July 16, 2019

Cherry Orange Jam


Ingredients:

3 cups crushed sweet cherries (I used a potato masher to crush the cherries)
1/4 cup candied orange peel (I used this)
3 tablespoons powdered pectin*
2 cups sugar



Directions:

Evenly sprinkle the bottom of the Ball Jam Maker with the pectin. Spoon the fruit and peel in a relatively even layer over the pectin.  Press the jam button. You will hear a beep at 4 minutes. Sprinkle the sugar over the fruit mixture while the machine is still running. Cover and wait for the jam cycle to complete. Press the cancel button and unplug the machine. If not using a Ball Jam Maker, make the jam on the stovetop using the traditional method as seen in this recipe.

Ladle the jam into prepared jars leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Process in the hot water bath for 10 minutes. I used my electric water bath canner which I use even for huge canning projects. It is amazing and doesn't heat up your house like boiling water on the stove for hours does.



Yield: about 4 8-oz jars



*I recommend these jars of flex batch pectin.

Note: A great source for canning information is the Blue Book guide to preserving. I highly recommend it for learning how to can. Here is a bunch of other canning books and equipment I find useful.



My thoughts:
Once again I came home to a huge box of fresh sweet cherries the Northwest Cherry Growers organization to can. So many cherries! I first thought of making some pickles, ketchups and shrubs but my mom has been asking for some homemade jam. I don't think I made jam at all last year! Jam it was! I think cherries are the star so I kept it simple and added some candied orange peel I had on hand to add a touch of citrus flavor. It seems odd to add candied peel vs. the fruit but oranges are not in season now and the ones you can buy are not so tasty or juicy. Citrus juice tends to lose flavor when baked or cooked for long periods of time (which is why you can add lemon juice to jam to make it safe to can yet not really taste it in the finished product) so using the peel is the best way to add actual fruit flavor. Sure, the peel is candied but you are already making jam with sugar, a little more doesn't make much difference. The result is a fresh-tasting jam full of cherry flavor and just a hint of orange to balance it out.

Note: I know some canners do not like the Ball Jam Maker but I really do. It makes just about 4 jars of jam (perfect for someone like me who mostly does small batch canning), frees my stove up to cook up other things to preserve, and makes the jam in less time than it takes to watch a sitcom. Which you can, because you do not need to watch the jam while making it. Of course, you can safely can this jam the traditional way if you so choose.

Bonus points: use the jam to make this.




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July 01, 2019

Barbecue Spaghetti





Ingredients:


1 red onion, diced
1 cubanelle pepper, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 cups Memphis-style barbecue sauce
1 1/2 cups tomato sauce*
1 tablespoon Memphis style dry rub
15 oz canned diced tomatoes with garlic, basil, and oregano
2 cups pulled pork (used pork that made with the dry rub using the method shared in this post)

to serve: 1 lb cooked spaghetti

Directions:

In a large pan, saute the onion, pepper, and garlic until soft and fragrant. Add the barbecue sauce, tomato sauce, dry rub, canned tomatoes and pulled pork and simmer about 30-45 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the sauce thickens. Serve over hot spaghetti.


*Tomato sauce is oddly tricky to find at times. Look for it near canned tomatoes or in the Italian section. It's not tomato puree, or crushed tomatoes and it's not spaghetti sauce. Sometimes I can only find it in a 4- or 8-oz can but if you are local, Weis carries the store brand version in 28-oz cans.
My thoughts:
I freely admit the only reason I made the barbecue sauce, the dry rub and then smoked a whole pork butt for two people was to make barbecue spaghetti. My husband was very skeptical but I held fast (and didn't tell him at first I was just in it for the spaghetti) and he ended up loving it so much, we are making it again on the 4th of July.

Barbecue spaghetti is a little odd at first glance, it's pretty much only found in Memphis and I can't find a ton of info on the origins. If I had to speculate, I think it is some amalgamation of the plain tomato sauced spaghetti you can find at some (barbecue and) fried fish places served as a side and a bunch of leftover pulled pork. Whatever the origins, it's tangy, delicious and uniquely satisfying. Don't knock it until you've tried it!



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June 30, 2019

Memphis-Style Barbecue Dry Rub



Ingredients:

1/4 cup paprika
3 tablespoons light brown sugar
2 tablespoons granulated garlic
2 tablespoons dehydrated onion flakes
1 tablespoon mustard powder
1/2 tablespoon chili powder
2 teaspoons dried thyme
2 teaspoons dried oregano
2 teaspoons celery seed
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
coarse salt
coarsely ground black pepper





Direction:

Stir all ingredients together, store in an airtight container.


Grilling tip:

We cooked a 5 lb pork butt using the snake method on our charcoal grill for about 4-5 hrs. Then we wrapped it in foil and let it sit 45 minutes or so before pulling.







