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Monthly Archives: June 2011

Cupcakes!

I asked Carter what to bake today because we were running low on Snickerdoodles. He said the guys at the rig really liked the vanilla cupcakes with Reese’s peanut butter cups in the middle I made a while back. I decided to check outto see if she had a good chocolate cupcake with peanut butter filling. It turns out that she does! The recipe she had was for a rich chocolate cake and ganache with a peanut butter filling. I was looking for something a bit lighter in the cake department. I didn’t want to have the guys eating really rich cake and not having any milk to wash it down with. I found another recipe for devil’s food cake and chocolate buttercream on her website. So, I made those cupcakes and frosting and added the peanut butter filling from the original recipe.

I took the peanut butter recipe from this one:  http://cupcakeblog.com/?p=41
And the cupcakes and frosting from this one:  http://cupcakeblog.com/?p=10

The cakes came out perfectly light and chocolatey. I used Hershey’s cocoa and I know that is like, sinful to say but, I really like Hershey’s chocolate. For the frosting, I used Hershey’s Special Dark cocoa. It made the frosting have a greyish brown tint but it tasted so damn good. There was just enough frosting to do all 24 cupcakes and the 6 mini ones I ended up making as well. Next time, I will use a little more than the 1/4 cup of milk it calls for. Carter said he liked that the frosting was pretty stiff so I didn’t add any more this time. It didn’t end up as shiny and smooth as I wanted it to be. Since I don’t have much experience making cupcakes and frosting from scratch, I tried to follow the directions exactly as they were written.
The peanut butter filling was super easy and came out tasting JUST like the filling for a Reese’s peanut butter cup. I didn’t measure out my milk for that because in the blog, Chockylit says that she should have added more milk to make the filling more smooth and soft. I just eyeballed it until it looked like it would be delicious and soft.

Once the cupcakes were cool, I used an apple corer to take the center of the cupcakes out. Don’t go all the way to the bottom of the wrapper, just take off the top and some of the middle. I don’t bother putting the top back on to cover the filling because it just gets covered with frosting anyways! 😉 I put about a teaspoon or so of the peanut butter filling into each cupcake and topped it with a lighter coating of frosting. Then I used a mini Mini Reese’s peanut butter cup. They came out adorably awesome. I tasted the pieces of them as I went along but I haven’t tasted them all together yet. I can’t imagine they won’t be delicious though!

Pictures!

I highly recommend anything you find on her website. I have made the cherry vanilla cupcakes with vanilla buttercream, Horchata cupcakes, and the 3-vanilla cupcakes. I also did the chocolate cupcakes with the strawberry chocolate ganache filling and cream cheese buttercream. They all have been pretty amazing despite my newbie tendencies. They don’t look as nice as the ones on her website but they taste amazing! Looks will come with practice for me.

Thanks to Chockylit and her wonderful blog!!

 
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Posted by on June 17, 2011 in The Bakery!

 

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BBQ Chicken Pizza

Since I had made pizza at my inlaws’ house on Monday night, I had an extra pizza dough here to use this week. I get it from Fresh and Easy and it really tastes homemade. I decided to go with BBQ Chicken Pizza because it has been a long time since I made it last and I am much better at making pizzas now than I was the last time I made it.

BBQ Chicken Pizza

2 Chicken breast halves
1/4 bell pepper, sliced thin
1/4 red onion, sliced thin
handful of cilantro, roughly chopped
1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar/jack cheese mix
3/4 cup barbecue sauce of your choice
1 ball pizza dough

Slice the chicken breasts in half horizontally so they cook faster on the grill. Drizzle with a little oil to prevent sticking, and then sprinkle with Montreal Steak Seasoning. (Salt and Pepper would work for this step as well.) Grill the chicken until cooked through (Mine takes about 15 minutes on medium heat, flipping halfway through)

While the chicken is cooking, slice the vegetables and get everything ready on a board to take out to the grill.
Once the chicken is off the grill, turn it back up to high and clean off the excess spices from the chicken. Just before you put the dough on, turn the heat down to medium. Dice the chicken and mix it with a tablespoon or two of BBQ sauce to prevent it from drying out.

Roll out the dough and brush one side lightly with oil. This will stop it from sticking to the grates. Flip it on to the grill and let it cook until it is golden in color. This will not take very long, around 2-5 minutes depending on your grill. Brush the top side with lightly with oil and flip the dough over. Working relatively quickly, put some BBQ sauce on the pizza, then layer on the cheese, diced chicken, peppers, onions, and cilantro. Turn the heat to low and close the lid of the grill. Let the cheese melt and the vegetables become tender. They won’t cook completely because there is no heat source on the top. This works out fine for us because we don’t like to have cooked veggies on top of our pizza.

To get the dough turned over and also off the grill, we use a big pair of grilling tongs. They work pretty well in conjunction with a big grilling spatula.

Here is the finished product:

 
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Posted by on June 17, 2011 in General Food, Meals!

 

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Pork tenderloin and grilled vegetable salad

I was watching the food network this morning and Bobby Flay was cooking up something that looked delicious. It was a Pork Tenderloin Gyro and a Grilled Vegetable Couscous salad. I thought it looked good so I made a list of supplies and went to the store. Unfortunately, my regular grocery store was closed because the power was out 😦 I had to hit up the Albertsons nearby. Not only did I pay more than I thought was necessary but I also ended up with sub-par produce.

I have never made pork tenderloin before and it is one of those things that I was unsure about trying. I know that everyone eats their pork at medium rare now but seeing it that way always freaks me out. When I was a kid, pork was cooked until it was white. I consulted the newly updated USDA website and they did indeed say that pork tenderloin can be cooked to 145F safely. With my thermometer in hand, I started my first pork tenderloin meal.

The recipes can be found here:
http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/bobby-flay/pork-gyros-with-yogurt-tomato-sauce-recipe/index.html
http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/bobby-flay/toasted-israeli-couscous-salad-with-grilled-summer-vegetables-recipe/index.html

It turns out that I followed the wrong recipe for the couscous salad. I watched the Mediterranean episode this morning. When I did the search on the iPad for the recipes, I just searched for “grilled vegetable couscous.” He made a couscous grilled vegetable salad with lemon-balsamic vinaigrette but I made the recipe above. LOL @ not paying attention when doing a search. (I wondered why I remembered a shallot being in the dressing but it wasn’t on the list. I bought one anyway in case I had just missed it. Now I have a spare shallot!)

Couscous:


Pork Tenderloin:

Yogurt-Tomato sauce:

The Whole Meal:

I grabbed Cupcake Cabernet Sauvignon for the “dry red wine.” I am not a drinker at all but I know the merits of red wine in a marinade. I consulted Google for an article about a dry red wine and the first one recommended was a Cabernet. I decided to grab the Cupcake Vineyards one because I liked the name. Apparently, it is pretty good (according to Carter, who had a small glass after dinner). yay red wine!

The yogurt sauce was interesting to make. It had the essence of tzatziki sauce but with different hints of flavor from the capers and tomatoes. We chose to use baby spinach in the gyro to make it even more healthy.

Since I had never made couscous, I bought two 10oz boxes. The recipe said a pound of it so I thought I would need both. When I got home, I read the instructions on the box and it said that one box is 5 servings. I used one box and only the 2 cups of stock (The store didn’t have low sodium vegetable stock, so I used low sodium chicken stock instead.) instead of the stock and water.

All in all, I think it came out pretty good. I would have liked to have marinated the pork for longer than the 4 hours the recipe calls for. It had a good flavor but overnight would have been so much better. It easily fed 5 people with at least half of one of the tenderloins leftover. (I am thinking of doing a pork fried rice with the leftovers.) I really liked the couscous. I couldn’t find the Israeli one at the store but the small one was tasty anyway. I was a little worried that I had undercooked the pork but according to a million websites, I was right on target at 144-145F. The half we didn’t eat was slightly pinker than I would like it to be so when I eat the leftovers, I will just heat it up a little.

I took half the meal to my MIL’s house so she wouldn’t have to struggle with cooking tonight with her injured hand. They haven’t called to tell me if they liked it or not. Carter said he just isn’t a fan of pork but he really liked the yogurt-tomato sauce and also the couscous. I think if I had marinated the pork for longer, it would have had better flavor. I might try it again with chicken instead though. I don’t know if that would be weird with red wine.

I am going to go enjoy some of the new Jell-o that I found and also possibly some snickerdoodles from last night’s baking spree! 😀

 
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Posted by on June 15, 2011 in General Food, Meals!

 

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