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Hello everyone! I know it has been a while. I have had a whirlwind month working not the book. Just got back from NY. Was visiting my parents and editing the book before sending it off to agents. I still have to rework my final chapter and finish my queries but so far everything is looking up. I have been hard at work making recipes, and wanted to share a simple and delicious one with you. Yep, it’s Coconut Cream Shortcakes Time!

Coconut Cream Shortcakes are ridiculously easy to make. The most difficult ingredient to find is the coconut cream. I buy it canned at Trader Joe’s. Whenever I go there and it is available I will buy at least 4 cans at a time, if not more. Why? Well first off it is wonderful to make some vegan whipped cream, as used in this shortcakes. I love to add it to ice creams, soups, cakes, anything that could benefit from a creamy coconut touch. It is velvety, rich and works perfectly in so many recipes I can’t count!


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The second part of this recipe is the shortcakes. I call them shortcakes, but they are really just biscuits. You can use your favorite biscuit recipe. I have done vegan to butter and lard biscuits, and I must say that they all have a special place in my heart, and stomach. Since I do have a milk/egg allergy, I know I still enjoy the cheese and creams of the world, when I want to reduce the amount I am consuming I’ll make a vegan batch. You can also make the biscuits gluten-free. Honestly, they are just a holder for the sweet cream and macerated berries.

Macerated berries.

Macerated berries.

Macerated BERRIES!

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Say that three times fast! I did, and let’s just say my enunciation suffered.

Any who, OMG Doctor WHO was AMAZINGGGG this past Saturday… I digress… Any who, this is a great recipe to have on file for a quick dessert or quick bite to offer guests. They are also great to pig out on yourself, and with a drizzle of agave on top I wouldn’t blame you if you didn’t share.

I don’t share these… okay I don’t usually share these. If Mr. FGF is home I will share, which is why I try to make and eat them while he is out. Mwuahahaha.

Coconut Cream Shortcakes
Author: 
Recipe type: Dessert
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
Coconut Cream Shortcakes combine macerated strawberries and blueberries with sweet coconut cream and fresh fluffy biscuits for a dessert that is easy to prepare and fun to eat!
Ingredients
  • 1½ cups flour, all-purpose
  • ¾ tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 3 tablespoons butter, cold
  • 6 oz milk, cold
  • 1 14 oz can coconut cream
  • 3 tbsp sugar, powdered
  • 2 tbsp sugar, granulated
  • 1 cup strawberries, sliced
  • ½ cup blueberries
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 425 F.
  2. In a medium-sized bowl combine flour, baking powder and salt. Whisk to combine.
  3. Using a pastry blender, cut butter into flour mixture until mixture resembles coarse crumbles.
  4. Make a well in center of crumbles and pour in milk. Fold over flour from the sides, then mix with hands until just combined to form a sticky dough.
  5. Form a palmful of dough into a loose ball and place on a lightly greased baking sheet.
  6. Press down gently until biscuit is 1 inch thick and 2 inches wide.
  7. Repeat with remaining dough, ensuring that the biscuits are touching each other.
  8. Transfer baking sheet to oven and bake for 10 minutes, until biscuits are golden, fluffy and fragrant.
  9. Meanwhile, in a small bowl whisk coconut cream and powdered sugar together. Refrigerate until ready to assemble.
  10. In another small bowl combine granulated sugar with strawberries and blueberries. Stir until berries are evenly coated in sugar. Let mixture sit at room temperature until ready to assemble.
  11. Remove biscuits from oven. Once cool enough to handle, slice each biscuit in half.
  12. To assemble shortcakes, first take the bottom half of a biscuit and top with a few tablespoons of sweetened coconut cream.
  13. Spoon macerated berries over cream, then cover with top of biscuit. Repeat assembly with remaining biscuits, coconut cream and berries.
  14. Serve immediately.

I know I know, I haven’t been keeping up with you guys. Honestly, this book is running my life along with extra naps and walks with Naps. So I tried to think about how I could make it up to you and I remembered the ridiculously delicious (as told to me by my lovely taste testers) Jalapeño Stir Fried Pork.

Before the pork, an update on my life. Things have been going really well. As you know I completed my draft, did 2 edit run throughs and sent my book off to my beta readers. Thankfully I have already gotten one copy back and am already dissecting the beta copy and seeing what changes I would like to make. The book, I can’t even believe it, is getting revamped once more. I am moving some things around in the first two chapters and adding new scenes and action into my last chapter.

