Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Classic Apple Pie

Every Thanksgiving, apple pie makes its mandatory appearance on the dessert menu.
This year, I wanted to try a new recipe and this one looked (and ended up tasting) delicious.
ingredients
for the crust
2 1/2 C all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting
2 tbs sugar
12 tbs butter, chilled and cut into 1/4" pieces
1/2 C vegetable shortening, chilled
6-8 tbs ice water

for the filling
8 apples (I used a variety of types from our CSA)
3/4 C granulated sugar
1 1/2 tbs lemon juice
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground allspice
1 egg white, beaten lightly
1 tbs granulated sugar, for topping

directions
  1. for the crust: Add flour and sugar to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a beater blade.
  2. Add the butter and mix on medium-high speed for 30 seconds.
  3. Add the shortening and mix on medium-high speed until mixture is pale yellow and resembles course cornmeal (about another minute).
  4. Remove bowl from mixer stand.
  5. Sprinkle 6 tablespoons of ice water over mixture.
  6. With a rubber spatula (or your CLEAN hands), use a folding motion to mix.
  7. Press down on dough with broad side of spatula until dough sticks together, adding up to 2 tablespoons more ice water if dough will not hold together. 
  8. Squeeze dough gently until cohesive and divide into 2 equal balls.
  9. Flatten each ball into a 4" wide disk.
  10. Dust lightly with flour, wrap separately in plastic, and refrigerate at least 3 minutes, or up to 2 days, before rolling.
  11. Remove dough from refrigerator. If still and very cold, let stand until dough is malleable.
  12. Adjust oven rack to center position and heat oven to 425°.
  13. Roll one disk on a lightly floured surface into 12" circle.
  14. Transfer the dough to a 9" pie pan.
  15. Gently press dough into sides of pan, leaving portion that overhangs lip of pie place in place; refrigerate while preparing filling.
  16. for filling: Peel, core, and slice apples into 1/2"-3/4" slices and toss with granulated sugar, lemon juice, salt, cinnamon, and allspice.
  17. Turn the apple mixture (including the juices), into the chilled pie shell and mound slightly in the center.
  18. Roll out the other dough round and place over filling (or you can use cookie cutters to cut out fun shapes and layer them on top of one another to cover the filling).
  19. Trim top and bottom edges to 1/2" beyond pan lip; tuck this rim of dough underneath itself so that the folded edge is flush with the pan lip.If using dough round as top crust, cut 4 slits at right angle on the dough top. 
  20. Brush egg white on top of crust and sprinkle evenly with remaining 1 tablespoon of granulated sugar.
  21. Bake until top crust is golden, about 25 minutes.
  22. Reduce oven temperature to 375°, continue baking until juices bubble and crust is deep golden brown, ~30-35 minutes longer.
  23. Transfer pie pan to wire rack; cool at least 4 hours.
  24. Enjoy!

Chicken Mole over Dark Chocolate Linguine

They opened a fancy olive oil store at the mall near us, called Secolari.
We bought a bunch of things on our first visit, including a package of dark chocolate linguine that we had no idea what to do with.
Luckily, the company who makes it provided some recipes.
We tried this one and it was different, but in a delicious way.
yield: 6-8 servings

ingredients
1 lb Pappardelle's Dark Chocolate Linguine
2 tbs extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbs chili powder
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 (14.5oz) can diced tomatoes, drained
1 bell pepper, chopped
2 chipotle peppers, chopped
1 (10oz) can chicken broth
2 tbs peanut butter
2 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped
4 lb chicken breasts

directions
  1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. Heat oil in a saute pan over medium heat.
  3. Add onion and saute until translucent.
  4. Add garlic and spices and continue to saute for 2-3 minutes.
  5. Add diced tomatoes, peppers, chipotles, broth, peanut butter, and chocolate.
  6. Simmer for 10 minutes.
  7. With an immersion blender (or in shifts with a regular blender), puree until smooth.
  8. Sear chicken in a heavy bottomed, hot saute pan over medium-high heat until browned on all sides.
  9. Add chicken to casserole dish, cover evenly with sauce.
  10. Cover and braise in the oven for 45-60 minutes.
  11. While chicken and sauce are braising, cook pasta in a large pot of salted boiling water until just tender, ~7-8 minutes; drain.
  12. Toss pasta with chicken mole.
  13. Enjoy!

Green Beans with Bacon and Brown Sugar

Last Thanksgiving I totally forgot to make the green beans.
This Thanksgiving I wanted to have a recipe in hand that would be quick, easy, and delicious so that I could easily get it on the table in time.
This recipe fit that bill perfectly -- and the green beans were REALLY good, and bonus points for not having to roll bacon around green beans.

yield: 12-16 servings*

ingredients
3 lbs green beans, ends trimmed ( got the pre-trimmed, steam in a bag kind)
8 slices bacon
1/2 C light brown sugar
12 tbs salted butter, melted
1 1/2 tsp garlic powder

directions
  1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. Steam green beans (if you have the steam in a bag kind) or bring a large pot of water to a boil and boil green beans for 3 minutes and then plunge into ice water; set aside.
  3. In a skillet, cook bacon until the edges just begin to brown; remove from pan and lay on a paper towel.
  4. When bacon is cool enough to handle, cut into small pieces or strips.
  5. Place the green beans in a casserole dish.
  6.  Spread bacon pieces over the green beans.
  7. Sprinkle brown sugar evenly over the beans and bacon.
  8. In a small bowl, stir together melted butter and garlic powder.
  9. Pour evenly over the green beans and bacon.
  10. Bake for 20-25 minutes.
  11. Let sit for 5 minutes before serving.
  12. Enjoy!
*This recipe is double the original recipe. The original recipe says it serves 8-10, I had 8 people for Thanksgiving and even with a ton of other food and the doubled recipe, we didn't have a ton of leftover green beans. So, my thought is that the original recipe is more of a 6-8 person serving and the doubled recipe is a 12-16 person serving. Or maybe we just eat a lot at my house.

Overnight Pumpkin Monkey Bread

I made this recipe for Thanksgiving morning, it was phenomenal -- and the perfect way to start Thanksgiving!

ingredients
for dough
4 tbs salted butter, melted
1/4 C granulated sugar
1 C pumpkin puree
1 large egg
1 package quick rise yeast
1 C warm water
2 C cake flour
1 3/4 C all-purpose flour

for brown sugar coating
1 C light brown sugar
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
8 tbs (1 stick) salted butter, melted

for icing
3 oz cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 tsp maple syrup
1/8 tsp salt
1 C powdered sugar
1-2 tbs milk

directions
  1. Spray a 12C Bundt pan with cooking spray; set aside.
  2. for dough: In a small bowl, whisk together warm water, yeast, and 1 tbs sugar. Let sit for 5 minutes until the yeast is frothy.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the butter, sugar, salt, pumpkin, and egg; set aside.
  4. Mix cake flour, pumpkin, and yeast mixture in a stand mixer fitted with a beater blade on low speed until combined.
  5. Switch to the dough hook, increase speed to medium.
  6. Gradually add all-purpose flour.
  7. Knead with dough hook on medium speed for 5 minutes.
  8. Turn dough onto lightly floured counter and knead briefly to form a smooth, round ball.
  9. Coat a large metal bowl with cooking spray.
  10. Place dough in bowl and cover with plastic wrap.
  11. Allow dough to rise in a warm, draft free place for 60-90 minutes until it doubles in size.
  12. for brown sugar coating: While dough is rising, mix brown sugar and spices together in a small bowl.
  13. Place melted butter in a second bowl; set aside for sugar coating.
  14. Remove dough from bowl and pat into a roughly 8" square.
  15. Using bench scraper or knife, cut dough into 64 pieces.
  16. Roll each dough piece into a ball.
  17. One at a time, dip balls in melted butter and allow the excess to drip back into the bowl.
  18. Roll in brown sugar mixture.
  19. Layer sugar coated dough balls in the Bundt pan.
  20. Cover Bundt pan tightly with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator overnight.(Or if you are crunched for time, let it rise in a warm, draft free place for 30-45 minutes).
  21. Remove the pan from the refrigerator about 1 hour before you want to bake it.
  22. Heat the oven to 350°.
  23. Remove the plastic wrap from the pan and bake 30-35, until the top is deep brown and caramel begins to bubble around the edges.
  24. Cool in pan for 5 minutes, then turn out on a platter, and allow to cool slightly (~10 minutes).
  25. for icing: While the bread is cooling, beat cream cheese in a stand mixer fitted with beater blade until smooth.
  26. Add maple syrup and salt, beat until incorporated.
  27. Add powdered sugar and beat until smooth.
  28. Add milk slowly, until the icing reaches the desired consistency.
  29. Drizzle icing over warm monkey bread, letting it run down the sides of the bread; serve warm.
  30. Enjoy!

