Friday, December 30, 2011

Pan-fried Swai With Lemon Butter Sauce


My husband and I were at the store the other day and saw that Swai was on sale, and of course bought a few fillets.  Our problem was, what do we do with this white fish that the seafood department guy told us would taste similar to catfish, but milder.  So my husband, knowing that Im not a fan of a really fishy taste went to work on finding a good recipe.  Lemon butter is usually pretty good at complementing fish and reducing the overwhelming fishy flavor that some fish have.  He found this recipe on "Foodism Mom" with a recipe that promised to appeal to both children and adults alike, as well as only take 15 minutes from start to finish.
I have to say, that this sauce was thinner than I was expecting for a "reduced sauce" but despite that fact it was quite delicious, and I would recommend this dish to anyone.  Though I do have to say the crispier the pan fry, the better tasting the overall fish is. ;)
Did I mention that this recipe is only 200.6 calories per serving?

Pan-fried Swai With Lemon Butter Sauce

Ingredients

3-4 boneless/skinless swai fillets
salt and pepper
1/4 cup (or more) flour
1 Tbsp vegetable or olive oil
2 Tbsp unsalted butter, separated
1/2 cup white wine
1 Tbsp lemon juice
2 tsp fresh thyme leaves

Directions
  1. Lightly salt and pepper both sides of the fish
  2. Put the flour in a shallow bowl or plate and dredge the fish in the flour until evenly coated on both sides. Shake off any excess flour.
  3. Heat the oil and one tablespoon of butter in a large non-stick pan over medium-high heat. When the oil is glistening hot, add the fish. You may have to do two batches if your fish doesn't all fit into the pan at once. Sear the fish about 2 1/2 to 3 minutes a side, depending on how thick your fillets are. You want them golden brown, set aside on a serving platter.
  4. In the same pan, add the wine, lemon juice and thyme, cook over medium heat. When it comes to a boil, turn down to a low simmer and cook over medium heat. When it comes to a boil, turn down to a low simmer and cook for about 2 minutes, stirring and scraping the brown bits off the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. The liquid should reduce a bit but there should still be enough to make the sauce.  Please note, that the sauce does not thicken, just reduces, this is a very thin sauce.
  5. Turn off the heat and add a tablespoon of cold butter, Swirl the butter around in the reduced sauce until it melts and sauce thickens. (as stated above this is a very thin sauce)
  6. Spoon sauce over the fish and serve immediately.


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Big Bad Beef Rub

Fall off the bone tender, beef back ribs
Lets just start this off with I got this rub recipe from amazing ribs.com
My husband the other day decided that he wanted to eat beef ribs (the long ones not the short ones), well that poses a slight problem as we dont have a smoker and our bbq is dying (not to mention it doesnt have an easy way to hold temps for long periods of time).  So we have to cook them in the oven.  All the good recipes Ive heard of all have you smoke them for hours at a time, and all the oven recipes have you put 30 million things on your ribs so that in the end all you taste is their tomato-ie sauce that over powers the meat.  So this time we're taking the temp and time requirements from one recipe (random site) and the beef rub from an award winner's site. 

The exact recipe can be found at http://www.amazingribs.com/recipes/rubs_pastes_marinades_and_brines/big_bad_beef_rub.html

Big Bad Beef Rub

Recipe

Makes. About half a cup
Preparation time. About 10 minutes
Ingredients
3 tablespoon coarsely ground black pepper
2 tablespoons table salt
1 tablespoon granulated white sugar
1 tablespoon onion powder
2 teaspoons mustard powder
2 teaspoons garlic powder
2 teaspoons chili or ancho powder
1 teaspoon chipotle or cayenne powder
About the black pepper. Lately I've been grinding my black pepper and then sifting it. I use the coarse stuff, and put the fine stuff in a pepper shaker.
About the chile powders. I'm looking for complexity with two different flavors and two different levels of heat. Most chili powders and ancho powders do not have a lot of heat, but good flavor. In fact, ancho is usually in a lot of chili powders. Go with ancho if you can find it. It has a nice raisiny character. With chipotle or cayenne I'm after a kiss of heat. Chipotle has better flavor though.
Do this
1) Mix the ingredients together in a bowl.
2) Lightly oil the meat with vegetable oil. Many of the flavors in the rub are oil soluble and the oil helps penetrate the meat. So does the salt, so don't leave it out. Spread the rub generously on beef brisket, not so thick on other, thinner cuts. You can apply it just before cooking or let it marinate on the meet overnight. Heck, I've left meat sit under this stuff for days. Fact is it doesn't penetrate a lot, but every little bit helps.
 
As for time well that depends on the ribs.. this guy suggests on a bbq'r these recommendations
1" thick meat should hit 150°F (Chicago style) in about 1 hour and 180°F (Texas style) in about 3 hours.
1.5" thick meat should hit 150°F in about 1.5 hours and 180°F in about 3.5 hours.
2" thick meat should hit 150°F in about 2 hours and 180°F in about 4 hours.
I treat them much the same as short ribs, described above. Depending on how much meat is on them and the thickness of the bones, they cook faster and can be finished in as little as three hours. Some folks like to sauce them.
as for the difference between chicago and texas style, I refer you to his site again http://www.amazingribs.com/recipes/beef/BBQ_beef_ribs.html

To prepare the ribs:
1) Begin by removing the fat and the very tough silverskin from the top of the meat. All of it. No need to remove the membrane from the exposed side of the bones as you do with pork ribs. Then cut slabs into individual bones if they did not come cut up. Inevitably some bones in a package have little meat and lotta fat. Trim them anyhow and cook them. There are several nice bites of meat on the sides of the bone, and they will finish in about an hour and you can munch on them while you wait for the thicker slabs to cook through.
2) Lightly coat the meat with vegetable oil so the oil soluble spices in the rub will dissolve and penetrate a bit. Flavor the meat with a rub that contains salt but very little sugar. Do the tops and sides, and coat them generously. If you can, let the rub sit on the meat in the refrigerator for an hour or three or even overnight.


though since I've already explained that we dont have a bbq that is up to this challenge here is the cooking directions we will be following, that like I said I got from a different site...
  1. Place the ribs and sauce(optional) in a large baking pan, in a single layer.
    Cover with a tightly fitting piece of aluminum foil.
  2. Bake the beef ribs at 250 degrees Fahrenheit for 3 hours and check for doneness. If still tough, continue baking covered for another hour. When the ribs are tender, remove the foil, baste the ribs with the pan liquid, and continue baking for another half hour uncovered. 
  3. Baking the ribs in a foil covered pan steams them, a cooking process that does a very good job at tenderizing tough meats. The only more effective way to tenderize the ribs is to cook them in a pressure cooker...but that's another recipe! 
 __________

Review: (havent done one like this in a while!!) The ribs were extremely tender, the fat literally melted off of them.  I did have a problem with just how peppery that the rub was, my kids didnt really like it because of that, in the future I would use less black pepper and maybe a bit less cayenne, to pull the heat and overwhelming pepper level down.


