Coconut Pineapple Upside Down Cake

Coconut Pineapple Upside Down CakeRecipes in this Post

My mother used to make this cake, and I loved it. After my mother died when I was 15, I really missed her, and the cake, so I made one, but I added coconut and I used a yellow cake mix in the box. I remember my grandmother was quite impressed at how well it turned out.

I didn’t think about that cake until recently when I was at a Von’s and they had one for sale. I remembered how much I liked it, and bought one so Spane could try it, too. It was delicious, and then I was on a pineapple upside down cake craze!

I fully intended to make my own, but before I could, one was on sale at the local Ralph’s, and I bought it. Oh my goodness, it was AWFUL! The store’s recipe used cornstarch and pineapple FLAVORING which was bitter and tasted like chemicals. I knew I could do a lot better than that.

I had intended on making this cake many times, and would buy maraschino cherries, only to start my mis en place and find that Spane had already eaten the cherries. No cake without cherries, I say. Well, the next time I bought them, I put them way up in the top of the pantry, behind a can of coffee. I also had left over coconut from making the Fantasy Island Bars, so I could make the cake I hadn’t made since I was 15 years old. The only difference was I made my own yellow cake and added crushed pineapple to the batter. It was delicious!

Please understand, if you are going to make this, it is not for those on a diet. This cake is very, very rich, and although is sized at 12, will probably feed quite a bit more.

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Green Chili Pork Stew for Cinco De Mayo!

Green Chili Pork Stew

Recipes in this Post

Many years ago before the Food Channel because the Food Network, I happened to be watching some show and the guest chef made this most wonderful stew with country pork ribs, tortillas and a blender. I was so impressed with what he did that I went out, bought the ingredients, and made it the very next day. It was delicious, and became one of my favorites. It’s been so long that I don’t remember what it was even called, but I called it Green Chili Pork Stew.

It’s funny who your life changes over the years, different relationships, different priorities. You put your favorites away in some dusty mental attic to make room for all the other new and exciting foods. Then you find yourself on a cold, rainy day about to make Chili Colorado, when you spy some tortillas and decide at the last-minute to make that wonderful stew from so very long ago.

When I made this, I didn’t have country pork ribs, I had pork stew meat, which was just as good. However, now that I’ve had it again, I’m going to go out and get some country ribs. Country-style ribs are cut from the blade end of the loin close to the pork shoulder. They are meatier than other rib cuts. They contain no rib bones, but are instead contain parts of the shoulder blade (scapula).

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Ruby Red Grapefruit Roasted Chicken

ruby red grapefruit chickenRecipes in this Post

A few days ago, someone asked me for a different way to roast a chicken, and I have her this recipe. I haven’t made this in a long time, and it was a welcome change from the ho-hum regular roasted chicken we all know and love.

Spane and I both love grapefruit, and I was lucky to get some beautiful ruby-red grapefruit at my local corner store. Today, I’m going to go to the local farmer’s market and get some more. Did you know that grapefruit is really good for you? As a member of the citrus family, they are packed with vitamin C, have low sodium, low sugar, high lycopene, high potassium, and fat burning enzymes.

binder clips bind chicken skin together

Binder clips bind chicken skin together

I have to tell you, binder clips are great in the kitchen. I use them mainly to close up bags, especially bags of frozen vegetables. When I was making my chicken, the skin on the breast tore, and I needed it to cover the grapefruit slices. What to do? I heard some TV doctor yelling “Clamp!” in my head, got some binder clips out of the drawer and clamped it up. When the chicken was finished cooking, it was just a matter of removing the clips, and the skin stayed nicely together. Clean up was simple, too, and unlike twine, I can reuse my clips after thoroughly washing them.

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Broiled Ahi Tuna with Blood Orange Balsamic Reduction

Broiled Ahi Tuna with Blood Orange Balsamic ReductionRecipes in this Post

Since we didn’t make a big Holy Thursday Seder meal this year, I thought it would be nice to make something memorable for Good Friday. Catholics are bound not to eat meat on Good Friday. I was at the market on Thursday picking up some last-minute things, and the butcher brought out two lovely pieces of Ahi tuna. I already had purchased Blood Oranges at the Farmer’s market earlier in the day. I also wanted something simple for Friday night because we would be spending a good deal of our day in the church for the Stations of the Cross and The Seven Last Words of Christ.

I have to say I was proud of my son. Our church has the kids from the middle school put on a play, complete with Roman soldiers and a real wooden cross. Spane said to me, “Mom, can we leave, it’s really sad.” Later, I saw he had a tear in his eye, and I knew that he had finally GOTTEN it. We will be going to Easter Vigil on Saturday night (Sunday according to the liturgical calendar), so we will once more be joyous again.

After all that, I was kind of tired when we got home. I looked on the Internet for tuna and blood oranges, and everything was pan seared. I wanted broiled, so I went my own way. It was delicious, and I suggest you try it. You can even do the whole thing on the grill, just make sure you have an oven safe pan for the sauce.

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Savory Watermelon Basil Salad

Savory Watetmelon Basil SaladRecipes in this Post

I love when spring comes and all the fruits and vegetables you missed over the winter come into season. I especially miss watermelon. There are all sorts of watermelon flavored things, but they are just not the same, and who knows what’s really in them.

Last year, I found a great recipe from Jeff Potter’s book, Cooking for Geeks, for a watermelon and feta cheese salad. It was an experiment in sweet salty that I made one of the times I was Guest Chef at Ascencia in Glendale.