Why? A few reasons. One is that I know that by the time I got to the end of my book I was tired. I wasn’t tired of my characters, or my story because they are amazing and the universe that they have created in my mind is infinite. Honestly I dream about my characters, I live and breathe them, and they as well as their lives and the books are constantly on my mind. I was just burned out from late nights on the book and early mornings in the kitchen. My first beta confirmed what I already knew – my last chapter needs a little more punch. Luckily, the two weeks I have taken off have given me time to really let my imagination work things out and BOY it has.

Second reason falls to the query research. I have a list of 6 agents I want to send to. During those few weeks I took off physically working on my book I labored on the internet searching for any information on what these agencies are looking for. From interviews to query reviews and articles they have written. I’ve taken notes and realized that there are still some improvements that will make my story better and thusly more appealing to these agents. My research helped me well beyond my query, because it has helped me reflect on my work and see how to improve it. I need it to be as perfect as possible before I send out to agents, so my timeline has shifted and that’s ok. I haven’t pushed it back forever, just for a month. A month can make a big difference.

I have also been reading more about Mindy Kaling, who is an amazing writer and comedic actress. I love her for her tenacity and persistence, and how she is unapologetic of how awesome she is. She owns it and she worked hard to be where she is. She has often commented that it was so difficult to find parts that she decided to write them herself. That sounds simple but it took a lot of time and energy but it sure as buns paid off. I love acting and I love writing. I tried the acting route first and found that the parts available weren’t for me. I was too this or not enough that, too ethnic, too curvy, too short, not American enough, thin enough, tall enough, the list goes on. Since I was a little girl I loved writing, and it took me a long time to realize that it is what makes me the happiest. Writing this novel, this trilogy (or longer) is my in to get it all. If people love it as much as I do I can do what Mindy did, and write parts for myself. I have so many ideas and so much to offer, and I am excited for the day I will be able to share them with the world.

Wooh! That was fun. Now for the pork…

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This is my take on Asian style pork stir fry. I love taking dishes and adapting them to the latin palate. Using jalapeños, a classic spicy pepper, really helps bring out the sweetness of the bell peppers and onions. The use of pork shoulder is the big ingredient. Used more often for pernil, it is great to find new uses for ingredients you may already have on hand so shaving the pernil for this dish just brings a whole other string of possibilities with this one cut of meat. I love doing that.

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Cooking should be fun and easy. To me it shouldn’t involve ingredients that are too exotic or specific. It is all about using what you have in different ways and creating a new plate you can enjoy again and again. Sure it is great fun to experiment with new flavors and textures and ingredients, but for day to day life it is about kicking monotony to the curb and spicing up what you have on hand. And what you have on hand, I assure, is a lot of delicious waiting to happen!

This dish is colorful, flavorful and easy to prepare. Enough said.

Jalapeño Stir Fried Pork
Author: 
Recipe type: Entree
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
Jalapeño Stir Fried Pork is full of flavor and spice, and with a side of rice it’s a deliciously filling meal.
Ingredients
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp black pepper, fresh cracked
  • ½ tsp red pepper flakes
  • 3 tbsp water
  • 1 lb pork shoulder, sliced thin
  • 3 tbsp avocado oil
  • 2 jalapeños, sliced
  • 1 cup onion, sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup red bell pepper, sliced
Instructions
  1. In a medium bowl whisk together cornstarch, salt, black pepper, red pepper flakes and water until a batter forms.
  2. Add thin sliced pork to cornstarch mixture and mix, ensuring each piece of pork is evenly coated.
  3. Preheat avocado oil in a pan on medium-high heat. Lay pork in one layer in pan. Cook until golden, about 7 minutes, then flip and cook for another 5 minutes or until cooked through.
  4. Remove pork from pan and set aside.
  5. Add jalapeño, onion, garlic and red bell pepper to pan. Sauté for 5 minutes, until onion is translucent and peppers are tender.
  6. Add pork back to pan and cook for an additional 5 minutes.
  7. Serve hot.

It has been a helluva long time since I have checked out FGF. Sorry for those of you that have been kind enough to check in and see how I was doing only to get rebuffed by my not updating at all. Apologies. *hugs* If it makes you feel any better, but a month after I finished my first draft I was editing like a mad woman. Book editing may cause symptoms including but not limited to excessive hunger, constipation, lack of sleep, drowsiness, carpal tunnel and the need for AM Espresso Cherry Biscotti.

Before I get to these (see below) I want to talk about the book editing process.