Italian Shrimp & Pasta

We haven't been grocery shopping in a long time (think before Thanksgiving), and we are trying to use what we have in our freezer/cabinet/fridge. We dug some shrimp out of the freezer and went to google to figure out what to do with it.
We picked this recipe and stuck mostly to it -- we added some crushed red pepper flakes for some spice and some tomato paste to thicken it up based off of the comments that said it was watery.
It turned out great, and the added spice was a nice touch.

yield: 4 large servings

ingredients
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbs olive oil (I used Basil Olive Oil)
28oz can of diced tomatoes, undrained
1/2 C chicken stock
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp white pepper
1/4 C tomato paste
1 lb uncooked shrimp, peeled and deveined
6oz uncooked angel hair pasta

directions
  1.  In a large skillet, saute garlic in olive oil for 2 minutes over medium heat.
  2. Add tomatoes, stock, basil, oregano, and pepper.
  3. Bring to a boil.
  4. Reduce heat to medium-low, simmer, uncovered for 10 minutes.
  5. Stir in tomato paste.
  6. Simmer for an additional 10 minutes.
  7. Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package directions.
  8. Add shrimp to the tomato mixture; cook for 5-6 minutes or until shrimp turn pink.
  9. Drain pasta; toss with shrimp mixture.
  10. Enjoy!

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Cookie Cutter Ginger Crisps

I got a Fred "Gingerdeadman" cookie cutter/press for Halloween this year and I scoped Pinterest looking for a suitable Gingerbread recipe.
I really liked the flavor and texture of this recipe, my husband's commentary was that it wasn't as "crisp" as a gingerbread cookie should be -- this might be I didn't cook them long enough, or it might just be by design. I don't know, but I sure liked them!
yield: 14 dozen small cookies (these giant gingerdeadmen didn't make that many)

ingredients
1C salted butter, room temperature
½C brown sugar
½C sugar
⅓C molasses
⅔C light corn syrup
4 ½C flour
1 ½ tsp ground cinnamon
1 ½ tsp ground ginger
½ tsp ground cloves

directions
  1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. Beat butter and sugars together in the bowl of a stand mixer on medium speed, ~3 minutes, until light and fluffy.
  3. Beat in molasses and corn syrup until well combined.
  4. Add in the remaining ingredients on low speed until a smooth dough forms.
  5. Chill in fridge for 30 minutes.
  6. Roll out on a lightly floured surface to less than ⅛" thick.
  7. Cut with floured cookie cutters.
  8. Line baking sheet with silpat or wax paper.
  9. Bake for ~8 minutes.
  10. Enjoy!

Peanut Butter Buttercream

I always like trying new versions of old favorites and this recipe is a great version of a PB buttercream.
I used it to top the chocolate stout cupcakes from this recipe.

yield: ~24 cupcakes worth of buttercream

ingredients
1C salted butter, room temperature
1C creamy peanut butter
3C powdered sugar
½C heavy cream

directions
  1. In the bowl of your stand mixer, cream together butter and peanut butter on medium speed for 2-3 minutes.
  2. Lower the speed to low and slowly add powdered sugar.
  3. Scrape the sides of the bowl.
  4. Pour in heavy cream, and beat on low until smooth.
  5. Scrape the sides of the bowl again.
  6. Beat on high for 5 minutes, until buttercream has become light and fluffy.
  7. Frost cooled cupcakes or cake.
  8. Enjoy!

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Cheddar Bratwurst Soup with Pumpkin Ale

In this house we love pumpkin and we love beer. And I love cheese.
We found this recipe to incorporate them all!

yield: 6 servings

ingredients
4 uncooked bratwurst
1 tbs olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
2 carrots, diced
2 tsp caraway seeds
3 tbs flour
1 12oz bottle of pumpkin ale (I used Terrapin Pumpkinfest)
32oz chicken stock
1C water
2 russet potatoes, peeled and diced
2 bay leaves
1 tbs worcestershire sauce
⅓ C half and half
1 tsp mustard powder
2C sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
big handful fresh dill, chopped
salt & black pepper to taste

directions
  1. Heat olive oil in a heavy bottomed soup pot or dutch oven over medium heat.
  2. Brown the bratwurst on all sides.
  3. Add ½ cup of water to the pan, cover, and steam the sausages for about 15 minutes.
  4. Remove cover, and remove sausages from the pan; set aside.
  5. Saute the onion, carrots, and caraway seeds in pot for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  6. Sprinkle in the flour and cook for 1 minute, stirring occasionally.
  7. Pour in the beer, chicken stock, remaining water; whisk to combine the flour and liquid.
  8. Add in the potatoes and bay leaves.
  9. Cook for 30 minutes, until the potatoes and carrots are cooked but not mushy.
  10. Remove the bay leaves and add the worcestershire sauce, half and half, mustard powder, salt, and pepper.
  11. Puree the soup with an immersion blender (or puree part of the soup in a blender) quickly, to puree part of the soup but to still leave it chunky. 
  12. Slice the sausages and add them to the pot.
  13. Slowly stir in the cheddar, stirring until it has completely melted and the soup is smooth. 
  14. Stir in the fresh dill.
  15. Enjoy!

Brown Sugar Pumpkin Soup

Along with getting a huge haul of cranberries this year, we loaded up on pumpkins as well.
This recipe is perfect for a delicious, light soup needed in cold weather.

yield: 6-8 servings

ingredients
2 tbs butter
1 medium onion, diced
1 small sweet potato, peeled & diced
¾ tsp sea salt
¼ tsp black pepper
1 bay leaf
6C chicken stock
2C pumpkin puree
2 tbs brown sugar
4 tbs heavy cream
1 tsp lemon juice
2 tbs fresh parsley, chopped

directions
  1. Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat.
  2. Add the onion and sauté for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Add sweet potato and cook for 5 minutes.
  4. Add salt, pepper, bay leaf, stock, pumpkin, and brown sugar.
  5. Cook soup, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes.
  6. Turn off heat and stir in heavy cream, lemon juice, and parsley.
  7. Use an immersion blender to puree soup (or stick it in a blender).
  8. Enjoy!

Halloween Dessert - Edible Intestines

I scoured Pinterest to find a creepy, yet delicious dessert that would be prefect for a Halloween party.
This recipe fit the bill -- easy, delicious, and gross looking!
ingredients
1 box of frozen puff pastry
1 egg, lightly whisked
Food coloring: red & a little bit of brown
1 can of chocolate frosting
Mini chocolate chips

directions
  1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. Line the cutting board with wax paper.
  3. Spray a baking dish with cooking spray.
  4. Unfold the sheets puff party and cut into even pieces (I used Pepperridge Farm and cut along the folds).
  5. Use the egg to "glue" the pieces together end to end (think long strip of intestine), pressing the pieces together until smooth. (I made 2 long strips because of lack of counter space for one long crazy intestine).
  6. Using a small rubber spatula, spread chocolate frosting down the middle of each strip. (This is a bit of a balancing act, you don't want too much filling to bust out of the strips but you don't want too little and have skimpy intestines).
  7. Sprinkle the strips of frosting with mini chocolate chips.
  8. Gently lift the sides of the puff pastry and seal them together  at the top (over the filling) by pinching closed. Make sure that they are sealed as best as possible so you don't have leakage in your intestines when you transfer them to your baking dish seam side down.
  9. Carefully pick up each tube and transfer them to the greased baking dish.
  10. Wind the intestines around, curving them around the baking dish to make them look like intestines.
  11. At the ends, make sure to pinch the puff pastry closed and point them downward to look more realistic.
  12. In a small bowl, mix 8-10 drops of red food coloring with 2 drops of brown food coloring.
  13. With a paint brush, paint veins and arteries on the puff pastry.
  14. Bake for 18-20 minutes, until lightly browned. A little chocolate might leak out, but then it will just look more realistic ;)
  15. Enjoy!

Cranberry Ice Cream

Loads of cranberries means lots of recipe options. Ice cream is always a good option.
At the Chatsworth Cranberry Festival we tried a cranberry ice cream that was so tart and refreshing, I knew I had to try to recreate it.
This recipe is spot on.
ingredients
cranberry puree
¼ C water
¼ tsp salt
1 ½ C cranberries
2 tbs orange juice

ice cream
1 ½ C heavy cream
1 ½ C whole milk
1 C sugar

Directions
  1. Over medium heat, cook water, salt, and cranberries for 6-7 minutes.
  2. Remove from heat and allow to cool for 10 minutes.
  3. Puree cranberry mixture and orange juice in a blender or food processor.
  4. Refrigerate cranberry puree for several hours, until cold.
  5. Place your ice cream container into the freezer (I use a pyrex bowl).
  6. Mix together cream, milk, sugar, and cranberry puree. 
  7. Churn ice cream according to manufacturer's instructions. 
  8. Transfer to cold ice cream container.
  9. Freezer for at least 4-6 hours.
  10. Enjoy!

