It’s Friday, y’all! And, that means a new fruit crush cocktail here on Tide & Thyme. I’m lame and dropped the ball last week. Little league obligations + field trips + allergies ended up crushing my ass last week…so with all that, I was in no mood to crush a cocktail. Ya feel me?

But the sun has been shining this week, I’ve been cleaning and baking with the windows open. All my favorite spots are opening up their doors for the season here on the island. And *fingers crossed*, we’re hoping to get the boat wet this weekend! The flounders are biting, and I’m ready to start restocking the freezer.

Alas. summer isn’t quite in full bloom for another month or so. And, fruit isn’t available from any of my favorite local farms just yet. Luckily, a halfway decent canteloupe is available pretty much all year at the grocery store. So, I decided to throw that under the bus for the crush this week!

The orange color is just lovely, and the melon flavor and sweetness is on point. So, what are you waiting for? It’s 5 o’clock somewhere! Get out there and crush the weekend, guys.

The Canteloupe Crush

2 cups canteloupe, diced
3 Tbsp sugar
1 orange, juiced
1/2 cup vodka
1/3 cup triple sec
1/2 cup sparkling water or lemon-lime soda
sliced canteloupe, for garnish

Blend canteloupe and sugar in a food processor or blender until completely pureed. We’re talking liquified.

Pour mixture into the bottom of a quart mason jar. Add in the orange juice, vodka, triple sec, and sparking water. Shake to combine.

Fill glasses with ice and pour cocktail over. Garnish glass with a slice of canteloupe.

Makes about 3-4 servings.

It’s the time of year when I start to look forward to local strawberries popping up. Or at the very least, some big beautiful berries that hail from Florida or California. I figured they were the perfect candidate for our second installment of the #CrushFridayVA series here on the blog!

Fresh sliced strawberries are macerated in sugar, and then given a quick pass through the blender to break apart – you’re aiming to keep some chunkage going on in the strawberry still. I love to see that in a cocktail, it let’s you know that it’s the real deal!

That puree is then mixed with vodka, fresh OJ, triple sec, and a splash of sparkling water – the standard crush ingredients. I happened to have some strawberry flavored sparking water, so I went with that, and it was a nice addition.

It’s light and refreshing and bubbly. And you can’t beat that gorgeous berry red hue with a stick. It has me yearning for the warm days of summer that are knocking on our door. Happy Friday, y’all!

I’m delighted to report that my obsession with the marriage of coconut and lime has continued. I’ve been enjoying the zingy combination in these coconut macaroons forever now, have been thinking about translating it into a cocktail form.

Virginia Tourism is currently running a #CrushFridayVA campaign, encouraging people to actually use their vacation days, and get out there to enjoy everything our beautiful state has to offer. But, being the lush that I am, my mind immediately went to the libation when I saw the hashtag.

And in all honesty, what better way to crush Friday then by enjoying a cocktail on my front porch here on this perfect little island that I call home? So, I’ve decided to make sharing a new crush recipe on Friday a weekly thing over the next couple of months here on Tide & Thyme, or until the various crushable fruits run out at least!

Now, I’ve turned many random fruits into margaritas in the past, but by swapping out tequila for vodka – well…by golly then you’ve got a crush on your hands. And, besides the usual suspects of orange and grapefruit, is pretty much uncharted territory here on the blog. Which frankly, is pretty damn lame…

Anywho, I figured a Coconut Lime Crush would be an ideal first candidate. Rich and sweet Cream of Coconut acts as the base, along with fresh lime juice. A generous splash of vodka and triple sec, then topped off with some sparkling water. It’s a light and refreshing cocktail that is perfect for springtime sipping. Get out there and get your crush on y’all!

There are few things that scream Easter to me more than a sweet, fluffy coconut cake. I shared my favorite recipe for a traditional version years ago (six to be exact y’all – T & T gettin’ old af!), and it’s amazing. But, add an additional eight layers to the party? And you really have something that’s a showstopping level of spectacular going on.

I’d tackled the world of Smith Island Cake a couple of years back, and had alot of fun making it. I went with the traditional route then, yellow cake with chocolate icing. But, Smith Island cakes come in a rainbow of flavors these days, one of which is coconut. When I saw this cake gracing the cover of an issue of Edible Delmarva last year, I knew I had to make it.

The cake is the same base recipe that I used the last go-round (word to Francis Kitching, y’all), but instead of chocolate frosting, has a delectable cooked coconut frosting in between each layer. That add up to ten layers of coconutty perfection.

I did take a trick from my traditional coconut cake and added a bit of cream of coconut and coconut extract to the batter and frosting, just to kick the coconut factor up a notch. It was impressive and delicious. I also found the frosting to be alot sturdier and less temperamental than the chocolate fudge-type frosting I’d made in the past. The perfect addition to your spring time table this Easter!

Coconut Smith Island Cake

For the cake:
8 oz (2 sticks) butter, at room temperature (plus additional for greasing pans)
3 cups flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 cups sugar
5 large eggs
1 cup evaporated milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp coconut extract
1/2 cup cream of coconut

For the frosting:
1 3/4 cups sugar
2 sticks butter
2 cans (12 oz.) evaporated milk
1/4 cup cream of coconut
1 pound flaked coconut
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp coconut extract

Position an oven rack in the middle of the oven; preheat to 350 degrees. Use butter to lightly grease ten 9-inch cake pans, or use 2 or 3 cake pans at a time and re-grease them as needed.

Combine the flour, salt and baking powder in a medium bowl, whisk to combine and set aside. Combine the evaporated milk, vanilla and coconut extract, and cream of coconut in a large measuring cup, whisk to combine and set aside.

Combine the butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer, beat on medium speed until light and creamy. Add the eggs one at a time; beat until smooth. With the mixer on low speed, add the dry ingredients alternately with the wet ingredients, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients and mixing just until incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and mix for 15 seconds longer.

Place a hefty 1/2 cup of batter into each baking pan, spreading evenly. Bake 2 or 3 layers at a time on the middle oven rack for 8 to 9 minutes. (A layer is done when you hold it near your ear and do not hear it sizzle.) We’re aiming for 10 layers, but 8 or 9 is okay!

While the cakes are baking, make the icing: Cook sugar, butter, evaporated milk, and cream of coconut in a medium pan over medium heat for 10-15 minutes, until mixture begins to thicken (do not boil). Remove from heat. Add 3/4 of the package of coconut, and the extracts, stir off heat until stiffens.

As the cake layers are done, run a spatula around the edge of the pan and ease out the layers. Let them cool. Place the bottom layer on a cake plate; spread 2 or 3 spoonfuls of icing on each layer. (Don’t worry if a layer tears; no one will notice when the cake is finished.) Cover the top and sides of the cake with the remaining icing; push any icing that runs onto the plate back onto the cake. Press remaining coconut onto the top and sides of the cake.

Source: adapted from Mrs. Kitching’s Smith Island Cookbook, via Edible Delmarva