Thursday, April 17, 2008

Earl Grey Cupcakes with Lemon Buttercream

Earl Grey Cupcakes with Lemon Buttercream
Adapted from DesertCandy

1 cup (1/2 lb) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
3 cups self-rising flour
1 cup milk
2 bags or 2 tablespoons earl grey tea

1. Preheat the oven to 350 F, fill 2 cupcake pans with paper liners or grease well. In a bowl (or with a stand mixer), beat the butter until creamy. Add the sugar and cream the butter with the sugar until it is light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating each egg very well so that it is thoroughly combined before adding the next egg. Beat in half of the flour along with the tea. Then add the milk and the remaining flour, stirring until just combined.
2. Fill the cupcake pans 2/3 full. Bake 20-25 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through to ensure even baking. Cool thoroughly before frosting.

Lemon Buttercream

1 cup (1/2 lb, 2 sticks) unsalted butter
1 lb (4 cups) powdered sugar
zest of 1 lemon
3 tablespoons limoncello or lemon juice

1. Cream the butter until smooth, gradually beat in the powdered sugar until the mixture is very fluffy. Zest the lemon over the bowl into the frosting, add the lemon or limoncello, stir until smooth. Spread or pipe the frosting on cooled cupcakes. Please remember buttercream should be served at room temp.

Strawberry Colada Cookies

When I saw this recipe, I knew I had to try them. They were sooo cute is that??? I tried them and they burst of strawberry in your mouth! I didn't have any coconut oil (my Trader Joes doesn't carry them :( so I substituted regular canola oil & 1tsp coconut extract.

Strawberry Colada Cookies With Toasted Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting
Adapted from Picky Palate

1 box strawberry Cake Mix
1/3 Cup coconut oil (melted in microwave until liquified)
2 eggs, beaten

4 oz cream cheese, softened
1 Tbsp softened butter
1 1/2 Cups powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp milk
1 Cup shredded sweetened coconut toasted

1. Preheat oven to 350*F. Place coconut in a cookie sheet and place in oven until golden (about 10 minutes but watch it very carefully!!).

2. In a large bowl, mix cake mix, oil and eggs until just combined. With a medium cookie scoop, scoop onto a silpat or parchment lined baking sheet. Do not press down. Bake for 11-15 minutes or until cooked through. Let cook 5 minutes before transferring to cooling rack.

3. Place cream cheese and butter in a large bowl. Whisk until smooth and creamy. slowly add in powdered sugar, vanilla and milk until smooth. Spread frosting on top of cookies then sprinkle toasted coconut over top of frosting.Makes about 24 cookies

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Milano Rice Tart

So the CFO of the company that I work for walks into our shared executive kitchen and says "You should totally go into the baking business! I would pay money to bring someone a recipe that I think would be good and have them bake it for me and then when I'm throwing a dinner party I can say that its homemade and everyone at the party would just assume that it was made by me!" So we got to chatting and I asked her which recipe was she thinking about and below is the results of our conversation exchange!

Now the funny part of the story is that I went home after work, had all the ingredients except for the rhubarb and starting making the recipe. I started in on the instructions (placed the rhubarb in a baking dish and placed it in the oven.) and after 20 minutes brought the dish out of the oven and opened up the aluminmum foil only to discover MUSH!! Complete rhubarb mush! 20 minutes as 10 minutes way tooo long! So I get back in the car (thank goodness my Safeway is open 24hrs!!!) and bought another 1 1/4lb of rhubarb (and thank goodness they were on sale this week!!) and the ironic thing is that I got in the same cashier lane and she remembered me from 30 minutes BEFORE!! Hilarious! Anyways, hope its good Jill cuz it sure looks yummy!!!

Adapted from Flo Braker, Special to The Chronicle
Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Serves 6-8

The roasted fresh rhubarb:
1 1/4 lbs fresh rhubarb, trimmed and sliced into 3/4-inch pieces
1/2 cup sugar

The pastry:
11/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
1/8 tsp kosher salt
4 oz (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 large egg yolk
1 tsp vanilla extract

The filling:
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
3 Tbsp sugar
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/3 cup uncooked long grain rice
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

For the rhubarb: Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 325°F. Arrange rhubarb slices in a single layer in a shallow glass or ceramic baking pan. Sprinkle with sugar, and cover the pan with aluminum foil. Bake just until tender, about 15-25 minutes. Don't overcook the rhubarb or it will fall apart. Cool in the pan, cover and refrigerate until ready to arrange on top of the tart.