Cranberry Goat Cheese Ice Cream

I love goat cheese and I love ice cream.
I also love cranberries and had a ton leftover from buying a giant box from the Chatsworth Cranberry Festival.
I found this recipe on Pinterest and knew it would be perfect to try in my KitchenAid Ice Cream Maker attachment.

yield: 1 quart

ingredients
1 ½ C half and half
8oz goat cheese
¾ C sugar, divided
¾ tsp salt, divided
1 ½ C cranberries
⅓ C orange juice
½ tsp triple sec

directions
  1. In a blender or food processor, combine half and half, goat cheese, ½ C sugar, and ½ tsp salt.
  2. Puree until very smooth, transfer to a container and refrigerate until very cold.
  3. Clean out blender/food processor.
  4. Combine cranberries, remaining sugar, remaining salt, and orange juice in a saucepan.
  5. Bring to a boil and let simmer, stirring occassionally, until berries pop and soften to jam-like consistency.
  6. Transfer cranberry mixture to blender/food processor, blend until smooth.
  7. Stir in triple sec and chill for several hours in the fridge until very cold.
  8. Churn goat cheese ice cream according to manufacturer's instructions.
  9. Transfer to a large chilled bowl (I used a pyrex) and very quickly fold in cranberry syrup with a large rubber spatula.
  10. Quickly transfer to a container to freeze for at least 4 hours before serving.
  11. Enjoy!

Deep Fried Pumpkin Spice Latte

This year my husband & I had a pumpkin themed party for our birthday, the only qualifier was to bring something pumpkin flavored.
I found this recipe and knew it'd be a hit.
ingredients
2C pumpkin spice latte
1 1lb loaf of pumpkin bread/loaf
½ C cinnamon sugar
Oil for frying (I used vegetable)
Whipped cream for dipping

directions
  1. Cube the pumpkin loaf into ~1" pieces.
  2. Pour the latte into a shallow bowl.
  3. Heat oil in a heavy bottom pot or dutch oven to 350°-360°.
  4. Dunk each piece of pumpkin loaf into the latte.
  5. Fry them until crisp on all sides.
  6. Place fried pieces on a paper towel to absorb excess oil.
  7. Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar.
  8. Serve with whipped cream for dipping.
  9. Enjoy!

Drunken Pumpkin Spice Latte

I love pumpkin. I also love boozy treats.
I found this recipe and knew it was just the thing for a pumpkin themed birthday party!
Delicious and dangerous (you can't taste the alcohol), this was a hit!
yield: 1 pitcher (~8 cups) *I doubled this to make A LOT*

ingredients
4 ½ C brewed hot coffee
1 ¼ C milk
1 ¼ C RumChata
½ C pumpkin pie vodka
¼ C sugar
½ tsp cinnamon

*optional toppings*
whipped cream
cinnamon

directions
  1. Add sugar and cinnamon to hot coffee and stir until dissolved.
  2. Add the remaining ingredients and stir to combine.
  3. Serve warm or over ice. (I served over ice)
  4. Top with whipped cream and cinnamon if you're in the mood.
  5. Enjoy!

Oven Baked Parmesan Chicken

I don't know where I found this recipe because I have scribbled down on a piece of notebook paper.
It was delicious, the chicken was juicy, and it may be mildly healthier because it's baked and not fried.

ingredients
¼ C flour
2 eggs
½ C parmesan cheese
1 lb thin sliced chicken breasts or tenders
1 tbs italian seasoning
1 tsp garlic powder
¼ tsp salt

directions
  1. Preheat oven to 450°.
  2. Place cooling rack on a baking sheet and spray with cooking spray.
  3. Place flour, garlic powder, salt, and italian seasoning in one bowl.
  4. Whisk eggs in a second bowl.
  5. Combine breadcrumbs and parmesan cheese in a third bowl.
  6. Dip each piece of chicken in the flour mixture, shake off excess.
  7. Dip in egg, let excess drip off.
  8. Roll in breadcrumbs.
  9. Spray top of chicken with olive oil.
  10. Bake 10 minutes.
  11. Turn chicken over and spray with olive oil.
  12. Bake ~12 minutes more, until crisp.
  13. Enjoy!

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Raspberry Mint Sorbet

Ice cream attachment for my KitchenAid + raspberry picking = this recipe is perfect.
I did not strain out the seeds, which added a nice texture to the sorbet.
yield: ~1 quart

ingredients
1C water
1C sugar
¼C mint leaves (I used chocolate-mint leaves)
3C fresh raspberries
¼C lemon juice

directions
  1. Freeze bowl of ice cream maker for at least 24 hours.
  2. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, warm the water, sugar, and mint.
  3. Whisk occasionally, until the sugar is dissolved; remove from heat before the mixture starts to boil.
  4. Cover the pan and allow the mixture to steep at room temperature for ~30 minutes.
  5. Place the mixture in the refrigerator.
  6. In a blender or food processor, puree the raspberries and lemon juice until smooth.
  7. Transfer to a small bowl and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  8. Strain the mint leaves from the mint syrup mixture.
  9. Whisk the raspberry puree into the mint syrup bowl.
  10. Pour the mixture into the ice cream make and freeze according to the manufacturer's instruction.
  11. Enjoy!

Death by Chocolate Cupcakes

Whoa chocolate. Whoa.
yield: 12 cupcakes

ingredients
for ganache filling
2oz bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
¼C heavy cream
1 tbs powdered sugar

for cupcakes
3oz bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
⅓C unsweetened cocoa powder
¾C hot coffee
¾C bread flour
¾C sugar
½ tsp salt
½ tsp baking soda
6 tbs vegetable oil
2 eggs, room temperature
2 tsp white vinegar
1 tsp vanilla extract

for frosting
1 ¼C salted butter, room temperature
1C powdered sugar
¾C unsweetened cocoa powder
¾C light corn syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
8oz semisweet chocolate, melted and cooled

directions
  1. for ganache: place chocolate, heavy cream, and powdered sugar in a small bowl.
  2. Heat in the microwave on high powder, 20-30 seconds until the mixture is warm to touch.
  3. Whisk until smooth.
  4. Refrigerate, no longer than 30 minutes.
  5. for cupcakes: Preheat oven to 350°.
  6. Line muffin tin with cupcake liners (or cooking spray).
  7. Add chocolate and cocoa powder in the bowl of a stand mixer.
  8. Pour hot coffee over the mixture and whisk until smooth.
  9. Refrigerate for 20 minutes.
  10. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, salt, and baking soda. Set aside.
  11. Add the oil, eggs, vinegar, and vanilla extract into the cooled chocolate mixture, beating on medium speed until smooth.
  12. Slowly add the flour mixture, beat on medium speed until smooth.
  13. Fill cupcake liners ⅔ full. 
  14. Place one slightly rounded teaspoon of the ganache filling on top of each cupcake.
  15. Bake for 15-18 minutes, or until cupcakes are set and just firm to touch.
  16. Let cupcakes cool completely.
  17. for frosting: In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat butter, sugar, and cocoa powder on medium speed for two minutes.
  18. Scrape sides of the bowl.
  19. Add corn syrup and vanilla extract, beat on medium speed until well combined.
  20. Add the melted chocolate and beat on medium speed until smooth.
  21. Beat on medium-high speed for four minutes.
  22. Pipe frosting on to cooled cupcakes.
  23. Enjoy!

Chocolate Bourbon Pie


When choosing what pies I was making for a birthday party, I decided that for a guy that likes both chocolate and bourbon I couldn't go wrong with a chocolate bourbon pie.
My husband's feelings on this were "ooooh rich chocolate. and then ooooo bourbon". Take that as you will.
yield: one 9" pie

ingredients
1 refrigerated pie crust
2oz semisweet chocolate chips
1C (2 sticks) salted butter, cold
½C unsweetened cocoa powder
1 ½C sugar
3 tbs Lyle's golden syrup
3 tbs sour cream
4 eggs, room temperature
1 egg yolk, room temperature
¼C bourbon
1 tsp vanilla extract

directions
  1. Bake pie crust according to package directions. Let cool.
  2. Preheat oven to 325°.
  3. In a heatproof bowl (or double boiler), melt chocolate and butter.
  4. Remove from heat, add cocoa and whisk until blended.
  5. Add sugar, syrup, and sour cream; whisk until blended.
  6. Whisk in eggs, egg yolk, bourbon, and vanilla until just combined.
  7. Pour into pie crust.
  8. Place pie shield (or aluminum foil) over the crust and edges of the pan.
  9. Bake for 40-42 minutes, until the edges are slightly puffed and the center of the filling jiggles slightly when the pan is gently shaken.
  10. Let cool completely on a wire rack.
  11. Cover until ready to serve.
  12. Enjoy!

