Coconut and Lime Macarons

A crack of the knuckles, a light breath to blow dust off the keyboard, and sitting down at my computer with purpose again. Remember to enjoy the little things. Oh blog, how I missed you. I want to apologize to you friends for the lack of updates since holidays began. Interestingly enough it is when most blogs show the highest number of post but when you work two jobs in retail, then take a vacation to visit family your time for cooking gets shorter. Many days I would get home at 11pm, go to bed and start the day over at 8am – 11pm again. I know, I did it to myself so only I am to blame, but it was nice to have the extra money, and work at a job that I cannot even express how much I enjoy it compared to the other.  Okay, enough about me and my weirdness enjoying a busy holiday season at the country’s biggest shopping mall.

On to the real matter at hand, food. Well with me it’s more sweets and desserts, but you know that by now. I have had this combination on my list since my first batch of macarons came out all lovely and puffy. At the local market I seen these lims that were the size of a large lemon and they smelled fantastic. Then what is in a basket on the end cap? A bag of organic shredded coconut which was on sale. I knew it had to be so I picked up both and went home on a mission.

It took mostly visual tweaks to get what I was looking for from these cookies. The first batch I used just the green color and it looked like the color teal from a bad prom dress in the 90’s. They tasted amazing but when the look doesn’t match the flavor it throws the mind off a bit. In that first batch I also learned that if you are going to put anything on the top of the macaron to decorate, make sure the cap is set. Meaning, it isn’t tacky to the touch.  When baked it will help form the dome but it also helps anything added to the top of the cookie from sinking into it. I am here to make the mistakes for you and trust me, many are made.

The green shells were finally achieved by following the basic shell recipe from an earlier post. Then adding to whipped egg whites;  3 drops of the forest green food coloring gel and one drop of chocolate brown food coloring gel, both from from AmeriColor. It got me the perfect green color I was looking for to represent a lime. After matching up the shells to as close as possible matching sizes. On one side I piped a ring of the Swiss buttercream frosting just around the inside edge leaving a hole in the middle. Once all the pairs had one side with the ring of buttercream, time to fill in the hole with lime curd.

You can have the curd in a squeeze bottle or a piping bag, I used both and they worked well, just add a little bit of the lime curd to the center hole of each cookie half inside the buttercream ring. Gently place on the matching half and refrigerate in a sealed container for up to two weeks. Just let them sit for 5 minutes before eating to come up in temperature. The shells will stay firm but soft and not dry and crumbly, like you might find in a late afternoon visit to the local pastry shop.

These coconut and lime macarons were shared at a dinner party with some friends as an after dinner treat. The host is not a fan of sweets that don’t involve chocolate, but for him to make a comment about how just amazing these were in the complexity of textures and flavors had me blushing. The light and not overly sweet Swiss buttercream with the tang of the lime curd balanced out with the sweet crunchy shells perfectly into an almost addicting combination. So of course I had to share it with you my friends. I hope you all had a lovely holiday season and I wish you the best this coming new year. You will see more of me in 2012, with new recipes and of course more macarons!

Coconut and Lime Curd Macarons
Makes 20-25 Macarons

Lime Curd

  • 4 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • juice of one lime, large (or two small)
  • zest of one lime, large (or two small)
  • Pinch of salt
  • 3 egg yolks (save the whites for your macaron shell recipe)

In a small sauce pan over medium heat combine the butter, sugar, lime zest, lime juice, and salt, whisk to combine.  Add in one yolk at a time until combined. Bring to a simmer and cook for 10-15 minutes until thick like a heavy sauce.  Pour into a bowl and place cling film over the top resting on the curd to prevent a skin from forming and refrigerate over night to 1 week.

Basic Swiss Meringue Buttercream

Freeze any unused buttercream in individual containers with 1-1.5 cups in each container. This way you have buttercream at the ready for your next macaron or cupcake craving.

Macaron Shells

Following the recipe from a previous post, after the shells are not tacky to the touch sprinkle generously with flaked coconut and bake as normal. The coconut will toast lightly and add lovely flavor and texture to the cookies.

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Portuguese Chicken and Rice

I could not tell you when or where I found this recipe all I know is it’s amazing.  This is now becoming a regular in my home.   It is that type of dish that I can see in any home being that dish generations later call “grandma’s chicken and rice.”   It has great homestyle feel with the complexity of a restaurant style dish.

I don’t even remember where I found this recipe.  I was doing some meal planning and found this in my trusty snowman notebook of random recipes.  It does take some time to make, but it is so worth it.   The flavors originally were great, but to me they needed to just be taken up a level, so adding in just three things to me made such a difference.   The great thing about this dish is really it’s stuff I always have in my pantry, so making it with or without the chorizo is up to you and what you have on-hand.

You finish the dish off by sprinkling with cilantro and serving with lime wedges.  It’s warm, comforting, spicy, and has amazing flavor.  My new favorite meal for when there is still a lot of snow outside.

Portuguese Chicken and Rice

  • 6 Cloves of Garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp Kosher Salt
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/4 tsp ground fennel
  • 2 tsp pepper
  • 1 tbsp vinegar
  • 6 Chicken Thighs, bone in, trimmed of fat
  • 1/2 onion, chopped (roughly 1 c)
  • 1 small green pepper, chopped (roughly 3/4 c)
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • Zest of small lime
  • 6 oz chorizo, sliced on an angle
  • 1 c fresh cilantro (coriander), minced, separated in 1/2 c measurements
  • 1 can (8oz) tomato sauce
  • 1 3/4 c chicken broth
  • Juice of small lime
  • 1/4 c water
  • 2 c Jasmine Rice

In a bowl combine the salt and minced garlic, crush into a paste with the back of a spoon.  Add in oregano, cumin, paprika, pepper, fennel, and vinegar.  Mix well.   Toss the chicken thighs in the marinade to coat and set aside.

In a large saute pot with lid, dutch oven, or any pot with high sides and a lid but wide enough to lay all the chicken on the cooking surface and not onto of each other and place over medium heat.  Add in the onion and green pepper, saute until onion is translucent.  Add in the pepper flakes, zest, and 1/2 c of the cilantro.  Stir.  Remove from pan and place in bowl.  Cover with foil.

In the pan add the chorizo and cook until lightly browned.  Remove from pan and place in bowl with the vegetables.

Increase the heat on the pan and add 1 tbsp olive oil.  Place the chicken skin side down into the hot pan to brown.  Add in any left over marinade still in bowl to coat.  When nicely caramelized turn over, and re-add the vegetable mix you previously removed, cook for 5 minutes.

Decrease heat back down to medium-low heat.  Add the lime juice to the water, set aside.   Add the tomato sauce to the pan and quickly add the lime water.  It will sizzle, quickly add in 1/2 of the chicken broth.  Add the rice and stir.  Add the remaining broth and bring to a slow simmer.  Add in 2/3 of the remaining chopped cilantro.  Once simmering cover and let cook for 5 min.  Taste, add in salt, pepper, and extra water as needed.  Let cook for another 10-15 min, until rice is done and moisture has cooked out.  Toss gently to not break the rice grains.   Remove the chicken thighs and let rice mixture sit uncovered for 5 min.  Shred the chicken meat off the bone and add the meat back into rice mix, gently toss.  Serve.