We like Chicken Marsala so much that we made a variant of it tonight. This has boneless skinless thighs dredged in seasoned flour and then browned in olive oil. Remove the chicken and deglaze with the Marsala wine, scrape the bottom with a flat wooden spatula to break the nice browned bits up. Add a cup and a half of chicken stock to it and bring to a simmer. Add the browned chicken back and cover. I used butter kneaded with flour to thicken the gravy before serving. The couscous was from a box mix, this one was flavored with dried mushrooms. I squeezed lemon juice over my chicken and liked it well enough, optional.
We don’t eat much couscous, but it is being stocked regularly and we may step up the pace. I see from the Wiki that we had the instant variety which is quick and easy. I may browse the International Grocery next town over for the regular stuff.
Something about frigid temps makes me crave sweets. So when I was thinking about tonight’s recipes, that is what I was drawn to and lemon themed recipes rose to the top. I suppose because it brings with it a reminder of warmer climates. Which is where I am headed later in the month. Beach weather. I’ll be the pale, wind swept one by the eucalyptus tree.
One of my favorite tangy, sweet desserts is Sour Cream Lemon Poppyseeed Cake, yum, recipe here.
Since next week bring with it the ultimate date night, I thought it would be a good idea to include some special sweets: Valentine’s Day Peanut Butter Kiss Cookies, recipe here and Valentine’s Chocolates, recipes here.
Which is a good time to let you know there will be no recipe exchange next Friday. Do you have Valentine’s plans? Do you go out or stay home and cook? Or do you ignore it all together? (You should probably make sure your romantic partner is on board with that, if that’s your plan. Right?) And during these cold, cold days, what do you like to cook?
And finally, tonight’s featured recipe (pictured at top):
Lemon Coconut Layer Cake
I have a friend who loves coconut cream pie. I’m not a big fan, so I’ve never made one. But when I saw a photo of a coconut-lemon cake, I thought she might like it, so I gave it a whirl. The original cake was 6-layers, I just couldn’t fathom that, so I reduced it to a 4-layer cake. Layering is easier to do if you use pie pans instead of cake pans. This eliminates the need to cut each cake in half to achieve thin, even layers. This cake works best if made the night before. Refrigerate so the lemon filling stays firm. And shredded coconut covers any number of baking sins.
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- ½ cup butter
- 1 ½ cup sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 2 1/2 cups sifted flour
- 3 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 13 oz coconut milk
- 3 eggs, separated
Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour 9-inch pie pans
Cream the butter in a mixer until light and fluffy. Gradually add the sugar and beat until very light, 2 to 3 minutes. Beat in the egg yolks, blending well.
Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt and add to the creamed mixture in 3 parts, alternating with the coconut milk, and beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Add the vanilla and beat to thoroughly combine.
In a clean bowl, beat the egg whites until stiff, and then gently fold into the cake batter. Divide evenly and pour into the pans, spreading to the edges. Bake until a toothpick inserted into one of the cakes comes out clean, about 25 minutes. Cool 15 minutes. Loosen and invert onto racks to cool completely.
Lemon cream filling:
- 2 egg yolks, beaten
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
- 1 cup water
- 1/2 cup lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
- 1 tablespoon butter
Combine the egg yolks, sugar, cornstarch, water, lemon juice, lemon zest and butter in the top of a double boiler set over, but not touching, boiling water. Cook, stirring, until thick and creamy, about 5 or 6 minutes. Cool thoroughly before spreading on the cake layers.
Okay, so all the recipes for lemon filling wanted a double-boiler. I started with one, but after 5 minutes of stirring and not thickening, I changed over to a saucepan and whisked it for 5 minutes while it boiled and thickened and had no issues with it burning or sticking. High altitude may have been the reason for my original troubles. Water boils at a lower temperature here, so the double boiler may not have offered enough heat to thicken the sauce.
Butter Cream Frosting:
- 3 cups confectioners’ sugar
- 6 tbsp butter
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¼ cup coconut milk
- 2 cups shredded coconut
With a mixer, mix together sugar and butter. Mix on low speed until well blended and then increase speed to medium and beat for another 3 minutes.
Add vanilla and milk and continue to beat on medium speed for 1 minute more, adding more cream if needed for spreading consistency.
To assemble: Place first layer on cake plate, bottom side up, spread with a third of the lemon filling, sprinkle with coconut, place next layer, bottom side up, repeat and again with the third layer. Place fourth layer, top side up. Frost and garnish with more shredded coconut.
That’s it for this week. On Monday the full dinner menu and shopping list will post and it will be a Valentine’s dinner if you need ideas. Happy Valentine’s Day! – TaMara
We were browsing a Reddit food porn thread (subreddit) and ran across this lovely photo of blueberry lemon bread and Mrs J decided she would do one. There is a link to a recipe in comments there but Mrs J used this one instead. It turned out tasting good but didn’t get the same rise as the loaf in the original picture. We will try again!
This week I’m doing frozen treats. Vanilla and Strawberry Ice Cream began the series here. This is the next treat.
The sorbet was by request and I’m so glad they voted for it. It was terrific. Cool, light, tangy and slightly sweet. The lemon is the perfect addition to the blueberries, giving it a nice depth. Easy to make. Perfect for a warm summer day.
- 1 cup water (3/4 cups if you’re using frozen blueberries)
- 1/2 cup sugar (you can use half sugar, half honey if you prefer)
- 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 5 cups blueberries, fresh or frozen
- a few blueberries and fresh mint for garnish
saucepan, blender, ice cream maker
In the saucepan, add water, sugar and lemon juice. Bring to a low boil and stir constantly until the sugar is dissolved. To blender add blueberries and slightly cooled sugar mixture and puree until smooth. I have a vitamix, so I got a very smooth puree, you may need to run the blueberry mixture through a cheesecloth or fine sieve to remove any remaining skins or stems.
Let mixture cool in the refrigerator for at least an hour and then process in your ice cream maker according to directions.
Remove to an airtight container and let freeze solid. I actually covered the top with wax paper to keep it from getting a dry crust on top. It worked well.
Stay tuned, tomorrow there will be another treat. Until then….