Lime Archives - Parsley, Sage, and Sweet

Crunchy Coconut Lime Chicken Strips (or nuggets) for SRC

April 9, 2012 at 11:58 am | Posted in Appetizers, Dinner, Lunch, Poultry, SRC | 66 Comments
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Crunchy Coconut Lime Chicken Strips with Spicy Yogurt Dipping Sauce

For this month’s Secret Recipe Club, I was assigned the blog, Edesia’s Notebook  (love the name) authored and photographed by Lesa.  For the first time since I joined, I didn’t have the urge to grab some gorgeous dessert, which Lesa has plenty of, and play with it.  Instead, the same thought kept going through my head.

Just.make.dinner.

Crunchy Baked Coconut Lime Chicken Strips with Spicy Greek Yogurt Dipping Sauce.

You don’t often see posts where I just make dinner, nothing fancy, nothing outrageous, nothing you would only make for a special occasion.  It’s not that I don’t have a decent amount of simple recipes, but I just felt the need to cook dinner and blog it.  I chose her Crunchy Lemon Chicken.

Crunchy Baked Coconut Lime Chicken Strips with Spicy Greek Yogurt Dipping Sauce | Parsley, Sage and Sweet

Of course, I ended up futzing with it, because I truly believe it’s nearly impossible for me not to futz with recipes.  I cut each breast into strips, used limes instead of lemons, and added soy sauce and garlic to the marinade.  I also added dessicated coconut to the panko bread crumbs and beat the eggs with coconut water for the breading station.  Add to that a few other minor alterations, like the baking time and temperature, and there you have it.

Otherwise, it’s just dinner, and it was delicious.  I think these are the crunchiest, most delicious baked chicken fingers I’ve ever had, and kids would go absolutely berserk over these.  Just my completely unbiased opinion..I swear.


Even though they were flavorful enough as is, I decided to made a dip to go with them – what I call a garbage dip, where you rummage through your fridge and cabinets and just throw something together.  It was interesting and tasty, (it looks kind of gross in the photos..like Thousand Island dressing that sat out too long, doesn’t it?), but, again, the chicken fingers had so much flavor, it really wasn’t needed.

Crunchy Baked Coconut Lime Chicken Strips with Spicy Greek Yogurt Dipping Sauce.

That said, I hope you try these little delights of crunchy chicken, and I hope you enjoy them!

Crunchy Coconut Lime Chicken Strips (or nuggets)
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Yield: About 4 servings
 
These seriously taste deep-fried! Chicken adapted from Lesa at Edesia's Notebook
ingredients:
Chicken
  • 2 limes, zested and juiced
  • ¼ cup light olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons light soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
  • 2 garlic cloves, smashed and chopped finely
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 4 chicken breasts (About 1 lb) cut into 1-inch wide strips. Cut each strip in half to make 'nuggets'.
  • 1½ cups Panko breadcrumbs
  • ⅔ cup dessicated coconut shreds
  • ¾ cup flour
  • salt and pepper to season flour
  • 2 eggs, beaten with 4 tablespoons of coconut water (you can use coconut milk if you can't find coconut water)
  • Oil spray, doesn't matter what kind
Spicy Greek Yogurt Dip
  • 1 cup Greek yogurt
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons Asian chile-garlic sauce
  • 1 small handful cilantro leaves, chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste
directions:
  1. In a bowl, stir together lime juice, zest, light olive oil, ginger, light soy sauce, garlic and salt. Add the chicken strips and stir until they're completely coated with the marinade. You can also pour the marinade with the chicken strips, into a ziplock bag, which is what I did. Marinate for 4 to 5 hours at the most..stirring the strips in the bowl of marinade or squeezing around the bag every hour to an hour and a half to insure even marinating.
  2. Line a large baking sheet with foil sprayed lightly with oil. Mix the flour, salt and pepper in one bowl, the beaten eggs and coconut water in a second bowl, and the panko and dessicated coconut in a third bowl. Remove the chicken strips from the refrigerator. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
  3. Lift up each chicken strip and shake off some of the marinade so it isn't overly-saturated (I just ran two impeccably clean fingers down each strip, sliding off the extra marinade). Coat each chicken strip in flour, knocking off the excess, then dip and coat well in the egg mixture and then dredge it in the panko - dessicated coconut mixture, pressing it onto each strip. Place each chicken strip on the oiled baking sheet and continue until all chicken has been coated.
  4. Lightly spray some oil on the breaded chicken strips, then bake for 20-25 minutes until golden brown. IMPORTANT - Do not let them sit on the baking sheet once out of the oven. Transfer them to a rack if not eating within a few minutes, or the bottoms will get soggy.
  5. Make the Spicy Greek Yogurt Dip. Mix all the ingredients together, then cover and refrigerate for a few hours to allow the flavors blend