Key Lime Pie

My husband's thoughts on this pie recipe were "So limey. Good, but so limey."
yield: one 9" pie

ingredients
1 (14oz) can of sweetened condensed milk
3 egg yolks
2 tsp Key Lime zest
½C Key Lime juice
1 (9") graham cracker piecrust
1C whipping cream
3 tbs powdered sugar
Key Lime slices for garnish (if you want a garnish!)

directions
  1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. Whisk together sweetened condensed milk, egg yolks, zest, and juice until smooth.
  3. Pour mixture into the pie crust.
  4. Bake for 15 minutes, or until pie is set.
  5. Cool completely on a wire rack.
  6. Beat whipping cream at high speed for 2-3 minutes, until soft peaks form.
  7. Slowly add powdered sugar, beat for another minute.
  8. Top pie with the whipped cream.
  9. Garnish if desired.
  10. Enjoy!

Blueberry Pie

This recipe is the perfect summertime, not too sweet, not too tart pie recipe.
The original recipe called for fresh blueberries, but I had a ton of frozen ones on hand so that is what I used!
yield: one 9" pie

ingredients
1 refrigerate pie crust
6C frozen blueberries
1 ½C granulated sugar
½C water
6 tbs cornstarch
2 tbs salted butter, cold
2 tbs lemon juice

directions
  1. Bake pie crust according to directions on the package. Let cool.
  2. Combine 3C of blueberries with the sugar, salt, and cornstarch in a medium saucepan.
  3. Pour water on top of blueberry mixture.
  4. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until mixture comes to a boil.
  5. Once mixture boils, cook for 2 more minutes.
  6. Remove pan from heat; stir in butter and lemon juice.
  7. Let cool for 5 minutes.
  8. Fold in the remaining blueberries.
  9. Pour mixture into cooled pie crust.
  10. Chill for at least 2-3 hours before serving.
  11. Enjoy!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Fresh Mint Ice Cream

I have the ice cream maker attachment for my KitchenAid stand mixer and I also have two mint plants on my deck (orange-mint and chocolate-mint).
This recipe utilized both perfectly.
While the ice cream didn't thicken in the ice cream maker as much as I expected, but after some quality time in the freezer it hardened up just fine and was pretty damn delicious.

yield: ~1 quart ice cream

ingredients
2C 2% milk
1C half-and-half
20 fresh mint leaves (I used chocolate-mint leaves)
¾C turbinado sugar
dash of salt
2 large egg yolks
1 tsp vanilla extract

directions
  1. Make sure the freezer bowl for the ice cream maker has been in the freezer for at least 24 hours.
  2. Combine milk, half-and-half, and mint leaves in a medium sauce pan over medium-high heat.
  3. Heat until tiny bubbles form around the edges (~180°), but do not let it boil.
  4. Remove from heat, cover, and let stand for 10 minutes to let the mint steep.
  5. Using a slotted spoon, fish out the mint leaves and discard them.
  6. In a new bowl, combine sugar, salt, and egg yolks; stir with a whisk until the mixture is pale.
  7. Gradually add egg mixture to the milk mixture, while stirring constantly with a whisk.
  8. Cook over medium-low heat for about 2 minutes (or to 160°), stirring constantly.
  9. Pour the mixture into a bowl, stir in vanilla extract.
  10. Place the bowl in the fridge until the mixture cools completely, stirring occasionally.
  11. Pour the mixture into your ice cream maker and follow the manufacturer's instructions.
  12. To harden the ice cream a little more, pour into a freezer-safe container and stick it in the freezer for a few hours.
  13. Enjoy!

Chocolate Chip Cookies

I don't think you can go wrong with a chocolate chip cookie recipe, but this particular recipe goes very very right.
yield: ~48 cookies

ingredients
2C minus 2 tbs cake flour
1 ⅔C bread flour
1 ¼ tsp baking soda
1 ½ tsp baking powder
2 ½ sticks salted butter
1 ¼C brown sugar
1C + 2 tbs sugar
2 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 ¼ lbs bittersweet chocolate chips or disks
sea salt

directions
  1. Sift flours, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a bowl; set aside.
  2. Using a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream butter and sugars on medium speed until light and fluffy - about 5 minutes.
  3. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition.
  4. Stir in vanilla.
  5. Reduce speed to low, add dry ingredients, and mix until just combined.
  6. Drop in chocolate pieces and carefully incorporate them.
  7. Press plastic wrap against dough and refrigerate for 24-36 hours.
  8. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350°.
  9. Line baking sheet with parchment paper or silpat. 
  10. Scoop 1½ tablespoon mounds of dough onto baking sheet.
  11. Sprinkle lightly with sea salt.
  12. Bake until golden brown but still soft, 10-12 minutes.
  13. Transfer sheet to a wire rack for 10 minutes, then slip cookies onto a cooling rack.
  14. Enjoy! 

Potato Pizza Crust

We love pizza in our house and I am constantly on the hunt for new recipes.
This recipe resulted in a tasty, but not fully sturdy pizza crust alternative.
yield: 9" pizza crust

ingredients
2C grated raw potatoes, firmly packed
½ tsp salt
1 egg, beaten
¼C grated onion
vegetable oil

directions
  1. Preheat oven to 400°.
  2. Spray a 9" pie pan with cooking spray.
  3. Place row potatoes in a colander and salt; let sit for 10 minutes.
  4. Squeeze out water from potatoes
  5. Mix potatoes, egg, and onion in a small bowl.
  6. Pat into pie pan, building up the sides.
  7. Bake for 20 minutes and then brush with oil to help crispen the crust.
  8. Bake for 20 additional minutes.
  9. Add pizza sauce and toppings. (Sauce makes this crust less sturdy than if you use sliced tomatoes).
  10. Bake for ~10 minutes, until cheese is golden.
  11. Let cool for a few minutes before cutting.
  12. Enjoy!

Peanut Butter Cookies

For as much as I love peanut butter, I have never been a fan of peanut butter cookies.
But, this recipe for soft and chewy peanut butter cookies was a huge hit at a BBQ last weekend.
yield: ~28 cookies

ingredients
½C salted butter, room temperature
½C brown sugar
¼C sugar
1 egg, room temperature
¾C creamy peanut butter 
1 tsp vanilla extract
½ tsp baking soda
1 ¼C all-purpose flour

directions
  1. Preheat oven in 350°.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer with paddle attachment, cream butter and sugars on medium speed.
  3. Mix in peanut butter, egg, and vanilla; scrape down sides as needed.
  4. Slowly mix in the baking soda and flour, until just mixed.
  5. Chill the dough for at least 30 minutes.
  6. Roll about 1½ tablespoons of dough into a ball.
  7. Place onto an ungreased cookie sheet or silpat.
  8. Bake for 8-9 minutes. Cookies will be soft and may appear not fully cooked.
  9. Press fork down slightly on each cookie.
  10. Let cool for a few minutes on cookie sheet before moving to a cooling rack.
  11. Enjoy!

Berry Cobbler

Last month, I went berry picking for the first time ever and then went on a hunt for some recipes to take advantage of our haul.
I opted for this recipe and it was delicious....particularly when paired with vanilla bean ice cream!
ingredients
for berry filling
2lbs mixed berries (I used blueberries, raspberries, and black raspberries)
3 tbs lemon juice
½C sugar
2 tbs cornstarch
½ tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger

for cobbler topping
2 ¼C all-purpose flour
½C brown sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
6 tbs chilled, salted butter, cut into ½" pieces
1 egg
¾C heavy cream
3 tbs sugar

directions
  1. for berry filling: Preheat oven to 375°.
  2. Lightly butter a 9"x13" baking dish.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the berry filling ingredients; toss to coat the berries evenly.
  4. Pour berry mixture into the prepared baking dish, spreading it evenly.
  5. for cobbler topping: In another bowl, stir together the flour, brown sugar, baking powder, salt, and baking soda.
  6. Scatter the butter pieces over the top of the mixture and use a pastry blender (or 2 knives, or your hands) cut in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse meal.
  7. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg and cream.
  8. Slowly pour the egg mixture into the flour mixture, stirring and tossing with a fork until the topping mixture holds together.
  9. Place large scoops of the topping evenly over the berries, leaving 1" border uncovered around the edge of the dish.
  10. Sprinkle sugar over the top.
  11. Place the dish on a rimmed baking sheet.
  12. Bake until the top is golden brown and the berry filling is bubbling, about 35 minutes.
  13. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool for 10-15 minutes.
  14. Enjoy! 

