Skip to content

Happy Easter

Wishing everyone a very Happy Easter and to all who celebrated Passover a slightly belated wish for a wonderful Holiday! I am not cooking or really doing anything today but I wanted to take this opportunity to wish you a very Happy Holiday!! It has been a hectic and crazy week and I hope to be back cooking very, very soon.

Photo's courtesy of google

Photo’s courtesy of google

Unknown-1

Coconut Pineapple Layer Cake

Coconut on the cake

Coconut on the cake

I guess you could call this a pina colada cake or a pineapple coconut layer cake, yellow cake, pineapple filling and a coconut whipped cream frosting generously covered in flaked coconut. I use my Tender Yellow Cake recipe, adapted James McNair’s whipped cream frosting and made a simple pineapple filling using crushed pineapple. I have been making this cake for years and it’s requested all the time.

The Yellow cake is a very old recipe penned by my Mom after years of research and IMHO it’s the best yellow cake ever. Tender, fine crumb and very moist. It contains vegetable oil, not  butter and the egg whites are separated and whipped making this cake light and it has a great rise. Click here for the recipe, I have published it several times.

Unflrosted

Unflrosted

Pineapple filling

1 20 oz can crushed pineapple, unsweetened in it’s own juice (or use fresh pineapple if you prefer)

1/2 cup sugar

1/4 cup corn starch

1 tsp lemon zest

pinch of salt

1 tbs butter

Place contents of the can of pineapple in a medium saucepan, add the sugar, cornstarch,lemon zest and salt and whisk or mix to combine making sure there are no lumps.

Turn heat to medium high and cook stirring constantly until mixture thickens. Remove from heat, add the butter and stir until it’s melted. Spoon into heat proof bowl, cover with plastic wrap that sits directly on the mixture. Let come to room temperature and then refrigerate until completely cooled or over night.

Coconut Whipped Cream Frosting

adapted from James McNair’s whipped cream frosting

1/2 cup full fat coconut milk

3 tsp corn starch

1/4 cup + 1 tbs powdered sugar

1 1/2 cup heavy cream very cold

1 tsp vanilla

Place coconut milk, cornstarch and powdered sugar in small saucepan, whisk to remove any lumps. Turn heat to medium high and cook until mixture thickens. Remove from heat and spoon into a bowl, let come to room temperature stirring frequently to keep skin from forming or cover with plastic wrap placed directly on the mixture and let sit until cool.

Coconut milk stabiizer

Coconut milk stabiizer

Chill the whisk attachment or beaters of your mixer along with the bowl. Add the heavy cream, beat until it begins to hold shape, now add the coconut milk mixture and vanilla extract and continue beating until it becomes thick and is a spreading consistency. Use immediately or refrigerate until ready to use.

Just whipped

Just whipped

To assemble:

Frost the cake with the whipped cream frosting, I start from the center and work the frosting down the sides of the cake doing a crumb layer first then finishing if off nice and smooth.

Frosting in the center

Frosting in the center

I like to mix sweetened regular flaked coconut with unsweetened large flakes, it looks nice but it also is a bit less sweet. using all one kind is either too sweet or not sweet enough and a mix I find to be perfect.

Mixed flakes of coconut

Mixed flakes of coconut

 

 

Springtime In Brooklyn

 

I am so excited to finally have some warmer weather, everywhere I walk I see buds and little bits of green popping up and the crocus are in bloom. When it’s Spring I can’t wait to get some herbs and veggies in the pots, I thought I would check out today what kind of plants they had at the Farmers Market and on the way back stop off at the Brooklyn Flea, today is the first day they are back after the winter hiatus. It was a little early for the plants but I managed to come back with a few, in 2 weeks I’ll go back for more.  I got some thyme, Italian flat leaf parsley, lime and sweet basil, pansies, begonia, mint, sage, rosemary. Can’t wait to plant them this week. I decided to try tomatoes this year too!! I am lucky enough to live and work in this wonderful community with it’s graceful architecture, century old homes, friendly neighbors, great shopping and food. Here are some photo’s of what I saw on my way around my neighborhood today.

