Francine Coles leaves Munds Park after 25 years!
Updated: Aug 9
But before she goes, Francine gave Munds Park and the Pinewood News one more amazing meal to enjoy!
Memorial Day officially kicks off the summer here in Mund’s Park and it’s especially fun to see all the people gather in the park. While some may begrudge the additional traffic and noise, I love it! To me, it means partying, fun & entertaining! So, let’s get to some great recipes for entertaining!
Let’s begin with the perfect summer cocktail, the Spicy Mezclita. It’s light (no simple syrup) and refreshing, spicy and smoky. Sounds perfect to me! Then when you’ve got a gang to feed, try this Grilled Chicken and Orange Summer Salad. It’s a refreshing salad that can be partially made ahead (grill the chicken ahead of time for simplicity). And, no party is complete without a fun dessert, so let’s go with Funfetti Cupcakes. The inner child in you will thank me!
And, speaking of thank you’s, after 25 years, I will be leaving Mund’s Park. I am so sad to be leaving this lovely community and I am so appreciative and thankful for all the friends I have made and the support that I have received for my blog, The Fancy Pants Kitchen. Thank you for reading my column in the Pinewood News and for following my website. Please don’t be strangers…I can always be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Spicy Mezcalita
Makes: 2 cocktails
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
3 ounces tequila
1 1/2 ounce mezcal
2 1/4 ounce Cointreau
2 1/4 ounce fresh lime juice
2 slices of fresh jalapeño (plus 2 slices to garnish)
2 slices of fresh lime (2 garnish)
Combine the tequila, mezcal, Cointreau, lime juice, and 2 slices of jalapeño in a shaker.
Add ice to above the level of the liquid and shake vigorously for 15 seconds.
Strain the mixture into chilled rocks glasses containing large cubes of ice and garnish with remaining lime and jalapeño slices.
Grilled Chicken and Orange Summer Salad
Makes: 4 Servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
6 grilled or cooked chicken breasts, cut across the grain into strips
2 cups mixed baby greens
1 romaine lettuce, washed and torn into small pieces
2 oranges, peeled and cut into segments or 2 Asian pears, cut into thin slices
1 English cucumber, cut into julienne strips
1 red pepper, cut into julienne strips
1 pint blueberries
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
1/2 cup toasted almonds
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup orange juice
2 tsp Kosher salt
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp granulated garlic
Pinch each of red chili flakes and black pepper
In a serving bowl, layer the lettuces, oranges, julienned vegetables, berries, chicken and end with toasted nuts. Cover and chill.
Citrus Dressing: Mix all ingredients together in a blender and dress salad just before serving. Do not toss salad.
Makes: 24 Servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Ingredients for the Cupcakes
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1/2 cup oil
1 1/2 cups sugar
4 eggs, room temperature
2 tbsp vanilla extract
3 cups cake flour (See Chef’s Notes)
1 tsp salt
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/3 cups buttermilk
1/3 cup rainbow sprinkles
For the Frosting:
1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1.5 pounds powdered sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons whole milk
Directions for The Funfetti Cupcakes
Preheat the oven to 350°F and grease and line 24 cupcake tins with liners. Set aside.
In a large mixing bowl fitted with a whisk attachment, beat the softened butter and oil together until they become homogenous, about 3 minutes. This will not work if your butter is not completely room temperature.
Slowly add the granulated sugar to the oil and butter, beating on high until the mixture is light and fluffy and turns a very pale yellow, about 3 minutes.
Add the eggs in one at time, scraping down the bowl in between each addition. Add the vanilla extract. Beat the mixture on high for 3 minutes more to incorporate as much air as possible.
In separate bowl sift together the cake flour, salt, and baking powder. Alternate mixing in the dry ingredients and the buttermilk in 4 batches, starting with the buttermilk and ending with the dry ingredients. Fold in the sprinkles until well mixed. It’s okay if the batter still has a few lumps in it–you don’t want to over mix it.
Use a large cookie scoop or a 1/4 cup measuring cup to split the batter evenly into the prepared cupcake tins and bake for 20-30 minutes or until the cupcakes are lightly golden brown and spring back when pressed. Take out of the oven and transfer to a cooling rack. Let the cupcakes cool completely and frost with your favorite frosting!
Directions for The Frosting
In a stand mixer, beat the softened butter and powdered sugar together until fluffy, about 2 minutes.
Add in the vanilla, salt and a tablespoon of milk one at a time. If the frosting seems to be getting too runny, stop adding milk. Beat for 3 minutes, or until light and fluffy. Transfer the frosting to a pastry bag fit with a large star tip and frost the cooled cupcakes. Top with rainbow sprinkles or leave plain. Enjoy!
If you can’t find cake flour, substitute by measuring out 3 cups of regular flour (following this tip). Remove 6 tablespoons flour and add in 6 tablespoons corn starch. Sift 2 times then use in the place of regular flour.
Make sure all your ingredients are at true room temperature so that they incorporate seamlessly.
If you don’t have buttermilk on hand, you can make a substitute! Find our buttermilk substitute here!
Do not over mix the batter! This can dry out your cake and cause the sprinkles to bleed into the batter!
Thank you Francine for all your contributions to the Pinewood News! We enjoyed your food, and your positive energy! We will continue to follow you on your social pages and blog. We wish you all the best.