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Coconut Bread

A few weeks ago, Cream Puffs referenced Mrs. B’s upcoming book release and her need for more recipes testers. I hurried over to her site to see if there were some recipes left to be tested as I wanted to be part of this great recipe book journey. I feel proud and honored that she agreed to have me test her recipe for Coconut Bread, or rather Mama Rose’s recipe.

Here is the recipe and then my comments and doings:

Coconut Bread
Makes 2 loaves

Instead of measurement, Mama Roses composes her dough using common sense; if it’s too sticky she adds more flour, if she happens to have extra coconut she’ll throw it in. I, on the other hand, improvise on a fixed recipe that is more or less the base of how I have seen Mama Rose mix her bread.
¾ cup coconut water or water
1 tablespoon instant yeast
1 ½ cups coconut milk
3 tablespoons melted butter or oil
3 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon salt
a handful or more grated coconut
6 to 6 ½ cups plain flour

In a large bowl add the instant yeast to the coconut water then add the rest of the liquid ingredients, the sugar and the salt.
With a wooden spoon, mix in about1 cup of the flour then add the grated coconut before slowly mixing in the next 4 1/2 cups of the flour 1/2cup at a time; you’ll probably need to abandon the spoon and use your hands after the 4th of 5th cup of flour. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and knead it while slowly adding the remaining flour as needed to prevent the dough from becoming too sticky. Continue to knead the dough till it is smooth and springy, about 5 minutes.
Place the dough in a lightly greased mixing bowl and let rise in a draft free place (a flash heated ovenworks great for this) till it has doubled in bulk, about 1 ½ to 2 hours. Deflate the dough and roll it to fit into two buttered loaf pans. Let the dough rise in the pans until the dough has doubled in bulk again, about 45 minutes. About 25 minutes into the second rise, heat the oven to 375 degrees. Slash a groove about ¼ inch deep, vertically down the tops of the loaves before placing them on the center rack of the oven. Bake for about 40 to 45 minutes or until the loaves are a golden brown.Allow to cool at least 10 minutes before slicing.

I did the loaves twice. The first time I went and got 2 coconuts and pierced them to get the water out, and used that instead of regular water, but it was a lot of coconut left over for such an amount needed in the recipe.
The second time I used the same amount but used coconut milk instead, as well as the other installment of coconut milk.
The coconut flavor was not quite as strong in the first batch, but both times the texture of the bread was incredible. I had to stop myself from eating th whole thing fresh out of the oven. It was close and as good as a brioche but with less butter involved.
Because of circulation problems in my hands lately I did the first batch using my Kitchen Aid and letting it do the job.
The second time I wanted to see how the bread dough would perform in a bread machine and put all the ingredients in my bread machine and set it on the dough program (2 hours) and took it out, separated it into 2 and let it rise another 45 minutes. Worked just as good , though a little longer of a process.
This bread is definitely a winner!

Banana Nut Muffins

Sometimes you have to stick to the basics…. Ripe bananas, flour, sugar, vanilla, and voila…the perfect vessel to Coconut Honey Curd.
The recipe is one I use all the time, but I have tweaked it on numerous occasions to include fruits such as peaches, nectarines, pears and other fruits starting to look wrinkly on the fruit bowl. You can make loaves, squares or muffins, and different extracts can be used instead of vanilla (almond and pear, orange blossom and peach,…)

Here is the recipe from Cooking Light for the loaf version:
Mom’s Banana Bread, adapted from CL
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup light butter, softened
1 2/3 cups mashed ripe banana (about 3 bananas)
1/4 cup skim milk
1/4 cup low-fat sour cream
2 large egg whites
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda1
/2 teaspoon salt
Cooking spray

Preheat oven to 350°.
Combine sugar and butter in a bowl; beat at medium speed of a mixer until well-blended. Add banana, milk, sour cream, and egg whites; beat well, and set aside.
Combine flour, baking soda, and salt; stir well. Add dry ingredients to creamed mixture, beating until blended.
Spoon batter into 4 (5 x 2 1/2-inch) miniature loaf pans coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350° for 45 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Let cool in pans 10 minutes on a wire rack; remove from pans. Let cool completely on wire racks.

My variations this time: I used 1/2 cup of buttermilk instead of the milk and sour cream and added 1/2 cup of toasted walnut to the batter.
As soon as they came out of the oven I dipped them in melted butter and powdered sugar.

Note: can’t seem to load a picture tonight, sorry.

