May 30, 2006

Deviled Potato Salad

2 1/2 lbs peeled, cooked and diced Yukon gold potatoes
5 sprigs chives, minced
1 carrot, diced
1 stalk celery, diced
3 tablespoons nonfat plain yogurt
2 tablespoons good quality Dijon mustard
Place the potatoes in a large bowl along with the yogurt and the mustard. Using a large spoon, toss to coat. Add carrot and celery, toss again. Sprinkle with chives and salt and pepper to taste. Using the same spoon, gently fold the potato salad over to incorporate the chives.
My thoughts:

Suddenly Baltimore has turned into a pit of humidity and heat making it the perfect time to make and serve a cold side dish. This is a very low fat and healthier verison of a traditional deviled potato salad. I added the celery and the carrots to give it a nice crunch and since I am not a egg-in-potato-salad type person, it keeps the salad from being too bland. Dijon mustard perks it up as well. Did you know that you have to use mustard and spices to technically call something "deviled"? Just some trivia for you!

May 29, 2006

Chocolate Birthday Cake

1 1/3 cups flour
1 1/3 cup sugar
1 cup cocoa
1 cup boiling water
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup milk
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 eggs

Preheat oven to 325. Grease and flour or spray (with cooking spray with flour) a 9 inch springform pan. In a mixing bowl, whisk together, salt, flour, baking soda, baking powder, and cocoa. In a measuring cup or small bowl, whisk together the eggs, the vanilla and the milk. Pour the oil over the dry ingredients and stir until just mixed. Add milk mixture and combine thoroughly. Add boiling water, mix again. Pour into prepared pan and bake 40-45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean. Cool 15 minutes in the pan on a wire rack then release and continue to cool. Ice. Especially good with chocolate cream cheese icing.
My thoughts:
I made this incredibly moist, single layer cake for my husband's 34th birthday. It is very chocolate-y and made just enough for us, a couple of friends and some leftovers for tomorrow. Now all I have to do is decide what cake he has to make me for my 27th birthday this summer.

Chocolate Cream Cheese Icing

1 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
3 oz block cream cheese, at room temperature
2 oz unsweetened baking chocolate
2 tablespoons butter
In a small saucepan, melt butter and chocolate together, whisking occasionally. Pour into a medium sized mixing bowl and allow to cool. Add cream cheese and mix thoroughly together. Add sugar and mix until well blended and spreadable. Spread on cooled cake. For a real chocolate treat, spread on chocolate birthday cake.

My thoughts:
This is a really quick, easy icing recipe. I used Hershey's baking chocolate and it came out great, velvety smooth, very chocolate-y and with just a hit of tang from the cream cheese.

May 26, 2006

Lime & Buttermilk Cupcakes

1 1/2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
¾ cup butter, at room temperature
¾ cup buttermilk
2 eggs, at room temperature
2 teaspoons lime juice
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
zest of one lime

Preheat the oven to 350. Line 12 wells in a cupcake tin with baking papers. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside. In a large bowl, cream together the butter, zest and sugar until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in the juice. Alternately add the flour mixture and buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour. Fill each baking cup two-thirds full. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the middle of a cupcake comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Ice with coconut lime icing.

My thoughts:
Tomorrow marks the second anniversary of my first post here at Coconut & Lime. What better way to celebrate than with coconut & lime flavored cupcakes? The lime flavor is pretty strong and nicely accented by the coconut while still maintaining a light, tangy flavor. These may be my new favorite summer cupcakes.

Coconut Lime Icing

1 cup confections’ sugar
¾ cup sweetened, flaked coconut
3 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
2 tablespoons buttermilk
1 tablespoon lime juice
zest of one lime


In a small bowl, combine butter,zest and sugar throughly. Add buttermilk and lime juice. Mix on high 1 minute until well mixed Spread over cooled cupcakes. Sprinkle each cake with coconut.

My thoughts:
This icing is barely more than a glaze but has a very strong lime flavor. You can see the flecks of zest peeking out when you bite into the cupcake. This icing is excellent on buttermilk lime cupcakes.

