Random recipe: Toasted Coconut Vanilla Limeade Slushie

In Portland, summer is often equated by sun. Yes, when the flip-flops come out and day after day is blue skies and no rain. Usually in Portland it is a given that you begin to have that AFTER the Fourth of July, and ends sometimes around Labor Day or after. Often I think why do I live here? I love sun. But. I also love Portland. This summer, however, it has been gorgeous out, between 80-90 degrees and sun, sun, sun.

When it is sunny out, everyone wants a refreshing drink. Right? We have been exploring new, refreshing recipes for the summer, especially ones that hit the spot. This one is tangy and sweet all in one glass.

Toasted Coconut Vanilla Limeade Slushie [Adapted from Kitchy Kitchen]

1 1/4 cup lime juice, fresh squeezed
1 cup sweet coconut flakes, packed
2 1/2 cups hot water and 1 1/2 cups cool water
1/4 cup agave nectar
1/2 vanilla bean, scraped (or 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract)

Preheat oven to 350 F.  Toast the coconut on a baking sheet for about 6 minutes, mixing them up after 3 minutes. While the coconut is toasting, juice the limes in a blender. Put all of the used lime halves into a separate bowl along with the coconut and vanilla bean and then add the hot water.  Let it soak together for about 10 minutes. Strain into the blender and add the cold water and agave nectar. Blend! Pour into a pitcher and chill in the fridge until ready to serve. When ready, add equal parts of the limeade and ice into the blender to make your slushie!

Enjoy drinking in the sun with your feet up this weekend!

Random recipe: Warm Chocolate Souffle Cakes

Sometimes you just need something sweet. It has been a rough week. There have been days this week where by the end of the day I could no longer formulate a complete sentence. In a meeting yesterday I kept starting a thought and was not able to finish it. It was after 5 pm, and someone in the meeting mentioned that it was due to Daylight Savings Time. (I sure hope so.) In any case, sometimes when you just hit your limit you need a bit of warm chocolate to make things better. Like Mary Poppins said: “Just a spoon full of sugar helps the medicine go down.” Last night I needed just a spoon full of warm chocolate to make it through the rest of my day.

Warm Chocolate Souffle Cakes (Found in a recent issue of Portland Monthly Magazine)

(Makes a dozen 6 oz cakes)

15 oz bittersweet chocolate (at least 64 percent cacao)
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
6 large eggs, separated
1/2 cup and 1/2 cup sugar, separated
1 pinch of salt

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly butter 12 individual baking dishes (6-8 oz) or spray with nonstick vegetable spray. Set a large metal bowl over a saucepan filled with an inch or two of simmering water to create a double boiler. Melt chocolate and butter in bowl over low heat. Set aside and cool to room temperature.

2. Place egg yolks in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. With the mixer on medium speed, add 1/2 cup sugar and a pinch of salt, and mix until yolks are slightly thicker and lighter in color, 2-3 minutes. Then using a spatula, fold the beaten yolks into the chocolate and set aside.

3. Wash and dry mixer bowl. Add egg whites and whisk on low speed, gradually adding half of the remaining 1/2 cup of sugar. Increase speed to medium, and whisk until whites form soft peaks, 3-4 minutes. Slowly add the rest of the sugar, increase speed to medium-high, and whisk until stiff peaks form, 30 seconds to a minute longer. In three additions, fold the whites into the chocolate-yolk mixture until just combined.

4. Fill baking dishes three-quarters full. Bake until just set and a bit jiggly in the center, 12-14 minutes. Serve immediately. (It’s delicious with vanilla ice cream drizzled with honey.)

Not too hard. We actually cut the recipe in half because we did not think we could eat the dozen mini cakes fast enough, so we only made six. They are so worth the time (and really not a complex recipe at all). I love the congealing that happens with warm chocolate cake-like items with cold vanilla ice cream.