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Friday, February 5, 2016

Watch It Disappear Coffee Cake

This is one of the best breakfast cakes. It's rich, moist and delicious. Serve warm from the oven and watch it disappear!

Pineapple and Cardamom Coffee Cake with Coconut Macadamia Streusel

Serves 8

1½ cups all-purpose flour
½ cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon cardamom
¼ teaspoon salt
1 cup sour cream
2 eggs
1 cup pineapple, chopped
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
¼ cup sugar
2 tablespoons butter, cut into chunks
¼ cup shredded coconut
¼ cup macadamia nuts, chopped
  1. Preheat oven to 350°. 
  2. In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cardamom and salt. 
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk sour cream with eggs, whisk until well blended, add pineapple. Add pineapple mixture to flour mixture and stir until fully incorporated. Transfer batter into a lightly oiled 8 x 8 x 2-inch pan. 
  4. In a small bowl, combine flour and sugar, add chunks of butter and blend using your fingers until streusel crumbles. Add coconut. Sprinkle evenly over cake, top with chopped macadamia nuts. 
  5. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until light brown. Serve immediately.

Friday, January 29, 2016

Make It Interesting - Wintry Salad Ideas

Whenever I design salad combinations, I focus on bringing together lots of colors, textures and foods from different food groups. I especially love to add nuts, unusual vegetables, crumbly cheeses and fresh and dried fruits to salads because they add such a depth of texture and flavor. This post offers many unique, crowd-pleasing ideas that often use a vast variety of all the foods I love in a salad. This is by no means a comprehensive list, it's just some of my favorite salad additions.

Remember, color is important; if your meal is visually attractive, eaters are more likely to appreciate and indulge. Balance and variety are vital for optimum nutrition. Eating foods at the height of their growing seasons, when food is at its peak flavor, affords you the most nutrients. So the fresh fruits and vegetables listed are what's in season in most regions across the USA during the winter months. Notice, arugula is the only lettuce leaf listed!

Beans, grains and starch: short and interesting shaped pasta, chick peas, tri-color quiona, wild rice, potatoes
Vegetables: fennel, purple cabbage, mushrooms, jicima, radish, sprouts, carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, kale, Brussels sprouts, green beans, arugula, beets
Frozen vegetables: edamame, peas, corn
Traditionally preserves fruits and vegetables: mandarin oranges, roasted peppers, artichoke hearts, hearts of palm
Fresh Fruit: blood oranges, pineapple, kiwi, honey bells, tangerines, grapefruit, apples, pears, pomegranate, grapes
Dried fruit: cranberries, raisins, apricots, cherries
Nuts and seeds: sesame seeds, almonds, cashews, pistachios, sunflower seeds, walnuts
Cheese: Feta, blue cheese, Parmesan, Asiago, Roquefort, cheddar, Havarti
Protein: shrimp, chicken, slices of beef, tuna, ham
Other foods that add a depth of flavor, texture, color and nutrition: olives, hard-boiled eggs, croutons, avocado, herbs

Did I miss one of your favorite salad additions?

Happy Cooking!

Friday, January 22, 2016

Eggs, Haute or Naught - 14 Delicious Ways To Have Fun With Eggs

In my opinion, it's not called the incredible edible egg for naught! I love eggs and could eat them everyday. Eggs are super simple to cook and can be enjoyed either fried, sunny side up, soft-boiled, poached, scrambled or hard-boiled. Cooked this way and without any additional embellishments they are perfectly delicious. But there are so many possibilities for eggs, so many fun and complementing combinations.

There are tried and true crowd-pleasing standards that most of us often serve like deviled eggs, egg salad and french toast. There are haute egg dishes like, eggs Benedict and Huevos rancheros. Burritos filled with eggs, fritata's, egg casseroles, omelet's, soufflés and a variety of quiche are popular egg dishes and can be enjoyed any time. Aside from these sophisticated dishes (even if you don't prepare them!), eggs can be added to so many different foods.

Here are some fun, interesting and tasty ways to add variety and zest to your next meal using eggs. The fourteenth suggestion is my all-time favorite, simple, humble and delicious.
  • Top sauteed mushrooms and grilled eggplant with a soft cooked egg.
  • Add a fried egg to a bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwich.
  • Top grilled polenta slices with fresh wilted spinach. Place a poached egg on top and spoon salsa verde over the combination.
  • Add shaved ham, fried green tomatoes and scrambled eggs to grilled cheese sandwiches.
  • Place drippy egg over crispy cooked hash browns and top with Srirscha.
  • Add a warm poached egg to a leafy green salad.
  • Dot the landscape of your next pizza with a few fried eggs.
  • Add chopped hard-boiled eggs to tuna salad.
  • Top flat bread with caramelized onions, cheese, slices of flatiron steak strips, a soft cooked egg and arugula.
  • Add hard-boiled eggs to tossed salads, not just Cobb and traditional spinach salad but any leafy green and raw vegetable salads.
  • To add a depth of flavor and to thicken soup, whisk the yolk of hard-boiled eggs into the broth. Chop the white part and add to the soup.
  • Make a chunky tomato based sauce, add raw egg, cover and cook until desired doneness. Spoon over couscous.
  • Top toasted pumpernickel with mashed avocado and drippy egg and top with black bean and corn salsa.
  • Place poached eggs in a glass and add a slice of pulled apart toasted and buttered bread, season with salt and pepper.
What's your favorite way to eat eggs?

Happy Cooking!

Friday, January 15, 2016

8 Ways to Turn Ordinary Chicken Salad Into Extraordinary Chicken Salad

Traditionally prepared chicken salad is typically made using chopped celery (the more leaves the better!) mayonnaise, salt and pepper. A go-to that is super simple and delicious. Tradition is good because it's reliable and it keeps us in our comfort zone, but if you want to liven up this popular dish, here are a variety of suggestions that add fun colors and interesting texture. Just add mayonnaise and season with salt and pepper.
  • Slivered almonds, mandarin oranges and shredded purple cabbage
  • Curry powder, shredded coconut, grapes
  • Tarragon, basil and Dijon mustard
  • Chopped apples, cranberries and walnuts
  • Cubed mango, shredded radicchio and roasted cashews
  • Crispy cooked bacon and slivered sun dried tomatoes
  • Dried cherries and chopped pistachios
  • Diced carrots, shredded purple cabbage, red and yellow peppers, scallions
Happy Cooking!

Friday, January 8, 2016

Warm Up to Steaming Bowls of Gingered Coconut Sweet Pea Soup

A simple and nourishing soup that is delicious served with cornbread and a tossed salad.

1 cup milk
1 cup water
1 vegetable bouillon cube
1 pound peas
1 white onion, cut into chunks (about 1 cup)
1½ teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon ground ginger
A dash of cayenne pepper
½ cup raw slivered almonds
1 can (14 ounces) coconut milk
¼ cup fresh minced parsley

  1.  In a large pot, combine milk, water and vegetable cube. Bring mixture to a boil over moderate heat. Add peas, onion, salt, ginger, cayenne pepper and almonds. Cover, reduce heat to simmer (mixture should be rumbling) and cook for about 15 minutes or until the onions are tender.
  2. Remove from heat and allow the mixture to cool slightly before transferring to a food processor or blender. 
  3. Purée the pea mixture in batches until silky smooth. Add coconut milk and parsley to the last batch to be puréed. Transfer all puréed soup back into original large pot and stir until well combined. Serve immediately.

6 servings