Oven Fries

I've tried to make fries at home, in the oven, before and they were sad and soggy.
This recipe was a success -- and made me feel a little bit better about eating french fries.
ingredients
3 large potatoes, cut into ¼" matchsticks
2 tbs canola oil
salt

directions
  1. Preheat oven to 450°.
  2. In a large bowl, toss the potatoes with the oil and ½ tsp salt.
  3. Line a baking sheet with a silpat (or spray with cooking spray).
  4. Spread potatoes in a single layer.
  5. Bake until golden and crisp, about 35 minutes.
  6. Remove the fries with a spatula and season with salt.
  7. Enjoy!

Red Velvet Cupcakes

Red velvet & cream cheese frosting are a wonderful pair.
Red velvet & white chocolate cream cheese frosting is even better.
I paired this cupcake recipe with the frosting from my pumpkin streusel cupcakes.
yield: 24 cupcakes

ingredients
for cake
1 ½C sugar
2 eggs
1 ½C canola oil
1C sour cream
2 tbs red food coloring
1 tsp vinegar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 ½C all-purpose flour
1 tbs cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt

for white chocolate cream cheese frosting
8oz cream cheese, room temperature
¼C butter, room temperature
1C white chocolate chips
2C powdered sugar

directions
  1. for cake: Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. Line muffin tin with cupcake liners.
  3. In a small bowl, combine flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt.
  4. In the bowl of a stand mixer, mix sugar and eggs on medium speed.
  5. Slowly incorporate oil, sour cream, food coloring, vinegar, and vanilla.
  6. On low speed, add flour mixture slowly.
  7. Beat until just combined.
  8. Fill cupcake liners half way.
  9. Bake 23-26 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean.
  10. Let cupcakes cool completely.
  11. for frosting: In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat cream cheese and butter until smooth.
  12. Melt white chocolate over double boiler and add to the cream cheese mixture.
  13. Beat on medium speed until smooth.
  14. Turn mixer to low speed and slowly add in powdered sugar.
  15. Turn speed up to medium and beat for 5 minutes.
  16. Let cool for 10 minutes before piping on to cupcakes.
  17. Enjoy!

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Easter Bird's Nest Carrot Cake

My mom sent me this recipe when I was prepping the menu to host Easter this year.
I was skeptical about carrot cake with milk chocolate buttercream - but it works!
I was a little nervous about how complicated it look, but it turned out to be delicious and really not that hard to reproduce!
yield: 1 triple layer 8" cake

ingredients
for cake
2C flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
¾ tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp nutmeg
¾C sugar
¾C brown sugar
3 eggs
1 ½C vegetable oil
2 tsp vanilla
2C grated carrots
1C crushed pineapple

for milk chocolate buttercream
2C butter, room temperature
14C powdered sugar
1C milk
4 tsp vanilla
10oz bag milk chocolate chips

for garnish
peanut m&ms

directions
  1. for cake: Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. Grease three 8" cake pans (or do 1 at a time, use what you have!).
  3. Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a medium bowl; set aside.
  4. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together sugars, eggs, oil, and vanilla on medium speed until smooth.
  5. Gradually add flour and spice mixture until well combined.
  6. With mixer on low speed, add carrots and pineapple.
  7. Split batter into three parts and pour into prepared pans.
  8. Bake for 40 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  9. Let cool completely.
  10. for buttercream: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine butter, 7 cups of powdered sugar, milk, and vanilla.
  11. Beat on medium speed until smooth and creamy, ~5 minutes.
  12. Gradually add remaining powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time, beating for about 2 minutes after each addition.
  13. Beat on medium-high speed for 5 minutes.
  14. Spread a layer of buttercream icing between each layer of cake as you stack your three layers.
  15. When the top layer has been stacked, cut a circle about 4" in diameter in the center.
  16. Using a small spatula, lift out the circle to set aside.
  17. Apply frosting around the remains of the top layer and inside the nest.
  18. Finish dirty icing the entire cake.
  19. Set in the fridge to cool before applying the finished layer of frosting. 
  20. After 30 minutes in the fridge, apply a final coat of frosting.
  21. Smooth out the frosting around the entire cake.
  22. Fill a piping bag with the rest of the milk chocolate buttercream.
  23. Using a #4 tip, pipe lines in random directions and random lengths.
  24. Start piping inside the nest and work your way to the outside top of the cake.
  25. Once your nest has been completed, fill next with your "Easter eggs".
  26. Enjoy!

Summer Squash Soup

We've had an abundance of summer squash in our CSA so far this year, and this recipe was quick, easy, healthy, and pretty delicious.
yield: 4 large servings

ingredients
6C chicken broth
3C water
2 ¼C uncooked farfalle
4C finely chopped summer squash
1 tbs fresh parsley, chopped
1 tbs fresh basil, chopped
1 tbs lemon juice
½ tsp fresh thyme, chopped
½ tsp fresh oregano, chopped
½ tsp black pepper
½C grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese
¼C fresh basil, thinly sliced

directions
  1. Bring broth and water to a boil in a Dutch oven.
  2. Add pasta, and cook 8 minutes or until almost tender.
  3. Add squash and the next 7 ingredients (through pepper).
  4. Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes.
  5. Sprinkle cheese and basil over soup.
  6. Enjoy!

Red Velvet Bundt Cake

This recipe is another girls night favorite that disappeared too fast for a picture.

ingredients
for cream cheese ribbon
8oz cream cheese, room temperature
¼C sugar
1 egg, room temperature
1 tsp vanilla

for cake
2 ¼C all-purpose flour
1 ½ tsp baking soda
⅛ tsp salt
1C buttermilk
2 eggs, room temperature
1 tbs distilled white vinegar
1 tsp vanilla
2 tbs unsweetened cocoa powder
1 oz bottle of red food coloring
12 tbs butter, room temperature
1 ½C sugar

for icing
4 oz cream cheese, room temperature
4 tbs butter, room temperature
2C powdered sugar
½ tsp vanilla
3 tbs milk

directions
  1. Preheat oven to 325°.
  2. for cream cheese ribbon: In a small bowl, beat all ingredients until well incorporated; set aside.
  3. for cake: Grease and flour a bundt pan.
  4. In a medium bowl, stir together flour, baking soda, and salt; set aside.
  5. In a small bowl, whisk together buttermilk, eggs, vinegar, and vanilla; set aside.
  6. In a small bowl, mix cocoa powder with red food coloring; set aside.
  7. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together butter and sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy.
  8. On low speed, alternately add flour mixture and buttermilk mixture, mixing thoroughly after each addition until well combined.
  9. Add cocoa mixture on low speed and beat thoroughly.
  10. Pour half of the batter into the prepared bundt pan.
  11. Using a large spoon or spatula, drop cream cheese mixture around the bundt pan, trying to keep it away from the sides.
  12. Pour the remaining cake batter over the top.
  13. Bake for 50-55 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  14. Cool bundt cake in pan on cooling rack for 30 minutes.
  15. Invert onto a serving tray or plate.
  16. Let cool completely.
  17. for icing: In bowl of a stand mixer, beat cream cheese and butter on medium speed for 2 minutes.
  18. Add powdered sugar one cup at a time on low speed, beating after each addition.
  19. Add vanilla and milk.
  20. Beat on medium-high speed for 5 minutes.
  21. Pour over cooled cake (and garnish with sprinkles or decorations if you want!).
  22. Enjoy!

Reeses Brownies with Peanut Butter Buttercream

This recipe is a girls night win....and it was devoured to quickly to remember to take a picture.

yield: 9"x13" pan of brownies

ingredients
for brownies
1C butter, room temperature
2C sugar
4 eggs, room temperature
1 ½ tsp vanilla
½ tsp salt
½C cocoa
1 ⅓C flour
24 mini Reese's peanut butter cups, unwrapped

for frosting
½C butter, room temperature
3C powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla
3 tbs milk
¼C peanut butter
7 mini Reese's peanut butter cups, unwrapped & chopped

directions
  1. for cupcakes: Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream butter and sugar together on medium speed.
  3. Add eggs and beat well.
  4. Add vanilla and salt; mix on medium speed until well incorporated.
  5. Stir in cocoa and flour until just incorporated.
  6. Spray a 9x13 pan with cooking spray.
  7. Spread half of the brownie batter into the pan.
  8. Place mini Reese's cups evenly across pan.
  9. Carefully spread remaining brownie batter on top. (Dropping spoonfuls of batter and spreading them out helps).
  10. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until batter is cooked through and toothpick comes out clean.
  11. Let cool completely.
  12. for frosting: In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat butter, powdered sugar, vanilla, milk, and peanut butter on low speed until smooth and creamy.
  13. Gradually raise speed to medium-high, and beat for 5 minutes.
  14. Spread frosting over cooled brownies.
  15. Top with chopped mini Reese's cups.
  16. Enjoy!