Graham Home For Old Ladies now condo's

Graham Home For Old Ladies now condo’s

Graham Home for Old Ladies- I kid you not thats what the placard on the building really say’s, it used to be a brothel, and when the ladies aged it became a home for elderly ladies (of the night). They serviced the community many years and were frequented often by the sailors who came into the Brooklyn Navy Yard.

 

Clinton Avenue

Clinton Avenue

Rent a bike

Rent a bike

Contrast

Contrast, old 4 story mixed use buildings with high rise condo in background

Local Bistro

Local Bistro

Farmers Market

Farmers Market

Seedlings

Seedlings

More plants

More plants

The flea

The flea Food

Flea

Flea

I love glassware

I love glassware

More antique glassware

More antique glassware

The best doughnuts

The best doughnuts

The best brisket

The best brisket

Oh yes!

Oh yes!

Mixed Beef And Pork Ragu With Rigatoni

A bowl of pasta

A bowl of pasta

I saw a post the other day from The Seasoned Traveller for Pappardelle With Pork Rib Ragu and it immediately brought me back to my childhood, one of my favorite Italian dishes my Mom made was a mixed meat ragu, Mom used both beef and pork and it was delicious the meat was so tender it literally melts in your mouth and the sauce is rich and thick.  Laura (The Seasoned Traveller) made a mouthwateringly good ragu and served it with pappardelle, imagine that ribbon like pasta with the thick rich meaty sauce. Delicious right?  Laura inspired me to make a ragu, I used beef short ribs and pork country ribs. Now I don’t know if technically that is the correct name for those ribs but thats what I know them as. They are meaty with just the right ratio of fat to muscle. It’s one of my favorite cuts of pork. I first sauteed the ribs in a little olive oil, then added some garlic and basil, tomato and slow simmered for about 3 – 4 1/2 hours until the meat was falling off the bone. I decided to make Rigatoni to serve with this thick rich sauce, the pasta is not delicate and neither is the sauce, its a great match. I make this the day before I serve it, the meat is quite fatty so I refrigerate overnight, scrape off most of the fat, reheat and adjust seasoning before serving. Added bonus there is something about an Italian sauce that always tastes better the next day, it’s that much more delicious.

Country Pork Ribs

Country Pork Ribs

 

Mixed Meat Ragu

4 meaty pork country ribs

4-6 beef short ribs

olive oil for pan

fresh or dried basil (8 leaves fresh and approximately 2-3 tsp dried basil) I never measure so its approximate do according to taste

2 cans (28 oz each) good whole tomatoes I like San Marzano – pureed in blender, run through food mill or broken up with your hands

1 can (28 oz) crushed tomatoes

1 shallot minced

3 cloves garlic peeled and smashed

peperoncino or crushed red pepper a generous pinch

Salt and pepper to taste

Heat the olive oil in dutch oven, add the short ribs and sear, remove and sear the pork ribs, remove to plate. Add the shallot and saute until it softens, then add the garlic and lightly brown, if using dried basil add to the oil with the garlic also add the crushed red pepper when it is almost done. Add the crushed tomatoes and you can either put the whole tomatoes in the blender or food processor to puree or break with your hands or use a food mill. Add the whole tomato puree to the pot, season with salt and pepper, add the fresh basil. Now add the meat, bring to a boil then reduce to medium and simmer for 3-4 1/2  hours or until meat is fall off the bone tender.

To serve I remove the bones and leave the meat in nice size chunks, I don’t like to shred it. I add some of the sauce to a saute pan. add the al dente pasta and let it cook a minute or two in the sauce. Divide into bowls, add meat and a little more sauce and finish with a nice grating of cheese either parmigiano reggiano or pecorino romano or both.

