Tuesday, March 12, 2013

coconut and lime sour bars {winner!}

Coconut and Lime Sour Bars from Brittany:

2 cups flour
4 T sugar
1/8 tsp salt
1 stick plus 2 1/2 T butter

Mash together (dry but holds together). Pour into a 9x13 pan. Press into pan as evenly as possible. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes.

4 eggs
1 cup chopped almonds
3 cups coconut flakes
1 1/2 cups brown sugar

Mix and spread over hot baked crust. Bake for an additional 30 minutes.

4 T lime juice (2 limes)
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
2 tsp lime zest

Glaze while HOT. Work quickly. Can add a little more lime juice to thin the glaze a bit.

lime bundt cake.

Lime Bundt Cake from Beckie:
(originally from Debbie Rush)

1 cup + 2 TBS unsalted butter, at room temp.
8 ounces (1 pkg) cream cheese, at room temp.
2 cups sugar
6 large eggs
½ TBS vanilla
2 TBS lime zest
3 TBS lime juice
½ tsp coconut extract
3 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 c. butter at room temperature (I added a little more)
2 cups powdered sugar
¼ cup fresh lime juice
2 TBS lime zest
½ tsp coconut extract

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Butter and flour a 9 inch bundt pan or mini bundt pan. 

In mixing bowl, beat together the butter and cream cheese until combined.  Add the sugar and cream until light and fluffy.  Add the eggs one at a time, mixing after each.  Add vanilla, lime zest, juice and coconut extract and mix.  Add the flour and mix until smooth and creamy.

Pour batter into bundt pan and bake for approx. 1 hour 15 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.  Cool in pan for about 5-10 minutes and then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely. For mini bundts bake approx. 23 minutes.

To make frosting, cream together the butter, cream cheese, powdered sugar, lime zest, and lime juice.  Mix until smooth.  Add more powdered sugar or lime juice to get the consistency you want.  You can do it like a glaze and pour it over the cake when it’s still warm or use a piping bag and frost similar to Nothing Bundt Cakes style.  Sprinkle with toasted coconut or lime zest.

Note: This cake is dense.  It needs to be to come out of the mini bundt pans well so be generous with the frosting.  Can be frosted and then refrigerated but bring to room temp before serving.  Don’t freeze and use later.

mediterranean dip.

Mediterranean Dip from Michelle:

 Yield: 1 12-inch round plate of dip

For the cilantro pesto:
1½ cups fresh cilantro
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/4 cup olive oil, divided
1/4 cup pecans
¼ cup Parmesan cheese (freshly grated if you have it)

To assemble the dip:
Hummus (store-bought or homemade)
Cilantro pesto (above)
Cucumber, seeded (or unseeded English cucumber) and diced
Red onion, diced
Banana peppers, chopped (I leave these  out)
Sliced olives (black or Kalamata) (I leave these  out)
Crumbled feta cheese
Sun-dried tomatoes in olive oil
To make the cilantro pesto, combine the cilantro, garlic, 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, pecans, and pine nuts in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse repeatedly until a coarse paste forms. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. With the processor running, add the remaining olive oil in a steady stream and process until smooth. Transfer the pesto to a bowl and stir in the Parmesan. (If storing for later use, drizzle with a thin film of olive oil, cover with plastic wrap directly on the surface of the pesto, and store in an airtight container.)

To assemble the dip, spread a layer of hummus on a serving platter. Spread the cilantro pesto over the top of the hummus. Layer evenly with cucumber, red onion, banana peppers, olives, feta, and sun-dried tomatoes as desired. Garnish with an additional few tablespoons of minced fresh cilantro (oops, I didn't do this). Serve with pita chips.

cilantro-lime chicken panini.

Cilantro-lime Chicken Panini from Jenn:

Grilled Veggies
Lime Mayonnaise
16 thick slices of French bread
8 slices Monterey Jack cheese

1 Tbsp. lime juice
1 tsp. fresh lime zest (optional)
3 Tbsp. olive oil
¼ cup fresh cilantro, chopped
½ jalapeno, seeded and diced
2 cloves garlic
1 tsp. chipotle chile powder
¼ tsp. salt
1 lb. chicken tenderloins or strips
Marinate for at least 1 hour, in the refrigerator. Grill or cook under broiler until done. Do not over cook.

1 medium tomato, diced
1 small red onion, diced
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro
½ jalapeno seeded and diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
Salt and pepper to taste
Combine all ingredients, cover and refrigerate for at least an hour.

