Coconut & Lime https://www.coconutandlime.com recipes & cooking tips by cookbook author Rachel Rappaport Thu, 22 Oct 2020 14:54:48 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.5.1 https://www.coconutandlime.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/cropped-loxsalad-32x32.jpg Coconut & Lime https://www.coconutandlime.com 32 32 176983765 Thai-ish Lemongrass Sardine Salad  https://www.coconutandlime.com/2020/10/thai-ish-lemongrass-sardine-salad.html https://www.coconutandlime.com/2020/10/thai-ish-lemongrass-sardine-salad.html#respond Thu, 22 Oct 2020 14:54:48 +0000 https://www.coconutandlime.com/?p=11195 New recipe up for my Patreon supporters: Thai-ish Lemongrass Sardine Salad

Patrons get two new recipes each month featuring preserved fish.  This week I’m showcasing sardines in a flavorful watercress salad.

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Smoky Garlicky Party Mix https://www.coconutandlime.com/2020/10/smoky-garlicky-party-mix.html https://www.coconutandlime.com/2020/10/smoky-garlicky-party-mix.html#respond Thu, 15 Oct 2020 04:25:08 +0000 https://www.coconutandlime.com/?p=11181  

homemade chex party mix
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Smoky Garlicky Party Mix

A robustly flavored version of the classic Chex Mix. 
Course Snack
Cuisine American
Keyword pantry cooking, snacks
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Servings 12 cups

Ingredients

  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon granulated garlic
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon celery seed
  • 4 cups corn squares cereal
  • 4 cups rice squares cereal
  • 1 cup rye crisps I used Gardetto's Special Request Roasted Garlic Rye Crisps
  • 1 cup unsalted dry-roasted peanuts
  • 1 1/4 cup pretzel sticks
  • 1 1/4 cups oyster crackers

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 250°F. Line a jelly roll pan with parchment.
  • Melt butter on the stovetop in a small pan, about 1-2 minutes. Stir in the Worcestershire sauce and spices.
  • Meanwhile, in a large bowl, mix together the cereals, peanuts, pretzels, rye crisps  and oyster crackers. Carefully pour into the pan jelly roll pan.
  • Drizzle with seasoned butter.
  • Gently stir the cereal mixture in until coated. Bake for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes. Spread on paper towels until cooled.
  • Store in an airtight container up to one week.

Notes

Can't find Gardetto's Roasted Garlic Rye Chips? Sub in your favorite bagel chip. 
I used pretzel sticks but any small pretzel would work. 
Want a really robust flavored mix? Up the spices by 1/4-1/2 teaspoon. 
If you don't have parchment, skip it but don't butter the pan instead, just bake it in a clean, empty jelly roll pan. 

 

I don’t know about you but I am sort of worn out by life. 2020 has felt like a million years. We have a horrible president, an awful governor, and a global pandemic. Both my mom and my dog died in the past few months. Is it any wonder that I have been craving sort of nostalgic foods like Chex Mix?

I honestly don’t remember making Chex Mix when I was a kid. It really does require a lot of different ingredients that we wouldn’t always have on hand. By the time I was in middle school (or maybe elementary school?) General Mills started selling it in bags. We didn’t often get any sort of snack foods but I remember getting the “bold” mix quite fondly–possibly because it was so rare to get a packaged treat. The mix had been around for a long time before that–“tv mix” and “party mix” recipes became really popular around the 1950s when people starting owning televisions and wanting something to snack on while they were watching The Goldbergs and I Love Lucy.

Making this from “scratch” is a little tedious, I admit. I’ve tried different techniques (and the slow cooker does work if you are low on oven space), temperatures, and timing but really, the best way is 1 hour at 250, stirring every 15 minutes. It’s worth it for a well-coated, non-greasy, evenly seasoned, toasty mix. It also requires a lot of separate ingredients which can be pricy especially if you are buying each one just for this. Please do what I do and just buy generics of it all. I bought every ingredient except the rye crisps (which I bought via Amazon pantry) as generics at Aldi. The boxes of cereal are $1.20 and even picky me can’t tell the difference between that and real Chex. I would have bought generic rye crisps too but they don’t seem to exist.

