Sunday, June 27, 2010

Rum Party Cupcakes: Dark and Stormy and Cuba Libre

Dark and Stormy Cupcakes
Originally uploaded by kel h
I went to a party where the theme was rum, and decided to make two kinds of rum based cupcakes. One was a layered Dark and Stormy Cupcake, and the other was a Cube Libre cupcake with coke frosting and homemade candied limes. The rum cake recipe makes a TON, in fact enough for two dozen Dark and Stormy cupcakes AND a dozen Cuba Libre (makes 2 doz full sized cupcakes)

Dark and Stormy Cupcake

Ginger Beer Cupcakes (bottom layer)

1 cup flour
1/4 cup sugar
2/3 cup ginger beer
1/4 cup butter, at room temperature
2 tbsp milk
1 egg, at room temperature
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

Preheat the oven to 350. In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg, milk and ginger beer beat well. Add the flour, baking powder and salt. Beat until the batter is light and fluffy. Fold in the ginger.

Rum Cupcake (top layer):

2/3 c unsalted butter at rm temp
1c sugar
1c lt brown sugar
2 lg eggs rm temp
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp rum extract (or just 2 tsp vanilla)
1 1/3 c dark or spiced rum
2/3 c milk
4 c flour
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp salt

cream butter and sugars 3-5 min. Add eggs and extracts
in one small bowl combine rum and milk
In another bowl combine dry ingredients
add to butter mixture alternating wet and dry until combined.

Fill liner or well greased cupcake pan 1/3 full with ginger beer cupcake. Then pour another 1/3 of the way with rum cupcake (unfortunately I didn't have any food coloring, but it would be super cool if you could color the ginger beer layer a different color so you can see the layers). Bake for 15-20 minutes at 350.

Rum Frosting
1 lb powdered sugar
5 1/2 tbsp unsalted butter at rm temp
1/8-1/4 c milk
1/4 tsp salt
3 tbsp rum

combine sugar, butter and salt. Add rum. Gradually add milk to desired consistency. Mine was a bit runny (but I think i didn't use enough sugar)

Cuba Libre Cupcake

Rum Cupcake:
2/3 c unsalted butter at rm temp
1c sugar
1c lt brown sugar
2 lg eggs rm temp
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp rum extract (or just 2 tsp vanilla)
1 1/3 c dark or spiced rum
2/3 c milk
4 c flour
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 325
cream butter and sugars 3-5 min. Add eggs and extracts
in one small bowl combine rum and milk
In another bowl combine dry ingredients
add to butter mixture alternating wet and dry until combined.
Bake 20 minutes

Coca-cola frosting
1/2 c butter
1/3 c coke
1 lb powdered sugar
3 tbsp powdered cocoa
a few dashes bitters if you have them
1 tsp vanilla

Melt butter. Add coke, powdered sugar and cocoa. whisk togegther and bring to a boil. remove from heat and add vanilla and bitters. Refrigerate until it sets

Candied Limes
1-2 limes (I got around four slices per lime)
1 c sugar

Slice limes into 1/4 inch slices
blanch for 2 min in pot of boiling water then place on paper towel and dry.
bring 1 cup water and 1 cup sugar to a boil. Drop the limes in and let them simmer for 15-20 min. Put on a cooling rack or a piece of foil sprayed well with cooking spray. Let them cool.

(the recipe creates a nice bonus of some lime simple syrup) Toss some mint, a few uncandied limes and some rum and you've got a mojito!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Chocolate Orange Pudding

Chocolate Orange Pudding
Originally uploaded by kel h
I've been cooking up a storm lately. And I ran out of chocolate pudding so I decided it would be fun to learn to make it from scratch. It's stupid easy, and whats great about it is that you get to control the quality of the ingredients, and do wacky things like add orange zest and cinnamon

Homemade Chocolate Orange Pudding

6 tablespoons sugar (I use splenda)
4 tablespoons cornstarch (slightly heaping)
2 tablespoons cocoa (heaping)
1 pinch salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon (optional)
zest of 1/4 orange (optional)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups milk (I use 1%)
1-Combine all dry ingredients until all lumps are gone and blended well.
2-Add milk and place on burner turned to high -- stir constantly until desired thickness. It will seem like nothing is happening for a while, then BAM, pudding!
3-Remove from heat and add vanilla, stir well and serve.enjoy.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Green Pea Pesto

Green Pea Pesto
Originally uploaded by kel h
you know how sometimes you buy something and its a let down, and sometimes when you buy something you wonder how you ever got along without it?

