Coconut Chili Lime Shortbread

Coconut Chili Lime Shortbread

1 C sugar

2 limes

1.5 tsp dried red chili flakes

2 C salted butter, room temp to soft

1/2 C dried unsweetened shredded coconut

3 1/4 C flour

- preheat oven 300º

- add sugar to bowl of stand mixer - zest both limes directly into sugar - mix with paddle on low to combine - add chili flakes to sugar and mix on low to combine

- add butter to sugar - beat on medium-high speed until butter is soft, fluffy and everything is well mixed 

- with mixer running on low, add coconut and allow to mix in, scraping down sides of bowl if necessary - add flour, about 1/2 C at a time until all flour has been added - turn off mixer and finish mixing by hand with a wooden spoon or hard plastic spatula

- turn dough out into a 10-12 inch round pan or 8 x 8 square pan - smooth dough evenly into pan with the back of a soup spoon - score the top of the dough with slicing marks (wedges for a round pan, squares for a square pan, or whatever other shape you like - you can also roll out dough and cut int shapes if you like) then prick all over with a fork or small skewer - bake 60-70 minutes or until top edges are lightly golden (thicker shortbread will need at least this much time, thinner shortbread will need less time, probably 45-50 minutes) - cool on a rack then slice, using score marks to cut

Lemon Cranberry Curd

I bought lemons before Christmas to make curd with and totally forgot about them. When I was at Halifax Central Library last week for a mom date, my new friend Meredith brought me a jar of Meyer lemon curd that she'd made and It was so delicious that baby and I ate the entire jar in one day.

It was so good I knew I had to make some myself.

As I was browsing the fridge, I noticed I still had fresh cranberries left over from the spicy bread pudding I made a couple of week's ago and thought, what the hell? Plus, making this beautiful curd gave me a chance to practice dark and moody food photography which I love love love.

Lemon Cranberry Curd

3 lemons

12 ounce bag fresh cranberries

3 eggs

1 C sugar

1/4 C butter

- juice one whole lemon into a small/medium pot - add cranberries and set over medium-low heat until cranberries can be easily crushed with a fork, about 10 minutes - remove from heat, mash cranberries and set aside

- in a large microwaveable bowl whisk eggs + sugar until smooth and sugar is completely dissolved (this step is really important - I whisk a few times over the course of ten minutes or so to make sure the sugar has completely dissolved into the eggs) - zest remaining two lemons into the eggs and sugar and then juice the same two lemons right into the bowl - break the butter into small pieces with your hands and add to the egg, sugar, lemon zest and juice mix - whisk everything together well

- microwave, one minute at a time, for 5 minutes, whisking well in between each minute - after five minutes, whisk and then, with the back of a spoon, press the cranberries through a sieve into the curd - discard cranberry skins - microwave one minute more - curd should be the consistency of loose pudding - if still too runny, return to microwave in 30 second intervals until thickened (it usually takes me one or two 30 second intervals to get my curd to the right consistency) - jar and refrigerate

***IMPORTANT*** - IF YOU DO NOT WHISK YOUR EGGS AND SUGAR UNTIL THE SUGAR DISSOLVES COMPLETELY you will probably end up with cooked scrambled egg bits. That's fine, but IF THIS HAPPENS - pour your curd through a sieve before you jar it. It will pretty much run right through - you may have to press the last bit through with the back of a spoon. The sieve will catch all of the scrambled bits.

LOCAL CONNECTIONS HALIFAX : Winter 2017

I've been working with Local Connections Halifax since summer 2016 and the first article I shot (and wrote) for them, about locally made sausage, was photographed in my sweltering hot kitchen on a 35º summer afternoon when my daughter was only six days old.

Let's just say each shoot gets easier and easier than that one (this is perhaps an understatement).

I learned a lot about oysters for the current winter issue thanks to the lovely Hana Nelson from Afishionado.  Hana helped me compile the info about the oysters and even proofread at LEAST five drafts (thanks Hana!). Another big thanks goes out to my amazing friend Kathy Jollimore. She came to my rescue and shucked ALL of the oysters for me plus, she styled them as well. I absolutely love working with her and I'd say, stay tuned for some beautiful and creative projects from the two of us this year!

To read my oyster article in it's entirety, click here.

Spicy Cranberry Bread Pudding

Remember that beautiful loaf of bread I got from Pete's Fine Foods

I made bread pudding and it was SO SPICY.

If a gingerbread man had a love affair with a chai latté it would taste like this bread pudding.

A slight burn in the mouth from the white pepper and cardamom offset by the tart tang of fresh cranberries and lightly sweetened egg soaked bread.

Get down on it.

Spicy Cranberry Bread Pudding

6 eggs

2 C milk 

0.5 C brown sugar, packed

1 Tbsp ground ginger

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp ground cloves

1 tsp nutmeg

1 tsp ground white pepper

3/4 tsp ground cardamom

2 C fresh cranberries

1 loaf of crusty bread, cut into 1-inch cubes

- In a large bowl, whisk eggs and milk - add brown sugar and spices whisking well to combine - add cranberries and cubed bread - toss to coat - cover bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate one to twelve hours

- Preheat oven to 350º - line a 9x13 oven-safe dish, or a large springform pan with parchment paper - pour bread pudding into parchment lined pan - bake 40-45 minutes until lightly browned on top - serve warm drizzled with maple syrup and/or a dollop of whipped cream

I like to make my bread pudding the night before, let it sit, covered, in the fridge overnight, and then pop it in the oven the next morning for breakfast.

Recipe inspired by this incredible butternut squash, chorizo and blue cheese strata by my pal Kathy Jollimore at eatHalifax!