grinds of black pepper in a saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Cook this fig mixture until the pieces of fig are soft, having absorbed the water and juice, stirring occasionally (should take about 10 minutes). Turn off the heat, and allow to cool for a while before putting it in a food processor and processing until it resembles a paste, like a relatively smooth jam. Set it aside to cool the rest of the way.

Once your dough has roughly doubled, turn it out onto a floured surface and divide it in half. Roll the first half out into “an imperfect rectangle,” spread half of the fig filling over the dough, and roll it up into a long log, trapping the filling within. You’ll want to be careful when you roll out your dough that it still has some thickness to it, as I had a few tears in mine which made everything a little tricky for me. Roll out/stretch the log as long as you can without breaking or tearing it, and then divide it in half. Repeat this whole process with the second half of the dough. You should have four fig-filled ropes of dough.

Next comes the weaving, which I’m not even going to try to explain. Instead, you should head to over to Smitten Kitchen to look at the pictures and read her instructions. I never could have woven it without those pictures. Oy. Once woven up into a beautiful mound of deliciousness, transfer the dough to a baking sheet prepped with parchment paper (or silpat, I suppose).

Egg Wash

In a small bowl, beat the egg for the wash, and brush it over the challah. Let it rise for another hour, but start heating your oven to 375 degrees about halfway into the rise. Before putting it in the oven, brush the challah again with the egg wash, and bake it in the middle of your oven for 35-40 minutes. If it starts to get dark (like mine did), you can cover it with foil for the rest of the bake (like I didn’t). Remove from oven and allow to cool before serving. Tear off pieces with loved ones, and add a dab of butter and jam, if you like. Enjoy.

Strawberry Rhubarb (and Orange) Crisp

Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp from Serious Crust

Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp from Serious Crust
Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp from Serious Crust

Well friends, my favorite season is upon us. The season of rhubarb. The time of year when I try to fit in as many strawberry-rhubarb (or just rhubarb) recipes as my taste buds can handle, which is usually not a problem. These days, I buy a large bag of rhubarb every weekend at the farmers market, and then I whip something up late in the week to enjoy over the weekend. Thus far, I’ve made a pie, some compote, rhubarb simple syrup so I can make these, and this strawberry rhubarb crisp.

I found the inspiration for this recipe on a blog I love, and read at least a few times a week called Design Sponge. It’s a beautiful design blog, full of postings about furniture DIYs, beautiful spaces, colors, living in, city guides, recipes, party ideas, women running their own businesses… the list goes on and on. I find so many things on this blog that inspire me, and so many of their pictures make me wish I could be wherever the photo was taken. Seriously, I recommend it.

Anyway, I thought this recipe would be especially nice because of the addition of the sweet citrus of orange to the usual strawberry-rhubarb-ness. It’s always nice to try a little twist to shake things up, no? I made the filling (based on the recipe I found on the website), and my roommate Carmelle made the topping (and did not follow a recipe at all – she’s like that), so while mine had a different topping, I’ll give you the topping they have on Design Sponge. I also doubled the amount of filling, mostly because I had a ton of strawberries and rhubarb to use up, but I’ll give you the smaller portions, and you can double if you’d like.

Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp


Strawberry Rhubarb Filling

2 cups fresh rhubarb, diced (about 3 stalks)
2 cups fresh strawberries, hulled and sliced into large pieces
3/8 cup sugar
1 teaspoon orange zest
1/2 tablespoon cornstarch (depending on how juicy your strawberries are, you may want more)
1/4 cup orange juice (preferably fresh-squeezed, as per usual)

Crisp Topping

3/8 cup sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 cup quick cooking (not instant) oatmeal
7 tablespoons (about 3/4 stick) cold unsalted butter, diced

Whipped cream or ice cream for serving


Strawberry Rhubarb Filling

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. To make the filling, mix the rhubarb, strawberries, sugar, and orange zest together in a large bowl. In a measuring cup, dissolve the cornstarch in the orange juice and mix it into the rest of the filling. Drain about 1/2 cup of juice from the mixture into a cup and set aside (you will use this later to pour over individual servings). The best way to do this is get an extra person to help you tip the bowl while keeping the fruit in with a wooden spoon. Pour the filling into an 8×8 baking dish and place it on a sheet pan (not a terrible idea to line it with parchment paper or foil).