So basically it’s a time-consuming, slightly pricy snack that you can buy in a bag for $3. Why make it yourself then? I’m telling you, it is worth it. One, this recipe makes at least 3 bags worth of mix. Two, the flavor really is that much better. It’s made with actual butter mixed with your own high-quality seasonings and it is so toasty tasting! You can even eat it warm from the oven. It makes your house smell like you think a kitchen in 1956 would when you came home from school. It really is so so good. If you have never had it homemade, you owe it to yourself to make it at least once. A pandemic is the perfect time, it requires no fresh ingredients and if you have a well-stocked pantry you probably could make it right now.

 

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Patreon Announcement https://www.coconutandlime.com/2020/10/patreon-announcement.html https://www.coconutandlime.com/2020/10/patreon-announcement.html#respond Mon, 12 Oct 2020 17:47:00 +0000 https://www.coconutandlime.com/?p=11176  

spicy tiuna kimbap

I’ve talked a lot about my goal to write a cookbook about preserved fish featuring recipes using tinned, canned, jarred, pickled, smoked, and salted seafood. I still have that goal but I was told that during these “uncertain” times there isn’t enough of a US market for such a book. I don’t think that’s true! What better time than a pandemic to use ingredients that will be good to eat weeks, months and even years after you purchased them in fun, fresh and interesting ways?

I’ve decided to start a Patreon account. Each month I will share up to two new, original, preserved seafood recipes with supporters as well as a newsletter.

The first recipe up is the spicy tuna kimbap/gimbap pictured above. Join now to unlock this recipe and all of the ones to come.

Check out my Patreon page here.

 

I will continue sharing free, ad-free original non-tinned fish recipes here as I have been since 2004. That won’t change. But if you are interested in supporting my work or are a seafood lover like I am, please consider becoming a supporter. It helps offset the considerable costs of running this blog and helps me.

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Toasted Almond & Dried Cherry Muffins https://www.coconutandlime.com/2020/10/toasted-almond-dried-cherry-muffins.html https://www.coconutandlime.com/2020/10/toasted-almond-dried-cherry-muffins.html#respond Fri, 09 Oct 2020 04:36:43 +0000 https://www.coconutandlime.com/?p=10930  

cherry almond muffin
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Toasted Almond & Dried Cherry Muffins

Almonds and cherries are a classic combination that makes a fabulous muffin.
Course Breakfast
Cuisine American
Keyword muffins
Prep Time 2 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Servings 12 muffins

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • pinch salt
  • 1 cup vanilla Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1/2 cup dried Montmorency cherries or other dried sour cherries
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds
  • additional almonds for decoration optional

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350. Grease and flour or line 12 wells in a muffin tin. Set aside.
  • In a dry skillet over medium heat, toast the 1/4 almonds until lightly browned. Allow to cool.
  • In a large bowl or blow of a stand mixer, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.
  • Beat in the yogurt, oil, egg, and vanilla until smooth.
  • Fold in the cherries and nuts. Evenly divide the batter into the 12 wells of the muffin tin.
  • Bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the center muffin comes out clean.
  • Cool in pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Invert the muffins and serve or continue to cool.

I actually made this muffin over the summer when I was a little low on fresh ingredients. I saved it because it seemed silly to post a recipe using dried cherries when fresh cherries were readily available. Now cherry season is, sadly, a mere memory. Like all muffin recipes it’s very simple to make but I did add one extra step–toasting the almonds in a dry skillet–that I hope you don’t skip. It really adds a warm, toasty flavor to the muffins that pairs wonderfully with the tart dried cherries. I used vanilla yogurt and vanilla extract because we like vanilla and it’s what I had on hand but plain yogurt would be fine as well.

