Pumpkin Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

2010.10.16

Made these yummy cupcakes with my little one last night.  Enjoy!

Pumpkin Cupcakes

1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/3 cup granulated sugar
2 cups cake flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1/2 cup buttermilk mixed with 1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/4 cups canned solid-pack pumpkin

Preheat oven to 350 F.  Line your cupcake pans with 18 liners.

In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and both sugars on medium speed until fluffy, about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, and salt into a medium bowl.

One at a time, add the eggs to the mixer, scraping down the sides of the bowl after each addition. Alternate adding the flour and milk mixtures, beginning and ending with the flour. Add the pumpkin and beat until smooth.


Divide the batter equally between the cups. (They’ll be about 3/4 full.)  Rap the filled pans once on the counter to release any air bubbles.  Bake the cupcakes until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 20 to 25 minutes.  Transfer the pans to wire racks and after 5 minutes, remove the cupcakes to the racks to cool completely before frosting.

Makes 18 cupcakes

Cream Cheese Frosting
from Martha Stewart

2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
12 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
4 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Beat butter and cream cheese with a mixer on medium-high speed until fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Reduce speed to low. Add sugar, 1 cup at a time (scraping down the sides of the bowl occasionally), and then vanilla; mix until smooth.

The frosting can be made up to 3 days in advance.  Refrigerate until needed, then bring to room temp and beat until smooth before using.

Makes about 4 cups



Categories : TASTE

Devils on Horseback (bacon wrapped dates stuffed with blue cheese)

2010.04.20

Went to happy hour last week and had an order of these and then another.  Delish!

Devils on Horseback

Serves 12

12 slices thick cut bacon, halved widthwise (Nodine’s double smoked preferred)

24 Medjool dates, pitted

1 pound Danish blue cheese

24 toothpicks

Preheat the oven to 400°F.

Place a small chunk of cheese in the center of each date, wrap with bacon and secure with toothpick. Arrange dates upright on baking sheet, making sure cheese will stay inside once melted. Bake until bacon is crisp and brown, about 20 minutes.

recipe via The Jewels of New York

Categories : TASTE

Easter – What to Eat? Phyllo and Feta Torte

2010.04.03

This torte is a specialty for Greek Orthodox Easter.  Delicious!

Phyllo and Feta Torte With Dill and Nutmeg

Time: An hour and a half, plus cooling

1 pound Greek feta cheese, crumbled

3 cups cottage cheese

3 large eggs

1/3 cup chopped fresh dill

1/4 cup grated Romano cheese

1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 1-pound box phyllo dough, thawed overnight in refrigerator if necessary

1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, melted

Greek honey, for serving (optional).

1. Heat oven to 375 degrees. In a food processor, combine feta, cottage cheese, eggs, dill, 2 tablespoons Romano, the nutmeg and pepper and pulse just to combine (you can also use a large bowl and a fork). Mixture should be well combined, but still chunky, not smooth.

2. Sprinkle remaining 2 tablespoons Romano into a Bundt pan. Drape a sheet of phyllo on top of Bundt pan, poke a hole into phyllo where center tube is and push phyllo into pan to line it. Do this with another phyllo sheet, but place it perpendicular to first sheet. Continue adding phyllo sheets in this crisscross manner until all sheets are used. Edges of phyllo should hang over edges of pan.

3. Scrape cheese filling into pan, and fold edges of phyllo over filling. Using a sharp knife, poke many holes (at least 20) in dough that reach all the way to bottom of pan. Slowly pour melted butter over torte; some butter will seep through holes and some will remain on top of dough.

4. Place Bundt pan on a baking sheet and bake for about 1 hour 15 minutes, or until torte is puffy and golden brown. Allow torte to cool in pan for 1 to 2 hours before inverting onto a plate and slicing. Serve warm or at room temperature, with honey if desired.

Yield: 10 to 12 servings.

via: NY Times

Categories : TASTE

Passover – What to eat? Matzo Ball Soup

2010.03.29

With Passover just around the corner, we thought that this step by step guide would come in handy. Followed by a recipe for soup.

