Thursday, November 10, 2016

Apple-Carrot Cake with Cinnamon Maple Cream Frosting

For Jeff's birthday cake this year, I adapted an apple-spice cake recipe. It's full of autumn flavor and would be the perfect cake for Thanksgiving!

 Apple-Carrot Cake with Cinnamon Maple Cream Frosting

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/4 cup coconut oil
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon maple extract1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour 

1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1-1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk
2 medium apples, finely chopped
1 medium-sized carrot, peeled and shredded

Preheat the oven to 350°. Prepare 2 9-inch round cake pans by lining the bottom with wax paper and spraying with non-stick spray. 

In a mixing bowl, cream together the butter, coconut oil and sugars until fluffy - this will take a few minutes. Blend the eggs and extracts into the mixture. In a separate bowl, combine the dry ingredients. Alternately add in the flour mixture and the buttermilk, just until combined. Fold in the apple and carrot. Divide the batter between the pans and bake for 25-28 minutes, until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool in the pans for a few minutes, then remove cakes to a wire rack to cool completely. 

For the frosting:

8 ounces reduced-fat cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter, softened
4 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon maple extract
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1-1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
(milk or cream, as needed)

In a mixing bowl, blend together the butter and cream cheese until fluffy. Add in the extracts and cinnamon. Slowly add in the powdered sugar until the frosting is the right consistency. Add milk or cream if it's too stiff.

Garnish the frosted cake with chopped pecans or walnuts, if desired.

Monday, November 7, 2016

Bajan Coconut Chicken

As a thank you for some recipes I had submitted to the site, Savory Spice Shop sent out a variety of spices and seasonings for me to experiment with and enjoy. One of the seasonings I had never heard of before, which made me especially eager to try it. When I ran across a recipe for Coconut Lime Chicken on Pinterest, I knew that was the one I wanted to adapt. 

The seasoning blend is called Bajan (say it so that it rhymes with Cajun) and it originates from Barbados. It's a unique combination of herbaceous, spicy, sweet and tangy flavors. Of course, I recommend ordering it from Savory Spice Shop! I think this recipe features it beautifully.

Bajan Coconut Chicken

1 tablespoon coconut oil
2 chicken breasts, cubed
2 teaspoons Bajan seasoning
1 fresno chili, finely diced
     (or 1/2 teaspoon aleppo pepper flakes or 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes)
1 garlic clove, minced
2 green onions, sliced
1 teaspoon fish sauce (optional, but highly recommended!)
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 can full-fat coconut milk (shake well before opening)
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro

In large skillet, heat the coconut oil over medium-high heat. In a bowl, combine the chicken, Bajan seasoning, chili, and garlic. Transfer to the hot skillet and cook until the chicken is nicely browned, about 5-7 minutes, turning halfway through. (It's okay if the chicken isn't 100% cooked at this point. It will finish in the sauce.) Stir in the green onions, fish sauce, soy, lime juice and coconut milk. Bring to a simmer and cook until the sauce is slightly thickened and the chicken is cooked through, about another 5-7 minutes. Just before serving, stir in the cilantro. (The Bajan seasoning, soy and fish sauce all contain salt, but you'll want to test the sauce and add a touch more salt if necessary.) Serve over rice, rice noodles, cauliflower rice or quinoa.