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Autumnal Sesame Soba https://www.coconutandlime.com/2020/09/autumnalsoba.html https://www.coconutandlime.com/2020/09/autumnalsoba.html#respond Mon, 28 Sep 2020 19:05:16 +0000 https://www.coconutandlime.com/?p=11151  

autumn soba
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Autumnal Sesame Soba

 Take sesame dressed chilled soba into the fall by adding some heartier ingredients like delicata squash, chicken and red cabbage.
Course Lunch, Main Course
Cuisine American
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Servings 2

Ingredients

for the sauce:

  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons tahini
  • 2 teaspoons sambal oelek
  • 1/2-1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon sukang pinakurat spiced coconut tuba vinegar
  • 2 cloves garlic grated

for the squash:

  • 1 delicata squash sliced into half-moons
  • 1 tablespoon Szechuan peppercorns, coarsely ground
  • olive oil

for the noodles:

  • 2 100 g bundles soba noodles
  • 1 bunch scallions whites and greens chopped
  • 1 large carrot, julienned
  • 1 cup sliced cooked chicken breast
  • 1/3 cup shredded red cabbage

garnish:

  • sesame seeds optional
  • additional sliced scallions optional

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 400. Line a baking sheet with parchment. Arrange the squash in a single layer. Sprinkle with olive oil and peppercorns. Bake 20 minutes or until fork tender. Allow to cool to around room temperature.
  • Meanwhile, prepare the noodles according to package instructions. Rinse in cold water until cool. Set aside.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together the sauce ingredients.
  • Place the noodles, scallions, carrot, chicken, and red cabbage in a large bowl drizzle with sauce. Use tongs to toss the mixture until the sauce is evenly distributed. Add the squash and carefully toss again.
  • Divide into 2 bowls and serve.

Notes

  • The recipe can be easily doubled. 
  • If you can't find sukang pinakurat (spiced coconut tuba vinegar), try some rice vinegar instead. I used Datu Puti Pinoy Spice (Tuba) Vinegar
  • Soba noodles are often sold in 800 g bags with 8 individual, tied bundles of noodles inside. Each bundle is a serving. 
  • Use a ginger grater to grate the garlic for the best results.
  • I use this slightly scary peeler to julienne the carrot
  • This is a great use of leftover rotisserie chicken!

I will start this off with the usual disclaimer that I am in no way, shape, or form saying this some traditional, authentic recipes from any cuisine. I will attest that it is very tasty.

We sort of got on a soba noodle kick this year. I had been sort off them for a long time but my husband picked them up on our less than a quarterly trip to H Mart so I’ve been giving them a try again. I like that they are pre-portioned and very quick to make so they’ve come in handy during this pandemic when we need a quick lunch or dinner. Since my husband doesn’t have to pack lunch (working at home) and employment for freelance recipe developers has really dried up, lunches don’t have to be leftovers anymore and I’m free to make whatever. Today I fried up a leftover slice of French bread but one day recently I actually put forth some effort and made this.

I don’t know how the weather is where you are but summer just ended last week and it is still pretty warm and humid. This recipe really bridges that gap between summer and fall foods for me. You’ve got technically-a-summer-squash-but-looks-like-a-winter-squash delicata squash, the red cabbage my local produce delivery keep foisting on me. I think soba and sesame both have pretty hearty, nutty flavors that go well with “fall”.

All those deep caramel flavors from the squash, the crisp cabbage, and sweet carrots all tossed in a sesame dressing? This is my kind of fall food.

If you wanted, you could totally leave the chicken off, it was very filling and satisfying without it. We had roasted a whole chicken the day before so I had plenty of leftovers but honestly, I would have been happy leaving them out if I wasn’t having it as my main meal of the day.

