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Feb 07 2014

Red Velvet Coconut Cake

Published by under Desserts


Valentine’s Day is exactly a week from now, so to get everyone in the spirit, we baked something that will surely make you feel warm and fuzzy inside.. okay maybe not. But we do hope that this Red Velvet Coconut Cake looks tempting enough for you to make for that special someone. The red and white on this cake really shouts Valentine’s! Oh, and believe it or not, this is actually the very first cake we’ve made on our blog! Hooray! We figured it was a fun challenge to bake this together, and luckily it did not turn out disastrous, since baking is not our forte! With the help from Catcora.com and Paula Deen’s Red Velvet recipe, we tweaked it a bit to create this Red Velvet Coconut Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting that is sprinkled entirely with shredded coconut! If you love sweet desserts, you are in for a delicious treat!

Sift together 2 1/2 cups cake flour, 3 tbsp cocoa powder, 1 1/2 tsp baking powder, and 1/2 tsp salt. Gently mix together.

In a mixer, beat 1 1/2 sticks of softened unsalted butter, 1 cup sugar, and 1/2 cup shredded coconut. Then add 3 large eggs, one at a time. With the mixer on low, gradually add 1/2 cup buttermilk, 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut milk, and 1 vanilla bean (shown below). To get the batter looking a lovely red, add 2 tbsp of red food coloring.

Instead of vanilla extract, we scraped a vanilla bean instead. If you don't have this on hand, then use 1 tsp vanilla extract to be added to the wet ingredients.

We combined the dry ingredients with the red batter by hand instead of using the electric mixer. In a separate bowl, combine 1 tbsp white vinegar with 1 tsp baking soda and let it activate. Then add it to the batter.

Spray two 8-inch cake pans and divide the mixture into two. (Note: We didn't have two pans handy, so we just used one cake pan for the batter. This will have a longer baking time and we had to cut off the top of the cake after it baked to get it flat.) If you have the two cake pans, it should take about 25-30 minutes to bake or until toothpick comes out clean.

As you can see, we sliced off the top of our cake to give it a smooth texture to prepare for the icing.

We also cut the cake into 3 layers and added a thin layer of cream cheese frosting on each piece. Cream cheese frosting is prepared by mixing 1 package of softened cream cheese, 1/4 cup softened butter, 4 cups confectioner's sugar, and 1 tsp vanilla extract. If the frosting is not as smooth, add 1 tsp of water to help the consistency be more spreadable.

Frost each layer of the cake and finish off with the entire outside of the cake. Don't worry if you get red velvet specks when you are icing because the coconut flakes will cover it.

Sprinkle about 1 cup of shredded coconut over the entire cake, making sure to cover all areas of the frosting. This was definitely the most enjoyable part! Maybe it's because we were at the finish line.

From the outside, it just looks like a white coconut cake, but once you slice into the cake, you get the beautiful red velvet color which is perfect to serve for a Valentine's Day dessert. So now you can have your cake... and eat it too!

To view or print-out this recipe, click here: Red Velvet Coconut Cake

28 responses so far

Jan 23 2014

Spicy Chili Bowl

Published by under Cooking at Home


Believe it or not, we have both decided to cut back on our carb intake, and that means no rice, breads, pasta, and yes – even fruit! We have heard from so many people that low-carb diets really work and so we are giving it a shot. So far we have been pretty good about eliminating a lot of carbs from our meals and I have personally seen the scale go down! One of the dishes I prepared recently was Spicy Chili that was an idea given to us from our friend who is also on a low-carb diet. I used what I had in the kitchen to prepare this easy chili recipe that turned into a really spicy chili recipe… so keep that in mind if you plan to make this! Also, we omitted beans from our pot of chili because frankly, we are not big fans of beans. If you like beans, then feel free to add that to the recipe. We really liked how this came out and will make it again when we are sick of all the other low-carb options. This will be a tough goal, but I think we can do it. Let us know if you guys have any advice and tips on low-carb diets – especially success stories!

