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Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Random Desserts of 2012

It seems whenever I'm pregnant, I slow down on blogging. Much of it is due to morning sickness but then that wears off and I have no exact excuse. Everyone is pretty busy and I do try to take pictures of things to blog about later, but seem to always be behind. Now that some Pecan Bars in are in the works and the kiddo is sleeping and The Husband is out, I have some me time, so I have decided to use it on blogging. Looking back through my pictures this year, I can see a bunch of desserts I've made and I vaguely remember what recipe they were, so I think it is best to just call this post "Random Desserts of 2012."
First on my list was a classroom treat for Valentine's day for the kiddo. Look at what a cute Valentine's day card he made The Husband and myself? Okay so maybe I helped him out a little bit... ?

Sure, the kiddo is only 1 and doesn't know what's going on with V-day but I felt he deserved some tasty cut out heart jam sandwich cookies for his Valentine's day classroom party. Unfortunately, I did not save what recipe I used for this but I know for a fact I used a recipe with no nuts, just because it was for school. I remember it only called for a few ingredients, flour, salt, butter, etc.

 I used raspberry jam for the filling, dusted the tops with powdered sugar, and I had some leftover pink buttercream from something - maybe Maria's cake? I used that as a filling on a few cookies as well. Rolling out and cutting cookies takes time but it was fun and the cookies were enjoyed by all.

Next on my random list of desserts, ah yes - some kind of random apple / pie crust recipe I saw on pinterest. You know how pinterest goes, the caption always says "easiest and best tasting recipe EVER!! OMG!!! you won't believe it!!!" and as it turns out, apples with store bought pie crust and some sugar and cinnamon taste like... apples with crust and sugar and cinnamon. This was OK but no 4 star dessert or anything. I like Pinterest and all, but it's basically a showcase of "good photography".. if you can take a good picture in good lighting, then it will be popular on Pinterest whether or not it is a good idea or tasty or not.

Okay, moving on, let's see what is next in my camera queue. Ah - yes - what can only be my favorite banana bread recipe, but this time with a glaze. Actually, there is a chance it is some other kind of spice bread but I'm pretty sure it's spiced banana bread. See top photo of post also - I made a bundt cake to welcome little Shiloh home and give her mom a belated present (a cake holder/tote) and I knew Shiloh loved spice and bananas. I made the loaf above for The Husband and I, because, you can't just make this bread and give it all away - you must have some for yourself!

Okay, let's keep moving because we are only up through March 10th! Ah yes, there was some other kind of party at "school" for the kiddo so I was happy to sign up to make a treat. I wanted it to use some kid-friendly ingredients like applesauce and apples and came across a Dorie Greenspan recipe that was popular on other blogs and decided to give her Applesauce Spice Bars a go. They were totally delicious and I will have to put her cookbook on my wish list!

They were hard to get a "clean cut" on but I cut them into bite sized 1-year old treat pieces and I heard that the class loved them. I'd definitely make these again, especially in the fall time. I had totally forgotten what recipe this was and was recently looking through my pictures and thought "oh yeah those were so good, what recipe was that????" and I'm so happy I finally remembered it was Dorie's.

Okay, what's next? Brookies! Apparently I finally made these cookie bars in April. I had heard about them from Martha Stewart's show, which I don't watch but my mom does, and I thought - what's not to like? A brookie is a brownie/chocolate chip cookie combo. I think on Martha, they had brownies inside chocolate chip cookies, however I did the easy bar-cookie style and I'm 99% sure I used a ghiradelli brownie box mix for the bottom, pressed it in, and then made the Tollhouse cookie recipe for the top layer and pressed that on top for a 9x13. I remember reading this blog, for the recipe but I certainly did not "drop cookie dough by spoonfuls" so maybe I found another method somewhere else or just winged it. Anyhoo, I feel really bad about this but I can't remember the reason for making them. I feel like there must have been an event or place that I took them --- let me know if anyone thinks these look familiar! It was around Easter time. Oh - one more thing - I also like to call them "Crownies" just for fun.

