The last week and weekend was a busy one. My parents came to visit from Illinois, and it was a fun time. They arrived on Thursday, and after finding out there was water in the basement back home, we tried to relax and have fun. I made homemade gyros and pita breads with a nice Greek salad while my Dad tried to find an earlier flight home. For dessert I made the chocolate strawberry pie recipe of my sister's.
On Friday, we went and leisurely walked around the Union Square area after a great dim sum lunch. It was fun doing some window shopping, and my parents picked up some kitchen items to take back with them. I managed to be good in all the kitchen supply places but broke down and bought myself two shirts. They are super comfortable and look great. On Saturday we went wine tasting in the Santa Cruz mountains. It was a fun trip, and I really enjoyed myself. Most tastings were free, and most of the wineries were small and very intimate. I enjoyed the small family run ones the most. Dan and I even bought six bottles of wine along the way.
On Sunday, we dropped off my parents at the airport and started working on cleaning up the house and resetting ourselves for the week. There was laundry to do as well as picking up all the items that were left around by myself during the whirlwind of activity of the visit. Now the chocolate strawberry pie is not Dan's favorite. He is a huge fan of coconut though, so I decided to make the coconut cake that we saw on a recent episode of America's Test Kitchen. Currently you can get the recipe on their website for free. If you are interested, I would go and get the recipe now before it goes away from being a free one.
It was a really easy recipe and only required two odd items, coconut extract and creme of coconut. They are both available at most local grocery stores. This cake was the official final nail in the coffin for me with boxed cake mixes. This took just as much time to make as a boxed cake, and the results are just so much better. I had made boxed cupcakes recently, so it was a good comparison in texture and flavor between homemade and boxed. The texture is just so much better. I also tested all the items one by one as I was making them. The low sweetness of the cake balances out the very sweet frosting. The toasted coconut is also a great texture on top of the whole package. I cut this recipe in half successfully for one of my mini cakes, and it halved easily with wonderful results. The only adjustment I would recommend is cutting the time used to toast the coconut. I had to cut my toasted with some raw because it was all too well done and not enough raw. Now, I just need to find something to do with the saved egg yolks. Any ideas?
Today I am off for a five mile walk since I could not yesterday due to the rain. I am also hoping to finish up the olive filigree pants that I started yesterday. They are coming along beautifully. I am hoping that I can finish them today and get them photographed tomorrow, but they are predicting rain again. I guess that means more sewing if I cannot photograph to list. Well I am off for that walk. I cannot wait to test out the new walking route and see if it is exactly five miles. I am also timing myself to see how long I take. I would ideally like to take less and less time each walk. Here is to getting in shape to continue eating cake!