My thoughts:

You can use this on ribs, which I think is more traditional, but I really loved it on pulled pork. It might look dry in the picture but it was some of the tastiest, juiciest pulled pork I've ever had. 


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June 28, 2019

Memphis-style Barbecue Sauce



Ingredients:

2 tablespoons butter
1 1/2 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, sliced
2 cups plain tomato sauce*
2/3 cup cider vinegar
2 tablespoons cup molasses
3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
2 teaspoons ground mustard
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
pinch celery seed
salt
freshly ground black pepper




Directions:
In a small, heavy-bottomed pot, melt the butter. Saute the onions and garlic until the onion is translucent. Whisk in the remaining ingredients. Simmer for 20 minutes or until it has thickened into a sauce consitancy that will coat the back of a spoon. Place in a blender and pulse until smooth. Pour into a jar and allow to cool before using or refrigerating.


Yield: about 1 3/4 cups


*Tomato sauce is oddly tricky to find at times. Look for it near canned tomatoes or in the Italian section. It's not tomato puree, or crushed tomatoes and it's not spaghetti sauce. Sometimes I can only find it in a 4- or 8-oz can but if you are local, Weis carries the store brand version in 28-oz cans.


My thoughts:
I had the idea to make Memphis style barbecue last fall but we had so much rain, I ended up freezing the pork until now. I like making my own barbecue sauces because not only can I control the sweetness and flavor, I pretty much always have the ingredients on hand and it gives me something to do while grilling for 6+ hrs.

I actually used homemade  Worcestershire sauce in this (talk about being extra!) that I made while testing cookbooks as a judge for the single subject category in the IACP cookbook awards. It's from the winning book, Jerky, and it was surprisingly simple to make yet very delicious! Of course, you can use regular Lea & Perrins.

This is a thinner, tangy yet sweet barbecue sauce that I think would have wide appeal at your next cookout.

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May 29, 2019

Umami Lovers Salad




Ingredients:

4 oz smoked salmon, cut into bite-sized pieces
8 oz watercress
2 roasted beets, sliced
2 6 1/2 minute eggs, halved
3/4 lb thin asparagus, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 pint mixed cherry tomatoes, halved
2 "baby" cucumbers, sliced into coins

dressing:
3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon "everything" seasoning*
1/2 teaspoon Dijon
1 tablespoon nonpareil capers



Directions:

Toss together the salad ingredients in a medium bowl, set aside. Place the dressing ingredients in a jar, cover and shake until emulsified. Drizzle over salad. Serve immediately.

Serves 2, as a meal. Can be easily doubled or tripled.




* DIY it: "everything" seasoning mix:
1 1/2 teaspoon dehydrated minced onion
1 1/2 teaspoon dehydrated minced garlic
1 teaspoon mixed black and white sesame seeds
1 teaspoon poppy seeds
pinch kosher salt



My thoughts:
I've had the idea for a vaguely bagel platter inspired salad for a while now. Finally, I just had to make it. I'm not a huge green salad person so I loaded it up with everything I love: lox, beets, cucumbers, asparagus and peppery watercress vs the typical "salad mix" or lettuce. Then I made a bold, pickle-y dressing loaded with flavor from the everything seasoning. The result is a wonderfully flavor-packed salad. So many bold flavors in every bite--smoky, savory, salty. It is an umami lover's delight.

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May 24, 2019

Deviled Egg Smashed Potato Salad




Ingredients:

2 lb whole baby Yukon gold potatoes
1 cup small diced thin asparagus
1/2 red onion, diced
1 stalk celery, diced
2/3 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup coarsely chopped hamburger dill pickles
2 tablespoons Dijon
1/2-1 teaspoons hot paprika (plus more for garnish)
1/4 teaspoon celery seed
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
2 hard-boiled eggs
freshly ground black pepper


Direction:

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Boil the potatoes until fork-tender. Drain. Return to the pot and Use the back of a spoon or a potato masher to crack and slightly smash the potatoes. Allow to cool.

Meanwhile, place the asparagus (or leave out, I don’t care. I’m not making another side) onions, and celery in a large bowl.  Stir to distribute the asparagus. Set aside to cool.

Cut the hard-boiled eggs in half. Chop the whites and place them in the bowl with the potatoes.

Place the yolk into a small bowl and mash it with a fork or potato masher. Stir in the mayo, onion, dill relish, mustard, vinegar, and spices until a dressing forms. Pour over the potatoes, stir to evenly coat the potatoes and asparagus. Refrigerate at least 1 hour prior to serving.



My thoughts:
This week marks the 15th year of creating recipes here on Coconut & Lime! Can you believe it? It seems like a long time and short time all at once. It's basically been my entire adult life. I was still a teacher back then and had just started dating my now husband. Now we've been married 14 years and I've written several cookbooks and develop recipes full time. There are just shy of 2,500 recipes on this blog.