Next, I have lots of pictures of The Husband's birthday cake that he brought into work. I made the mistake years ago by showing him a photo of this law book cake that some one else had done, and he said "why don't I get a cake like that???" and so I thought this year he should finally have it. I spend hours and hours and hours on cakes for other people and some years he does not even get one from me, with it being around Easter and lent or being sick or this or that. Anyhow, this cake deserves a whole blog post in itself to go through all the details, so that's all I will say for now.

Next, I will mention these since they do count, but only briefly because I actually blogged about my mango desserts I made during "mango season."

We had a mango crisp and also this fantastically delicious recipe from Dorie Greenspan for mango bread. I made it 2 or 3 times and gave some loaves away, it was so delicious and moist.

Next in my camera stream is.. another mystery dessert. This looks like a crumble topped pie with fruit in it - I am guessing strawberry rhubarb? I can vaguely remember that I knew The Husband liked these pies and since I had never made one before, perhaps it was time. It looks a little soupy but I'm sure it did not go to waste. The Husband just took a peek at the photo and he agrees that he assumes it was strawberry rhubarb. I can tell you I used a store bought crust because I suck at homemade pie crusts, and I don't know what recipe I used for the filling. If I recall correctly, it was good but it's a little tangy with that tart rhubarb. I'm more of an all-sweet person I think.

We're finally to June - perhaps I have been baking more that I thought. I was thinking "I hardly bake anymore" ... perhaps, the truth is I hardly blog anymore but the cooking and baking continues! This dessert is easy to remember - it was to celebrate the homecoming of my sister-in-law and her family from having lived in London for two years. We had a homecoming party with The Husband's family and it was a great celebration. Minus that whole morning sickness thing I was experiencing!

I used Ina's flag cake recipe except I opted out of cream cheese frosting and just used regular buttercream frosting, so The Husband would eat some. I made a special effort to look up how many grams are in each cup of flour since Ina did not use weights for her cake recipe and I measured everything exactly. I felt the cake was flat and dense and not what I wanted at all, I would have just preferred some cake boxes personally, so - I'd not use that recipe again. I can make cakes from scratch and I know when they work and taste good, just so you know.

Next, a delicious chilled dessert - another ice cream cake! This one was for my mother-in-law's birthday which we were celebrating at our house. I didn't have time (or the energy with morning sickness) for a more elaborate cake and The Husband was excited for an ice cream cake so I went with that idea. It's a tasty option for a quick dessert that you don't have to travel with, perfect for summer. This time I wanted to try something different so I baked a disc of brownies in the cake pan prior to assembly. I think I used a 10in cake pan. I lined the floor of the pan in oreos, put a layer of french vanilla Hudsonville ice cream, then the brownie disc, then I believe some Sanders hot fudge, and then more vanilla ice cream. I used cool whip to decorate and "frost" the cake and popped it in the freezer. It's best if you freeze ice cream cakes overnight, then they are solid as rocks and don't squish apart when you try to cut them into slices. Serve with more Sanders hot fudge! I also put maraschino cherries on top for some color and for the kiddos.

Next, we fast forward to August because apparently there was no baking in July. We were traveling a lot so that makes sense. My nephew Liam's 1st birthday celebration was a great party and the theme was dinosaurs so I was happy to be able to make a dino themed cake. I found an example online that was reasonably do-able and I am pleased with the results. I used fondant for the dinosaur and balloon and letters,   which were cut out with my new letter cutters.

The letter cutters took more time than I expected, I finally figured out using cornstarch between each letter on the cutter was key for keeping the fondant from sticking inside the cutter. It was not a time saver but at least the finished product looks a lot better than my hand writing!

