Back to doing what I love…. September 30, 2013
And so I’m back. Culinary school was not for me-CIA is an exceptional school with amazing instructors and support, but the academic part of the food industry took the passion and joy right out of me. So I made the difficult decision to regroup and refocus on what I want. I want to continue testing, tasting and creating yummy sweet treats. It makes me happy when people love the desserts we make!
So here’s a quick dessert idea to enjoy the last of the summer fruit. Take any fruit you love, mix it with a little sugar, lemon zest and cinnamon if needed and place the mixture into small ramekins. Top with a crumble mixture you would use on an apple pie (oatmeal, flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and butter). Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 -40 mins. Top with ice cream or whipped cream and enjoy. It’s an easy, quick and great little dessert!
The beginning of a new adventure August 26, 2013
Week one at The Culinary Institute of America at Greystone, was full of orientations, books, uniforms and of course food. Besides feeling overwhelmed, anxious, and nervous, it was exciting to start this new chapter. It is hard to ignore the beauty of this school and its location. Enjoy a few pictures from my first week. More updates from the culinary student perspective as time permits-look at those books!
Pineapple Sunshine Muffins August 17, 2013
Every once in a while, it’s fun to go back through old cookbooks because you never know what forgotten treasure you might find. That’s what happened with these Pineapple Sunshine Muffins. This original recipe was hiding in an old cookbook. It was originally given to us by an old family friend and neighbor-Mina. She has left us, but her precise instructions and handwritten notes at the bottom of the recipe bring back fond memories of recipe exchanges and friendship. Even though this was many years ago (hence the type written recipe) she was always concerned with making delicious recipes more healthy. A woman ahead of her time.
Pineapple Sunshine Muffins
1 8oz can crushed pineapple
¾ cup all-purpose flour
¾ cup whole wheat flour
¾ cup toasted wheat germ
½ cup sugar
½ cup flaked coconut
½ cup chopped nuts
1 ½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
1 cup plain yogurt
¼ cup oil
Turn pineapple into wire strainer and drain. Combine all purpose flour and whole wheat flour, wheat germ, sugar, coconut, nuts, soda and salt. In a separate bowl combine drained pineapple, yogurt, eggs, and oil-mixing well. Add to try mixture. Stir gently, just until all of the dry mixture is moistened. Spoon into greased muffin pans, filling ¾ full. Bake at 400 degrees, 18 to 20 minutes.
Serve warm with butter. Makes 15 to 18 muffins.
Chocolate, Nutella and Strawberries August 1, 2013
They say a picture paints a thousand words-in this case we agree! We think this cake looks good enough to eat right off the screen.
Summertime desserts are usually lighter and include some type of ripe, juicy fruit in season. This cake is simple in ingredients and in assembly as well. We guarantee it will be a big hit at your next party or barbecue.
Here’s what you need:
Chocolate cake-either from a box or your favorite homemade recipe
1 pint Whipping Cream (whipped to perfection-add a tsp of vanilla and a couple of tablespoons powdered sugar to sweeten the whipping cream)
2 pints ripe strawberries (washed, sliced, with a squeeze or two of lemon or lime juice over them-add a sprinkle of sugar if needed to make them juicy)
Use two 9 inch cake pans to bake the cake, if you have them, this gives you a slightly thinner cake layer. After you bake and cool your cake layers, simply place one layer on a cake stand, spread the top with a generous amount (1/3 cup) of Nutella, then spread one half of the whipped cream over the Nutella, add half the strawberries, top with the other cake layer and repeat the process.
This cake is made to be consumed the same day-so wow your friends and family at your next event!
Easy Summertime Goodness June 19, 2013
This dessert takes advantage of the berries in season, a yummy cake (your own or store bought) and a twist on whipped cream. It’s easy and always a hit!
Simply take your favorite berries, wash and slice if necessary. Squeeze the juice of one lime, add two or three tablespoons of your favorite sweetener-preferably honey or agave, and then roughly chop four or five mint leaves. Let this macerate for several hours.
To prepare the dessert, take a store bought pound cake or angel food cake, or bake your own. We made an orange pound cake-very yummy and it added a different flavor to the dessert. Slice the cake and cut into cubes.
Place the cake cubes in the bottom of a dessert dish and spoon your juicy berries over the cake.
The final touch is coconut whipped cream. Unfortunately, our photo shows what the cream should not look like because I bought the wrong can. You need to use coconut cream (Trader Joe’s is a good one), do not use coconut milk or cream of coconut. It helps to use a cold bowl to mix the cream and you must use cold coconut cream. In you mixer place the solid part of the liquid, add 2 tablespoons of powdered sugar and a dash of vanilla. Be patient, it will take a little longer to whip than dairy whipped cream. Once you have whipped cream, top your dessert with this yummy goodness and enjoy!
Light, but still sinful, Coconut Cake June 9, 2013
We love coconut! My grandmother Elgia, Katie’s great-grandmother, made coconut cake all the time in their restaurant, Johnson’s Cafe. When I would visit my grandparents, there was always a cake-many times coconut-waiting to be devoured. It was my grandfather’s favorite. I wish I had her recipe, but so far have yet to find anything written down. She probably had it all in her head!
We found an yummy recipe from “Cooking Light” that is lighter than many traditional recipes. I wish I had a picture of the cake sliced, but I took it to work where it was devoured! Take my word-it’s a winner. The frosting is creamy and a cross between meringue and marshmallow. The recipe calls for fresh coconut which would be awesome if you can find it, but in a pinch use the regular baker’s coconut. Next time, we are going to add our fabulous lemon curd to the filling of the cake to add some summer flavor.
- 1 tablespoon cake flour
- 12 ounces sifted cake flour (about 3 cups)
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 3/4 cups sugar, divided
- 2/3 cup butter, softened
- 1 cup warm coconut water (from 1 small brown coconut)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 6 large egg whites
- 4 large egg whites
- 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 1/4 cups sugar
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 cups shaved fresh coconut, toasted
- To prepare the cake, preheat oven to 350°.
- Lightly coat 3 (9-inch) round cake pans with cooking spray; line bottom of pans with wax paper. Lightly coat wax paper with cooking spray; dust pans with 1 tablespoon flour.
- Combine 12 ounces (about 3 cups) flour, baking powder, and salt; stir with a whisk. Place 1 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons sugar and butter in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed for 2 1/2 minutes or until well blended. Add flour mixture and coconut water alternately to sugar mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Beat in 1 teaspoon vanilla. In a separate bowl, beat 6 egg whites on high speed until foamy using clean, dry beaters. Add remaining 2 tablespoons sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating until stiff peaks form (do not overbeat). Carefully fold egg whites into batter; pour batter into prepared pans. Bake at 350° for 18 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans 10 minutes on wire racks; remove from pans. Discard wax paper. Cool completely on wire racks.
- To prepare frosting, combine 4 egg whites, cream of tartar, and 1/8 teaspoon salt in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at high speed until foamy. Add 2 tablespoons sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating until stiff peaks form. Combine remaining 1 1/4 cups sugar and 1/4 cup water in a saucepan; bring to a boil. Cook, without stirring, until candy thermometer registers 250°. With mixer on low speed, pour hot sugar syrup in a thin stream over egg whites. Gradually increase speed to high; beat 8 minutes or until thick and cool. Stir in 1 teaspoon vanilla.
- Place 1 cake layer on a serving plate, and spread with 1 cup frosting. Top with another cake layer. Repeat procedure with 1 cup frosting and remaining cake layer, ending with cake layer on top. Spread remaining frosting over top and sides of cake. Gently press shaved coconut onto top and sides of cake. Store cake loosely covered in refrigerator.