Champagne and Strawberry Salad

Strawberries + Champagne Salad | Frock Files

About a year ago, my friend Monica invited me over for lunch and she made the most beautiful salad–but what really won me over was the flavor! She was generous enough to send me the recipe, which is Ina Garten’s Champagne Vinaigrette. Since I’m not a huge salad eater in the wintertime (soup, please!), it wasn’t until this past weekend that I remembered how much I love this recipe.

Ingredients:

Greens of your choice (enough for 6-8 servings)
Strawberries, quartered (10-12 or more)
Gorgonzola crumbles

Dressing:
3 tablespoons champagne vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon whole grain mustard
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 large egg yolk at room temperature*

*You can omit the egg yolk if you want to. The dressing won’t be quite as creamy but it will keep for longer in the refrigerator. With the egg yolk, you’ll want to use the dressing within three days.

Strawberries + Champagne Salad | Frock Files

Instructions:

1. Whisk together ingredients from vinegar through black pepper. Slowly add the olive oil and whisk until emulsified.

2. Pour dressing over salad and toss. Add strawberries and cheese and toss again. Serve immediately.

We prepare this with a simple salmon recipe, which I’ll post next week.

Somewhat Simple Recipe: Coconut Cupcakes

Frock Files | Coconut Cupcakes

Each year, my mom makes Ina Garten’s coconut cupcakes for her friends just before Easter. I should stop here to point out that my mom is gluten-free and doesn’t really eat dessert, so this is a complete act of generosity. My reasons for baking these cupcakes were slightly less benevolent: I had a crazy craving and wanted to devour them all. (I didn’t, but I wanted to.)

I used Ms. Garten’s cupcake recipe exactly as she intended, but swapped out her cream cheese frosting for the fluffy buttercream frosting I’m partial to, since it’s lighter and not as sweet. As someone who tends to default to boxed cakes, this recipe isn’t the simplest way to make cupcakes but it’s definitely the most delicious. And in the end, they only took slightly longer than the just-add-an-egg variety.

Frock Files | Coconut Cupcakes

Ingredients

3/4 pound (3 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups sugar
5 extra-large eggs at room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 teaspoons pure almond extract
3 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup buttermilk
14 ounces sweetened, shredded coconut

See the frosting recipe here. I swapped out the 2 teaspoons vanilla extract for equal parts vanilla and almond extract.

Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Line your muffin tins (24) with cupcake liners.
  2. Cream butter and sugar on high, between five and seven minutes. Add one egg at a time, then add the almond and vanilla extracts.
  3. Sift the dry ingredients together in a separate bowl. Add one third of the dry mixture to the wet ingredients and mix until combined. Add half of buttermilk to wet ingredients, mix until combined. Continue with remaining dry ingredients and buttermilk. Fold in coconut
  4. Bake 30-35 minutes. Allow to cool before removing from tin.
  5. Frost and sprinkle with coconut.

Yields: 24 cupcakes

Frock Files | Coconut Cupcakes

These are hands down the best cupcakes I’ve ever had, and at least 357 other people agree with me (that’s the number of five star reviews this recipe received). And because it’s always fun to watch someone do something they’re really good at, here’s Ina demonstrating the recipe.

What’s your favorite cupcake?

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