Not Just Sweets

Braised Beef Short Ribs (no recipe, my own creation)

Vanilla Ice Cream and Macarons

Well, it was a really productive Monday in our kitchen! I volonteered to test Mrs.B.’s recipe for Coconut Bread and will report on it tomorrow. There was also a batch of mini ciabattas, a perfect batch of pink macarons (except that my almond meal was a bit too coarse), and a batch of vanilla ice cream. All these are up for upcoming posts, but to show you that we do not live on sweets alone, here is our dinner for tonight: braised beef short ribs, broccoli and cauliflower and gluten free spaghetti, dessert was ice cream and macarons.

Allright, nothing new to the recipe for ice cream, it starts with a simple creme anglaise, let it sit in the fridge until completely cold and churn it for 35 minutes. For the recipe I got my inspiration from Dessert First and her Roasted Cinnamon Ice Cream. I used one cup of milk and one cup of cream and no cinnamon, but vanilla sugar instead. It was delicious.

Waiting for Our Regular Programming

Tomorrow is bread making day: brioche, "pains au lait" for breakfast, ciabatta and I wanted to be ready to have something to spread on our breads when they came out of the oven. There it is: strawberry-rhubarb jam, blueberry jam and coconut honey (which separates while cooling, but is so good on croissants and such).

The recipe for the Coconut Honey comes from A Spoonful of Sugar and is really easy to make. The difference with hers is that I like to make mine on the stove and let it boil/cook for the same length of time. It is delicious.

Coconut Honey Curd:

2 x 400ml cans coconut milk
60ml (4 tbsp) fresh lemon juice
200ml carton UHT coconut cream
750g jam sugar (this is sugar with added pectin)

Place all the ingredients in a 2.25L bowl (I used a 3L bowl, I’d suggest using this size or larger as it will boil) and stir well. Leave uncovered and cook on full power (750 – 800W depending on your microwave settings) for 18 minutes. Stir four times during this cooking period.
Reduce the power to Medium (550W or as close as possible depending on your settings – I had to use 450W and extended the cooking time) and cook for 25-30 minutes, stirring four times, until the mixture is thick and curdlike.
Allow to cool to lukewarm (it will thicken even more on cooling) and ladle into warmed jars. Top with waxed discs and leave until cold.
Cover with lids or cellophane and label the jars.
Store in a cool, dark place for up to three months. The curd may separate out into two layers on standing, but just stir it around before use and all will be well.

Can’t have enough lemons

I love lemons the same way others love strawberries.
I have been playing around in the kitchen today, looking at my kitchen gadgets, my pans, my tools, thinking about what I could come up for a catering job I am hoping to get. The bowl of lemons was calling my name, and I had one last sheet of pie crust in the fridge.
The tiny tarts were tart that’s for sure! I might add a dollop of whipped cream next time, but since you only 2 or 3 it’s not that bad.

The lemon curd was taken from Alice Medrich’s Chocolate and The Art of Low Fat Desserts:
You will need:
– zest of 1/2 lemon
– 1/3 cup lemon juice
– 5 Tb. sugar
-1 egg
-1/2 tsp. vanilla (which I did not use)

In a medium saucepan, bring the lemon juice, zest and sugar to a simmer. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg until yolk and white are well combined. Slowly pour some of the hot lemon juice over the egg and whisk to temper, return the egg/juice mixture to the saucepan and stir constantly over low heat for 5 minutes or until thickened. Let cool and cover with plastic wrap before refrigerating.

As easy as 1-2-3 and it was enough to fill about 12 mini tarts.

Storm Food

I know, everybody’s idea of stormy weather food is different. Some stock up on canned items, others cook up everything in the fridge in case they lose power and others like me stare at their pantry long enough to come up with only one thing: chocolate brownies.
I knew Alberto was only going to bring us bad rain and some wind, but it gave some members of my gym an excuse to postpone a workout and when they do that, our gym traffic slows down and for some unknown reason it makes me crave comforting foods like baked potatoes and brownies. See! It’s their fault if I am now seated and blogging munching away on those delicious bites from Martha Stewart. Guess I’ll do some extra cardio tomorrow…

I did the recipe as it was written except I added 1/4 Kahlua just for some extra flavor.