How to make Matzo Balls:


1. Combine egg yolks, club soda, chicken fat, chives, salt, and pepper. Whisk to blend. Stir in matzo meal. Stir in 1/3 of the whipped egg whites, using a whisk to loosen the batter.


2. Fold (don’t stir) in the remaining egg whites in 2 additions. For best flavor, salt the cooking water as you would for pasta.


3. For uniform little dumplings, use a melon baller or a 1-teaspoon measuring spoon. Dip the melon baller in the boiling water first to heat it, then quickly scoop out some batter (it doesn’t have to be a perfect round). Submerge thescoop in the water, and shake it gently to release the batter.


4. To test a matzo ball for doneness, cut it open. When it’s completely tender, the color will be the same all the way through. Is it darker in the middle? Keep cooking. When in doubt, err on the side of more cooking.

MATZO BALL SOUP

INGREDIENTS
2 large eggs, separated
1/4 cup club soda
2 tablespoons chicken fat or 2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) pareve margarine, melted
1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives
1/2 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup unsalted matzo meal
PREPARATION
Combine egg yolks, club soda, chicken fat, chives, coarse salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in medium bowl; whisk to blend. Stir in matzo meal. Whisk egg whites in another medium bowl until soft peaks form. Stir 1/3 of whites into matzo mixture to loosen. Fold in remaining whites in 2 additions. Cover and chill overnight. DO AHEAD Can be made 2 days ahead. Keep chilled.
Bring large pot of salted water to boil. Dip 1-inch melon baller or teaspoon-size measuring spoon in boiling water, then fill with rounded scoop of batter. Immerse melon baller in water and shake to release batter. Repeat with remaining batter, dipping melon baller or measuring spoon in boiling water between scoops. Adjust heat so water simmers gently. Cook matzo balls uncovered until tender, about 25 minutes.
Using slotted spoon, transfer matzo balls to 13x9x2-inc

Categories : TASTE

Outstanding in the Field

2010.03.17

Read about this in DesignSponge and have added it to my wish list of things I’d love to do.

Outstanding in the Field creates a wonderful culinary experience bringing together locally grown food, amazing wines, and beautiful settings.

via: DesignSponge and outstanding in the field

Categories : TASTE

Green Day!

2010.03.17

One of my favorite things about St. Paddy’s Day is McDonald’s Shamrock Shake. Here’s a copycat recipe.

SERVES 2

Ingredients
2 cups vanilla ice cream or soy ice cream
1 1/4 cups 2% low-fat milk or soymilk
1/4 teaspoon mint extract
8 drops green food coloring

Directions
1. Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend on high speed until smooth.
2. Stop blender to stir with a spoon if necessary to help blend ice cream.
3. Pour into 12-ounce cups and serve each with a straw.
4. Happy St Patrick’s Day!

Categories : TASTE

Capirotada – Mexican Bread Pudding

2010.03.16

Capirotada (pronounced: kä-pe-rô-tä-thä) is a common Mexican bread pudding that is traditionally eaten during Lent. It is generally composed of toasted french bread soaked in a mulled syrup, sugar, cheese, raisins, and walnuts. The syrup is generally made with water, piloncillo (Mexican brown sugar), cinnamon, and nutmeg. It is best served warm, but many choose to let it chill.

This bread pudding is traditionally served as a dessert, but the unusual addition of savory garnishes — roasted peanuts and aged cheese — also makes it a wonderful breakfast or brunch dish.

  • 10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup corn oil
  • 16 3x2x1/2-inch slices French bread from about three 6- to 7-inch-long French rolls
  • 2 cups (packed) dark brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 3 canela or cinnamon sticks
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons aniseed
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1/3 cup blanched slivered almonds
  • 1/4 cup unsalted dry-roasted peanuts
  • 4 ounces queso manchego*, thinly sliced, room temperature
  • Crema mexicana** or sour cream (optional)

preparation

Preheat oven to 350°F. Melt 4 tablespoons butter in small saucepan over medium-low heat. Whisk in corn oil. Brush large rimmed baking sheet with some of butter mixture. Arrange bread slices on sheet. Brush bread generously with remaining butter mixture. Bake bread slices 10 minutes; turn slices over and bake until golden and crisp, about 5 minutes longer. Cool. Arrange bread in 15x10x2-inch glass baking dish. Maintain oven temperature.