A few weeks later in August, we had the marriage of our dear friends Sal and Rog! I was very excited to be able to participate by making some mini cupcakes for their wedding celebration in Chicago. We stayed with some friends and I baked all the mini cupcakes and made the frostings  and decorations ahead of time and everything made the trip OK. Then the morning of the wedding I began decorating and decorating for several hours. It went by pretty fast and then we had about an hour drive out to the reception location. I packaged them in some cake boxes I bought and only a few rolled around so it went OK, next time I would try to pack in even more to make it a tighter fit, as the papers were not good spacers like I thought they would be. When we got to the reception hall I was expecting the other lady with the other half of mini cupcakes to be there and setting up but there was nothing. I didn't know if there was a particular design or not but all I knew was there would not be enough space on the plates for the cupcakes!

Eventually the reception was about to begin and no sign of the other lady so I began setting up the cupcakes with the help of The Husband. I found the other lady's cupcakes.. full size ones and not the right flavors.... not the proper decorating style....strange... in the cooler in the back and I tried to put some of those out, also. Anyhow, the normal sized cupcakes are not mine but I think the display turned out pretty good. The Husband did the left side and I did the right side!

The flavors were exactly what Sal ordered - yellow cupcake with regular white vanilla/almond buttercream which I made a yellow double fondant yellow flower for, chocolate chip chocolate cupcakes with delicious chocolate buttercream on top, which received the cut out white fondant hearts with green sanding sugar on top, and finally the german chocolate mocha cupcakes with browned butter salted caramel buttercream with a chocolate covered espresso bean on top (I purchased those from Caribou coffee). This was pretty fun and a great event, we were happy to celebrate with Rog and Sal!

Next, the kiddo and I had an impromptu evening out at an outdoor Beatles cover band concert with our dear friends Andrea and Jan and their little kiddo. I had really wanted to try a cookie recipe that I saw on an episode of the Pioneer Woman - a fabulous food blogger who got her own show on Food Network! I did not have milk chocolate chips but I think otherwise I followed her recipe pretty closely. Unfortunately I could not taste the malt and I love malted desserts, but these were delicious chocolate chip cookies nonetheless. I'll have to find another recipe where there's more of a malted milk flavor - perhaps adding malted milk balls or maybe the milk chocolate vs semi sweet makes the difference. I brought these cookies to the outdoor concert to share with my friends, which was good that I didn't get stuck at home with the whole tray to myself!

The next dessert brings us up through early September for my mom's birthday. I thought I would try to make a special lemon flavored cake with the special bakery-style frosting that she likes (though she likes the American super sweet kind also). She asked all week what cake she was getting for her birthday and also her typical "well don't make me anything, just buy me a nice cake from the bakery" blah blah and then the typical "oh you don't have to come over for my birthday, I don't need anything for my birthday, we don't have to celebrate at all" kind of thing that moms do but they truly don't mean it. So I kept the homemade cake a surprise upon our arrival.

I have used Rose Levy Beranbaum's Mousseline whipped icing before but I wanted to try Sweetapolita's Swiss Meringue Buttercream this time. I spent hours trying to get this recipe to work. I know how to whip eggwhites but these ones would just not come to stiff peaks. I had a clean bowl and cold eggwhites and proper sugar syrup and I don't know what happened. I ended up giving up and just adding the butter anyway and lo and behold, it still came together in the icing. Too bad I waited hours and stayed up until midnight trying to get the eggwhites right, since it apparently didn't matter. I am wondering if my kitchenaid is not up to par anymore, even since we used the meat grinder attachment and it fizzled on me. I added a lemon pudding mix into the cake batter and it was not overly lemony. I was exhausted but managed to make some cut out fondant flowers for decorations. When I decorated the cake the next day, I had trouble getting the handwriting right so don't judge me on the redone and redone again "h" for Happy Birthday. I should have just left the first one on there.