I still like creating recipes that are classic with a twist so I guess it is fitting to post this recipe this week! Memorial Day is right around the corner and who doesn't need a potato salad recipe? We are planning to get crabs but you still need a side dish. Or so my husband tells me. Growing up we just had crabs.

This dish is quickly becoming one of my favorites because while it has a pretty classic flavor profile, the texture is softer and I've added asparagus so you get a bit of veggies in there too--eliminating the need for a second side dish, I think. And is there a better pairing than deviled eggs and potato salad? I think not!

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May 17, 2019

Mortadella Home Fries


Ingredients:
1 1/2-2 lb Russet potatoes, peeled, quartered and sliced
1 large onion, quartered and sliced
1/4 lb thinly sliced (imported) mortadella, cut into bite-sized pieces
butter
freshly ground black pepper
pinch salt



Directions:

Parboil the potato in a medium pot. Drain and set aside.

Heat a large skillet. Melt the butter. Add the onions and mortadella and sauté until the onions are softened and starting to brown around the edges. Add the potatoes. Arrange the potatoes in as flat of a layer as possible. Cook until golden then flip and brown the other side. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and serve immediately.



My thoughts:
I have always been a home fries person. My grandpop always made them for me growing up (often alongside his meat cakes) and I think they are so much better than hash browns. Unfortunately,  a lot of restaurants don't seem to know the difference between hash browns and home fries so when I order home fries, I am often very disappointed.

I make them at home not terribly frequently but every time I do I wonder why it has been so long! Normally I make them with bacon but we had bought way too much mortadella shortly before our trip to NYC last week so I thought I'd swap some for the usual bacon. I'm so glad I did! The mortadella (the fancier, Italian cousin to bologna) crisped up around the edges and added a ton of flavor to the potatoes. It was a revelation. I think I might buy "too much" mortadella on purpose next time.

The trick to good home fries is to parboil the potatoes. I don't always do it, my grandpop never did, but it really is the easiest way to guarantee crispy, perfectly cooked potatoes.

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May 15, 2019

Spaghetti with Sardines, Asparagus and Capers






Ingredients:

1/2 cup breadcrumbs
1 onion, sliced into half moons
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 lb asparagus, cut into bite-sized pieces
2-3 tablespoons nonpareil capers
2 4.4-oz canned sardines in oil, drained
juice and zest of one lemon
3/4 lb spaghetti
2/3 (loose) cup coarsely chopped Italian parsley
Parmesan for sprinkling
olive oil
salt
freshly ground black pepper


Directions:

Cook spaghetti according to package instructions.

In a large skillet, toast the bread crumbs until golden brown. Set aside. Heat some olive oil in the pan. Add the onions and garlic and saute until the onion softens. Add the asparagus, capers, and sardines. Saute, breaking up the sardines with the back of the spoon until the onions are fully cooked. Stir in the cooked, drained spaghetti, lemon juice, zest, salt, pepper, and parsley. Toss in bread crumbs. Divide over four plates and sprinkle with parmesan. Serve immediately.




My thoughts:
One of the best things about our trip to Portugal a few years ago was really exploring the world of tinned seafood. We went to two different restaurants that specialized in recipes using tinned seafood in interesting ways and a store that only sold canned seafood. It was so much fun!

Luckily, all sorts of canned and preserved seafood are available here in the US. Even the not so fancy supermarket had 10 different varieties and brands of sardines. Not to mention, tuna, anchovies, herring, even octopus!

It's easy to make a meal strictly from the pantry using sardines but since it's spring (despite being the 40s!! this week) I added some in-season asparagus and tons of parsley for a lighter, fresher dish. It was so good! Filling without being heavy and although sardines are a fishier smelling fish, the dish is surprisingly not pungent. The toasty bread crumbs and parm add a great depth of flavor as well. A truly satisfying weeknight meal.

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May 07, 2019

Dill Feta Ranch Dip



Ingredients:
1 3/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
3 tablespoons minced fresh dill
1/4 cup crumbled feta

for the ranch mix:
1 1/2 tablespoons dry buttermilk*
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1/2 teaspoon freeze-dried chives
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon dried onion
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
freshly ground black pepper


Directions:

Place all ingredients, including the ranch mix, in a medium bowl and stir to combine all ingredients until fairly smooth. Refrigerate 20 minutes prior to serving.


*look for this in the baking aisle

My thoughts:
I've been cooking a lot lately but it's all been dishes too heavy to post in May or food that is terribly unphotogenic. So frustrating when you are trying to keep with a regular posting schedule as you move into the 15th year of this blog!

