Sunday, March 28, 2021

#ojaipixies Recipe: Ojai Pixie Tangerine Layered Poke Cake

Celebrate #ojaipixies season with my Ojai Pixie Tangerine Layered Poke Cake


  • 15.25 oz box white cake mix
  • 4 egg whites
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 1¼ cups milk
  • 12-13 Ojai Pixie Tangerines, zested (divided), juiced (2 cups), reserve one whole tangerine for presentation
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 2 - .25 oz packets unflavored gelatin
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 8 oz powdered sugar
  • 1½ tsp vanilla extract


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray two 8-inch round cake pans with cooking spray and line the bottom with parchment paper.
  2. Combine cake mix, egg whites, vegetable oil, and milk in a large bowl. Mix until moistened. Beat with a mixer on medium speed for 2 minutes. Divide batter mixture into pans. Bake for 34-38 minutes. When toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, cake is done. Remove from oven and cool on stove top or wire racks.
  3. While cakes are cooling, start the tangerine gelatin. In a small saucepan, bring 1½ cup of tangerine juice, sugar, and 1 tablespoon tangerine zest to a boil. In a pyrex cup or glass bowl, pour the gelatin packets into the reserved ½ cup juice to soften. When juice comes to a boil, remove from heat and pour hot juice mixture into gelatin mixture. Stir until gelatin has dissolved. Reserve ½ cup of the tangerine gelatin mixture for decorating.
  4. When cakes are cool, use a chopstick or skewer and poke holes in the cakes. Pour remaining tangerine gelatin mixture on top of cakes, making sure the gelatin gets into all the holes. Cover and refrigerate cakes for 3 hours.
  5. When cakes are almost done, start frosting. In a mixer bowl, whip butter for 2 minutes. Add powdered sugar, vanilla extract, 1 teaspoon tangerine zest, and 1 tablespoon reserved room temperature tangerine gelatin. Whisk on low speed until powdered sugar is just combined and increase speed to high for 2 minutes. Scrape down sides and whisk for another 2 minutes until frosting is light and fluffy.
  6. Remove cakes from refrigerator. Place first layer on parchment paper, top side down. Place frosting on top, about ½” thick. Place the other cake layer, bottom side down. Frost top and sides of cake. Use spatula to smooth sides and top for straight sides and top. Place in freezer for 30 minutes. Place leftover frosting in a piping bag with star tip.
  7. While cake frosting is in the freezer, peel or cut off rind on reserved tangerine. Remove segments and peel off membrane. You can also suprême tangerine by cutting in between membranes. Either technique will work. Reserve on a plate until cake is ready.
  8. When cake is chilled, place on a serving plate. Drizzle reserved room temperature tangerine sauce along the corner where the top and the side of cake meet so it drips down the side of the cake. Place tangerine wedges in a flower petal pattern on the top center of cake. Pipe a dolloped swirl of frosting in the middle of the tangerine petal pattern. Along the top perimeter of cake, pipe starbursts along the edge. Sprinkle tangerine zest on top.


Thursday, November 19, 2020

Revive your spice rack with Black Garlic! + recipe

Black Garlic Powder and Black Garlic Cloves in this post were provided by The Black Garlic Company but the opinions expressed here are my own.

I heard the early buzz about black garlic about 10 years ago. I tried black garlic 3 years ago when I interviewed one of my chef friends, Chef Joe Youkhan. I wrote an article for CBS Local about Healthy Thanksgiving Recipes and he infused black garlic into his Charred Eggplant Baba Ghanoush. He sent some home with me and I just fell in love with this new facet of garlic. It looks like a normal bulb of garlic with the layers of translucent, delicate, papery skin on the outside. The treasure lies within - soft and slightly sticky black cloves of garlic. I love the zingy sucker punch of fresh garlic (I eat one clove every morning to get my day started), but I also love the mildly sweet, earthy, umami flavor of black garlic.

My friend, Jodi Taffel a.k.a. The Fabulous Bacon Babe, introduced me to The Black Garlic Company located in Bryan, TX. They use domestically grown garlic and make their products with heat, humidity, time, and love - no additives, preservatives, or artificial colors. Their products are also shelf-stable for a year.

