Oranges & Sweet Violets

Spring violets, Viola odorata, are edible flowers with a color and fragrance that compliments fresh naval oranges when both are at their peak. Peel or cut away the orange rind, leaving as little pith as possible. Cut into 1/3” inch slices. Allow one orange per person and place on individual serving dishes. Drizzle with 1/2 tsp. mild honey. Garnish with spring violets or candied violets. This light dessert is the perfect conclusion to a winter meal. A few drops of orange liquor can be sprinkled over the oranges.

Some gardeners dislike wild violets in their yards but we enjoy the fragrance and appeal of wild violets. Their scent seems to come and go because our scent receptors become exhausted and must have a few minutes to revive before we can again enjoy this definitive fragrance.

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High Omega-3 Pumpkin Cupcakes

Pumpkin CupcakesEach cupcake contains two grams of healthy Omega-3 fatty acids from canola oil, flax seed, squash, and walnuts. Eggs may or may not be high in Omega-3’s depending on how the hens are fed. A good reason for free range hens to have a mixed diet that’s high in greens.

I developed this recipe after reading Susan Allport’s excellent book “The Queen of Fats: Why Omega-3s Were Removed from the Western Diet and What We Can Do to Replace Them”.

Servings: Makes 12 cupcakes or one tea loaf.

1 cup unbleached all purpose flour
¾ cup whole wheat pastry flour
*½ teaspoon Vietnamese cinnamon
½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1/3 cup canola oil
1 cup brown sugar
3 large eggs
1 cup cooked pumpkin or winter squash
½ cup ground flax seed
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup milk
**1/3 cup Baker’s Cut candied ginger or chopped candied ginger
3/4 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350°F. Oil and flour 9×5 inch loaf pan. For cupcakes prepare 12 slots. I use paper liners in my tins to avoid oiling and flouring.

Sift first 7 dry ingredients into medium bowl. Using electric mixer, beat oil with sugar and then beat in eggs 1 at a time. Beat in pumpkin, flax seed and vanilla. Add dry ingredients to pumpkin mixture alternately with milk, beating after each addition. Stir in ginger and nuts. Transfer batter to prepared pan or cupcake tins.

Bake loaf cake until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 50 minutes. Cool in pan on rack 15 minutes. Turn cake out onto rack; cool completely.
Bake cupcakes for 25 minutes or until tester comes out clean, they will still look barely moist on top. Let cupcakes cool in pan for three minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.

POWDERED SUGAR GLAZE (optional)
½ cup powdered sugar
2 tbsp. liquid (milk or cream.)
1/2 tsp. vanilla, optional

Combine ingredients and mix until smooth. Lightly spread on cooled cupcakes or loaf. I dusted my glaze with a small pinch of Vietnamese cinnamon on each cupcake.

*Vietnamese cinnamon is very dark and fragrant. For many years it was unavailable in the US but now that trade has resumed with Vietnam, we have access to what is considered the finest baking cinnamon. **Baker’s Cut Ginger, is minced candied ginger. A real step saver, no more sticking to the knife or gnarling up in the food processor.