Today I made myself a mortadella sandwich and since I had some of these sesame Pressels  I thought I'd make some dip for fun. I've been obsessed with feta and dill lately so I thought I'd combine them with some Greek yogurt and homemade buttermilk ranch mix. So good and creamy with a bit of a tang. Perfect for your next lunch, snacktime or picnic.

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April 29, 2019

Salted Cashew Chocolate Chunk Cookies



Ingredients:
1 1/3 cup flour
1/2 cup butter, at room temperature
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup light brown sugar
1 egg, at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup salted, halves and pieces cashews
1 cup semisweet chocolate chunks



Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350°. Line 2-3 cookie sheets with parchment paper or a Silpat.

In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients. Set aside. In a large bowl or bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy using a stand or electric hand mixer. Add the egg and vanilla and combine thoroughly. Gradually add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture and mix until a very thick dough forms.


Fold in the chips and nuts.


Form cookies by dropping 1 heaping tablespoon of dough two inches apart (I like this cookie scoop that hold 1 1/2 tablespoons of dough).


Flatten slightly then bake until light brown on the bottom, about 12-13 minutes.

Slide them out on the parchment paper onto a wire rack and allow them to cool 1-2 minutes on the parchment or Silpat on the wire rack before removing the parchment and allowing them to cool directly on the wire rack.



Cool completely before storing in air-tight containers.


My thoughts:
I am not a huge fan of nuts in baked goods. Walnuts remind me of baby teeth. I rarely use them unless I am making something for someone else or making bar cookies like these where they aren't hidden and stay crisp. Anyway, I had to buy some cashews to garnish a recipe I was testing and had a ton leftover. I haven't had a cookie with cashews before but why not try? I ended up liking them a lot! Cashews are pretty soft so the texture melds really well with the cookie dough. I guess it makes sense since it actually a seed and not a true nut? The chocolate chunks were around the same size as the cashews and it made for a really chocolatey cookie. 

I used salted nuts and didn't add salt to the dough but since my cashews weren't terribly salty, it only added a savory note, not a ton of salty flavor. If your cashews are saltier, you might have a stronger sweet/salt contrast. 


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April 19, 2019

Gnocchi with Ham, Watercress and Peas



Ingredients:

1 medium onion, cut into half-moon slices
2 1/2 cups cubed ham
5 oz watercress
10 oz fresh, shelled peas
30 oz plain, potato gnocchi
salt
freshly ground black pepper
grated parmesan


Directions:

In a large pan, saute the onion until softened. Add the ham and cook until warmed through. Add the watercress and peas. Add 3 tablespoons of water and saute until the peas are tender. Season with salt and pepper

Meanwhile, cook gnocchi to package instructions. Drain. Add the gnocchi to the pan and saute until lightly browned. Divide among 4 dishes and top with parmesan.



My thoughts:
I love coming up with recipes using up holiday leftovers! To be honest, we never host so I am almost always buying food just to make fun stuff with the leftovers! It's become a bit of hobby on its own, to be honest. We aren't people who mind eating leftovers, we normally make dinner for four so we can have the leftovers for lunch the next day but repurposing them into something new is so much more fun. For this recipe, I used a whole boneless smoked ham I bought at Costco. It's so easy to cube to use in other dishes but of course, you can use any leftover ham from any cut.

This recipe is super easy because let's be honest, after hosting, who wants to make another big elaborate meal? I used gnocchi I bought at Aldi but any supermarket or Italian grocery will have them. You can also make fresh gnocchi if you'd like but the vacuumed pack ones are pretty good and are even faster to cook than regular pasta. I love watercress with ham so much (this egg salad with ham and watercress is another great Easter leftover recipe), it has a peppery bite that offsets the often sweet and very smoky ham. Peas are classic with ham so I added some I bought at Trader Joe's (in the fresh department) to make it even more of a complete meal.

Normally, I am not one to eat gnocchi leftovers but (maybe because it wasn't homemade gnocchi and not saucy?) we had some leftovers (of the leftovers, ha!) and they really reheated well! I sauteed them in a skillet to reheat and they were quite tasty. Lightly browning the gnocchi adds a nice toasty flavor too.

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April 17, 2019

Bitter Herb Deviled Eggs


Ingredients:
6 hard-boiled eggs
1/4 cup minced watercress
3 1/2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1 tablespoon grated horseradish
1/4-1/2 teaspoon hot paprika
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper

Directions:
Use a mini prep, food processor or blender to thoroughly mix together the yolks, mayonnaise, onion, spices, and peppers until fairly smooth. Spoon an equal amount into each of the egg halves. Garnish with additional paprika, if desired.