I wanted to use the black garlic powder and cloves in one recipe. The first thing that popped in my head was BBQ! I do not have a smoker for proper barbeque but have learned to adapt in the kitchen using the oven, plastic wrap, and aluminum foil. I use a technique I learned from Chef LeeAnn Wong (Top Chef alumni and Chef/Owner of Koko Head Café in Honolulu, HI) and it works like a charm!

Black Garlic BBQ Pork Ribs by OC Food Diva

Serves 4-6
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours

1 tbsp The Black Garlic Company Black Garlic Powder
¼ cup granulated onion
2 tbsp paprika
1 tbsp granulated garlic
½ cup brown sugar, divided
1½ tsp kosher salt
1½ tsp black pepper
2 racks pork spareribs, trimmed and cut into half rack portions
1 tbsp light olive oil
1 tbsp The Black Garlic Company Black Garlic Cloves
¾ cup ketchup
½ cup apple cider vinegar
3 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
2 tbsp Koops’ Arizona Heat Mustard
2 tsp shoyu

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. In a bowl, combine black garlic powder, granulated onion, paprika, granulated garlic, ¼ cup brown sugar, kosher salt, and black pepper. Rub onto top and bottom of trimmed pork ribs. Wrap each half rack of ribs in plastic wrap, once around the lengthwise and once around width. Then wrap with heavy duty aluminum foil and place seam side down on full size baking sheet. Trimmings can be seasoned and wrapped up as well or placed in a freezer safe bag for later use in stock or soup. Cook in the oven for 30 minutes. Turn down the heat to 300°F and cook for an hour and 30 minutes. Remove from oven and let it sit for 15 minutes.
  3. In a blender, combine ¼ cup brown sugar, olive oil, black garlic cloves, ketchup, cider vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, and shoyu. Blend until smooth. This is a no-cook sauce, but if you like your sauce thicker: Place sauce in a small saucepan on low heat and simmer until desired thickness is achieved.
  4. To serve, baste sauce on top of ribs. You can serve them individually cut or just as the half rack. The pork is so tender that it will almost fall of the bone.

For more information:
The Black Garlic Company

Thursday, June 11, 2020

How to Spice up your Food Blog

Guest Blog Post: Christiana Sinacola is a content writer and data analyst at NeoReach. She has a passion for literature and has been featured in multiple online publications within the influencer marketing space and other industries.

People look to food bloggers for kitchen wisdom and really good chocolate chip cookie recipes. Home cooking is one of the best skills to have, and whether you are a complete novice or a seasoned cook looking to try new cuisine food blogs provide a wealth of knowledge that’s just a Google search away. That does mean, however, that the food blog competition can sometimes feel rather intense. Here are five ways to spice up your food blog to bring in as many of these eager home chefs as possible and keep them coming back for more.

1. Add a video tutorial
Video tutorials are often easier to follow than written instructions. For something as temperamental as cooking and baking, a lot of terms and methods make far more sense when watching someone else carry out the steps. This is also a great way to carry your following onto other platforms like YouTube and IGTV.


2. Switch up the design
Spice up your site as well as your recipes. Add color and graphics or find a palette you enjoy and set your website to follow that theme. You can reach out to a freelance designer whose work you like or do it yourself, but a good logo and color scheme can really tie your blog together.

Sally’s Baking Addiction

3. Try a new recipe
Whether it’s a diet plan, a religious restriction or just an allergy, many people scour the web looking for recipes that fit their constraints and are still delicious. See if you can expand your audience by varying your recipes. Maybe focus on a vegan dinner, or make a gluten free dessert for people to try. No need to reinvent the wheel - or meal, if you will. Replace the chicken in a dish with grilled eggplant or use a dairy free milk in your next soup. Promoting these dishes and the workarounds will bring in new readers eager for recipes they might not have thought of on their own.

The Chic Is Natural

4. Food and DRINKS
Nobody said food blogs only had to focus on what’s on your plate. What about what’s in your glass? Any good meal gets better when paired with an excellent drink, and the opportunities are endless. Put your own spin on a classic cocktail or share a tried and true method for hot chocolate.

Vibrant & Pure

5. Share your favorite kitchen gadgets
The average home cook probably doesn’t think much when it comes to the tools in their kitchen. As a food blogger, share some of your favorite kitchen gadgets and tips. Your followers will be grateful for the insight and advice, and you get to hype up the tools you love most.

Friday, May 15, 2020