Meaty and Delicious

Meaty and Delicious

 

Tiger Cake – Alice Medrich

I saw this cake yesterday on Food52, first of all I am a sucker for a marble cake always have been and then when I saw that it is made with olive oil I knew I had to make it. A cake made with oil would be incredibly moist and have a very tender crumb, both are requisites for a really good cake, IMHO. I also love recipes by Alice Medrich, she knows a thing or two about baking. With a little spare time today I undertook this cake, now I have made marble cakes before and you usually drag a butter knife around the batter to give the marble effect, well you don’t do that with this cake. You pour your batters separately, layering them and just bake it like that. I was a little skeptical. I had to force myself not to get the knife and start swirling,

Ready to bake

Ready to bake

Tiger Cake – Alice Medrich

Makes 1 cake in a 10-to-12 cup tube pan
1/2 cup (25 grams) natural cocoa powder (non-alkalized, non-Dutch processed)
1/2 cup (100 grams) sugar
1/3 cup water
3 cups (385 grams) all-purpose unbleached flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 cups (400 grams) sugar
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon finely ground white pepper
5 cold eggs
1 cup cold milk
Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter or spray a 10-to-12 cup tube pan with oil spray and dust it with flour.
In a medium large bowl, whisk the cocoa, sugar, and water until well blended.
In another medium large bowl, whisk the flour and baking powder thoroughly and sift onto a piece of wax paper. Set aside.
In a the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the sugar, oil, vanilla, salt, and pepper until well blended. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Continue to beat until the mixture is thick and pale, 3 to 5 minutes. Stop the mixer and add one-third of the flour mixture. Beat on low speed just until blended. Stop the mixer and add half of the milk. Beat just until it is blended. Repeat with another third of the flour, the remaining milk, and then the remaining flour.
Add three cups of the batter to the cocoa mixture and stir until blended. Pour one-third of the plain batter into the prepared pan and top with one third of the chocolate batter. Repeat with the remaining batters. Don’t worry about marbling the batters—that happens during the baking.
Bake 1 hour to 1 hour and 10 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean. Set the pan on a rack to cool. Slide a skewer around the tube and a thin metal spatula (or knife) around the sides of the pan. Lift the tube and slide the spatula under the cake to detach it from the pan bottom. Transfer the cake to a serving platter. The cake keeps for several days, at room temperature, under a dome or wrapped in plastic.

Just out of the oven

Just out of the oven

Came out of the pan like a dream

Came out of the pan like a dream

As you can see from the photo’s below, it swirled nicely on it’s own. I like the cake. It has good crumb, baked nicely.  I think it would be great with a chocolate glaze drizzled on top or with some ice cream.
The next time I will add more salt, like at least 1/2 tsp, and maybe some orange zest. Note: I forgot to add the white pepper.

So pretty

So pretty

Tiger Cake

Tiger Cake

 

 

Mary’s Secret Ingredients and Feed The Children

Mary's Secret Ingredients

Mary’s Secret Ingredients

Many of you may already know the wonderful Mary Frances and her blog, Love, the Secret Ingredient and if you are not familiar you should definitely check it out. Mary’s blog is loaded with great recipes, tips on cooking and entertaining and one thing I am excited about is her newest venture. It’s a box of ingredients that she will send to you, Mary’s secret ingredients. I don’t know about you but I love a surprise. I think this is a lovely idea and even better a portion of your purchase goes to the charitable organization Feed The Children.

