Wednesday, March 27, 2013

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Coconut-Lime Macaroon Nests

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The calendar said it was spring a week ago, and I'm starting to believe it. Yesterday Anne and I went for a walk, and when the sun came out from behind the clouds and the wind stopped blowing for a second, it was too hot for my big coat. Daffodils and tulips are poking their leaves through the ground, and I saw a whole row of fully-bloomed purple crocus. The birds are chirping! My seedlings are really growing; most of them have sprouted their second set of leaves (the first set of true leaves!), and I'm going to have to start thinning and repotting them already; more about that later! I can't believe how fast they're growing!

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These little macaroon nests are perfect for Passover and Easter; cute enough to please the littles (if their baskets full of peeps and chocolate bunnies aren't enough), not too sweet, and subtly flavored.

Happy Spring!

Coconut-Lime Macaroon Nests

Adapted from Bon App├ętit

2 egg whites
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon lime zest
7 ounces (about 3.5 cups) coconut flakes/chips, available at Whole Foods or similar stores

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees and line two baking sheets with parchment paper. In a large bowl, whip the egg whites and sugar until frothy. Whisk in the salt and lime zest and add the coconut flakes. Toss to coat. Scoop the coconut mixture in heaping tablespoonfuls onto the prepared baking sheets, making your best attempt to shape them into nests; they're not very cooperative. Bake for 18-20 minutes, until golden brown. Allow to cool on the baking sheets, and when they're cool, arrange whatever "eggs" you like on top. I used peanut butter M&Ms, but those little Whoppers robin eggs would be great, or jelly beans, or any of the other myriad egg-shaped tiny candies available at your nearest sweets emporium (aka Target).

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Edamame Succotash

Who says stay-at-home moms don't get to go on business trips? This week, Anne and I made the drive up to Traverse City, Michigan to see all 4 grandparents and 2 aunts! It's not exactly a spring break, since it's consistently about 10 degrees warmer in Chicago than it is here, but at least we got to skip the big snowstorm that brought March "in like a lion" on Tuesday!

Edamame Succotash / coppertopkitchen.blogspot.com

Coming for a visit during the week has been a really nice change of pace. We're actually getting to have some quality one-on-one time with family members. Usually when we visit it tends to be a blitz of all the people all of the time, which is great in its way. But I am savoring this week. Yesterday I had breakfast with my mom, lunch with my sister, coffee with my sister-in-law, and a lovely dinner date at home with my dad. It's been a while since it was just the two of us together (Anne was asleep). We roasted salmon and Brussels sprouts, opened a bottle of Zinfandel, and lit candles.

Edamame Succotash / coppertopkitchen.blogspot.com

This week away feels like a retreat. We haven't turned the TV on once. We sit together with coffee in the morning and wine in the evening, just enjoying each other. It's quiet and restful. The view out the front windows is white-on-white, but not for long! As soon as I get back home I'll be starting bell pepper and tomato seeds, and the melting will really begin!

Tree in my parents' yard; late winter light.

Edamame Succotash

This gets better and better as it sits in the fridge, so I like to make a big batch and snack on it throughout the week. My sister and I ate it piled onto toast that was slathered with goat cheese.

1 16-ounce bag frozen shelled edamame, thawed
1 cup frozen sweet corn, thawed
1 cup thinly sliced shiitake mushrooms
3/4 cup diced roasted red peppers
3/4 cup dried sweetened cranberries

For the dressing:
1/4 cup canola (or other light, mild) oil
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon sriracha
1/2 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
3 tablespoons honey
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Combine salad ingredients in a large bowl. Combine the dressing ingredients in a jar with a tight-fitting lid, and shake well. Pour the dressing over the vegetables and stir to coat. Allow to rest for an hour or two; the dressing softens the mushrooms a little and everything melds.