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Beef Stew with Gingersnaps https://www.coconutandlime.com/2020/09/beef-stew-with-gingersnaps.html https://www.coconutandlime.com/2020/09/beef-stew-with-gingersnaps.html#comments Tue, 22 Sep 2020 15:05:53 +0000 https://www.coconutandlime.com/?p=11135  

gingersnap beef stew
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Beef Stew with Gingersnaps

Inspired by Baltimore's own Sour Beef & Dumplings and Northern France's Carbonade Flamande aux Spéculoos, this beef stew uses gingersnap cookies for both flavor and body. 
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Keyword slow cooker
Prep Time 8 minutes
Cook Time 7 hours
marinating time 12 hours
Total Time 19 hours 8 minutes

Ingredients

Group one:

  • 2 1/4 lb cubed sirloin
  • 3/4-1 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 large onion, sliced into half-moons
  • 2 carrots, cut into 1/2-inch chunks
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Group two

  • 1 1/4 lb Russet potatoes, cubed
  • 10 gingersnaps, broken into pieces

Instructions

THE DAY BEFORE YOU WANT TO SERVE:

  • Place all of the ingredients of GROUP ONE in a non-reactive container (or large ziplock bag) and marinate overnight. Now is a good time to make the gingersnaps if you are using homemade.

THE NEXT DAY:

  • Add the potatoes to a 4-quart slow cooker. Add the marinated meat mixture. Top with gingersnaps. Cook on low 7 hours. Remove the bay leaves. Stir once during the day (if possible) and prior to serving.

Notes

If not making homemade gingersnaps, I find that Stauffer’s Ginger Snaps make a good substitution.

I keep buying stew meat when I make my very rare trips to the supermarket. It always is in a vacuum-sealed package so the expiration dates are always excellent. It’s consistently good and well-priced. All good reasons to purchase. Then, however, I am forced to come up with ways to use said stew meat and, if I’m being 100% honest, I’m often just freezing it for another day. I’ve made chili a couple of times but stew just seems off in the summer even though we are eating other hot meals.

I really felt like sour beef and dumplings. We would go to the German festival to pick up quarts of it to take home when I was a child and I guess I am feeling nostalgic. It’s Baltimore’s regional dish that is a legacy of the huge amount of German immigrants that came to Baltimore. It’s very similar to sauerbraten but with an American twist–it uses gingersnaps in the gravy–and is served with large potato dumplings. Sour beef is mostly found at the yearly festival and a few very old school grocery stores and restaurants in the city. There is also a marinade that is sold in some supermarkets but it’s pretty easy to make it yourself. I’ve created both a slow cooker and an Instant Pot version that free you up to make those homemade potato dumplings.

That said, sometimes someone doesn’t want to make potato dumplings. They aren’t difficult but they do take a bit of effort and personally, I don’t think they hold up well for leftovers and I know I wasn’t going to have a chance to share them with anyone.  It doesn’t seem right to make sour beef without them so I just put my craving on hold.

Then the other night I was trying to fall asleep and I had the idea to turn it into a stew. Why not? I made Carbonade Flamande aux Spéculoos (Flemish Beef Stew with Speculoos) last year which also uses cookies to flavor and thicken the stew and it was very good! Why not stew indeed. It required a small amount of tweaking but I came up with this recipe.

It’s rich, aromatic stew with a spicy, slightly sweet, lightly pickled flavor that very distinctive and very delicious. So much more fun and complex than your typical beef stew but just as simple.

