Variations On Shortbread: Coconut and Tahini

I was telling a friend I was going to make Tahini shortbread cookies to use up the tahini I had leftover from the Tahini Walnut Rolls (recipe here). She asked if it was dairy free, because she’d like to make shortbread, but was avoiding dairy.

The original recipe wasn’t, but I thought I’d give it a try with just tahini. And then because I Iove coconut, I thought I’d do the same thing with coconut oil. So both of these are dairy free.  Continue reading

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Well, That Was Good

I’m sure there’s a pro trick to getting the coconut put on the sides of a cake but this was just a brute force attack.  The top was easy – I ended up just pressing it on the sides with my fingers.  What doesn’t stick falls off and can be gathered for a new attempt.
The cake was good but it would have been good without the changes to the recipe. No idea how to compare with a “stock” cake without actually making one as a control.

Coconut Lemon Cake Revisited

I visited family for Easter and it seemed like a good time to make my Coconut Lemon Cake. It was a hit – though my niece would have preferred a less tangy lemon curd. I will admit, I made it super lemony because my brother and I both love lemon.

Here’s the original recipe.

I made a few changes.

For the cake, I substituted coconut oil for both the oil and butter. When I originally made the cake, I didn’t keep coconut oil in the house, now it’s a staple. This upped the coconut flavor in the cake itself.

For the lemon curd, I flipped the water/lemon juice amounts. Using 1 cup of lemon juice and only 1/2 cup water. This upped the tartness substantially, so be prepared!

For the layers – this time I cut down from 4 to 3, using pie pans for the cake pans. This made for a much sturdier cake without losing any of the flavor – especially with the super tart curd.

Nom-nom. I really could have eaten the entire cake myself.

I’m off to do more prep on the vegetable garden. I have a hoop and 6 wall of water, so I’m hoping to get a head start later this month.

Depending on how the harvest goes, I’m definitely going to get a vacuum sealer to make freezing veggies easier. I. Do. Not. Can.

Are you planning your garden, yet?



Cookie Pr0n

20170125_143211-1600x1200Mrs J was puttering about looking like she needed something to do this afternoon.  Always helpful, I called for cookies.  We went with epicurious’s oatmeal chocolate chip recipe.  We added a cup of shredded coconut, and gave the oatmeal a whirl in the food processor – three or four pulses to break them up some.  We also threw in about 2/3 cup of pecan pieces we had left in an opened bag.  They came out great!

Mmm… Cookies!

DSC_1607 (1600x1060)These are from this recipe, tweaked a bit.  I think it helps to toast the coconut, almonds, and oatmeal before mixing with the rest of the ingredients.  You can use a dry skillet for the toasting on the stove top, or a tray under a broiler.  We used the last of a few different kinds of chocolate we had on hand, both milk and semi-sweet chips and some of those mini candy coated chocolate bits, generic M&M looking things that the Amish store stocks.

Sweet Olathe Corn Finally Arrives and Dinner Menu

DSC_2554 [1024x768]

Photo by JeffreyW

How is it Thursday already?

It was a big day today. Took a friend out to lunch at the new Tapas bar and Olathe Sweet Corn finally arrived in the store. Seems the rainy spring delayed the crop. I made a special trip to the store today to ‘stalk’ up.

Before that, we sampled the new Tapas bistro, SAMPLES. Really wanted to check out the roof top patio, but it was much too hot for that, so we settled for a sidewalk table. It was a pleasant experience. Good food, good beer and super nice staff. I think the consensus was that we would go back for more ‘samples’.

I had two completely new taste experiences (well four if you count the beer samples): truffle butter (on the bacon and grilled onions flatbread) and poutine (spare rib poutine to be exact). They were both fun and flavorful. I’d add spaetzle in brown butter, but my friend tells me it wasn’t true spaetzle, even though it was still delicious. Tasted like chicken mac ‘n cheese.

We finished down the road with Funnel Cake Strawberry Sundaes, offered in honor of county fair season. It was yummy.

