Sunday, September 13, 2009

09.05.09: end of summer s'mores

Again, long time no post. I have no excuses either, but I haven't been cooking anything that exciting, or photo-worthy anyway. But last weekend I came across this recipe from Martha Stewart and I thought it was perfect for the unofficial end of summer, Labor Day. I also got a new tool which I am pretty excited about. Anyway here they are, in all their toasted marshmallowy, graham crackery, chocolatey goodness.

S'mores Cupcakes

2 1/4 cups plus 2T sugar
1 3/4 cups flour
3/4 cup plus 1T cocoa powder (not Dutch processed)
1 1/2t baking powder
1 1/2t baking soda
1t salt
2 eggs
1 cup whole milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2t pure vanilla extract
1 cup boiling water
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/3 cup unsalted butter melted
9 oz bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
Marshmallow Frosting (recipe below)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 standard muffin tins with cupcake liners; set aside.

Sift 2 cups plus 2T sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together into the bowl of an electric mixer. Mix ingredients together on low speed.

In a large bowl, mix together eggs, milk, oil, and vanilla. Add to flour mixture and beat on medium speed for 30 seconds. Scrape down sides of bowl and continue mixing on medium speed for 2 minutes. Add boiling water and stir to combine; set cake batter aside.

Place graham cracker crumbs, remaining 1/4 cup sugar, and melted butter in a large bowl; stir until well combined.

Place 1T graham cracker misture into the bottom of each prepared muffin cup. Use the bottom of a small glass to pack crumbs into the bottom of each cupcake liner. Reserve remaining graham cracker mixture for topping.

Place 2t chocolate in each muffin cup. Transfer muffin tins to over and bake until the edges of the graham crackeer mixture is golden, about 5 minutes. Remove from over and fill each muffin cup three-quarters full with cake battere. Sprinkle each with remaining chocolate and graham cracker mixture. Return to oven and bake, rotating pans halfway through baking, until tops are firm and a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean, 18-20 minutes. Transfer muffin tins to a wire rack and let cupcakes cool in pan for 10 minutes. Remove cupcakes from pan and let cool completely.

Transfer frosting to a large pastry bad fitted with a large plain round or French tip. Pipe frosting in spiral motion on each cupcake. Transfer cupcakes to a baking sheet. Using kitchen torch, lightly brown the frosting, taking care not to burn the cupcake liners. Serve immediately of store in an airtight container for up to 2 days.

Marshmallow Frosting


8 large egg whites
2 cups of sugar
1/2t cream of tartar
2t pure vanilla extract

Place egg whites, sugar, and cream of tartar in heatproof bowl. Set over a saucepan until sugar is dissolved and whites are warm to the touch, 3-4 minutes.

Transfer bowl to electric mixer and beat starting on low speed, gradually increasing to high, until stiff, glossy peaks form, 5-7 minutes. Add vanilla, and mix until combined. Use immediately.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

05.10.09: happy mother's day!

Lemon and Cranberry Scones 

1 1/2 tablespoons freshly grated lemon zest (from about 2 lemons)
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar plus 3 tablespoons additional if using fresh cranberries
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 stick (6 tablespoons) cold unsalted butter, cut into bits
1 1/4 cups fresh cranberries, chopped coarse, or 1 1/4 cups dried cranberries
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1 cup heavy cream

Preheat oven to 400°F. and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

With a zester remove the zest from lemons and chop fine, reserving lemons for another use.

In a food processor pulse flour, 1/2 cup sugar, baking powder, salt, butter and zest until mixture resembles coarse meal and transfer to a large bowl.

In a small bowl toss together fresh cranberries and 3 tablespoons sugar and stir into flour mixture. If using dried fruit, add to flour mixture.

In another small bowl lightly beat egg and yolk and stir in cream. Add egg mixture to flour mixture and stir until just combined.

On a well-floured surface with floured hands pat dough into a 1-inch-thick round (about 8 inches in diameter) and with a 2-inch round cutter or rim of a glass dipped in flour cut out as many rounds as possible, rerolling scraps as necessary. Arrange rounds about 1 inch apart on baking sheet and bake in middle of oven 15 to 20 minutes, or until pale golden.

Serve scones warm with creme fraiche or whipped cream. Scones keep, individually wrapped in plastic wrap and foil, chilled, 1 day or frozen 1 week.

04.26.09: springtime strawberries

Gorgonzola and Prosciutto Stuffed Chicken Breasts with Strawberry Gastrique
Cooking Light May 2009


1 cup chopped strawberries
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup sherry vinegar
1/3 cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth

1/4 cup crumbled Gorgonzola cheese
1 tsp fresh thyme leaves
2 oz prosciutto, chopped
4 (6oz) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
cooking spray
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 tsp freshly ground black pepper

To prepare sauce, place strawberries in a small, heavy saucepan; partially mash with a fork. Stir in sugar, vinegar, broth, and coriander; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer until reduced to 2/3 cup (about 30 minutes), stirring occasionally. Strain mixture through a sieve over a bowl; discard solids.

To prepare chicken, combine cheese, thyme, and prosciutto in a bowl. Cut a horizontal slit through thickest portion of each chicken breast half to form a pocket; spoon 3 tablespoons cheese mixture into each pocket.

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Sprinkle both sides of chicken evenly with salt and pepper. Add chicken to pan; cook 5 minutes or until browned. Turn chicken over; cook 4 minutes or until done. Serve with sauce.