We bloggers stick together and support each other so I wanted to let all of you know about Mary Frances, her exciting idea, wonderful blog and charitable work. It’s a win win as far as I am concerned. I can’t wait to get my box and see what she has put together for me. I hope you all will visit Mary’s blog, follow so you won’t miss any of her outstanding recipes and if you can check out her Secret Ingredient Box! I plan to post what I make with the contents of my Spring box. Very excited.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Chocolate Chip

Chocolate Chip

I wanted to make some cookies to give to some workmen who will be doing some work in my apt tomorrow, they are so nice and don’t price gouge, besides paying them I wanted them to have a treat. I thought I would give the cookie recipe in my old Betty Crocker cook book a go. It’s so simple and I must say the cookies are really good. I used dark and milk chocolate chunks and dark brown sugar, the recipe didn’t specify. They came together quickly and baked up soft on the inside a little crisp on the outside and really good!

I’ve owned this cookbook for years and rarely use it, but I think I am going to start experimenting with some of the recipes. I really liked this one.

Betty Crockers Chocolate Chip Cookies

Made 27 cookies for me (recipe said it makes 4 dozen)

1 cup (2 sticks) room temperature unsalted butter

3/4 cup granulated sugar

3/4 cup dark brown sugar

1 egg room temperature

2 1/4 cups all purpose flour

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp salt

1 tsp vanilla extract

Chocolate chips (I use dark and milk chocolate and never measure)

Nuts are optional but I like hazelnuts or pecans in mine

Pre heat oven to 375 degrees. Line baking sheet with parchment or silpat. Cream butter and sugar using paddle attachment until creamy and smooth, add the egg and vanilla and continue beating until incorporated. Sift the flour, baking soda and salt and add to the creamed mixture and mx just until its combined. Don’t over mix. You can make your cookies right away if you like but I like to refrigerate over night and bring to room temperature before baking. I like to use a 1 1/2 tbs scoop and place a heaping mound on the baking sheet, baking a dozen cookies at a time. You can sprinkle a few flakes of sea salt on top of the cookies before they bake if you like, it’s delicious!

Bake for 10-12 minutes rotating pan halfway through baking. Remove to cooling rack and enjoy!

Yum!

Yum!

 

Spring Is Here….. In Theory And A Spring Recipe

Spring Turnips

Spring Turnips

At 12:57 PM today it’s officially spring. It is a glorious day in NYC with temps in the 50′s and after a tenacious winter those warmish temps feel really nice. It will be short lived but thats ok I see the light at the end of the tunnel. The first little nubs of green are peeking through the earth and I know that very soon there will be buds everywhere.

I can’t wait for the spring vegetables to hit the market, right now it’s still winter produce. I wanted to make something that just screamed spring but, to be perfectly honest, was completely uninspired by anything I saw at the market.

I decided to reprise a recipe that I made a couple of years ago, it’s a great spring soup, it’s simple and delicious and it will be the first thing I make when the spring produce hits the farmers market. I posted this on Food 52 about 2 years ago and was a communiuty pick, the editors also made the soup and  it was photographed by Mr Ransom the very talented food52 photographer. I also posted this here in May of 2012

Creamy turnip soup

Creamy turnip soup

Creamy Spring Turnip Soup With Wilted Radish Greens And Bacon

Serves 4-6 depending on serving size

3 cups spring turnips cut in quarters

3 young leeks cleaned very well and sliced

4 cups broth (I used chicken but vegetable broth would also be good or even water)

1/4 cup heavy cream

salt and pepper to taste

Clean and slice your leeks, I like to clean, trim and chop into rounds and add to a large amount of clean water. The grit goes to the bottom, then I scoop them out and rinse again. Let them air dry while you prep the turnips. Peel, rinse and chop the turnips into quarters.

Heat only enough olive oil to coat the bottom of a heavy large saucepan, add the dried leeks and cook only until softened. Add the turnips and cook for a short time you don’t want them to brown only to start to soften, I cooked on medium/high heat, Add the stock, bring to a boil then reduce heat to medium and cook for approximately 30 minutes or until the turnips are very soft.

You may not need all of the liquid depending on how thick you like your soup, so drain the turnips and leeks and process in blender until very smooth, Pour into a bowl and add back the stock until it reaches the consistency you like. Now add the heavy cream. Adjust seasoning. Stir and set aside while you make the topping. If you are serving the soup warm pour back in the saucepan and keep on very low flame.

