{In case you're wondering, that means "Everyone to the table to eat!" in Italian}

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Strawberry-Lime Chiffon Cake with Coconut Cream

I got the idea for this dessert from a blog post at Our Best Bites, but all I remembered was the title and I didn't want to go find the recipe, so I made up my own. It turned out just as good as I had hoped. It was the perfect spring dessert!

Strawberry-Lime Chiffon Cake with Coconut Cream

for the Chiffon Cake (recipe adapted from Smitten Kitchen):
2 c. sifted flour
1 1/2 c. sugar, divided
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup cold water
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
5 large egg yolks at room temperature
8 large egg whites at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar

for the Strawberries:
1 lb. strawberries, washed, stemmed and sliced
1/4 c. sugar
2 tb. lime juice

for the Coconut Cream:
1 c. whipping cream
2 tb. sugar
1/2 tsp. coconut extract

for topping:
toasted coconut, if desired
(toast in oven for about 10-15 minutes, checking and stirring frequently to avoid burning)

Make the cakes:
1. Preheat the oven to 325°F. Have two 9-inch round cake pans ready, lined with parchment paper that has been lightly sprayed with cooking spray, but otherwise ungreased. (I actually used two 9 x 5" loaf pans this time, greased only, and it worked fine)
2. Sift the flour, 1 1/4 cups sugar, baking powder and salt together twice into a large bowl.
3. In another bowl, beat the yolks, water, oil, zest and vanilla on high speed until smooth. Stir into the flour mixture until smooth. In another large bowl, or the bowl of your stand mixer, beat the egg whites with the cream of tartar until soft peaks are formed. Add the remaining 1/4 cup sugar, and beat on high speed until the peaks are stiff but not dry.
4. Use a rubber spatula to fold one-quarter of the egg whites into the egg yolk mixture, then fold in the remaining whites. Do so gently, only until the egg whites are no longer visible. Overdoing it will deflate the egg whites, and yield a denser, shorter cake.
5. Scrape the batter into the two prepared pans and spread evenly. Bake them until the top springs back when lightly pressed and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean 40 to 50 minutes, checking your cake every five minutes or so from the 30 minute mark on.
6. Let cakes cool on a cooling rack for at least an hour. When completely cool, run a knife around the sides to release, then flip out onto a plate (or your hand, if you’re daring) and then another plate. I only used one cake for this recipe (that will feed about 8-10 people) and froze the other for another time.

While the cakes are baking, mix the sliced strawberries, sugar and lime juice. Place in refrigerator. Just before serving, whip the cream and add sugar and coconut extract. To serve, slice cake into 8-10 pieces, top with strawberries, coconut cream, and toasted coconut. YUM!

Update: The OBB recipe is very similar to this AND is in their new cookbook, which I got for Mother's Day. It is full of great recipes and beautiful photos- I highly recommend it!!

Chicken Pot Pie {Easy & Delicious}

I got the idea for this meal from my mother-in-law, Jullee, and then tweaked it to make it my own. It is super quick and easy, and SO good!

Chicken Pot Pie
1 lb. chicken breast, cooked and cubed
1 16 oz. bag frozen veggies (your favorite)
2 pie shells, frozen and thawed, or home-made
2 cans cream-of-brocolli soup
1 tsp. poultry seasoning, or thyme or sage is good too

Cook the frozen veggies in your microwave for a few minutes, mostly just to thaw them out. Mix cooked chicken, veggies, soups and spices. Pile into one of the pie shells. Place the other on top and press to seal around the edges. Cut vent holes in top crust. Place pie on a baking sheet to catch drips, and bake in a 350 degree oven about 45-50 minutes, or until center of crust is golden and crispy. Let sit about 15 minutes before serving. Enjoy!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Glazed Bacon-Wrapped Meatloaf

I saw this recipe on the Our Best Bites blog, and just knew I had to try it. I have always liked meatloaf, but never considered wrapping it in bacon. The bacon, the spicy-sweet glaze, and cooking it on a cookie sheet instead of drowning in grease in a loaf pan really made this meatloaf. It was fabulous! I'm pretty sure I'll never go back to my old recipe again...
Glazed Bacon-Wrapped Meat Loaf

1/2 cup chili sauce (or substitute ketchup, but I liked chili sauce)
4 tablespoons brown sugar
4 teaspoons cider vinegar (or white vinegar in a pinch)

Meat Loaf:
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
1 medium onion , chopped medium
2 medium cloves garlic , minced
2 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon table salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon hot sauce
1/2 cup plain yogurt (or whole milk)
1 pound ground beef chuck (I used ground turkey)
1 pound ground pork
1 1/3 cups fresh bread crumbs (or oats or almond meal for wheat-free)
1/3 cup minced fresh parsley leaves
6 – 8 ounces bacon , thin sliced (8 to 12 slices, depending on loaf shape)

1. For the glaze: Mix all ingredients in small saucepan and bring to a simmer. Simmer for 2-3 minutes or until slightly thickened and set aside. Divide in half.
2. For the meat loaf: Heat oven to 350 degrees. Heat oil in medium skillet. Add onion and garlic; sauté until softened, about 5 minutes. Set aside to cool while preparing remaining ingredients.
3. Mix eggs with thyme, salt, pepper, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, pepper sauce, and milk or yogurt. Add egg mixture to meat in large bowl along with crackers, parsley, and cooked onion and garlic; mix with fork until evenly blended and meat mixture does not stick to bowl. (If mixture sticks, add additional milk or yogurt, a couple tablespoons at a time until mix no longer sticks.)
4. Turn meat mixture onto work surface. With wet hands, pat mixture into approximately 9-by-5-inch loaf shape. Place on foil-lined (for easy cleanup) shallow baking pan. Brush with half the glaze, then arrange bacon slices, crosswise, over loaf, overlapping slightly and tucking only bacon tip ends under loaf.
5. Bake loaf until bacon is crisp and loaf registers 160 degrees, about 1 hour. Cool 10-15 minutes. While meal loaf is cooling, re-heat remaining sauce and brush some over meat loaf if desired. Slice meat loaf and serve with extra glaze passed separately.