November 30, 2008

Cranberry Sauce Muffins

cranberry sauce muffins

1 1/4 cup flour
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup old fashioned rolled oats
3/4 cup whole berry cranberry sauce*
1/3 cup canola oil
1/3 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon zest of a lemon, lime, orange or tangerine
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 egg

Preheat oven to 350. Line or grease and flour one 12 well muffin tin. In a large bowl, mix together the egg, oil, buttermilk, and sugar. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, oatmeal, salt, ginger, zest, baking powder, and baking soda. Stir into the wet ingredients. Spoon 1 1/2 tablespoons of batter in 12 muffin wells. Top with 1 teaspoon cranberry sauce. Evenly divide the remaining batter among the wells, making sure the cranberry sauce is fully covered. Bake 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the center muffin comes out clean or with just a hint of cranberry sauce. Cool on a wire rack, serve.

*Use your own favorite or make one of my versions: apple cider cranberry sauce, classic cranberry sauce, cranberry-tangerine sauce or ginger lime spiked cranberry sauce.

My thoughts:
After Thanksgiving the majority of searches that bring people to Coconut & Lime are "what to do with leftovers" related. While cranberry sauce is fine on a leftover turkey sandwich, some times there is just too much leftover. Two years ago I made a delicious cranberry ribbon cake with leftover sauce that remains to this day to be pretty much my favorite of all the cake recipes I've created. This year I thought I might be a little desserted out after Thanksgiving so I went a different way: breakfast. These muffins are super quick to make and very satisfying. As an added bonus? They freeze well.

November 28, 2008

Thai Noodle Salad with Turkey and Shrimp


for the dressing
1 shallot, thinly sliced
2 Thai green chiles, thinly sliced
juice 1 lime
2 tablespoons fish sauce (nam pla)
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 tablespoon palm sugar
1 tablespoon tamarind juice (optional)

salad ingredients:
1/2 seedless cucumber, thinly sliced
3 oz bean sprouts
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, cut up

for the meat:
2 cups shredded, cooked turkey
1/2 lb steamed, peeled shrimp
1 tablespoon canola oil
2 Thai chiles, diced
1 clove garlic, minced

10 oz rice stick OR bean thread noodles

to serve:
3 tablespoons chopped toasted peanuts
1 lime, cut into wedges
diced green onion

In a small bowl, whisk together all of the dressing ingredients, set aside.

thai salad dressing
Prepare noodles according to package instructions. Set aside. In a skillet, heat the oil then saute the chiles, and garlic with shrimp and turkey for 1 minute. Toss with dressing, salad ingredients and noodles. Sprinkle with peanuts and diced onions. Serve with lime wedges.

My thoughts:
Every year I get a lot of "what to do with leftover turkey" requests. Frankly leftover turkey was never much of an issue in my family (we just ate the meal, had a sandwich and maybe made soup and that was it) but since I've had this blog, I've been making Thanksgiving-like meals way in advance so I can post new holiday recipes leading up the event and come up with creative leftover ideas.

While checking out the competition, I've found most turkey leftover recipes are either a. some sort of creamy casserole, b. Mexican food or c. chili. All of which are well and good (and I still might make a chili this year) but I was thinking of something a little lighter. The last thing I want after a day of heavy food is more stick to the ribs fare. So I came up with this Pad Thai-inspired salad. It is substantial enough to serve as a meal but much lighter and healthier tasting than what you probably had on Thanksgiving.

Note: I used bean thread noodles but I think that rice stick (normally what is used in Pad Thai) would be great as well. I actually only used the bean thread because I had a package of them and not the rice stick like I thought. Despite being rather different noodles I think both would work because they are neutral tasting and delicious even when served in cold dishes.

November 25, 2008

Cranberry Cheesecake Squares

1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
1/4 cup light brown sugar
4 tablespoons butter, melted
1/8 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup whole berry cranberry sauce
16 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons flour
2 large eggs
juice of one tangerine
zest of one tangerine

Preheat oven to 350. Grease or spray with baking spray an 8x8 inch pan. In a small bowl, add the butter, sugar, flour, oats and salt, mix thoroughly with a fork. Press into bottom of the pan. Use the bottom of a measuring cup to flatten and press firmly.