Notes: Recipe can easily be doubled or tripled. Can be made up to 24 hours ahead and refrigerated in an air-tight container.
My thoughts:
Easter and Passover overlap again this year so I thought I'd make some Passover-inspired deviled eggs. Last year when they overlapped, I made "Everything Bagel" inspired deviled eggs that were a big hit. This year I went for more of a Passover-tie in with bitter herbs. Maror, bitter herbs, are one of the foods on the Passover seder plate. The bitterness of the herbs is to represent the bitterness and harshness Israelites felt when they were slaves in Egypt. A few different things can be used as maror, including horseradish for maror, bitter greens like lettuce, watercress or endive for the second bitter herb, hazeret. It's a serious tradition for a serious holiday but the food that comes after is meant to be enjoyed! In that spirit, I thought I'd combine our two favorite bitter herbs to make a deviled egg that works for both holidays in our mixed household.

The results are excellent. A bit robust flavored thanks to the fresh horseradish and peppery watercress but it is tempered by the creamy mayo and egg yolks. A real crowd-pleaser.

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April 15, 2019

Toffee Macaroon Matzo Bars






Ingredients

2-3 sheets plain matzo
10 oz semi or bittersweet chocolate chips
1 cup sweetened finely flaked coconut
1/2 cup slivered almonds
1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk*
3/4 cup toffee chunks**


Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Thoroughly butter a 9x13 inch baking pan. Set aside.

Place the matzo in the bottom of the pan, breaking as needed to fit and cover the bottom of the pan as much as possible.



Evenly sprinkle the chocolate chips, then the coconut, and almonds over the matzo. Pour the sweetened condensed milk evenly over the top, and spread with the back of a spoon or spatula until the mixture is evenly coated.

Bake for 25-30 minutes until edges are golden brown. Remove to a wire rack and immediately evenly sprinkle with toffee chunks.

Allow to cool on a wire rack completely before slicing.  This will take a lot longer than you expect.




Store in the refrigerator or on a cool counter in an air-tight container. Freeze leftovers up to 6 months if desired.

*Make sure to use sweetened condensed milk that is marked as Kosher for Passover or use one of the many recipes for making it yourself that are available online.

**I placed this toffee in a resealable bag and hit it with a rolling pin to break it into chunks. I sprinkled both the larger chunks and smaller bits.
My thoughts:


I was trying to think of a new dessert or treat for Passover this year, we are not religous but I normally make something each year. The pineapple coconut matzo granola I made years ago was great but not exactly a dessert. I love making macaroons but I felt like something different. I was going to make matzo toffee and call it a day but then I had a better idea.

Last year I discovered Magic Bars (or Hello Dolly Bars or 7-Layer Bars) for the first time. I think bars are more popular in other parts of the country and are a bit old fashioned but I did not grow up eating them. We always had brownies or black bottoms, not bars!  I made what I called cocoanuts bars last year then for New Year's Eve to go with our numbers theme, I made speculoos butterscotch 7-layer bars. They are so easy to make and the flavors are really open to tweaking.

Why not replace the cookie layer with matzo? While I love these bars they are very sweet, and I've tried a few things to cut down on the sweetness, namely using very dark chocolate and/or unsweetened coconut but it's a bar that uses sweetened condensed milk as a binder. There's not much you can do! Using a cookie layer doesn't help either. Why not use matzo instead? It's not sweet, is perfect for Passover and doesn't need butter to help it stick together and cover a baking dish which makes the bar lighter as well.

Once I decided to make Matzo magic bars, I had to think about flavors. I thought I'd combine those popular Passover treats--matzo brittle and macaroons--into one bar. I didn't want to just layer coconut on the toffee and call it a day so I made toffee and sprinkled it on top and made the bars the traditional way but substituting matzo for cookie crumbs. When you sprinkle the toffee while the bars are still hot, it melts into the bars but doesn't turn totally liquid which is exactly what you want.

These were so good, my husband gave them the ultimate compliment-they were legit delicious, not just good for Passover! Passover desserts can be tricky so this is high praise indeed. Of course, you don't have to make these solely for Passover, they are a treat any time of the year. The toffee really is the crowning touch--it adds so much flavor and a contrasting texture to the coconut and matzo.




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Basic Toffee


Ingredients:

1 cup butter, cubed
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract, rum flavoring or dark rum


Directions:

Line an 8x8 pan with parchment paper. Set aside.

Combine butter, sugar, water, and salt in a small pot over medium heat.

Stir ingredients frequently over medium heat until mixture comes to a boil.

After the mixture comes to a boil, attach a candy thermometer. Continue to stir periodically as it thickens and darkens.

Once toffee reaches 305 (or when a drizzle of the syrup hardens and cracks in a glass of very cold water), remove from heat and stir in flavoring.

Pour mixture into the prepared pan. Allow to cool completely, about 1 hour. Break or cut into pieces.