Yeah, my new food processor/blender is the second kind. I LOVE it! I can't stop making things with it. Today I made green pea pesto from the show Giada at Home

1 (10-ounce) package frozen peas, defrosted
2 cloves garlic smashed
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus extra for seasoning
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus extra for seasoning
small handful parsley and three or four basil leaves
1/3 cup olive oil

Put the cheese, peas, garlic, and herbs in a food processor until it forms a paste. Add seasoning and then gradually pour in the olive oil while processor is running.

Serve over pasta or on toast.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Blueberry Lemon Scones

Blueberry Lemon Scones
Originally uploaded by kel h

3/4 cup fresh blueberries
2 2/3 cups plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, diced and chilled in the freezer 5 to 10 minutes
1 large egg
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon milk
zest of 1 lemon divided

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. In a small bowl, toss the blueberries with 1 tablespoon of flour and the cinnamon. Set aside.
In a large bowl, combine the 2 2/3 cups flour, all but 1 tablespoon of the sugar, the baking powder, half of the lemon zest and the salt and mix well. Using a pastry cutter (or in my case, your new food processor), cut the well-chilled butter into the dry ingredients, working quickly, until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Beat the egg with 1/2 cup of the milk and, using a fork, combine this mixture with the flour and butter mixture.
Divide the dough into 2 balls. Lightly flour a work surface and roll each ball into a 7-inch circle. Sprinkle the blueberries across 1 circle. Top with the second circle and use your hands to carefully mesh the circles together. Pat or lightly roll the dough out until the circle is about 12 inches across. (Don't mush the berries.)
Cut the circle into 10 wedges. Brush the tops of the scones with the remaining milk, dust with the remaining sugar and lemon zest (mix it together with a fork first) transfer to 1 or more ungreased baking sheets, leaving an inch between each scone. Bake 12 to 15 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Banana Ice Cream

Banana Ice Cream
Originally uploaded by kel h
Adapted from Alton Brown's Banana Ice Cream recipe

6 (approximately 2 1/4 pounds) ripe bananas (frozen overnight, then defrosted)
1 tablespoon fresh squeezed lemon juice
2/3 c honey
1 tsp vanilla
1 container plain yogurt
2/3 c milk

Place bananas in freezer and freeze overnight. Remove bananas from freezer and allow to thaw for 45 minutes to 1 hour. Peel bananas and place in bowl of food processor along with the lemon juice. Process for 10 to 15 seconds. Add honey and vanilla and turn processor on. Slowly pour in the dairy. Process until smooth. Chill mixture in refrigerator until it reaches 40 degrees. Transfer mixture to an ice cream maker and process according to manufacturer's instructions. Place mixture in an airtight container and freeze for 3 to 6 hours before serving.

Kelly's new toy and Blueberry Mint Smoothie

One of the problems of living in a home that has cable (and unlimited access to Food Network) is that I am developing kitchen gadget lust. Macy's had a one day sale today with 40% the Black and Decker combo food processor/blender, and I couldn't resist. Here is the first thing I made with it since I'm on a low fiber, soft foods diet due to diverticulitis AND recent dental surgery:

Blueberry Mint Smoothie

1 cup blueberries
1 sprig's worth mint leaves
1 container plain yogurt
about a tablespoon honey
8 ice cubes

Toss it all in the blender, pulse it a couple of times, then let it blend for 1 1/2 minutes until its all combined.


Friday, June 18, 2010

More Cupcakes in the Media

I was featured in the June edition of Taste of Home magazine in the Cooks Who Care section for my online bakesale for Homes For Our Troops, which is a charity that raises money to help build adaptive homes for service men and women who return from combat with severe injuries. Unfortunately the money these folks receive from the government doesn't go far enough to give them the homes they deserve. This charity raises both money and donations of materials and time from contractors to give them a quality home befitting the sacrifice they made for our country.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Simple Pasta a la Caprese

made my favorite pasta dish for lunch, and it is SUPER easy.

Boil two cups pasta of your choice (I like shells or twirly bits because they hold the sauce better)
heat up some olive oil in a pan with two cloves minced garlic and a pint of cherry or grape tomatoes cut in half and sprinkle a pinch of salt over it all.
When the tomatoes start to get wrinkly on the outside, squish them down with a spoon or fork.
Take four to five large basil leaves and slice them into thin strips.
Cube up a few slices of fresh mozzarella.
toss in the pasta, cheese and basil and stir until the cheese just starts to get melty.
drizzle a little more olive oil and salt and pepper to taste.

butternut squash risotto

butternut squash risotto
Originally uploaded by kel h
apparently I am on a thyme kick. I made this because a) it fits the "low fiber" bill b) it is squishy so I can also eat it after I have the rest of my wisdom teeth pulled on friday. it makes a TON

One 32-ounce container (4 cups) broth
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, grated or finely chopped
2 cups arborio rice
1 cup dry white wine
One 12-ounce box frozen butternut squash puree, thawed
1/2 tsp Nutmeg
1/2 tsp dried thyme
Salt and pepper to taste
1 cup grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese
2 tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces
10 leaves fresh sage, slivered

In a large saucepan, bring the broth and 1 cup water to a boil over medium-high heat, then turn the heat to low.