Bake 15 minutes or until just golden. Meanwhile, cream together the cream cheese and sugar. Add the egg, zest, juice and flour, beat until smooth. Pour over the crust. Dot with cranberry sauce and swirl with the tip of a knife. Bake 25 minutes or until set. Cool in pan on wire rack. Cut into squares.

My thoughts:

My husband loves cranberry sauce. Once cranberries make their appearance in the grocery store I start making cranberry sauce with any meal where it seems appropriate. I think I've made a different cranberry sauce just about every week since late October. This leaves me with a fair amount of leftover cranberry sauce to play with. I've made yummy muffins with cranberry sauce already this year but I wanted to make a dessert with cranberry sauce that would be holiday-worthy. These are a snap to put together and can be made ahead. Prebaking the crust is a bit of a time killer but you can make the filling while it bakes and it ensures a perfect, crisp crust. I also liked using oatmeal in the crust, it is a little nontraditional but it really adds some body to the crust and actually makes the bars a little easier to slice and lift out of the pan. The tangerine flavor is present but not too strong, it just adds a citrus note to the cheesecake. I really can't say enough about this bars, they are just really good, my whole family raved over them and my mother deemed them "swoon-worthy".

Note: any whole berry (i.e. not jellied) cranberry sauce would work, even store bought (!) but I think using this cranberry-tangerine sauce would be the best.

November 23, 2008

Wild Rice Medley

2 1/2 cups broth (chicken, turkey, mushroom or vegetable would be good)
1 cup wild rice
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium onion, diced
1 large carrot, diced
1 stalk celery, diced
2 tablespoons dried porcini
1/2 teaspoon dried chervil
black pepper

Place all ingredients in the slow cooker, stir. Cover and put on low for 4 hours then check to see if the kernels are open and tender. If not, recover and continue to cook until they are, checking about every 15 minutes to avoid overcooking. Stir and serve piping hot.

Note: If you don't have dried chervil, I think substituting parsley would be fine. Also, my rice was perfect at exactly 4 hours but I know there are some variations between slow cookers so you might need a longer cooking time.

Yield: about 6-8 servings (can be easily doubled)

My thoughts:
Thanksgiving is right around the corner and while it is always nice to share a meal with family and friends, Thanksgiving is a particularly stressful holiday when it comes to food because it really is the the focus of the entire day. Novice cooks or even experienced cooks that aren't used to cooking for a crowd have expressed to me how difficult it is to roast the turkey, make dessert and make a bunch of side dishes all at once and time everything perfectly.

With that in mind, I came up with this easy and tasty side dish that requires virtually none of your attention. Wild rice takes forever to make on the stove top so it seemed to me that it would be a perfect to adapt to the slow cooker and it worked wonderfully. The resulting side dish is classic enough to satisfy the traditionalist but is much more flavorful than the usual pilaf and as an added bonus gets a lot of its flavor from vegetables you are probably using in other dishes. The best part of course is that once you put all the ingredients in the slow cooker, you don't have to do a thing until it is ready to serve and you are not taking up a burner on the stove.

November 20, 2008

Ginger Lime Spiked Cranberry Sauce

2 cups fresh cranberries
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup water
1/4 cup lime juice
2 tablespoons dark rum
1 inch knob ginger, grated
zest of 1 lime

Place the cranberries, water, juice, sugar, ginger and zest in a medium saucepan and, stirring occasionally, cook for 20 minutes over medium high heat to reduce and thicken. Remove from heat and stir in the rum. Serve hot or cold.

My thoughts:
Who says cranberry sauce has to be boring? This sauce boasts zippy ginger and tangy lime, both of which add a lot of flavor without overpowering the cranberry or wandering too far afield from traditional sauces.

November 18, 2008

Heirloom Apple Pie

2 1/2 pounds baking apples*, peeled, cored, and cut into 1/4 inch slices
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup light brown sugar
2 tablespoons butter, cubed
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
double pie crust (I used cheddar-black pepper)

Mix all of the ingredients together.


Pour into a pie plated lined with a pie crust. Top with a second pie crust and pinch shut. Pierce the top crust with a knife or cut out shapes to vent. Bake 30 minutes or until golden brown and bubbly. Cool then slice to serve.