Chocolate Brownies, adapted from Martha Stewart:

6 tablespoons unsalted butter
6 ounces semisweet chocolate
1/4 cup best-quality unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
( 1/4 cup Kahlua or strong coffee)
Vegetable oil cooking spray

1. Preheat oven to 350°. Line an 8-inch square baking dish with parchment paper, leaving a 2-inch overhang on 2 sides. Coat with cooking spray; set aside.
2. Melt together butter, chocolate, and cocoa in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Remove from heat. Stir until smooth; let cool slightly.
3. Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl; set aside. Put eggs, sugar, and vanilla into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat until pale, about 4 minutes. Beat in chocolate mixture. Add kahlua or coffee if using. Add flour mixture; beat until just combined, scraping down sides of bowl as needed.
4. Transfer batter to prepared pan, and smooth top with an offset spatula. Bake until a cake tester inserted into brownie between edge and center comes out with a few crumbs, 30 to 35 minutes. (Do not overbake.) Let cool 15 minutes; lift out of pan, and transfer to a wire rack. Let cool completely. Cut into 8 rectangles. Brownies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature up to 3 days.

In Time for Lime

Lime Tart and Pineapple Sorbet

Well, limes and pineapples were on sale at the store this morning so here we are, another citrus creation. The lime mixture is quite tart so eating a piece of pie with a cool spoon of pineapple sorbet mellows the whole thing and brings in a tropical flair.

For the lime pie recipe I got inspired by two favorite bloggers of mine, Cream Puffs in Venice and Cindy’s Kitchen. I cheated though I did not feel like making a crust so I used store bought and pre baked it.

For the pineapple sorbet: dissolve 200 grammes of sugar in 150 ml. of water on medium high heat. Cool the syrup a bit and puree 800 grammes of pineapple along with the cooled down syrup. Put in a ice cream maker and then the freezer.

Here is my adaptation of their Lemon Tart for a Lime Tart:


– your favorite tart crust, rolled and pre baked at 350 for 10 minutes

-3 eggs and 3 egg yolks
– 1/2 cup sugar
– 1 cup lime juice
– 2 tsp. lime zest
– 1/2 cup sour cream
– 1/2 cup heavy cream.

Mix the eggs and sugar until pale. Add lime juice and zest, then the creams. Pour into pie shell and bake at 350 for about 20 minutes.

Testing to be held tonight.

Update: Mr.B said the tart was really puckery and he loved the sorbet to mellow it.

Note on a different topic: we headed down to Hilton Head for the day yesterday and did the Rachel Ray $4o a day thing, by having drinks at the Old Fort Pub overlooking the water. Romantic to the end…!

Not too late for Pound Cake

OK… so I completely missed SGHF, but this is still enough summer looking to be added early June, even if it is a pound cake…triple ginger nonetheless.
Recipe coming this evening.

The First Nectarines

Nectarine Tarte Tatin

I get excited when I see the first stone fruits of the season: yellow and white peaches, apricots, plums, nectarines. I am always eyeing those plump juicy Georgia peaches at the market. My mom always has a big fruit bowl around for dessert and the selection is always so great, winter or summer but I especially miss the big juicy melons, "brugnons", apricots and tiny gren/yellow plums.
The other night at the store I found a bin relocated to a dark corner of the produce section full of tiny bright red and incredibly fragrant nectarines, it put a big smile on my face, made my step lighter, my mood giddy and my husband happy…he knew ther would be pie on the menu…
Everybody seemed to go for the big and daring fruits and these were completely left alone. What a shame, they were so juicy and tasty, just about the size of small plums, I claimed about 20 and ran home!

I love to eat and to make Tarte Tatin, but I rarely do it the original way, with apples. I love mango, pear, banana, plum tarte Tatin. I was perousing the latest Cooking Light that evening when I came across the recipe for Nectarine Tarte Tatin, talk about fate!
Here is the recipe, with my variation in italics.

Nectarine Tarte Tatin adapted from Cooking Light
7 medium nectarines
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons water
1 1/2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons butter
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 (15-ounce) package refrigerated pie dough (such as Pillsbury) I used the other half of the Pate Sucree used the day before.

Preheat oven to 425°. I set mine for 350
Cut 1 nectarine in half. Quarter one nectarine half and the remaining 6 nectarines.
Combine sugar, water, and juice in a 12-inch stainless-steel skillet. Cook for 2 minutes or until sugar is golden (do not stir). Remove from heat; stir in butter and vanilla. Let stand 3 minutes.

Place nectarine half, cut side down, in center of sugar mixture; arrange nectarine quarters, cut side down, around center.

Return pan to medium heat. Cook for 10 minutes or until sugar mixture is bubbly (do not stir). Remove from heat; let stand 3 minutes.

Roll pie dough into a 12-inch circle on a lightly floured surface. Place dough over nectarine mixture, fitting dough between nectarines and skillet. I used a nine inch cast iron skillet.

Bake at 425° for 15 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove from oven, and cool for 10 minutes. Carefully invert tart onto a serving plate. Cut into wedges.
I baked mine at 350 for 30 minutes.