If you get a chance, please click on the blue frog below to see all the amazing dishes recreated by Group A of The Secret Recipe Club.  Also, click on over to Edesia’s Notebook for some fantastic sweet and savory recipes!

Crunchy, Baked Coconut Lime Chicken Strips with Spicy Yogurt Dipping Sauce

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I Found My Thrill……With Coconut and Lime Plus the Winner of the Custom T-shirt Giveaway and another Giveaway! GIVEAWAY CLOSED

July 4, 2011 at 1:32 pm | Posted in Cakes, Dessert, Fruit, Giveaway, Puddings | 154 Comments
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First off..Happy 4th of July to all in the USA, and Happy July 4th to everyone outside the USA!  I’ve got the blue and the white (well..yellowish) but not the red.  No matter, this dessert is pretty awesome, red, white and blue. or not.

So what do you do when you ask someone to pick you up blackberries, and instead they bring you blueberries?  Nothing, because summer berries are so interchangeable..and all will taste great in whatever recipe that called for one berry in particular.  Just my luck, about 5 minutes after receiving these blueberries, a tweet from Mark Bittman scrolled past.  Blueberry Pudding Cake.  I clicked on the link, then ditched my plan for a coconut blueberry custard pie.  I could essentially have all the components of my pie in this easy, quick, one batter cake.

I’ve made plenty of chocolate pudding, aka hot fudge, cakes in my day, and who hasn’t?  It’s one of the simplest cakes you could make..one quick batter in a square pan, pour boiling water on top, and voilà, chocolate cake with a fudgy pudding/custard saucy deal underneath.  When rushed for a dessert, or a sudden bout of PMS chocolate craving, it was always a win-win situation, and it only took about 30 minutes from mixing bowl to table.  Before anyone/I could say ‘cake’ they/Iwere/was eating big scoops of cakey, chocolatey goo with vanilla ice cream.

Blueberry Coconut Lime Pudding Cake

This pudding cake is simple, but it involves eggs and the separating of eggs.  I don’t know why, but when I see a recipe that involves separating eggs and beating the whites, which are then folded in, I cringe a little.  It’s not that it’s difficult, but when I’m in a ‘simple recipe’ mindset, it’s kind of like someone telling me the elevator is out-of-order and I need to take the stairs…the number of flights depending on the number of eggs.

Sometimes I’m a rebel, and just crack the amount of whole eggs in as is.

Sometimes the issue is forced when there’s a lopsided amount of yolks to whites.  Great..now I’m going to have leftover yolks or whites.  I’ll have to scour the net to find something to do with them outside of meringues, macarons and crème brûlée.  I’m not an egg white omelet person.  I like my omelets yellow.

In any event, I obeyed the recipe, and the results were worth it.  Of course, I made a few revisions to said recipe. As my usual mantra goes, I can’t leave most recipes alone..I always feel some could be better, or more to my liking.  I’m a futzer, a fiddler (a joker, a smoker and a midnight toker..sorry, had to) and I just can’t stop.  It’s a common thing in cooking, but baking not as much because baking is a SCIENCE and any little sway from the formula can completely change or destroy it.

My changes didn’t destroy it.  All I did was add some extra flavor, coconut and lime.  Kelapo Coconut sent me a sample of their coconut oil, so I used that instead of the melted butter, and I used lime zest in lieu of the lemon zest listed in the recipe.  Small changes, no big whoop, right?  Well..I felt it needed more coconut flavor, so I toasted some coconut and ground it with the sugar in the recipe.  Then, instead of plain buttermilk, I made coconut buttermilk by adding a tablespoon of  lime juice to the coconut milk.  The end result was perfect – plump, juicy blueberries floating in a sea of custard with a light, fluffy, slightly crisp, cake topping..a subtle background of coconut and the perfect hint of lime to cut the richness.