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Spicy Spaghetti with Corn, Andouille and Shrimp https://www.coconutandlime.com/2020/09/spicy-spaghetti-with-corn-andouille-and-shrimp.html https://www.coconutandlime.com/2020/09/spicy-spaghetti-with-corn-andouille-and-shrimp.html#respond Sat, 19 Sep 2020 18:10:09 +0000 https://www.coconutandlime.com/?p=11118
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Spaghetti with Fresh Corn, Andouille and Shrimp

This is a light, quick, and fresh way to use up the last of summer's corn.
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Keyword pasta
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 onion, cut into half-moons
  • 1 cubanelle pepper, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 1- pint small okra, sliced (about 3/4-1 cup)
  • 1/2 lb chicken andouille, sliced into coins
  • 12 oz large shrimp, defrosted if frozen, peeled
  • 3 ears' worth of corn kernels
  • 1/1-1 tablespoon Creole seasoning
  • 3/4 lb spaghetti
  • Parmesan optional

Instructions

  • Cook spaghetti to package instructions.
  • Meanwhile, heat the butter and oil in the pan. (You might want to use less if you are not using chicken andouille) Add the onion, pepper, garlic, and okra. Saute until the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes, add the sausage and cook until lightly browned.
  • Add the shrimp, corn kernels (and any juices from the cob you can get!), and saute until the shrimp is cooked through about 5 minutes.
  • Drain the pasta and add to the pan, toss to evenly distribute all ingredients. Sprinkle with parm (optional) and toss again. Serve immediately.

Notes

The leftovers reheated surprisingly well in a skillet the next day.

It’s been a rough month or so. My mom ended up going into hospice and then died two weeks ago after a real roller coaster of hospital/rehab stays. I’m glad she was able to go back to her home with my dad and her dog to live out her last few days. It’s been emotionally draining handling all of her medical decisions and now I am handling her estate and my parents’ household so I’ve been busy and exhausted. We haven’t resorted to take out (you can see what we’ve been eating each day here) which is a small miracle in itself so there has been a lot of cooking going on but nothing too exciting.

I finally felt like cooking and made this really tasty pasta dish using probably the last of the corn on the cob and okra of the season I drove out to Kingsville to buy at my favorite farm stand. It’s sort of inspired by a shrimp boil or even gumbo. Normally I wouldn’t think of pairing these with spaghetti but why not. My mom’s dead and we are still in a pandemic. I can make a non-Italian-related hot pasta dish. We are living on the edge here.

We had bought some chicken andouille at Costco (where it is now branded as “keto” but appears to be the same chicken andouille they’ve had for years) and I knew once I opened it up, we’d have to eat the rest of it in a couple of days. Matt’s been wanting to make jambalaya so I got to the sausage first and made this. Now he can use the “leftovers”. It ended up being really good. So I thought I’d take a picture and share the recipe with you. Corn should still be available right now but I bet frozen would work too. I think September corn is possibly the sweetest so snag some while it is still technically summer and make this. It’s fresh-tasting, surprisingly light (thanks, chicken sausage) and you can make it as spicy as you’d like with that Creole seasoning.

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Succotash Acini di Pepe Salad https://www.coconutandlime.com/2020/08/succotash-acini-di-pepe-salad.html https://www.coconutandlime.com/2020/08/succotash-acini-di-pepe-salad.html#respond Mon, 31 Aug 2020 05:00:13 +0000 https://www.coconutandlime.com/?p=11097
succotash salad
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Succotash Acini di Pepe Salad

Late summer is the perfect time for succotash--both lima beans and corn are in season--and this dish turns it into a filling pasta salad. 
Course Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine American
Keyword pasta salad
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Servings 6

Ingredients

for the salad:

  • 8 oz acini di pepe
  • 2 strips bacon
  • 1 pint fresh lima beans, shelled
  • 3 small ears’ worth of corn kernels
  • 3 oz crumbled feta
  • 2 scallions, diced
  • 1/4 red onion, diced
  • 1 cubanelle pepper, diced

for the dressing:

  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1/3 teaspoon ground mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon honey
  • 3-4 tablespoons mayo
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • salt
  • freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

for the dressing:

  • Whisk all ingredients together in a small bowl until smooth, set aside.

for the salad:

  • Make the pasta according to package instructions. Drain and allow to cool. Set aside.
  • Meanwhile, cook the bacon in a large skillet until crisp. Drain on paper towel-lined plates then cut into bite-sized pieces. Set aside.
  • Drain all but about 1 tablespoon of grease in the pan. Add the lima beans and corn and saute until the lima beans are cooked through, about 10 minutes . Remove from heat and allow to cool.
  • Place the pasta, bacon, lima beans, corn and all remaining ingredients in a large bowl and toss to evenly distribute them. Add the dressing and toss again to lightly coat the contents in dressing.
  • Serve immediately or up to 24 hrs later.