For the pastry: Have on hand a 9 1/2-inch tart pan with a removable bottom. In a food processor, combine the flour, sugar and salt, and pulse 3 or 4 times to blend. Scatter the butter pieces over the flour mixture and pulse until the mixture is the consistency of cornmeal. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg yolk and vanilla. With the motor running, pour the egg mixture down the feed tube and process just until the ingredients form a ball.
Remove the dough to a work surface, and with the heel of your hand press the dough together until it is smooth and cohesive. Shape the dough into a 5-inch disk and if not using right away, wrap the dough and refrigerate it for an hour or up to 2 days. (If dough is cold and firm, remove it from refrigerator and set aside at room temperature until it is malleable yet still cool before using.
Roll the dough between two sheets of plastic wrap until you have a 13-inch circle about 1/8-inch thick. Remove the top portion of plastic wrap from pastry, lift plastic wrap with rolled out pastry on it, and center it, pastry side down on tart pan. Gently peel away second sheet of plastic wrap. With fingertips, fit pastry into pan (fitting carefully into corners). If pastry splits a bit, it patches easily. Fit the dough into the pan by pushing some of the overhang down the sides. Then, run the rolling pin over the rim of tart pan to cut off excess dough. Refrigerate pastry-lined pan to chill dough, about 30 minutes or up to one day.
Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350°. Bake for about 15 minutes, or until dough's surface is dull (no longer shiny) on top, and firm to the touch in the center. Check after initial 5-7 minutes of baking for signs of blistering. If necessary, prick dough in four to five places to release steam so that the dough will fit snugly in the pan again. Remove from oven, and to a wire rack while preparing the filling. Maintain the same oven temperature.
For the filling: Whisk the whole egg, egg yolk, and sugar in a small bowl briefly to combine. Set aside.
Combine the milk, cream and salt in a 1 1/2-quart saucepan. Bring to a boil, add the rice and stir to blend. When the mixture returns to a boil, reduce heat to medium and simmer, uncovered. Continue to simmer, stirring occasionally, for 18-20 minutes, or until the rice is tender. (The mixture reduces during this time, and though it is thicker, it still appears liquid.)
Pour about 1/2 cup of the hot rice mixture into the egg mixture, stirring to combine. Then return egg-rice mixture to remaining hot rice, and stir until blended. Stir in the vanilla.
Spoon the rice filling into the partially baked pastry shell, spreading it evenly with a rubber spatula. Return to the 350° oven for 12-15 minutes longer, or until the filling is set and the pastry is light golden near the rim of the pan. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool on a rack.
To finish the tart: Gently lift the rhubarb pieces from the pan, one at a time, and place them in a circular pattern on top of the tart.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Thai Noodle Salad

I'm starving...I serious! Absolutely starving and I have nothing to fix at home. I've been wanting to make this salad for the longest but I'm sooo hungry I can't even think straight. I figure if I go to Trader Joes to get the ingredients on a hungry stomach I'll come outta there $50 later and missing some ingredients for the salad. GAAAAAAA! I don't have anything in the house because I just came back from my business meeting from Washington DC and I'm soo hired of eating out (I know I'm crazy but seriously how much hotel food can a person eat??). I whipped this salad together soo fast and scarfed it down so fast I can honestly say I'm not sure how it tasted. But I do know one thing for sure, if it hadn't been so damn good I would have opened up the garbage can and thrown it away, grabbed Macy in the backseat and we were heading to McDonalds!! Seeing that that didn't happen, my guess is that its really good (Pioneer Woman hasn't let me down yet...and I've tried about 5 of her recipes!! Thanks Cowgirl!!). I'm taking the leftovers for lunch tomorrow so that will be the verdict. But I have no fear that I'll be making this quick & simple salad again.
Thai Noodle Salad
adapted from The Naked Chef

1 packages linguine noodles, cooked, rinsed, and cooled
1/2 to 1 head Napa cabbage, finely sliced
1/2 to 1 head purple cabbage, finely sliced
1/2 to 1 bag baby spinach
1 red bell pepper, sliced thin
1 yellow bell pepper, sliced thin
1 orange bell pepper, sliced thin
1 small bag bean sprouts
3 sliced scallions
3 cucumbers, peeled, sliced, seeded
LOTS of chopped cilantro—up to one bunch

1 cup whole cashews, lightly toasted in skillet
1/2 cup sesame seeds, toasted in skillet (I forgot to add in picture)

4 Tbsp red wine vinegar
1/2 cup oil
1 Tbsp sesame oil
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1/4 cup sugar
3 Tbsp fresh ginger, grated
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 hot peppers or jalapenos, chopped
1 large handful of fresh basil and cilantro, chopped

Mix together salad ingredients. Whisk together dressing ingredients and pour over salad. Mix with tongs or hands and serve on platter.