This is all great and good, but for the most part, you can’t tell that there’s coconut and lime in this cake pudding via the photos because I only had one lime and a bit of shredded coconut for the recipe.  When it came time for photos, I had nothing to top it with that said..’There is lime and coconut in this pudding cake!’.

Another reason I’m a bad food blogger.

I don’t think of these things until the last-minute, when it’s already too late.  As far as all of you can see, it’s just a blueberry pudding cake.  I suppose I could type ..’with coconut and lime’ under every photo, but I’m not that obsessive a person..I think…I hope.

Magic Blueberry Coconut Lime Pudding Cake
 
Adapted from Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything, with my revisions. For the original recipe minus coconut and lime - click HERE. About 6 servings, but I prefer 4 big ones Total Time: About 1¼ hours, plus time to cool
ingredients:
  • 4 tablespoons Kelapo Virgin Coconut Oil, melted, plus more for greasing dish
  • 1 cup coconut milk minus 1 tablespoon, plus 1 tablespoon lime juice (or lemon juice or cider vinegar)
  • 3 /4 cup sugar, divided
  • ¼ cup shredded coconut, toasted (sweetened or unsweetened, entirely up to you)
  • 3 eggs, separated, plus one extra white (extra white not necessary, but I like adding it for more fluff)
  • 1 /3 cup all-purpose flour
  • Pinch salt
  • 1½ cup blueberries
  • 1 tablespoon grated lime zest
directions:
  1. Combine the coconut milk with the cider vinegar or lime juice..let it curdle. Grind ½ cup of the sugar and toasted coconut together in a food processor or blender. Set both aside. Preheat the oven to 325°F. Grease an 8- inch square ceramic or glass baking dish or a deep dish pie plate with Kelapo coconut oil.
  2. Put the coconut oil, coconut buttermilk, the ½ cup of coconut sugar, the egg yolks, flour, and salt in a blender or food processor and purée until smooth. Pour the batter into a bowl. Stir in the blueberries and lime zest and set aside.
  3. In a separate bowl, beat the 4 egg whites until they hold soft peaks, sprinkle in the remaining ¼ cup sugar while beating until the whites hold stiff peaks; fold them into the batter gently but thoroughly.
  4. Turn the batter into the prepared dish and put the dish in a baking pan large enough to hold it comfortably. Add enough warm water to the baking pan to come to within an inch or so of the top of the dish. Transfer carefully to the oven and bake until the top is golden brown and the center is just set but slightly jiggly, about 50 minutes.
  5. Remove the cake from the oven and cool the dish completely on a rack, cover with plastic wrap, then refrigerate until chilled, at least 3 hours, before serving. This will keep in the refrigerator for 2 or 3 days. Serve with whipped cream, if desired.


Now, the GIVEAWAY.  Part one is a yummy one. Jen from Kelapo Coconut contacted me a few weeks back and asked if I would like a sample jar of their virgin coconut oil to try.  Of course it was an affirmative, I love trying new things.  However, I thought it would be cool if she could also provide an extra jar to give away to my readers.  Affirmative again.  SO, when the winner is announced, Jen will personally ship a 15 oz jar of Kelapo Virgin Coconut Oil to that winner.

Blueberry Coconut Lime Pudding Cake

I admit, at first I was iffy on coconut oil..I heard a buzz here and there that it was bad for us.  Apparently, new studies have reversed that charge and now they say it’s good for us.  UPDATE: a commenter named Jean said that only the virgin and unrefined coconut oils are good for you, so Kelapo organic VIRGIN coconut oil, IS good for you! Refined coconut oil is NOT good for you.