Notes

If you plan to serve it later, for freshest tasting results, wait to dress the salad until ready to serve.
Fresh lima beans need to be cooked about 10 minutes before serving to neutralize a compound called linamarin, which breaks down into cyanide. 
 
Orzo would be a good sub for the acini di pepe.

I first tried fresh lima beans a few years ago and was amazed at their softer texture. Frozen is pretty good but if you have fresh, that’s the way to go. I actually bought these over a week ago when I went to a farm stand for tomatoes for my birthday, kept them in the pod in the fridge and they were still good so don’t feel like you have to buy and shell them the same day. That pressure often deters me from buying things that haven’t been shelled but I haven’t found it to be an issue for lima beans. 

Succotash is a classic and at least around here, there are only a few weeks when you can get really great sweet corn and fresh lima beans at the same same time so I try to make it at least once. This time I thought I’d turn into to pasta salad to eliminate the need for a second dish for dinner.

I’ve been busy because sadly, my mom who has been living with brain cancer for the last 14 months is now home on hospice. She’s doing very well mentally at the moment–she’s nearly her normal self–so I’ve been trying to get over there to visit frequently. Luckily they don’t live too far away but it does take up a good bit of the day. Thanks to the pandemic, going out for a quick bite after a visit really isn’t an option. I’ve had to get creative. For dinner, we prepped the salad to the point where I’d add the cheese, scallions, red onion, and pepper and stuck it in the fridge. When we got home, I just added the remaining ingredients and the dressing and served it with some quickly cooked sockeye salmon. It really made for a speedy yet filling meal. 

I think pasta salads have a reputation for being heavy and not very fresh tasting but I think that’s unfair. My trick is to add a healthy dose of an acidic ingredient to the dressing–in this case, lemon juice) and something creamy (mayo) to really help lightly coat all the ingredients without weighing them down. Then, I chose a small pasta that didn’t overwhelm the corn kernels and lots of fresh-tasting mix-ins– crunchy raw cubanelle pepper, red onions, and scallions. The lima beans need to be cooked before eating so I sauted them in a bit of bacon grease with the corn. Late August corn can be slightly tougher than earlier corn so the brief saute insured it was soft. If your corn is already very tender, you can put it in the salad raw. The end result is a pasta salad that is incredibly fresh tasting, has great texture variety, a lightly smokey flavor and a just enough pasta to make it more filling. 

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Ritzy Crab Cakes https://www.coconutandlime.com/2020/08/ritzcrabcakes.html https://www.coconutandlime.com/2020/08/ritzcrabcakes.html#respond Mon, 24 Aug 2020 18:35:08 +0000 https://www.coconutandlime.com/?p=11087  

lump crab cakes
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Ritzy Crab Cakes

Restaurant-worthy Baltimore lump crab cakes with little filler and a secret ingredient--Ritz crackers! 
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Keyword blue crab
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
refrigeration time 1 hour
Servings 6

Ingredients

  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 1/2-2 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning
  • 1 lb fresh lump blue crab meat
  • 1/2 cup Ritz cracker crumbs about one sleeve
  • butter

Instructions

At least ONE HOUR before you want to bake the crab cakes.