Nutella Turnovers

Nutella. Turnovers. The End.

yield: 9 turnovers

ingredients
1 sheet puff pastry, thawed
¼C cream cheese, room temperature
⅔C Nutella, divided
2 tbs flour
1 egg
1 tbs water
2 tbs powdered sugar

directions
  1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. On a floured surface roll out puff pastry into a 12"x12" square.
  3. Cut into 9 equal square shapes.
  4. In medium bowl, whisk together cream cheese and ½ cup of Nutella until smooth and evenly mixed.
  5. Drop 1 tbs of cream cheese mixture into the corner of each puff pastry square. (Leave a small edge on on the puff pastry for crimping later).
  6. Fold opposite diagonal corner of the square over the cream cheese mixture.
  7. Using a fork dipped in flour, press the edges of the turnover with the tines of the fork to seal the edges together.
  8. Place the turnovers onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
  9. In a small dish, whisk together egg and water to make an egg wash.
  10. Brush each turnover with the egg wash.
  11. Bake for 25 minutes, or until golden brown.
  12. Allow to cool on a wire rack. 
  13. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and drizzle with remaining Nutella, warmed.
  14. Serve warm (but they're still good cold!).
  15. Enjoy!

Mango Margarita Cupcakes

I entered a bake off earlier this year and the "iron chef" ingredient revealed at the last minute was mango.
The bake off was held at a friend's bar, so I opted for this mango margarita cupcake to marry the mystery ingredient with the margarita aspect of a bar! I didn't win with these, but they were tasty!
yield: 12 cupcakes

ingredients
for cupcakes
2C all-purpose flour
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp sea salt
½C mango, pureed
zest & juice of one lime
¼C buttermilk
½C butter, room temperature
½C wildflower honey
2 eggs, room temperature

for frosting
½C butter, room temperature
½C mango, pureed
zest & juice of one lime
2 tbs wildflower honey
5C powdered sugar

directions
  1. for cupcakes: Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. Line muffin tins with cupcake liners (or grease if not using liners).
  3. Sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder, and sea salt; set aside.
  4. In a small bowl, combine mango purrs, lime zest and juice, and buttermilk; set aside.
  5. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream butter until fluffy.
  6. Add honey, mix well.
  7. Add eggs one at a time, mixing well between each addition.
  8. Add half of the dry mixture to the butter mixture on low speed until just combined.
  9. With mixture on low speed, slowly add the mango mixture.
  10. Add remaining dry ingredients until just combined.
  11. Fill cupcake liners ⅔ full.
  12. Bake 18-22 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean.
  13. Let cupcakes cool completely.
  14. for frosting: In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream butter for 4 minutes until light and fluffy.
  15. Add mango puree, lime zest and juice, and honey; mixing until well combined.
  16. Add powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time, until incorporated. 
  17. Beat on medium-high speed for 4 minutes.
  18. Pipe (or spread) frosting on to cooled cupcakes.
  19. Enjoy!

Strawberry Margarita Cupcakes

This year, our rugby alumni weekend fell at the beginning of May. Therefore I decided to make my potluck contribution Cinco de Mayo themed with churro cupcakes, Corona & lime cupcakes, and this recipe for strawberry margarita cupcakes.
yield: 24 cupcakes

ingredients
for cupcakes
3C flour
1 tbs baking powder
½ tsp salt
1C butter, room temperature
2C sugar
4 eggs, room temperature
1C buttermilk
3 limes, zested & juiced
½ tsp vanilla
2 tbs + 1/4C tequila

for frosting
1 ½C diced strawberries
4 egg whites
1 ½C sugar
⅛ tsp salt
1 ½C butter, room temperature
4 tbs lime juice
3 tbs tequila

directions
  1. for cupcakes: Preheat the oven to 325° and line 2 muffin tins with cupcake liners or grease pan (if not using cupcake liners).
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer with paddle attachment, beat butter and sugar at medium-high speed for 4 minutes.
  4. Combine buttermilk, lime zest and juice, vanilla, and 2 tablespoons of tequila in a medium bowl.
  5. With the mixer on low speed, alternately add the dry and wet ingredients in 2-3 batches, starting and ending with the flour.
  6. Mix until just incorporated.
  7. Fill cupcake liners ⅔ full.
  8. Bake for 18-24 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean.
  9. Add the remaining tequila to a small bowl.
  10. Dunk tops of cupcakes in tequila while still warm.
  11. Let cool completely.
  12. for frosting: Puree the strawberries in a food processor and set aside.
  13. Combine the egg whites, sugar, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer set over a small saucepan of simmering water.
  14. Whisk constantly by hand until the sugar has dissolved. (Test by rubbing the mixture between your fingers; you shouldn't feel any grittiness).
  15. Attach the bowl to the stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment.
  16. Begin mixing on low speed and gradually increase to high, whipping until stiff peaks form.
  17. Continue mixing until the mixture is completely cool (test by feeling the bottom of the bowl) and light, fluffy, and glossy. This should take ~10 minutes.
  18. Replace the whisk attachment with the paddle attachment.
  19. Set the mixer to medium-low and add the butter, beating until well incorporated.
  20. Gradually add strawberry puree, lime juice, and tequila; mix to combine.
  21. Pipe (or spread) frosting onto cooled cupcakes.
  22. Enjoy!

Corona & Lime Cupcakes

This year, our rugby alumni weekend fell at the beginning of May. Therefore I decided to make my potluck contribution Cinco de Mayo themed with churro cupcakes, strawberry margarita cupcakes, and this recipe for Corona & lime cupcakes.
yield: 24 cupcakes

ingredients
for cupcakes
¾C butter, room temperature
1 ¾C sugar
2 ½C flour
2 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
3 eggs, room temperature
1 tsp vanilla
½ tsp lime zest
1 bottle Corona
¼ C milk

for lime cream cheese frosting
12oz cream cheese, cold
6 tbs butter, room temperature
1 tbs lime juice
1 tsp lime zest
4C powdered sugar

directions
  1. for cupcakes: Preheat 375° and line muffin tins with cupcake liners (or grease muffin pan if not using liners).
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together the butter and sugar 2-3 minutes.
  4. Add eggs, beating well after each addition.
  5. Then add the vanilla and lime zest.
  6. Combine milk and 1 cup of beer.
  7. Alternate between adding the beer mixture and the flour mixture to the stand mixer on low speed, starting and ending with the flour.
  8. Fill the cupcake liners ⅔ full and bake for 18 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  9. When cupcakes are done, poke holes in the tops of the cupcakes with a toothpick.
  10. Add remaining beer to a bowl.
  11. Dip the tops of the cupcakes into beer while still warm. 
  12. Let cool.
  13. for frosting: In the bowl of a stand mixture, cream together the cream cheese and butter on medium-high speed for 2-3 minutes.
  14. Add the lime juice and zest.
  15. Gradually add the powdered sugar on low speed, until well combined.
  16. Beat on medium-high speed for 3 minutes.
  17. Pipe (or spread) frosting on to cooled cupcakes.
  18. Enjoy!

Honey Lime Shrimp

This recipe is super easy, super delicious, and absolutely perfect for summer!
yield: 2 servings

ingredients
½ lb large shrimp, peeled & deveined
¼C olive oil
2 tbs honey
juice of one small lime
zest of one small lime
2 cloves garlic, minced
½ tsp sea salt
¼ tsp black pepper
¼ tsp red pepper flakes

ingredients
  1. In a large ziploc bag, combine all ingredients but the shrimp.
  2. When everything is well combined, add the shrimp.
  3. Squeeze as much air out of the bag as possible and seal it up.
  4. Refrigerate for 30-60 minutes, flipping the bag around once or twice in that time to distribute the marinade.
  5. When you're ready to cook, let the bag sit at room temperature for 10 minutes.
  6. Thread shrimp onto skewers.
  7. Grill 2 minutes on each side.
  8. Enjoy!

