Something new at the blog

I had a dream last night that I was Googling around hunting to see if there was a more efficient duplicate of myself in a parallel universe whom I could summon via the internet, using my Visa card.   Something like that.
I was seated  on a pile of gravel in the backyard, surrounded by baby raccoons in trees who were flinging ceramic dishes and cans of Krylon paint at me.   And I was surprisingly relieved when the alarm went off at 5am.

The meaning of this dream is that my life is too full, and I need to just pull back a bit and focus on small and unglamorous things like pulling more weeds and spray-painting the lawn chairs, and I need to put the computer in a cupboard for a few days.
But before I do that,
IF I do that,
I have to just say Please Look At The Top Of This Page, and move your mouse up to the tab which says “Dinner”
…..and click there.
I am experimenting at building a food blog with some  cool women I know, and we are just getting it together today.
This project is just about ready for Prime Time, and if you have anything to add, please ADD IT.

Helen’s 3-Day Coconut Cake

This is my mother’s much loved coconut cake recipe, which she always served at Easter lunch back in those blessed days when she was cooking for us all.
When it says “3-day” that means make it three days ahead.  And this three day business was pretty huge with Mom…, you should see the look she gives if I make it only one day ahead.

And it actually is much better when you make it ahead of time.

There are some in our family who use Duncan Hines Golden Butter cake mix for the cake, but the preferred cake is as follows:

onc cup of soft butter
one and a half cups of sugar
one and two thirds cups sifted cake flour
three large eggs and one egg white, beaten but not stiff
one teaspoon almond  extract

Cream butter with sugar until fluffy.  Alternately add flour and  beaten eggs, blending well after each addition. Add extract.  When your batter is smooth, pour into two prepared nine inch cake pans.  Bake 25 minutes or until your toothpick indicates done-ness.
Cool on racks.

Now, gather the following for the frosting and filling:

two cups of sugar
two cups sour cream
two nine ounce packages of frozen coconut, thawed
one and a half cups Cool Whip

Combine sugar, sour cream, and coconut.  Chill.

Once you have  everything cool, assembled and ready to join  together….(I always take a deep breath at this point and have a little chat with my layers about not breaking as we move from rack to platter….)
The next step it to VERY CAREFULLY split each layer in half, creating four layers.

Then,set aside one cup of the sour cream mixture for frosting.
Spread the remainder between the layers of your cake.  ***

Combine reserved sour cream mixture with Cool Whip.  Blend until smooth, spread on top and sides of cake.

Store this in an air-tight cake container for THREE DAYS before serving.  It will be the moistest and most coco-nutty cake you ever tasted.

***Sometimes, at this point, I will put a layer of lemon curd as a filling between two layers, in place of the coconut mixture….so we have, from the bottom layer, moving upwards:  cake, coconut mixture, cake, lemon curd, cake, coconut mixture,  and then cake which will be frosted.

Giada’s Spinach and Pasta

First, from Nancy (who is in the throws of packing to move from Michigan to Missouri with her husband and three kids the -oldest-of-whom-is-three):

(This one is really delicious!  But we had to triple it to feed us all.)

Giada’s Spinach & Pasta

1-2 Chicken breasts (more or less depending on how much chicken you like)

¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

2 garlic cloves, minced
1 pound spiral pasta

1 (9 oz.) bag fresh spinach, roughly chopped

1 cup diced fresh tomatoes

1 cup grated Asiago cheese

½ cup grated Parmesan cheese

1 tsp. salt

¾ tsp. black pepper

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender. Drain pasta reserving ½ cup of the cooking liquid.

In a large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat, heat olive oil and add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Brown chicken with olive oil and garlic.  Do not drain.

Add the spinach and tomatoes and cook until the spinach wilts, about 2 more minutes. Add the cooked pasta and toss. Add the cheeses, salt, pepper, and the pasta cooking liquid and stir to combine.
You may serve the pasta mixture right out of the pan or try it in a casserole pan, dotted with butter and warmed in the oven, covered with foil.