Monthly Archives: October 2008

Apple Pie Cupcakes, UM…I Mean Cake

After seeing these cupcakes on the web, I had been planning to make them for almost a week, and when I finally found the time and had all of the ingredients, I discovered that I couldn’t find my muffin tin anywhere.  I already had my butter softened and some of the ingredients measured out, so I decided to wing it and turn it into a cake.  I’m not sure where I originally found the recipe but, this one comes from www.annieseats.wordpress.com.  I halfed both the cupcake and vanilla buttercream recipes and made a single layer, 9-inch round cake.  Of course I didn’t have proper timing for this size and type of pan, so I approximated.  Cakes usually take a little longer than cupcakes, so when it had been in the oven for the amount of time that the cupcake recipe calls for, I peeked in to see how brown it was.  I estimated that it needed another five or so minutes and I was right.  So, here’s Annie’s recipe, with my adaptations inserted:

Annie's Cupcakes

Annie's Cupcakes

Apple Pie Cupcakes

Yield: 24 cupcakes

Ingredients

For the cupcakes:

3 cups sifted cake flour

1 tbsp. baking powder

½ tsp. salt

1 cup butter, at room temperature

2 cups sugar

4 eggs

1 ½ tsp. vanilla extract

1 cup milk


For the apple filling:

2 tbsp. butter

2 tsp. cinnamon

2-3 tbsp. sugar

3 large Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and diced (I used Cortland)


For decorating:

vanilla buttercream

yes...it's ok to drink wine while you bake.

(I prepared this before the batter and kept it in the refrigerator until 1/2 an hour before I was ready to frost the cake)



Process

To make the cupcakes, preheat the oven to 350°. Line two cupcake pans with paper liners.

(Instead of lining the cupcake pans, I lightly buttered and floured my cake pan)


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

In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar together on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.


Beat in the eggs one at a time, mixing well and scraping down the sides of the bowl after each addition. Add the vanilla extract and mix well to combine.

Add in the dry ingredients alternately with the milk, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients. Stir until just combined.

(By the way, my collection of baking equipment is non-existent and most of what I do have is terrible.  So, I often have to improvise when it comes to this, as well.  I use a whisk and a rubber spatula for all of the mixing and believe it or not, I measure all of my ingredients, wet and dry, in the same cup.  Anything that calls for tsp. or tbsp., I measure in my hand.  Please note that for my version I added some cinnamon to the dry ingredients, just because we love it.)


Divide the batter evenly among the cupcake liners, filling them about 2/3-3/4 full.

(I filled my prepared cake pan about 2/3 of the way up.)

my garage sale cake pan

Bake until golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 18 to 22 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes in the pans. Transfer to wire racks to cool completely.


To make the apple filling, heat the butter in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add the cinnamon and sugar and cook for a minute, until the mixture begins to bubble. Lower the heat to medium and stir in the apples.

Mix well. Cook until the apples are somewhat tender, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool.

While the apple mixture is cooling, use the cone method to remove a chunk from the center of each cupcake, making sure to leave a rim around the top of the cupcake. Fill the holes with the cooled apple mixture. To decorate, top each cupcake with a swirl of vanilla buttercream.


(Sorry.  Initially, I wasn’t sure if the cone method would work on the cake so, I wasn’t going to do it but, at the last minute I decided to go for it, and forgot to get a pic.  It worked.  Just be sure not to cut too deep.)

Dan and I were both very impressed with the apple filling and the buttercream.  I wasn’t totally pleased with the texture of the cake but, that was probably because I had to improvise on the measurements.  Dan didn’t even notice anything about the texture so, it was probably just me picking it apart.  Overall it was a really delicious fall treat…enjoy!