Good to know, because coconut oil is also a flavorful replacement for butter, which is a plus for those who are allergic to dairy or just dairy-free in general.  It’s great for vegan cooking and baking too, not to mention a good substitute for neutral oils in most recipes. Personally, I love the stuff because it tastes and smells amazing, and I wanna saute something savory in it soon.  Coconut seared chicken something or other keeps sprinting through my brain.  Also, my friend, Suzanne just let me know that a health food store she shops at pops their popcorn in coconut oil.  Is that not a fantastic idea?  I’m definitely trying that!

The second part of this giveaway is the cookbook How to Cook Everything (10th anniversary Edition), by Mark Bittman.  I always wanted this cookbook, so I bought one for myself, and one for one of you!  It’s become sort of a habit now when I buy things.  One for me and one to give away here.


To enter this giveaway for both the coconut oil and the cookbook,
leave a commentFor extra entries, you can leave separate comments for all or any of the below;

1.  Follow @parsleynsage on Twitter

2.  Follow @kelapo_coconut on Twitter

3.  Like Kelapo Coconut on Facebook

4. Tweet the following: A Kelapo Coconut Oil & Mark Bittman cookbook GIVEAWAY @parsleynsage http://t.co/NnhVqCG #giveaway

I’ll be choosing the winner 10 days from today using random integer.

Speaking of winners..the winner of the $50.00 worth of custom designed t-shirts from ooshirts.com is…

…number 19, which lands on Carolyn of Cookin’ for my Captain!  Congratulations, Carolyn.  I will pass your email to Colleen at ooshirts.com so she can email you the code for your $50.00 worth of custom printed shirts!  I’m sure you’ll have fun making them!

Magic Blueberry Pudding Cake - One batter morphs into cake, pudding and blueberry filling.


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You Say Potato Salad – I Say Potahto Salad

June 14, 2011 at 9:40 am | Posted in Daring Cooks, Dinner, Fruit, Lunch, Salads, Vegetables | 55 Comments
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I’m willing to guess that a good portion of Americans have grown up with potato salad.  I’m also willing to guess that the potato salad most of us have grown up with is mayonnaise based.  Thick, gloppy, slightly sweet, supermarket containers of potato salad, or your Aunt Rose’s or neighbor’s homemade thick, gloppy, slightly sweet, mayonnaise based potato salad, with lots of egg – one that would inevitably sit out in the sun for hours, (though no one ever contracted or died of staphylococcus or salmonella), at every Sunday or summer BBQ.

Once in a while, someone would shock the suburban BBQ system and show up with a German potato salad, 100% vinegar based..no mayonnaise. We’d all slowly circle this alien bowl of potatoes without the creamy glop we were so used to.  You could actually see the potatoes, and they were actually the color of peeled potatoes, not mysterious lumps blanketed beneath a white dressing with bits of eggs, celery, and onions.

“Are you gonna try it?”

“No, you try it first and tell me if it’s good”

Inevitably, someone would try it, usually me, and although it wasn’t bad..my palate was trained on creamy, thick mayonnaise dressing, so after the initial scrunch face from the acidity of the the vinegar…

“Ummm…I don’t know..not really potato salad to me, too vinegary

Before I go on, this month’s Daring Cooks challenge is pretty cool.  it’s partly a contest, with prizes and a chance to get your recipe out there via the US potato board…

Jami Sorrento was our June Daring Cooks hostess and she chose to challenge us to celebrate the humble spud by making a delicious and healthy potato salad. The Daring Cooks Potato Salad Challenge was sponsored by the nice people at the United States Potato Board, who awarded prizes to the top 3 most creative and healthy potato salads. A medium-size (5.3 ounce) potato has 110 calories, no fat, no cholesterol, no sodium and includes nearly half your daily value of vitamin C and has more potassium than a banana!

Thankfully, palates break from the traditional and change as we grow, but I knew I was still in the ‘rut’ at 18, when an ex-BF’s mom promised us a BBQ and some homemade potato salad when we returned from the beach.  As the day went on and my hunger grew (residual, secondhand smoke from his daily uhhh..toke ..errr, smoke, catapulted that hunger), visions of creamy potato salad swirled through my head, served with a juicy burger, some of the mayonnaise from the side of potato salad smearing on  the bun, making each bite a blended delight.  I also couldn’t wait to slap some of that creamy potato salad on my burger.  Have you ever tried that?  If not, I recommend you do.

