Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Pimm's Jasmine Lime Bergamot Summer Cocktail

It really is okay to mix your uppers with your downers. Yes, I am writing this under the influence of caffeine and alcohol.

Pimm's #1.

Britain's favorite and now mine.

Some sort of secret earthy mixture, a gin based spirit.

Satisfy yourself and someone else with Pimm's. It is a delicious little known token liqueur that deserves a taste.

I have turned in my bottle of Malbec for Pimm's. I would forgo all other alcoholic drinks for Pimm's. (truth)

I have had too much Pimm's for writing anything worthwhile. Enjoy your summer evening with someone you love. Dream up a new you. Watch the fireflies with your children. Light a fire. Make a wish. Feel the love!

Pimm's Jasmine Lime Bergamot Summer Cocktail
(I enjoy this cocktail so much as the tea just gives the the mellow Pimm's a bit of an edge)

2 Jasmine tea bags, steeped in 2 cups water - refrigerate until cool
Juice of 1 lime
An entire lime slice thinly
1 Can of fizzy lemon lime soda
Two large bergamot leaves, chopped thinly - If your Bee Balm is blooming.... throw a blossom into each cup.


(Optional Ingredients)
A lazy summer evening
Neighbors you love......(we miss you Steven and Heather)
A fine supper
Someone you want to squeeze (where you want to squeeze them is up to you)

Steep tea. Cool tea. Juice Lime into tea. Slice lime. Add soda into mix. Add sliced bergamot leaves into drink. Add a shot glass (an ounce or so) of Pimm's into your drink cup that is full of ice. Pour mixture over ice. Stir, sip and squeeze!

Loads of squeezes and foodie love..... Megan

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

For Pete's Sake Coconut Pecan Cake

Schools out! - For some reason, my grandmother has come to mind. She passed last year but I remember her sayings. I end up using many of them them as they have been ingrained in me for the past 36 years from my mother and my grandmother. 

My grandmother was Scottish-Canadian, her parents moved to Nova Scotia, Canada. She loved fries cooked in lard and ice skating....all things Canadian I was to learn! As one of nine children, my grandmother was often getting in trouble. Her parents would loan the kids out to farmer friends who needed help over the summer months. My grandmother just magically disappeared come working time, however her brothers could always find her in the barn, putting her lipstick on, peering into her compact mirror.

My grandmother's mother was deaf and her father was a preacher. Somehow she thought that this was going to give her an edge when it came to telling the truth. Not so, my great grandmother and grandfather were on to her ways and tricks and always had a finger to shake at dear Grace.

She was a darling and had several loves before my grandfather swooped her up. She attended bible college in Chicago and spoke fondly of the boys fetching her hamburgers, tying them to a string, and then hoisting them up to her dorm room via the window. She also told me about the day that her "boyfriend" and her decided to park on the shores of Lake Michigan, only to have the front end of the car creep over the edge. Embarrassingly, the two had to walk back to her boyfriends parents house and "ask" for help with the car! Mind you this was back in the 1930's.

On any given day, with a very particular eye roll and sigh, you could hear Grandma Grace rolling any of these sayings off her lips.

For the love or Pete!
I'm so mad I could spit!
I could cut off your head and sew on a tomato!... when she was really upset
If your head wasn't screwed on tight it would fall off!
Take a long walk off a short pier!
Your sins will find you out!
Go sit on a tack!
It's an ill wind that blows no one good!
Oh... She looks like an unmade bed! (my favorite and one that I frequently use with my husband when he chooses the "unmade" look)

Celebrate school being out and when your kids drive you mad, possibly take out one of these phrases!

Or.... just celebrate life in all of it's crazy frustrations and joys with this amazing Coconut Pecan Layer Cake, covered with a decadent chocolate ganache frosting.

Coconut Pecan Celebration Cake - Adapted from Food and Wine 1998
2 cups cake flour
1TBS plus 1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 Cup pluse 2 TBS buttermilk
1TBS vanilla extract
1 stick, or 4 oz. unsalted butter (softened
2 cups sugar
4 large eggs

1) Oven to 350. Butter and flour two 9" cake rounds. Line with parchment paper and butter again. Whisk together flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl. Combine milk and vanilla in small bowl.
2) Using electric mixer, beat the butter until creamy. Add sugar and beat about 3 minutes until it resembles wet sand. Make sure to scrape down sides. Beat in flour in 3 turns, alternating with the milk mixture. Scrape bowl if needed. Add eggs, one at a time, beating eggs between additions.
3) Divide batter between cake pans and bake for 30 minutes until you begin to smell cake, you see it pull away from the sides of your pan and a toothpick comes out clean.
4)Let cool for ten minutes. Slide a butter knife around the edge of the pan. Invert onto rack and remove parchment. Let cool completely.
5)Slice both cake layers in half. Layer custard onto first layer. Smooth evenly and try to leave at least a 1/2" border around the edge. Repeat with the subsequent layers. Chill cake for 15 minutes.
6)Spread a crumb layer onto the cake with the chocolate ganache frosting. Let cake cool again for about 15 minutes. Finish the cake with final coat of ganache. Top with the rest of the custard and chopped/toasted pecans.

Coconut Custard Pecan Filling - This is a knockout....

1 2/3 cup sweetened shredded coconut
2/3 cup chopped and toasted pecans
6 large egg yolks
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1 cup evaporated milk
1 TBS flour (set aside)
1 tsp. vanilla extract
3/4 cup heavy cream
2/3 cup finely chopped semisweet chocolate

1)Toast pecans in oven at 350 for 8 minutes. Let cool and chop. Set aside.
2) In large heavy bottomed saucepan, add egg yolks, sugars and whisk together. Stir in the milk, salt and 1 cup of the coconut. Cook over medium heat. Whisk 2 tbs left over evaporated milk with 1 one TBS flour and add into mixture, let mixture cook until pudding like. Remember it will thicken up as it cools. Let it cook while stirring constantly for about 10 minutes. Stir in vanilla, cover with plastic wrap so it does not form a film and refrigerate until cool.
3) Whip the cream until you have firm peaks. Fold into the coconut custard. Fold in remaining coconut and 1/2 of your chopped chocolate.

 Chocolate Ganache Frosting

2 cups heavy cream
1 lb bittersweet chocolate, chopped  ( I used a wonderful chocolate from Guittard called Ecuador)
4 TBS softened unsalted butter

In medium saucepan, heat the cream until it just comes to a boil. Pour over chocolate, stir until melted, add in the butter and let ganache start to cool. Keep your whisk handy. You will want to keep stirring this during the cooling process to evenly distribute the crystallization of the chocolate.

                                          Sending Grandma some Love! ~ Megan