My thoughts:
I made this to use in my toffee macaroon matzo bars but it is tasty on its own! I didn't use a candy thermometer but they are very useful, especially if you are new to candy making.
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April 04, 2019

Spiced Up Mochiko Chicken



Ingredients:

1/4 cup chopped scallion
1/4 cup mochiko flour
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/4 soy sauce
1 1/2 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon mixed black and white sesame seeds
1 tablespoon gochugaru (Korean red pepper flakes)
1 teaspoon shichimi togarashi
2 egg, beaten
1 1/2 lb boneless, skinless chicken thighs (trimmed of excess fat if desired)

Directions:

WARNING: This must be done the day before you want to make the chicken.

Place all ingredients in a resealable bag. Seal and squish around until the ingredients are evenly distributed and the chicken is well coated. Refrigerate at least 8 hours, preferably 16-24.

Heat about 1-inch canola oil in a large, heavy-bottomed pan. Fry, turning once until the chicken is cooked through and golden brown. Drain on paper towel-lined plates.


My thoughts:
I love mochiko chicken. The technique is different than other fried chicken, you marinate it in the sweet rice flour and then it goes straight into the pan and super easy. Every time I make this Hawaiian classic, I wonder why I don't make it more often. I love the crisp batter, how easy it is to make and how flavorful the chicken tastes. I'm not much of a chicken person but even I look forward to this!

Until now, I've only made it the traditional way but this time I decided to spice things up a bit. I was going to just add shichimi togarashi but it has a bit of salt in it and since we were marinating it in soy sauce so I was worried the final dish would be too salty. So we added some of my favorite red pepper gochugaru which added some more heat and a lot of pepper flavor. Totally not traditional for mochiko chicken but it works. Think of it as sort of a Hawaiian-Korean-Japanese mash up. Hawaiian food is a real mix of flavors from all over the world and Korea and Japan both have their own style of very wonderful fried chicken (here's my recipe for karaage) so it made sense to me to add some those flavors to mochiko chicken to spice it up.


I served it with a scoop of sticky rice sprinkled with furikake (I buy this variety case)  and some broccoli sauteed with shichimi togarashi and onions. A super easy, surprisingly light weeknight dinner.

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April 02, 2019

Smoky Eggplant Zucchini Dip



2 medium eggplants
2 small zucchini
1 handful flat leaf parsley, chopped
1/4 cup tahini
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
juice of 2 lemons
2 cloves garlic, minced
salt
freshly ground black pepper
healthy pinch ground chipotle



Directions:

Preheat oven to 375.
Place each eggplant on a gas burner and grill, turning occasionally until the skin is well blistered. Allow to cool. Cut off the stem and halve lengthwise. Line a baking sheet with parchment and roast, cut side down until the flesh is tender, about 20 minutes. Allow to cool.

While the eggplant is cooling. Broil the zucchini on a broiler pan in the oven, turning occasionally, until the skin blisters and the flesh is cooked through, about 20 minutes. Allow to cool.

Scoop out the insides of the eggplant and zucchini and discard the skins. Drain the liquid through a colander into a bowl. Discard the liquid. Chop the pulp until fairly smooth but with still a few chunks.


Place in a medium bowl, stir in the parsley. Set aside.


In a small bowl, whisk together the tahini, oil, lemon juice, garlic and spices until smooth. Pour over the vegetables. Stir until well combined. Refrigerate at least 2 hours and up to overnight.


My thoughts:
I love smokey eggplant dips like Mutabal and Baba Ghanoush. The local Persian place we frequent has a signature eggplant dip that is sort of a mashup of the two that I adore. I frequently order that and a side of loobia polo as my main dish. It is so good! When I was reading a ton of cookbooks recently as a judge for a contest, I came across a recipe for a riff on baba ghanoush made with zucchini instead of eggplant. I loved the idea and was going to make it but then I remembered I really love eggplant. How could I forsake it entirely? Plus I hate following recipes. I'm actually really bad at it. I can and will do it (well!) but it really goes against my nature. So I decided to riff on the riff and make a smoky, roasted eggplant and zucchini dip.

The directions are a bit finicky. I'm sorry. But roasting eggplant skin on the burner yields, in my opinion, better, tastier results than broiling but unless you are using Japanese or "baby" eggplants (which have become maddeningly difficult to find lately) it won't cook the eggplant through before it catches on fire. (ask me how I know) So, roast it on the burner then bake it until it softens. Conversely, zucchini skin is thinner and less tough so I don't like roasting it on the burner and instead, broil and unless they are truly massive, in which case they aren't very tasty and have giant seeds anyway, they cook all the way through in like 20 minutes. I waited for it all to cool and then chopped it all together. You could use a food processor but that requires a lot of cleaning and the pulp is so soft, it chops easily.