Greens and Bacon

4-6 slices bacon (I like maple cured)

the leaves from a head of radishes

Remove the greens from the radishes and clean very well to remove any grit, Lay on paper towel to dry.

Fry the bacon until crisp, remove from pan and lay on paper towel, add the dried radish greens and saute only until wilted, Remove to paper towel. Ladle soup into bowls lay some of the wilted greens and crumble some of the bacon on top.

Photograph by James Ransom for Food52

Photograph by James Ransom for Food52

Happy St. Patricks Day

Irish Countryside

Irish Countryside

Ireland

Ireland

Irish Coffee,Brown Bread with Butter and Caramelized Pear Jam

Irish Coffee,Brown Bread with Butter and Caramelized Pear Jam

Corned beef, Colcannon, irish soda bread

Corned beef, Colcannon, irish soda bread

I want to take this opportunity to wish everyone a Happy St. Patricks Day. I did not and am not making anything special  but I did not want to let this day pass without well wishes. Here are some images from last year. Hope you all have a wonderful day, with great food and drink! La Fhelle Padraig Sona Daoibh!

Genoise With Strawberries And Whipped Cream Frosting

The cake

The cake

The Genoise I made the other day was for a special event, it was made for a very special girl who turned 9 years old today. She wanted colored icing and strawberries. I wanted to try and make the frosting pink without the use of food color. I thought the genoise lent itself to a whipped cream frosting rather than a buttercream because of the addition of fresh strawberries. I have posted here on the blog the recipe I use for a stable whipped cream frosting, it’s a recipe by James McNair from his book Cakes.

It’s an excellent recipe, and makes a very stable frosting that will not turn watery or dissolve. Here is the basic recipe:

Whipped Cream Frosting:

From James Mcnair’s Cakes

  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 2 cups Heavy whipping cream Divided
  • 1 teaspoon Pure vanilla extract
  1. Place metal bowl and wire whisk beater or beaters in freezer to chill.
  2. In a small saucepan combine the powdered sugar and cornstarch whisk until mixed. Slowly whisk in 1/2 cup heavy cream whisk until smooth. Place on medium heat and stir constantly to prevent scorching at the bottom stir constantly until mixture thickens and almost comes to a boil. Remove from heat, transfer to a bowl and set aside stirring occasionally until it reaches room temperature.
  3. In the chilled bowl combine the remaining 1 1/2 cups of heavy cream and the vanilla beat with the chilled whisk of your stand mixer or your hand held mixer until the cream begins to hold shape. While still beating add the powdered sugar mixture a little at a time. Beat just until the mixture forms stiff peaks when the beater is raised and is spreadable, be careful not to over beat. Use immediately.

I took the basic recipe ad changed it a bit since I wanted my frosting to be pink. First I made a strawberry syrup by simply boiling strawberries with a little sugar, strain, smash and bottle. Super easy. I did this the day before and refrigerated the syrup. It’s a beautiful red.

strawberry syrup

strawberry syrup

Here is the recipe for the pink whipped cream frosting using James McNair’s whipped cream frosting as a base:

1/2 cup strawberry syrup

2 1/2 tsp corn starch

1/4 cup confectioners sugar

1 1/2 cups heavy cream

1 tsp vanilla

In small saucepan add the strawberry syrup, cornstarch and confectioners sugar. Cook on medium heat until it thickens, immediately remove from the burner and spoon into a bowl . Let come to room temperature stirring occasionally.

To chilled mixing bowl add the heavy cream and vanilla,  with a chilled beater or whisk attachment start whipping the cream, when it begins to hold it’s shape add the cooled strawberry pudding, whip until it becomes a spreading consistency. Spread on your cake and refrigerate. This was enough to generously frost a 3 layer 8 inch cake.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,165 other followers