04.16.09: spicy peanut brittle

Chipotle Peanut Brittle
Cooking Light May 2009


Cooking Spray
1 cup sugar
1 cup light-colored corn syrup
1 tbsp butter
1  11.5oz container salted, dry-roasted peanuts
1  1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tbsp chipotle chile powder

Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper; coat paper with cooking spray.

Combine sugar, corn syrup, and butter in a large, heavy saucepan over medium heat. Cook 18 minutes or until a candy thermometer registers 275 degrees, stirring frequently. Add peanuts; cook 3 minutes or until a candy thermometer registers 295 degrees, stirring constantly. Remove from heat; stir in baking soda and chile powder. (The baking soda will cause the mixture to bubble and become opaque.)

Quickly pour mixture onto prepared pan; cover with a sheet of parchment paper. Using a rolling pin, quickly roll mixture to an even thickness. Discard top parchment sheet. Cool mixture completely; break into pieces. Store in an airtight container.

03.12.09: perfect chocolate chip cookies

This recipe promised to outdo Nestle Toll House's classic. I was of course intrigued. the amounts are slightly different but the main difference may be the browning of the butter which makes the cookies chewier and enhances the flavor and also letting the sugar to rest in the liquids so that it caramelizes when baking. I was not disappointed at all!

Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies 
By Cook's Illustrated May/June 2009

1   3/4 cups flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
14 tbsp (1.75 sticks) unsalted butter
1/2 cup granulated white sugar
3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 tsp salt
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1 3/4 cups semisweet chocolate chips (Ghiradelli are the best)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper.

Whisk flour and baking soda together in medium bowl; set aside.

Heat 10 tbsp in 10-inch skillet over medium-high heat until melted, about 2 minutes. Continue cooking, swirling pan constantly intil butter is dark golden brown and has nutty aroma, 1-3 minutes. Remove skillet from heat and, using heatproof spatula, transfer browned butter to large heatproof bowl. Stir remaining 4 tbsp butter into hot butter until completely melted.

Add both sugars, salt, and vanilla to bowl with butter and whisk until fully incorporated. Add egg and yolk and whisk until mixture is smooth with no sugar lumps remaining, about 30 seconds. Let mixture stand 3 minutes, then whisk for 30 seconds. Repeat process of resting and whisking 2 more times until mixture is thick, smooth, and shiny. Using rubber spatula or wooden spoon, stir in flour mixture until just combined, about 1 minute. Stir in chocolate chips, giving dough final stir to ensure no flour pockets remain. 

Divide dough into 16 portions, each about 3 tbsp. Arrange 2 inches apart on prepared baking sheets, 8 dough balls per sheet.

Bake cookies 1 tray at a time until cookies are golden brown and still puffy, and edges have begun to set but centers are still soft, 10 -14 minutes, rotating baking sheet halfway through  baking. Cool cookies on rack before serving.

04.03.09: rainy night margaritas

Long time no post! Things have been busy over here at the Red Bug Kitchen...but still cookin' ! I'm going to play catch up today with a few recipes and pictures of what's been going on.
First off, rainy night margaritas and fajita paninis! about a month ago, it was a rainy friday and the workday was dragging, so I had to think of a fun dinner to plan to get me through the afternoon....that's when I found this recipe on the Food Network:

Fajita Paninis with Chipotle Mayonnaise by Emeril Lagasse

1lb top round sirloin, sliced into 1/4 inch wide strips
2 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
1 tsp kosher salt
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 medium onion, halved and thinly sliced
1/2 green bell pepper, sliced into 1/4 wide strips
1/2 red bell pepper, sliced into 1/4 wide strips
1/2 yellow bell pepper, sliced into 1/4 wide strips
1/2 tsp minced garlic
1/4 tsp salt
vegetable oil
pinch ground black pepper
8 pieces panini bread
4 oz shredded pepper jack cheese
chipotle mayonnaise, recipe follows

Place the sirloin strips, smashed garlic, kosher salt, pepper, lemon juice, and cumin in a plastic ziploc bag and marinate at room temperature for 30 minutes.

Drain and discard the liquid off of the marinated steak, remove and discard the garlic cloves and set aside. Heat 2 tbsp of the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add the onions and cook, stirring, 2 minutes. Add the reserved steak and the bell pepper an cook, stirring 2 minutes. Add the minced garlic and cook an additional 1-2 minutes, or until the steak is at the desired degree of doneness. Season with 1/4 tsp of salt and pepper, remove from heat and set aside.

Spread 1 tbsp of chipotle mayo over each half of the panini bread. Divde the steak, onion, and pepper mixture over 4 pieces of bread. Top with shredded cheese and the other panini half.

Heat and press with panini press or George Forman grill.

Chipotle Mayonnaise:

1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp mayonnaise
1 chipotle pepper in adobo, seeds removed and roughly chopped, about 2 tsp)
2 tsp adobo sauce
1/2 tsp minced garlic
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp dried crushed oregano

Place all ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend on high until smooth, about 30 seconds.
 Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Serve with margaritas:

lime juice from 2 limes
1 part tequila
1 part Grand Marnier

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

03.17.09: i've traded drinking for baking...

I picked up a new decorating tool this weekend, so in honor of St. Patrick's Day, I had to try it out. These are the same chocolate and whiskey cupcakes seen below. They aren't perfect of course, but not bad considering most stuff that comes out of my kitchen never looks that nice (taste and appearance are two very different things). I will get better with it though! The tool also came with a long tip to inject the cupcakes with ganache instead of cutting and filling holes. Less work, but harder to tell how much is going in.

St. Patrick's Day 2009