January 29, 2014

Cara Cara Orangeade

1 1/2 cups Cara Cara orange juice (from about 6 large Cara Cara oranges)
juice from 1 large lemon
2 1/2 cups cold water
simple syrup


Add the orange and lemon juice and water to a large pitcher. Stir in syrup to taste. Serve cold.

My thoughts:
I just got back from Birmingham, AL where I took an extended weekend to not only attend FoodBlogSouth but to further explore the city. There is so much I loved about Birmingham, but one of the little things I enjoyed most was the abundance of lemonade and at Gilchrist, a lunch counter where I had a great pimento BLT, limeade. Although the waitresses I encountered seemed stunned I did not want sweet tea, they were placated by my acceptance of the 'ade. Drinks are serious business there! Nearly every (casual) restaurant gave us huge cups full of crushed ice along with the beverage of our choice and would re-fill your cup as you paid so you could take it with you. I already miss that crushed ice. Anyway! I came home and was faced with a ton of Cara Cara oranges we had bought right before we left. They were still fine but I couldn't see how I could eat them all in time. So orangeade it is!

I actually didn't have orangeade in Birmingham but there used to be a hot dog place inside of a flower shop in downtown Baltimore which had the best pretzel dogs and fresh squeezed lemonade, limeade and orangeade. Lighter than orange juice, orangeade is the perfect non-soda soft drink. Make it now while oranges are in season!

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January 28, 2014

Contest: Win Dinner for 2 at Fogo de Chão

2014 marks the 10th anniversary of Coconut & Lime! I can hardly believe it! To celebrate, I will be hosting giveaways throughout the year.

First up, a gift card for dinner for 2 at Brazilian steakhouse Fogo de Chão!
Use the widget below to enter!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Many thanks to Fogo de Chão for donating the gift card. Fogo de Chão is having their own contest right now. One lucky winner will go on exibition to Brazil! You can enter their contest by clicking this link. The winner is chosen based on whoever has the most exciting submission describing why they are perfect to win this trip to Brazil.

January 22, 2014

Hearty Lima Bean & Ham Soup

1 large onion, diced
2 carrots, diced
2 large Yukon Gold potatoes, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
3 1/2 cups diced mushrooms
4 cups cubed cottage ham
9 oz fresh or frozen Fordhook lima beans
1 tablespoon Herbes de Provence
6 cups chicken stock

Saute the ham in a bit of butter in a Dutch oven until just starting to brown. Add the onion, carrot, potatoes, celery, mushrooms and spices and saute until the potatoes are getting soft, about 10 minutes. Add the stock and lima beans. Simmer until the potatoes are fully cooked, about 20 minutes.

My thoughts:
I've been hard at work at my latest book and haven't been cooking a lot of non-book related food lately. However, today I was snowed in and got a lot of work done so I made this soup for dinner. I've been on a bit of a lima bean kick and was going to make a more straight-forward lima bean soup but I am (hoping! see: snow) heading to Birmingham this weekend for FoodBlogSouth so I ended up putting in a bunch of other stuff too so it didn't go to waste. I'm glad I ended up using all of those mushrooms because the resulting soup is so rich tasty. Perfect for a cold snowy day.

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January 20, 2014

Slow Cooker Pork Chops & Sauerkraut


32 oz finely shredded sauerkraut
1 onion, halved and thinly sliced
4 thick cut boneless pork chops
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1 1/2 tablespoons yellow mustard seed
1 1/2 tablespoons strong German mustard
1 1/2 tablespoon prepared horseradish
1/2 teaspoon caraway seeds
1 teaspoon sugar or 1 teaspoon liquid turbinado sugar
1 bay leaf

Quickly brown each chop on all sides in a nonstick skillet.

Place half of the sauerkraut, bay leaf and onion in a 2 or 4 quart slow cooker.

Whisk together the mustard, horseradish, sugar, vinegar and spices. Add the pork chops and cover with remaining sauerkraut and onion. Drizzle with vinegar mixture. Cook on low 8 hours or 4 hours on high. Serve hot.

My thoughts:
Sauerkraut is a pretty popular dish here in Baltimore. Thanks an influx of German immigrants, we eat kraut not only on our hot dogs but on Thanksgiving, right along with our turkey and mashed potatoes. So it is no surprise that a good number of even non "foodie" people make their own and that there is always several brands to choose from on the supermarket shelf. Since we're doctoring up the sauerkraut a bit you can use your favorite store bought or homemade sauerkraut and have great results.

When I was developing the recipes for my slow cooker book, pork chops were a challenge. I like boneless ones because they are thick cut but, like boneless chicken, they cook quickly, don't take up much room in the slow cooker and are pretty low in fat. All things that work against you when it comes to successful slow cooker recipes. I found that if there was enough liquid and bulky ingredients, you can make juicy, tasty chops in the slow cooker. In this recipe the sauerkraut almost acts like insulation and seals in the juices into the pork chop. The pork chop also becomes so tender, there is no need for a fork! So, despite it being some what unphotogenic, I think this recipe is a keeper!