*Dressing keeps up to three days before serving, WITHOUT cilantro/basil.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Petite Vanilla Scones

Ok, fine, I'll admit it...I'm a Starbucksaholic. And to top it off I'm addicted (and I mean HARD addict) for their Petite Vanilla Scones....Yum-the-freak-O! And if that's not enough, I get super mad each time I purchase them because I know that I could make an entire batch of them for the price that I pay for just 3 of them (get real...who can just have one of those petite things!!!!) So of course the hunt was on and I found this recipe a while back and have been making them homemade ever since. Do I still go back to Starbee's and purchase them? Of course! It would take the fun outta being an addict!!!! LOL I will admit that this recipe is much lighter/less dense than the one's at Starbucks. I actually like these BETTER because I'm not a fan of eating carboard scones! I also added the vanilla beads to the glaze so it would resemble Starbucks!

I also decided that this would be my April entry for Master Baker's challenge. This recipe screams out vanilla and all the essence of its true aromatic flavor. Vanilla: the flavor of the month!

Petite Vanilla Scones
Adapted from RecipeZaar

Dry Ingredients
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup sugar
5 Tbsp unsalted butter, cold, cut into pieces

Wet Ingredients
1 cup regular full-fat sour cream
1 large egg yolk
2 tsp vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
water, as needed
1/8 tsp vanilla beads

Preheat oven to 400*F.

Whisk together dry ingredients in a medium bowl.

Cut the cold butter into the dry ingredients until flour resembles coarse meal, or use the following tip: The "grate" method: grate a block of cold butter against the large holes of a box grater. Toss the butter ribbons with the flour mixture, and then use two knives to cut the flour-coated ribbons into 1/4-inch pieces.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the sour cream, egg yolk and vanilla extract until blended. Add this to the flour-butter mixture and stir with a fork until dough forms a cohesive ball. Use a spatula to get the dry bits fully incorporated. (It may not seem to have enough liquid at first, but the dough will eventually come together.).

Place the sticky dough onto a parchment-lined (or ungreased) baking sheet and pat into a disk about 1-inch in height. Cut the dough into wedges but do not separate. Or scoop dough into a mini scone pan if available. (Yield will vary depending on how big you slice the wedges.).

Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown on top.


Place powdered sugar in a medium bowl, and add water one teaspoon at a time, mixing vigorously until smooth and runny.

Use a pastry brush to apply a thin layer of glaze over the hot scones. Brushing rather than drizzling gives a smoother appearance and requires less glaze.

Serve immediately. Store cooled scones in an airtight container.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Steak with Wine Sauce and Potato Gratin

Ok, I don't have a pic from my own cooking (well, I do, but its a pic that has the food in tupperware...soo not blog PC!!) so I'll just point you to Everyday Food website where I got it off their latest episode (don't you just love TiVo??!!). Also seeing that I don't eat beef I make it alot for my BF or others but don't partake (mainly because I don't like the taste of beef, and like it soo well-done--I don't like my cow moo'ing on my plate--that all I do is chew on a hockey puck so never mind!!!!). Anyways, the recipes were soo easy to make, I was done in a little under an hour and had a full course meal. This is my kinda cookin'!!!!!

Steak with Wine Sauce and Potato Gratin
Adapted from Everyday Food

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Pear and Granola Muffins

So Martha Stewart's Everyday Baking made these muffins the other day (watched on my TiVo) and they just looked waaaay too good. Ok, I have to say it, I can't contain myself any longer...what's up with John Barricelli face? Did he stray on that tan or what? I mean, come looks really bad! He looked completely normal when he was co-hosting Everyday Food with the rest of the girls, and then when they break him off a new show...he goes BRONZE??? I mean I know he's italian and olive skin and all but COME ON!!!!! Either he's seriously got to lay off the cheap tanning lotion or tell his makeup artist to slow down...ok, I digress...

So I couldn't think of a better muffin to submit for Greedy Gourmet's SnackShot#3. Muffins is the theme and boy are there tons out there! But what’s the difference between a muffin and cupcake? Well, a muffin contains less sugar and doesn’t have an icing top, so that means healthier right? Riiiiiiiiiiiiiight! So I finally tried these muffins out and big HUGE Y-U-M--O...they are soo good! I love the combination of granola in and ontop fo the muffin. They were very simple to make (I didn't even have to take out the Kitchenaid!!!!) These are definitely going into the 'signature' file.
Pear and Granola Muffins
Adapted from Everyday Baking

For Muffins:
1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup whole-wheat flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 large eggs
3/4 cup packed light-brown sugar
1/2 cup plain low-fat yogurt
2 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
2 D'Anjou pears (2 cups), peeled and cut into 1/4-inch dice

For Granola Crisp Topping:
1/2 cup granola
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup packed light-brown sugar
1/4 tsp salt
3 Tbsp chilled unsalted butter

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a 12-cup standard muffin tin with paper liners; set aside. In a large bowl, whisk together flours, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon.