Am-Espresso-Cherry-Biscotti-4

Sorry about that…

Now when I say I was book editing, what I mean is that I did very little else. Eating, exercising and showering because more of an idea than a necessity on some days, and I hate to admit that I scarcely interaction with my family, friends or husband and instead focused on tending to my computer and Napoleon, only because unlike every one else he didn’t want to talk to me he just wanted to serve as lap dog, personal heater and cuddle bug throughout the process. Most days were perfect. I would wake up, feed and let the pup out, munch on nuts or anything else that was immediately at hand and got to work.

My method was simple. Once I finished my draft I printed out each chapter and took a few days per chapter marking it up. I would change names, add scenes, move scenes around, you get the picture. When I was done with a chapter I would grab my computer and input my changes. Sometimes my input days were longer than my mark up days – I wrote a bit much. Once a chapter was finished I would praise myself with something special – gelato from Pitango, ice cream from Ice Cream Jubilee or a quick bite from Tortilla Cafe. Come on, you had to know all of my rewards had to be food related. If there is one thing I love more than pouring my thoughts onto paper it is eating them, hence the food blog (primarily ok, ok sheesh).

Here, another photo to drool over while I continue…

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See, I haven’t forgotten why you are really reading this, I just need to get a bit more off my chest first.

So anyway, this pattern (I forgot a lot of words from a multitude of languages for a second – meep!) went on for a month. I did not finish inputing the changes for my final chapter until 3:43AM on July 12th – which is when I went on vacation to South Carolina. Hooray right? It was a huge hooray, but even on vacation I did one last read through. I did it to make sure I didn’t miss anything, so I could catch any really dumb errors (which I found out I didn’t catch them all – ugh) and to finally read through a body of work I had put so much of my blood, sweat, tears and nails into (my nail biting returned with a fierceness I cannot explain).

We vacationed from Saturday to Saturday. I didn’t print out my beta copies until that Thursday. So my real vacation, with no novel to tinker with, was three days – well really a week since my kitchen faucet decided to die and a few other things have held up my days.

Anyway – rewind – how did I get through those early mornings and late nights working on my draft? AM Espresso Cherry Biscotti. You knew I was going to get back to it didn’t you?

Have faith people!

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This biscotti, out of any other biscotti recipe I have done has been the best received. Why? Because most of my taste testers are coffee addicts, because these biscotti were perfectly crunchy on the outside with just enough  richness in the center to be a cookie and a crisp. Because cherries are deliciously tart, pistachios are deliciously creamy and espresso is a wake up call. Because they go great with anything, everything and shine on their own. Because… because!

Make a batch and enjoy it while I do the same and work on the next part of the book process – querying an agent! More on that to come.

Abrazos!

AM Espresso Cherry Biscotti
Author: 
Recipe type: Cookie
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8
 
Start your morning with a piping hot cafecito and a few AM Espresso Cherry Biscotti made with crunchy pistachios, dried cherries and instant espresso.
Ingredients
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ½ cup butter, melted
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 3 large eggs
  • ¼ cup instant espresso
  • ¾ cup raw pistachios, chopped
  • ½ cup dried cherries, chopped
  • 2½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1½ tsp baking soda
  • ¼ tsp salt
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Line baking sheet with aluminum foil and set aside.
  2. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix sugar, butter and vanilla until sugar has dissolved.
  3. Add eggs, one at a time, until fully incorporated.
  4. Add espresso, pistachios and cherries, mixing until fully incorporated.
  5. In a separate bowl whisk together flour, baking soda and salt.
  6. Add flour a ½ cup at a time until sticky dough forms.
  7. Shape dough into two equally sized loaves.
  8. Place loaves on baking sheet ensuring that they each have at minimum a three inch buffer on all sides.
  9. Transfer baking sheet to oven and bake biscotti for 35 minutes.
  10. Remove loaves from oven and allow to cool for 20 minutes.
  11. Using a serrated knife, cut loaves on an angle into ¾ inch slices.
  12. Stand slices on baking sheet, spacing them at least a ½ inch apart from one another.
  13. Return biscotti to oven and bake for an extra 20-25 minutes, until golden on top and crisp.

Ladies and gents, for this post I have a big announcement to make.

I FINISHED MY FIRST DRAFT! *applause*

I thought there was no way that I could make this moment better. That is until I realized that I hadn’t shared my Coconut Crumble Lime Bars with you yet. *applause and flowers*

You’re Welcome.

Oh yeah, I did it! Sure, now that I look back on it I can say that I have some really great things going on in my novel and a few things I need to work on, but the truth of the matter is that I wrote over 55K words, and have a story that has a beginning, a middle and an end with some amazing stuff in between. Part of me feels like I should be shouting off of the rooftops, and another doesn’t feel like I have accomplished much. Not because I haven’t, but because I know I have so much more to go.