January 13, 2014

Mango Chipotle Chicken Chili

2 lb ground chicken
1 mango, cubed
7 oz chipotle chiles in adobo, chopped
30 oz canned black beans, drained
30 oz canned fires roasted diced tomatoes, drained
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 large onion, chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon paprika
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper

Saute the pork in a nonstick skillet, breaking up any large chunks, until fully cooked. Drain then add the meat to a 4 quart slow cooker. Add the remaining ingredients. Stir. Cook on low 8-10 hours. Stir prior to serving.

My thoughts:
Smoky chili! One of my favorite things to eat during the winter months. I've been working on a big recipe project and preparing for a couple of exciting trips and have been relying on the slow cooker, take-out and quick and easy recipes. This is the perfect recipe to make for dinner when you are just too busy during the day or evening to whip something up. The mango tempers the heat a little and adds a slight fruitiness. I liked it with a bit of cornbread on the side. And as soon as my project as done, it will be back to normal with regards to posting new recipes, I promise!

January 06, 2014

Matt's Asian Fusion Crabcakes with Indonesian-Influenced Tartar Sauce


for the crabcakes:
2 lbs lump crab, checked for shell
2 slices of bread, crusts removed and torn into small pieces
1 cup minced garlic chives (or green onions/scallions)
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
1 tablespoon lemongrass paste*
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon ground galangal (or 2 teaspoons grated fresh galangal root)
4 Thai bird's eye chili peppers, minced
1 small shallot, minced
2 teaspoon lemon pepper seasoning
2 eggs, beaten
matzah meal or breadcrumbs (optional)
canola oil for frying

for the sauce:
1/2 cup mayo
1 1/2 tablespoons capers
1 teaspoon minced ginger
1 teaspoon lemongrass paste*
1 teaspoon sambal oelek
1/2 teaspoon granulated garlic
1 small shallot


for the crabcakes:
Mix all ingredients except the matzoh meal. The mixture should be easy to form into small balls, a bit larger than a golf ball. If the mixture is too wet to form into balls, add some matzah meal or breadcrumbs. Flatten the balls slightly. Heat about 1/4-1/2 inch oil in a 12-14 inch skillet. Panfry the crabcakes until golden brown, flipping once, about 8 minutes. Drain on paper towel-lined plates. Serve hot.

for the sauce:

Stir together all ingredients. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes prior to serving.

*This comes in a tube. Look for it near herbs in the produce aisle. Or substitute an equal amount of minced fresh lemongrass

My thoughts:
In our quest to come up with some '90s food for our '90s night we found a lot of fusion dishes. Matt had the idea to combine a Baltimore favorite, crabcakes, with pan-Asian ingredients to form the perfect, savory, spicy, crabcake.

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January 03, 2014

Rachel's Oh So '90s Spinach-Artichoke Dip

12 oz frozen artichoke hearts, defrosted and chopped
10 oz frozen chopped spinach, defrosted
8 oz cream cheese (or American-style Neufchâtel)
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup sour cream
1/3 cup mixed shredded Italian cheese (I used asagio, Parmesan, Romano) PLUS some for topping if desired.
1/2-1 teaspoon granulated garlic
1 tablespoon dehydrated chopped onion
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper

Throughly drain the spinach and artichoke by pressing it with paper towels to remove all moisture. Place in a large bowl. Add remaining ingredients and stir until well combined. Refrigerate until ready to eat. Scrape into a 8x8 inch baking dish. Preheat oven to 350. Sprinkle with additional cheese, if desired. Bake, uncovered, for 10-15 minutes or until warmed through. Refrigerate leftovers.

Serve with bread or sturdy chips.

My thoughts:
For the past few New Year's Eves we've been having themed nights with food, drinks, candy, movies and games from different decades. We started in the '80s and worked our way back to the '20s last year. This year we decided to finally tackle the '90s which was way harder than one might think. Diet food (Snackwells, anyone?) was hugely popular and nearly every candy or drink that was invented then has since been discontinued. No notable games debuted then either. I also had a difficult time coming up with a menu. I always like to serve something snacking and from reading magazine and newspaper archives from the '90s, I noticed that nearly every publication of the early 1990s featured some version of spinach-artichoke dip, often served in hollowed out bread. So I made my own version which I think tastes fresher than the ones I found. The trick is not cooking the spinach or artichokes prior to mixing the dip. If they are throughly defrosted (I just put my mine in the fridge overnight) there is no reason to cook them, they are perfectly soft and will be warmed through during the baking step. The uncooked spinach and artichoke give the dip a much fresher taste than cooked. I did use granulated garlic (I love Costco's) and dehydrated onions because I think they add more flavor and get more evenly distributed in the dip then fresh. Plus they do not add extra moisture which is the sworn enemy of spinach-artichoke dip. My husband said that it is his favorite out of all the dips I've ever made!

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