In a separate bowl, whisk together eggs, brown sugar, yogurt, and butter. Make a well in the center of flour mixture. Add egg mixture to well, and mix in flour mixture until just combined. Gently fold in the granola and pears.

Make Granola Crisp Topping: In a bowl, toss together 1/2 cup granola, 1/4 cup each all-purpose flour and packed light-brown sugar, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Cut 3 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter into pieces; add to granola mixture, and rub in with fingertips until clumps form.

Divide batter evenly among lined cups, filling each 3/4 full. Sprinkle with granola topping. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Cool 5 minutes before removing from tin. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Makes 12 muffins

Monday, April 7, 2008

Matcha Cookies

So last year (pre-CIA blog) I was seeing a lot of activity of baking with matcha, the Japanese green tea. You know, the kind they make Green Tea Ice Cream with. Anyways, there were tons of bloggers baking with matcha. I'm a year behind schedule but I'm catching up blog people!!!! I'm still a baby blogger!!!

I'm heading off to Washington DC for a conference this week/end and had this recipe in the fridge chilling since this weekend so had to make it seeing that my last day in the office is tomorrow and my 'testers' are my co-workers.

Matcha (Green Tea) Shortbread Cookies
Adapted from RecipeZaar

2 cups bleached all purpose flour bleached all purpose flour
1-2 Tbsp Matcha
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup unsalted butter, room temp
1/2 cup powdered sugar

Sift the flour, powdered tea and salt into a bowl.

In a mixer bowl, beat butter and powdered sugar until fluffy.

Add flour mixture to mixer bowl and mix slowly until dough just comes together.

Pull dough together carefully in a log, approximately 2 inches in diameter.

Wrap dough log and place in freezer for 30 minutes or until dough has firmed to the touch.

Slice dough into 1/4 inch rounds and place on a parchment or Silpat lined cookie sheet, approximately 1 inch apart.

Bake in a preheated 325*F oven for 16 to 18 minutes (or until the cookies are just starting to turn golden around the edges), turning the pan halfway through the baking time.

Remove cookies immediately from the cookie sheet and cool on a wire rack.

Store in an airtight container or wrap well and freeze.

The well-chilled cookie dough can also be rolled out and cut into desired shapes before baking.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Chicken Breasts Stuffed with Cheese, Tomato, and Basil

I TiVo several cooking shows off the FoodNetwork and also PBS. Martha Stewart's 'Everyday Food' is one of my favorites. After I watched an episode this weekend, I knew I had to make this stuffed chicken recipe soon and what better time than the present! So I whipped it up (real quick as usual) and even got the approval of my non-chicken-breast-eatin' BF!!!!! He loved it!!! It was sooo moist and flavorful! I really believe that the skin of the chicken holds in all the moisture so that the breast doesn't dry out. This is definitely the new way that I'll be cooking 'stuffed' chicken! YUM-O!

I also made one of Giada's vegetable recipes, Asparagus, Artichoke, and Mushroom Saute with Tarragon Vinaigrette. This simple yet super flavorful side dish was the perfect accompaniment to the stuffed chicken.

Chicken Breasts Stuffed with Cheese, Tomato, and Basil
Adapted from Everyday Food

4 bone-in chicken breast halves (14 ounces each)
1/2 cup packed fresh basil leaves
1/3 cup drained oil-packed sun-dried tomato halves, about 8
2 garlic cloves, peeled
1 tsp finely grated orange zest
Coarse salt and ground pepper
2oz Fontina or mozzarella cheese, cut into four pieces
2 tsp olive oil

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil; set aside. With a paring knife, cut a 1-inch-long slit in thick side of each breast. Insert knife, and without enlarging opening, carefully work around inside to form a pocket (make sure you do not go through the other side).

On a cutting board, pile basil, sun-dried tomatoes, garlic, zest, 1 tsp salt, and 1/4 tsp pepper; finely chop. Divide mixture evenly, and spoon into breast pockets, spreading it around. Insert one piece of cheese in each breast pocket.

Close pockets, using 2 to 3 toothpicks per breast; arrange, skin side up, on baking sheet. Rub with olive oil, and season generously with salt and pepper. Roast until well browned and an instant-read thermometer inserted in thickest part of breast (avoiding bone) reads 165 degrees, 30 to 35 minutes. Let chicken rest 5 minutes; remove toothpicks before serving.

