Menu Suggestions

October 28, 2014

Crosseyed and Painless Cupcakes

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In the first of a two part tribute to the Talking Heads, I present an apple walnut cake, cored with apple cider fleur de sel caramel and topped with a Maker's Mark buttercream, candied walnuts and smoked fleur de sel.

 

C A K E  I N G R E D I E N T S

  • 2 1/3 cups White Whole Wheat Flour
  • 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Apple Pie Spice or 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon + 1/4 teaspoon each ground ginger and ground nutmeg
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
  • 4 cups peeled, cored, chopped apple, about 1 1/3 pounds whole apples
  • 1 cup diced toasted walnuts or pecans

 

C A N D I E D  W A L N U T S  I N G R E D I E N T S

  • 1 cup toasted walnut halves/pieces 
  • 1/4 cup white granulated sugar
  • 1 pinch sea salt
  • 1 Tbsp butter

 

D I R E C T I O N S

  1. Frosting

    1. Follow directions for the Jameson Italian Meringue buttercream, substituting the following:

      1. Brown sugar for Castor/Superfine sugar
      2. 2 tbsp Maker's Mark instead of Jameson
  2. Salted Caramel Filling
    1. Follow directions for the Fleur de Sel Caramels, however make the following changes:
      1. Use 1 cup apple cider or apple juice, and reduce on low heat to 1/4 cup.  Cool.
      2. During the second heating phase (after cream and sugar mixtures are mixed), take the mixture to 238-244 degrees instead of 256.  This will allow the mixture to be less stiff and more liquidy
  3. Cupcakes
    1. Preheat oven to 325
    2. Line tins with cupcake liners for 16 cupcakes.
    3. In one bowl, beat sugars and eggs until combined, then add eggs one at a time.
    4. In another bowl, whisk (or sift) flour, spices, salt, baking soda.
    5. Add flour to butter sugar mixture in two parts, mixing until well combined.
    6. Fold in apples and walnuts, letting the apples release thier juices.
    7. Fill the prepared tins with batter about 3/4 full.
    8. Bake for 20 minutes or until a cake tester or toothpick inserted into the center cupcake comes out clean, or with just a few wet crumbs clinging to it.
    9. Store in airtight storage, preferably refrigerated, until ready for use.
  4. Candied Walnuts
    1. Heat medium non-stick skillet on medium heat.  Prepare a piece of parchment paper that is 16 inches wide.
    2. Add sugar, butter and walnuts, mixing frequntlyt.  As the sugar starts to melt, stir constantly until all sugar is melted and walnuts coated.
    3. Immediatly transfer the nuts to the parchment paper, and break up any clusters into individual nuts.  Cool and transfer to airtight storage until ready for use.

 

 

LINKAGE

  1. https://www.kingarthurflour.com/recipes/old-fashioned-apple-cake-with-brown-sugar-frosting-recipe
  2. https://natashaskitchen.com/2014/01/11/5-minute-candied-walnuts/

May 26, 2013

Memorial Day Whiskey Glaze

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This glaze works great with beef and turkey, or any meat really, and will compliment any Memorial Day BBQ spread.

 

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 shallots, minced
  • 1 large vidalia onion, minced
  • 1.5 large garlic cloves, peeled and minced 
  • 1/4 cup Olive oil
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 2.5 Valencia oranges
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup Jameson Irish Whiskey (or any whiskey of your choosing)
  • Caster sugar (Optional)
  • 1 tbsp Grand Marnier (Optional)

 

DIRECTIONS

  1. Place minced shallots, onions and garlic in 1/4 cup olive oil, salt, pepper and 1/2 cup water on a skillet, and cook on high heat heat until the vegetables are brown and well caramelized, about 25 minutes.  Stir frequently.
  2. Add brown sugar to the onion mixture.
    1. When the sugar melts, mix into the onions. 
    2. Taste, and add more brown sugar if a sweetness isn't detected
  3. Remove mixture from heat and allow to cool.
    1. Add the juice from 2 1/2 oranges
    2. Place in blender, and puree until there are no chunks.
  4. Add whiskey and Grand Marnier.
    1. Taste to ensure that the whiskey flavor is present.  If not to your liking, add more.
    2. Add a tablespoon of caster sugar if mixture doesn't have enough sweetness, and repeat.  Caster sugar is another name for super fine sugar, and will dissolve more quickly than regular granulated sugar.
  5. Enjoy warm or cold.  The glaze will last for 3 -4 days in the fridge.

October 06, 2012

Magnolia Bakery Red Velvet Cupcakes sans the Red

This recipe was modified to remove the iconic red food coloring.  Many people do not know that food coloring is a known carcinogen.  Obviously, the adverse effects only arise after excessive consumption, but most processed foods have food coloring these days.  Originally, Red Velvet cakes did not contain food coloring, but rather utilized a lighter, alkaline cocoa that appears reddish-brown in certain light.  Around the 1950's, the food industry began selling a darker, acidic cocoa, which spawned the classic Devil's Food cake recipes.  


This recipe attempts to capture the classic, non-artificial taste and texture of the original Red Velvet cakes.  Most recipes use about 3 bottles of food coloring, which is a lot.  This recipe makes about 24 cupcakes 

Ingredients

  • 3 1/4 cups cake flour (not self-rising)
  • 3 sticks unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 6 tablespoons unsweetened Dutch-Processed or Alkalized Unsweetened Cocoa Powder (Valhrona is my preference)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cider vinegar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. 
  2. Line two muffin tins (12 muffins each) with paper liners
  3. To make the cake
    1. In a small bowl, sift the cake flour and set aside. 
    2. In a large bowl, on the medium speed of an electric mixer: 
      1. cream the butter and sugar until very light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. 
      2. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. 
      3. In a small bowl, whisk together cocoa, and vanilla. Add to the batter and beat well.
    3. In a measuring cup, stir the salt into the buttermilk. 
      1. Add to the batter in three parts alternating with the flour. 
      2. With each addition, beat until the ingredients are incorporated, but do not overbeat. 
    4. In a small bowl, stir together the cider vinegar and baking soda. 
      1. Add to the batter and mix well. 
    5. Using a rubber spatula, scrape down the batter in the bowl, making sure the ingredients are well blended and the batter is smooth. 
  4. Fill each cupcake about 2/3 full with an ice cream scoop
  5. Arrange the oven racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and bake the cupcakes
    1. Switch the positions of the pans halfway through baking, until a tester comes out clean, about 20 minutes.
  6. Cool the cupcakes in the pan 10 minutes, then remove from the pan and cool completely on a rack before icing.

 

Linkage

May 26, 2012

Salmon Burgers

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With summer just around the corner, salmon burgers are a great way to welcome the season.  This recipe uses a roasted veggie puree, egg and panko to give structure to the burger.  Fresh dill, lemon and parsley add an invigoratingly fresh touch.  The burgers can be cooked on a grill, in the oven or stove top.

 

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June 10, 2008

Father's Day Menu, 2008

Part of my Father's Day gift is I get to stay home and cook for my extended family. It seems like an odd gift, I know, but if you understand why I cook then you'll get it. Anyway, I've been considering the menu for about a week now and, barring any last-minute grocery store mishaps, here's what I have planned so far:

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