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Sunday, December 25, 2011

Bloomin Onion w/ sauce

EVERYONE loves Outback's Bloomin' Onion, but not many of us can afford to hop on over to Outback and pay the $8 plus tip just to eat one whenever we like.  Not to mention who goes to a restaurant just for an appetizer? Not me.  Even on my cheapest time eating there with just me and my hubby it was $25 before tip and no drinks (we just drank water).  Don't get me wrong I LOVE Outback not just for their Bloomin' Onion but for their steak as well.
Anyways, back to the Onion, I found Outback's recipe for their Bloomin' Onion.   I got my husband the slicer that cuts the onions into petals, well he has a good recipe for frying up sweet onions, but its no Outback Onion.  So we're trying this recipe tonight ^.^
This recipe serves 2, to serve more just multiply seasonings by two and add an onion. (one onion serves two)

Bloomin Onion w/ sauce


Onion poppers, pearl onions battered and fried
Ingredients:

Batter
2 T Cornstarch
1/2 cup flour
1/2 tsp garlic, minced
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
6 oz beer
1 sweet onion (walla walla is best)

Seasoned flour
1/2 cup flour
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/8 tsp black pepper
1/16 tsp (dash) cayenne pepper

Outback Dipping Sauce
1/8 cup mayonnaise
1/2 tsp ketchup
1/2 tsp creamed horseradish
1/16 tsp (dash) paprika
1/16 tsp (dash) salt
1/16 tsp (dash) dried oregano
dash black pepper
dash cayenne pepper

Creamy Chili Sauce (optional)
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup sour cream
1/8 cup tomato chili sause
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper

Directions:


make your mixes except for batter

Seasoned Flour: Combine flour, paprika, garlic powder and cayenne. Mix well.

Creamy Chili Sauce: Combine mayo, sour cream, chili sauce and cayenne. Mix well.

Dipping Sauce: Blend everything together well and let sit for 2 hours in refrigeration or overnight.

To make Onion...
  1. Cut about 3/4 inch off top of onion and peel. Cut onion into 12 - 16 vertical wedges but do not cut through bottom root end. Remove about 1 inch of petals from center of onion, DO NOT cut through root or onion will fall apart. Place onion in ice water for ONE HOUR to open up blooms and help petals keep their shape during cooking. After one hour shake off any excess water. 
  2. Make batter: Mix cornstarch, flour and seasonings until well blended. Add beer and mix well.
  3. Place onion root side down on wax paper or on a dish.  Lightly sprinkle or sift seasoned flour on top of the onion. 
  4. Turn onion onto its side. With one hand, gently spread the petals apart.  With the other hand, lightly sprinkle mix onto every petal. Be sure to completely cover each layer of petals with dry mix. While still on its side, rotate the onion until all the petals are covered with dry mix.  
  5. Turn the onion root side up and shake off any excess mix.
  6. With the root side down, place the onion into the batter. Gently push petals down and separate each petal with your fingers to allow the wet batter to get in between each layer.
  7. Next, rotate the onion so the petals are facing downward. Let the onion remain in the wet batter for 10-15 seconds. this allows the wet batter to cover the whole onion. Take the onion and turn it root side up, allowing any excess batter to drip back into bowl.
  8. Remove the onion from the wet batter and repeat steps 3-5
  9. In a deep fryer (or pot of oil deep enough to completely cover onion when submerged) that is heated to 375*f. Gently spread petals apart once again and place onion, root side up, into the preheated oil. Wait 5 seconds. Using a long handled cooking utensil, push down on the root of the onion, suberging it deeper into the oil, for 3-5 seconds this allowes the onion petals to expand like a flower.  Cook for 1 minute 20 seconds longer, then turn over and cook for 1 1/2 minutes more.
  10. Remove onion from the oil, root side up. Let excess oil drip off onion into pan. Place onion, root side down, on a double layer of paper towels to drain excess oil.  Once oil has drained, cut out the remainder of the onion core.  BE CAREFUL AS ONION WILL STILL BE VERY HOT!
  11. Put dip(s) into a container in the center of the onion and enjoy!

So... we were out of horseradish and all the stores are closed for Christmas Day... so we used pearl onions and made onion poppers with the batter and flour instead.  They tasted great!

When we did get around to making the Bloomin Onion my husband decided to double batter (flour, batter, flour, batter, flour) the onion, which in my opinion kind of made some pieces a bit too thick. But needless to say the batter/flour mix that tasted awesome on the pearl onions, just tasted so-so (and needed salt) on the sweet onion. Also I felt the "sauce" tasted more like a bob's burger special sauce than outbacks sauce.  Next time I go there I will ask them for their recipe and see if its different.

Here's some pictures of the steps. (though the wet steps were left out as I didnt want my camera dirty)

Onion cut, soaked for one hour in ice water and drained
Onion with seasoned flour on ready to go into batter
Double battered onion after frying, before center is removed for eating

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Seasons Greetings

Dont normally post these on here but... Seasons Greetings everyone!


Thursday, December 15, 2011

Red Velvet Pancakes

We eat a lot of pancakes in our house, tonight we wanted to try something a bit different so we tried Red Velvet Pancakes.
So I kind of feel like this recipe is a copout, but kind of not because I did do a bit of trial and error tonight before coming up with this recipe. Here's what my pancakes looked like done (and under bad lighting, sorry). I served them with a dollop of Cream Cheese Frosting in lieu of butter and syrup.

Red Velvet Pancakes

Ingredients:

1 cup Pancake Mix (home made or store bought)
1 cup Red Velvet Cake Mix (homemade or store bought)
1 1/2 cups Buttermilk (or soured milk)
2 eggs
1 Tbsp oil
2 Tbsp melted butter

Directions:

  1. Combine oil, milk and eggs in a bowl. Beat with a whisk until liquid is well combined and foamy.
  2. Add red velvet mix, pancake batter and melted butter. Mix with a whisk until combined...do not over beat (batter should be lumpy). Set batter aside for 10-20 minutes before cooking, this is important as it doesnt turn out the same unless you do.
  3. Pour 2-4 oz of batter on a hot (350*f) griddle. These pancakes take about 1-1/2 to 2 times a long as a regular pancake, dont rush it. Cook until bubbly, a little dry around the edges, when you think they're ready, wait 30 seconds more, then turn and brown the other side. Do not pat down pancakes or they will flatten.

Sadly... my molds dont work well with this recipe, the moisture content got trapped inside and stayed raw.  But as a regular pancake they were fantastic.
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Sunday, December 11, 2011

Banana Cupcakes

What's better than banana bread? why a banana cupcake of course!
Made this for the Bake Sale for Japan.

Banana Cupcakes

Ingredients:

1/2 cup shortening
1 -1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup mashed ripe bananas (about 2 medium)
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup buttermilk

Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 350*
  2. In a large bowl, cream shortening and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla and bananas. 
  3. Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt; add to banana mixture alternately with buttermilk, beating well after each addition.
  4. Fill 18 paper-lined muffni cups two-thirds full. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. 
  5. Cool 5 minutes before removing from pan to wire racks to cool completely.  Frost when completely cool, top with walnuts if desired.


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Chocolate "Surprise Inside" Cupcakes (Truffle filling)

I also made these for the Bake Sale for Japan and they are awesome, rich chocolate cake with a chocolate Dulce de Leche truffle inside and iced with chocolate frosting mmmmmm...
 

Chocolate "Surprise Inside" Cupcake 
(Truffle filling)

Ingredients:

2 cups sugar
2 cups water
2/3 cup canola oil
2 tbsp white vinegar
2 tsp vanilla extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup baking cocoa
2 tsp baking soda

Filling:
same as my melting middles truffles
2/3 cup dark chocolate (70% cocoa), chopped
1 cup dulce de leche caramel

Directions:

Make the middles first.
  1. Heat the Dulce de Leche in a pan for 1 min until warmed and runny, then stir in the chopped dark chocolate and leave to melt. Stir until smooth. 
  2. Cover a dinner plate with saran wrap, oil the saran wrap well, then pour the mix onto it. 
  3. Cool, then freeze for 2 hrs or until very firm. 
  4. Roll mixture into twenty four 1in balls, chill for an hour.  Refrigerate or freeze any remaining filling for later use.
Note: I have never gotten this recipe to become firm, or to even freeze after MONTHS in my deep freezer that's at -20*f.  That said, they still taste awesome enough to deal with the stickiness.

Cupcakes:
  1. Preheat oven to 350*f
  2. In a large bowl, beat the sugar, water, oil, vinegar and vanilla until well blended. In another large bowl combine the flour, cocoa and baking soda; gradually beat into sugar mixture until blended.
  3. Fill paper lined muffin cups one-third full. Drop a truffle into the center of each cupcake. Top with remaining batter.
  4. Bake for 17-22 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks to cool completely.  Frost when completely cool.

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Hummingbird Cupcakes


This very yummy cupcake I also made for the Bake Sale for Japan.
I think I ate at least one for every six I sold! They're really yummy!

Hummingbird Cupcakes

Ingredients:

1 cup butter, softened
2 cups sugar
3 eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups mashed ripe bananas
1/2 cup canned crushed pineapple, dtrained
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup flaked coconut
1 cup chopped walnuts

Cream cheese frosting

Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 350*f
  2. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla. In a small bowl combine bananas and pineapple.
  3. Combine the flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt; add to the creamed mixture alternately with banana mixture, beating well after each addition. Fold in coconut and walnuts.
  4. Fill paper-lined muffin cups two-thirds full. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. 
  5. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks to cool completely.  
  6. Frost cupcakes when completely cool.

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Carrot Blueberry Cupcakes

This last summer I held a bake sale to help with the clean up efforts in Japan after the 9.0 earth quake followed by the huge tsunami that hit on April 7, 2011.
They're a very moist cake, but I probably would have preferred them without the addition of zucchini.

Carrot Blueberry Cupcakes
recipe from Taste of Home: Cupcakes for Every Season

Ingredients:

1 cup sugar
1/2 cup canola oil
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 -1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup finely shredded carrots
3/4 cup zucchini
1/2 cup unsweetened crushed pineapple, drained
1 cup fresh or frozen unsweetened blueberries

Frosting:
1 package (3 oz) cream cheese softened
1/4 cup butter, softened
2 -1/2 cups confectioners sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup chopped pecans, optional

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375*f
  2. In a small bowl, beat the sugar, oil, eggs and vanilla.  In another large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder , cinnamon, baking soda and salt; gradually beat into sugar mixture until blended. 
  3. Stir in the carrots, zucchini and pineapple. Fold in blueberries.
  4. Fill paper-lined muffin cups two-thirds full. bakes for 18-22 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.
  5. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire rack to cool completely.

For Frosting:
  1. In a large bowl, beat cream cheese and butter until fluffy. Add confectioners' sugar and vanilla; beat until smooth. Frost cupcakes. 
  2. Sprinkle with nuts if desired. Refrigerate leftovers.

Note: If using blueberries, use without thawing to avoid discoloring the batter.
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Soured Milk as Substitute for Buttermilk

So you go to make your favorite recipe, have everything together and then realize, you're out of buttermilk!  Or, as usually in my case, you want a recipe that involves buttermilk, but you have three beautiful lactose intolerant kids looking up at you adoringly.  You have a few choices... make the recipe without buttermilk, run to the store and pick some up... or make sour milk.  In my case we generally make sour milk or do without (generally no one's happy with this outcome).
But just how does one make sour milk? Is it possible to make sour milk lactose free?  Well the answers are easy, and yes definitely.  Though make sure the people are lactose intolerant and DON'T have a milk allergy they're completely different and mixing it up could end up in a trip to the ER or worse.


Soured Milk

Ingredients:

1 Tbsp White Vinegar OR Lemon Juice
enough 2% (or higher) milk to make 1 cup

Directions:
  1. put the 1 tablespoon of vinegar or lemon juice into a 1 cup liquid measuring cup
  2. add enough milk to make 1 cup total
  3. can be used after 5 minutes, the milk will be a thicker consistency and possibly curdle a bit, this is ok

To make lactose free, use lactose free (such as Lactaid brand) milk.
Lactose free milk is naturally sweeter than regular milk due to the addition of lactase enzyme which breaks down the lactose in the milk making it safe for lactose intolerant people to drink.

Please note that soured milk is NOT milk that is spoiled, but is a chemical reaction caused by the addition of an acid.
Buttermilk is soured through bacterial fermentation not allowing milk to go bad, to replicate the bacterial fermentation we added the acid to achieve the same outcome.
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Friday, December 2, 2011

Cake Batter Pancakes



A little bit of cake in your breakfast? yes please!
Tried this recipe the other day, with and without sprinkles and with and without the glaze and learned you HAVE to use the glaze AND have sprinkles for it to taste like cake.  But it tastes AWESOME!

Cake Batter Pancakes

Ingredients 
Pancakes:
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 cup Betty Crocker Supermoist yellow cake mix
1 Tablespoon sugar
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
pinch of salt
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1-2 cups milk
assorted sprinkles
 For the Glaze:
1 cup powdered sugar
1 Tablespoon milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
assorted sprinkles
2 Tablespoons butter, softened
Directions
  1. Combine flour, cake mix, baking powder, sugar and salt in a bowl and mix.
  2. Add 1 cup of milk, eggs, and vanilla extract. Stir until smooth. Add additional milk until batter has the consistency of pancake batter. You can also add more cake mix if you want your pancakes to have a stronger cake batter flavor.
  3. Preheat a skillet to low to medium heat. Fold desired amount of sprinkles into batter. Pour batter in 1/4 cup measurements onto skillet and let cook until bubbles form on top, about 2-3 minutes. Flip and cook for 1 minute more. Serve with vanilla glaze (recipe follows).
  4. For vanilla glaze: mix powdered sugar, butter, and vanilla and milk until glaze forms. You may need to add a little more milk to reach desired consistency so that it can be drizzled. Mix into glaze and drizzle on pancakes.
Adapted from How Sweet It Is (http://www.howsweeteats.com/2011/01/cake-batter-pancakes/)


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Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Mom's "Secret" Pea Salad Recipe


This is a simple recipe, one that since it comes from my mom is quite vague when it comes to amounts, this is what I use for my family of 5.  Posted for my sister ^.^
Make this a few hours in advance for best results.

Mom's "Secret" Pea Salad Recipe

Ingredients
1 bag of frozen peas
1/2 medium red onion, diced
1/4 lb Medium cheddar cheese, cubed (no bigger than 1/2", smaller ok)
1-2 stalks celery, sliced
4 boiled eggs, sliced

To taste:
mayonnaise
onion powder
garlic salt
white pepper

Directions:

while peas are still frozen mix all but the cheese and eggs together together
just before serving mix in cheese and eggs (saving a few for garnish)


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Its a non-traditional year...

This Thanksgiving instead of doing the traditional turkey with "all the trimmings", we will be having the Honey-Poppy Seed Cornish Hens that I first blogged about in May 2010.  Though we will have a few traditional foods this year as well, namely being the French's Green Bean Casserole and the Pumpkin pie from fresh pumpkin I recently blogged about and of course my Mom's Candied Yams with marshmallows that I just cant go through the holidays without.

Honey Poppy Seed Cornish Hen
French's Green Bean Casserole
Mom's Candied Yams with Marshmellows

French's Green Bean Casserole


I know what you're all going to say, but I've actually never had green bean casserole. Never. Ever.
Well, my husband likes green bean casserole so this year we're using French's recipe for it.


 French's Green Bean Casserole
Ingredients:  
1 (10 3/4 oz.) can CAMPBELL'S® Cream of Mushroom Soup
3/4 cup milk
1/8 tsp. black pepper
2 (9 oz. each) pkgs. frozen cut green beans, thawed*
1 1/3 cups FRENCH'S® Original or Cheddar French Fried Onions

Directions:
MIX soup, milk and pepper in a 1 1/2 -qt. baking dish. Stir in beans and 2/3 cup French Fried Onions.
BAKE at 350°F for 30 min. or until hot.
STIR. Top with remaining 2/3 cup onions. Bake 5 min. until onions are golden.

You may substitute 2 cans (14 1/2 oz. each) cut green beans, drained or 4 cups fresh, cooked cut green beans.

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Pumpkin Pie (from fresh pumpkin)

I'm unsure why the pumpkin pie is so dark, I didn't make it my Mother-in-Law did, but as long as she followed the directions it tastes great.

So Easy Pumpkin Pie

Ingredients

1 1/3 cup Prepared Pumpkin Pie Pumpkin
1 1/3 cup Sweetened condensed milk
1 egg
1 1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp cloves
1c hot water

1 9" pie shell
sweetened whip cream for garnish (optional)

Directions

Prepare the pumpkin!
  1. Cut Pumpkin in half without stem. Scoop out seeds and strings.
  2. Place cut down on foil lines baking sheets. Cover with foil.
  3. Bake at 350*f until tender. About 1 1/2 hours. Cool.
  4. Scoop out flesh and mash with a potato masher or food processor until smooth.  Drain if too watery.

Make the pie!
  1. Beat together ingredients just until smooth.
  2. Pour into 9" pie shell.
  3. Bake 375* for 55 to 65 minutes. Center will still slightly move
  4. Cool and enjoy.

Mashed pumpkin will keep in your fridge for 5 days
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Thursday, October 27, 2011

Wintergold Stew



During the fall months I decorate my dining room table with fresh fall fruits and vegetables.  I do this for a few reasons, one is that it celebrates the harvest and the other is that it teaches my children the different fruits and vegetables available during the changing seasons.  This is something that our culture has taken for granted, the supermarket allows us to have most fruits and vegetables year round regardless of season because they've shipped them from half way around the world. I prefer to buy items that are locally grown or harvested, and yes this includes my meat! lol. I buy most of my meat from local butcher shops because I've found the quality of the cuts is better plus I can custom order!
Anyways, back to the center piece and why its important.  Because the fruits and vegetables are fresh that I put on my dining room table, they of course need to be eaten.  Today we're eating butternut squash that was grown locally and we are using onions and parsley in it that I grow myself.  The other vegetables, sadly were bought at a supermarket that did not tell me where they came from, so I'm just hoping that they were purchased from local buyers, though I know that sadly the bell pepper was not... and there were no rutabaga's where I shop.



 Wintergold Stew
(recipe from food.com)


Ingredients:
1 tablespoon  vegetable oil
1  onion, peeled and diced
2 stalks  celery, chopped
1  red bell pepper, seeded and diced
4  garlic cloves, peeled and minced
6 cups  water
2 cups  diced peeled  butternut squash
2 cups  diced peeled rutabagas
3 teaspoons  crushed  dried oregano
1 1/2 teaspoons  paprika
1 teaspoon  salt
1/2 teaspoon  ground black pepper
2 cups  chopped  kale
1/4 cup  chopped  fresh parsley


Directions:

  1. Heat oil in a large saucepan. When oil is hot, add the onion, celery, bell pepper and garlic, and sauté for about 5 minutes.
  2. Add water, squash, rutabaga, oregano, paprika and salt; bring to a simmer. Cook for 40 to 45 minutes over medium-low heat until the rutabaga is tender, stirring occasionally.
  3. Stir in the kale and cook for about 10 minutes more.
  4. To thicken, mash the squash and rutabaga against the side of the pan with the back of a spoon. Stir in the parsley and let stew stand for 5 to 10 minutes before serving.
  5. Ladle into bowls and serve hot.

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Taco Soup


Taco Soup... just reading the name makes you wonder what the heck! The name is a contradiction unto its self, taco's are not soups! Or are they? Well, no... but they can be!
I first learned about Taco Soup when I was in Junior High School foods class, I was surprised at how incredibly good it tasted.  I mean hello, its a taco in a soup!
Sadly enough when I went to find that recipe for the massive craving I had for Taco Soup, I could not find my over-stuffed binder of recipes.  So I did the next best thing, I looked on the internet for a recipe! (Imagine that *giggle* ).  I found a lot of recipes that have ranch dressing mix in the soup, and Im sorry, but last time I had a taco I did NOT add ranch.. in fact the very idea of ranch in my tacos makes me queasy. It could have something to do with my severe dislike for ranch, but my husband agreed that it just did not sound right.  So I found this recipe, and while I did add more meat and less kidney beans, it tasted just like a taco. Imagine that ;) Enjoy.

Taco Soup 
(Recipe from Our Best Bites)

Ingredients:
1 lb. extra lean ground beef
1 onion, chopped
 4-5 cloves garlic, minced
 1 1.25-oz. packet taco seasoning (about 1/4 c.)
 3 c. water, divided
 2 28-oz. cans diced tomatoes
 1 15-oz. can tomato sauce
 2 15-oz. cans kidney beans, rinsed and drained
 1 can corn, drained

Toppings: Pico de Gallo, light sour cream, shredded cheese, crushed tortilla chips, tortilla strips, guacamole, etc.

Directions:
Heat a large soup pot over medium.
When ready, brown the ground beef with the onion and garlic.
When almost brown, add the taco seasoning and 1 c. water.
Add the remaining ingredients, including the remaining 2 c. water, bring to a medium boil, then, cover and reduce heat.
Simmer for at least 15 minutes.
Serve with desired toppings.
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Monday, February 14, 2011

Raspberry Sauce


An easy, thin raspberry (or almost any berry) sauce which would be a beautiful sauce for a plate with cheesecake, pudding, or other desserts such as panna cotta.

Raspberry Sauce

Ingredients:
1 pint raspberries
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons lemon juice


Directions:
  1. Put all ingredients into a saucpan. 
  2. Cook and mash with a spoon until the mixture is soft and just begins to boil. 
  3. Press mixture through a fine sieve or cheesecloth-lined strainer. 
  4. Cool if using with dessert.

Makes about 1 cup.

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Peanut butter balls aka buckeyes

The candy that looks like a nut, reminds you of a college football team and tastes amazing.


Ingredients:
2 cups creamy peanut butter
1/4 cup unsalted butter*, room temperature
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 - 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar

Chocolate Coating:
9 ounces semi sweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons shortening

Directions:
  1. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Put peanut butter, unsalted butter and salt in a medium to large microwaveable bowl. Heat in the microwave for about one minute in 20 second increments or until just soft. Stir in the vanilla extract and powdered sugar and mix until it has the consistency of a dough (add more sugar if necessary).
  2. Roll the dough into 1 inch round balls. Place on the cookie sheet and refrigerate for about one hour, or until firm.
Chocolate Coating:
  1. Melt the chocolate and shortening in a double boiler over simmering water. Dip the balls in the melted chocolate, one at a time; making sure the entire ball is coated with chocolate. 
  2. With two spoons or a dipping fork, remove the peanut butter ball from the melted chocolate, allowing any excess chocolate to drip back into the bowl. Place the chocolate covered balls back on the baking sheet. When all the balls have been dipped in the chocolate, place in the refrigerator until the chocolate has set.
Store in an airtight container for up to two weeks.


If you want to make Buckeyes: place a toothpick into each peanut butter ball and one ball at a time, dip into the melted chocolate, leaving the top quarter of each ball showing the peanut butter.

Makes about 40 pieces, depending on size.

*to make vegan use a butter substitute
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Molten Chocolate Cake with Peanut Butter Filling



This recipe is a peanut butter variation of a chocolate lava cake.  Recipe (and picture) source is foodandwine.com enjoy.

Molten Chocolate Cake 
with Peanut Butter Filling

Ingredients:
1 stick plus 1 tbsp unsalted butter, plus melted butter for brushing
1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
6 ounces dark chocolate (70 percent cacao), chopped
3 tbsp creamy peanut butter
1 tbsp confectioners' sugar, plus more for sprinkling
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3 large eggs, at room temperature
Pinch of salt

Directions:
  1. Preheat the oven to 425°. Brush four 6-ounce ramekins with melted butter. In a small bowl, whisk the cocoa powder with 1 tablespoon of the flour; dust the ramekins with the cocoa mixture, tapping out the excess. Transfer the ramekins to a sturdy baking sheet.
  2. In a medium saucepan, melt 1 stick of butter with the chocolate over very low heat, stirring occasionally. Let cool slightly.
  3. In a bowl, blend the peanut butter with the 1 tablespoon of confectioners’ sugar and the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter.
  4. In a bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the granulated sugar with the eggs and salt at medium-high speed until thick and pale yellow, 3 minutes. Using a rubber spatula, fold in the melted chocolate until no streaks remain. Fold in the 1/4 cup of flour.
  5. Spoon two-thirds of the batter into the prepared ramekins, then spoon the peanut butter mixture on top. Cover with the remaining chocolate batter. Bake in the center of the oven for 16 minutes, until the tops are cracked but the centers are still slightly jiggly. Transfer the ramekins to a rack and let cool for 5 to 8 minutes.
  6. Run the tip of a small knife around each cake to loosen. Invert a small plate over each cake and, using pot holders, invert again. Carefully lift off the ramekins. Dust the warm cakes with confectioners’ sugar and serve immediately.

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Peanut butter Cream Cheese Frosting & Chocolate Mocha Cream Cheese Icing (2 recipes)

picture taken from FakeGinger.com because my portfolio pic is missing, will replace with my own once I have had a chance to make this again.


These yummy cream cheese frosting's are perfect for the "Knock Your Socks Off" Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake!

Peanut Butter Cream Cheese Frosting

Ingredients:
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1/4 cup whipping cream
1 tsp vanilla
1 package (8 ounce) cream cheese, softened
4 cups powdered sugar

Directions:
Beat peanut butter, whipping cream, vanilla, and cream cheese in medium bowl on medium speed until fluffy. Gradually beat in powdered sugar on low speed until smooth.
This recipe will frost the top of 4 layers.
 once again not my picture...

Chocolate Mocha Cream Cheese Icing

Ingredients:
1/4 cup butter or margarine, softened
2 tbsp whipping cream
1 1/2 tsp coffee flavored liqueur, coffee or water
1/4 package (4 ounces) cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup baking cocoa
1 1/2 tsp instant coffee (dry), if desired
1 3/4 cup powdered sugar

Directions:
Beat butter, whipping cream, liqueur and cream cheese in medium bowl on medium speed until fluffy, gradually beat in cocoa, coffee and powdered sugar on low speed until smooth.

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"Knock Your Socks Off" Chocolate Peanut butter Cake

Please note this picture is not mine, it is from SUGARLAWS. 
Since my portfolio from back then is missing I found the closest looking cake I could from google search; aside from the pre-made cake from Sarah-Lee, which actually looks excactly like the cake minus a layer but I dont feel like getting sued so I didnt use that one.

I was recently asked to post some peanut butter cake recipes for their sweetie on Valentines day. The recipe is one we were requested to make quite frequently because of how great the cake tastes! This one should certainly "knock your socks off".

"Knock Your Socks Off" 
Chocolate Peanut butter Cake

Ingredients:
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour or 2 cups cake flour
2/3 cup baking cocoa
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup shortening
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup cold coffee (or water)
1 cup peanut butter chips
1/2 cup coffee-flavored liqueur*, cold coffee or water

Peanut Butter Cream Cheese Frosting (recipe in next post)
1 package (14 oz.) one-inch peanut butter cup candies, coarsely chopped
Chocolate Mocha Cream Cheese Icing (recipe follows)
1 cup finely chopped peanuts

*you can substitute Coffee-flavored coffee/Italian soda syrup in place of the coffee liqueur.

Directions:

  1. Heat oven to 350*f. Grease bottom and side of 2 round pans, 9 x 1 1/2 inches, with shortening; lightly flour. 
  2. Mix flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt; set aside. Beat sugar, shortening, eggs, and vanilla in medium bowl with electric mixer on medium speed, scraping bowl occasionally, until blended. Beat in buttermilk and coffee. Gradually beat in flour mixture, beating after each addition until smooth. Stir in peanut butter chips. Pour into pans.
  3. Bake 30-35 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire rack. Cool completely. Cut each cake horizontally to make 2 layers (mark side of cake with toothpicks and cut with a long, serrated knife.) Drizzle 2 tablespoons of the liqueur over cut side of each layer.
  4. Place 1 layer, cut side up, on serving plate.  Spread with 1/4 of the peanut butter cream cheese frosting to within 1/4 inch of the edge. Sprinkle with 1/4 of the peanut butter cups. Repeat with remaining layers, placing second and top layers cut side down. Frost the side of the cake with chocolate mocha cream cheese icing. Press peanuts onto the side of the cake. Top with remaining peanut butter cups. Store covered in refrigerator.


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Monday, January 17, 2011

Fried Zucchini

There is nothing like fried zucchini... its salty, its garlic-y it has a nice crunch when you bite into it releasing its yummy goodness beneath the breading..  I've tried a lot of recipes that have left me wanting something more after making them, not in a good way.  These, however left me wanting more! The two small zucchini's I chose however used a LOT more breading than any of the recipes I scanned through, so I've doubled the breading recipe so that it should cover 2 thinly sliced zucchini's.


Fried Zucchini

Ingredients:
oil (for frying)
1 Tbsp unbleached all-purpose flour
4 Tbsp plain dried bread crumbs
1 Tbsp grated reduced -fat parmesan cheese
2 tsp finely chopped fresh parsley
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
2 large egg whites
2 small zucchinis, cut into 1/8 - inch rounds

Directions:
  1. In a frying pan heat 1 inch of oil on medium until shimering.
    Spoon the flour into a medium shallow bowl. Put the bread crumbs, Parmesan, parsley, garlic powder, oregano, salt and pepper in a medium resealable plastic bag.
  2. Use a fork to beat the egg white in a small bowl until bubbly.
  3. Dip both sides of one zucchini round in the flour, and then roll it to coat it completely. Shake off any excess and dip it in the egg to cover it. Let any excess drip off, and then drop the round into the crumb bag and shake gently to coat it.  Repeat with each round, and then place them in a single layer, not touching, in pan.
  4. Fry in pan for 3 minutes on each side or until golden brown on each side.
  5. Serve with dip of your choice.

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Basics: White Rice

White rice, its simple right? Well apparently not, its the number one thing people have asked me about how to make correctly. Coming from a family that eats quite its share of rice a year, its something I make a lot and have forgotten that it actually can be quite difficult to do correctly when you're first learning.

Growing up my mother always made "Japanese" style rice, which is a basic traditional rice... you measure your water, salt it, let it boil then add your rice.  Wait.. how much water did I put in there again? Whats the equation of white rice to water? Its two parts water to one part rice, by the way... which means to every 1 cup of water add 1/2 cup rice.  I do my rice Thai style, which means I put my water, salt and rice in all at the same time, less confusion later and less time making it, still tastes just as good. We also used this technique when I was working at a deli that was attached to a Chinese fast food restaurant.

White Rice (Thai style) 
My preffered method


Ingredients:
1 cup water
1/2 cup white rice
dash salt

Directions:
In a sauce pan pour 1 cup water, 1/2 cup rice and salt, cover with lid.  Heat on high until boiling, immediately turn down heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes, fluff, if rice looks "wet" re-cover and cook for remaining 5 minutes.

White Rice (Japanese style)

Ingredients:
1 cup water
1/2 cup white rice
dash salt

Directions:
In a sauce pan pour 1 cup water and a dash of salt, cover with lid.  Heat on high until boiling. Add rice and cover, bring back to a boil. Once water/rice mixture is boiling, reduce heat to low and simmer for 10-15 minutes.
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Whipped Cream Frosting and (some of) its variations

Whipped cream frosting... its light, its fluffy and its lightly sweet.  The perfect addition to any light and fluffy cake that you need to frost but dont want to be over sweet.  When I order cakes to be made for me, I always order a whipped cream frosting.  This particular recipe comes from finecooking.com, but there are numerous variations that taste just as yummy and are just as simple to make.

Whipped Cream Frosting

Ingredients:
3 cups heavy or whipping cream
5 Tbs. granulated sugar
1-1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

Directions:
  1. Chill the bowl and whisk attachment of a stand mixer for 20 min. in the refrigerator or 5 min. in the freezer. Pour the heavy cream into the bowl and whisk on medium-high speed until it just starts to thicken. Slow the speed down to medium and gradually pour in the sugar. Continue to whisk until soft peaks form.
  2. Add the vanilla extract and continue to whisk by hand until the cream is smooth, and stiff peaks form (the cream will stand up straight when the whisk is raised).

Variations

Raspberry or Strawberry Whipped Cream: Instead of vanilla, add 2-1/4 cups raspberry or strawberry purée (purée the fruit in a blender and strain) to the cream when you add the sugar. Increase sugar to 7 Tbs. Before you begin whisking by hand, taste and adjust the flavoring. (Note: the purée increases the amount of whipped cream, so you may not need it all; save the extra for topping other desserts.)

Lemon Whipped Cream: Instead of vanilla, add 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice and 1 Tbs. finely grated lemon zest to the cream when you add the sugar. Increase sugar to 8 Tbs. Before you begin whisking by hand, taste and adjust the flavoring.

Orange Whipped Cream: Instead of vanilla, add 1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice and 1 tablespoon finely grated orange zest to the cream when you add the sugar. Before you begin whisking by hand, taste and adjust the flavoring.

Chocolate Whipped Cream: Omit vanilla and increase sugar to 6 Tbs. After soft peaks form, turn off the mixer and add 1/4 cup sifted unsweetened cocoa powder, preferably Dutch-processed. Whisk by hand until the cream is smooth, and stiff peaks form. Let the cream sit in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour to dissolve the cocoa. Whisk briefly before using.

Mocha Whipped Cream: Omit vanilla and increase sugar to 6 Tbs. After soft peaks form, turn off the mixer and add 1/4 cup sifted unsweetened cocoa powder, preferably Dutch-processed, and 2 Tbs. instant espresso dissolved in 2 Tbs. boiling water. Whisk by hand until the cream is smooth, and stiff peaks form. Let the cream sit in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour to dissolve the cocoa. Whisk briefly before using.
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Teriyaki Chicken on a stick

One of the recipes I learned in high school and we served for our catering company. Super simple, and pretty yummy too!

Teriyaki Chicken on a stick

Ingredients:
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp powdered horseradish
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
3/4 c lemon-lime soda (any brand)
1 lb boneless chicken, cut into strips

Directions:
  1. Combine first 5 ingredients in a resealable plastic bag. Add chicken strips; seal bag and turn to coat.
  2. Refridgerate at least 2 hours or overnight.
  3. Soak 8 skewers in hot water for at least 30 minutes.
  4. Remove chicken from bag and discard marinade. Thread chicken on skewers and grill or boil until done; turning skewers once.

Note: if you wish to use the marinade to baste the chicken, heat marinade to 160*f to reduce the chance of salmonella. (still not recommended)

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Lemon-Butter Potatoes

Another one of the recipes that not only came from my mom, but I also used in my high school final culinary class project.

Lemon-Butter Red Potatoes

Ingredients:
10 red potatoes, quarted
1/3 cup butter (no substitutions)
2 Tbsp oil (olive or veg.)
1/3 c lemon juice (juice of one lemon)
3 Tbsp minced chives
2 Tbsp minced parsley
1 Tbsp lemon peel
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp nutmeg

Directions:
  1. In a large saucepan place potatoes and cover with water. Boil until tender.
  2. While potatoes are boiling, in a small sauce pan, heat butter until lightly brown, then add remaining ingredients.
  3. When potatoes are tender, drain potatoes and top with lemon butter.