  • In a large bowl, whisk the egg, mayonnaise, dijon, Old Bay together until smooth. Add the crab meat and cracker crumbs. Use your hands, or a spoon if you are squeamish, to evenly distribute all ingredients. The mixture should be able to hold its shape. If it's too dry, add more mayo. If it's too wet, add more Ritz crumbs.
  • Cover tightly (I like these lids) and refrigerate for at least an hour or up to 24.
  • Preheat oven to 375. Butter a baking sheet. Use a 1/2 cup measuring cup (rounded if you have it) and portion out the crab cakes on the buttered sheets, about 1-2 inches apart. You should have about 6 crab cakes.
  • Top each with a sliver of butter.
  • Bake for 10-15 minutes or until lightly browned and heated all the way through. You can broil them briefly for more color if needed.
  • Serve immediately or at room temperature.

Notes

Use lump or jumbo lump fresh blue crab meat for best results. 
The "quick bake" or convection setting on your oven is great for this recipe! It's basically an air fryer. 

 

Since it was my birthday and we couldn’t go anywhere (thanks to life and pandemic conspiring against me once again) I went all out for my meals that day. I went to the seafood market and bought soft crabs for lunch, claw, and lump crab meat the day before so I’d be all ready. 

For lunch, we had soft crab sandwiches (with Old Bay hot sauce added to the egg!) with yellow tomatoes and lettuce. My husband made some potato salad, some fancy deviled eggs, and a coca-cola cake so all we had to do was make the crab cakes for dinner. Not as easy as going out to eat but not bad either. 

I know I have posted a few crab cake recipes here before. Growing up my mom always fried them and made them with more affordable backfin or a mix of backfin and lump and torn bread (recipe here). That’s very good and how I sort of think of crab cakes in general because growing up, we didn’t really go to restaurants or get take out so we’d make our own for special occasions.

As an adult, I’ve made non-Old Bay crabcakes which, while tasty, seemed wrong and a version closer to what my mom made but with saltines instead of bread which is another homestyle crab cake technique that a lot of other families I knew over the years did instead. Basically, they are all good. 

However, these are not, by and large,  the crab cakes that you will encounter at restaurants. Those crab cakes are always made with lump (even jumbo lump) and very little filler. They are also more often broiled, not fried. Lump crab meat is the most delicately flavored, most expensive (there is very little of it in each crab) yet fairly sturdy of the crab meats. It’s large chunks of straight crab which are not only eye-catching in the crab cake but satisfying to bite into.  This recipe makes those kind of crab cakes. 

This spring we watched Little Fires Everywhere on Hulu and Kerry Washington’s character makes the family she’s working for meatloaf using Ritz crackers. What a meatloaf revelation! I made a meatloaf that way earlier in the month and really was very good–buttery and rich but not overpowering. 

So when it came time to make some fancy crabcakes for my birthday I thought, why not try it with Ritz? Turns out, it was a great idea. These crab cakes had a ton of fresh crab flavor but just a hint of something rich and almost buttery but you wouldn’t quite guess it’s Ritz crackers. It’s almost as if the crab cake is being held together by nothing but an egg but it’s at the same time creamy and solid. It was really a revelation. The Ritz crackers were so light!

As I said, restaurant generally broil crabs like this but for at home, I found that baking the crab cakes browns them and ensures that they are cooked through (raw egg) which can be tricky with a home broiler. You can always broil them briefly at the end if you want them extra browned or with a slight crunch. 

These are much more delicate than the fried crab cake recipes I linked above so I don’t recommend frying them. 

I will say that lump (or jumbo lump) crab meat is very expensive but for special occasions, I think it’s worth it. Your side dishes should be simple anyway to make the crab cake the star! If you serve them with a dipping sauce, I recommend tartar sauce with a little Old Bay stirred in. Cocktail sauce is popular too but I find it can be a little overpowering. 