May 23, 2006

Lemon Sticks

1 lemon, cut in half along the equator
2 cane sugar peppermint sticks

Place one peppermint stick in the middle of one lemon half. Repeat. Suck lemon juice through the peppermint stick and be oddly refreshed.
My thoughts:
Odd as it may seem, the peppermint stick/lemon combo is a Baltimore tradition found only at the Baltimore Flower Mart (where it began) and other local festivals. It's just a regular lemon and a regular old fashioned cane sugar peppermint stick. Even though there is no hole in the peppermint, you are able to suck the juice through the candy as the lemon juice begins to eat away at the peppermint. No one seems to know how that this tradition got started but all agree that it has been around for decades. I have never come across this anywhere else and non-natives seem puzzled by it, but it really is a refreshing treat on a hot Spring day.
Due to popular demand: I found these histories and stories about lemon sticks if anyone is interested.

May 21, 2006

Lemon Cranberry Bread

2 cups PLUS 1/4 cup flour
1 cup sugar
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup buttermilk
4 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon lemon rind
1 cup fresh or unthawed frozen cranberries*
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 375. Grease and flour or spray with cooking spray with flour one loaf pan. In a medium bowl, combine the zest, 2 cups flour, salt and baking powder. Set aside. Toss cranberries in remaining 1/4 cup flour and set aside. Cream together the butter and sugar. Drop in eggs, one at a time, beating after each one until well combined. Stir in buttermilk and lemon juice. Mix thoroughly. Stir in flour mixture until just combined. Gently stir in the cranberries. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from oven and cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Turn out on a rack to finish cooling. Serve slightly warm.

*I froze the cranberries myself this past winter when they were plentiful and inexpensive.

My thoughts:
I came up with this recipe because I had: a bag of lemons and a carton of buttermilk in the fridge and a bunch of cranberries waiting in the freezer. I also wanted to experiment with making something with lemons and a quick bread recipe that only yields one loaf. Since I live in a household of two, portion size in recipes is always a concern. Our freezer is full of chili and soup that we made gallons of on top of the usual frozen veggies and meat. I just don't have room for loaves of bread as well. This bread was the perfect solution to that. It used up ingredients I had around the house and was so tasty we almost ate the whole loaf in a single sitting. No leftovers and a lovely tart bread. A perfect way to end the weekend.

May 16, 2006

Potato, Mushroom and Onion Saute

2 lb golden potatoes, diced
1 medium onion, diced
1 cup crimini mushrooms, sliced
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons oil
1-2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon dried sage leaf
freshly ground black pepper

In a large saucepan, heat the oil. Add potatoes, garlic and onions. Saute, stirring occasionally for about 5 minutes. Add salt, pepper and sage. Continue to saute, stirring occasionally, for about 15-20 minutes or until potatoes are softened. Add mushrooms and saute an additional 2-4 minutes or until they have cooked down. Serve immediately.

My thoughts:
We had bought steak for dinner and couldn't decide on a side dish. We had some rapidly deteriorating mushrooms in the fridge and a couple of potatoes and this is what we came up with. The flavors complement each other perfectly. While we had it as a side dish for dinner, it would also do well at breakfast time, think of it as fancy home fries.

May 12, 2006

Savoy Cabbage with Bacon


1 small head of Savoy cabbage shredded (about 4 cups)
1 onion diced
5 cloves of garlic
6 slices of bacon (cut in small pieces)
1/4 cup water
1 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

In medium saucepan, fry the bacon until crisp, then remove it to a paper towel lined plate and reserve. Pour out all but 2 tablespoons of the bacon fat from the pan.* Add the cabbage, onion, and garlic. Saute 5-10 minutes, mixing thoroughly. Add water, cover, and cook for 30 minutes stirring occasionally. Then add vinegar and mustard, re-cover and cook for 15 more minutes until tender. Add bacon and cook 5 minutes to warm through.

*I like to pour it all out in a heat safe measuring cup, measure out the needed amount and discard the remainder.

My thoughts:
My husband had bought a head of Savoy cabbage with thoughts of adding it to some matzo ball soup he was making. When I nixed the idea he was left to figure out another use. He came up with this recipe which contains two of my all time favorite foods: cabbage and bacon. It was so delicious, you have no idea. It wasn't overwhelmingly bacony or cabbagey, it was tangy and perfect. I may or may not have eaten 3 servings.