The first thing I did was cook 1 lb. of ground beef in a skillet so that I can drain the fat. Yes, it's disgusting, so drain it!! Then set aside. (Optional: I seasoned the beef with salt and pepper).

I used 1 cup diced onions, 1 cup diced green bell peppers, 1/2 cup diced jalapeños, 1/2 cup diced celery, and 1 tbsp garlic. That's right - 1/2 cup of jalapeños, that is why it's so spicy! But it gives it a nice kick. If you can't handle the heat, then just reduce it to 1/4 cup.

Add the above ingredients in a pot and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. You are sweating the veggies.

Now comes all of the flavor enhancers: 1 tbsp chili powder, 1 tsp cumin, 1/2 tsp salt, and 1/2 tsp pepper. Then add the ground beef into this pot and mix everything together for a couple of minutes.

Finally, add 8 oz. tomato sauce, 8 oz. beef broth, and 1 can (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes. Bring to a boil and let it simmer for about 10 minutes to let all the flavors incorporate. Taste to adjust seasonings.

Top your bowl of Spicy Chili with some grated cheese, minced red onion, and cilantro. Then dig in! We really liked the freshness of the toppings because it went really well with the hot and spicy chili. You can really taste the cumin and the other spices that gives it that hearty chili flavor! And don't worry - just because we are on a low-carb diet does not mean we won't be making carbolicious foods for the blog... we will still make it, but won't eat too much of it!

To view or print-out this recipe, click here: Spicy Chili Bowl

23 responses so far

Jan 17 2014

French Sorrel Pesto – With Pasta and Pizza!


Back in the Fall, we had planted French sorrel in our garden, which is the first time we grew it and my first time eating it!  French sorrel is commonly used in France for many dishes, but not so common here in the states, which is why it’s nice to introduce this unique plant to those who have never heard of it. Just recently, we finally got the opportunity to harvest this herbaceous plant to prepare something for dinner. French sorrel has a lemony flavor that goes well in soups, salads, seafood, and as a sauce. We wanted to prepare something easy, so we searched for some ideas and came across a sorrel pesto recipe. When you think of pesto, you normally think of basil. But to twist things up, we used the French sorrel leaves to make a creamy pesto that we tossed with bow tie pasta and chicken. We used the extra pesto we had the next day to make a whole wheat pizza with crispy pancetta. It was great to stretch the pesto into two meals. What can be easier than throwing together a few ingredients into your food processor and making a fragrant pesto sauce?

This is our organic French sorrel from the garden, which is still alive and strong throughout these cold months. These acidic leaves are high in Vitamins A and C, as well as fiber. Remember - greens are good for you!

To the food processor, we made the pesto by combining 2 cups of fresh sorrel with the ribs removed,(The ribs are the part of the stem that goes through the leaf. It's very tough so it should be discarded), 1/4 cup of pine nuts that we toasted in a pan, 1/3 cup parsley, 2 garlic cloves roughly chopped, 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese, 1/2 tsp salt, and 1/4 cup olive oil.

The mixture is pureed and should look like this. Taste and adjust for seasonings. You will find that it has a distinct lemon flavor.

You can use this pesto sauce in any pasta you want. We went with a bow tie pasta and cooked up some chicken to go along with the dish. The nuttiness from the pine nuts and the tartness of the sorrel definitely makes the meal interesting. And just for fun, we bundled some French sorrel into a bouquet.

As mentioned, we took the remaining sorrel pesto and made a pizza with the store-bought dough we had on hand. We docked and par-baked the dough first in the oven at 400F for 7-10 minutes because we like our dough crispy. Then we took it out to spread the pesto sauce on top.

Then came the rest of the toppings - a ton of mozarella cheese and pancetta that we crisped up in the pan. Pancetta is a cured meat, similar to bacon. We popped it back in the oven for another 10 minutes or so until the cheese was fully melted and the crust was browned.

We sprinkled a little bit of French sorrel chiffonade on top and this French sorrel pesto pizza was ready to be devoured. We really enjoyed utilizing the fresh sorrel from our garden to make these two simple meals, and we hope that you get a chance to try this lovely green herb if you ever come across it. Since we still have a bush of sorrel growing, our next meal will have to be the classic French sorrel soup! Stay tuned!