*Winn:  I’m still gonna make you some cupcakes soon…don’t give up on me.*

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The Omnivore’s 100

The Omnivore’s 100:

1. Venison
2. Nettle tea
3. Huevos rancheros
4. Steak tartare
5. Crocodile
6. Black pudding
7. Cheese fondue
8. Carp
9. Borscht
10. Baba ghanoush
11. Calamari
12. Pho
13. PB&J sandwich
14. Aloo gobi
15. Hot dog from a street cart
16. Epoisses
17. Black truffle
18. Fruit wine made from something other than grapes
19. Steamed pork buns
20. Pistachio ice cream
21. Heirloom tomatoes
22. Fresh wild berries

23. Foie gras
24. Rice and beans
25. Brawn, or head cheese
26. Raw Scotch Bonnet pepper
27. Dulce de leche
28. Oysters
29. Baklava

30. Bagna cauda
31. Wasabi peas
32. Clam chowder in a sourdough bowl
(not in the bowl though)
33. Salted lassi
34. Sauerkraut
35. Root beer float
36. Cognac with a fat cigar
37. Clotted cream tea
38. Vodka jelly/Jell-O
39. Gumbo
40. Oxtail
41. Curried Goat
42. Whole insects
43. Phaal
44. Goat’s milk
45. Malt whisky from a bottle worth £60/$120 or more
46. Fugu
47. Chicken tikka masala
48. Eel
49. Krispy Kreme original glazed doughnut
50. Sea urchin
51. Prickly pear
52. Umeboshi
53. Abalone
54. Paneer
55. McDonald’s Big Mac Meal
(not the meal, I tried a big mac once though)
56. Spaetzle
57. Dirty gin martini
58. Beer above 8% ABV
59. Poutine
60. Carob chips
61. S’mores
62. Sweetbreads
63. Kaolin
64. Currywurst
65. Durian
66. Frogs’ legs
67. Beignets, churros, elephant ears or funnel cake
68. Haggis
69. Fried plantain
70. Chitterlings, or andouillette
71. Gazpacho
72. Caviar and blini
73. Louche absinthe
74. Gjetost, or brunost
75. Roadkill
76. Baijiu
77. Hostess Fruit Pie
78. Snail
79. Lapsang souchong
80. Bellini
81. Tom yum
82. Eggs Benedict
83. Pocky
84. Tasting menu at a three-Michelin-star restaurant.
85. Kobe beef
86. Hare
87. Goulash
88. Flowers(if licking a sunflower counts)
89. Horse
90. Criollo chocolate
91. Spam
92. Soft shell crab
93. Rose harissa
94. Catfish
95. Mole poblano
96. Bagel and lox
97. Lobster Thermidor
98. Polenta
99. Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee
100. Snake

45 out of 100…I need to get eatin’!

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Lime Thyme Chicken

This is just a quick recipe I came up with to use up some chicken breasts I had defrosting in the fridge.  I’m not a huge fan of chicken so, whenever I make it, I like to use bold intense flavors otherwise, I find it bland and boring.  This one came out exceptionally well!

Ingredients

Chicken Breasts

Limes

Garlic

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Butter

Fresh Thyme

Kosher Salt

Freshly Ground Black Pepper

Lemon Pepper

White Wine

Chicken Stock

Process

Start by cleaning boneless, skinless chicken breasts and marinating them in a mixture of a couple tablespoons of olive oil and the juice of one lime.  Throw in a sprig of thyme, a clove of fresh garlic, and some finely grated lime zest.  Season with salt, pepper, and lemon pepper.  Allow to marinate, covered, for at least 20 minutes.  I threw mine together before I went to work in the morning.

This chicken cooks very quickly so start preparing your side dishes before you start the chicken.  To cook the chicken, heat about a tablespoon of olive oil in a skillet and toss the crushed garlic from your marinade into the pan, so as to infuse the oil with garlic flavor (you are essentially pan roasting the garlic…majorly delicious!).

Once the garlic is lightly browned and the pan is hot, add the chicken breast and sear until golden on both sides.

While your chicken is browning prepare your ingredients for the sauce:  a white wine (one that you would actually drink, of course), chicken stock, fresh lime juice, and fresh thyme.

Once the chicken has reached desired color, deglaze your pan with about 1/2 cup of the wine, squeeze in the juice of the lime, and add a splash of chicken stock, making sure to scrape up the the brown bits in the bottom of the pan and incorporate them into the liquid.  Gently pull the leaves of your thyme downward to remove them from the stem, and toss into your pan, along with a about a tablespoon of butter (to thicken and smooth the sauce).  Bring sauce to a rapid boil, reduce heat, and cover.

Allow to simmer, covered, until sauce has reduced by about half and chicken is cooked through.  I served this with brown rice and a tomato and cucumber salad and garnished with a wedge of lime, and because cheese makes everything better, a sprinkle of finely grated parmesan cheese.  Delicious, simple, and quick…Enjoy!

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The Carnivore’s 100

The Carnivore’s 100: Just bold what you’ve eaten, and cross out what you’d never eat.

1. American Style Bacon

2. Canadian Bacon

3. Prosciutto with melon

4. Pork Belly, braised

5. Pork butt, smoked

6. Pork ribs, smoked

7. Roasted leg of lamb with mint jelly

8. Gyros

9. Duck confit

10. Roasted chicken

11. Standing Rib Roast, Rare

12. Chitlins

13. Cracklins

14. Boudin or blood sausage

15. Haggis

16. Peking duck

17. Roasted turkey with traditional American accompaniments

18. Roasted goose with traditional English accompaniments

19. Foie gras

20. Pate campagne

21. Moo Shu pork

22. Shepherd’s pie

23. Steak and Kidney pie

24. Chicken and dumplings

25. Turducken

26. Venison sausage

27. Pork cheeks

28. Pickled pigs’ feet

29. Barbacoa

30. Birria

31. Chicken Marbella

32. Steak Tartare

33. Beef Bourguignon

34. Potatoes Roasted in Duck Fat

35. Spam

36. Tandoori chicken

37. Lamb vindaloo

38. Spaghetti Bolognese

39. Cuban sandwich

40. Croque Monsieur

41. Philadelphia cheesesteak

42. Chicken Satay

43. Shabu-shabu

44. Teppanaki

45. Schwarma

46. Meatloaf

47. Beef Wellington

48. Beef tenderloin with béarnaise

49. Taco salad

50. Chili con carne

51. Pastisto

52. Corned beef brisket

53. Bangers and Mash

54. Guinea pig

55. Ropa vieja

56. Wurst (any)

57. Lamb tagine

58. Kosher hot dog (New York-style)

59. Jerk chicken

60. Chorizo

61. All-American hamburger

62. Pigeon/Squab

63. Steak frites

64. Pastrami

65. Salami

66. Sweetbreads

67. Wiener schnitzel

68. Goulash

69. Pho

70. Char Siu Bao

71. Kalua pig

72. Pork rinds

73. Scrapple or goetta

74. Jaegerspaetzle

75. Sauerbraten

76. Tongue sandwich

77. Baked ham

78. Frog’s Legs

79. Alligator

80. Squirrel

81. Liver and onions

82. Bone marrow and marmalade (seperately but not together…)

83. Cevapcici

84. Creamed Beef on Toast

85. Red-eye gravy

86. Head cheese

87. Jambalaya

88. Steak Diane

89. Veal piccata

90. Bulgogi

91. Smoked chicken (barbecue)

92. Beer can chicken

93. Chicken teriyaki

94. Coronation chicken (curried chicken salad)

95. Ostrich

96. Rogan josh

97. Poutine

98. Chicken Mole

99. Irish Beef Stew

100. Loose meat

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Meatloaf Meatballs

Yesterday, I promised DH that I would make him meatloaf tonight, but this morning, after seeing a chef make meatballs on the Today Show, he decided that he wanted meatballs.  So, this gave me an idea.  Wouldn’t meatballs still work if I used the same ingredients I use for meatloaf?  I proposed this to him, and after responding “Would that work?” and me responding that I thought it would, he quickly agreed and we were both looking forward to it the entire day…me to the challenge, and him to the result.  Because he likes his meatloaf with ketchup and I like mine with bacon, I decided to make a gravy based on these ingredients, to go along with it.  Here’s how it went:

Ingredients

Meatballs:

Bell Pepper

Red Onion

Garlic

Carrot

Fresh Rosemary

Fresh Parsley

Egg

Tomato Sauce

Kosher Salt

Freshly Ground Black Pepper

Seasoned Salt

Gravy:

Bacon

Flour

Kosher Salt

Freshly Ground Black Pepper

Seasoned Salt

Fresh Rosemary

Ketchup

Soy Sauce

Water

Process

Start out by finely chopping the veggies and herbs for your meat mixture and adding them to a bowl (I used a Microplane for the carrots b/c I didn’t want the chunks, just the flavor).  To your veggies, add tomato sauce and one egg, and lightly season the mixture with salt and pepper (I like to season every layer of my food).  Remember to adjust the amounts according to how much meat you are using, I used about 11/2 pounds.

