Tag Archive for 'coconut'

Julie’s Fudgy Chocolate Coconut Cake

Julie and I shared our passion for food, all food, but in particular desserts. I first met her during my PR agency days with her husband, Rich Cline, who had taken me under his wing as a new arrival onto the agency scene. He and his counterpart, Slibby (Stacy Libby) were amongst the first few people I had met once I started at Miller Shandwick Technologies upon leaving Sybase. I had often heard stories about Julie from both Cline and Slibby. Both of them insisted that we’d have a lot in common from our cooking to our Italian heritage and passion for speaking the language. They were right.

I left Miller Shandwick for my America’s Cup days for some years. I stayed connected with Julie and the gang over the years via a dinner party or two.

Later, when a small group from Miller Shandwick opened up Voce Communications, I rejoined the clan again. During this decade, Julie and I would regularly meet at Voce’s unconventional yet truly epic company events.

Julie was a brilliant lawyer, fluent in Italian, and passionate about food. I confided in her one night during a dinner party that I was thinking about writing a cookbook. She LOVED the idea and wanted to both share her new favorite recipe and launch my career as an author by hosting my first book signing. And she did exactly that.

Julie shared her recipe for what we now call Peanut Butter Cookie Bombs, and she hosted the most incredible first ‘book signing’ party one could imagine.

Via the party, Slibby, who was thick into the Silicon Valley Mom’s Blogging Community, helped to bring me into the world of food bloggers, and she hand picked the guest list which was a mixture of friends, family, and blogging influencers. To this day, thanks to both Julie and Slibby, I still covet the relationships sparked on that night.

Years passed and as families with children living 30+ minutes away do, we drifted into our mutually busy lives. When I was ill, we briefly reconnected; she sent me a beautiful card and a book that I still treasure to this day. When I recovered we spoke of getting together, but it was challenging to find a time.

So time passed, then Julie was ill. I reached out to her as well and we agreed we would get together, in fact, we talked about getting together again in Jan 2020, and we were getting close to seeing each other; then we went into Pandemic lockdown. So we postponed. And as I write this note, I can tell you that I never got the chance to see her in person again.

I am happy for all of the smiles and recipes we shared and sad to know that we will not be creating more, however I do know that she will always be close by in my recipe thoughts. [Sidebar: I used to tease Cline that they must love me to have named one of their three beautiful daughters after me! I am sure that is not the case, but how could I resist making the claim amongst all of our mutual friends!]

My tribute to Julie is this recipe I worked on while reflecting on our memories together. Please forgive the insider references: dueling Christmas trees, Hornblower yachts, children in the yard, Payard hot cocoa mix, food adventures, and Italian. The funny thing is that I don’t know if she was a fan of coconut, but I do know how much she loved chocolate, and I believe she would have swooned over this gooey treat. This recipe is for you, Julie! May you and yours always know the special place you have in my heart. Always.

Julie’s Fudgy Chocolate Coconut Cake

Cake Ingredients

7 TBS unsalted butter

4 eggs, room temperature

2 cups sugar

2 1/2 tsps baking powder

1 1/4 cups flour

3/4 cup cocoa

2 tsp vanilla

pinch of salt

Topping Ingredients

3.5 TBS unsalted butter

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup maple syrup

2/3 cup whipping cream

1 cup dry shredded coconut

Directions

Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a 9x 13 baking tray with parchment paper.

In a small saucepan, melt the butter and remove from heat to cool. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs and sugar. Then add the cooled butter. It is important that the butter not be too hot or it will cook the egg and sugar batter.

Add in the baking powder, vanilla, salt, and stir to combine. Then add in the cocoa, mix to combine, and finally the flour. Mixing well by hand. Place in oven and cook for 10 minutes.

Start the topping while the cake is in the oven. In a saucepan, melt the butter and then add in the sugar, syrup, and cream. Allow mixture to simmer for a few minutes. Stir in the shredded coconut and bring to a boil, stirring constantly.

Remove the mixture from the heat. When the timer is up, carefully remove the cake from the oven and pour the topping over it. Return to the oven and bake it for another 10 minutes or until the topping is a light golden brown.

Allow the cake to cool before cutting into small pieces. This recipe is rich so smaller pieces are advised. It also stores nicely in the refrigerator, precut for easy access to pop it into your mouth or serve with your afternoon coffee or tea. I imagine that Julie would have had it with a coffee made by her Lavazza.

Acquafaba Chocolate Coffee Coconut Mousse

About a week ago, I was having dinner with my family when my daughter shared a conversation that she had with one of her friends about my food blogging that was spot on. We laughed until tears streamed down our cheeks. It was a moment that still makes me laugh. Because when you explain this recipe, and well, maybe a few of my others, it fits into the category of intriguing and bizarre (and down right delicious!). Continue reading ‘Acquafaba Chocolate Coffee Coconut Mousse’

Red Lentil Coconut Curry Soup

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Life has a funny way of boosting you up when you least expect it. And that in itself is inspiring. While this was not the recipe I anticipated posting this week, I couldn’t resist. And on this day of Hearts I wanted to share the LOVE.