Asparagus, Artichoke, and Mushroom Saute with Tarragon Vinaigrette

Asparagus, Artichoke, and Mushroom Saute with Tarragon Vinaigrette
Adapted from Everyday Italian

Vegetable Saute:
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 large shallot, sliced
1 clove garlic, minced
8oz mushrooms, sliced
1 bunch asparagus (1 pound), sliced into 3-inch pieces
1 (8-ounce) package frozen artichoke hearts, thawed
1/2 pint teardrop tomatoes, halved
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper

Tarragon Vinaigrette:
6 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
3 Tbsp white wine vinegar
2 Tbsp chopped fresh tarragon leaves
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper

For the Vegetable Saute:
Warm the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the shallot and the garlic and cook until tender, about 2 minutes.

Add the mushrooms and cook until golden, about 5 minutes. Add the asparagus and artichokes and cook until the asparagus is tender, about 5 more minutes. Turn off the heat and add the tomatoes, salt and pepper and reserve.

For the Tarragon Vinaigrette:
Combine the oil, vinegar, tarragon, salt and pepper in a glass screw-top jar. Seal the jar and shake vigorously to mix the vinaigrette.

Toss the vegetables with the vinaigrette and serve.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies

I've been dying to make some peanut butter cookies ever since my cousin (the caterer) turned me onto these mini peanut butter cups that they have at Trader Joes (they are by the slabs of chocolate on top of the freezer section)...and then I found this recipe...BINGO...and I'm at a loss for words...O..M..G! These are so freakin good! And Nicole was right, they made EXACTLY 2 dozen cookies!!! It was the perfect taster sample!! I was a little worried about making them with no flour (what? a baker not using flour?? GAAAA!) but I dredged ahead and finished making the recipe as is! I didn't have any crunchy peanut butter so I just used creamy peanut butter and then chopped up some peanuts I had and tossed them in there...T-D-F!!!! Can't...stop...eating...them...take...them...away...FAST!!!!!!!

Flourless Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies
Adapted from Baking Bites

1 cup crunchy peanut butter
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 large egg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 tbsp cocoa powder
2 tbsp water
1/2- 3/4 cup chocolate and/or peanut butter chips

Preheat oven to 350*F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a small bowl, whisk together cocoa powder and water until smooth. In a large bowl, stir together all ingredients, including cocoa powder and water mixture. Add chocolate chips at the end of mixing. Drop by tablespoonfuls onto prepared baking sheet and flatten slightly with a moistened finger.Bake for about 10-13 minutes until golden brown at the edges. Cool on pan before removing to wire rack to cool completely.

Makes 2 dozen.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Mango Bread

I love mangos. I mean really L-O-V-E mangos. I grew up on mangos, papayas and guavas instead of oranges, strawberries and apples so mangos are my total go-to-fruit!!! So of course I bought some presliced mangos from Costco (don't ask me why I bought so much for just me!) and of course even my love for mangos can't eat them fast enough before they go rancid on me so I had to hurry and come up with some ways to incorporate them into some baked goods. I was thinking mango crisp but I couldn't find a good recipe so I settled for this bread recipe. I made it quickly and took the loaf to work and all I have left is this one slice that I had to hide in my office before it was all gone. It is sooo moist! Co-workers gave it rave reviews so its a keeper!! I did have to cook it a little longer than 1hr (about 1 1/2hrs) but other than that I didn't change anything in the recipe. Ooh I did make it with pecans instead of macademia nuts because my macademia nut supply is running low (my Hawaiian supplier--aka my aunt--didn't replenish my supply when she came to the mainland last month...course I guess she's not a mind reader because I forgot to remind her to bring any with her!!!! Gaaaaa!).

This is also my entry for Cinco de Mango! Chris over at Mele Cotte had a cute idea to celebrate Cinco de Mayo with a mango theme along with the National Mango Board.

Mango Bread
Adapted from RecipeZaar

2 cups flour
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1 cup sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
3 egg, lightly beaten
2 cups mango, peeled and diced (2-3 ripe mangos)
1/2 cup golden raisins
1/2 cup chopped macadamia nuts or pecans

Preheat oven to 350*F.

In a large bowl, mix vegetable oil, sugar, vanilla and eggs. In a smaller bowl sift the dry ingredients. Slowly blend the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Fold in mango, raisins and nuts. Pour into a greased and floured 9 x 5 x 3 inch loaf pan and shake until well distributed.

Bake for 1hr or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.


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