Today’s chakra: Svadhisthana – One’s Own Place (Sacral)
Color: Orange: passion, optimism & tolerance
Location: Along the spine behind the genitals
Associated body organs: hips, sacram, genitals, lower part of intestine, bladder & kidneys, lower back
Controlled emotions: Feeling, desire, sensation and movement
[For an explanation of the chakras, see yesterday’s post.]
The first food I think of when I think of orange is not oranges, as would be obvious, but carrots. So today I decided to make a carrot salad, and I found a unique one from Bobby Flay. One change though; I decided to alter the dressing to use up some Greek yogurt in my fridge. David’s mom makes salads with yogurt dressing and I’ve never been able to completely duplicate what she puts in there, but I love it just the same.
I also halved the original recipe since this week is making my refrigerator ridiculously full. First, I strained the Greek yogurt to make it as thick as possible.
I boiled the carrots and made a dressing of lemon juice, garlic, cumin, cayenne, salt, yogurt, olive oil and fresh cilantro. (The original recipe called for parsley, but I had cilantro in the fridge as well.)
In the end, the yogurt did not tone down the spice nearly as much as I thought it would. Next time I’d probably reduce the cayenne. The recipe also made more dressing than I needed. But all in all, this was a unique dish. The freshness of the cilantro definitely helps balance out the garlic and cayenne, and the sweetness of the carrots adds and interesting dimension.
4 medium carrots, peeled
1/8 cup fresh lemon juice
1 small clove garlic, pressed
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon salt, plus more for water
1/4 cup Greek yogurt, strained
2 teaspoons olive oil
1/4 cup finely chopped parsley or cilantro
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the whole carrots (cut them in half if they don’t fit in the pot) and cook until just cooked through, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain and cut carrots into 1/2-inch thick slices.
Whisk together the lemon juice, garlic, cumin, cayenne and salt in a large bowl. Mix in the yogurt and slowly drizzle in the olive oil. Add the cooked carrots and toss to combine. Sprinkle with fresh parsley or cilantro. Serve cold or at room temperature.
For dessert, I made Paula Deen’s orange brownies. No, I don’t think this is what’s meant by eating all the colors of the rainbow for your health, per se… and I’m trying to be [mostly] healthy this week, I swear… but this is the part where the cooking blog takes over and “chakras” becomes more of a loose idea. Plus, I wanted to finish off the 1/2 package of cream cheese in my fridge. Good motivation, am I right?
To make the cake batter, the dry ingredients (flour, sugar and salt) are added first, then joined by the wet ingredients (butter, eggs, orange extract and orange zest).
The orange extract REALLY punched up the flavor of the batter. I’m telling you, it’s a good thing I was home alone making this, because I couldn’t stop licking every beater, spatula and spoon I could find after pouring the batter into the pan. Gluttony… embarrassing…
The cake bakes at 350 degrees F for approximately 30 minutes. Next, on to the frosting. Beat softened cream cheese and butter until fluffy, then gradually add in powdered sugar. I’m learning that whenever powdered sugar is involved, you can probably half what the recipe calls for and be just fine. At least, that’s what my tastes dictate. (Half amount is written in the recipe below.) Once blended well, beat in orange juice and orange zest.
The cake is done. I halved this recipe too, and used an 8 x 8-inch glass baking dish instead of a 9 x 13. I think this is why the brownies came out thin; will be intrigued to see if they’re thicker in the full version of the recipe.
Once the brownies are completely cool, top with frosting. The final texture is sort of a moist, spongy cake. Light and refreshing; I would make this again in the summer. It’s a nice twist to a lemon cake or lemon bars.
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups granulated sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
2 teaspoons pure orange extract
1 teaspoon grated orange zest
Orange Cream Cheese Frosting
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
4 tablespoons softened butter
2 cups confectioners’ sugar
2 tablespoons orange zest
2 tablespoons orange juice
To make brownies
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9 by 13 by 2-inch pan. Stir together flour, granulated sugar, and salt in a bowl. Add butter, eggs, orange extract, and orange zest. Using a handheld electric mixer, beat until well blended. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 30 minutes, or until light golden brown and set. Remove from oven, allow to cool and pierce entire cake with a fork. Spread the Orange Cream Cheese Frosting over completely cooled brownies. Cut into squares.
To make frosting
In a large mixing bowl, whip the butter and cream cheese together with a hand-held electric mixer. Gradually beat in the confectioners’ sugar until it is all combined and smooth. Beat in the orange zest and juice.
Makes about 20 to 24 brownies.