Sunday, December 7, 2008

Southern Living’s Coconut-Almond Cream Cake for Christmas…

Coconut-Almond Cream Cake from Southern Living

Prep: 30 min.; Bake: 47 min.; Cool: 1 hr., 10 min.

Brooks makes this cake with the precision of a skilled baker who has made his masterpiece many times. If the tops of the layers are a little rounded, he recommends leveling them with a serrated knife. This is a tall cake, he says, and it needs to be level if you want your friends to admire your work before they devour the cake--as they absolutely will.

Yield

Makes 12 servings

Ingredients

  • 2  cups  sweetened flaked coconut
  • 1/2  cup  sliced almonds
  • Parchment paper
  • 3 1/2  cups  all-purpose flour
  • 1  tablespoon  baking powder
  • 1/2  teaspoon  salt
  • 1 1/2  cups  unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 1/4  cups  granulated sugar
  • 1  cup  firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 5  large eggs
  • 1  cup  whipping cream
  • 1/3  cup  coconut milk
  • 1  tablespoon  vanilla extract
  • 1  tablespoon  almond extract
  • Coconut-Almond Filling
  • Coconut-Cream Cheese Frosting
  • Garnishes: kumquats, currants, fresh mint sprigs

Preparation

1. Preheat oven to 325°. Bake coconut in a single layer in a shallow pan 6 minutes. Place almonds in a single layer in another shallow pan; bake, with coconut, 7 to 9 minutes or until almonds are fragrant and coconut is lightly browned, stirring occasionally.

2. Line 3 (9-inch) round cake pans with parchment paper. Grease and flour paper.

3. Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt in a very large bowl.

4. Beat butter at medium speed with a heavy-duty electric stand mixer until creamy; gradually add sugars, beating until blended. Beat 8 minutes or until very fluffy, scraping bottom and sides of bowl as needed. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition (about 30 seconds per egg). Stir in whipping cream and next 3 ingredients.

5. Gently fold butter mixture into flour mixture, in batches, just until combined. Pour batter into prepared pans.

6. Bake at 325° for 30 to 32 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans on wire racks 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks, and cool completely (about 1 hour).

7. Place 1 cake layer on a serving plate. Spread half of chilled Coconut-Almond Filling over cake layer. Top with 1 layer, pressing down gently. Repeat procedure with remaining half of Coconut-Almond Filling and remaining cake layer.

8. Gently spread Coconut-Cream Cheese Frosting on top and sides of cake. Press toasted coconut onto sides of cake; sprinkle toasted almonds on top. Garnish, if desired.

Source:  Brooks Hamaker, New Orleans, Louisiana, Southern Living, NOVEMBER 2008

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Knit and purl.....

My buddy V is a great knitter.  I've wanted to knit forever, tried it a couple of years ago, but the timing was off, decided to try it again, bought some soft, fuzzy yarn, fired up my computer, went to you tube, found a left handed knitting tutorial.  Well, it looks so easy, NOT!  Decided I had the wrong kind of yarn, so I was off to Wally World for some plain, generic non fuzzy yarn and bigger needles, by the time I got back I was too tired to knit.

V has already told me she would knit my scarves if I can't figure it out.  I used to be a great crafter, and I crocheted afghans in my twenties, but duh, that was years and years ago...  Surely I can do this, surely I can..

Stella is trying to get her groove back here, after being gone, I have to get those Christmas recipes published - V gave me a new one today for Snowy Trail Mix to add to the collection.  And Lindsay found a recipe for an Orange Cranberry Cheesecake, she wants me to try for Christmas.

Those Cranberry Bliss Bars were so good, it makes us want to try other orange/cranberry things as well.  Scones and muffins sound good, too.

And speaking of food, do you know that I ate my entire birthday cake over the course of the week?  I did, except for one last piece!  And I wish I had ate that!  Dilly is a great little baker, and I hadn't had homemade German Chocolate Cake for years.  And what did the scales say when I got home?  Oh yeah, Miss Piggy here gained 3 lbs.  And let me tell you, it was worth every friggin' pound.  So now I'm back on that horrid Atkins program, which I detest with a purple passion.  Oh well, it was good while it lasted...

Monday, December 1, 2008

Rattlesnake Pasta

1 pound linguine - bow tie pasta works great with this, it's easier to eat than the linguine

8 TBS Butter
2 TBS Flour
½ Cup Parmesan Cheese

Approximately 4 cups of a mixture of half and half and heavy (whipping)cream. Play with it until you get the right consistency, it should be like Alfredo Sauce.

2 TBS Lime Juice
1 Red Pepper, julienned
1 Yellow Pepper, julienned
2 Anaheim Peppers, chopped
2 TBS red onions diced
2 TBS Green Onions Sliced
2 Tsp minced Garlic
10 Ounces Grilled Chicken breast, sliced (you can also use sauteed chicken breast, or even a cooked rotisserie chicken from the deli)
2 TBS cilantro, julienned


Rattlesnake seasoning
1 TBS cumin
1tsp red pepper
½ tsp white pepper
1 tsp onion powder
½ teaspoon chili powder
1 tsp salt

Melt 2 TBS of the butter in a sauté pan over low to medium heat. Add 2 heaping TBS of flour and work with a wire whisk into a white roux. Be careful not to brown the flour.

Work in the remaining 6 TBS of butter and slowly add the half and half/cream, a cup at at a time, continuing to whisk and incorporating the ingredients over medium heat. When all the cream is incorporated, add ½ cup of grated parmesan cheese and continue to whisk. The sauce should have a light consistency and coat the back of a spoon.

Add Rattlesnake seasoning. Recipe is best if you double the seasonings, it's really spicy and hot that way.

Combine the chicken, lime juice, peppers, onions and garlic and continue to sauté over medium heat until all ingredients are hot and sauce is a creamy consistency

Cook linguini al dente. Place the pasta in sauce and toss thoroughly.

Garnish the top of the pasta with smoked mozzarella and cilantro.

This is a huge recipe, serves 6-8, can be cut in half.