*I like to use Stayman-Winesap apples for pies. They are firm, slightly tart, spicy and hold up well to baking.


My thoughts:


This year I bought a bushel of Stayman-Winesaps at the farmers market and knew I'd have to make a pie. My Grandpop always requests an apple pie instead of cake for his birthday and since I loathe pumpkin pie, I always hope for one at Thanksgiving. There is just something very comforting about apple pie.

This is a pretty straightforward apple pie but pairing it with the cheddar-black pepper crust really makes it something special. I don't like super sweet desserts so a savory crust combined with a sweet, spicy apple filling is my idea of pie perfection.


Cheddar & Black Pepper Pie Crust

2 cups flour
2/3 cup cold butter, cut into 1 inch chunks
1/2 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
5-8 tablespoons ice water
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 350. Place the pepper, butter, flour and cheddar into a food processor. Add water one tablespoon at a time and pulse just until mixture sticks together. Form the dough into two balls. Roll each into a crust.


My thoughts:
This a great savory pie crust that goes with a variety of pies. It is just slightly spicy and the cheddar gives it a great flavor. Try it with apple filling. There is just enough cheddar to give it a distinctive cheddar taste but not so much it overpowers the filling or gets gooey.

November 16, 2008

Rosemary and Sage Stuffing Balls

rosemary sage stuffing balls

25 slices torn sandwich bread
2 large onions, diced
1 bunch celery, diced
1/2 cup chicken or turkey stock
1 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 oz fresh sage, torn
2 tablespoons chopped rosemary
8 oz sliced crimini mushrooms
1 teaspoon white pepper


In a large pan, saute celery, mushrooms and onions in butter and olive oil over very low heat until the onions are translucent. Do not brown. Add to bread cubes in bowl and add seasoning. Combine with egg and broth. Form medium-sized balls. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Place balls in the bottom of the roasting pan under the rack and around the turkey or chicken on the rack for the last 1/2 hour of roasting and cook until cooked through.

Yield: 8-10 servings

My thoughts:
I made this stuffing when I made my sage roasted chicken but it easily is enough to serve with turkey instead. I love making stuffing balls because you can place them in the roasting pan to absorb the juices (but not all of them, there is often enough leftover to make gravy with) without having to actually stuff the bird which can lead to bacteria growth and food poisoning. It is really my favorite part of roasting a chicken or turkey. In fact I often roast a chicken or an extra turkey during the Winter just so I have an excuse to make (and consume!) vast amounts of stuffing. This particular stuffing is a herby variation on the stuffing my family serves at the holidays. The flavors of the sage and rosemary, while present, are mellowed by the roasting.

November 13, 2008

Slow Cooked Rosemary Garlic Mashed Potatoes

2 1/2 to 3 lb red skin potatoes, quartered
4 cloves garlic, sliced
3/4 cup chicken or turkey stock
1/3 cup sour cream
1/4 cup milk
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon chopped rosemary

Place the potatoes in the slow cooker. Add garlic, broth and rosemary. Stir. Cook and cook on high until potatoes are tender, about 3-4 hours. Pour in milk, butter and sour cream, mash. Serve right away or adjust the setting to low to keep warm until you are ready to serve.

My thoughts:
Someone sent me a link on Twitter for some slow cooker mashed potatoes. The recipe itself didn't look too appetizing (it called for spreadable, flavored cream cheese) but I liked the idea so I came up with this recipe. Anyway, of course it is quicker to make the potatoes on the stove but making them in the slow cooker is perfect for the holidays or entertaining. Not only do they keep warm in the slow cooker for as long as you need them but they free up a burner on the stove and eliminate the need to boil water or keep an eye on them. The garlic in these takes on a mild roasted taste and just melts into the creamy (but not too rich!) mashed potatoes.

November 11, 2008

Peppermint Pattie Brownies

peppermint patty brownies
9 Peppermint Pattie miniatures (.6 oz each)
6 oz semisweet chocolate chips
3/4 cup flour
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 cup cocoa
1/4 cup sugar
4 tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 eggs

Preheat oven to 350. Spray with baking spray or grease and flour one 9 inch baking pan. In a saucepan, melt the butter, cocoa and chocolate together over low heat*. Stir occasionally, and when the chocolate is nearly melted, remove from heat. Whisk until smooth. Set aside. In a small bowl, stir together flour, salt, baking powder. In a separate bowl, beat together the brown sugar, sugar, eggs and vanilla until frothy. Slowly stream the chocolate mixture into the eggs and mix to combine. Gradually stir in the dry ingredients and mix until the batter is thick and glossy. Pour half into prepared pan. Top with peppermint patties, the top with remaining batter. Bake 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool completely before slicing and serving.


My thoughts:
I am sure I am not the only one with some leftover candy from a pre-Halloween candy buying blitz. Two years ago I tried Dorie Greenspan's Brrrr-ownies recipe which called for chopped York Peppermint Patties. They were okay but I've had in the back of my mind ever since that I could probably make a version that I would enjoy more. I had a bunch of miniature patties left so I thought I'd finally give it a shot. Since I didn't have her recipe anymore and I didn't like it anyway, I started completely from scratch. I ended up with a slightly peppermintier, very chocolately, very decadent brownie. I love how the peppermint patty adds a bit of chew to the brownie.

November 09, 2008

Calypso Pulled Pork

3 lb boneless pork shoulder roast (trim off excess fat)
1/4 cup chili sauce
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
3 tablespoons spiced ginger preserves*
2 teaspoons smokehouse black pepper
2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoons mesquite liquid smoke
1 1/2 teaspoons allspice
1 1/2 teaspoons thyme
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon cloves
1 scotch bonnet pepper, seeds removed
juice and zest of one lime
juice and zest of 1/2 orange
2 onions, chopped
4 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons olive oil

for the spice rub:

1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons allspice
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon dried thyme

Mix the spice rub ingredients together. Rub them on the pork. In a large skillet heat the oil and then brown the roast well on all sides. Place roast in slow cooker. Add all remaining ingredients to slow cooker. Cook on high in the slow cooker 6 hours**. When done, meat should shred easily with a fork. Remove roast from slow cooker. Shred with a fork (or use your fingers) and set aside. Mash any solid bits of the sauce with a potato masher. Return the pork to slow cooker, and toss to evenly coat with sauce. Serve on rolls.

*I used Mackay's, it is found in the jam and jelly aisle or with international foods.

My thoughts:
Is there such a thing as too many pulled pork recipes? I really hope not because I have posted a lot of them over the years. To date we have your basic pulled pork which was the first time I had ever made it then I branched out to East Meets Southeast Barbecue Pulled Pork which inspired me to create my absolute favorite pulled pork (and one of my favorite recipes ever) Smoky Mango Pulled Pork which lead to the fruity Blackberry Chipotle Pulled Pork then the Island Pineapple Pulled Pork and now this Caribbean inspired Calypso Pulled Pork. That's a lot of pork. Beside my love of pork, one of the reasons I made so much pulled pork (although now that I think of it, five or six recipes spread out over 4 1/2 years out of about 800 recipes isn't too much) is that it is one of the best things you can make in the slow cooker. Despite the slightly uninspiring picture here, it is effortless to make juicy, tender flavorful fall apart pork in the slow cooker. There is no need to add anything extra during the cooking time, it makes its own sauce and the pork can cook for hours only growing more tender. I actually like to use the slow cooker more during the hot steamy Summers Baltimore is famous for but it is great on a crisp fall day. Just plop everything in the pot, turn the knob and head out for day knowing you will be rewarded with succulent pork for dinner.

November 06, 2008

Butternut Squash & Swiss Chard White Lasagna

1 medium to large butternut squash, sliced lengthwise and seeds removed
1/4 cup Parmesan
1 lb lasagna noodles
olive oil

for the filling:
1 large bunch Swiss chard, chopped
1 medium onion, diced
15 oz ricotta cheese
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon chopped fresh sage
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg

for the sauce:
3 cups milk
3 tablespoons grated Parmesan
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
2 cloves garlic, minced
white pepper

Preheat oven to 400. Brush the butternut squash with the additional olive oil. Place cut side down on a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake for 30-40 minutes or until fork tender. Allow to cool slightly. Scoop out the insides. Mash. It should yield about 3 1/2 to 4 cups of squash. Set aside.