I think you know where this is going.

When Mama of Ex-Dreamboat appeared through the haze of charcoal smoke, like an angel from heaven, carrying a big, red bowl undoubtedly filled with loads of creamy, eggy potatoes, just waiting to melt on my tongue my stomach started rumbling, like a teen’s souped-up vintage car.  I ran to her to ‘help’ by taking the bowl from her and placing it on an empty spot on the table, right in front of me..I wanted first dibs.

When the burgers were ready, I pulled off the foil excitedly.  Oh no. It was like hitting a whammy on Press Your Luck, and this sound blared loud and clear in my head.  It was German potato salad, in all of it’s vinegary glory.

“Did you know my Mom was German?” Dreamboat asked while scooping up a heaping portion of this vinegary disappointment.

“No, Dreamboat, I didn’t, but now I do.” I replied, smiling, but secretly feeling miserable.

I almost sneezed when the vinegar hit my nasal cavities, but at least my watery eyes disguised the real tears that could have come at any moment, since the disappointment was so fierce.  I smiled and said “Wow, looks great”.  I may as well have admitted I was personally responsible for the breakdown of the ozone layer, because that’s how disingenuous it sounded.   I begrudgingly took a whole tablespoon of the potato salad, and pretended to enjoy it immensely.

Fast forward to college and thereafter.   My palate finally took a step off the beaten path, and kept walking. I now appreciate a good potato salad without mayonnaise – warm or cold.  Don’t get me wrong, I still love a mayo-based potato salad, but I was finally able to take some potato forks in the road and appreciate all kinds of preparations. A mayo-free blue cheese- apple potato salad became my go to in my 20′s..even at Sunday BBQ’s, no matter how horrified some traditionalist appeared when I showed it off, pleading with them to “ …just taste it!”

Well..I’ve taken that route again, but in a much healthier way.  I came up with a Mango-Ginger (You can substitute apple for the mango, just as good and crunchier) potato salad with only 2 tablespoons of low fat mayonnaise, and fat-free Greek yogurt, minus the blue cheese.  Creamy without all the extra calories and fat, and loaded with flavor and texture.  I would have omitted the mayonnaise completely if not for missing it a bit after a few tastes.  It needed that creamy egg and oil component so it wouldn’t taste completely like yogurt with fruit, shallots, and potatoes.  It was one of those scour the fridge and ‘create’ moments, and I think it worked out quite well, if I may brag a bit. It’s got it all, fruity, savory, soft, creamy, crunchy and a little sweet heat from the ginger.  So far, no horrified looks, just thumbs up.  Try it..I know you want to at least taste it.

For my warm potato salad, an idea struck at the last minute – like last night last minute.  I remembered this amazing spicy, chile, lime, honey lobster noodle salad I had, created by renowned chef and owner of many fabulous restaurants, Jean-Georges Vongerichten.  The dressing on the lobster and noodles was to.die.for – sweet, savory, spicy and tart.  I decided to adapt this dressing to a potato-lobster salad, eliminating a few ingredients, and changing the measurements to bode well with the amount of potatoes and lobster I was using.  WOW, I’m so happy with how this turned out.  I couldn’t stop taking forkfuls even hours after I ate.  Once again, you’ve got to try it.  You can substitute shrimp, crab, scallops or even monk fish, for the lobster.  Oh, did I mention this one was also healthy?

Well…that’s it for my two new potato salads.  To see all the unique and creative potato salads my fellow Daring Cooks came up with, click on the links to their blogs, HERE.  To see and try a variety of recipes for all kinds of healthy potato salads from all over the world, click HERE.

 Low-Fat Greek Yogurt Potato Salad, loaded with all kinds of good stuff.

