HELPING FAMILY FARMS FLOURISH. HELPING FEED THE HUNGRY.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

A gorgeous addition to any Easter Table....Andrew’s Coconut Cupcakes – Ina Garten’s recipe


Coconut Cupcakes that Andrew eggified for Easter!

Easter is late this year which is just as well.  In the run-up to Easter Sunday, we’ve had snow, ice, and cold temperatures this week that feel more like March.  That’s why these cupcakes jumped off the page—they clearly look like an Easter filled with color and jelly beans.  And it’s about time. And for those who observe Lent, it’s time for a little indulgence.  Like these coco-nutty cupcakes.   with their  It’s gotten more hits than Lady Gaga. Clearly people love their sweets.  So today, we’re sharing Ina Garten’s recipe for Coconut Cupcakes.  Andrew made Ina Garten’s recipe again for an Easter party last year and they were a huge hit.  And if you love coconut, this cupcake is for you.  There’s coconut in the cake and coconut on top.  And I think you’ll agree, he’s really got them whacked—they look just like their picture.   So without further ado, here’s the recipe:

Recipe for Coconut Cupcakes:

3/4 pound (3 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups sugar
5 extra-large eggs at room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 teaspoons pure almond extract
3 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup buttermilk
14 ounces sweetened, shredded coconut

For the frosting:
1 pound cream cheese at room temperature
3/4 pound (3 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon pure almond extract
1 1/2 pounds confectioners' sugar, sifted

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar on high speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. With the mixer on low speed, add the eggs, 1 at a time, scraping down the bowl after each addition. Add the vanilla and almond extracts and mix well.
In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In 3 parts, alternately add the dry ingredients and the buttermilk to the batter, beginning and ending with the dry. Mix until just combined. Fold in 7 ounces of coconut.
Line a muffin pan with paper liners. Fill each liner to the top with batter. Bake for 25 to 35 minutes, until the tops are brown and a toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool in the pan for 15 minutes. Remove to a baking rack and cool. 
Meanwhile, make the frosting. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, on low speed, cream together the cream cheese, butter, and vanilla and almond extracts. Add the confectioners' sugar and mix until smooth.



Frost the cupcakes and dip the frosted cake into the remaining coconut.

Makes 18 to 20 cupcakes.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Martha Stewart's Pear Spice Bundt Cake



        
         This past weekend, Andrew finally made it out to the Beach for the weekend.  The Real Estate selling season in New York has made it just about impossible for him to take time here since President’s Day.  To Andrew, a weekend in the country means a chance to bake.  And Saturday he chose to make a cake that would make a wonderful addition to a Passover Seder or an Easter Dinner table. I know I'm too late for Passover but this is in time for Easter.  Ripe pears are combined with a set of spices to create a lushly moist, honey and brown-sugar cake that’s then topped off with two toppings: A cream cheese glaze with a hint of lemon and pear ‘chips’ that are as pretty as they taste.  It’s from “Martha Stewart’s Baking Handbook” (Clarkson Potter), her 2005 ode to all things sweet. 

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Trader Joe's Shoppers! The good, the bad and the so-so of TJ's "Out of this World Pizza Edition" Fearless Flyer

        


New York is a pizza town. Just ask our recently elected mayor, Bill di Blasio.  Shortly after he took office, he travelled to Staten Island, a borough well-known for the stuff, where he took out a knife and fork to eat his pizza.  You would have thought the man had committed an impeachable offense.  It must have been particularly hard on the mayor whose Italian credentials are impeccable. He was born Warren Wilhelm Jr.  He changed his name to incorporate that of his mother becoming first Warren di Blasio-Wilhelm and later just Bill di Blasio. His mother was one only two Italian Americans in her Smith College class of 1938.  And he speaks fluent Italian.  But when he chose to eat pizza with a knife and fork, they almost ran him off Staten Island.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Petty Cash's Zucchini Quesadilla with Spicy Salsa Rioja

       
Food and Wine's Version 
As I was working my way through last month’s Food and Wine, I came to an overhead shot of a crispy, toasted tortilla topped with bright red chiles and cilantro leaves.  I was taken with the photo and I was consumed by the recipe. It’s vegetarian so perfect for those meatless meals I am trying to achieve at least once a week.  And I love a great Quesadilla, with the cheese oozing out the sides of the tortilla and filled inside with any number of meaty ingredients like a tinga of puerco, pollo or carne.  This Quesadilla has none of those.  Instead it’s filled with a smoky flavored salsa made with roasted tomatoes, onions and garlic, thin slices of zucchini and as much Monterrey Jack cheese as you can stuff into it.  It’s pure Mexican street food but it was invented in a place that’s about un-Mexican as anywhere in Los Angeles CA. It’s on Beverly Boulevard between Beverly Hills and Hancock Park.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Budget-Friendly Crabmeat and Two Ways to Serve it.

  

         Not too long ago, my friend Susan wrote and asked me to send her the link to a very nasty article in Bloomberg News about farmed Asian Seafood.  I won’t go into the appetite suppressing details but the news was not good.  It involved shrimp from Vietnam, which is now a major supplier of the shellfish to the US.  Bad enough that our own shrimp has been dodging the BP Oil Spill in the Gulf of Mexico, but this story gave both Susan and I pause. 

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Chicken with Shallots from Sam Sifton in the New York Times Sunday Magazine via Rishia Zimmern adapted from Martha Stewart


Sam Sifton 
As fond as I am of the current food crew at The New York Times, I still miss Sam Sifton.  He was the Deputy Dining Editor in 2001 when he was almost instantly tapped to become the Dining Editor a position he held till 2004.  He was with the Times a Culture Editor from then until 2009.  That year he took over from Frank Bruni and became the Restaurant Critic for the Times.  The burnout rate for that job is high: Sifton ate out almost nightly until his last restaurant review appeared almost two years to the day that he started.  But for all of us who miss him, Sifton has graced the Food page of the New York Times Sunday magazine periodically ever since.  And one of those times was a recent Sunday when the recipe I am sharing today appeared.  It was wildly popular--so popular in fact that one of its key ingredients completely disappeared from some grocery stores.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

This Year's Top 10 Things to make your St. Barth Vacation Better than ever in 2014


What is it about St. Barth that we made our 23rd trek there a couple of weeks ago?   Were it not a very misguided decision to try Nevis about 5 years ago, we’d have an unbroken string of March vacations on the island dating back 20 continuous years. We can’t stop ourselves.  We simply love the place.  We get off the plane after its harrowing flight from St. Maarten, and we are instantly home.  Within 24 hours, we can’t remember how long we’ve been there.  We’re swept away to an island that only seems to get better year after year.