Spring & Easter

eastercupcakes.jpgDear SOS: Whenever I get out to L.A., I have to stop at Auntie Em's Kitchen in Eagle Rock for a cupcake fix -- specifically, for a coconut cupcake with coconut cream cheese frosting. It's a miracle of a baked good. Do you think you could get the recipe for a Bostonite who's stuck on the East Coast dreaming of this confection?
-- Jenny Sawyer, Boston

Dear Jenny: This billowy coconut cupcake is pretty irresistible. The cake has a hint of almond and a light buttermilk tang. There's tender, shredded coconut baked into the cake too. And the frosting -- it's a cream cheese frosting with butter mixed in, airy and creamy both, finished with a sprinkling of more shredded coconut on top. This one's for you, Bostonites.

Get the recipe at L.A. Times...

 

 

emirates.jpg I love soccer so I get really excited when I go to visit my dad in London where it’s soccer season all year long.  England as you probably know has an undying passion for the sport, they treat it less as a game and more as a way of life.  For example, on a sold out night at Emirates Stadium after Arsenal scores the crowd collectively expenses 100 times the world’s energy output for a day in the 30 seconds after the goal.  Like baseball or basketball in the US, football in the UK permeates the culture – it’s everywhere.  It has both a light and dark side, and can go from having fun with your mates to total warfare very quickly. 

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egg salad1Looking for ways to use up Easter egg-hunt leftovers? Make an egg salad sandwich. Actually, make several egg salad sandwiches, one for each day this week, because today marks the start of National Egg Salad Week in the U.S. Yup. We love egg salad so much that we devote an entire week in its honor.

Our love for egg salad sandwiches runs deep, all the way to 1896. That's when one of the earliest printed recipes for a sandwich made with egg salad appeared in The Original Boston Cooking-School Cook Book, written by Fannie Merritt Farmer. Then with the introduction of sliced soft white bread in the 1930s, egg salad sandwiches became a brown-bag lunch staple as well as a common item at delis, diners, and cafeterias.

It's no surprise that the majority of egg salad sandwiches are eaten after Easter when many people are looking for tasty ways to use up Easter egg-hunt leftovers. While there are various ways to make egg salad, I favor grandma's fuss-free version: tangy, sweet, and creamy.

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roasted_turkey.jpg Easter in our house, a tiny hovel on the east side of Kansas City, Missouri, was always fraught with tension generated by my Mother.

She was not used to entertaining and on holidays we hosted my cousin, a Jesuit priest, for Sunday dinner. We usually did Turkey and Fixings’. Mama would get up in the middle of the night to put the big Tom turkey in the oven.

No wonder by dinnertime it was dry and tough. But she made pretty good gravy and it was the most requested part of the meal. “Any more gravy, Irene? My, my! That sure is fine gravy! Please, pass the gravy!”

The moistening effect on the dry turkey was just what was needed.

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bunny buns 016I made hot cross buns last week. I used a recipe from a class I took years ago that focused on breads and rolls made with yeast dough. The sweet, egg- and butter-rich buns have mashed potatoes worked into the dough. I’ve got to believe it’s the potatoes that produce a soft, moist dough. Hot cross buns are an Easter tradition in many homes.

When I was doing some research on hot cross buns, Google directed me to JustHungry, a food blog I’d never visited. There I found some cute Hot Cross Easter Bunny Buns. Made of the same dough that the author used for her hot cross buns, they were shaped with chubby little faces and long bunny ears. Best of all, the author included step-by-step photo instructions, from rolling the dough, to creating the ears  and faces.

I knew I had to try making the little bunny buns myself. With one batch of dough, I was able to create 12 Breakfast Bunny Buns. Each one came out of the oven with its own charm. The ears were long and funny, some pointing straight up, some a little bent and some a bit uneven. Their little currant eyes made them simply irresistible.

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