Cake is here! Do you want a piece? Probably. It’s nearly impossible to say no to a hunk of fluffy cake full of sweet fruit, covered with whipped cream and scattered with coconut. It is also nearly impossible to say no to an invitation to join a local Blogger Summit. Dole Packaged Foods will host several bloggers for a couple of days of hanging at the headquarters with the Dole team and learning more about the brand and its products. Accepting the opportunity happened as quickly as one would say yes to a plate of this poke cake.
Here it is, folks–another year, another boil! We are ecstatic to celebrate our 4th Annual Seafood Boil this year. On September 22, Chrystal and I gathered near the beach with friends and a hefty spread of food. On this easy Sunday afternoon, the skies were clear, the sun was blazing, and the air was filled with a nice, subtle breeze. Summer is nearly over, but that didn’t stop us from enjoying a little fun in the sun.
It seems the last several weeks have had their share of indulgent meals, so I was craving something easy and light to help even things out. That’s when I remembered a health tip a fitness instructor told me years ago. She said an easy way to add a nutritional punch to any smoothie is to replace the ice cubes with frozen broccoli. Broccoli? In a smoothie? I imagine we had the same reaction to that suggestion: “ew, gross!” She swore you cannot taste the broccoli, and you get the same texture as if ice were used. Chrystal and I are always on the hunt for new cooking tricks and easy food tips, especially when it comes to healthy eating. I gave it some more thought, and my curiosity started to outweigh my dubious feelings. Can’t taste the broccoli, huh? Guess there’s only one way to find out!
Some serendipity was involved with this month’s Ethnic Exploration. As Chrystal and I were planning out our EEs for the rest of the year, we were tapped by someone on Twitter out of the blue. A man named Tim, the founder and owner of White Lion Imports, hit us up to see if we’d be interested in trying out a Sri Lankan spirit he just started distributing in the U.S. It’s no secret that the Duo loves a libation. Always down to try something new, we decided to give it a go. As the three of us chatted further, though, it became clear that we should collaborate on a culinary exploration of Sri Lankan cuisine. For the first time, we’d have an expert at our disposal, serving as a direct liaison into this new food world on which we were about to embark. Off we go!
There are some ingredients that keep so well in your freezer. Flours, polenta, homemade cookie dough rolled into individual balls and ready for the baking. Nuts too. If you are someone who packs away bags of raw nuts–we’re not talking about Planters here–then you know what it means to have protein-packed snacks on hand at any time. The unfortunate thing is that nuts can spoil, so as the temperature starts to rise, keep your nuts in the freezer. Their natural oils will prevent them from actually freezing, and you’ll be able to toast, chop and grind away without worrying about potentially rancid ingredients. Just don’t forget they’re in there. Then, when you feel like baking up a sweet treat, you can make these walnut bars.
For our first Ethnic Exploration of the year, we are waffling between two different countries. In fact, some of you may know Chrystal rang in 2012 in Barcelona. While I was home slumping on the couch, she was eating exotic dishes, checking out historic sites, and gallivanting around the city. From the snapshots she shared with me of her trip, it was clear she experienced plenty of incredible eats, even describing one tapas dish as “the best mussels she’s ever tasted in her entire life. Ever.” Wow! That was a pretty bold statement, I thought. With praises like that, we clearly had to explore a couple of elements of Spanish cuisine this month. There was really no other choice!
Facebook is a great way to find out what people are thinking. In a recent wall posting, folks answered a question regarding their favorite coconut and peanut butter recipes. We were open to anything, even a combination of the two. You’re probably wondering what people suggested. There was coconut cream pie, peanut butter brownies, icebox cookies, coconut ice cream, peanut sesame noodles, coconut shrimp, coconut meringues, peanut butter fudge, peanut butter and jelly cookies. The list went on and on. We had just received samples of Tropical Traditions’ coconut flour and coconut peanut butter, and the goal was to use them both in one recipe. All of the suggestions really helped to lead us in the perfect direction of a pie–a pie that we would submit to KCRW’s Good Food Blog Pie-a-Day section. Last year, we submitted a Pineapple Haupia Pie, but this year’s sweet would be totally different.
Pumpkin again. It’s back! Perhaps some of you are hoping it will not pop up here anymore. Well, if you saw this week’s first post, then you know that someone’s had a change of heart when it comes to pumpkin. That means the fruit will get one more time to shine this month. It is not so much the flavor of pumpkin that makes it awesome in baked goods; it’s the moisture that it adds to sweet treats. Yes, pumpkin has a distinctive taste, but it is fairly mild, which is probably why some of our pumpkin-hating friends did not have a problem eating muffins and breads laced with the big orange guy. They barely knew it was there, but they did remark how soft, moist and delectable the foods were that they got to try. For that reason alone, pumpkin has made these baking trials all the more fun.
We talk about citrus and how much we love it all the time. Maybe a little too much. It goes in most of the foods that we make, and today is no exception. This time is another dessert. So far we’ve shared our Lemon Ginger Cream Cheese Muffins, Bizcocho de Limon, Key Lime Pie, Meyer Lemon Tart, Triple Citrus Cake, Lemon Polenta Cookies, Lemon Thyme Cookies, Orange Almond Cookies and Orange Ginger Granola Bars. Whew! Now it’s time to show you another dessert that has quickly risen up the ranks as a favorite–tart lemon custard topped with fluffy meringue. It’s an easy one that should appeal to any of our fellow citrus lovers out there.
We’re happy to announce that today’s post is part of KCRW Good Food and Evan Kleiman’s Pie-a-Day feature. The summer season of pies will end with Good Food’s 2nd Annual Pie Contest. We attended last year, and the inaugural event was a blast. If you’re a loyal reader, then you may know that we love trying different recipes, especially those with strong cultural affiliation. We’re sharing our take on the Hawaiian favorite–haupia. This time, it’s in pie formation and topped with sweet pineapples. Read all about it HERE, and check the Good Food website daily for more!