Coconut and Lime Cookies

Coconut and Lime Cookies

There are a few things about the coconut lime flavor that I love, mostly the flavor reminds me of a tropical setting, and that’s pretty much all it takes to make me think of my wife. (this happens on many subjects, what can I say? I love the woman)

Some of the other things include a Candle from Yankee Candle (lime in the coconut, it’s amazing!) A song by several different musicians (Put the lime in the coconut) and last but not least, there’s a drink with lime and coconut that’s also not half bad.

This cookie method is pretty normal, it follows the “snickerdoodle” family of cookies as the dough is rolled in sugar before it’s baked.

What you’ll need:

2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 Teaspoon baking soda

1/2 Teaspoon baking powder

1/2 Teaspoon salt

1 cup butter, softened

1 1/4 cups white sugar

1 egg

1/2 Teaspoon vanilla extract

1 Teaspoon lime zest, minced

3 Tablespoons lime juice

1/2 cup unsweetened toasted coconut

For the recipe:

Preheat your oven to 350*

In a medium bowl, sift the Flour, Baking soda, Baking powder and Salt.

In a larger bowl add the sugar and the room temperature butter.

Using a hand mixer, cream (or mix) the butter and the sugar together until the mixture becomes light and fluffy. It should take about 3 minutes.

Once the mixture is thoroughly combined, add the Lime Zest, Lime Juice, Egg and Vanilla Extract.

Beat on medium until the mixture is combined.

Now, were going to slowly add the flour mixture to the creamed butter. Once the flour and butter has been combined, add the toasted coconut.

Using a medium cookie scooper, scoop out 12 cookies and roll them in granulated sugar. Place the cookies, flat side down on a greased cookie sheet.

Bake each batch of cookies for 9 minutes. If you follow this, you’ll have slightly underbaked cookies, which I prefer, if you want overbaked cookies, cook for 10 or 11 minutes per batch.

The cookies will appear very puffed up when you remove them from the oven, but they will deflate and flatten out nicely once they cool off.

Serve with Ice Cold milk.. or perhaps something that has rum in it!

 

recipe modified from here

Filipino Ensaymada

Filipino Ensaymada

I hardly consider myself a master baker, especially when it comes to using yeast. I can wield yeast to my hearts desire, proofing, rising, punching down, and whatnot. However, it’s the shaping of the dough, and the actual baking that usually seems to go awry somehow. I blame it 100% on my own fault, of course there are other factors (usually being that I’m attempting a recipe for the first time) but one of my biggest foes is my oven, it never seems to bake at the proper temperature.

Ensaymada is a Filipino brioche type of bread, that’s usually topped with butter, sugar and a cheese called Edam. In the Philippines I’ve seen many versions, and even plenty of commercially produced products.

What you’ll need:

2 1/2 cups of bread flour

1 tablespoon of Salt

2 1/4 teaspoons of  yeast (that’s one 1/4 ounce packet)

1/4 cup milk

1/4 cup of cream

1/4 cup of water

1/3 cup of shortening

1 egg

2 egg yolks

1/3 cup of sweet potato

1 stick of butter (room temperature)

8 ounces grated edam cheese

1/2 cup of sugar

For the recipe:

in a medium saucepan, put the milk, water, cream and shortening, and warm until the temperature reaches 95* degrees on a thermometer.

In a mixing bowl, add the yeast, 1/2 cup of flour and salt.

Once fully combined, add the 1 egg, the sweet potato and another 1/2 cup of flour.

Mix until fully combined, and gradually add the rest of the flour.

Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours.

In two hours, remove the bowl and add the 2 egg yolks to the dough, mix thoroughly and cover again with plastic wrap. Chill for 4 hours.

After the 4 hours are up, remove the bowl from the fridge.

Pinch off a small amount (double the size of a golf ball according to the original author). Your are going to roll the ball until it has the appearance of a long rope. I know this sounds simple, but i promise you, it’s much more difficult than it sounds. ONce you have your ropes, you are going to coil each rope into a bun. They should resemble the look of cinnamon buns. Place the buns into a greased pan, and brush with melted butter.

Allow the buns to proof for 1 hour, they should double in size.

Bake the buns at 350 degrees for approximately 15 minutes.

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Allow the brioche to completely cool off. Brush each bun with the room temperature butter.

Sprinkle each bun with the sugar and the grated Edam cheese.

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At this point you can wrap the Ensaymada with plastic wrap and wax paper.

You can also put one into your broiler or toaster oven, and enjoy the amazing salty sweetness of the Ensaymada.

credit goes to Angsarap

Tilapia Fish Tacos

Tilapia Fish Tacos

If you know me, you know I have a long standing war with fish. For some strange reason, I try to like it, and when I taste it, I immediately dislike it. I’ve tried so many different type of fish in an attempt to like it. Why would i go through so much trouble? Fish is good for you, for starters. Also, my wife is a certified fish lover, which means I must try to incorporate some kind of fish into my repertoire for her. It may sound weird to you, but my biggest gripe with fish is that it’s too fishy. I was hopelessly lost, until a co-worker suggested I try Tilapia. After a quick search, I discovered that Tilapia is the 5th most important fish, in fish farming. Due to their large size and how quickly they grow.

