Thursday, March 23, 2017

Red Velvet Cupcakes made w/ Beets!

Truth be told: I never eat red velvet cake because I know it's made with red dye #2.
(How do you think they get that pretty red color?).

Well, here is a much better way to get your red on.
Use pureed beets!

Years back I made a delicious chocolate beetroot cake, and everyone loved it.

Beets and chocolate go well together for some odd reason.

Don't skip the cream cheese icing here, it is perfection on these cupcakes.
I cut the frosting recipe in half to just use a little dollop on top of each cupcake, but next time I would make the whole was that good.

Red Velvet Cupcakes w/ Beets (adapted from Southern Living):

10 ounces red beets, well scrubbed (I used 2 large roasted beets)
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
3/4 cup canola or vegetable oil
3/4 cup whole buttermilk
4 large eggs
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa (not Dutch process)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 (8-oz.) package cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 (16-oz.) package powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup chopped toasted pecans (optional)

The original recipe wants you to microwave the beets wrapped in parchment paper for 10 minutes......I had leftover roasted beets, so I used roasted red beets instead.....I think you could use any cooked beets.

Puree the beets in a food processor until smooth. Add in the lemon juice and the rest of the ingredients to form a batter.

If you are using regular muffin tins, then the recipe makes 18-24 cupcakes. Since I always use those fancy big paper liners, I got 12 big cupcakes.

Using an ice cream scoop, pour the batter in 2/3 to the top of the liner.

Bake the cupcakes 15-18 minutes for small cupcakes, 25-30 for bigger ones.

Let cool on a cooling rack.

Make the frosting by beating the softened butter with the cream cheese, vanilla and powdered sugar (I used an electric mixer).

Make sure the cupcakes are completely cooled before frosting.

Spread some cream cheese frosting on each cupcake and some toasted pecan pieces.

These were delicious! I kept them in the fridge for freshness.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Frittata w/ Potatoes & Chorizo

Whenever I say I am making a tortilla Espanola, I get sidetracked.

I have good intentions of just frying the potatoes and onions and adding the eggs and doing the flip trick, but I always throw something else in the mix to make it something else.

I have been told by many purists, an authentic tortilla is JUST ONIONS AND POTATOES AND EGGS. Done on the stovetop, never in the oven.

It is served as part of a tapas menu usually with aioli.
Ok, ok, I got it. That's why I am calling this a "frittata" instead of the other.

To my potatoes and onions, I added chorizo and peas......I like to see green in my omelet, and I like some ham.

This was delicious. Great for breakfast, or later at room temperature for snack.

I used hot sauce instead of aioli this time.

Here's how:

7 eggs
small amount of chorizo, diced
1 yellow onion, cut into chunks
handful of defrosted peas
1 potato, diced (I used a red potato w/ skin on)
olive oil
salt & pepper

In a large heavy nonstick skillet, heat some olive oil (enough to coat the pan).

Cook the potatoes about 8 minutes, adding more oil as needed. You can also used leftover cooked potato, which makes life easier.
Add in the onion and chorizo and cook another 2 minutes until onion is cooked.

Whisk eggs and peas and slowly pour over everything in the pan.
Season w/ a pinch of salt & pepper.
I added some tiny red onions to the top because I had them, just for aesthetics, but you don't have to.

Cook on medium for about 2 minutes, until the sides of the omelet are set.
Then transfer to a 375F oven and cook for 12 minutes, until the frittata is set in the middle.

The omelet should easily slide out of the pan.
Cut into wedges and serve.


Monday, March 20, 2017

Irish Bread Puddings

I think I will rename this blog, "Stacey's Baking Blog".

That is all I seem to be in the mood for lately.....cakes and carbs.

With all the snow and cold temps who wants to eat a salad?

Today is the first day of spring, but it feels more like a January day.

I may take a few days off and go on a beach trip if you don't mind......

Since you follow me on instagram, you know I baked 2 loaves of this delicious Irish Soda Bread (recipe here) last week for St. Patrick's Day.
Jewish Irish.

I froze some, and had some leftover, stale on the counter. Enough for 4 little individual bread puddings.
And because I like to be different, I baked them in mini bundt pans.

If you have any leftover cake, croissants, or stale bread, make bread pudding.
It's delicious warm or at room temperature drizzled w/ a hard sauce or maple syrup.

It's definitely a cold weather dessert....and baby, it's cold.

Irish Bread Puddings:

1 stale loaf of Irish soda bread (recipe here)
3 eggs
3 cups of milk
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp cinnamon
2 tbsp maple syrup
2 tbsp melted butter for the pan

Brush a pan or ramekins w/ melted butter.

Pack in big pieces of the stale soda bread.

Mix eggs, milk, vanilla, syrup and cinnamon. I do this in a measuring cup for easy pouring.

Pour over the bread pudding or puddings almost to the top.

Let rest in the fridge for an hour.

Bake 30 minutes in a 350F oven.

Before unmolding, let cool in the ramekins/pan for a bit, so the sides start to pull away, this way they won't stick.

I couldn't decide if I liked them upside down, sort of rustic, or showing the bundt shape, looking like canelé.

Best served warm drizzled w/ maple syrup.

Mother nature, you had better warm up soon, or I may turn into a sugar addict!

Friday, March 17, 2017

Random Bites in Hoboken

Try parking in Hoboken on a sunny day.....and now with a foot of snow on the ground, good luck.
Cars have not been moved since the storm. They have been buried.

That being said, take the train if you can (says the girl who hates mass transit).
But get here.

Hoboken, I have been missing out. I haven't visited you in quite a while.

So many good things happening in this city again.
The old is new again. (kind of like me).

The French bakery Choc-o-Pain is fantastic.......serving better croissants and pastries than I get in Paris.

The Pilsener Haus is a huge biergarten with great German food, schnitzel and sausages.....great big tables and a great place to gather.

Very authentic.

Obviously, we ate indoors....but the outside patio looks like fun in the warmer weather ;)

Now move on to a 100 year old bakery in Hoboken which is now a restaurant and bar.......preparing EVERYTHING in the ancient original coal oven.

Antique Bar & Bakery, I love you.

The ambience is rustic, decorated with antiques, vintage 70's stuff and coziness throughout. You want to just hang here on a winter night.

And we did.

Ribeye for 2, a whole fish or half chicken prepared in that beautiful rustic oven.

Desserts were decadent and cocktails were special.

Service and ambience was amazing......I can't wait to go back, but get in line, because the wait is long.
This is the new "it" place.

Hoboken, thanks for welcoming me back.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Orange Date Muffins


Such an easy recipe found on the internet, turned out to be one of the most delicious moist muffins of all time.
I mean it.

I received a beautiful box of winter citrus from Limoneira in California, Cara Cara and blood oranges, and needed a recipe.

I found this simple breakfast muffin and it will now be my go to winter muffin.

You whiz everything in the food processor, orange peels, pith, the whole fruit, and add in the melted butter and egg, then pour the wet into the dry, and you have the batter.

It doesn't look like spring is coming anytime soon, so if you can find some good winter citrus, then make these muffins!

Orange Date Muffins: (adapated from this recipe)

1 large Cara Cara orange, washed and cut into quarters (leave skin on)
1/2 cup orange juice (I used blood orange juice)
1 egg
100g/4oz butter, melted, plus a little extra to grease the muffin tin
1 1/2 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup pitted dates, chopped

Cut the orange into quarters and place in food processor (with the skin on!).
Pulse a few times. Add in the melted butter, orange juice and egg and pulse again until all ingredients are combined.

In a large bowl, mix the flour, sugar, baking soda and salt.
Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix together, adding the chopped dates in last.

If you are using a regular size muffin tin w/ liners, then you should get 12 muffins.....but you know I always use fancy jumbo liners, so I got 8 larger muffins.

Bake 22-25 minutes until muffins are set.
Let rest in the tin a few minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.

Great warm or the next a.m. for breakfast with coffee.


Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Turmeric Pickled Eggs

Spring must be around the corner if I am making pickled eggs.

Even with over a foot of snow on the ground, colorful eggs remind us of Easter, new beginnings and springtime.
I really hate winter.

You can usually find me making pink eggs stained w/ beet juice, but this time I was intrigued by 101 Cookbooks yellow eggs made with turmeric.

Turmeric it seems, is the new coconut oil.

I read so much about how good the root is for you....I am not sure why I even had a jar of this dried yellow powder in my cupboard.
It always had a bitter taste to me.

It was perfect for this delicious pickling concoction, and I loved how it stained the eggs yellow.
It also stained my kitchen counter yellow, so I needed to use Comet scouring powder to get the stains out.....just a note of caution.

Turmeric Pickled Eggs: (adapted from 101 Cookbooks)

1 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon fine grain salt
2 teaspoons ground turmeric

1/2 onion (or 4 shallots), thinly sliced
1 tablespoons whole peppercorns

6 hard-boiled eggs

Slice the onion and and add with the peppercorns to a tall jar.

Boil the eggs 10 minutes, then run under warm water and peel.

Place in the jar w/ the sliced onions and peppercorns.

Boil the vinegar mixture until the spice and sugar dissolve.
Immediately pour over the eggs and onions in the jar.

Make sure eggs are submerged then cover with lid and keep in fridge for up to 10 days.

Use the pickled onions in sandwiches and tacos.....they are delicious too.

Think spring!

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Baked Eggs w/ Sweet Potato Hash

I think I am more creative with leftovers than I am with the original meal.

Here, I found myself with leftover sweet potato wedges from last night's dinner.

This was an easy one.

I made a sweet potato sort of hash then baked some eggs in the middle.

Here's how:

cooked sweet potato wedges (with skin on), cut into pieces
a few slices of bacon
a small onion, sliced
2 eggs
pimenton, salt & pepper
sliced green onions for garnish

In a nonstick skillet, heat some oil and saute the bacon and onion until cooked.

Add the cooked bacon and onion to a bowl and add in the cubed cooked sweet potato pieces.
Season w/ pimenton (Spanish smoked paprika....a must), salt & pepper.

Spray some ramekins or casserole dishes with nonstick cooking spray.

Spoon some hash into each dish and make a hole in the middle.
Crack an egg into each dish and bake on a baking sheet for 18-20 minutes in a 350F oven.

Serve w/ toast and enjoy.

So good.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Good Ideas: Brussels Sprouts & Kimchi

What kind of life did I have prior to discovering kimchi?

I really feel like I have been missing out.

I am sorry I keep going on about it, but it is just so good!
and is good with EVERYTHING!

A fellow food blogging friend recently told me she hated kimchi, that it tasted like "dirty socks", and "smelled worse".
I think you have to find the right kimchi for you, sort of like a man. He has to smell and taste right for you.

While in Miami last week, I ate at a fantastic Japanese restaurant owned by Stephen Starr called Makoto.
We had the best sushi we have ever had, and a side of Brussels sprouts w/ pork belly and kimchi.

I knew I needed to recreate this at home so here goes.

Obviously, fatty pork belly is better, but I never make it, so used thick cut bacon instead.
You can omit the pork to make it vegetarian, which is also delish.

Here's how:

1 lb. Brussels sprouts, trimmed and cut in half, some shredded
olive oil
2 garlic cloves, chopped
2 pieces of thick cut bacon, chopped or pork belly (leftover shredded roast pork is good too!)
1 cup of kimchi, chopped, with some reserved kimchi juice
sesame seeds for garnish

In a large nonstick skillet, heat some olive oil and cook the bacon pieces until all fat is rendered out.

Remove the pork and pour out the oil, leaving just a small amount to saute the sprouts.

Add in the shredded and halved Brussels sprouts and saute with the chopped garlic about 8 minutes, until nice and brown in spots.

Add in the chopped kimchi and saute another the kimchi mellows the funky taste and adds a great dimension and umami to the vegetable.

Add the pork back in (if using), and sprinkle w/ sesame seeds.

Great over rice or just out of the bowl!