To view or print-out this recipe, click here: Sorrel Pesto from Recipe Source

17 responses so far

Jan 05 2014

Meyer Lemon Cupcakes with Candied Lemon Zest

Published by under Desserts,Gardening


Welcome to the new year! We hope to entice your taste buds to a whole new level in 2011. If you haven’t already noticed, we now have a Recipe Index link that will take you to everything we have blogged about since January 2009. We’ve come a long way, my friends! Also, just a minor change to the background color… instead of the darker green you were used to, we have lightened it up to a more softer sea green. If time allows, we’ll play around with other visual changes to the blog. But for now, let’s move on to these lemon cupcakes, shall we?

Winter is the season of citrus fruits and it just so happens our Meyer lemon tree is flourishing with beautiful yellow fruit! Meyer lemons tend to be sweeter than the common lemons, and the skin is very thin but fragrant. Seeing how we like to incorporate our harvest with our kitchen creations, we thought it would be fun to make Meyer Lemon Cupcakes. But to make it even more special, we are using the zest of the lemons to make candied lemon zest to top the cupcakes, which is absolutely delightful! Oh – and I better not forget to mention that it’s a lemon cream cheese frosting, too!

We love having a lemon tree in the backyard. It's such a useful fruit in so many dishes - from desserts (like this cupcake we're making) to savory dishes like lemon chicken. Of course, there's always the classic lemonade that you can make out of these wonderful lemons!

For the batter, combine 1/2 cup butter (at room temp) with 3 oz of cream cheese. Mmm, fatty.

Along with that, add 1 tbsp grated lemon zest and 2/3 cup sugar. We beat this with a whisk instead of taking out our huge Kitchenaid mixer, but the mixer will be a lot easier. Next, beat in 2 eggs until smooth. Gradually add 1 cup flour, 1/2 tsp baking powder, and a pinch of salt.

Divide the batter evenly between 12 cupcake cups in your cupcake tin. Bake at 325F for about 25 minutes until firm.

Meanwhile, prepare the candied lemon zest. With a vegetable peeler, remove long strips of zest (without pith) from lemon. Then cut into julienne strips.

Place in a small saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Cook for 7 minutes and drain.

Return the lemon strips to the pan and add 1/2 cup sugar and 1/2 cup water. Return to a simmer and cook over low heat until the zest is translucent and the syrup is slightly thickened, about 10 to 15 minutes.

Transfer the candied lemon zest to wax paper and set aside. Maybe pop a few in your mouth - you'll love the taste! Sweet and tangy.

“].”]

To make the cream cheese frosting, combine 3 oz of cream chees with 1.5 cups confectioner's sugar. Add 2 tsp lemon juice and 1 tbsp grated lemon zest. Beat together until smooth. (Oops, this is the wrong photo for this caption. Somehow I forgot to take a picture of the cream cheese frosting process. Let's pretend the flour pouring in is the powdered sugar, ok? Hehe)

When your cupcakes are done baking, let them cool for about 10 minutes before frosting. Top with the candied lemon zest for a nice finishing touch to the Meyer Lemon Cupcakes. Despite all the lemon flavors we added, the cupcakes didn't have a overwhelming lemon taste. It had a nice hint of lemon that worked well with the sweet cupcakes and frosting. Enjoy!

To view or print-out this recipe, click here: Meyer Lemon Cupcakes with Candied Lemon Zest

Here are some related posts we’ve done in the past:
Lemon Broiled Orange Roughy
Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting
Cupcake Pops

28 responses so far

Dec 30 2013

Oreo Truffles Dusted in Cocoa Powder

Published by under Desserts


I don’t know about you guys, but Oreos are one of my favorite cookies. I love dunking them in milk and sometimes crave the Oreo McFlurry from McDonalds. Oreos are indeed versatile because they can be eaten in so many different ways. A fun way to use up Oreo cookies that I recently discovered is to make little truffles out of them. This is not only fun, but it’s super easy. You literally only need 3 ingredients – oreos, cream cheese, and cocoa powder. You’ll be amazed at how simple it is to make, yet it yields quite a unique taste that will make you wanting more. Now, go get those 3 ingredients and start ready to make some Oreo Truflfes!