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Turnip Dip

I had a bunch of turnips and some friends coming over, so a quick google search came up with this recipe
This dip tasted much better after spending a night melding in the fridge, we dipped pita chips and pretzel chips.

ingredients
1 turnip, greens removed
¼C olive oil
5 green onions
1 clove garlic
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp black pepper

directions
  1. Cut the turnip in quarters.
  2. Add to a food processor or Vitamix.
  3. Use a high setting and gradually add olive oil, you want as smooth consistency as you can get.
  4. Add the green onions and garlic to the food processor, add more olive oil if needed.
  5. Add salt and pepper to the food processor.
  6. Blend on high for at least 4 minutes.
  7. Place in a covered container in the refrigerator for at least 8 hours before serving.
  8. Enjoy!

Bean Sprout Salad

Our CSA sends out weekly emails with recipes to try with our week's haul.
This recipe was quick, easy, and made for a light summer side salad.

ingredients
½lb bean sprouts
1 tsp salt
2 tbs toasted sesame seeds
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp minced garlic
¼C finely chopped green onion
⅛ tsp cayenne pepper

directions
  1. Drop the bean sprouts into boiling water and boil 5 minutes.
  2. Drain well.
  3. Return to the pan.
  4. Stir in salt, sesame seeds, sesame oil, garlic, cayenne, and green onions.
  5. Simmer 2 minutes.
  6. Serve hot or cold.
  7. Enjoy!

Zucchini Pizza Crust

I was skeptical of this recipe, but it turned out to be amazing. I used buffalo mozzarella for the cheese on my pizza crust which made the crust far too watery and required it to be eaten with a spoon - so for future pizzas, I will be using regular mozzarella.
yield: 14" pizza

ingredients
8C shredded zucchini
1C shredded cheddar cheese
2/3C flour
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp basil
2 eggs, beaten
1½ tsp sea salt

directions
  1. Place pizza stone in the oven.
  2. Preheat oven to 550°.
  3. In a large bowl, toss the zucchini with 1 tsp sea salt and set aside for 15 minutes.
  4. After 15 minutes is up, squeeze the excess moisture out of the zucchini by wrapping it up in a clean tea towel or piece of cheese cloth by wringing it out, discarding the water.
  5. Once all the excess moisture has been wrung out and discarded, place the shredded zucchini back into the large bowl.
  6. Add cheddar cheese, flour, garlic, oregano, basil, eggs, and remaining salt to the bowl.
  7. With your hands, incorporate all of the ingredients together.
  8. Remove the pizza stone from the oven.
  9. Quickly (and carefully!) spread the zucchini mixture to form a circle about 14" in diameter and about ½" thick. Pinch the edges up so that it forms a nice crust.
  10. Place the pizza stone back in the oven, cook for 8 minutes or until the crust starts to brown.
  11. Remove the pizza stone from the oven.
  12. Top the crust with sauce and any toppings you'd like.
  13. Place the pizza stone back in the oven and cook for 5 minutes.
  14. Let cool for a minute before cutting with a pizza cutter.
  15. Enjoy!

Margherita Pizza Zucchini Boats

Our CSA started up again recently and we've had a ton of zucchinis and summer squashes. 
My best friend sent me this recipe and it was absolutely delicious (and definitely healthier than regular pizza).
yield: 2 servings

ingredients
3 zucchini or summer squash, washed and split lengthwise with ends removed
2 Roma tomatoes, sliced fairly thin
6oz mozzarella cheese, shredded
3oz Parmesan cheese, grated
3 fresh basil leaves, ripped into small pieces
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbs olive oil
salt
pepper

directions
  1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the garlic, olive oil, salt, and pepper.
  3. Let stand for 20 minutes.
  4. Brush the zucchini with the olive oil mixture, making sure to use all of it evenly between the "boats".
  5. Sprinkle the parmesan cheese over each boat.
  6. Top each boat with the mozzarella.
  7. Place the tomato slices on top of the mozzarella.
  8. Bake for 25-30 minutes.
  9. Top boats with basil before serving.
  10. Enjoy!

Ginger Mint Green Tea Lemonade

I ripped this recipe out of a Shape or Women's Health magazine (I don't remember and the page doesn't have the name).
This lemonade is super light, refreshing, and definitely perfect for summer.
I used orange mint because my mother-in-law just gave me an awesome plant, it was delicious.
yield: ~5 cups

ingredients
5C water
4 green tea bags
1/2C chopped fresh mint leaves, tightly packed
1/3C chopped fresh ginger
1/3C fresh lemon juice

directions
  1. Bring 2 cups of water to a boil, then reduce to a simmer.
  2. Add tea bags, mint, and ginger, and let steep for 30 minutes.
  3. Strain into a large pitcher, pressing on solids to extract remaining water.
  4. Refrigerate until chilled.
  5. Serve over ice.
  6. Enjoy!

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Watermelon Ceviche

This recipe is from the Summer 2014 Wegman's Menu magazine and it is phenomenally refreshing.
yield: 3 cups

ingredients
1 tbs fresh cilantro, thinly sliced
½ tbs fresh chives, thinly sliced
½ tbs fresh tarragon, thinly sliced
½ tbs fresh basil, thinly sliced
3 tbs red onion, finely diced
½ tbs lemon extra-virgin olive oil
1 ½ tbs light blue agave
3 tbs lime juice
1 tsp sriracha
3C seedless watermelon, diced
Salt & Pepper to taste

directions
  1. Combine cilantro, chives, tarragon, basil, red onion, olive oil, agave, lime juice, and sriracha in a large bowl.
  2. Gently fold in watermelon.
  3. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  4. Enjoy!

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Copycat Cafe Rio Crockpot Shredded Chicken

I was looking for an easy but delicious crockpot recipe for taco night a few weeks ago.
I've never been to Cafe Rio, but my husband is a huge fan so when I stumbled upon this recipe I knew it had to be good....and it did not disappoint!
The combination of ingredients was a little concerning to me, but this chicken went fast!

ingredients
2 ½ lbs boneless skinless chicken breast halves
¾C chicken broth
½C zesty italian salad dressing (I used Marzetti Sweet Italian)
1 tbs fresh lime juice
1 tbs chili powder
2 tsp onion powder
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp salt
½ tsp ground black pepper
½ tsp cayenne pepper

directions
  1. Place chicken breast halves into the crockpot.
  2. In a mixing bowl, whisk together remaining ingredients.
  3. Pour mixture over chicken in the crockpot, cover with lid.
  4. Cook on low heat 6-8 hours.
  5. Using 2 forks, shred chicken in the crockpot.
  6. Allow chicken to cook on low heat for another 30-60 minutes.
  7. Serve using a slotted spoon (to allow chicken to soak in liquid, but to avoid soggy tacos).
  8. Enjoy!

Strawberry Lemonade

This recipe is amazing. I've made it twice, the second time reducing the sugar content because with the great refreshing flavor you don't need that much sugar!
ingredients
½C sugar
½C water
1 pint fresh strawberries
1C fresh lemon juice (~8 lemons)
8C cold water

directions
  1. Make simple syrup by combing the sugar with ½ cup of water in a saucepan.
  2. Place over medium heat until the sugar is completely dissolved, swirling the pan occasionally. Let cool.
  3. Once the simple syrup has cooled, puree strawberries in a blender with 1C water.
  4. In a large pitcher, combine strawberry puree, simple syrup, and lemon juice.
  5. Add remaining 7 cups of water.
  6. Stir well.
  7. Refrigerate and serve over ice.
  8. Enjoy!

Chocolate Sour Cream Cupcakes

I am always on the hunt for new, more delicious options of old classics.
This recipe (which I paired with a regular old vanilla buttercream) is super moist and would compliment any kind of frosting.

ingredients
2C sugar
1 ¾C flour
1C boiling water
¾C cocoa powder
¾C milk
½C + 2 tbs butter, room temperature
¼C sour cream
3 eggs, room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 ½ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt

directions
  1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. Line muffin pan with cupcake liners (or grease if not using liners).
  3. Mix cocoa with boiling water in small bowl, stirring until smooth. Let cool.
  4. In a large bowl or stand mixer, cream together butter and sugar until fluffy.
  5. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  6. Stir in vanilla.
  7. Gradually add cocoa, mixing thoroughly.
  8. In another bowl, whisk together remaining dry ingredients.
  9. In a small bowl, combine milk and sour cream.
  10. Add the flour mixture and the milk/sour cream mixture to the stand mixer, alternating between the two.
  11. Scrape down bowl and mix well.
  12. Fill cupcake liners ⅔ full.
  13. Bake 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  14. Let cool completely before frosting.
  15. Enjoy!