What you’ll need:

4 tilapia filets

8 corn tortillas, toasted

2 eggs

1/2 cup of parmesan cheese

1 tablespoon of lemon pepper

1 cup of panko bread crumbs

1/2 pound healthy style coleslaw (that’s the vinegar based, NOT cream based, buy it in your deli aisle)

2 chipotles, pureed

1/2 cup mayonnaise

1/2 bunch Cilantro, roughly chopped

Misenplace:

In a shallow dish, beat the eggs.

In a separate shallow dish, add the bread crumbs, lemon pepper and cheese, mix together.

Puree the chipotle peppers in a food processor, and add the mayo, mix until thoroughly combined.

Wash, destem, and roughly chop the cilanto, don’t go crazy, we want to be able to tell it’s cilantro were using.

For the recipe:

Set up your work station for the process of coating the fish, it should go:

Fish (lightly salted) > beaten Eggs (salted and peppered) > Panko mixture > clean, dry platter.

 Using your left hand, dip the fish into the eggs and coat completely, allow the fish to drain a second, and place into the panko. Using your right hand coat the fish with the dry bread crumbs, panko is kinda a pain, you have to give it a good smoosh to fully coat. Remove fish and allow to rest on the platter.

In a pan, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil, and 2 tablespoons of butter.

Place the fish into the hot oil, laying it away from you, no need to burn your hand, or eyebrows.

Cook the tilapia on low medium heat for 2 minutes each side, just until cooked through and the coating is golden brown.

Remove from the pan, and allow to drain on a platter, lined with paper towels.

Now were going to assemble our tacos, first, spread a generous amount of mayonnaise on the bottom.

Next, place a good handful of the coleslaw, dont be shy, it adds a good contrast of flavor.

Now slice your fish in half down vertically, and cut each half into four pieces. Place the fish on top of the coleslaw carefully.

(sorry, no picture here)

Top each taco with a small pinch of the cilantro.

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Cheese Steak Stuffed Peppers

Cheese Steak Stuffed Peppers

I’ve already shown you a traditional stuffed pepper recipe here. However, a huge part of cooking is breaking the rules, and going where no one is willing to go. That’s why I love cooking, If I don’t feel like eating a particular ingredient, I can change it to something else I do feel like eating. If I cant find the freshest ingredient I am looking for, I can substitute something else that is fresh. It’s just about Carte Blanche to do whatever I feel like. In this recipe, I decided to forgo the usual ingredients for stuffed peppers and use cheese steak,  I mean, why the hell not? right?

What you’ll need:

  • 3-6 count packs of Cheesesteak meat (I have zero problems with using the “steak-um” type for this.)
  • 1 large onion, sliced (I decided to dice mine extremely fine, because I made these for a picky crowd)
  • 1 cup of sliced portobella mushrooms
  • 1 jar of Classico 4 cheese Alfredo sauce
  • Banana peppers (I used Mild, you can go hot if you’re bold enough)
  • 8 green peppers, tops removed, insides carefully removed, and boiled for about 5 minutes
  • 1 jar of classico tomato sauce
  • 8 thick slices of american cheese
  • adobo seasoning, salt, pepper
  • 1 clove of garlic

For the Misenplace:

Slice the portobella mushrooms and onions, set aside.

Smash your clove of garlic and mince it.

Prepare the green peppers by removing the tops, carefully scooping out the insides and placing them into boiling water for about 5 minutes, just until the peppers slightly lose color.

For the recipe:

Preheat oven to 375*

Set out your cheese steak meat, and allow to thaw a bit.

In a saute pan, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil and 1 tablespoon of butter, once hot, add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Next add the onions and mushrooms, kosher salt and cracked pepper

Cook until the mushrooms have given off all of their liquid, and the onions are soft and translucent (aka happy)

Add the cheese steak meat to the pan, a few sheets at a time, one the meat begins to brown, add more.

Sprinkle with the Adobo seasoning lightly, cook until the meat is browned.

Two important steps have to happen here, one, DRAIN the fat, all of it, every single ounce. Were going to add a cheese sauce, and dont want it to be fatty and greasy. Next, taste the cheese steak meat, adjust seasonings, salt, pepper and adobo. This is important.

Next, add the banana peppers, but try to grab them from the jar and place they into the pan with your hands, the idea of doing this is to get some of the brine as well as the peppers. Doing this will add another layer of flavor into the meat.

Now add the jar of cheese sauce, allow to heat through, and taste again. If the flavor is strong, and how you want it. Turn off the heat and set aside.

In an oven safe pan, pour the jar of tomato sauce, and arrange the peppers so they all fit into the pan.

Fill each pepper to the brim with the cheese steak filling.

Now place a slice of american cheese on top, and sprinkle very lightly with salt.

Bake in the oven for 30 minutes, the cheese should be browned, and the tomato sauce should be bubbly when you take it out.