Mango OR Apple Potato Salad
2 pounds Red Bliss potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
3/4 cup Greek, plain fat-free yogurt
2 tablespoons light mayonnaise
1 mango, OR 1 small to medium, tart apple, peeled and diced
1 large shallot, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon grated ginger (optional)
1 red jalapeno chile, seeded and diced (optional)
1 red or orange bell pepper, roasted, seeded, peeled and diced
1/4 cup coarsely chopped mint or parsley
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Toasted cashew nuts, chopped (optional)

DIRECTIONS:
1. Bring a large saucepan of salted water to a boil. Add the potatoes and cook over high heat until tender, about 9 minutes. Drain, gently shaking out the excess water. Spread on a baking sheet,to cool then place in a bowl and drizzle with two tablespoon of cider vinegar, cover with plastic wrap, and chill in the coldest part of refrigerator for 2 hours.

2. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk the yogurt with the mayonnaise until smooth. Add the mango or apple, garlic, chile, ginger, roasted pepper, shallots, and mint or parsley. Fold in the potatoes, season with salt and pepper and let chill, covered, for several hours or overnight, to let the for flavors meld.

3. Sprinkle with toasted, chopped cashews and serve. Can be refrigerated up to 2 or 3 days.

Warm  & Spicy Chile Lime Potato Lobster Salad
Dressing adapted from Jean-Georges Vongerichten, with my revisions

2 lbs red bliss or yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
1 lobster tail, cooked, shelled and cut into 1-inch pieces
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 large garlic cloves, minced
1 large shallot, diced
kosher salt
1 red bell pepper
1 fresh long red hot chile (I used a thai bird)
2 tablespoons Asian fish sauce
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice, plus lime wedges, for serving
2 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon Asian chile sauce, such as sambal oelek
1 teaspoon Asian sesame oil
1/4 cup chopped unsalted roasted peanuts, toasted
2 tablespoons thinly sliced mint leaves
2 tablespoons thinly sliced cilantro leaves

DIRECTIONS:
1. Bring a large saucepan of salted water to a boil. Add the potatoes and cook over high heat until tender, about 9 minutes. Drain, gently shaking out the excess water. Let cool spread on a baking sheet,to cool.  Cut up lobster tail and refrigerate until ready to use.

2. In a small skillet, heat the olive oil. Add the garlic, shallots and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Cook over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until the garlic and shallots are golden, 5 minutes. Transfer to a medium bowl.

3. Roast the red pepper and chile directly over a gas flame or under a preheated broiler, turning occasionally, until charred all over. Transfer to a plate and let cool. Peel the pepper and chile and discard the stems and seeds; cut into 1/4-inch dice and transfer to the bowl with the shallot mixture. Stir in the fish sauce, lime juice, honey, sambal oelek and sesame oil. Heat up the dressing so it’s very warm, but not quite hot.  Season the dressing with salt.

4.  Pour the warm dressing over the cooled potatoes (it’s important that one is hot and one cold, so the potatoes absorb most of the dressing) and lobster chunks.  Let sit at room temperature for about an hour so the potatoes can absorb the dressing, tossing occasionally. Top with chopped, toasted peanuts, mint, cilantro and serve warm.


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Cake and Ice Cream…Hold the flour

February 28, 2009 at 1:08 am | Posted in Cakes, Candy, Daring Bakers, Dessert, Frozen, Fruit | 113 Comments
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Yes, it’s that time of the month again – the Daring Bakers Challenge! Yesss, it’s another challenge where the difficulty factor wasn’t high, once again making it easy for me to participate without having to set knee in the kitchen, or for my helpers to have to set foot in the kitchen more than a few times. The main component of this month’s challenge contains only 3 ingredients, yep, just three ingredients – chocolate, butter and eggs. The second component (which I’m absolutely sure isn’t second to most people) is something I could cook, but it wasn’t absolutely necessary. Well, I guess the title kind of gave it away, but hey, I need some kind of intro.

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First off, I must add this paragraph so the DB-BOT will sense my participation and put me on it’s good baker list. It knows if I’ve been bad or good so I’ll be good for goodness…oh, wait, I’m confusing ‘it‘ with someone else. Here goes…

The February 2009 challenge is hosted by Wendy of WMPE’s blog and Dharm of Dad ~ Baker & Chef. We have chosen a Chocolate Valentino cake by Chef Wan; a Vanilla Ice Cream recipe from Dharm and a Vanilla Ice Cream recipe from Wendy as the challenge. Thank you for a great challenge, Dharm and Wendy! (That’s me thanking them – NOT part of THE paragraph).