Friday, May 2, 2014

Almond-Crusted Chicken Paillards

This recipe is from page 214 of the February 2011 episode of Cosmopolitan magazine.
It was so flavorful and a great blend of textures...SO GOOD!
yield: 4 servings

ingredients
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
salt 
black pepper
⅔C sliced unblanched almonds
⅔C panko bread crumbs
½tsp dried tarragon
2 eggs
20 cherry tomatoes, halved
2 scallions, trimmed and thinly sliced
2tbs lemon juice
4tbs extra-virgin olive oil
1tbs butter, melted

directions
  1. Pat the chicken breasts dry with paper towels.
  2. Pound each chicken breast with a mallet or rolling pin to an even thickness, working out from the center. (Do not make them thinner than about ⅜")
  3. Season both sides generously with salt and pepper.
  4. Pulse the almonds a few times in a food processor until coarsely chopped (Don't pulverize!).
  5. Combine the almonds on a plate with the panko and half of the tarragon.
  6. Lightly whisk the eggs in a shallow bowl with a pinch of salt.
  7. Dip each piece of chicken into the eggs, letting the excess drip away.
  8. Press both sides of the chicken into the panko mixture.
  9. Place on a baking sheet, and refrigerate for at least 20 minutes to set the crust.
  10. Meanwhile, put the tomatoes and scallions in a bowl.
  11. Add the lemon juice, 2tbs olive oil, and the remaining tarragon.
  12. Toss to coat, and set aside.
  13. Heat a 12" skillet over medium heat.
  14. Add the butter and the remaining 2tbs olive oil.
  15. When the butter has foamed, place the chicken in the pan.
  16. Increase the heat to medium-high.
  17. Cook, turning once, until the crust sets and turns golden brown 3 to 3.5 minutes on each side.
  18. Cut the paillards in halves or thirds, arrange on a platter or large plate.
  19. Serve immediately with the tomato salad spooned on top.
  20. Enjoy!

Roasted Beet, Goat Cheese, Mint, & Edamame Salad

This recipe is from page 208 of the April 2012 issue of Cosmopolitan magazine.
I love goat cheese, so when I skimmed through my recipe stack I knew I had to give it a go. It was delicious and super super filling.
yield: 4 meal-sized servings, 6+ side dish-sized servings

ingredients
for salad
1tbs olive oil
8 small (or 4 larger) beets, diced
2tbs balsamic vinegar
3 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves only
⅛tsp sugar
2/3C edamame beans (fresh or frozen)
1 bunch of fresh mint, finely shredded
1/2C toasted hazelnuts, lightly crushed
7oz goat cheese, crumbled
1 small handful of basil leaves

for dressing
2tbs honey mustard
zest and juice of 1 lemon
2tbs olive oil
⅛tsp black pepper
⅛tsp salt

directions
  1. for salad: Preheat a skillet with olive oil.
  2. Put the beets into the pan, and cook on high heat for 6 minutes until the beets are charred on the edges.
  3. Add balsamic vinegar, thyme leaves, and sugar.
  4. Reduce the heat, and let beets cook for 3-5 more minutes.
  5. for dressing: Remove the beets from the pan, reduce the heat to the lowest setting, and add the ingredients for the dressing to the pan drippings.
  6. Mix well.
  7. Remove from heat.
  8. If the edamame beans are frozen, but them in a heatproof bowl, pour boiling water over them to thaw, then drain.
  9. Put beans into a large bowl.
  10. Add mint and hazelnuts.
  11. Drizzle with half of the dressing from the pan.
  12. Add beets to a large platter or bowl.
  13. Scatter goat cheese and mint bean mixture over the beets.
  14. Drizzle with the remaining dressing.
  15. Sprinkle basil leaves over the salad.
  16. Enjoy!

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Copycat Famous Dave's Drunkin Apples

I found this recipe on page 68 of an old issue of People magazine (I don't know which issue because I had torn the recipe out and stashed it away for another time). I made them for Easter and boy were they delicious (and went super fast). The recipe called for amaretto, but I didn't have any so I used Grand Marnier...other than that I followed it exactly as written.

yield: 6-8 servings

ingredients
3tbs butter
½C sugar
½tsp ground cinnamon
½tsp ground nutmeg
3tbs honey
3tbs Grand Marnier
1tsp lemon juice
3tbs frozen orange juice concentrate
⅓C cold water
1tbs cornstarch
2½ lbs Granny Smith apples, peeled & diced 

directions
  1. Melt butter in a Dutch oven over medium heat.
  2. Stir in sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, honey, Grand Marnier, and lemon juice.
  3. Bring mixture to a boil, stirring occasionally.
  4. Cook 1 minute.
  5. Combine orange juice concentrate and water in a small bowl.
  6. Add cornstarch, whisking until smooth.
  7. Add orange juice mixture into hot sugar mixture.
  8. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally.
  9. Stir apple slices into sugar mixture.
  10. Cover and cooke 12 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  11. Uncover and simmer 5 minutes, or until apples are tender.
  12. Enjoy!

Grandma Margie's Potato Salad

For pretty much every occasion, my Grandma Margie made potato salad -- A LOT of potato salad.
Her recipe was mostly of the "little bit of this" "not too much of that" variety, but I've gotten it into measured amounts, but kept her advice in the directions...for a large crowd.

In terms of mayonnaisey potato salads, Grandma Margie's is the only one I will eat. True story.

yield: A LOT OF POTATO SALAD

ingredients
5lbs potatoes
1 medium onion (or a bunch of green onions), diced
6 pieces celery, chopped
5 hard boiled eggs, cooled & chopped
2 tsp dried parsley
1 tsp salt
1 tbs vinegar
64oz mayonnaise (I use Duke's, Grandma used Hellman's)

directions
  1. Boil potatoes in skins until done (but not falling apart).
  2. Slice potatoes (but not too thin).
  3. Add celery, onions, eggs, and parsley in a big bowl. Mix together.
  4. Add half of the mayo and mix thoroughly.
  5. Sprinkle in vinegar and add the other half of the mayo until evenly coated.
  6. Mix until salad tastes right and isn't too dry.
  7. Enjoy!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Drunken Noodles in Cashew-Shiitake Broth

I have a stack of recipes that I've ripped out of magazines over the years and I decided that starting this week I'd begin to make a dent in them.
This particular one is from page 110 in the April 2012 issue of Shape magazine.
I had never had drunken noodles before, and while the recipe called for jalapeño and cayenne pepper I subbed in some sriracha. This soup was great, a little hard to eat without chopsticks but I made due with a fork and drinking the broth after I was finished!
yield: 4 servings

ingredients
6oz udon noodles
1/4C cashews
2 tbs olive oil
5oz shiitake mushrooms, sliced
3 scallions, thinly sliced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbs grated fresh ginger
1 tsp Sriracha
5C vegetable broth
1 tbs rice vinegar
1 tbs sesame oil
sea salt
4 tsp chopped fresh cilantro

directions
  1. Cook udon noodles according to package directions; drain and set aside.
  2. Toast cashews in a dry pan over medium heat for 3 minutes or until lightly browned and fragrant.
  3. Remove cashews from heat and chop roughly.
  4. Heat oil in a large pot over medium-high heat.
  5. Add mushrooms and scallions, cook for 5 minutes or until mushrooms are soft.
  6. Mix in garlic, ginger, Sriracha and cook for 2 minutes.
  7. Add broth to the mushroom mixture and bring to a boil.
  8. Add noodles, reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, for 10 minutes.
  9. Turn off heat and stir in vinegar and sesame oil.
  10. Season to taste with salt.
  11. Ladle into four bowls and garnish each with 1 tbs of cashews and 1 tbs of cilantro.
  12. Enjoy!

Healthy Chicken Parm

I love chicken parm - chances are if I'm at an Italian restaurant, I'm ordering chicken parm.
On page 82 of the November 2010 issue of Women's Health magazine, their "Your Flat-Belly Day" menu had a "healthy chicken parmigiana with penne" dinner.  I modified it slightly, and it was delicious. Not quite as delicious as the breaded, cheesy version but definitely close.
yield: 2 servings

ingredients
2 thin sliced chicken breasts
2C baby spinach
1C marinara sauce (I used Mezetta roasted garlic pasta sauce)
2 tbs parmigiana reggiano cheese

directions
  1. In a small covered sauce pan, heat sauce and spinach over medium heat until sauce is bubbling and spinach is wilted.
  2. Mist a small pan with olive oil.
  3. Mist both sides of the chicken breasts and place in pan.
  4. Saute chickens breasts in pan over medium heat until cooked through - flip once to make sure you get both sides.
  5. In a bowl (or on a plate) top each chicken breast with spinach marinara mixture.
  6. Sprinkle with cheese.
  7. Enjoy!