Next, add your ground beef (ground turkey’s okay, too), a little salt and pepper, and some seasoned salt and gently combine, make sure not to overwork, or the final product will be tough.  Once well-combined, form your meatballs.  I made mine huge, mostly because I didn’t want it to take too long.  Then, heat about a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil, in a nonstick skillet, over a medium flame.  Add your meatballs to the pan.

Allow your meatballs to brown, on all sides, turning occasionally.  As the meatballs cook, you can start on the gravy.

To make the gravy, sautee thinly sliced bacon in a nonstick skillet.

Once most of the fat has rendered, sprinkle with a couple tablespoons of flour (if there is excessive fat in your pan, you can drain some of it off).  This will allow you to form a roux, which will be the base for your gravy.  Gently stir until the flour melds with the oil in the pan.  Continue to stir over medium heat (keep a good eye on your pan as your roux can burn very quickly if left unattended).

Once your roux is a little lighter than the color of peanut butter, add hot water while quickly stirring.  Once you reach a consistency that is slightly thinner than what you want the end product to be, add a couple tablespoons of ketchup, a quick splash of soy sauce (I used low sodium), a sprig of rosemary, salt, pepper, and seasoned salt to taste.

Combine ingredients and once the gravy is well-combined and your meatballs are fully browned, you can pour the gravy over the meatballs.

Once you combine the gravy and meatballs, stir to coat the meatballs and leave covered, on low heat to simmer for at least 10-15 minutes, while you complete the rest of your meal.

I served these meatballs with mashed sweet and white potatoes, and mixed vegetables.  They were full of flavor and super tender.  DH actually said he wanted me to make this for his next birthday (by the way, he usually says this about something once a week!).  Enjoy!

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Quick Apple Crumble For Two

So, DH (dear husband) and I are addicted to the show Pushing Daisies, and in honor of the pie maker, I’ve been making tasty pie-like desserts for us to have while we watch the show.  After a trip to the orchard over the weekend, I knew I would be making apple crumble this week, and to simplify it, I decided to make them in individual ramekins.  This worked out especially well, since we didn’t get home until after 8p.m. tonight.  I threw these together in 15 minutes.  They came out really well, the filling was fragrant, and the apples were cooked to perfection.  The crumble itself added a wonderful crunchiness without too much sweetness.  I thought I would post this recipe to show people that you don’t always have to follow an exact recipe to bake a wonderful dessert.

Ingredients

Filling:

JonaMac Apples

Fresh Lemon Juice

Butter

Granulated Sugar

Cinnamon

Crumble:

Chilled Butter

Quick Oats

Flour

Granulated Sugar

Cinnamon

Process

Start by pre-heating your oven to 400 degrees and lightly buttering your ramekins.  Quickly peel and quarter your apples (3 small/medium apples filled two ramekins).

Then thinly slice each quarter and toss into a large pot.  To the pot add about a tablespoon of lemon juice (to slow the oxidation of the apples), sugar and cinnamon to taste, and about a tablespoon of butter.  DH and I don’t like things too sweet so, I only use a few tablespoons of sugar and lots of cinnamon.

Allow apple mixture to slowly simmer until all sugar is dissolved, ingredients are well incorporated, apples are slightly softened, and a light caramel has formed.

While your filling is coming together, use your fingers to combine the crumble mixture.  Again, I didn’t actually use measurements, but, in general, you should have more oats than any other ingredient.  I used about a tablespoon of butter that I cut into small cubes, a couple tablespoons of flour and sugar both, and cinnamon to taste.  Work with your fingers until a coarse crumble is formed.  If your mixture is too wet, add a little more flour.  Taste a bit of the mixture to test your sugar and cinnamon.

By now, your filling should be ready.  Spoon the filling into the buttered ramekins.

Now, generously top with the crumble (if your filling is not ready, refrigerate the crumble until ready to use).

Place centered, on middle rack of your oven and bake for about 25 minutes or until filling is bubbly and topping is lightly browned and crisp.  When ready, remove from oven and allow to cool for at least 15-20 minutes.  And finally, Enjoy!

Cobblers, Crumbles, and Crisps Adventure

http://joelens.blogspot.com/

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