Coconut-Crumble-Lime-Bars-1-PS

Once I’ve taken enough time away I will go through the book again, chapter by chapter, flagging any issues I see big or small. Day by day I’ll take a few hours to fix some of those flags and continue reading for new ones. When i have all of that settled, and I feel like my novel is the best I can possibly make it, I’ll send it off to my beta readers. That’ll be a nice vacation for me, where I am constantly nauseated and eating my weight in chips and salsa waiting for the feedback. Once I integrate what I agree with and shelf what I don’t, I will be left with the best version of my novel I could come up with. From there it’s all about the agents, and hopefully I’ll have this all done by August so by the end of summer I’ll just be waiting for a good word and laying out the groundwork for book 2.

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In the meantime, I am taking a few days off of my novel, BT, and am focusing on my recipe development, food photography and FGF. That includes these oh-so-glorious Coconut Crumble Lime Bars. How this came to be stems from my bubbles. Lee loves key lime pie. When I say love, I mean if it was between me and the pie I don’t know who he would choose. I’m just kidding, he would choose me (right?). So I am constantly thinking of ways that I can infuse the flavors he loves into new desserts. Why? Because I get tired of eating the same thing, and I love creating new things, and I LOVE a challenge.

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I’ve made lemon and lime bars before. Alcoholic or not, they are always the perfect mixture of tangy and sweet. You can always taste every ingredient, I’m big on that, and sugar in my desserts is always used sparingly. Desserts shouldn’t just taste sweet, they should taste sweetened. Anyway, these bars have a one up on any other because of their coconut almond crumble topping. Intrigued? I knew I had you at crumble

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Coconut Crumble Lime Bars
Author: 
Recipe type: Desserts
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 9
 
Coconut Crumble Lime Bars are slightly sweet and tangy with a coconut almond crumble that makes every bite taste like a luscious slice of pie!
Ingredients
  • ½ pie crust, thawed
  • ½ cup shredded coconut, unsweetened
  • ¼ cup flour, all-purpose
  • ½ cup coarse almond flour
  • ½ cup oats, old fashioned
  • ¼ cup sugar, granulated
  • ¼ cup coconut oil
  • 1 14 oz can condensed milk
  • ¾ cup lime juice
  • 3 tsp lime zest
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease an 8x8 square pan with parchment paper and grease well. Set aside.
  2. Roll out pie crust on a well-floured surface until ¼ inch thick. Cut out 8x8 inch square of crust and press into bottom of pan.
  3. In a medium sized bowl combine shredded coconut, all-purpose flour, almond flour, oats, sugar and coconut oil. Mix until coarse crumbles form.
  4. Use ⅓ of crumbles to top pie crust evenly. Lightly press crumbles into pie crust.
  5. In another medium sized bowl whisk condensed milk, lime juice and lime zest until mixture is thick and creamy.
  6. Pour condensed milk mixture over pie crust.
  7. Top filling evenly with remaining crumbles.
  8. Bake for 30 minutes or until crumbles are golden.
  9. Transfer to cooling rack and cool completely, then freeze for 30 minutes to set.
  10. Pull up parchment paper to remove bar from pan.
  11. Slice off edges, then slice into 9 equally square pieces.
  12. Enjoy immediately or refrigerate until ready to serve.
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Coconut Cream Shortcakes

25th August 2014 by Carolyng

Hello everyone! I know it has been a while. I have had a whirlwind month working not the book. Just got back from NY. Was visiting my parents and editing the book before sending it off to agents. I still have to rework my final chapter and finish my queries but so far everything is looking up. I have been hard at work making recipes, and wanted to share a simple and delicious one with you. Yep, it’s Coconut Cream Shortcakes Time! Read more…

Jalapeño Stir Fried Pork

8th August 2014 by Carolyng

I know I know, I haven’t been keeping up with you guys. Honestly, this book is running my life along with extra naps and walks with Naps. So I tried to think about how I could make it up to you and I remembered the ridiculously delicious (as told to me by my lovely taste testers) Jalapeño Stir Fried Pork. Read more…

AM Espresso Cherry Biscotti because it’s been a while…

25th July 2014 by Carolyng

It has been a helluva long time since I have checked out FGF. Sorry for those of you that have been kind enough to check in and see how I was doing only to get rebuffed by my not updating at all. Apologies. *hugs* If it makes you feel any better, but a month after I finished my first draft I was editing like a mad woman. Book editing may cause symptoms including but not limited to excessive hunger, constipation, lack of sleep, drowsiness, carpal tunnel and the need for AM Espresso Cherry Biscotti. Read more…

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