The results are amazing and well worth the effort! I loved the smoky flavor and it was very creamy. It was even good three days after I made it. I can't wait to make it again.

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March 28, 2019

Lemon-Ginger Tea Quick Pickles




Ingredients:
3 "baby" cucumbers, sliced into 1/4 inch coins
2 1/4-inch thick lemon slices, halved
1/4 small red onion, sliced into thin half-moons
1 bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon yellow mustard seeds
1/4 teaspoon caraway seeds
2 bags Stash Tea Lemon Ginger Herbal Tea, divided use
1/4 cup kosher salt
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup white wine vinegar

Directions:

In a small bowl, toss together the cucumbers, lemon slices, onion, bay leaf, mustard seeds, caraway seeds and the contents of one Stash Tea Lemon Ginger tea bag. Place the mixture into 1 1-pint jar. Set aside.

In a small saucepan, place the remaining tea bag, salt, water, and vinegar. Bring to a rolling boil and whisk to dissolve the salt. Remove the tea bag. Pour over the vegetables in the jar. Cover and refrigerate at least 1 day prior to serving. Store, refrigerated up to 2 weeks.



My thoughts:
Stash Tea got in touch and wanted to know if I wanted to create a new dish for a blogger contest they were having. My husband loves tea so of course, I agreed. I wanted the challenge of creating something savory with tea and thought about it a long time before I came up with this. I had a lot of ideas but this one really stood out to me.

I love pickles and preserved things and often serve them as appetizers at parties. This pickle has a lovely floral aromatic flavor to it thanks to the Stash Tea Lemon Ginger Herbal Tea. The ginger gives just a hint of heat, the hibiscus a touch of sweetness and the lemon gives it a lively zing that is perfect for heading into spring. These pickles would be great on an Easter or Passover (if you do not keep strictly Kosher) spread or as part of a cheese board. You could even chop them up and put them in some egg salad!

Use the code COCONUTANDLIME-SC at check out for 10% off your order at Stash Tea.

Please follow Stash on social media: Facebook,  Twitter,  Instagram, and Pinterest. Check out the hashtags #stashtea #stashtearecipechallenge and #stashtearecipes for more cooking with tea inspiration.

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March 26, 2019

Sesame-Feta Chicken Salad



Ingredients:

2 cups cubed cooked chicken breast
handful Italian parsley, chopped
1 “baby” cucumber, diced
1/2 small red onion, diced
3 oz crumbled feta (tomato basil flavored if possible)
1 tablespoon nonpareil capers
2 teaspoons tahini
3-4 tablespoons mayonnaise
salt
freshly ground black pepper
zest of one lemon

Directions:

Place the chicken, parsley, cucumber, onion, feta, and capers in a large bowl. Toss to evenly distribute all ingredients. Set aside. In a small bowl, whisk together the tahini, mayo, salt, pepper, and zest. Spoon over the chicken mixture and stir to combine. Serve immediately or refrigerate up to 48 hours.

Serving suggestion: I served this on lavash with sliced cherry tomatoes.



My thoughts:
I made a different sesame chicken salad 11 years ago(!!) using sesame oil and sesame seeds and haven't made it since for no real, good reason. I really liked the flavor of sesame in the chicken salad so I thought I'd try it again but this time using the sesame paste, tahini,  for the sesame flavor. I love the tahini/feta/caper combo so those were obvious add-ins and I chopped up some cucumber for crunch.

I really hadn't thought of sharing the recipe (I was trying to use up some rotisserie chicken from Costco) but it was so good, I have too! It was really satisfying a super flavorful. The flavors really complemented each other and the dish was easy to make but the final product seemed a lot more exciting than traditional chicken salad. Plus it's always good to have a use for tahini that isn't hummus or baba ghanoush!

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March 21, 2019

Marshmallow Lovers Rice Krispie Treats




Ingredients:
6 cup crisped rice cereal (aka Rice Krispies)
1 cup plain or multicolored mini dehydrated vanilla marshmallows*
6 tablespoons butter
2 10-oz bags mini marshmallows
1 teaspoon vanilla


Directions:

Butter a 9x13 inch pan. Set aside.

In a large bowl, toss together the cereal and dehydrated marshmallows. Set aside.

In a large, heavy-bottomed pan, melt the butter. Stir in 1 1/2 bags marshmallows and vanilla. Stir until they are fully melted. Turn the heat to the lowest setting. Stir in the cereal mixture. Remove from heat and stir in the remaining half bag of mini marshmallows. Immediately scrape into the prepared baking dish. Very gently, smooth it out so it is an even layer without pressing down and compressing the mixture. Allow to cool at room temperature until firm enough to cut into squares. Turn out the dish and cut into squares. Store at room temperature in an airtight container.



*I bought these in bulk at a farm stand/old fashioned candy store while on a road trip but they are also available on Amazon.