I wasn’t able to take any pictures of the inside of the pepper after they are baked, I had to bring them to a pot luck at work. Not to toot my own horn, but they were loved.

Meatloaf

Meatloaf

Sometimes I crave comfort food, maybe it’s because the complexity of gourmet food becomes exhausting. Maybe because it reminds me of times when my only worries were where the night pickup football game was, what color Icee the Wawa had in stock, and which numbnuts keeps picking the same song on “The Box”

 

What youll need:

2 pounds of ground beef (I used a mixture of 80% and 85% beef)

1/3 cup if steak sauce

1/2 tablespoon of adobo seasoning

1 onion

2 cloves of garlic

2 tablespoons Parsley

1 egg

1/2 cup Parmesan cheese

For the misenplace:

Preheat the oven to 380

Mince the Garlic, Onion and Parsley and set aside

For the recipe:

In a large mixing bowl, add the 2 pounds of beef.

Now add the onion, parsley, and garlic, mix until combined.

Next add the Egg, Parmesan cheese, and adobo seasonings, mix well.

Add the steak sauce, salt and cracked black pepper, mix until combined.

In a small bowl mix together 1/3 cup of ketchup and 1/3 cup of brown sugar.

Put the mixture on the bottom of a loaf pan.

Shape the meat mixture into a loaf while it is still in the mixing bowl.

Put the loaf shaped meat into the loaf pan and spread the mixture so that it is evenly distributed.

Bake at 380 for about 45-60 minutes, or until a thermometer inserted in the center reaches 168 degrees, and the juices run clear.

Now, drain the juices, take the loaf out of the pan and allow to cool off slightly. (reserve any of the juices, just make sure you skim the fat off the top.) Once the loaf if warm enough to handle, slice it to your desired thickness.

Arrange the slices of meatloaf on a serving platter, and spoon the juices (skimmed of fat) over top.

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In my house, and my mind, meatloaf is served with mashed potatoes and dinner rolls. 🙂

Roasting Peppers to Remove the Skin

Roasting Peppers to Remove the Skin

This is a simple and fast way to remove the skin off of peppers.

Over an open flame, place the peppers you wish to have the skin removed from.

Cook the peppers until the skin is completely charred and black, try your best to not leave any spots uncharred (is that even a word?)

Once the peppers are completely roasted, immediately place them into a plastic bag and seal it tightly. Wait approximately 5-10 minutes then removed from the bag.

Cut the top of the pepper off, and make a cut from the top to the bottom to open the pepper up.

Next, open the pepper up, pull out the seeds and membranes, which should come out easily.

Next, flip over the pepper so that the charred side is showing, using a knife scrape off any charred or black areas. If you didn’t completely char your peppers you will have difficulty doing this.

The peppers are ready for whatever you have in mind in for them.

But just a reminder, please do not rinse the peppers in an attempt to clean them, scraping the charred skin is sufficient, washing the peppers will do nothing but diminish the flavor and smoke.

Broiled Pork Chops with Black Beans and Rice

Broiled Pork Chops with Black Beans and Rice

Asking the butcher for a center cut, bone in pork chop is a good start, asking to have them 1 inch thickness is even better. This cut is the “steak” cut of the pig. You’ll see that it’s almost the same as a porterhouse steak, just less expensive!

What you’ll need:

2 – 1 inch thick center cut, bone in, pork chops

2 sprigs of rosemary, thyme, and Sage

kosher Salt and black pepper

1 can of black beans (do not drain)

1 onion

white vinegar

olive oil

For the Misenplace:

Remove the herbs from their stems, and chop finely. (you can use a food processor)

Mince 1 large clove of garlic

Dice 1 medium onion

For the recipe:

Combine 2 tablespoons of olive oil, the chopped herbs, salt, pepper in a small bowl. This is our marinade.. It’s time to get a bit dirty. Rub the marinade into to pork, were not looking to destroy the meat, just massage it gently with the marinade. Place the pork on a platter and set aside.

Allow the pork to sit for about 30 minutes.

When you’ve decided that the pork has marinated enough (I waited 1 hour) place them on an oven safe pan, sprinkle with salt and broil the pork chops for 10 minutes each side (if your chops are thinner, the cooking time will be less).

After the first 10 minutes are up, remove the pork chops and flip them over and brush them with any left over olive oil and herbs. Cook for another 10 minutes.

You can test doneness by using a Thermometer until the internal temperature reaches 159 degrees. When the pork is cooked, carefully remove it from the broiler (the pan will be stupid hot, so be cautious)

 In a medium saute pan, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the garlic, and onions to the oil and cook on low for 7 minutes just until the onions become soft.

Add the beans, 1 cup of water, a sprig of thyme and rosemary (traditionally it’s cilantro, you can use that if you want) vinegar and salt and pepper.

Cook for about 10 minutes. After the 10 minutes are up, use a fork and randomly smash some of the beans to thicken the juices.

 Serve with the beans, spooned over steamed white rice. Place a pork chop on top, and drizzle olive oil lightly over top the pork chop.

 

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