I'm still looking for the light and airy buttercream recipe that bakeries use - these two seem to be heavy on the butter flavor and not quite the right one, though they seem like the obvious choices. Anyhow, when I showed up at my mom's I hid the fact that we had gifts and cake so that it could be a surprise and she looked around and said "oh I see you didn't bring anything for my birthday" and then was in a real bad mood the whole day. She was not very thankful for the cake when she did see it, and told me I should have just bought one. So maybe next time I will, but from Meijer or Kroger. That's two times in a row she has had a real bad attitude after I did a whole bunch of work to pull off a nice birthday cake. There's no pleasing some people.

Next, our first fall dessert installation. Our dear friends Diana and Tim were having a fall party so I was happy to bring a few desserts. I decided on pumpkin cupcakes (a delicious Martha Stewart Recipe) and what's pretty much the best buttercream frosting recipe ever, caramel brown butter buttercream. Some candy corn made for an easy but festive decoration and I made a double batch so I had some extras for work. These turned out delicious and I would not hesitate to make a whole cake like this and slather that frosting on.

I could not stop with one dessert so I made a large batch of these babies that I've been eyeing in Martha Stewart's Cupcakes cookbook - Mini Oreo Cheesecakes. They were pretty easy but the only thing is they need to be chilled so it's not a great "leave it out at a party all day" dessert. I still got this recipe in my head and had to make them. These are best when eaten within the next day or two, by day 3 they get a little soggy of course. They were still tasty.

 In the bottom of each cupcake liner, a whole oreo was placed which posed as the "crust" and when you peeled the paper off, the cheesecakes held up very nicely and they were not messy to eat at all.

Lastly, that brings us up to what I popped into the oven when I started this post - some pecan bars for a work group lunch. Some days have passed since I started this post and I had made a double batch, and not a single pecan bar went to waste. I have made this Martha Stewart recipe before  (so this is an old photo) but this is a delicious fall recipe

Well it is mid-October so there's plenty of time for more baking this year, especially with the holidays coming up! Maybe I will get back to single posts on each recipe but for now I am glad to at least have these items represented and recipes logged before I forget any further. Hope you enjoyed!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Homemade Pesto - Totally Worth It

I've wanted to try making homemade pesto for a while and finally decided to just do it, as Nike would say.

I found a simple recipe that seemed to have all the right ingredients and literally gave it a whirl... in my food processor. I bought all the ingredients at Nino's - some fresh basil leaves, pine nuts and parmesan/romano cheese (didn't see the pecorino specifically).

This was simple and delicious and puts all those jars of pesto I've purchased at the store to shame. I don't think I can eat those anymore. This made extra so that I could use it for 4 or 5 meals and the pesto can be used to brighten up so many dishes.

I used it for pasta and shrimp, then also for a grilled cheese and tomato sandwich, more pesto pasta with chicken, and also for an awesome sandwich for The Husband and friend to go fishing with. Check out this recipe and try it if you love pesto! It's easy and fantastic.

Homemade Basil Pesto
As seen here on


2 cups packed fresh basil leaves
2 cloves garlic
1/4 cup pine nuts
2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/2 cup freshly grated Pecorino cheese (see Cook's Note)

Combine the basil, garlic, and pine nuts in a food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped. Add 1/2 cup of the oil and process until fully incorporated and smooth. Season with salt and pepper.

If using immediately, add all the remaining oil and pulse until smooth. Transfer the pesto to a large serving bowl and mix in the cheese.

If freezing, transfer to an air-tight container and drizzle remaining oil over the top. Freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw and stir in cheese.

** I didn't use it immediately OR freeze it and it's still tasting fresh. It's been in my fridge for a few weeks and didn't even get dark and discolored or anything like that.

Mango Mania

We recently took a trip to the British Virgin Islands where we were expecting an embarrassment of mangoes. We were surprised that it was a pretty arid climate and it took the whole week for our $4 a piece mangoes to ripen and we hardly saw any ripe fruit anywhere - maybe it was the wrong time of year?

