Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The Lime And The Coconut Shortbread

The song is now lodged in your head.......

The Lime and the Coconut Shortbread
An adaptation of English Lemon Shortbread Strips

I love the shortbread and glaze this recipe creates. I will continue to use it as my base and modify the ingredients around it. (Next stop Lavender and Vanilla).

For the dough
4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon fresh grated lime zest
1 pound (4 sticks or 32 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
1/4 cup fresh lime juice

For the glaze
1 cup confectioners' sugar
2 tablespoons butter, softened
1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
1 tespoon coconut flavoring
1 tablespoon fresh grated lime zest
1/4 cup large flake, unsweetened coconut, crumbled (should equal about one tablespoon when done)

To prepare the dough
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour and salt. In a large mixing bowl, add sugar and zest - use your fingers to massage the zest into the sugar until very fragrant and combined. Add butter and beat mixture together until smooth. Add juice and mix until combined and creamy, making sure to scrape down the sides as needed. Add flour mixture and beat just until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Scoop mixture into a 10" x 15" baking pan coated with nonstick spray. Place into the oven and bake until the top is lightly golden, about 25 to 35 minutes. Remove and place pan on a wire rack to cool completely.

To prepare the glaze
In a small bowl, whisk together confectioners' sugar, butter, lime juice and coconut flavoring until smooth. Spread glaze over the cooled shortbread.

Mix the lime and the coconut (zest and flakes) and sprinkle over glaze if desired. Set aside and let stand at least 30 minutes before cutting.

When cutting, the cooler the shortbread (but not refrigerated), the sturdier it will be. I like to let it sit overnight before cutting. (Except for one little tiny piece from a corner!)

Makes about 40 cookies.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Almond Pecan Meringue Cake

Almond Pecan Meringue Cake

(Otherwise known as Coffee Pecan Meringue Cake)
Another Culinary in the Country winnner, this one adapted from Nick Malgieri

My family wrinkled their noses at the coffee aspect so I altered the recipe with the Almond flavoring. I did not change to almonds for the "crust" although that might have been good too. This tasted exactly like the puff balls I buy at the bakeries in Paris - a favorite treat while there. My daughter said it was actually better. Bon Apetite!

For the meringue

4 large egg whites
pinch salt
3/4 cup granulated sugar, divided
2/3 cup pecans, finely ground
3 tablespoons cornstarch

For the buttercream

4 large egg whites
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoons almond extract
2 tablespoons vanilla syrup (like they use in coffee shops)
12 tablespoons unsalted butter

To prepare the meringue

Preheat oven to 300 degrees with the racks set in the upper and lower thirds.On two sheets of parchment paper, trace a 10" circle - turn the papers over and place each onto a large baking sheet.

In a large mixing bowl, add egg whites and salt - using the whisk attachment, whip on medium speed until whites are foamy and just beginning to hold their shape. Increase speed to medium-high - gradually add 1/2 cup sugar and whip the mixture until it holds a stiff peak. In this order, add sugar, pecans and cornstarch - gently fold into the stiff egg whites.

Evenly divide the meringue mixture between the two circles on the pans - using an off-set spatula, spread it to an even layer to fill in the entire traced circle. Place baking sheet into the oven and bake, rotating pans halfway through, until golden and almost firm, about 40 minutes.
Remove and place pans on a wire rack to cool completely.

To prepare the buttercream

Fill a medium saucepan half full with water and bring it to a boil over medium heat.In a large mixing bowl, add egg whites and sugar. Whisk mixture together a couple times to combine. Set bowl over the boiling water, making sure the bottom of the bowl does not come in contact with the water, and whisk gently until the egg whites are hot and the sugar has dissolved. Remove mixing bowl from the saucepan.

Using the whisk attachment, whip mixture on high-speed until the egg whites have cooled completely - if you touch the outside of the bowl, it should not be warm at all when they are ready.

When the egg whites have cooled, switch to the paddle attachment and add the butter, one tablespoon at a time, at 10-second intervals until all pieces have been added. Let the buttercream beat at medium-high until it is thick (really thick - when you think you've tanked the recipe - keep mixing) and emulsified - it will initially look separated or curdled, but continue to beat until it comes back together. Remember - thick.

When it has become thick, reduce the speed to medium and add the almond/vanilla mixture, a tablespoon at a time, beating until smooth after each tablespoon. Once all the syrup is in, continue to beat on medium until smooth and shiny, about 3 minutes.

If desired, trim edges of the meringue layers to a 10" diameter. Scoop all of the buttercream on of one meringue layer and spread it evenly to the edges. Invert the second meringue layer on top so the smooth underside is on top - press down gently to adhere the two layers.

Serve with a dusting of confectioners' sugar on top just before serving.

Makes about 12 servings.

Saturday, April 18, 2009



All whole:
1 teaspoon Coriander
1 teaspoon Fennel
1/2 teaspoon Cumin

Crush slightly, but don't powder. Boil in water or steep with fresh boiling water for a few minutes strain and drink.

Make sure the water is hot or the coriander seeds will just float.

When I first heard of this, I couldn't imagine how it tasted. It doesn't taste like much and the fennel gives it a bit of sweetness. After trying it and finding that I had no desire to drink coffee anymore, I did some researching. It is touted as a craving quencher. I'd say so.

And also since I've started drinking it (1-2 cups a day) I have not really wanted to eat meat, have craved vegetables and less fat foods, drastically reduced my chocolate and sweets intake (can you say a bite or two is enough????), and generally wanted to eat less.

So while I just "wanted to try it". I'm pleased with what it is doing for me.



1/3 Cup dried, split mung beans, soaked overnight or a few hours (it will expand to 1 Cup)
1 Cup Basmati rice
2 Cups water

Rinse beans, soak for several hours, Rinse again. Place rice in rice cooker pot, rinse. Add beans. Cook until button pops.

This is the base.

When ready to cook, heat desired spices in ghee until fragrant, add vegetables or fruits, nuts, etc. (depending on meal time of day). When spices and vegetables are done, mix in cooked kitcherie.

Kitcherie alone is good for upset stomachs.

Good things to add for breakfast: dates, raisins, cranberries, apples, other dried fruits, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, fresh ginger, sliced almonds, pecans, walnuts, maple syrup, rose preserves, etc.

Good things to add for lunch or dinner: cauliflower, red peppers, cilantro, cumin, coriander, fennel, fresh ginger, garam masala, turmeric, cashews, etc.

Here’s another recipe that sounds good: