Coconut Cake with Mango Sauce

Food for Thought by Chef Katie Chin, For recipes, visit thesweetandsourchronicles.com

I usually get invited to my friend Sabrina’s Easter brunch every year. I remember feeling weird showing up after my divorce as most of the people who attend her brunch are acquaintances so most of them didn’t know I had recently gotten divorced. Part of me wanted to stay at home and eat marshmallow Peeps but I knew I could hide from my new life or start living it. Once I arrived, I did feel nervous knowing that sooner or later someone was going to ask me where my hubby was. Once it happened and the words came out of my mouth, “Actually, we just got a divorce,” I felt relief and like a 20-pound brick had been lifted off my head. I learned to ignore the looks of sympathy and the words started to feel lighter every time I said it. I even began to joke it about it, “Oh, I’m great thanks, I lost 190 pounds…because I divorced my husband!” This Coconut with Mango Sauce recipe always brings back memories of that Easter Brunch which I brought with me that day. I hope you enjoy it!!


Coconut Cake with Mango Sauce

SERVES 6–8
PREPARATION TIME: 10 MINUTES
COOKING TIME: 50 MINUTES

1 cup (226 g) unsalted butter, room temperature

2 cups (400 g) sugar

3 cups (400 g) all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting

1 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons baking powder

3 large eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon coconut extract

One 14 oz (400 ml) can coconut milk

Toasted shredded coconut for topping

MANGO SAUCE

1 cup (250 ml) puréed mango

½ cup (100 g) sugar

1 tablespoon all-purpose cornstarch

¾ cup (185 ml) water

  1.  Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C). Spray a bundt pan with nonstick baking spray and dust with flour. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, and baking powder.
  2. Using a mixer, cream the butter and  sugar together until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in the eggs, 1 at a time. Once incorporated, add the extracts. Stir in thecoconut milk alternating with the flour mixture and mix until smooth.
  3. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake until the center is firm and the cake comes away from the sides of the pan, about 50 minutes.
  4. Mango Sauce: Combine all of the ingredients for the sauce in a small saucepan. Whisk until lump free. Place over medium heat, stirring constantly. Bring to a boil until the sauce is transparent and thick. If it’s too thick add more water, 1 tablespoon at a time. Remove from heat.
  5. Cool cake 5 minutes before turning it out onto a rack. Let cool completely on the rack.  Top with shredded coconut and drizzle the sauce over top before serving.

Chocolate Molten Lava Cakes

Food for Thought by Chef Katie Chin, For recipes, visit thesweetandsourchronicles.com

When I was going through my divorce, I was dreading the thought of Valentine’s Day, “what if I go alone to a movie and run into my ex with his new girlfriend?,” “I want to stay at home and binge watch Sex in the City but I’ll feel like a loser.” Instead, I gathered by besties and threw a Valentine’s Day dinner to celebrate friendship. I made everyone dress up and we had oysters, champagne and individual chocolate molten cakes. It felt empowering to redefine Valentine’s Day and celebrate the people who truly made my heart sing. Here’s a delicious and easy recipe for chocolate molten cakes I adapted from Martha Stewart (who provided me with a quote for my new cookbook coming in late April, btw!)

Chocolate Molten Cakes

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for muffin tins
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar, plus more for muffin tins
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted
  • Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting
  • Whipped cream, for serving for serving
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Generously butter 6 cups of a standard muffin tin. Dust with granulated sugar, and tap out excess. Set aside.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and granulated sugar until fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. With the mixer on low speed, beat in flour and salt until just combined. Beat in chocolate until just combined. Divide batter evenly among prepared muffin cups.
  3. Place muffin tin on a baking sheet; bake just until tops of the cakes no longer jiggle when the pan is lightly shaken, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from oven; let stand 10 minutes.
  4. To serve, turn out cakes, and place on serving plates, bottom sides up. Dust with confectioners’ sugar, and serve with whipped cream, if desired.

Chocolate Dipped Holiday Fortune Cookies

fortunecookies1Food for Thought by Chef Katie Chin, For recipes, visit thesweetandsourchronicles.com

The holidays can be stressful for anyone but even more so when you’re divorced or going through one. Even though if felt like such a relief to not be worrying about my ex around my family at Christmas (our closeness made him feel insecure because he was estranged from his mother and had no siblings) I felt unhinged, like I was at sea with one paddle. I decided to focus my energies on organizing a holiday inspired chocolate fortune cookie workshop at the Ronald McDonald House in Los Angeles. Watching the kids’ faces light up when I arrived and how excited and grateful they were that I came and spent time with them put so much into perspective. Despite my internal struggles, I realized how lucky I am to have my health, family and wonderful friends. I hope you enjoy this recipe for Hand-dipped Holiday Fortune Cookies and may they bring good fortune to you this holiday season!