May 09, 2006

Caramel Popcorn

2 quarts popped popcorn*
1 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Preheat oven to 250. In a medium saucepan, bring the corn syrup and sugar to a boil, stirring occasionally. Continue to boil for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Meanwhile, spread popped popcorn out on a 9x13 baking dish, careful to remove any unpopped kernels. After the 5 minutes, add the salt, vanilla and baking soda, stir. Carefully pour over the popcorn. Using a spatula, turn the popcorn to coat. Place in the oven and bake 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Cool and serve. Store any leftovers in an air tight container.

* air popped works best

My thoughts:
I never thought you could make caramel popcorn at home but you can. This makes a fairly crisp caramel corn, more like what you might find in packaged caramel corn than the chewier kind that you may find sold warm on the boardwalk. It's a has a good caramel taste and it's so easy, it's a great (low fat) alternative to just eating buttered popcorn on movie night, or as it is around here, Gilmore Girls night.

Popcorn Conversion

1/4 cup of popcorn kernels makes 2 quarts of popped popcorn

May 08, 2006

Olive and Artichoke Focaccia

3 1/2 cups flour
1 package active dry yeast
2 cups lukewarm water
2 tablespoons olive oil PLUS 1/4 cup, divided use
1 tablespoon salt
10 oz can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
1/3 cup Greek olives, halved
2 tablespoons fresh rosemary, chopped
OPTIONAL: 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated

In a small bowl, dissolve the yeast in 1/2 cup of water. Allow to sit about 10 minutes. Then combine yeast with 1 cup of flour in the bowl of a stand mixer with a dough hook. Mix thoroughly then add the 2 tablespoons of olive oil, salt, 2 1/2 cups flour and 3/4 cup water. Mix thoroughly again and then add the remaining flour and water. Continue to mix with the dough hook until a soft dough forms. If it is sticky, add a bit more flour, too dry or powdery, add a touch more water. Remove from the bowl and pat into a round shape. Grease a 14 x18 inch pan* with about 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Place the dough in it, cover with a damp towel and allow to rise** about 1 1/2 hours. After the 1 1/2 hours, stretch the dough out to the length of the pan, cover with a damp towel and allow to rise an additional 45 minutes. After about 15 minutes, preheat the oven to 450***. After the 45 minutes, uncover and poke the dough with your finger to make little holes. In a small bowl combine 1/4 cup olive oil,a tablespoons of water, rosemary and a bit of salt. Brush this over the bread along with the artichokes, and olives. Bake 15-20 minutes, checking about half way through to make sure it isn't browning too quickly. If you are using the Parmesan, sprinkle it on after about 15 minutes of baking then return it to the oven for about 5 more minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.

*a black, metal pan works best.
**an "cold" oven is an excellent place to allow your dough to rise.
***it is nice to bake this in the pan on a baking stone, if possible. Place the baking stone in the oven while you preheat.

My thoughts:
Focaccia is one of my favorite breads. I am not a big bread or roll person but I love a soft bread with "stuff" on it. This is a really easy recipe to make if you have a stand mixer (if you don't you could follow the same instructions and using a food processor or knead the dough by hand) but it is time consuming waiting for the dough to rise. It's actually a good recipe to make if you are expecting guests, the hands on time is relatively short leaving you free to make other dishes or so some clean up during the rising time. People are always impressed with homemade bread.

May 02, 2006

Rhubarb Oatmeal Bread

2 1/2 cups of flour
2 cups fresh rhubarb, diced
3/4 cup buttermilk
3/4 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup butter
1/3 cup old fashioned rolled oats
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
zest of one lime

Preheat oven 350. Spray with baking spray (with flour) or butter one large loaf pan. Toss together 1/4 cup of the flour with the rhubarb and set aside. In a large bowl, cream together butter, lime zest and both sugars. Add baking soda, oats and salt, mix briefly. Add buttermilk and remaining flour alternately, combining well, between each addition. Gently fold in rhubarb. Pour into pan and bake about 60 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in pan 8-10 minutes then remove from pan and continue to cool on a wire rack.

My thoughts:
I had never made anything with rhubarb before today. In fact, I think I had only had rhubarb once before, along side strawberries in a pie. When I saw rhubarb at the store I wasn't sure what do with it but it looked so fresh and pretty I couldn't resist. I have been seeing rhubarb recipes every where, including some for rhubarb bread but none that really called out to me. I decided to try my hand a creating a new bread recipe using some ingredients on hand. It came out really well. The oatmeal makes it homey but the lime zest combines with the rhubarb adds a bright fresh flavor.