He also serves as the chief taste tester for my catering business. (A job that I've NEVER heard him complain about.) 😂 He doesn't ever critique my food. He is an expert at finding something positive to say about even the most dried out, vegetable based, paleo brownie that looks like it's been regurgitated. With that being said - it can be a challenge to figure out what foods he really likes and and what he eats out of marital politeness.
I do take notice of the desserts that he orders when we go out to eat, because I figure that's a pretty good indication of his favorites. One thing that I've never seen him pass up is a slice of freshly made coconut cake. I certainly don't discourage him either, because I'm assured a taste of it and I'm just a big a fan of coconut cake as he is. 😋
I feel like we've sampled coconut cake at enough different establishments that I'm pretty much a coconut cake expert. Not at baking it - at eating it. 😂 I'm a big fan of coconut cake made with coconut milk and real coconut in the batter. I can spot a coconut cake imposter in one bite. A white cake layered with shredded coconut and vanilla frosting is NOT a coconut cake.
In honor of my coconut cake loving husband, I'm trying my hand at a new coconut cake recipe. A delicate white cake made with coconut milk, coconut extract and shredded coconut. A cake frosted with a creamy, fluffy, buttery frosting packed with even more coconut milk, coconut extract and shredded coconut. This cake is absolutely LOADED with coconut flavor. It's the perfect birthday cake for this special guy.
2 and 1/2 cups cake flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup butter, softened to room temperature
1 and 2/3 cups granulated sugar
5 large egg whites, at room temperature
1/2 cup sour cream, at room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon coconut extract
1 cup canned coconut milk, at room temperature
1 cup sweetened shredded coconut
Coconut Cream Cheese Buttercream
1 cup butter, softened to room temperature
8 ounces cream cheese, softened to room temperature
5 cups confectioners’ sugar
2 Tablespoons canned coconut milk
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon coconut extract
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 cups sweetened shredded coconut
Press coconut onto sides and top of cake. I used desiccated coconut on the top and toasted coconut chips to cover the sides.
Refrigerate 30 minutes before slicing.
Happy Birthday Ben!!!
It's blueberry season!!! And with the 4th of July holiday right around the corner, the timing couldn't be better. I went to bed last night with visions of buttery shortcakes topped with pillows of whipped cream and piles of fresh strawberries and blueberries. Bowls of fresh berries and melon balls sprinkled with fresh mint. And stacks of hot blueberry pancakes and waffles on our breakfast table. (Some people dream of sugar plums - I dream of blueberry desserts.) 😂
Lucky for me, I have friends who are equally blueberry obsessed - or at least willing to spend a morning with me filling buckets with the tiny fruit. If you've never been blueberry picking - I highly recommend it. Starting the day in the blueberry field is therapeutic and relaxing - and it's cheaper than therapy.
Fresh blueberries in our house are treated like little pearls of gold. Not a single berry is wasted in a smoothie - frozen blueberries work just fine for those. The hand picked, carefully chosen blueberries that I bring home, get the star treatment. Blueberry muffins, blueberry pies and pancakes - those are the recipes that can really highlight the fresh flavor of the berries.
I've been dreaming about blueberry crisp since my mom made one during our last visit. It was sooo good!! So with every blueberry that I dropped into my basket, I could see the reality of that blueberry crisp getting closer. I really can't believe that I haven't posted a blueberry crisp recipe on my blog before this.
Because I get really stingy with my hand picked blueberries and I didn't want to use ALL of my berries in one dish soooo I decided to add some fresh peaches to the mix. Literally. 😂 A Peach and Blueberry Crisp is the perfect way to highlight both fruits and still have some fresh blueberries leftover for muffins and pancakes.
Peach Blueberry Crisp
For the Topping
Bake 1 hour at 375. Let cool 30 minutes before serving.
There was no way that we could eat this warm blueberry cobbler without a scoop of vanilla ice cream. We're not barbarians. 😂 But when can't drive yourself to the store to buy ice cream, you pull out your ice cream maker and mix up a batch of homemade vanilla ice cream. 🍨 This Peach Blueberry Crisp with homemade vanilla ice cream was AMAZING!
There are certain dates and places that will forever be etched in my mind. September 28, 2018, Cheeseburger in Paradise restaurant in Lahaini, Hawaii- This was date and location of the last time I ordered and ate a hamburger. 🍔 My husband was so shocked that I ordered a burger, I thought he was going to fall off his chair.
My family's reaction to me eating a hamburger was hilarious. You would have thought that I was eating something way more extravagant or unusual than a patty of ground beef with white bread and ketchup.