Freddy's Funnel Cake Sundae

Freddy’s Funnel Cake Sundae

Later in the day I stopped at the grocery store, picked up a dozen ears of corn and steamed a few for dinner. I’ll prep the rest tomorrow and remove from the cob and serve cold on salads.

In honor of that arrival, grilled corn is on tonight’s Dinner Menu. It is one of the first menus I ever wrote.

On the board tonight:

But wait, there’s more! Click to read full menu

Friday Recipe Exchange: Lots of Kabobs

Kabobs

Happy Labor Day weekend. This will be a quick exchange before I run out the door. Oh, I’m not going anywhere for the weekend, we’re still working on potty training with Bixby. LOL. His latest update is here.

I decided on shish kabobs for the recipe exchange because they are a favorite for large get-togethers. I can prepare them a day ahead and then pop them on the grill when guests arrive. They cook up quick and everyone can get theirs cooked to their idea of perfection. And if you’re lucky and everyone is staying at your house, you can form an assembly line to put them together.

Pictured above is one of my go-to skewers, easy marinade and simple to assemble for a small family dinner or a big get-together. It’s equal parts vegetable oil, soy sauce, lemon juice, and toss in some crushed garlic cloves. Mix together and marinate cubed pieces of steak (sirloin works well) for at least an hour or overnight. I remove the steak pieces from the marinade and then toss the veggies with the marinade quickly before alternating meat, vegetables and pineapple chunks on skewers. The ones above really need some cherry tomatoes, too. Grill over high heat, turning frequently until steak is cooked to desired style.

Some other fun food on a stick:

Fajita Chicken and Vegetable Kabobs can be found here.

Grilled Chicken and Papaya Skewers are here.

Lamb Kabobs recipe is here.

And a variety of other Marinades can be found here, to create any number of skewers to grill.

What’s on your plate for the weekend? Grilling anything tasty?

For tonight’s featured recipe, I thought it would be fun to make sure dessert was included in the mix.

Spicy Fruit Kabobs

You can substitute or add any fresh fruit you’d like in this recipe. 

  • 1 cantaloupe or honeydew melon, seeded
  • 2 pears, cored
  • 2 apples, cored
  • 2 bananas, peeled & quartered
  • 8 wooden skewers, soaked in water
  • ½ cup warmed honey
  • ½ cup warm water
  • ¼ cup limejuice
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded & chopped
  • 1 to 2 tsp chili paste

13×9 glass baking dish, blender

Cut fruit into large chunks, alternate fruit on skewers, ending with banana chunks to hold fruit in place. Place in baking dish. Blend together honey, water, lime, jalapeno & chili paste until smooth. Pour over fruit. Let set during dinner (approximately 30 minutes at room temperature. Grill over low coals 5-7 minutes, basting with marinade. Serve immediately.

Banana Split Kabobs

(serves 4)

  • 12 fresh large strawberries, hulled
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 bananas, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 12 fresh pineapple chunks
  • pound cake, cut into 2-inch cubes
  • chocolate syrup
  • shredded, unsweetened coconut

4 long bamboo skewers, 4 dessert plates

Roll strawberries in sugar, coating lightly. Alternate fruit and cake on the skewers. Place on plates and drizzle with chocolate syrup and garnish with coconut. Serve with additional syrup for dipping if desired.

That’s it for this week. Have a safe and fun holiday weekend.  – TaMara

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Dessert Pr0n – Better Luck Cake

DSC_7890 (1600x1060)Coconut cake with lemon curd filling and brown butter cream cheese frosting.  Mrs J went with box mix white cake and subbed coconut milk for the water and used coconut oil for the vegetable oil.  We made 2 boxes worth of cake batter and divided that equally among three 9″ cake rounds.  The lemon filling was from this recipe, and we doubled this recipe for the frosting – using  browned butter rather than just plain “softened”.  We used Splenda throughout.  Splenda substitutes in recipes by volume and not by weight so I weighed out one pound of powdered sugar.  That came to about 4 cups.

The “Better Luck” in the title is a play on the phrase “Better luck next time”, the first time we did this cake we really liked the taste but the presentation was a little lame.  We are getting better but we are still on the learning curve.