Monday, March 2, 2015

Coconut Cake

I think that with yesterday's snow, this cake fits right in with the weather. The shredded coconut looks like snow, right?

I'm really picky when it comes to coconut cake. I once had a coconut cupcake (from a shop that actually won an episode of Cupcake Wars) that ended up being a vanilla cupcake with vanilla frosting. The only coconut component was the shredded coconut embedded into the frosting. It was terrible. I mean, it was edible and tasted fine but it was not a coconut cake. I like my coconut cake to be coconutty enough to be recognizable as coconut-flavored, light and fluffy to qualify as really good cake, and just sweet enough be dessert and not bread.

The first recipe I ever posted was a coconut cake. If that doesn't prove how much I love coconut cake, I don't know what does. I've since altered that recipe, ever so slightly. I reduced the amount of sugar and switched over to cake flour to make sure the cake meets the criteria I listed above.
Ingredients [yields 2 x 8" layers]:
3 cups cake flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter, room temp (2 sticks)
1/2 cup sugar
16 oz. can cream of coconut
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 eggs, separated
1 cup buttermilk
+ 1 cup coconut flakes (optional)
+ 1 cup coconut custard (I use the custard I use for my coconut pie)
+ 2 cups whipped cream
+ 1/2 cup shredded coconut

Friday, February 27, 2015

Thai Red Curry Chicken Soup

This soup was unintentional. Let me explain: I was going to make a "traditional" chicken noodle soup but I changed my mind when I saw that coconut milk was on sale at the market. I stocked up and then decided to make a Thai-style soup. We already had some cilantro and lemongrass in the fridge so it was pretty perfect.
Ingredients [yields 8 to 10 servings]:
chicken stock
2 bone-in chicken breasts (or thighs)
10 cups water
4 cloves garlic, smashed
1/4 onion

Thai red curry chicken soup
1 teaspoon oil
1/4 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon lemongrass, minced
1 teaspoon ginger, grated
6 thai chilis, chopped
handful cilantro stems
2 cups coconut milk
2 tablespoons red curry paste
1 teaspoon fish sauce
+ rice noodles (2 oz.)*
+ baby portabello (2 to 3)*
+ sprouts (small handful)*
+ cilantro leaves (4 to 6)*

*This stuff is optional, it's just super delicious garnish, and the quantities shown are per person portions.

Also, if you wanted a vegetarian/vegan version of this soup, use a vegetable stock in lieu of the chicken stock, add a pound of cubed tofu for protein, and substitute the fish sauce with tamari.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Chocolate Filled Pate A Choux Beignets

I've never been to New Orleans so I've never had a genuine yeast beignet so I feel like I can't make them and share them because I haven't experienced the real deal. However, I have been to France and I've had a French beignet so I feel more comfortable sharing those and that's what I'm doing.

And, because when I was making these my sweet tooth was being extra vocal, I decided to fill them with a few chocolate chips. They turned out crisp, light, delicious, and gooey sweet which made them perfect.

By the way, these fried clouds have a few different names, like zeppole, fried dough, frittelle, puff puffs, the list goes on.
Ingredients [yields 1.5 dozen beignets]:
1/2 stick butter (1/4 cup)
1/2 cup milk
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup flour
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
+1/4 cup mini chocolate chips
oil for frying
+ confectioners sugar
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