Meanwhile, cook the noodles according to package instructions. Drain and arrange in a single layer on baking sheets until ready for use.

For the filling: Heat the oil in a large skillet. Saute the onion until fragrant, then add the chard and sage. Saute until the chard is soft. Allow to cool slightly then combine with the ricotta, nutmeg, salt, pepper and paprika.

butternut squash & swiss chard lasagna

For the sauce: In a medium pan, melt the butter. Add the flour along with a sprinkle of salt and pepper, garlic and whisk until smooth. Add the milk and whisk together until slightly thickened. Stir in Parmesan.

To assemble: Preheat oven to 375. Spread some sauce on the bottom of a 9x13 inch pan. Top with noodles then layer with a layer of squash then the chard-ricotta mixture and drizzle with sauce.

butternut squash & swiss chard lasagna

Repeat until the pan is full, then top with a final layer of noodle, the remaining sauce and Parmesan.

butternut squash & swiss chard lasagna

Bake covered for 30-40 minutes or until bubbly. Allow to sit about 5 minutes before slicing and serving.

butternut squash & swiss chard lasagna

My thoughts:
I had never made a non-tomato based lasagna until this one but it turned out really well! I just sort of made it up as I went along to use up some Swiss chard I didn't have earmarked for anything special and a butternut squash I've had for ages but the flavors came together wonderfully. It is a great way to use seasonal ingredients in different way than they are normally found. It also freezes well.

Note: To cut down on some of the prep time you could roast the squash the night before and just let it warm up a bit while you make the sauce before spreading. However, the squash roasting is pretty hands off so it is easy to do that while you are making the cheese mixture.

I don't buy into the whole "no boil" lasagna noodles are just as good as the regular kind propaganda at all. It doesn't take that long to boil them and you will be in the kitchen anyway so why not just boil the noodles? I have had success freezing boiled lasagna and large shell shaped pasta for future use. I just freeze them in a single layer before transferring them to a freezer container

November 04, 2008

Cinnamon & Sugar Peanuts

2 cups unsalted roasted peanuts
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon light brown sugar
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Preheat the oven to 250. Toss all ingredients together. Make sure the nuts are evenly coated. Arrange in a single layer on one of the baking sheets and bake 40-45 minutes, or until the peanuts look mostly dry, stirring every 10 minutes. Remove from the oven, and pour on to the remaining lined baking sheet to cool thoroughly before eating.

My thoughts:

These quick and simple nuts would make a perfect present to give at the holiday season (I gave some away last year and they we a huge hit) or to serve at a party or on election night. They are ready to eat almost as soon as they come out of the oven and it is always a good idea to have some snacks ready so you don't have to spend valuable time in the kitchen when you could be watching the results or enjoying your guests. They can also be made ahead of time-they keep well for at least 2 weeks in an air tight container.

I think these are the most crowd pleasing of all of my various flavored nut recipes. My favorite are the balsamic glazed almonds and my neighbors loved the sweet & spicy peanuts I gave them last year but these seem to have the broadest appeal-perfect for giving or serving people whose taste you might not be familiar with. Pretty much everyone likes something sweet and the cinnamon gives them a nice kick without being overly spicy. They are also naturally vegan.

November 01, 2008

Sweet & Spicy Plantain Fritters

1 cup flour
3/4 cup water
1 teaspoon light brown sugar
1 teaspoon chipotle chile powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
pinch cinnamon
1 egg
3 ripe plantains, peeled and cubed.
canola oil


Whisk flour, brown sugar, baking powder, chile powder, water and egg in a large bowl and whisk until batter is smooth. Fold in plantain. Heat 1/4 to 1/2 inch oil in a large skillet. Drop 1/4 cups of the batter into the hot oil. Fry until golden and cooked through, flipping once halfway through the cooking time.

My thoughts:
These plantain fritters are my favorite way to eat plantains. They are slightly sweet but also rather spicy so they avoid that "shouldn't this be dessert?" issue I've found with some plantain recipes. They are great served with pork or chicken or even as a snack or light lunch on their own with a small salad.