Pineapple Mosaic Cake

Okay, it's upside-down cake, but look at this picture, doesn't it look like an artistic mosaic? I love the sweet-tart combination of caramelized pineapples against a rich-tender bed of cake. The extra brown sugar and rum bring out the delicious tropical fruit flavors. This recipe is easy to pull off for a fun dinner party on the weekend and the results are sure to wow. You can use a 9 inch round cake pan, if needed. I was able to find this square beauty at Marshalls for under $13. 

This lactose-free dessert is easily converted back for all of you butter lovers. Swap the coconut oil for butter, and use regular milk for those of you who don't have lactose issues!

Pineapple Mosaic Cake

Serves 6-8

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 2/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon dark rum
  • 1 medium pineapple - peeled, cored and cut into 1 inch chunks (~3 cups)
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil, room temperature
  • 2/3 cup white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup milk (lactose-free or regular)

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Adjust rack to middle of the oven.

In a small bowl stir together the melted coconut oil, brown sugar and dark rum; spread the mixture evenly in a well-greased 9 x 9 inch square cake pan (non-stick finish). Pat the pineapple very dry between several sheets of paper towel, and arrange it evenly on top of the sugar mixture.

Sift together flour, baking powder and salt.

In a large mixing bowl, using a hand mixer, cream the room-temperature coconut oil with the white sugar until the mixture is light and fluffy, approximately 3 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in the vanilla. Add the flour mixture in three parts alternately with the milk, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Beat well after each addition. Spread the batter evenly into the prepared pan. The batter will be very thick.

Place the cake in the middle of the oven. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes, or until a tester comes out clean. Let the cake cool in the pan on a rack for 15 minutes. Run a thin knife around the edge, and invert the cake onto a plate. Serve the cake warm or at room temperature. Serve with ice cream, whipped cream, or whipped coconut milk

Baker's Notes: A few of my pineapple pieces stuck to my pan. Don't fret, gently pry them off the pan and artfully place them back in their rightful place. 

 

Sweet Potato Biscuits

These flaky and tender sweet potato biscuits make the perfect housing for Easter ham, or enjoy them on their own with a bit of butter and honey. My husband is lactose intolerant, so using butter in the recipe was not an option. I subbed coconut oil, although vegetable shortening would have worked well too, and used lactose-free milk in the recipe and for brushing the tops of the biscuits.

sweet potato biscuits

Sweet Potato Biscuits

Adapted from www.chow.com/recipes/10/886/sweet-potato-biscuits

serves 4-6

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 1 cup mashed sweet potato
  • 3/4 cup whole milk, (I used lactose-free), plus more for brushing
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil, chilled
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4  teaspoon baking soda
sweet potato biscuits

Directions

The day before, or at least a few hours before, roast off 2 medium sweet potatoes in a 400 degree oven for 40-45 minutes. Cool completely, remove skins and mash. 

Preheat oven to 425 F. Combine dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and sugar), and set aside. Combine milk, vinegar and mashed sweet potato. Add the chilled coconut oil to the flour and using 2 butter knives, cut the fat into the flour mixture. Work the mixture with the knives until the coconut oil is about the size of peas. 

Add milk mixture to dry ingredients and gently combine. Turn out onto a floured surface and knead gently until the dough comes together (the dough will not be smooth). Dough will be sticky!

Flatten dough with hands or rolling pin to 3/4 thick. Using a floured cookie cutter, or glass, cut the dough into rounds. Place biscuits on parchment lined baking sheet about an 1/2 inch apart. 

Brush tops of biscuits with milk and bake for 12-15 minutes. Serve hot or warm. Biscuits are best the same day.

Mezcal & Lime Chicken

Nothing says summertime for me more than fresh bright flavors combined with seared meat. I made tequila lime chicken a while back and I needed to scratch that itch again. My only problem was I didn't have any tequila on hand. No problem, I subbed mezcal instead. 

Mezcal and Lime Chicken

What's the difference between Mezcal and Tequila?

From mezcalphd.com:

There are three key reasons why mezcal is different from tequila:

  1. Tequila and mezcal are produced in different states of Mexico (though there is overlap).

  2. Tequila can only be made, by law, with one variety of agave:  the Blue Agave.  Mezcal can be made with upwards of 30 varieties of agave, though most are made with the Agave Espadin.

  3. The production process for mezcal is different from tequila which leads to a distinctly different flavor profile for mezcal.

And, oh yeah, it has a worm at the bottom!

The lime and mezcal marinade penetrated the chicken providing depth and delicious flavor to usually so-so breast meat. Leaving the skin on kept the moisture in and left the meat some sumptuous fat. I de-boned my chicken breasts, but you can ask your butcher to help, or keep the bone in. Just plan to adjust the cooking time accordingly. Your meat thermometer is your best friend!

Mezcal & Lime Chicken

Adapted from Barefoot Contessa Family Style

Serves 6

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup Mezcal (I used Monte Alban Mezcal Con Gusana)
  • 1 cup freshly squeezed lime juice (takes 5-6 limes)
  • 1/2 cup orange juice 
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh garlic
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1/2 jalapeno, finely minced, seeds removed 
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 6 boneless skin-on chicken breasts
Mezcal and Lime Chicken

Directions

Combine mezcal, lime juice, orange juice, chili powder, garlic, honey, jalapeno and kosher slat in a large glass bowl. Add the chicken breasts and cover with cling wrap. Refrigerate overnight. 

Preheat your cast iron grill pan to medium high heat, and your oven to 375 F. Remove chicken from marinade and dry thoroughly. Grill the chicken skin-side down for 5-6 minutes. Turn the chicken and place grill pan in oven and cook until the chicken reaches 160 F, approximately 10-15 minutes. Allow the chicken to rest for 10 minutes (while resting, the chicken will climb to 165 F), then slice or serve whole.  

Serve with some wilted arugula with garlice, a little spanish rice, and a nice, cold Mezcal Margarita and it's dinner.

My trusty Lodge cast iron grill pan delivers perfect "grill marks" every time.

My trusty Lodge cast iron grill pan delivers perfect "grill marks" every time.