For this recipe, I used only half a package of Oreos because that's all I had left. So, put them inside a bag and start smashing it until it's in finely crumbled. This also works well with a food processor.

Put the oreos in a mixer along with 4 oz. of cream cheese (half a package). Mix together to combine.

To make the texture more gooey and moist, I added 4 tbsp of water to the mixture. This is entirely up to you based on how you want the texture of the oreo balls.

The mixture is placed in the freezer to harden for a bit before I rolled them into 1-inch balls. These are placed on a cookie sheet lined with wax paper for easy handling. I placed them in the freezer again after rolling so it stiffens up.

Take each ball and roll it around in cocoa powder so it's fully dusted and you can't see the blacks of the oreo underneath. This will yield about 24 oreo truffles.

Some people like to dip the oreo balls into melted chocolate or candy melt. But since the filling is already sweet, I didn't want to overpower the sweetness with a heavy coating. This is why I decided to use cocoa powder which is light and has a subtle chocolate flavor. It's also less mess! It's like biting into a brownie but flavored with Oreos. These are great as desserts for any party and people will think you spent a lot more time making it!

Have fun making your Oreo Truffles Dusted in Cocoa Powder! I sure did... just look at my pyramid of Oreo Truffles! I still have some leftovers which I put in the freezer. It's a great treat whenever you need something sweet to perk you up!

To view or print-out this recipe, click here: Oreo Truffles Dusted in Cocoa Powder

18 responses so far

Dec 16 2013

Meatballs with Bayou Bourbon Glaze and December Giveaway


We have partnered up with Tastefully Simple to create a “game day” recipe for them using one of their delectable products. We wanted this recipe to be easy to make and more importantly, easy to eat! When we think of game day parties, it usually involves beer, chips and dip, and other junk food. But to really make an impression and feed your guests properly, it’s best to make some delicious appetizers that will mayyybe distract them from the game on TV. With the variety of unique sauces that Tastefully Simple supplied to us, we were most intrigued with the Bayou Bourbon Glaze. This savory brown sugar bourbon sauce has a hint of onions, garlic, and molasses, which is perfect to liven-up meats and fish. It’s both sweet and savory, which is similar to that of teriyaki sauce. So why did we choose to make meatballs? Well, it’s a classic ingredient in many dishes, like spaghetti and soup. It’s requires simple ingredients yet yields satisfying results. And to top it off with a special sauce, what more can you ask for?

Update: Check out our feature on Tastefully Simple’s Game Day Delights page: http://www.tastefullysimple.com/tryourrecipes/foodbloggers.aspx

Tastefully Simple sent us a package of sauces (as shown): Pomegranate Chipotle Sauce, Bayou Bourbon Glaze, and Merlot Sauce.

This simple meatball mixture is composed of: 1/2 lb ground beef, 1/2 lb ground pork, 1 cup Italian breadcrumbs, 1 egg, 1/3 cup shredded carrots, 1/3 cup grated onion, 1/2 tsp garlic powder, 1 tsp salt, and 1 tsp pepper. Mix it all up!

Now for the fun part--okay, more like the messy part. Shape the meatballs into 1 to 1.5-inch balls. We want them to be small enough so it's easy to pop in your mouth to eat.

What I like to do with my meatballs is brown them first in a skillet over medium heat. This helps brown up the sides and give it that nice texture. It should take about 3-5 minutes to brown up.

Transfer the meatballs to a parchment-lined baking sheet and brush on some Bayou Bourbon Glaze. If you don't have this, any other sauce or glaze that you like will work.

It looks nice and sticky! Now, place this tray into the oven at 425F for 8-10 minutes until cooked through. You can brush it again during the baking process.