OK, done! Seriously, though, I think it’s a great idea, and it’s so helpful to Lisa and Ivonne in keeping up with who’s still in it, and who isn’t, not to mention those who have ‘cut class’ without a note, more than several times!

Truth be told, I’m not a fan of dark (bittersweet) or even semisweet chocolate, I can tolerate semisweet, but I don’t know what it is, other than being born without a dark chocolate gene. Regardless, I still bake with both quite a bit because people like it, they really like it! For this challenge, I decided to keep the dark chocolate to a minimum.

I baked two flourless (Valentino) cakes, the first being a white chocolate-dark chocolate layered dealypoo.  I split the master batter in two, 8 oz of each chocolate, and just dropped alternating spoonfuls of white chocolate and dark chocolate batter into the pan,, for Valentine’s Day, and last week as yet another thank you gift to some of my helpers who came for dinner, a milk and dark chocolate Valentino, not layered or split, just melted together with the butter.

White chocolate really isn’t suited for a flourless chocolate cake because well, it isn’t chocolate and the cocoa butter content is very high. However, not being one to give up before actually testing something (unless it resembles a grenade or has a skull and crossbones on it), I went ahead with it. Guess what? It worked. You just need to work that confection like a cheap slu..ok, I’ll keep it G-rated – like  cream to butter.

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Here’s the main caveat when you use white chocolate – the chocolate separates and curdles when you incorporate the egg yolks. Don’t be alarmed and give up, just keep mixing it and it’ll eventually come back together. The second caveat is that as it comes back together, it starts to firm up.

NO worries, because once you fold in the egg whites, it loosens up again. The last caveat is that the white chocolate batter is much looser than the batter using real chocolate. I originally wanted to do a zebra drop layering, but the dark chocolate batter didn’t spread nearly as much as the white chocolate batter, so I ended up (as I mentioned above) just alternating heaping tabelespoons of batter on top of one another in a rustic (aka sloppy) manner. I kind of left it up to the baking gods after that.

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The end result was most of the the dark chocolate batter sinking to the bottom while most of the white chocolate batter rose to the top. It was perfectly fine though, as it still resulted in a pretty presentation and most importantly, tasted great! Surprisingly  it set up really well. I was initially apprehensive due to a few daring DB’ers encountering runny interiors when cutting into their white chocolate Valentino’s after it seemed set. No idea why it worked for me, but here’s what I did in my attempt to tame that cantankerous confection for this preparation…

  • I used Callebaut white chocolate (actually, it was all I had on hand)
  • Mixed the heck out of the white chocolate-butter amalgamation after adding the egg yolks.
  • Lightened the batter with a little more than a third of the egg whites, then folded in the rest
  • Baked it for 30-32 minutes instead of the 25 stated in the recipe, and after letting it set at room temperature, refrigerated it overnight.

That’s it, and it was perfect – perfect enough to stick with a Valentine’s Day motif by cutting hearts out of the cake. I got a total of four 3-inch whimsical hearts from the 8-inch round cake, and the scraps were up for grabs!

Flourless White and Dark Chocolate Heart Cakes with Strawberry Lime Cream Cheese Ice Cream

The next part of this challenge was to make an ice cream to go along with the cake. We were given two great vanilla ice cream recipes by Wendy and Dharm, one a precooked custard, the other a no cook mixture, prior to freezing. However, we were given free reign to use any ice cream recipe or come up with one of our own. Naturally I chose a no cook recipe as simplicity is exponentially key for me now, and not sure my electric fondue pot would have held all the ingredients for the cooked version, lol!

The recipe I chose was one I’ve been using for years from my old standby site, Epicurious.com – a simple cream cheese ice cream that’s uber creamy and so incredibly smooth on the palate. I felt the light tang of the cream cheese would pair well with the extremely rich, dense cake. I put my own take on it by adding chopped strawberries, a touch of lime, and a small amount of VERY finely cracked pink peppercorn for a surprise bite of peppery heat.

