27 February 2009

National Kahlua Day

So dave said “it’s Kahlua day can you make something “ I said “SURE OF COURSE I’ve been looking for an excuse to make Kahlua cake”.

WELL suddenly it was Sunday night, the weekend had passed and I hadn’t gotten to the cake BUT we did have a box of brownie mix. SO I thought OH I can make “white russian” brownies by making cream cheese brownies but adding vodka to the cream cheese and kahlua to the brownie mix.

You can see the results below… TASTY but disastrous.

Not sure if it was my off the cuff baking or inability to wait until something is cool to take it out of the pan BUT, these DID NOT make it from pan to plate ok. Looking to remedy the situation, I thought oh what the hell I’ll just Paula Dean them (that is add some butter) so I started to slather icing on top thinking I could make it look like a cake (icing hides flaws) well, I ran out of icing so I just plopped a large spoonful in a bowl with some ice cream poured a little Kahlua on top and dug in…yes they are ugly but I’ll be damned if they don't taste like a white Russian dream .

SO- if you make this for guests and have the same issue just prep it out of their sight… they will still believe you to be the hostess with the most (if all else fails fill them with any leftover vodka)

Uh-OH White Russian Brownies

  • 2 packages (8 oz. size) cream cheese softened
  • 3 eggs
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 2 TBS cup flour
  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 3/4 cup Kahlua
  • 1/4 cup vodka
  • 1 Box Brownie Mix (store bought)


Cream together cream cheese, 1 egg, 1/4 cup sugar, vodka, 2 Tbsp flour and 2 Tbsp soft butter, set aside.

In a separate bowl mix brownies according to package instructions for “fudgy brownies- usually 2 eggs instead of 3) Stir in 1/2 cup Kahlua; mix well.

Pour half brownie mixture in a buttered and lightly floured 9" baking pan.

Add cream cheese mixture smooth around (be careful not to scrape the bottom of the pan)

add remaining brownie mixture.- smooth around some more. Bake at 325 F for about 30 minutes.

When cool brush with 1/4 cup of remaining Kahlua.


Add icing if you like and DEFINITELY Serve with ice cream

24 February 2009

Hungarian Goulash

The alternative title of this post is "A Dutch Oven is not just a joke!"

This Goulash was the trial run for a Christmas-gift Dutch oven, the results were terrific and yielded not only several lunches but also plenty of late-night post-drink snacks. It comes from a Cook's Illustrated book called The Best Recipe. Very modest, Cook's.

3 lbs beef chuck, cubed
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
4 ox sliced bacon, cut into pieces
2 medium-large onions, about 2 cups chopped
1 medium red pepper, chopped
6 garlic clovers minced
2 tbsp sweet paprika
3 tbsp flour
1 cup white wine
2 cups chicken stock or broth
2 bay leaves
1 tsp dried thyme
4 large carrots, sliced
1/4 cup minced fresh parsley
1/2 cup sour cream

1. Heat oven to 250 degrees. Put beef in a bowl and coat with the salt and pepper. Fry the bacon in the Dutch oven over medium heat until golden brown. Drain bacon, saving the drippings separately. Increase heat to medium-high and heat 2 tbsp of drippings in Dutch oven. Add half of meat and brown on all sides. Remove and set aside, then repeat with another tbsp of drippings and remaining meat. Set these aside.
2. Add onions and red pepper to empty Dutch oven and saute until softened. Add garlic, paprika, and flour and cook for another minute or two. Add wine, scraping up any browned bits stuck to the pot. Add stock, bay leaves, and thyme, and bring to a simmer. Add meat and bacon bits and return to a simmer. Cover and place pot in oven. Cook for 1 hour.
3. Remove pot from oven and add carrots. Cover and return pot to oven. Cook just until meat is tender. 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Remove pot from oven.
4. Stir in parsley and sour cream, discard bay leaves, adjust seasonings, and serve. (Don't simmer the stew once you've added the cream or it will curdle.)

You could easily eat this on its own, but it's best served over egg noodles.

22 February 2009

jimmy's no. 43

This NYC bar gave us a nod on this day exactly four months ago.  I figured we should mark the occasion with a link back.  Also,  I just noticed.

Either way, gotta love folks who get on the slow food movement.

20 February 2009

Spicy White Bean Soup with Broccoli

This is one of those on-the-fly soups that will probably never be fully replicated, but I am going to post the recipe anyway.

The stock I used for this soup had a fortifying tomato base, a result of frying a few tablespoons of tomato paste in the stockpot before adding the rest of the vegetables (which I almost always do because, because it’s good). I also added a dried, very hot pepper that would have stolen the show had I not removed it halfway through the simmering.

I cannot stress enough how much of an improvement homemade stock is. Not just in this recipe, but in life. A few months ago I wrote up a few recipes and guidelines here.

Dried beans are much better than canned. You lose the slime and the slightly fishy taste. To prepare dried beans for cooking, you need to rinse and pick through them for any stones or discolored beans, put them in a bowl and cover them with 2 inches of water, and let them soak in the refrigerator for at least eight hours or overnight. After drained, they are ready for use.

Some bright green herb might complement this recipe—cilantro or parsley, or even watercress or spinach whizzed up with the beans. Also, a few gratings of lemon zest or drops of lemon juice might be good.