Chocolate Dipped Holiday Fortune Cookies

Ingredients

  • 24 fortune cookies
  • 2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips or candy coating
  • 2 cup white chocolate chips or candy coating
  • sliced almonds
  • variety of colored sprinkles
  • candy canes, ground in a food processor
  • bits of toffee

Instructions

  1. Place semi-sweet chocolate chips and white chocolate chips in separate ceramic bowls. Heat semi-sweet chocolate chips for 30 second intervals in the microwave, stirring between each interval until melted and smooth. Set aside. Repeat steps with white chocolate chips. You may use a double boiler alternatively to melt chocolate.
  2. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or wax paper. Place toppings in individual small bowls. Dip each cookie in semi-sweet or white chocolate and sprinkle with toppings as you desire. Place on cookie sheet. Once cookie sheet is full, place in freezer for 5 minutes to set. Store in an airtight container.

Thai Chicken Lettuce Cups

Food for Thought by Chef Katie Chin, For recipes, visit thesweetandsourchronicles.com

With Thanksgiving around the corner, I thought I’d share this fun and out-of-the-ordinary Thai Chicken Lettuce Cup recipe to make the night before the holiday when you may be entertaining out-of-town guests. I know holidays can be difficult when you’re going through a divorce. Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays and it felt weird to be on my own as I usually celebrated with my ex’s family. I decided to take matters into my own hands and invited some local LA friends (some of whom were also going through a divorce) and a couple of out-of-towners. It felt good to have a ton of support around me even though it was a lot of work. If you’re in a similar frame of mind, try this recipe which came to my rescue because it’s so easy — they’re kind of like Thai Tacos which means your guests have to assemble the dish themselves which means less work for you!

Thai Chicken Lettuce Cups

Ingredients

Sauce:

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
  • 4 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon rice vinegar or white vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons fish sauce (nam pla)
  • 1 fresh hot red or green pepper, preferably Thai, deseeded and finely sliced

Filling:

  • 2 tablespoons high-heat cooking oil
  • 2 teaspoons minced galangal or fresh ginger
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 pound ground chicken
  • 1/2 cup canned chopped water chestnuts, drained
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped green onion (white and green parts)
  • 1 tablespoon minced lemongrass
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce (nam pla)
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 large butter lettuce leaves

Instructions

  1. Make the sauce: Bring sugar and water to a boil in a saucepan, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Cool slightly. Mix ¼ cup of the syrup with the ginger, lime juice, vinegar, fish sauce and chili in a small bowl. Transfer to a small serving bowl. Discard remaining syrup.
  2. Make the filling: Heat oil in a wok or skillet on medium-high heat. Add ginger and garlic; stir-fry until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add ground chicken and stir-fry for 4 minutes. Add water chestnuts and stir-fry for 2 minutes.
  3. Add cilantro, green onion, lemongrass, fish sauce, crushed red pepper and stir-fry for 30 seconds. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Dish out and transfer to a serving bowl.
  4. Serve chicken mixture with lettuce leaves and ginger lime dipping sauce, allowing guests to form their own wraps.

Kim Chee Fried Rice

Food for Thought by Katie Chin – October 2015

I had dinner with a friend shortly after my divorce was finalized. She said, “You need to rediscover who you are – the food you love to eat, the music you like to listen to and the things that give you joy…become the person again that you’d fall in love with.” I took her advice to heart and organized a group to go straight to Koreatown for some karaoke and delicious Korean food. My ex thought my passion for karaoke was silly and I let him shut down one of the things I loved the most. I remember ordering Kim Chee Fried Rice that night and this dish always reminds me to embrace my passions and let my heart sing!

Kim Chee Fried Rice

  • 4 tablespoons canola oil, divided
  • 1 large egg
  • pinch salt
  • 1/4 cup finely sliced shallot
  • 1 garlic clove, finely minced
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped kimchi
  • 1 teaspoon premium soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons kimchi juice
  • 1/4 cup shredded mozarella cheese
  • 1 cup day-old cooked rice, at room temperature
  • 1 scallion, white and light green parts only, very thinly sliced
  • salt and pepper
  • srircha sauce

Instructions

  1. Heat a skillet over medium high heat. Add 1 tablespoon of the oil and swirl to coat. Crack the egg into the skillet, sprinkle it with a pinch of salt and immediately cover the pan with a lid. Cook until the egg white is cooked through and the yolk is barely set. Slip a spatula underneath the egg and transfer it to a plate. Set aside.
  2. Heat the remaining 3 tablespoons of oil in a wok or large nonstick skillet over medium high heat. Add the onion and scallions. Saute until fragrant, about 1 minute. Turn the heat to high and add the kimchi and cook for 2 or 3 minutes until it begins to crisp on the edges. Add the soy sauce, kimchi juice, shredded cheese and rice and stir thoroughly to combine. Cook until the rice is warmed through and cheese is melted, about 2 minutes. Add the scallions and cook for 1 more minute. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer the rice to bowl. Place the reserved fried egg on top. Dot the egg white with srircha sauce. Pierce the egg yolk before serving so the yolk becomes a sauce for the rice. Serve immediately.