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August 2012

August 19, 2012

Watermelon, Cherry and Peach Salsa

Nothing says "Summer" better than Watermelon, Cherry and Peach salsa.  The fruit provides a lot of natural sweetness, and this recipe does not require sugar.  Add jalapeno to taste.  Serve chilled with chips, and enjoy!

This recipe makes about 3 cups of salsa.  Give or take.


  • 1/2 pound of fresh cherries
  • ~2 pounds of fresh watermelon
  • 1 large peach
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, minced
  • 1/2 of a red onion, minced
  • 1 garlic petal, minced
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 1 jalapeno, minced
  • 3 shallots
  • 3 petals of garlic
  • olive oil
  • himalayan salt
  • pepper
  • 2 limes


  1. Roast the shallots and garlic:
    1. Chop shallots into quarters, and roast in olive oil until brown and caramelized.
    2. Remove garlic skin and roast in olive oil on 350 for about 10 minutes.
    3. When cooled, puree in food processor.
  2. Chop the fruit:
    1. Chop the watermelon into little cubes, almost like it is a tomato.
    2. Remove the seeds from the cherries and process in food processor.  Repeat with the peach.
  3. Mix together:
    1. Mix all vegetables and fruit together.
    2. Add salt and pepper to taste, along with jalapeno.
    3. Add juice from 1 1/2 limes.  Taste, and add the remaining lime juice if needed.
  4. Tips:
    1. Add more fruit or sugar if the salsa becomes to hot.
    2. Add more onion if the salsa is too sweet.

August 18, 2012

Hasta Lavista Toey cupcakes with Champagne and Limoncello


"Why does it take a minute to say hello and forever to say goodbye?"  Yet another one of life's mysteries.  While saying goodbye is never easy, the process is always best when accompanied by a delicious cupcake.  At least in my humble opinion.  

The Hasta Lavista Toey cupcake was created to sweeten the celebration of my friend Todor and his wife Heather's exciting move to San Francisco.  The recipe begins with a velvety champagne cupcake that is filled with either Cherry Curd or Raspberry Pastry Cream, topped with a Limoncello italian meringue buttercream frosting, and finished with smoked fleur de sel.  The champagne bubbles adds height and a sense of lightness to the cupcake, much like how both Todor and Heather are tall, light and agile athletes.

Homemade Limoncello is preferred, but can only be procured from a friend, as it is illegal to sell in NY/NJ.  Most recipes require 80 days for the alcohol to sit prior to consumption, eliminating my ability to make it.  I read that many commercial brands had off tastes and were unpleasant, and was unable to find the most recommended brands in a store.  I settled for Sogno di Sorrento Lemoncello, and it was delicious.  

It's always hard to say good bye, but hey, why not sweeten it with a dope cupcake in hand?  :)



  • 1/2 cup butter softened
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 3/4 cups cake flour, sifted
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp himalayan pink salt
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 plus 1/4 cup champagne (3/4 cup total)
  • Pinch of smoked or regular fleur de sel


  1. Filling

    1. Make either the Raspberry Pastry Cream or Cherry Curd recipes
  2. Frosting

    1. Follow directions for Jameson Italian Meringue Butter cream
      1. Substitute about 1/3 cup Limoncello for the Jameson.  Keep adding until it can't take any more Limoncello for optimal flavor.
  3. Cupcakes

    1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line 16 muffin cups with foil liners
    2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment:
      1. Cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy
      2. Add eggs one at a time beating well after each addition. 
      3. Add vanilla and mix. 
    3. In another bowl:
      1. Whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt, set aside.  
    4. In a medium sized bowl:
      1. Whisk together 1/2 cup champagne and 1/2 cup sour cream
        1. Mixture will fizz and bubble a little
    5. In the bowl of the stand mixer:
      1. Add flour and champagne mixture alternately, beginning and ending with flour.  Batter will be thick.
      2. Do not overmix.
    6. Fill cupcake papers with 1/4 cup level measures of batter.  
    7. Bake for 17-22 minutes, and remove from oven when a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
    8. Remove cupcakes from the pan
      1. Poke holes in the top of the cupcakes
      2. Use a pastry brush to brush the remaining 1/4 cup champagne on top of the cupcakes
        1. Feel free to use more than 1/4 cup!
      3. Allow cupcakes to cool and dry completely before adding filling. Cupcake2

  4. Assembly

    1. Using an apple corer or butter knife, cut a nickel sized cylinder in the cupcake and discard  
    2. Generously fill the cylinder with the Cherry curd or Raspberry Pastry Cream.  This is not a cupcake to skim on!!
    3. Pipe the luscious limoncello frosting on top.
    4. Sprinkle smoked fleur de sel on top.
    5. Store cupcakes in the refrigerator after assembly if not consumed right away
      1. Refrigerated cupcakes need to sit out for about 2 hours prior to consumption, or the icing will be as hard as a rock.  :)


Recipe Notes: The cupcake recipe makes about 16 cupcakes.  The frosting recipe yields enough frosting for 16 - 24 cupcakes.  The curd and pastry cream recipes both yield enough filling for about 48 cupcakes. 


August 12, 2012

Raspberry Pastry Cream


Here is a recipe for a delicious pastry cream that will compliment almost any dessert with absolute deliciousness.  This recipe makes about 3 cups of pastry cream.


  • 2 cups half and half
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 2 6 oz boxes of fresh raspberries or 10 oz frozen bag


  1. Process raspberries into a puree
    1. Puree in the blender
    2. Strain the puree to remove the seeds
    3. The recipe needs 1 cup of puree
  2. In a small saucepan:
    1. Warm the half and half over low heat until it is just hot enough to steam. 
  3. In another bowl:
    1. Whisk together the egg yolks, sugar, flour, and cornstarch until the mixture is completely smooth.
    2. Once the half and half is steaming, add half of it, whisking constantly, to the egg mixture.
  4. Add the milk and eggs back into the hot milk 
    1. Continue stirring, and heat it for 1-2 minutes, until the custard reaches 170F on a digital thermometer and is very thick. 
  5. Remove from the heat, stir in the raspberry puree. 
  6. Chill the cream prior to using, preferably overnight
    1. Place parchment or wax paper over the top to prevent a "pudding skin" from forming.



Cherry Curd


Cherry curd is a rich, delicious treat that is often used inside of pies and tarts.  Curd can compliment anything from crepes to cupcakes to toast to macarons.  It can be stored in the fridge for a week or two, longer if vacumn sealed. 



  • 6 tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3/4 lb fresh cherries or 10 oz frozen bag
  • 4 large egg yolks, lightly beaten
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • pinch of himalayan salt


  1. Process cherries into a puree
    1. Chop and remove seed
    2. Puree in blender
    3. Using a strainer, remove all chunks of skin*
    4. The amount of puree needed is 1 cup
  2. Using your electric mixer beat together the butter and sugar. 
    1. Slowly pour in the egg yolks, and mix until everything is combined.
    2. Add in the fresh cherry puree, and salt. 
    3. Mix together then pour into a small saucepan.
  3. Place saucepan on the stove on a low temperature
    1. Allow butter to melt.
    2. Once the butter is fully melted, slowly increase the temperature to medium while constantly stirring. 
    3. Cook for 10-15 minutes, or until the temperature has reached 170ยบ F.
    4. Reduce heat to low, and allow to cook for an additional 5 minutes
    5. Remove from heat and continue to stir for about 5 minutes while the curd cools. 
  4. Once the curd has cooled, fill your desired containers and cool.
    1. Place parchment or wax paper on top of the curd to prevent a "pudding skin" from forming

*The leftover cherry skin can be used to make salsa! Recipe is on the way...