Last week I had noticed that a new friend of mine, Judith, was listed in an email as the primary contact for our daughter’s school fundraising soup lunch and Lenten festivities. On numerous occasions over the past four months she had helped our family throughout my diagnosis, surgery and recovery. In hopes of somehow helping her, I stepped out of my ‘recovery comfort zone’ and took a bold step by offering to make a pot of lentil soup for the lunch.

Continue reading ‘Red Lentil Coconut Curry Soup’

Peanut Butter Coconut Balls (Gluten Free)

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The holiday vortex. It is only when I’ve woken up in January from my sugar filled dreams that I realize I’ve been caught in culinary bliss; blissfully drifting from bite to bite through the month of December. My body screams- it’s time to wake up – time to thin down – time to ‘try’ to leave the sugar and excess poundage behind. Every year around this time I do a gentle cleanse. Now don’t panic, it is not just a juice cleanse, which I doubt I could ever do, but it does strip out a few edible options. The cleanse is gluten, dairy, and sugar free. There are a few foods I can’t eat temporarily, but Continue reading ‘Peanut Butter Coconut Balls (Gluten Free)’

cookie-o-logy

A friendship that can go the distance is worth waiting for. It had been four score and umpteen days since my former Florentine roomie had visited the San Francisco Bay Area. We had seen each other in between, and talked as often as life would permit, but having her here made each morsel taste more flavorful. As is often the case, my memories are provoked by food related stories. This story would start the same, but to the keen eye there are differences. We were two young American brown-eye’d girls living in Florence, and life was just FUN. Our apartment, the nicest I had ever had, was on Piazza D’Azeglio and it was a location that completed the vision of what life in urban Tuscany was like. Funds were often quite limited, so we cooked…and we cooked, and found that we just loved the ritual of shopping, preparing, cooking and eating an array of fresh flavors.

My earliest recipe development takes root in Piazza D’Azeglio. Dishes I still covet today all began in this lovely, tiny, modern kitchen; risotto with mushrooms (Porcini Risotto), pasta with tuna (Pasta al’Tonno), rabbit stew (Coniglio a la Campagnola -I know, how politically incorrect!). But I have digressed, my love for Burley (her given name: Kimberly), grew in Italy, and has never wavered.

Now back to food, upon her arrival I quickly found myself in the kitchen, with her by my side. We played and fussed with this recipe until it was anything but Italian, but it was all too reminiscent of so many things that comprise our friendship: chocolate chunk cookies (not easy to find in Italy), pinenuts (traditionally found in pesto sauce, we wanted to pair it with a sweet combination), oatmeal (get healthy- it is 21st century), and ginger (well, sailing on the Almafi coast can make you a bit ill and digesting ginger does help). Mix it all together and what have you got? The perfect cookie to take with you when you go sailing and want to feel indulgent- Ginger, Chocolate Oatmeal & Pinenut Cookies, AKA Race Committee Cookies, concocted by two girls who used to live in Italy. (Did you manage to follow that complex web of cookie-o-logy?)


Ginger, Chocolate Oatmeal & Pinenut Cookies (AKA Race Committee Cookies)

Ingredients

1 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cup flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 1/2 cup oats
1 cup flaked coconut
1 cup candied ginger, chopped into pieces
1 cup dark chocolate, chopped (we used Scharffen Berger’s Ben Tre Dark Chocolate for this recipe)
1/2 cup dark chocolate, grated
1 cup pinenuts, toasted (or substitute chopped macadamia nuts)

Directions

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

In a small pan, on medium-low heat toast pine nuts. They will brown quickly so be sure to watch them closely. When light brown in color, remove from heat and set aside.

In a large-size bowl, beat together butter and sugars until creamy. Then add in eggs and vanilla and beat well.

In a small-size bowl, combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon, shredded chocolate and salt; mix well. Add this mixture to the butter mixture and blend well. Stir in oats, coconut, nuts chocolate chunks; mix well

Drop by rounded tablespoonfuls onto an ungreased baking sheet.

Bake 10-12 minutes or until golden brown.

Cool 1 minute on cookie sheet; remove to wire rack.

Yields 4 ½ dozen (unless you eat too much of the batter, which I am prone to do!)

Note: A great tip is to bake half and freeze half in a log shape in plastic wrap and then foil. Then for quick, hot, fresh baked cookies, cut a few sections off and pop them onto a cookie sheet and place them into a pre-heated oven. They may require a few extra minutes of cook time once frozen, but they will be a delicious TREAT. And for those of you that read my Halloween post earlier this week, consider this post the Treat to my Trick post.