Tuesday, March 30, 2010
A new zest.
Ever since we moved offices nearly a year ago, a world of eating options was opened up to my office mates and me. Now I'm a pretty religious brown-bagger, but having a selection of midday snacks available to me instead of solely the Fred Segal cafe (no joke), is a welcome luxury. We have one of the better gas station mini-marts as a neighbor, solid breads and viennoiserie across the street, and chocolate covered raisins by weight around the way. Our favorite mid-afternoon snack, however, is the controversial fruit cart, and there are quite a few to be found within a two block radius. I looked at their rainbow umbrella shaded carts with suspicion for some time, but after awhile, the chili powder, salt, and lime juice laced fruit was something that piqued my interest. My coworkers were already major converts, so by the time I had tried my first sliver of coconut, a little sour, a little spicy, I was very late to the party. I normally eschew the customary melons and cucumber, so my preferred fruit vendor, Eduardo, fills the bag up with mango, pineapple, and my beloved coconut. When he opens up a fresh coconut for me, he usually offers me the coconut water in a little baggie for later too. We've even started an informal baked goods for fruit exchange between the two of us -- a swap I'm more than happy to take part in despite the cautionary tales of pesticide use (I give him far more cookies and slices of cake than I take fruit).
So, it was with great pleasure that I participated in this week's Tuesday's with Dorie selection by Carmen of Carmen Cooks -- Coconut Tea Cake. The lime was an addition that I didn't think twice about. The two flavors just go together perfectly and reminded me that I still need to try my hand at the coconut-lime cookies that my cousin hauled across the country from CookieBar.
I normally rub lemon zest in my sugar, but it was a nice change to see the brilliant green of Persian limes dotting the white landscape of the sugar bowl, and embedded in the golden crumbs. The flavor of the finished cake was reminiscent of all things summer, naturally, but was smooth and subtle. It was unmistakably a coconut-lime cake, but nothing about it was cloying or tart. And, appropriately enough, it paired beautifully with tea. Though the recipe only called for half a stick of butter for the entire Bundt cake, the cup of coconut milk (and I used light coconut milk) added some fat so, although the cake wasn't nearly as moist as other Bundt cakes, it was just moist enough and held a tight crumb.
The foundation of this cake really is so versatile and it may become a new canvas for me to play with. Lime has proven itself to be fantastic -- so chili powder and salt, anyone??