Bring brown sugar, 1 1/2 cups water, canela sticks, aniseed, and 6 tablespoons butter to boil in medium saucepan, stirring until sugar dissolves. Boil until syrup is reduced to 2 cups, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes. (Bread and syrup can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover bread and store at room temperature. Cover and chill syrup. Rewarm syrup before using.)

Gradually pour warm syrup over bread slices, allowing some of syrup to be absorbed before adding more. Sprinkle raisins, almonds, and peanuts over. Cover dish with foil and bake until bread is slightly softened and syrup is bubbling, about 25 minutes. Place 2 bread slices on each plate; spoon some of syrup, raisins, and nuts over. Top each with queso manchego. Serve with crema mexicana, if desired.

*Light yellow, semi-soft mild cheese that is different from the aged Spanish cheese of the same name. Substitute mild cheddar, Monterey Jack, or Muenster.

**Cultured Mexican cream with a slightly nutty flavor and consistency of thin sour cream.

via: Epicurious.com

Categories : TASTE

Celebrate Pi Day with Momofuku’s Crack Pie

2010.03.14

Everyone from Anderson Cooper to Martha Stewart has raved about this pie. They don’t call it Crack Pie for nothing. This will run you $44.00 at Momofuku Bakery & Milk Bar. Even at that price they sell out and mail out all over the country.  We think it’s the perfect Sunday recipe.


Momofuku’s Crack Pie

Momofuku’s Crack Pie

Total time: 1 1/2 hours, plus cooling and chilling times

Servings: Makes 2 pies (6 to 8 servings each)

Note: Adapted from Momofuku. This pie calls for 2 (10-inch) pie tins. You can substitute 9-inch pie tins, but note that the pies will require additional baking time, about 5 minutes, due to the increased thickness of the filling.

Cookie for crust

2/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon (3 ounces) flour

Scant 1/8 teaspoon baking powder

Scant 1/8 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup (1 stick) softened butter

1/3 cup (2 1/2 ounces) light brown sugar

3 tablespoons (1 1/4 ounces) sugar

1 egg

Scant 1 cup (3 1/2 ounces) rolled oats

1. Heat the oven to 375 degrees.

2. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

3. In the bowl of a stand mixer using the paddle attachment, or in a large bowl using an electric mixer, beat the butter, brown sugar and sugar until light and fluffy.

4. Whisk the egg into the butter mixture until fully incorporated.

5. With the mixer running, beat in the flour mixture, a little at a time, until fully combined. Stir in the oats until incorporated.

6. Spread the mixture onto a 9-inch-by-13-inch baking sheet and bake until golden brown and set, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat and cool to the touch on a rack. Crumble the cooled cookie to use in the crust.

Crust

Crumbled cookie for crust

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter

1 1/2 tablespoons (3/4 ounce) brown sugar

1/8 teaspoon salt

Combine the crumbled cookie, butter, brown sugar and salt in a food processor and pulse until evenly combined and blended (a little of the mixture clumped between your fingers should hold together). Divide the crust between 2 (10-inch) pie tins. Press the crust into each shell to form a thin, even layer along the bottom and sides of the tins. Set the prepared crusts aside while you prepare the filling.

Filling

1 1/2 cups (10 1/2 ounces) sugar

3/4 cup plus a scant 3 tablespoons (7 ounces) light brown sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup plus 1 teaspoon (3/4 ounce) milk powder

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, melted

3/4 cup plus a scant 2 tablespoons heavy cream

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

8 egg yolks

2 prepared crusts

Powdered sugar, garnish

1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees.

2. In a large bowl, whisk together the sugar, brown sugar, salt and milk powder. Whisk in the melted butter, then whisk in the heavy cream and vanilla.

3. Gently whisk in the egg yolks, being careful not to add too much air.

4. Divide the filling evenly between the 2 prepared pie shells.

5. Bake the pies, one at a time, for 15 minutes, then reduce the heat to 325 degrees and bake until the filling is slightly jiggly and golden brown (similar to a pecan pie), about 10 minutes. Remove the pies and cool on a rack.

6. Refrigerate the cooled pies until well chilled. The pies are meant to be served cold, and the filling will be gooey. Dust with powdered sugar before serving.

Each of 16 servings: 432 calories; 4 grams protein; 45 grams carbohydrates; 1 gram fiber; 27 grams fat; 16 grams saturated fat; 187 mg. cholesterol; 36 grams sugar; 125 mg. sodium.

via: L.A. Times

Categories : TASTE

BABYCAKES

2010.03.11

Checked out BabyCakes Bakery in downtown LA this week! BabyCakes offers all-natural, organic and delicious alternatives free from the common allergens: wheat, gluten, dairy, casein and eggs. I tried the mint chocolate chip and carrot cupcakes! To die for…

Categories : TASTE

SPRING FORWARD

2010.03.11

Seasonal Fruits and Vegetables – Spring

We love the idea of using seasonal ingredients in our cooking. Here’s a guide of fruits and vegetables that are best in Spring. There is a delicious pasta recipe to follow. Enjoy!

APRICOTS  come into season towards the end of spring in the warmer areas where they grow.

ARTICHOKES have a second crop in the fall, but the main harvest takes place in the spring when the largest thistles are available. Look for artichokes with tight, compact leaves and fresh-cut stem ends.

ARUGULA (a.k.a. rocket) is a cool-weather crop. Long days and warm weather make it bolt, or flower, and bring an unpleasantly bitter flavor to the leaves. Wild arugula is foraged in spring and again the fall. Cultivated arugula is grown year-round, thanks to coastal, temperate growing areas and winter greenhouses.

ASPARAGUS  is harvested from March through June, depending on your region. Note that thickness in no way indicates tenderness, which is related to how the plant is grown and how soon it is eaten after harvest rather than spear size.

AVOCADOS classically summer, but now harvested year-round

BEETS are in season in temperate climates fall through spring, and available from storage most of the year everywhere else. Fresh beets are often sold with their greens still attached.

CARDOONS taste a lot like artichokes; look for firm, heavy-feeling specimens.

CARROTS  are harvested year-round in temperate areas. True baby carrots – not the milled down versions of regular carrots sold as “baby carrots” at grocery stores – are available in spring and early summer.

CHARD grows year-round in temperate areas, is best harvested in late summer or early fall in colder areas, and fall through spring in warmer regions. Like all cooking greens, chard turns bitter when it gets too hot.

CHERRIES are ready to harvest at the end of spring in warmer areas. Sweet cherries, including the popular Bing and Rainier varieties, are available from May to August. Sour cherries have a much shorter season, and can be found for a week or two, usually during the middle of June in warmer areas and as late as July and August in colder regions.

FAVA BEANS are a Mediterranean favorite available in the U.S. from early spring through summer.

FENNEL has a natural season from fall through early spring.

FIDDLEHEADS are available in early spring through early summer depending on the region; these young wild ferns are foraged.

GARLIC SCAPES/GREEN GARLIC are both available in spring and early summer. Green garlic is immature garlic and looks like a slightly overgrown scallion. Garlic scapes are the curled flower stalks of hardnecked garlic varieties grown in colder climates.

GRAPEFRUIT from California, Texas, Florida, and Arizona comes into season in January and stays sweet and juicy into early summer.

GREEN ONIONS/SCALLIONS are cultivated year-round in temperate climates and come into harvest in the spring in warmer areas.

GREENS of all sorts some into season in warmer regions.

KIWIS grow on vines and are harvested winter through springing warmer and temperate areas.

KOHLRABI is harvested in the fall in cooler areas, and through early spring in more temperate areas.

KUMQUATS are still available in very early spring.

LEEKS more than about 1 1/2 inches wide tend to have tough inner cores. The top green leaves should look fresh – avoid leeks with wilted tops.

LEMONS are at their juicy best from winter into early summer.

LETTUCE starts coming into season in cooler climates (it grows through the winter in temperate and warmer areas).

MINT starts thriving in the spring.

MORELS are foraged in the wild in the spring. Look for firm specimens at specialty markets and foragers’ stalls at farmers markets.

NETTLES are sold at markets by foragers and farmers, but most people get theirs the old-fashioned way: foraging them themselves. If you’re lucky they’re growing as “weeds” in your garden.

NAVEL ORANGES hit the end of their season in the spring.

PEA GREENS are sold in big tumbled masses in spring and early summer. Look for bright vines with fresh, vibrant looking leaves. Avoid vines with brown or mushy ends or damaged leaves.

PEAS (garden, snap, snow, etc.) come into season in the spring and continue in most areas well into summer.

RADISHES are at their sweet, crunchy best in the spring.

RHUBARB is the first fruit of spring in many areas – look for heavy stalks with shiny skin.

SPINACH season varies with your climate – year-round in temperate areas, summer and fall in cooler areas, fall through spring in warmers regions.

SPRING ONIONS are simply regular onions that farmers pull from the field to thin the rows in spring and early summer.

STRAWBERRIES are mostly grown in California or Florida, where the strawberry growing season runs from January through November. Peak season is April through June. Other areas of the country have shorter growing seasons that range from five-months to as short as a few weeks in the coldest areas.

SWEET ONIONS  have slightly different seasons, but in general they are available in spring and summer.
Turnips have a sharp but bright and sweet flavor. Look for turnips that feel heavy for their size.

PASTA WITH PEAS, ASPARAGUS, BUTTER LETTUCE, AND PROSCIUTTO

Wilted butter lettuce is a surprisingly delicious addition to this pasta dish. Using campanelle or medium shell pasta is key here: The pasta catches all of the little ingredients, like the sweet green peas and the salty prosciutto.

6 TO 8 SERVINGS

INGREDIENTS
2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil plus additional for drizzling
1/2 pound spring onions or green onions (dark green parts discarded); white parts cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices, pale green parts cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices
2 tablespoons minced shallot
Coarse kosher salt
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup low-salt chicken broth
1 1/2 pounds asparagus, cut crosswise into 3/4-inch pieces
2 cups shelled fresh peas (from about 2 pounds peas in pods) or 2 cups frozen petite peas, thawed
1 pound campanelle (trumpet-shaped pasta) or medium (about 1-inch) shell-shaped pasta
1 head of butter lettuce or Boston lettuce (about 6 ounces), cored, leaves cut into 3/4-inch-wide slices
1 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese plus additional for sprinkling
1/2 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
4 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch-wide strips
PREPARATION
Melt butter with 2 tablespoons oil in heavy large skillet over medium heat. Add onions and shallot. Sprinkle with coarse salt and pepper. Sauté until tender (do not brown), about 8 minutes. Add wine; increase heat to medium-high and simmer until liquid is reduced to glaze, about 3 minutes. Add broth and bring to simmer; set aside.
Cook asparagus in large pot of boiling salted water until just tender, 2 to 4 minutes, depending on thickness of asparagus. Using skimmer or slotted spoon, transfer to large bowl of ice water. Return water to boil. Add peas and cook until just tender, about 2 minutes. Using skimmer, transfer to bowl with asparagus. Drain vegetables.
Return water in pot to boil. Cook pasta until tender but still firm to bite, stirring occasionally. Drain, reserving 1 cup pasta cooking liquid.
Meanwhile, reheat onion mixture. Add lettuce and stir just until wilted, about 1 minute. Add drained asparagus and peas; stir until heated through.
Add pasta, 1 cup Parmesan cheese, and parsley to skillet with vegetables; toss, adding reserved pasta cooking liquid by 1/4 cupfuls if dry. Season with salt and pepper.
Transfer pasta to large shallow bowl. Sprinkle prosciutto over; drizzle with olive oil. Serve, passing more cheese alongside.

Categories : TASTE