My thoughts:
Rice Krispie Treats, 1980s commercial aside, are one of the easiest desserts you can make yet still I find myself tweaking the recipe. The back of the box recipe is fine but they can be a little dense. A bakery near us makes huge, thick squares of Rice Krispies Treats that are very good, soft and marshmallow-y but cost roughly the same as a whole box of cereal for one treat. It was worth it to try once but I can't bring myself to keep buying them when they make a whole slew of delights I can't or won't make at home.

Thus began my quest to make an extra-marshmallow-y, extra soft treat. Not surprisingly, the trick is to add way more marshmallows than you'd think. Not only did I up the amount I melted by half, I also stirred in some more marshmallows at the very end so they don't fully melt and leave marshmallow pockets. This is twice as many marshmallows as the official recipe! Then I added even more marshmallows in the form of dehydrated marshmallows (don't worry, they soften up). The dehydrated marshmallows added a bit more flavor and texture to the bars. The whole thing came together to make one super marshmallow-y, very vanilla Rice Krispie Treat.




Note: I did use generic marshmallows and "crisped rice" cereal I purchased at Aldi for this recipe. I don't like Jet-Puffed marshmallows and I can't tell the difference when it comes to the cereal. The marshmallows are only 88¢ a bag and the box of cereal (I only used half!) was $ 1.29. You can't beat that.

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March 15, 2019

Dilled Roasted Vegetable Orzo Salad with Gorgonzola



Ingredients:

3/4 cup (dry) orzo
1 zucchini, cubed
1 Spanish black radish, cubed
6 oz crimini mushrooms, quartered
1/4 lb asparagus, cut into 1-inch pieces
olive oil
a sprinkle of jalapeno garlic seasoning (I use this but you can sub in ground jalapenos and granulated garlic)
freshly ground black pepper
salt
1/4 red onion, thinly sliced
juice of 1/2 lemon
1/4 (loose) cup chopped dill
2 oz gorgonzola, crumbled




Directions:

Preheat oven to 350.

Cook orzo according to package instructions. Drain and allow to cool.

Line a baking sheet with parchment. Arrange the zucchini and radish in a single layer, drizzle with olive oil and seasonings. Roast for 20 minutes.

Add the mushrooms and asparagus to the pan, toss to mix. Roast for 15 minutes or until all vegetables are tender. Allow to cool.


Place the orzo, red onion, and roasted vegetables in a bowl. Toss with fresh lemon juice and olive oil to taste. Stir in fresh dill and gorgonzola. Serve immediately or refrigerate up to 24 hours.


My thoughts:
This is another recipe that helps bridge the seasons. Spicy Spanish black radishes are in season, asparagus is starting to make an appearance and mushrooms and zucchini are pretty delicious year round. The gorgonzola is almost gilding the lily but it adds so much flavor for such little effort, it's worth it. It's strong enough to stand up to the pungent black radish but doesn't overpower the more delicate flavors. The salad is a little on the hardy side but I think that is fitting when it still getting down near freezing at night. Excellent for a side dish or light vegetarian main dish.


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March 12, 2019

The Italian Club





Ingredients:
1 lb thinly sliced good quality  roasted turkey deli meat
1 lb thinly sliced lean capicola
1/3 lb imported smoked provolone
iceberg lettuce, sliced
3/4 lb crisp bacon strips
1/4 lb jarred roasted red peppers, drained
mayonnaise
12 pieces white toast

Directions:

Arrange 4 slices of toast on a platter or cutting board. Spread a thin layer of mayo if desired. Top with cheese, then turkey, capicola, bacon, lettuce then red pepper. Top with the second slice of toast and repeat. You may have leftover deli meat, don't feel like you have to overfill the sandwich. Top with a final slice of toast and cut each into 4 triangles, securing with long picks. Serve immediately.

Yield: 4 sandwiches

My thoughts:
We actually made this way back in January when we had our numbers themed NYE. Double decker sandwiches were an obvious choice for New Year's Day lunch. I took the picture and then it languished until today. 

The sandwiches were so good, I thought it was worth sharing. Everyone knows the typical club sandwich. A place near us makes excellent club sandwiches so there is no need to make one at home. The Italian club, on the other hand, is a different thing altogether. Okay, I admit I made it up but it's very good and worth a trip to the local Italian deli to pick up some capicola to make it yourself. Imported smoked provolone is so much more flavorful than the domestic stuff, it adds a lot of depth to the sandwich. Tomato season is months away so using roasted red tomatoes, another flavor found in Italian dishes, instead worked really well. Make sure you drain them carefully so they aren't too wet or they will make your sandwich soggy. 

The whole sandwich is just a delight to eat. a great mix of flavors and a fun twist on a classic.




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