I also decreased the sugar since I felt it didn’t need as much as the recipe listed. Unfortunately, my ice cream bowls had been placed in a part of the freezer near the door where they never freeze up enough since the door is opened quite a bit. I didn’t realize this until I heard that liquidy sound during the churning. I removed the bowl and took some photos of the liquid ice cream anyway, not thinking I would use any of them, but one of the photos came out kind of cool, so I did (see above, next to the frozen heart by itself).

After taking the photos, I poured the ice cream into a container and stuck it in the fridge so I could freeze it the next day, after the bowl was properly frozen in the RIGHT part of the freezer! Thankfully, everything turned out well, and the ice cream froze just fine the next day.

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I packed some of the ice cream into heart shaped molds for the final freeze (not that it mattered, since my frozen hearts started to melt into a puddle of goo the minute I started taking pictures), since I was going for Valentine kitsch. OK, kitsch is an understatement! Everything about my presentation was less than original, everything epitomizing Valentine’s Day – from the chocolate dipped strawberries to the heart shaped cakes and ice cream to the chocolate straws and strawberry-raspberry coulis.

Red, pink, chocolate, hearts GALORE!! It doesn’t get anymore Valentine than that! However, I was a little more creative with the dark chocolate-milk chocolate cake, but you’ll have to stay tuned for that one, since I plan on blogging about it next time!

Speaking of presentation, I topped each heart with chocolate ganache, then placed it on a grid of 4 chocolate straws. I placed the ice cream heart on it’s side and gave it a drizzle of strawberry-raspberry coulis (HA! A bleeding heart – I should have called the plate ‘MY HEART BLEEDS FOR YOOOU!), with a few extra dots outside the chocolate grid. A white and dark chocolate dipped strawberry was the final touch. Original or not, it reeked of love and was enjoyed immensely. In the end, that’s all that mattered.

Chocolate Valentino

For a real Valentino, bake it in a heart shaped pan or cut it out into a heart shape. You may use any shape pan that gives you an area of 50” – 6×8 or 7×7. An 8” spring form pan works with great results as do smaller pans or ramekins. An instant read thermometer highly recommended. Also, this cake will (obviously) taste exactly like the chocolate you use, so use a good quality chocolate.
Preparation Time: 20 minutes –

Ingredients

  • 16 ounces (1 pound) (454 grams) of semisweet chocolate, roughly chopped
  • ½ cup (1 stick) plus 2 tablespoons (146 grams total) of unsalted butter
  • 5 large eggs separated

Directions

1. Put chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl and set over a pan of simmering water (the bottom of the bowl should not touch the water) and melt, stirring often.

2. While your chocolate butter mixture is cooling. Butter your pan and line with a parchment circle then butter the parchment.

3. Separate the egg yolks from the egg whites and put into two medium/large bowls.

4. Whip the egg whites in a medium/large grease free bowl until stiff peaks are formed (do not over-whip or the cake will be dry).

5. With the same beater beat the egg yolks together.

6. Add the egg yolks to the cooled chocolate.

7. Fold in 1/3 of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture and follow with remaining 2/3rds. Fold until no white remains without deflating the batter.

8. Pour batter into prepared pan, the batter should fill the pan 3/4 of the way full, and bake at 375F/190C

9. Bake for 25 minutes* until an instant read thermometer reads 140F/60C.
Note – If you do not have an instant read thermometer, the top of the cake will look similar to a brownie and a cake tester will appear wet.

10. Cool cake on a rack for 10 minutes then unmold.

Strawberry Lime Cream Cheese Ice Cream

Makes about 1 quart

Ingredients

  • 8 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • 1  teaspoon grated lime zest
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 1/4 cups chopped strawberries
  • 1 tablespoon very finely cracked pink peppercorns (optional)

Directions

1. Blend cream cheese, milk, lime  juice, sugar, and salt in a blender until smooth. Transfer to a bowl, then stir in cream, strawberries, lime zest and cracked peppercorns. Freeze cream cheese mixture in ice cream maker.

2. Transfer to an airtight container and put in freezer to harden, at least 2 hours. Let ice cream soften 5 minutes before serving.

Be sure to check out the magnificent creations by my fellow Daring Bakers by clicking on the links to their blogs at the Daring Bakers Blogroll site!

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