In a large skillet, heat the olive oil , 2 turns of the pan, over medium-high heat. When the oil is rippling, add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 2 minutes. Add the rice and toast for 3 minutes. Stir in the wine and cook, stirring occasionally, until mostly evaporated, 2 to 3 minutes.

Add 2 ladlefuls of the warm chicken broth to the rice and stir until the liquid evaporates. Repeat with the remaining broth, cooking the risotto until creamy, about 18 minutes. During the last 3 minutes of cooking, stir in the squash; season with nutmeg, thyme, salt and pepper. During the last minute of cooking, stir in the cheese and butter. Top with the sage.

taken from

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

rum cupcake ideas

I have a friend who's birthday is coming up, and it is a rum themed party. Here are some ideas I'm playing with

Cuba Libre Cupcakes

rum cake cupcake
Coca Cola Frosting
topped with a candied lime slice

Also, maybe a cable car cupcake

use the rum cupcake recipe above and add some triple sec
lemon buttercreme frosting
candied lemon slices instead of lime

or a dark and stormy cupcake
layerd cupcake with half rum and half ginger ale cupcakes
with a rum/ginger buttercream

i'd try a rum runner cupcake but it's a lot of flavors. I may think on it some more.

Onion, Tomato, Mushroom and Thyme Frittata

Mushroom Onion Tomato Thyme Frittata

2.5 c cooked pasta
1 sweet onion halved and sliced
1/2 pt cherry tomatoes halved
1/2 box mushrooms chopped
3 cloves garlic minced
1 tsp dried thyme
6 eggs enough to cover the pasta
2/3 c milk
1/2 c grated Parmesan cheese
2 tbsp butter

cook and cool the pasta
caramelize the onion with the butter on a low heat
take the onions out of the pan, cook the tomatoes mushrooms and garlic til mushrooms are browned
add thyme
remove from heat and add to cooled pasta along with onions

In separate bowl mix eggs, milk, salt, pepper and cheese

Pour egg mixture into pasta and veggies

Spray a non stick skillet with pam and pour egg and pasta mixture in.

Cook on one side for about 8 minutes, running a thin spatula around the edge periodically to make sure it isn't sticking

when the edges get brown, get a plate slightly smaller than the skillet and put it on top of the skillet upside down

Flip the frittata onto the plate, then slide back into the pan with the browned side up.

Cook for another 8 minutes or so, then flip it back onto the plate

let it sit for a bit and cool a smidge, then slice

The one pictured was made with 3 cups of pasta, and is somewhat structurally unsound because I added more veggies than the recipe I was jumping off from called for. I think reducing the pasta in the frittata will increase the stability as the egg to non egg ratio will be better allowing for more binding.

while structurally questionable, the frittata pictured is undeniably tasty

Sunday, June 13, 2010

homemade sweet potato gnocchi with brown butter and garlic sauce


2 (8 ounce) sweet potatoes
1 clove garlic, pressed
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 egg
2 cups all-purpose flour

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Bake sweet potatoes for 30 to 60 minutes, or until soft to the touch ).

Remove from the oven, and set aside to cool.

Once the potatoes are cool enough to work with, remove the peels, and mash them, or press them through a ricer into a large bowl.(if after you bake and peel them you realize they aren't soft to the center, pull the soft part off with forks and then steam the hard centers in the microwave for about five minutes until soft)

Blend in the garlic, salt, nutmeg, and egg. Mix in the flour a little at a time until you have soft dough. Use more or less flour as needed.

Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. While you wait for the water, make the gnocchi.

making a gnocchi dough snake

On a floured surface, roll the dough out in several long snakes, and cut into 1-inch sections.
cutting the dough snake into gnocchi
Drop the pieces into the boiling water, and allow them to cook until they float to the surface. Remove the floating pieces with a slotted spoon (its like skimming a pool)
they pop up when they're done
keep warm in a serving dish.

Serve with butter or cream sauce.

Also, if you have more than you need you can cut them and freeze them on a cookie sheet. Once frozen toss them in a zip lock bag and save for later