The truth is that I've never felt deprived by not eating hamburgers. Please don't judge me but beef burgers really just aren't my thing. All ground beef falls into that category really. I'm not a fan.
A turkey burger is a whole different organism though. I have no rational explanation for why I love ground turkey but not ground beef. A thick, juicy turkey burger piled high with pickles and condiments is just about the most perfect summer meal for me. This turkey burger recipe is amazing AND you can make them even when the weather isn't ideal for grilling. ⛈
Skillet Turkey Burgers
2 teaspoons oil
1 teaspoon water
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 pound 93% lean ground turkey
1 1/2 Tablespoons soy sauce
1 Tablespoon butter, melted
3 Tablespoons panko
3 Tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoons unflavored gelatin
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 slices Colby Jack cheese
4 hamburger buns
It doesn't happen very often but this beautiful picture plate was all mine on turkey burger night. I gobbled up this scrumptious burger with the eagerness of a donkey who's been given a corn cob. 😂
Eggplant Parmesan will forever be one of my all time favorite comfort foods. There's just something about taking a bite of the gooey, sauce covered vegetable that feels like a great big hug. I don't even know when I became such an eggplant parm fan because as a child, I'm fairly certain that I refused to even try it. Or eggplant in any other form for that matter. I don't know when that all changed but now I can't seem to get enough of it. 😋
Even though I prefer to eat my Eggplant smothered in cheese and sauce, I'm calling this a plant based recipe. It's mostly vegetable based, right? I'm not sure I would go as far as to say that it's a "healthy" recipe but I feel like it's healthy-er than the deep fried Eggplant Parmesan recipes.
You may notice that this eggplant pecorino has no breading. I've always wondered why people go through the trouble of breading the eggplant in eggplant parmesan anyway. After you drench it in marinara, the breading on the eggplant gets soggy. I much prefer this method of lightly sautéing the eggplant before layering it with spicy marinara and salty cheeses. I've actually heard that this is the traditional way that Italians first made eggplant parmesan. Not sure if that's true but I choose to believe it.
2 Tablespoons butter
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 anchovy filets, minced
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon oregano
28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
1 Tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup flour
1 cup olive oil
2 cups Pecorino Romano cheese, grated
1 cup mozarella cheese, shredded
Repeat layering 3 more times. Spread remaining sauce over eggplant and sprinkle with mozarella.
Bake 30 minutes at 375. Place under broiler and cook until browned. Let cool for 20 minutes before serving. Hahahaha
It's officially eggplant season and I can't get enough of the purple fruit. 🍆 There has never been a better time to make my favorite eggplant dishes. I've got eggplant lasagna and eggplant meatballs on my menu for next week. Here's hoping my family doesn't get tired of eggplant dinners before the season ends. 😂
Anyone else able to overcome great obstacles but find themselves struggling with the simplest of tasks? That describes me in a nutshell. 🥜 I can pull off brunch for 50 without breaking a sweat but I can't seem to get my act together enough to master folding a fitted sheet. 😂
Fish is one of those uber simple meals that just seems to fluster me. I mean, what could be easier than sprinkling a little salt and pepper and squeezing a little lemon juice over a fish filet, wrapping it in foil and putting it in the oven for 20 minutes? Easy peasy, right? After all, I've tackled timpano, homemade brioche and beef bourguignon. Why am I thrown off by a simple fish dish?
I've been known to overcomplicate more than my share of recipes. 😂(#peachdumplings) Maybe I'm trying to make fish preparation more complicated than it needs to be. Perhaps fish should be prepared simply and enjoyed in its most basic form. Whether it's tossed on the grill with a little olive oil or baked in the oven with some fresh herbs - there is really no BAD way to cook a fresh fish filet. Which is why it's even more baffling to me that cooking fish throws me off my game.
I chose this Barbados Grilled Fish recipe to help get me over my fish cooking hurdle. This recipe is very simple but it has a lot of big bold flavors that perfectly compliments the fish without overpowering it. Maybe I will become a comfortable, confident fish cook after all. 🐟
Barbados Grilled Fish
1 yellow onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, smashed
1/2 cup chopped fresh chives
1 1/2 Tablespoons fresh thyme
1 Tablespoon white vinegar
1 Tablespoon grated lime zest
1 1/2 t. salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 Tablespoons lime juice
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1/8 teaspoon allspice
salt and pepper
4 mahi mahi filets
Transfer to a platter to rest.
I'll be the first to admit that this fish has kind of an off-putting color. Don't let that discourage you from trying this recipe though. The green color comes from the fresh chives and thyme and the lime zest. The color may be unusual but the flavor is extraordinary. If you're afraid of serving green fish to your family - turn out the lights and make it a romantic candlelight meal. 😂🕯
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