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Monday, May 29, 2017

Coconut Raisin Muffins - #MuffinMonday




I've been meaning to make these coconut raisin muffins for a few months now but something would always happen. The stars all aligned for May's Muffin Monday. But when I went to the kitchen to start baking, I found myself making mango muffins instead. Two Julie mangoes were sacrificed for those muffins. The flavour was amazing, the texture was horrible. They were heavy, dense, doughy - not good at all. Unfortunately, I was out of mangoes so I had to revert to the original plan.

These coconut raisin muffins involved a tad more work than I like to do in the kitchen. First, I decided to make fresh coconut milk. Making coconut milk is a labour of love and not something I do very often. Getting the coconuts out of the husk is hard enough. I used to happily wield a machete or chopper when I was in my teens but now, I keep picturing me chopping a finger off. My brain is weird. After you get it out the husk, it's time to get the coconut meat out the shell. I still have not perfected that step. After cutting into an eye and draining the coconut water, I typically wrap the coconut in a some paper, place it in a bag, and then hurl it at a concrete surface until it's broken up enough for me. Next, I grab a table knife and try to pry the meat out. A knife with a sharp tip would definitely make the work easier but I have stabbed myself enough times to stick exclusively to the butter knife. The edges of the coconut shell are also extremely sharp. I've read tips about freezing and baking the coconut to make prying it from the shell easier. I've tried freezing. Didn't work. After you've applied bandages to all your cuts, the next step is to blend the coconut with hot water to get your coconut milk. Blend, strain, squeeze, enjoy. I also grated some of the coconut for the muffins.

All of that for really great muffins. I ate one, snapped some pics and walked away to go take care of something. When I returned, all the muffins were gone. There was just a solitary raisin left. I had packed away some for a friend and I really wished that I hadn't told him about them because I had none left for myself. I still have some coconut milk and meat left so I think I will make another batch later today. The process will be much faster since I won't be starting with coconuts still in the husk.

I'm not the only one sharing muffins this Monday. Scroll down for links to more!


Coconut Raisin Muffins
(Yield: 12 muffins)


Ingredients
100 grams raisins, soaked in liquid of choice (rum, water, rum, coconut water, rum)
240 grams flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 tablespoon ginger powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
100 grams brown sugar
100 grams fresh coconut, grated (or processed)
180 millilitres coconut milk, room temperature
80 millilitres oil (I used melted coconut oil)
1 egg, room temperature

Directions

Strain the raisins and leave to drain while you prepare everything else.
Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease or line a muffin tin.

Whisk together flour, baking powder, ginger powder, and salt. Stir in the brown sugar and the grated coconut.
In a separate container, mix together the coconut milk, oil, and the egg. Your coconut oil will solidify if your ingredients are below 76 degrees.

Stir the wet ingredients gently into the dry ingredients. Stop before it is completely mixed - just after about 5 or so stirs. There should still be lots of flour still showing. Add the raisins and stir gently until everything is just combined.

Scoop into the prepared muffin pan and bake 18 to 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the muffin comes out clean.

Hide a couple for yourself to enjoy.



#MuffinMonday is a group of muffin loving bakers who get together once a month to bake muffins. You can see all our of lovely muffins by following our Pinterest board.

Updated links for all of our past events and more information about Muffin Monday, can be found on our home page.



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Saturday, May 20, 2017

Spicy Potato Chips Crusted Chicken Strips - CIC



The moment that I saw that potato chips and soy sauce were the winners for this month's Crazy Ingredient Challenge, I made myself a promise. I would NOT make chicken with a dip. No way. Yeah. So what happened? As usual, the 20th snuck up on me. I already had the ingredients for my other dish - onion rings - but I honestly didn't know what date it was all week until I checked and realised it was the night of the 17th. How on earth did that happen?

It was a bit of a crazy week here. We had really heavy rains starting last Saturday night and spent the next few days waiting to be flooded out. It did not happen! Yaay! While we waited for the flood, our internet decided it didn't want to wait with us. Our ISP said they'd send someone out but the roads were impassable and much of the island was on standstill on Tuesday. I had an important meeting that Tuesday morning but since I don't own a boat, going was not an option. We were lucky but several persons weren't. The river closest to us rose approximately 30 feet and washed away a bridge or two. Sigh. It's not even hurricane season yet and this was the second instance of severe flooding in 3 weeks. And it's still raining right now. Oh and with this bad weather comes power cuts. I've lost count of the number of times we lost power yesterday.

So that's the story all about how it was CIC time again and I almost hadn't made anything. But not to worry! I knew that I wanted onion rings. I made them Thursday morning. They were absolutely delicious. And I ate all but 3 before I remembered to take a picture. I could have made more rings but why tempt fate? So I decided to batter and bake some chicken instead.


Look what the other bloggers made this month!





Spicy Potato Chips Crusted Chicken Strips

Ingredients
8 - 10 oz chicken breast, cut into strips
salt & pepper
Batter
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon ginger powder
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
pinch of salt
Crust
4 oz barbecue flavoured potato chips
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Sauce
4 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons ketchup
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1/2 cup water
2 teaspoons cornstarch dissolved in 2 tablespoons water
cayenne pepper and salt to taste

Directions

Preheat oven to 375F.
Season the chicken strips with salt and pepper.
Mix the batter ingredients until just combined. Don't overmix.
Process the potato chips into crumbs and place in a shallow dish along with the cayenne pepper.
Dip the chicken strips in the batter, shake off excess and then dredge in the potato chips. Place on a greased baking sheet. Bake for 10-15 minutes until golden and cooked through.

While the chicken is baking, heat the sugar, ketchup, soy sauce, rice vinegar, and water over medium heat stirring occasionally. Heat until sugar is dissolved. Mix the cornstarch in the 2 tablespoons of water and then add to the mixture on the stove. Cook until thickened. Taste and add cayenne pepper and salt to taste.


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Thursday, April 20, 2017

Carrot Cake Truffles - Crazy Ingredient Challenge





You'd think that having two "sweet" ingredients would make this month's Crazy Ingredient Challenge really easy for me. Not even a little bit. Carrots plus graham crackers scream carrot cake. And not only have I made such a carrot cake before, right before the winning ingredients were announced, I had made a carrot cake. There was no way I was making another one. A possible carrot-banana-graham cracker loaf seemed like the way to go for a bit. Or perhaps some bars?  All variations on that carrot cake.

In the end, I decided to stop fighting the carrot cake. This was definitely helped by Cupcake Project posting her Carrot Cake Truffles. They have mashed potatoes! It sounded weird and hence, right up my alley. I modified her recipe and produced my own little bites. You can't taste the potatoes - potatoes, after all, are a pretty blank canvas. These are not particularly sweet so you could definitely increase the sugar, a little. Or add in another sweet ingredient. Easily modified. Try them and see.

Carrot Cake Truffles
(Yield: ~14)

Ingredients
100 grams carrots
50 grams fresh coconut
50 grams graham cracker crumbs
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
37 grams sugar
1/4 cup prepared mash potatoes (with only butter, salt, and milk)
toppings: crushed nuts, cinnamon sugar

Directions

Pulse the carrots and the coconut in a food processor until finely diced. Pulse in the graham cracker crumbs, cinnamon, ginger, and sugar. Stir in the mashed potatoes. Taste and adjust the spices and sugar, if necessary. Take tablespoon amounts of the mixture and roll into balls. Roll the balls into your desired toppings. Chill before serving.





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