Whether you pick up this meatball with a toothpick or a fork, you'll be sure to devour the bold flavors of the Bayou Boubon Glaze en-wrapped in a moist and tasty meatball. It's a great dish to serve as an appetizer for any event - especially "Game Day" parties! We all know how much the guys looove to eat meat!

To view or print-out this recipe, click here: Meatballs with Bayou Bourbon Glaze

So are you ready to find out what the December giveaway is?? No, it’s not the meatballs, sorry. We’re going to give away a package of the Tastefully Simple sauces shown above to one lucky reader! That way, you can come up with your own fun dishes, whether it’s just a simple dinner at home or an all-out party for the holidays. You’ll love the savory and enticing flavors of these sauces, and we hope that the winner will share their recipes with us!

To enter, leave a comment letting us know what sauce you’d like to try first and what you would make with it – can be as simple as just pouring over meat, or something creative and fun! Whatever you decide, we’re sure it will be a crowd pleaser with these sauces.

Contest ends Thursday, December 23rd at 11:59PST. Sorry, contest is over!

The winner goes to Nancy Iland! Congratulations!

Disclaimer: In compliance with the FTC Guides, updated 10/5/09, this article has material connections.  The Food Addicts (TFA) received no fees for hosting this giveaway on behalf of Tastefully Simple.   Tastefully Simple will provide 1 prize pack to the winner free of charge;  1 prize pack was also provided to TFA at no cost by Tastefully Simple to facilitate the review process.  TFA does not endorse the company mentioned above.

39 responses so far

Nov 18 2013

Raisin Pumpkin Bread

Published by under Desserts


It’s almost funny to think that Thanksgiving is next week because the weather in Southern California definitely says otherwise. Lately, we’ve had some really nice warm weather where even our mail-lady is wearing shorts in mid-November. Perhaps it’s the lack of summer we had this year which resulted in an extension of warm weather – either way, it’s definitely lovely. But somehow just seeing the holiday decorations upon us is almost hard to believe. Since many of you will be partaking in traditional Thanksgiving feasts with family and friends next week, we hope that you take some effort into bringing a homemade dish. We want to share this Raisin Pumpkin Bread recipe that we made back when we went pumpkin-crazy with the pumpkin puree (see previous post on Soft Pumpkin Cookies). We incorporated the instructions from Joy of Baking’s Pumpkin Bread Recipe and made our own version. This bread is meant to be eaten as a dessert because it’s sweet, cinnamony, and extremely moist. If you can manage to get your family members to eat more carbs right after a heavy meal, then this is the dish to bring!

In a large bowl, whisk together 4 large eggs with 2 cups sugar.

Next, add 15 oz pure pumpkin puree (1 can), 1/2 cup water, 1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract and mix together with the egg/sugar mixture.

Now add 1/2 cup oil and 1/2 cup melted butter to the mixture. If you want to splurge, then just use 1 cup of butter instead of half oil/butter combo that we did to cut some fat.

Time to add the dry ingredients - which consists of 3 1/2 cups all purpose flour, 1 tsp baking powder, 1 tsp baking soda, 3/4 tsp salt, 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon, 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg. Stir this just until the ingredients are combined - do not overmix or the bread will be tough.

For the final touch, add about 1 cup of golden raisins. If you prefer nuts, you can add pecans or walnuts instead.

The batter goes into a buttered and floured loaf pan and gets baked for 55-65 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean. This batter is good for 2 loaves of pumpkin bread using a 9 x 5 x 3 inch loaf pan.

Leave the bread in the loaf pan for about 10 minutes to cool before trying to remove it from the pan. Once removed, it should look like this!

Hopefully through our step-by-step photos, you can see how visibly easy it is to make your own Raisin Pumpkin Bread at home to serve for the holidays. You can always get creative with the filling by adding other ingredients, like walnuts, pecans, or even cream cheese! Get in the kitchen and whip up something good to bring to the party - the host(s) will really appreciate it! Happy Holidays!!

To view or print-out this recipe, click here: Raisin Pumpkin Bread

17 responses so far

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