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.
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 When I originally made the cake, I didn’t keep coconut oil in the house, now it’s a staple.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?
Yummy photo by the great JeffreyW
I have used my Multi-Pot consistently for the last few weeks. I made two batches of soup, pulled pork, pasta sauce and two batches of rice. The first batch of rice I was all cocky and used the simple pressure cooker setting and my own time – because you know, I’m the Queen of Pressure Cooking – well, that didn’t turn out very well. I mean, it was great sticky rice, but I was going for light and fluffy. So the next batch I used the Rice Button! I mean, come on, a pot you can just push RICE and 10 minutes later have fluffy rice – why was I fighting it??
The buttons on this brand are easy and intuitive to use. It does help that I’m familiar with what times work well with my stove top cooker and there are good resources in the booklets that came with the machine to help pick timing.
My first batch of soup was to make Beef with Barley Soup:
I quickly and easily sauteed the onions and browned the beef with about a tablespoon of olive oil. Then added the remainder of the ingredients, sealed it shut and turned it to the Meat/Stew setting and set it for 30 minutes.
It took it 10 minutes to come to pressure – which didn’t surprise me because I filled it to the highest mark allowed.
The soup was delicious – I could easily leave it on warm, open the lid and let sit and fill the house with yummy soup smells as long as I desired. It was good and tasty. And clean up was a breeze – just tossed the insert into the dishwasher.
The one part of this electric pressure cooker that has been a learning curve for me is the quick -release method. I am so used to taking the pot over to the sink and running cold water over the top. With this, they say to just turn the pressure valve to open. Which sounds easy-peasy. EXCEPT it spews greasy, starchy steam all over my kitchen cabinets.
The solution is fairly simple – I grabbed an old kitchen towel and cover the valve with that as it releases. Takes a bit longer, but no mess and no risk of a scary steam burn.
So for this recipe, I’d give the Multi-Pot a solid A.
I know, I know I promised a puppy update…give me a few minutes. Until then…
Pasta photo by JeffreyW
Pasta w/Spinach Cheese Marinara Sauce:
- 2 tsp to 1 tbsp olive oil
- ½ onion, chopped
- 4 mushrooms, washed & sliced
- ½ green pepper, chopped
- 2-14 oz cans diced tomatoes
- 1 tbsp tomato paste*
- 3 cups fresh spinach, chopped
- 2 tsp basil, crushed
- 2 tsp oregano, crushed
- 1 tsp thyme, crushed
- 2 tsp crushed garlic
- ½ cup grated Romano cheese
- ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 12 oz bow-tie pasta (farfalle)
Bring water for pasta to a boil in large saucepan, add pasta and cook according to directions to al dente.
Meanwhile, heat oil in the other saucepan; sauté onions, mushrooms & peppers until onions are golden. Add remaining ingredients (except pasta) bring to a low boil for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to med-low, cover and let simmer until pasta is done cooking. As the pasta finishes up, add a ladle or two of pasta water to the sauce.
Drain pasta well and toss together with sauce. Serve with additional Parmesan & Romano cheeses if desired.
*you can freeze the remainder in an ice-cube tray and store in a freezer bag.
Creamy Roasted Poblano Soup
- 4-5 poblano peppers – roasted, peeled and seeded
- 3 tbsp butter
- 1/2 sweet yellow onion, rough chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, rough chopped
- 3 cups chicken or vegetable stock or water (I used water)
- 1 cup milk or cream
- salt and pepper
- shredded sharp cheddar or Crema Mexicana
This is so easy. I had frozen, roasted poblano chiles, so all I had to do was thaw, skin and seed them. But if you have fresh chiles, heat them under the broiler for 5 minutes (watch carefully and turn as needed) until the skins are blackened on all sides. Cool and then slip off the skins. Slice open and use the knife to remove seeds and ribs (usually just be scraping with the knife). Rough chop.
In a saucepan, heat butter and add chopped onions. Saute until they are translucent, add chopped garlic and heat through before adding the chiles. Stir for a moment until everything is coated in butter. Remove from heat and add to blender, along with water or stock. Blend until smooth and creamy.
Add back to saucepan, along with milk, and bring to a very low boil, stirring constantly, reduce heat to low. Add salt and pepper to taste and let simmer for 8-10 minutes. Just before serving add the juice of 1/2 lime (more to taste). Garnish each bowl with cilantro and cheese.
Rodin Museum at sunset
Paris in the fall can be quite chilly at times, although I wouldn’t actually call it cold. Still, a café au lait with a croissant in the afternoon was always welcome. And boy, did I enjoy the coffee. Even in our hotel.
So much so, I came home, not with expensive souvenirs, but with a determination to recreate the coffee from Paris – at least what we had in our hotel room. It was almost as good as any we had in any cafe. Luckily, I found a newer version of the machine we had in our room:
It’s a DeLonghi Nespresso machine and I love it. It came with 16 sample pods from Nespresso (re: very expensive) but I went on a hunt to find local, less expensive pods I would like (I also brought home our favorite box from the neighborhood Franprix). They are different than K-cups, so selection is limited. Thankfully, after testing out three small boxes, I found the one pictured above and we all agree, it is pretty near perfect.
A little bit of Paris whenever I want.
One more Paris picture – there will be more of the Père Lachaise Cemetery later: