Friday, November 28, 2008

Thanksgiving Menu

Here is what I made for our Thanksgiving meal that we had at 1pm. Keep in mind there were only four of us. I just really like cooking. The menu was:
Turkey and Gravy
Homemade sage stuffing
Apple, Onion, Butternut Squash, and Sweet Potato Gratin
Roasted Veggies (brussel sprouts, sweet potatoes, purple potatoes, and butternut squash)
Stuffed Delecata Squash
Whipped potatoes with celery root, garlic and buttermilk
Homemade cranberry sauce
(not pictured: Apple and Pumpkin Pie)

I don't really feel like going in depth about all of it (gotta rest up for black friday and all), but there are a couple of things I am really pleased with

Too Much Food for Thanksgiving

Roasted Veggies

Roasted Brussel Sprouts, Purple potatoes, sweet potatoes, and butternut squash

This is superduper easy and tasty.
Preheat the oven to 400
Cut brussel sprouts in half and then notch the core with a knife
Cube some other root veggies. I like purple potatoes for color, and butternut squash and sweet potatoes
Toss with olive oil, sea salt and cracked pepper and spread out in a layer on a baking sheet
cook 10 min, stir, and then cook another 10
add some more salt and peper to taste and there ya go! If I'm feelin super fancy I will add some chopped garlic in the last 5-10 min

Chickpea and Craisin stuffed Delecata Squash

Fried Chickpea and Port Soaked craisin stuffed delecata squash

(taken from Gothamist)
Chickpea-Stuffed Delicata Squash
for the chickpeas
1/2 can chickpeas
4 C water (or, better yet, mushroom broth)
1/2 C dried cranberries
1/2 C tawny port
2 smallish delicata squash
Salt, sugar & olive oil to taste

Preheat your oven to 475 F.

Mix the dried cranberries and port together in a bowl. Microwave 30 seconds, then set aside for 30 minutes.

Slice the squash in half lengthwise. Remove and discard the seeds. Lightly slather the squash with olive oil and salt. Fill a small pan 1/4 inch with broth and place sqash in pan skin up. Bake them for 15 minutes, or until tender.

Add a pinch of salt to the port/cranberries, then transfer them to a small pot and simmer until the port reduces to a syrup.

Drain the chickpeas, then fry in safflower oil on medium-high heat for 7-8 minutes, stirring occasionally, until golden. Drain on paper towels.

When the chickpeas are ready, toss them with the cranberries and port syrup.

Place a squash ring in the center of each plate. Fill each squash ring with the fried chickpea mixture.


The only other thing I have to add about this thanksgiving is that adding one peeled and cubed celery root to the potatoes really added something interesting to the flavor, and I highly recommend it.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Odds and Ends: Drinky Drink Ginger Margaritas and Olive Balls

I am a BIG fan of the ginger margarita. It's super easy to make a pitcher this way.

Ginger Margaritas
take 1 can limeade
pour 1 can water
3 cans ginger ale or ginger beer. (I like it with Goya Ginger Beer but it can be a bit "ginger forward" for some...aka: "tastes like burning". These people are wimps :P)
around 1/2 can tequila and 1/4 can contreau
lime juice to taste

toss it all in a pitcher and mix it up. YUM!

Also, I wanted to post this NYT recipe for olive bread balls that i made a while back. They are a super yummy salty snack.

Lingurian Olive Balls from the NYT Bitten Blog

For about two dozen balls, put a cup of all-purpose flour in the food processor along with half a teaspoon of instant yeast, a tablespoon of finely chopped fresh rosemary (or thyme, perhaps, but only a teaspoon) and half a teaspoon of fine salt. Give it a pulse to blend, then, with the machine running, slowly add tepid water, a little at a time, until a smooth but fairly solid dough is formed – a little less than half a cup is what it generally takes. Then drizzle in a tablespoon of extra-virgin olive oil and run the machine until it is incorporated. (Obviously, you can make this, and any, dough by hand as well – or using a stand mixer with a dough hook, which might be overkill for this small quantity.)

Chop up some olives — I use a mixture of mostly black (Ni├žoise, for instance, if only because they make geographical sense, Nice having been a Ligurian town before it changed its name from Nizza) and a few green. If I don’t buy them pitted, I just whack them with the side of a knife, one by one; this makes it easy to remove the pits. Chop them fairly fine, but not into a mush. You want a good half a cup of chopped olives.

The (potentially) hard part comes next: kneading them into the dough. What can make this difficult is that the moisture and oil in the olives initially turn the dough into a nasty, ropy mess. Continued kneading, with the addition of a little more flour if necessary, will eventually bring it together, though it might remain a bit sticky. If you’re using a stand mixer or if, like me, you have an old food processor that came with one of those stubby plastic bread-dough blades, you can breathe a sigh of relief and do this by machine – but the regular metal blade will puree the olives, which is not what you want.

Let the dough rise in a covered container for about an hour (or longer if you want to make it ahead of time). Then punch it down and form as many 3/4-inch balls as you figure you need; refrigerate or even freeze any remaining dough. Lay the little balls out on a tray lined with lightly floured waxed or parchment paper. Loosely cover with plastic wrap and let them rise for 30 to 40 minutes or until they feel soft and puffy. Fry them until golden, about seven or eight minutes, at 325°F in an inch and a half or two inches of neutral oil jazzed up with 1/2 cup olive oil. Try to turn them once or twice as they fry, though they may resist this. Drain on paper towels and sprinkle with salt.

Iron Cupcake World: Cranberry

I am competing in Iron Cupcake World, and this month's ingredient is Cranberry. I made White Chocolate, Cranberry, Macadamia nut cupcakes with cranberry and cheese frosting.

The prizes for winning iron cupcake come from:
Lollipop workshop
Cookie Sunshing
earings from Lots of Sprinkles
Cakespy
and a super cool apron from SWEET CUPPIN CAKES BAKERY AND CUPCAKERY SUPPLY
and corporate sponsors:
Head Chefs by Fiesta Products
HELLO CUPCAKE by Karen Tack and Alan Richardson
JESSIE STEELE APRONS
The Cupcake Courier(would also make a great xmas gift...hint, hint)
Taste of Home Books
and Iron Cupcake is sponsored by 1 800 flowers

ICW: White Chocolate, Cranberry, Macadamia cupcake with cranberry frosting

ICW: White Chocolate, Cranberry, Macadamia cupcake with cranberry frosting

White Chocolate Macadamia Cranberry Cupcakes with Cranberry Cheese Frosting

I started with a basic white chocolate cupcake recipe:
Heat the oven to 325 and put liners in your pan

Mix 2/3 c buttermilk and 1 tbsp white vinegar and set aside

cream 11tbsp butter with 1 1/3c white sugar. once creamed add 3 large eggs one at a time.

take 3/4c of white chocolate chips and heat in a sauce pan with 1/3c water and stir until you get a milky mixture. add 1 tsp vanilla to the chip mix

melting the white chocolate
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let the mixture cool for a smidge, then add half to the egg, butter and sugar mixture. Let the mixer run for a minute, then add the rest.

In a separate bowl add 2c flour, 3/4 tsp baking soda and 1/4 tsp salt and whisk together. Add to the mixture a little at a time.

Fold in another 3/4 c of white chocolate chips, 1 cup cranberries, and a small package of macadamia nuts that you've placed into a ziplock baggie and whacked a few times with a rolling pin (unless you're fancy and have a nut grinder, or use your food processor I guess)

adding the cranberries
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Add batter until the cupcake liner is around 1/3 full. Then take a teaspoon scoop of cranberry jelly and plop it in the middle (I <3 the teaspoons from Ikea because they are nice and round).

adding the cranberry sauce
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Fill up another 1/3 of the way and bake for around 20 to 25 minutes.

For the frosting take 1 packet of cream cheese, 1 5oz log of chevre, and 1 1/2 stick of butter and cream. Add around 1/3can of cranberry sauce, and add powdered sugar to the right consistency. I also took craisins, whirled them around in the food processor and added them for extra cran-tasticness.

They got a good review from the folks at the party I brought them to.

as for the contest:
Voting will begin no later than Sunday, November 30 at 8 p.m. at NO ONE PUTS CUPCAKE IN A CORNER, http://mkecupcakequeen.blogspot.com and will be open through Friday, December 5 at 12 noon. PLEASE VOTE!

Braaaains! AKA Red Velvet Cupcakes for Zombies, or folks who just got a PhD in neuropsychology

Red Velvet Cupcakes w/Cream Cheese frosting made to look line BRAAAAINS

Recipe courtesy of Paula Deen from the Food Newtork website

Ingredients

* 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
* 1 1/2 cups sugar
* 1 teaspoon baking soda
* 1 teaspoon salt
* 1 teaspoon cocoa powder
* 1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
* 1 cup buttermilk, room temperature
* 2 large eggs, room temperature
* 2 tablespoons red food coloring
* 1 teaspoon white distilled vinegar
* 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the Cream Cheese Frosting:

* 1 pound cream cheese, softened
* 2 sticks butter, softened
* 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
* 4 cups sifted confectioners' sugar
* Chopped pecans and fresh raspberries or strawberries, for garnish

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 (12-cup) muffin pans with cupcake papers.

In a medium mixing bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, and cocoa powder. In a large bowl gently beat together the oil, buttermilk, eggs, food coloring, vinegar, and vanilla with a handheld electric mixer. Add the sifted dry ingredients to the wet and mix until smooth and thoroughly combined.

Divide the batter evenly among the cupcake tins about 2/3 filled. Bake in oven for about 20 to 22 minutes, turning the pans once, half way through. Test the cupcakes with a toothpick for doneness. Remove from oven and cool completely before frosting.
For the Cream Cheese Frosting:

In a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese, butter and vanilla together until smooth. Add the sugar and on low speed, beat until incorporated. Increase the speed to high and mix until very light and fluffy.

You make them look brainy by using a larger opening circle tip and making wavy lines, starting with a parallel set in the middle.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Lemon Ginger cupcakes with lemon ginger frosting...Cupcakes We can Believe In

Lemon Ginger cupcakes with lemon ginger frosting
Preheat oven to 350 and fill tin with liners
cream 1 1/2 sticks butter with 1 c granulated sugar and 1/2 c brown sugar
separate 2 eggs. Save the whites in a bowl for later. Add 2 yolks, 1 tsp vanilla, 2 tbsp lemon juice, and 1 tsp lemon zest
add 2 1/2 flour, 1 tbsp ginger, 2 tsp baking powder, 1/2 tsp salt and 1 c milk and blend til smooth
beat the 2 egg whites until stiff and fold into the batter
Fill liners and bake for 25 min or so

Frosting
1 stick butter, 1/4 c lemon juice 2 tsp ground ginger, 3 to 4 c powdered sugar
blend butter, lemon and ginger, then add sugar for desired consistency
optional: sprinkle with chopped candied ginger and toasted shredded coconut


I bet you can guess who I'm voting for


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also

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You heard what the cupcakes said...Vote no on 1 in MA

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Because man was not meant to live on Cupcakes Alone...Homemade Pizza and Sauce


Homemade Pizza and Sauce
Originally uploaded by kel h
Pizza Dough: taken from Fabulous Foods
3 1/2 cups flour
1 cup warm water
2 tablespoons yeast
2 tablespoons honey
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cloves garlic chopped
1/4 c grated Romano/peccarino blend cheese

Start with 1 c warm water
add the honey and salt and mix til it's disolved
add the yeast and stir
add 1 c flour (I used 1 c whole wheat)
mix for a while (I used my stand mixer w/dough hook because i'm spoiled)
Then add the rest of the flour, the garlic, olive oil, and cheese and mix til it forms a ball on the hook
Let it sit for 45 min to rise

I took half of it and refrigerated it, took the other half and rolled out til it fit on a cookie sheet

for the sauce (and this was VERY improv)
2 cups or so of canned crushed peeled tomatoes
salt to taste (I am imagining somewhere between 1/2 to 2 tsp salt)
1 tbsp oregeno
1 tsp tarragon
2 tsp basil
a clove or two of garlic
1 tsp red pepper flakes
still and spread over the pizza dough
then add cheese

Bake at 450 for 10-15 min
the crust is crispy, but not crackery. Nice kinda hybrid between doughey and superthin crust.