Grilled veggies:
1 red or orange bell pepper, sliced thin
1 red onion, sliced thin
1 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
2 Tbsp. Olive oil
Toss veggies in lime juice and olive oil and grill or cook under the broiler until done.

Lime Mayonnaise:
½ cup mayonnaise
2 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
Whisk together and refrigerate until ready to use.

Heat a pan or Panini maker until it’s good and hot.  Make your sandwich as follows:
Butter one side of two slices of French bread. Spread the un-buttered side with the lime mayonnaise. Layer 1 slice Monterey jack, a Tbsp. salsa, grilled veggies and the grilled chicken, then another slice of Jack cheese, if desired. Top with the other slice of bread, butter side up. Grill until brown and toasty. Serve with chips and salsa.

pomegranate guacamole.

Pomegranate Guacamole from Jocelyn:


Sea Salt
Green Onions
Lime Juice
Pomegranate seeds

Adjust amounts to your liking.

guacamole brushetta.

Guacamole Brushetta from Heidi:

½ loaf French bread
1 clove garlic
2 Tablespoons olive oil
2 tomatoes, medium chopped
2 avocados, medium chopped
1/3 cup finely chopped onion
¼ cup chopped cilantro
2 Tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper


Preheat the oven to 400ºF.
Slice the French bread on the diagonal into ½" rounds and place on a baking sheet.
Toast the sliced bread in the oven for 3 minutes, then flip each piece over and toast an additional 3 minutes.
Remove the toasted bread from the oven and immediately rub with the clove of garlic (it works best to first cut a small tip off the garlic clove so that the oils will seep out).
Brush the tops of the garlic-rubbed toasts with olive oil and set aside.
In a large bowl, combine the chopped tomatoes, avocado, onion, cilantro, lime juice, salt and pepper. Mix together gently making sure the avocado is well coated in the lime juice.
Spoon a portion of the mixture onto each of the garlic toasts and serve.


Laab from Shalee:

5 sprigs sliced cilantro
3 tablespoons fish sauce
sliced green onion, optional
1/4 tablespoon ground dried chili pepper
1/2 lbs ground pork
1-2 limes
1/4 thinly sliced shallots
3 sprigs spearmint, optional
1 tablespoon toasted rice

Tips and Techniques

Substitute any ground meat for ground pork.
Substitute red onion or just onion for shallot if you like.
The spearmint adds zing to the laab.
For this dish, many people use a small pot but I use my cast iron pan. I can heat it up really hot without destroying the pan. It also retains heat well and heats evenly.

cranberry cilantro appetizer.

Cranberry Cilantro Appetizer from Erin:

1 bag cranberries - chopped small
1 bunch cilantro - chopped
4-5 green onions - chopped

mix these in separate bowl and then add to cranberry mixture
juice from 2 limes
3/4 C sugar
1/2 t. cumin

serve over a block of cream cheese
with water crackers

thai lettuce wraps.

Thai Lettuce Wraps from Brittany:

1/2 c. coconut
1 T. oil
1/2 c. shallots chopped
1/8 to 1/4 c. fresh ginger
2 T. chopped garlic
1 lb. ground pork (I use 1/2 ground turkey and 1/2 ground sausage)
juice of one lime (I used about 1/2 of the lime for juice)
3 to 4 T. diced green chiles
2 to 3 T. soy sauce

Stir coconut over medium heat until golden and crisp. Remove and set aside. Add oil to pan and place over medium heat. Add shallots, ginger, garlic and meat. Stir until no longer pink. Add lime juice, peanuts, coconut, chiles and soy sauce to taste. Can also add fresh mint.

Mel's Kitchen Cafe Night!!

Balsamic Chicken Noodles from Heidi {Winner!!}
Banoffee Pie from Erin
Queso Blanco Dip from Mindi
Andes Mint Brownies from Brittany (I always buy an additional box of andes mints and lay them on top of the brownies when they come out of the oven. Once they are soft I spread them over the entire pan.)
Classic Italian Lasagna from Tamara
Shrimp Enchiladas from Michelle
Orange Beef and Veggie Stir Fry from Jenni
Curried Cauliflower from Jenn
Salted Chocolate Toffee Pretzel Bark from Beckie
Coconut Tres Leches Hot Chocolate from Lauren
Twice Baked Potatoes from Randi
Honey Lime Enchiladas from Shauna