Anyway, once we returned it was clearly "mango season" in Michigan (not that they are grown here.. because they so aren't...) and all the stores had piles of mangoes for 0.75 cents or $1.00 and I may have gone overboard. I definitely bought 4 one day, maybe another half dozen the next, and then I just flat out bought a case of mangoes a day or two later.

Needless to say, I am now sick of mangoes. But - it was a fun experience and let me share with you everything we made and enjoyed with this spicy, sweet and slippery fruit.

Besides just eating mangoes plain as an evening sweet snack, the first thing I made was a mango lassi. That's a classic and I already posted a great recipe which features a secret ingredient I love to add in a lassi - cardamon. Check out the recipe here. Well I guess it is not secret and I definitely saw it on some other website, but cardamon really makes a great difference.

Next I thought I needed to make some kind of dessert - I decided on a mango berry crumble. This was quite tasty. I threw in a few raspberries that I had laying around which added a nice counterpart and rose color to the otherwise mushy sweet mango layer. I used better-for-bread flour for the topping so it was not exactly as I was expecting but still good and we ate it all. I just made a strawberry rhubarb pie and the topping to that was faaaaaaar better. I can't find the recipe but you aren't missing on anything anyway, the topping was just "OK."

Lastly and my very favorite mango recipe - I made two loaves of Dorie Greenspan's fresh mango bread. This used up my last 3 or 4 mangoes and I had a feeling I'd love it so I made two parallel batches at once. I even brought some into work and gave some bread away to our friends. I have to say this might be better than even the best zucchini bread or banana bread, it was awesome! I'd definitely make this again or even try different fruits in here. The bread mixture itself is very moist and I love the amount of spices and the crispy caramelized top that you get. Dorie's loaf pans must be much bigger than mine, I had some overflow but luckily she had recommended a pan underneath. I was happy to just eat what overflowed though, so it was a bonus. Next time I'd fill my pan up to 3/4 the way and pour the rest into cupcake pans. Or I almost like the crispy top the best so maybe I could spread it out and make one giant crispy top. Is that even possible? If so, that would be awesome. I'm DEFINITELY making this recipe again. I'm almost un-sick of mangoes just thinking of it... so probably sooner than later! I think this is a nice gift bread, if you want to bake something nice for new parents or a neighbor, it's a different spin on a quick bread but I can't imagine anyone not liking it. It's so much more flavorful and interesting and moist than zucchini bread.. which I love also. I will have to try more Dorie recipes!

Fresh Mango Bread
By Dorie Greenspan as seen on The Tummy Train blog, here. 

From Dorie Greenspan’s Baking: From My Home To Yours, page 45
Makes one 8 1/2 x 4 1/2-inch loaf

3 large eggs

3/4 cup flavorless oil, such as canola or safflower oil

2 1/2 cups (13.5 ounces) all-purpose flour

1 cup sugar

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 packed cup light brown sugar

2 cups diced mango (from 1 large or 2 1/2 medium peeled and pitted mangoes)

3/4 cup moist, plump golden raisins

Grated zest of 1/2 a lime

1. Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Butter an 8 1/2 x 4 1/2-inch loaf pan, dust the inside with flour and tap out the excess, making sure every part of the pan is covered. Put the pan on an insulated baking sheet or on two regular baking sheets stacked one on top of the other. (This extra insulation will keep the bottom of the bread from over-baking).

2. Begin by dicing the mangoes. Set aside.

3. Whisk the eggs and oil together.

4. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, spices and salt. Rub the brown sugar between your palms into the bowl, breaking up any lumps, then stir it in.

5. Pour the wet ingredients over the dry, switch to a sturdy rubber spatula or wooden spoon and mix until blended—the batter will be very thick (really more like a dough than a batter) and not easily mixed, but persevere, it will soon come together.