Spane had gotten a good report card and had requested Jambalaya for dinner. It’s spicy food, and with Global Warming Climate Change giving us warm nights already, we needed something to cool down our selves and our palates. I was reminded of the watermelon salad I made last year, and it was time to make another.

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Organizing the Refrigerator

Tired of finding science experiments? These organizing the refrigerator tips should keep you neat and save you money.

Use Stations
My RefrigeratorIf you group the food in your refrigerator into logical sections or stations, management will be a lot easier. With left overs always in one spot, it’s easy for everyone to get to without questions.

  1. The top shelf in my refrigerator is for yogurt, bacon fat, sugar syrup and other things I use to for food preparation. It’s the prep shelf.
  2. The second shelf is for things that accompany meals, like jelly, olives, and other condiments that don’t fit on the door.
  3. The third shelf over the vegetable drawers, is for left overs and food that is chilling in the refrigerator before being cooked. This makes it easier to use up leftovers. In the picture at right, notice the container of sour cream. That is actually a container of left over rice, that I used to make Jalapeno Stuffed Peppers.
  4. Vegetable and Fruit Drawers – I think it’s really important to keep fruits and vegetables separate. Fruits give off gases which will spoil other foods around them more quickly, so best to keep them by themselves. Never put a banana in with other fruit, it gives off the most gas of all.
  5. Tall shelf – of course, you have to have one shelf for tall drinks like milk and water. I have a pitcher with lemon water in it, and an empty gallon milk container with plain water on the door. It’s better to keep the water there instead of the milk because with the door being opened and closed all the time, the water will not go bad, but the milk could.
  6. Refrigerator door – even there I try to keep like things together. My beef, chicken and vegetable bases are together with my shallots in oil, tomato paste and anchovy paste tubes. All the mustards are together with the horseradish. Condiments like Worcestershire and Girards’ salad dressings are together. It makes finding and putting away very simple.
Put your eggs in a bowl

Quirkey Egg Minder at Amazon

Quirky Egg Minder

How many times have you gone to the store and not bought eggs because you thought you had some? I remember numerous times that I thought I had everything for a recipe, only to pull out the carton of eggs and find I only have two when I needed four. So, now, I keep my eggs in a bowl, and I use the carton for interesting craft projects, including Egg Carton Roses.

If you want to get techy about it, you can get a Quirky Egg Minder that you can use with your smart phone. The device tells you how many eggs you have, and how old each egg is, so you don’t have to worry about eating old eggs.

Which ever way you choose, bowl or high tech, anything is better than the cardboard containers. Besides, you need those for craft projects!

Keep your cheese in a bag
I don’t know why this works, but I have my suspicions. I have a large plastic bag that I keep my cheese in. I leave cheese in the bag that it came in, and then put that bag in my big cheese bag. At any one time, might have a block of yellow cheddar, a block of white cheddar, a block of jack cheese, a wedge of Parmesan, maybe even a ball of mozzarella. All those cheeses live happily in that bag, and they don’t get moldy or dry out. The only cheese that lives in a bag by itself is the blue cheese, but that’s because it’s just not a good neighbor, it’s strong and powerful. When the cheese is all eaten up, I just leave the empty bag in the refrigerator. I suspect the reason why this works so well is that the bacteria from the old cheeses keeps the new cheeses from going bad. I never wash the bag as that would remove that helpful bacteria. If your bag starts to smell, or your cheese is runny, then get a new bag. Don’t put delicate cheeses in with powerful cheeses.
Put herbs in a glass
When you buy fresh herbs at the market, like Italian parsley, cilantro, and mint, you can keep it fresher by putting the stems in a glass of water, and keeping that in the refrigerator. Put green onions in a glass, too. They will also stay nice and fresh. If you’re lucky, your herbs may root in the glass, and then they can be taken outside and planted!
Freeze the lemons
If you are lucky enough to get a lot of lemons, and don’t know what to do with them, here’s a good way to keep them. Cut them in half and squeeze out all the juice. Put that juice into ice cube trays, freeze, and then put the lemon cubes in a bag in the freezer. One lemon cube is about the same as one fresh lemon. Don’t throw out those peels! Put them in another bag, and keep them in the freezer. You can occasionally toss one into the garbage disposal for a fresh smelling kitchen.
FIFO and Group
FIFO – First In, First Out [FeyFoh]. When you have left overs, put the oldest leftovers in the front of the shelf so that you will use it first. Group your leftovers together to make another meal.
Label, label, label, label, label, label, label
Day of the Week Labels at Amazon

Day of the Week Labels at Amazon

Put stickers on your containers of food, or on covered plates of food. The USDA recommends keeping left overs for only 3 to 4 days. If something it’s Monday, but you made it on Tuesday, it’s time to toss it! But, how are you going to know, or remember at a glance when you prepared something? With stickers! Even when using FIFO and grouping, you can still have problems. Restaurants use stickers on their food so they know how old it is. A small investment in stickers that will last you quite a long time is worth the money when you think about the cost of getting sick. The best thing about using stickers and keeping to the 4 day rule is you probably won’t have any nasty science experiments either.
Check labels daily for food that has expired. If the label is 5 days old, but it doesn’t smell bad, and you know you can use it the next day, by all means, keep it, otherwise, don’t be tempted, toss it! Set aside one day a week to thoroughly clean out the refrigerator, take everything out and wipe it down. Food looks more appealing if it’s in a nice, sparkling clean refrigerator.
Egg Carton Craft Project