Serves 6
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Pumpkin Soup


Pumpkin soup... its sort of a fall-esk type soup, but hey since I didnt find my high school final where I had to make a restaurant menu with recipes until a few days ago, you're going to have to try it now!
If my memory serves me correctly, its actually quite good (hey I got an A on my final so it couldnt be that bad).

Pumpkin Soup

Ingredients:
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 medium leeks, white part only, well rinsed and chopped (1 cup)
1 medium yellow onion, chopped (1 cup)
1 pound thin-skinned potatoes, peeled and diced (3 1/2 cups)
1 quart chicken stock or low-sodium broth
1/2 cup dry white wine or additional stock
1 tsp fresh thyme leaves or 1/4 tsp dried, crumbled
1 bay leaf
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
1 16-oz can of pumpkin (about 2 cups)
Sour cream for garnish, optional
Cracked black peppercorn for garnish, optional
Sprigs fresh thyme for garnish, optional

Directions:
  1. In a 4-quart soup pot, heat oil over medium heat. Add leeks and onion and saute until soft, about 5 minutes.  Add potatoes, stock, wine, thyme, bay leaf and nutmeg. Bring mixture to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat, partially cover, and simmer until potatoes are very tender, about 20 minutes. Discard bay leaf.
  2. In a food processor or blender, puree mixture in batches. Return soup to pan. Stir in pumpkin until well blended. Heat until steaming but not boiling.
  3. To serve, ladle into soup bowls or mugs. Garnish each serving with a dollop of sour cream, a pinch of cracked peppercorns, and a sprig of fresh thyme.
Makes about six 1 1/2-cup servings.
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Blueberry-Blackberry Soup


I know what you're thinking... "Soup? For Dessert?" and I will give you a simple, yes.  I made this soup for a dinner party that I hosted back in high school (yes I was one of those people).  This soup was quite a hit and I probably should have made more!


Blueberry-Blackberry Soup

Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen unsweetened blueberries
1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen unsweetened blackberries
2 cups water
3 Tbsp quick cooking tapioca
1/2 to 3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 tsp grated lemon rind
1/3 cup sour cream
Ground cinnamon for garnish, optional



Directions:
  1. Rinse and pick over berries. Drain well. Set aside.
  2. In a 3-quart sauce pan over medium-high heat, mix water, tapioca, 1/2 cup sugar, lemon juice, and grated lemon rind. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring constantly. Reduce heat and add berries. Simmer, stirring constantly for 5 minutes. Remove from heat . Taste and stir in remaining 1/4 cup sugar, if desired.
  3. In a food processor or blender, puree soup in batches. Strain through a sieve lined with cheese cloth to remove any seeds. Transfer soup to a nonreactive bowl and let cool. Cover and chill for at least 4 hours or overnight.
  4. To serve, stir well before ladling into soup bowls. Garnish each serving with a dollop of sour cream and a sprinkling of cinnamon.

Makes about six 3/4-cup servings.
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Fresh Mint Peas


With Spring almost on its way for most of us, Im going to bring out one of the old recipes that I grew up with .  Fresh Mint Peas, my mom loved to garden, and silly her planted mint in the ground one year, un-knowing that once you do this, it will grow like a weed.  Needless to say, she makes the best of it and came up with quite a few mint recipes.  This is a very simple one, but is also quite good.  The refreshing mint lightens up the pea flavor, and its easily switched to a orange-mint pea dish with the substitution of orange juice instead of water to the dish.  Can be done with dried mint or extract, but it will not taste as good or light.

Fresh Mint Peas

Ingredients:
1 cup frozen peas
1 Tbsp fresh mint chopped
1 Tbsp margarine or butter
2 Tbsp water

Directions:
Bring to a boil and remove from heat.
OR
Microwave on high for 4 minutes stirring after each 2 minutes.
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Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Vanilla Orange Cupcakes



Vanilla Orange Cupcakes

Ingredients:
1 3/4 c cake flour
1 c sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
2 large eggs, separated and whites beaten until stiff
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 c orange juice
zest of two oranges
1 stick of butter, softened


Directions:
  1. Combine butter, sugar, egg yolks, and vanilla in a mixing bowl. Cream these ingredients together thoroughly.
  2. Mix flour, salt, and baking powder together in a separate mixing bowl. Add dry ingredients to creamed ingredients 1/3 at a time alternating with adding portions of the orange juice and orange zest to the creamed mixture.
  3. Fold in beaten egg whites. Spoon batter into cupcake liners until 1/2 full.
  4. Bake in a 350 degree preheated oven for 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

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Orange Swiss Meringue Buttercream

When I asked my daughter what kind of cupcakes she wanted for her birthday she replied "Orange", well without knowing if she just meant orange in color or orange in flavor I made her orange cupcakes with this Orange Swiss Meringue Buttercream.

Orange Swiss Meringue Buttercream

Ingredients:
4 egg whites
3 sticks of unsalted butter, cut into 1Tbsp pieces, room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
pinch of salt
3 Tbsp orange juice
zest of one orange
2 drops orange oil (optional)

Directions:

  1. Zest one orange and juice; set aside.
  2. Place sugar and egg whites in the heat-proof bowl over a pan of gently simmering water (make sure the bottom of the bowl doesn't touch the water and that steam doesn't get out, a double boiler works best for this). Whisk until sugar has dissolved and egg whites are hot to the touch, about 3 minutes. Test by rubbing the mixture between your fingers; it should feel completely smooth (you wont feel the sugar granules).
  3. Transfer bowl to mixer stand, making sure that you dont get any of the condensation from the bottom bowl into the egg whites. Using the whisk attachment, beat on high speed until mixture has cooled completely and formed stiff and glossy peaks (be careful not to over whip and dry out your egg whites), about 10 minutes.
  4. Add the butter, one piece at a time, and beat until incorporated after each addition. Don't worry if the buttercream appears curdled after all the butter has been added; it will become smooth again with continued beating. Add vanilla, and beat just until combined.
  5. Add orange juice, orange zest and salt and beat just until combined. Switch to the paddle attachment,and beat on the lowest speed to eliminate any air pockets, about 5 minutes until the strawberries are completely incorporated and all the air pockets are gone.

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