6. Stir in the mango, raisins and zest. Scrape the batter into the pan and smooth the top with a rubber spatula.

7. Bake the bread for 1 1/2 hours, or until it is golden brown and a thin knife inserted into the center comes out clean. (If the bread looks as if it’s getting too brown as it bakes, cover it loosely with a foil tent). Transfer the pan to a rack and cool 5 minutes before running a knife around the sides of the pan and unmolding. Invert and cool to room temperature right side up on the rack.

Serving: As good as this bread is freshly baked, Dorie feels it is even better the next day.** One day spent wrapped in plastic seems to intensify the fruit and spice flavors. Of course, if you can’t wait, don’t. Just cut the loaf into thick slices and serve with tea, hot or iced, or coffee.

Storing: Wrapped in plastic, the cake will keep for about 4 days at room temperature.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Mmmm Mojitos

We've been having lots of mojitos around lately and here's just a quick snap shot of one of them. We tried to make a mint julep but sweetened Southern Comfort with mashed up mint was... not that great. I could kinda see how it might be good and maybe there is a secret to the preparation or Southern Comfort might be the wrong bourbon. The Husband and I still contend that the best use of mint is for the mojito!!

Check out the recipe I already posted a while ago if you want to make one at home yourself. I also am typically too lazy to make sugar syrup so I just mash the sugar (about 3 tablespoons to 2 tbsp fresh lime juice and 2 tbsp rum) with 8 mint sprigs and keep stirring it to try and dissolve it as best you can. It works and simplifies things a bit.

Too Hot Caribbean Hot Sauce

Everywhere we went in the British Virgin Islands to eat, there was a nondescript recycled jar or bottle on the table filled with a homemade hot sauce unique to the eatery. The Husband rediscovered his love for heat and he mentioned on the way home he'd like to try and get some hot sauce at home. We looked at Nino's but they didn't have anything that looked right so I decided to look up some recipes. I found one that kinda had the right look to it and had the name "The Ultimate Pepper Sauce Recipe" so I decided to give it a whirl.

Bitter Melon
I even found some unusual ingredients at Nino's - a bitter melon and green papaya. I cut open the bitter melon and tried it and... it was bitter. I'm not sure why anyone would choose to add that to a recipe! I decided to not add very much, but it was pretty to look at once it was cut. I tried the green papaya and it was not sweet, it tasted like a cucumber or something, so I was starting to get concerned that this sauce was going to be way too hot with nothing much to balance it out.

The recipe called for 15-20 scotch bonnets but all I could locate were habaneros so I should've known this was a bad idea. It also called for cilantro and juice of lime, garlic, and an entire lemon so I thought there was some hope for it to have some great flavors! It sure smelled delicious cutting up all these ingredients.

Once everything was prepped (I used rubber gloves and wore my sunglasses to avoid any pepper oils getting into my eyes), all I did was throw it into the cuisinart and blended. I had to try it to adjust for seasonings and BOY it was hot. This was not like the hot sauces we had in the BVI, this was overkill. Needless to say, I now have two jars of Too Hot Caribbean Hot Sauce sitting on the counter which will probably be there for a while. The Husband did like it but he just physically cannot consume too much of it.

Some of our favorite hot sauces we tried in the BVI were at the Clubhouse Restaurant at the Bitter End Yacht Club (served with our breakfast buffet) on Virgin Gorda and Foxy's Bar (served with lunch) on Jost Van Dyke. If anyone has any kind of similar recipe to those, let me know!!

Too Hot Caribbean Hot Sauce

15-20 hot peppers (scotch bonnet or habanero)

1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups vinegar
10 leaves of Shado Beni or 1 cup cilantro
6 cloves of garlic

1/4 small green papaya
1 small bitter melon (caraili)
1 lemon or 2 ripe limes
Juice of 4 limes
8 pimento peppers – optional
1 carrot – optional (helps to balance heat from peppers)

Prep ingredients and blend in processor.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

How To Make a Harley Themed Birthday Cake

Do you have any Harley-lovers in your family and you'd love to make them a Harley-themed celebration cake? Well I do too and I've taken some pictures of the Harley cake I created for my father-in-law's 70th surprise birthday party last summer, so hopefully this helps you also.