Crisp Topping

In the bowl of an electric mixer with the paddle attachment, combine the sugars, flour, salt and oatmeal. With the mixer on low speed, add the butter and mix until the dry ingredients are moist and the mixture is in crumbles. You want the butter to stay cold, so if you don’t have a mixer, either work quickly with your hands or use a pastry cutter type thing. Sprinkle the topping over the filling, covering it completely, and bake for about 45 minutes, until the filling is bubbling and the topping is golden brown.

Allow to cool, and once it has you can pour that drained juice from earlier over the top of each serving (Or, if you’re lazy, you can pour it over the whole dish). Serve warm with fresh whipped cream (or vanilla ice cream, if that’s how you roll).

Spicy-Miso Salmon and Citrus Rice Bowl

Salmon rice bowl
Miso Salmon
Miso Salmon

Miso Salmon

This meal all started because Annie gave me a wonderful Christmas present: The Sriracha Cookbook.  You’ve probably seen Sriracha at your local asian restaurant, and you may know it as “rooster sauce” – or if you don’t know it, its basically an asian hot sauce made with chiles and garlic and its ohhh so good.  And you need it for the recipe that follows.

So the Sriracha Cookbook, as one might expect, is chock full of recipes that include Sriracha in them.  I picked the Miso-Sriracha Glazed Salmon recipe for dinner, mostly because we already had miso paste and Sriracha in our house.  The recipe in the book tells you to serve it atop steamed rice, but I wanted to do something more interesting, so I found a great recipe on Martha Stewart.com that I adapted to include the miso-Sriracha salmon.  Its a wonderful rice bowl that includes salmon, orange slices, and sugar snap peas atop some brown rice with a great orange sauce and mint to sprinkle on top of it all.  It tasted so light and substantial at the same time, and was a wonderful meal in a bowl!

A note on the rice: I actually used a rice called Camargue Red Rice, which Annie’s mom brought us from the south of France, where it grows.  The package had no English on it so I actually had to get online and do a little research before cooking it.  Anyway, it was delicious but I don’t think its necessary to make this dish great, so I put brown rice in the recipe below.

Spicy Miso Salmon and Citrus Rice Bowl


Spicy Miso Salmon

1/2 Tb. toasted sesame oil
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 Tb. soy sauce
2 Tb. white miso paste
1/2 Tb. Sriracha
1 clove garlic, minced
1 lb. salmon fillet(s)

Citrus Rice Bowl

4 oranges (I used Valencia)
A 1-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
1 bay leaf
1 tsp. coriander seeds
1 Tb. rice vinegar
1 tsp. soy sauce
1 tsp. honey
1 tsp. toasted sesame oil
1 cup uncooked brown rice
1/2 cups sugar snap peas
1/4 cup fresh mint, chopped, for garnish
sliced green onions, green part only, for garnish


Cook the rice according to the package directions.  I added a bit of chopped garlic and butter into 3 1/3 cups of water, brought it to a boil, and then simmered for about an hour.

In a small mixing bowl, make the Spicy Miso Salmon glaze: combine the oil, brown sugar, soy sauce, miso paste, Sriracha, and garlic.  Set aside.

Peel and separate 2 oranges into individual boats.  Now comes the hard part: you are supposed to detach and discard the membranes in order to get to the meat of the orange slice.  I experimented a lot during this step, and eventually found that I could cut down the back of each orange segment, pull it apart, and pull off the membrane from each side.  You could just skip this step entirely, but the orange slices won’t look as pretty, and you won’t get the same taste.  Regardless, put these orange segments in a bowl and set aside.

Remove the stems from the sugar snap peas, rinse, and chop into 1/2-inch pieces (I just chopped each pod in half).  Set aside.

Now juice the remaining 2 oranges into a small saucepan, and add the sliced ginger and bay leaf.  Crush the coriander seeds with the side of a knife and add them to the orange juice mixture, then bring to a boil.  Cook the mixture until it reduces to about 2/3 cup, about 6 minutes.  Take it off the heat and let it cool, then strain into a bowl to get rid of the ginger, bay leaf, and seeds.  Now whisk in the vinegar, soy sauce, honey, and oil.

Preheat the broiler to high. Lay the salmon fillet(s) across an aluminum foil-lined broiling pan (or any baking sheet with a rim).  Take out the glaze you made in step 2 and spread it generously on top of the salmon.  Broil the salmon 6 inches from the flame (or heat coil, as the case may be), until the fish flakes easily, about 10 minutes.  I spread more of the glaze on the fish after 5 minutes of broiling.

Dish the rice into bowls, and top with salmon, peas, and orange segments. Garnish with mint and green onion slices.  Reheat the orange sauce/mixture if it needs reheating, and drizzle it generously over everything.