Friday, July 29, 2016

Baked Lemon Pepper Cod & Roasted Tomatoes

Let's just say that I love sheet-pan dinners.  Not familiar?  A sheet-pan dinner is where everything for the meal is cooked on one sheet-pan in the oven.  When it's done, you place the sheet-pan on the table and serve from it.  Super easy.  And easy clean up too.  In this particular one, you take cod fillets and season them generously and then surround them with grape tomatoes.  The fish is tender yet delicate and meaty while the tomatoes offer a sweet acidic balance to the meal.

Baked Lemon Pepper Cod & Roasted Tomatoes
Serves 4-6

1 and 1/2 Pounds Cod Fillets (boneless and thawed or fresh)
2 Pints Cherry Tomatoes
1 Tablespoon Nature's Seasoning
1-2 Tablespoons Lemon Pepper Seasoning
1/4 Cup Olive Oil
Cooking Spray

Step 1:  Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.  Spray a large baking pan with pan spray.  Set aside.

Step 2:  Prep the grape tomatoes by washing them.  You can leave them whole, but I prefer to cut them in half.  Set aside.

Step 3:  Center the fish fillets on the baking pan.  Place the tomatoes around the fillets (it's okay if they touch the fish . . .just don't put them on top of the fish).  

Step 4:  Drizzle the olive over the tomatoes and fish.  Season the tomatoes with the Nature's Seasoning.  Season the fish with the lemon pepper.  

Step 5:  Place the sheet, uncovered, into the oven and bake for roughly 15 minutes.  When the fish is done, it will flake easily with a fork.  


Friday, July 22, 2016

Coconut Almond Cake

Y'all know I can't resist baking myself a scrumptious, decadent birthday cake.  In fact, I would be personally offended if my family bought me a cake.  That's how much I love to bake cakes.  Seriously.  I'm not even joking one bit.  And the cake for this year's birthday?  Coconut Almond.  And it is absolutely fabulous.  Velvety, soft, golden cake with a slight texture from the coconut and almonds.  Excellent flavor, amazing texture.  

This recipe is adapted from Emeril Lagasse's Coconut Cream Cake recipe from his book "Emeril's TV Dinners".  (psbytheway:  I (heart) Emeril).   Something I should mention:  the original recipe calls for the cake to be baked in three 8-inch pans.  I used two 9-inch pans and adjusted the baking time.  The pans were very full, but it worked out fine.  I frosted the cake with a very silky smooth frosting made with coconut milk.  It is pretty unbelievable.  If using this frosting, I recommend storing the cake in the fridge as the frosting can get a little soft.  I also sandwiched some maraschino cherries between the cake layers.  It was a fun idea, but it really didn't add much flavor.  The cake is amazing without the cherries :)

Coconut Almond Cake
Serves 16

2 Cups Granulated Sugar
1/2 Cup Unsalted Butter, room temperature
1/2 Cup Vegetable Oil
5 Large Eggs, separated
2 Cups Flour
1 Teaspoon Baking Soda
3/4 Cup Sliced or Blanched Almonds
1 Cup Unsweetened, Flaked Coconut
1 Cup Buttermilk
1/2 Teaspoon Almond Extract (optional)
1/2 Teaspoon Coconut Extract (optional)

Step 1:  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  Grease and flour two 9-inch cake pans (or three 8-inch pans).  Set aside.

Step 2:  In a food processor, grind the almonds and coconut.  Do not obliterate or over process.  You want them to turn into a nice crumb size.  Set aside.

Step 3:  In a large mixing bowl, cream the sugar and the butter together.  Next, add the oil and mix until well combined.  Now, add the yolks one at a time, making sure they are blended in before adding the next one.  Also add the extracts at this time if you are choosing to use them.

Step 4:  Sift together the flour and baking soda.  Add the ground almonds and coconut.  Mix together.

Step 5:  Alternately add the flour mixture and the buttermilk to the batter, mixing well.  Set the batter aside.

Step 6:  In a clean bowl with clean mixer beaters, beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form.  Fold the egg whites into the cake batter.  Pour the batter evenly into the prepared pans.  Bake for 25 - 45 minutes (depending on your pan size - shorter time if using three pans, longer time if using two pans).  They will be done when the center springs back when touched and when a toothpick inserted comes out clean.  

Step 7:  Remove from the oven and let cool.  Once cooled, remove from pans and frost per your discretion.

Coconut Cream Frosting
Yield:  5-6 Cups

1 (13.5 oz) Can Coconut Milk
1 Cup Butter, Room Temperature
1 and 1/2 Cups Shortening
5 Cups Powdered Sugar
Food Coloring (optional)
Extract of Choice (optional)

Step 1:  In the bowl of a large mixer, add the butter and shortening.  Beat until smooth.  

Step 2:  Add half the coconut milk to the creamed mixture and beat until smooth.  Add the remaining coconut milk and beat until smooth and well incorporated.

Step 3:  Add one cup of the powdered sugar and beat until well incorporated.  Repeat with the next cup of powdered sugar and continue to all the powdered sugar is incorporated.  Beat this for 3-4 minutes.  This will allow whip in some air to help stiffen up the frosting a bit.   If you feel it is still too smooth for you, add up to one more cup of powdered sugar.  At this time, taste and if you are happy with the flavor and texture - you are good to go.  Dye it if you please.  This is also the time to add the extract if you choose to use.

This is a very smooth and silky frosting with a slight coconut flavor.  Be sure to store in the fridge.

Friday, July 8, 2016

Salmon with Pesto & Tomatoes

I can't decide what I love the most about this dish:  the ease of it or the flavors.  Not gonna lie.  I really love this dish.  You take a slab of salmon and slather it with pre-made pesto and add tomatoes . . .easy peasy.  And, even clean up is a cinch because you bake it in a foil packet!  I served mine with some sliced avocado on the side . . .healthy was the theme!

Salmon with Pesto & Tomatoes
Serves 2

1/2 Pound of Salmon (without bones)
2 Tablespoons Pesto
8-10 Grape Tomatoes (washed and halved)

Step 1:  Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.  Layout a piece of tinfoil twice the length of the salmon.  Place the salmon (skin-side down if it still has the skin) on the left-side of the foil.

Step 2:  Spread the pesto on top of the salmon and top with the grape tomatoes.

Step 3:  Fold the tinfoil over the salmon/tomatoes and close up the edges (there should only be three edges of the foil to fold/close).  Place packet on top of baking sheet.

Step 4:  Place the pan in the oven and bake for 10 minutes.  Remove from the oven and carefully open the foil packet.  The fish should flake easily with a fork.  To serve, using a flat spatula, remove the fish from the foil and place on plates.  If there was skin on the fish, the skin should stick to the foil.

Friday, July 1, 2016


You don't need to go to a fancy restaurant next time you are craving a delicious popover - just make this recipe instead!  You'll save yourself a little cash instead of eating out and still be left wanting more popovers.  No lie.  You can't have just 1.  This recipe is very easy to make - the key is to way over-grease your muffin tin.  

Yield: 12

1 and 1/2 Cups All Purpose Flour
3/4 Teaspoon Salt
1 and 1/2 Tablespoons Melted Butter
1 and 1/2 Cups Milk
3 Large Eggs, Slightly Beaten

Step 1:  Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.  

Step 2:  Grease the heck out of  a muffin tin.  Grease like you've never greased before!

Step 3:  In mixing bowl, whisk together the salt and flour.  Add the remaining ingredients and stir together until just combined.

Step 4:  Disburse the batter among a 12-cup muffin tin.  Place in the preheated oven and bake for 1 hour.

Step 5:  Remove from the pans and serve warm.