Despite several challenges - a broken oven, and The Husband being gone for 9 days on a fishing trip waaay up north, a 7 month old under foot, and a full time job - I was able to pull off a decent looking and decent-tasting cake, plus 30lbs of smoked pulled pork for dozens of people.

I only have one picture that I took prior to the cake being finished - but you can see that I practiced the design on a piece of cardboard and used that as a stencil to carve out the top layer of cake. Now the cake was shorter than I had planned due to my oven having been broken (and not having knowing it before putting the cakes in there while it said 350 degrees but was more like 225!), but it still tasted OK - just sorta shorter than I had planned.

It was super duper hot out in mid-July so I had planned on using a special temperature-resistant buttercream but I didn't like the way it tasted and ended up using my normal Wilton's decorating buttercream instead. I used half high-ratio shortening and half butter and it held up fine in the weather. Instead of using black, which is unappetizing, I used a chocolate ganache as the final topcoat to the top layer of the cake. The bottom layer was just left as white buttercream.

To create the chocolate plaque that was placed on top of the cake, I just stenciled out on some parchment paper the size of the Harley logo and then filled it in with melted chocolate chips. It hardened up nicely and I was able to trim the edges with a knife to give it a sharp look. I used tinted buttercream in orange and also white to pipe on the details on top of the plaque. Also the final cake got a border of flames as best as I could make them with buttercream - I researched a ton about how to make different kinds of flames but decided against the fondant borders that are pretty common. I used yellow, orange and red buttercream for the flames.

It was a great party, a lot of work was put into it and it was a fun surprise. I'm glad to have been a part of the festivities!

Coach Insignia for our 5th Anniversary

At the top of the Renaissance Center in Detroit is a first class restaurant - Coach Insignia. It does not revolve as a restaurant in this location may have in the past but it does reside on the 71st and 72nd floors in the Marriott tower. I had never been there before but we did have a Groupon (I like using coupons, I'm cheap like that) for a good deal at the Coach. Grandma was going to watch the little one and we headed downtown for an early dinner to celebrate our 5th Anniversary on a Saturday in early August last year. (Yeah... this post is a little out of date)

The Husband's cousin recommended one thing in particular - the lobster corn dogs. It may sound sorta strange but after having been big fans of lobster when we visited our friends in Maine, we could not pass up this appetizer.

We were seated in a comfy booth looking out across a few empty tables and a wall of windows overlooking some of Detroit's skyline and the Detroit River. Soon enough, two skewers of juicy meaty lobster that had been doused in a light and airy batter and deep fried until crisp arrived on a long rectangular plate, along with some sweet mustard drizzles and napa cabbage slaw.

They were to die for and we each got one skewer and not a bit of the lobster, slaw or mustard sauce were left behind. I believe these Maine Lobster Corn Dogs are typically on the menu and though pricey, it's worth it - try them yourself!!

I don't remember getting any other precursors to the meal, no soup or salad, guess I was trying to make up for the fact that we got the corn dogs and a glass of wine! I do remember that I ordered the filet with caramelized onions on top with Detroit's finest zip sauce as an accompaniment. We also ordered some horseradish whipped potatoes and hollandaise-doused asparagus for sides. It was delicious!

For dessert, I can't really remember but it sure looks beautiful - looks like some kind of ice cream in a waffle cup with a lovely orchid on top (see top photo) - yum! Anyway, our visit to the Coach was a nice trip to downtown Detroit and I highly recommend it. An early dinner seating on a Saturday was very pleasant.

Coach Insignia
71st & 72nd Floor
GM Global Renaissance Center
Detroit, MI 48243
Ph. (313) 567-2622