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Coca-Cola Sheet Cake with Peanut Butter Cream Cheese Frosting https://www.coconutandlime.com/2020/08/cocacolacake.html https://www.coconutandlime.com/2020/08/cocacolacake.html#respond Wed, 19 Aug 2020 16:25:02 +0000 https://www.coconutandlime.com/?p=11070

Coca-Cola Sheet Cake with Cream Cheese Peanut Butter Frosting
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Coca-Cola Sheet Cake with Cream Cheese Peanut Butter Frosting

This is a moist, rich. deeply chocolate cake with a surprising ingredient--Coca-Cola. The icing is a nod to the tradition of adding peanuts to a bottle of coke. 
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword cake

Ingredients

for the cake:

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 3/4 cups flour
  • 1 cup Coca-Cola not diet, not Coke Zero
  • 8 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1/2 cup cocoa
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 cup milk

for the frosting:

  • 8 oz brick cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup creamy peanut butter, at room temperature (your peanut butter shouldn't be cold anyway!)
  • 3 cup confectioners sugar

Instructions

for the cake: (you can make the cake the day before you want to serve it)

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour a 9-by-13-inch jelly roll or cake pan.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together the sugars, baking powder, and flour. Set aside.
  • In a medium saucepan, combine the Coca-Cola, butter, oil, and cocoa and bring to a boil over medium heat. Allow to cool slightly.
  • Beat into dry ingredients.
  • Stir in the eggs, milk, and vanilla.
  • Pour into prepared pan.
  • Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 35 to 45 minutes. Cool, in pan, on a wire rack for 5 minutes then remove from pan and continue to cool on a wire rack.

for the icing: I like to ice the day we are going to eat the cake so if you made the cake a day early, ice it the next morning.

  • Place all ingredients in a medium bowl (or bowl of a stand mixer) and beat, with an electric mixer, until well combined and light and fluffy.
  • Spread on cooled cake.

Notes

This is a Texas Sheet Cake-style cake so don't be alarmed if the finished cake is on the shorter side. 
Salted peanuts and/or sprinkles make a cute decoration! 
If you want to lean into the Texas Sheet Cake aspect, make the cake the night before and allow it to cool completely in the pan, then ice just the top the next day. 

Today’s my birthday! In the past we’ve gone away for the week, it is August and prime vacation season after all, but last year my mom was rehab after her brain cancer diagnosis and surgery, and this year she is back in rehab again so we are sticking close to home so I can manage her care. Add in a pandemic and it means we really aren’t even leaving the house! Woo!

My husband took the week off anyway and we have a new puppy so making delicious food and staying in seemed like a logical plan. Or the only plan, if I’m being honest.

I hadn’t had a Coca-Cola cake in many, many years but Coke has been on my mind thanks to the aluminum shortage making soda (in cans) vexingly difficult. Please let me have my one vice!

Traditionally it’s made with a boiled soda icing which is fine but I don’t love the “crust” that forms so I wanted to make something different. It’s my birthday so I can do what I want!

I don’t know how the practice of putting peanuts in bottles of coke started but I’ve had it in both the traditional way (straight up salted peanuts in a coke bottle) and a fancy version with homemade peanut syrup and cane-sugar Coke. It’s a solid combo–who doesn’t like salty and sweet together?

I decided to take it one step further and make a rich Coca-Cola cake and top it with a light, peanutty frosting? I don’t always love straight peanut butter frosting so I opted for a cream cheese base which I think was the right way to go. It was lighter in texture but still full of peanut flavor. Since it’s my birthday we topped it with sprinkles but I think peanuts would be super cute. It is a Texas sheet cake style cake so it is a literally “short” cake–only a bit more than an inch and a quarter–but it’s very rich so I don’t think you will be disappointed by the lack of height. If you want to lean into the Texas Sheet Cake aspect, make the cake the night before and allow it to cool completely in the pan, then ice just the top the next day. I like icing on all sides so I iced it like I would any other cake.

The cake is surprisingly not as sweet as you’d think. Well, it is still quite sweet but the peanut butter tempers that quite a bit. I suggest serving it in modest squares.

 

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