Friday, April 18, 2008

Soft and Strong and Yellow

It's almost the end of the time to post for the LiveSTRONG Day event, A Taste of Yellow, Hosted by Barb at Winos & Foodies. It has also almost been long enough from the event for me to write a bit about Nora Warwick, who lost her battle with cancer on Easter Sunday, just a few weeks ago.

Nora was married to Sweetie's cousin and for many years we saw very little of each other. By the time I met Sweetie, they were in the happy position of seeing their daughters married. Funds were scarce for travel at the time, so it wasn't until the celebration of Tom and Nora's 50th anniversary that I met any of their family.

What a delightful group they are! Tom gives Nora a lot of the credit because she was truly the one in charge of the house and did a wonderful job of keeping all those balls up in the air, working as clerk for the local town for many years, directing an art gallery, serving as a Girl Scout leader, forging and maintaining a large group of close friends, and making time to have fun together as a family, too. She had a ready smile, a wonderful sense of humor and a true interest in new things, people and places. She knew how to have a good time. She has left a huge hole in her families lives and in her community.

Unfortunately, Nora is but one of a huge number of people whose lives have been blighted or ended by various kinds of cancer. I rejoice daily that my own mother is a survivor of lung cancer. It still hurts that a loved niece was taken by ovarian cancer while still young. Treasure your relationships because we never know when cancer will claim someone we love.

So my Taste of Yellow is a variant of a recipe I found in Mollie Katzen's book Sunlight Cafe'. It is full of delightful recipes for all sorts of breakfast foods. Even though I just posted a muffin recipe, as I was looking through this cookbook, this muffin grabbed me. I like the fact that I had most of the ingredients (all except the crystallized ginger, so I substituted a healthy dose of orange zest), that it sounded like something that Nora would enjoy with tea, and that it was yellow. Nora and Tom lived since the late 1950s in Florida, so the addition of orange flavor seemed perfect.

These muffins are on the soft side. Apparently Sweetie likes his muffins this was impossible to stop him from eating one for 1/2 hour after they came out of the oven, and it was tricky taking photographs because he wanted to eat them all. We had a few with dinner and they went very well with leftover pork roast and some green beans that I dolled up with mushrooms and a little bacon.

Pineapple Coconut Orange Muffins
Adapted from a recipe in Mollie Katzen’s Sunlight CafĂ© cookbook

2 tablespoons sugar
1 ½ cup shredded coconut
2 tablespoons grated orange zest – colored part only
2 ½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
¾ teaspoon salt
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon powdered ginger
2/3 cup coconut milk (I used lowfat from Trader Joes)
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons canned crushed pineapple in juice, undrained
1 large egg
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Spray a 12 cup muffin tin with nonstick baking spray. Set aside.

Combine the coconut, sugar, and orange zest in a large bowl. Rub the mixture together with your fingers to distribute the orange oils. Add to that the flour, salt, baking powder and ginger. Combine to mix thoroughly.

Measure the 2/3 cup coconut milk into a 4-cup liquid measure, then add the pineapple with its juice and the egg and vanilla. Beat gently with a fork or a small whisk to combine.

Slowly pour this mixture, along with the melted butter, into the dry ingredients. Using a spoon or a rubber spatula, stir from the bottom of the bowl until the dry ingredients are all moistened. Don’t overmix; a few lumps are okay and some might be pineapple pieces.

Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin cups. If you like really big muffins, only use 10 of the cups and fill them to the top. I prefer to have smaller muffins and a couple more of them.

Bake in the middle of the oven for 20 – 25 minutes, or until lightly browned on top and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove the pan from the oven, then remove the muffins from the pan and place them on a rack to cool. Wait (if you can) at least 30 minutes before serving.

Yields 10-12 muffins


  1. They look like a wonderful muffin. I do enjoy a lot of Mollie Katzen's recipes and books. The orange was a perfect substitution!

  2. Yummy Elle! Looks fabulouso!

  3. Those muffins looks really good! I like the pineapple, coconut and orange flavour combo!

  4. Love all the creative things you've been posting as of late. We've got to get something on the calendar!

  5. I am glad to see that you too are joining in with the Taste of Yellow.
    It helps to remember.

  6. I know I would have like Nora. She sounds a wonderful woman. Thanks for sharing the recipe and supporting LiveSTRONG With A taste Of Yellow.

  7. Look at all that yellow you have in there! Those look like sunshine for breakfast.

  8. This muffin looks wonderful. A fitting tribute to your mom surviving cancer and to Nora the great person she was. I agree you have to love the people that matter in your life while you have them.

  9. This sounds like a beautiful combination of ingredients. And Nora sounds like she was a wonderful woman who touched many lives!

  10. I was so wanting to participate in this, but somehow, the time just disappeared. I've been about a week off lately! What a cute cookbook. Only breakfast foods? YUM! And these look so good. Perfect for the event. Thank you for introducing Tom and Nora. I can only imagine the "huge hole" she has left.

  11. Very nice indeed...loved the read through. Life is so unpredicatable; it's nice to sit back do the things you enjoy most. Cheers

  12. Elle, I'm sorry for your niece but glad for your mom.
    These muffins look delish and I'm a sucker for anything pineapple. And orange.

  13. These would go down really well in our house too, great flavours and they look yummy.

  14. They sound wonderful! Great contribution to Barbara's event!