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

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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.

 

Friday Night Recipe Exchange: Sweet Treats

Coconut Lemon Cake c2011 W4DS

Coconut Lemon Cake

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.

Sliced Lemon Poppy Seed

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?

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Let’s not leave JeffreyW out of the mix, he and Mrs. J spent the cold week giving their kitchen a work out and this is one of the recipes that fortified them. Peanut Butter Granola Bars, click here.

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.

Coconut Cake:

  • 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

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Peanut Butter Granola Bars

DSC_7759 (1600x1060)We’ve been having kitchen fun.  Snow and cold temps have returned with the latest arctic blast so we are making do with browsing recipes online.  Granola bars caught Mrs J’s attention the other day so we looked over a few recipes to get an idea of what would work and then went to the cupboard for ingredients.  We pretty much cleaned out all the odds and ends leftover from other recipes and ended up with some tasty snack bars.  Rolled oats are featured in most of the recipes we looked at, and peanut butter and honey were pretty common.  From memory, here are the ingredients we went with this morning:

1-1/2 cups old fashioned rolled oats

1 cup peanut butter

1/2 cup honey (plus a drizzle of maple syrup we had left from waffles)

and enough of these to make up three additional cups of filler:

pecans

dried cranberries

raisins

chopped dates

chocolate chips

toasted coconut

Melt the peanut butter in a small saucepan and add the honey and other liquids that sound good. (I had planned to add a little cherry preserve but forgot.)  I spun the dry stuff in a food processor to mix it and chop some of the larger pieces a bit then dumped it into a large mixing bowl.  Add the peanut butter mixture and mix thoroughly, then press it into a pan that you have lined with parchment paper.  Mrs J used a plastic tumbler to roll it down.  We used an 11″x7″ pan because an 8″x8″ pan looked a tad small.  Refrigerate for a couple of hours.  These are seriously good.  I wish we had some other more colorful things about to toss into the mix.  Dried cherries and blueberries?  Mini M&Ms?

Dinner Menu: Crispy Potato Chicken and Banana Foster Ice Cream

Shredded Potato Packet Final A while back I played around with Potato Encrusted Chicken and Fish. It is fairly easy to prepare, tastes great and looks very pretty on a plate. But it can be challenging and tonight’s menu offers a simpler version of the same style of chicken.  Perfect for a quick week night dinner. On the board tonight:

  1. Crispy Potato Chicken
  2. Steamed Carrots in butter
  3. Banana Foster Ice Cream

This recipe originally called for Dijon mustard, I am not a fan, so I always omit it, but I kept it in for this incarnation.  You can also add grated Parmesan or shredded cheddar to the potato mixture if you want to change things up a bit. Crispy Potato Chicken

  • 2-3 large potatoes, peeled
  • 4 tsp crushed garlic
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard (opt)
  • 4 boneless chicken breasts
  • ¼ tsp ea. salt & pepper
  • ½ tsp fresh parsley
  • 1 tsp dried rosemary
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • ice water

2 bowls & baking dish (8×8), lightly oiled Shred potato, transfer to bowl of ice water. Rinse & dry breasts, place in baking dish and spread with garlic and optional Dijon mustard. Drain potatoes, pat dry and mix with oil & seasoning in bowl. Spread mixture over the top of the chicken pieces. Bake at 425° for 35-40 minutes, until potatoes are golden brown and chicken’s internal temperature is 185° This is a quick and alcohol-free banana foster, if you want the real deal, try this Alton Brown recipe Banana Foster Ice Cream

  • 2 large,firm bananas, sliced
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ tsp orange peel
  • dash cinnamon & nutmeg
  • 2 tbsp orange juice or pineapple juice
  • 6 oz sliced almonds
  • 4 cups vanilla ice cream

skillet and 4 dessert bowls Melt butter in saucepan, add bananas, sauté quickly until lightly brown. Add sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, orange peel and juice. Boil until syrupy, stirring constantly to keep from burning. Add ice cream to dishes, top with ¼ of banana mixture each and garnish with almonds. Shopping List:

  • 1 lb carrots
  • 3 large potatoes
  • 4 boneless chicken breasts
  • 2 large, firm bananas
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp orange juice or pineapple juice
  • 6 oz sliced almonds
  • 1 quart premium vanilla ice cream

Also: butter, garlic, salt & pepper, fresh parsley, dried rosemary, olive oil, orange peel, cinnamon, nutmeg, optional: Dijon mustard, Parmesan or cheddar cheese