Spicy White Bean Soup with Broccoli

Serves 2 really hungry people, or 4 not-so-hungry people

2 T olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 medium carrot or two small, chopped
1 celery rib, chopped
1 bay leaf
2 T tomato paste
1/4 to 1/2 t red pepper flakes
1/2 cup dry red wine
3/4 cup white navy beans, soaked for 8 hours or overnight
12 cups vegetable stock
1 head broccoli, chopped into small florets, and the stem peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
Salt and pepper to taste

Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion, carrot, celery, and bay leaf. “Sweat” the vegetables—cook them until they are soft but not browned, 8-10 minutes. Add the tomato paste and red pepper flakes, stirring to coat, and cook for about a minute. Then add the wine, and cook until the wine is reduced by half. Then add the beans and the stock and bring everything to a boil. Turn the heat down, bringing the soup to a simmer, and cover the pot, cooking until the beans are tender; it may take anywhere from one to two hours, so taste as you go. Once they are ready, carefully puree the soup in a blender or food processor. Return the soup to the pot and bring it to a simmer. Add the broccoli. When the broccoli is fork tender, turn of the heat, adjust the seasonings, and serve.

19 February 2009

cheese and vegetable quiche

200 grams flour
100 grams margarine
water (2 -3 tablespoons approx)

Eggs (2/3), milk and....anything! In this case I included tomato, garlic, onion, spinach and mushroom, with feta cheese in one, and cheddar cheese in the other. (feta quiche is on the right).

1. Heat oven to 250 degrees celcius (or 230 with fan oven).

2. Make the pastry by sieving the flour with some salt and then mixing in all the butter. use a little water to make it a bit more moist and then knead the whole mixture together. Then use a rolling pin, and with some flour sprinkled over the counter, roll out portions of the pastry to line the dishes. (this is the procedure for Short Pastry...I chose it simply because it was the easiest!). Line the dishes with the pastry, trim the edges, and prick the pastry at the bottom a few times with a fork.

3. You need to cook the pastry by itself for a short while first, so pop into oven at 250 degrees celcius (or 230 if its a fan oven), for 3-5 minutes. When the pastry is done, take it from the oven and flatten it down if it has risen. Lower the oven to 200 - 230 degrees.

4. Chop all the vegetables and put them into the pastry lined dish. Add the cheese and season with salt and pepper.

5. Mix the eggs and add a little milk and seasoning. Then pour the mixture over the vegetables in the dish. Try to make sure the egg is covering all of it, in particular the spinach leaves...don't want them going all crackley....

6. Cook the quiche in the oven at 200 - 230 degrees for 15 - 20 minutes.

Observation: I used grated chedder in one, and when cooked, the cheese was spread evenly throughout the whole quiche, and had a really strong flavour. It was much nicer than the feta quiche, in which I had put chunks of the feta. But I should have put in more, it wasn't as prominent a flavour as I hoped it would be...so definitely overdo it on the chunks of feta cheese if you want the flavour to come through properly!

18 February 2009

Workout Queen's Spicy Sauteed Garbanzos with Meat

  • 1/2 lb. ground beef 
  • 1 tsp. plus 1 Tbl. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp of your favorite meat seasoning
  • 2 cans chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drain and save liquid 
  • 1 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. ground chipotle chile powder, more or less to taste
  • 1 1/2 tsp. minced garlic
  • salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
  • *optional: 1/2 cup finely chopped cilantro, plus more for garnish if desired


  1. Drain chickpeas and save the liquid.
  2. Heat 1 tsp. olive oil in a large deep trying pan over high heat
  3. Add ground beef, crumbling into pieces as you put it into the pan. Add seasoning.
  4. As you cook the meat, make sure to break it up into small pieces.
  5. When the meat is browning and is broken up, add the garbanzos. 
  6. Keep the heat high, saute meat and garbanzos together until meat is well browned and garbanzos start to change to brown. (10-15 minutes depending on stove temperature. (if the mixture starts to stick turn down the heat a little.)
  7. Add ground cumin, ground chile powder, and minced garlic. Mix it all around. 
  8. Cook for about a minute more. 
  9. Add garbanzo liquid now to the mixture. Scrape the bottom of the pan to loosen any meat from the pan.
  10. Season with salt and pepper, then reduce heat and simmer until most of the liquid has evaporated (about 10-15 minutes)
  11. Turn off heat and serve hot.
  12. *optional: Stir in chopped cilantro and the 1 T olive oil. Add salt and pepper to taste.
I'm BAAAACKKK!! Yes, boys and girls...after just completing a half-marathon, I am back in action and ready to cook for YOU!! During my 8 weeks of training I was trying to figure out ways to give my body the proper nutrition it needs to be energized and ready for super-training action. So I read this book Food for Fitness: Eat Right to Train Right By: Chris Carmichael's, and if there is anything like a training BIBLE...this is it. If you're training hard, pick yourself up a copy because it really helped me to get to know what and how I should be eating, especially to replenish depleted carbs and proteins from my body. This recipe is perfect to boost up the carbs because of the garbanzos and has a great amount of protein as well. The ground beef is high in protein as well, so this meal is quite nutritious and I would eat it as a lunch (before working-out) or a dinner before a good training day to come. It's flavorful, tasty and gives your body what it needs to stay focused and motivated. Don't think I'm going to slack on you guys anymore, cause I'm definitely not! We are just at the beginning of a triathlon season, and it's time to get-in-SHAPE!!! (By the way, my camera broke, so sorry that my pictures are terrible) Comment and let me know what you think!

17 February 2009

Fresh Mozerella and Pesto Grilled Cheese with Zesty Sauteed Kale

Fresh Mozzarella and Pesto Grilled Cheese with Zesty Sauteed Kale


  • 1 cup Simple Basil Pesto
  • 2 slices Tuscon style bread
  • 1 ball mozzarella thickly sliced
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 bunch fresh thoroughly cleaned kale
  • 2 Tbs butter
  • 1/3 cup water
  1. Bring water and butter to a boil in medium sauce pan and reduce medium heat
  2. Cut kale into thumb sized strips
  3. Add kale to simmering water and add salt, pepper, and cayenne pepper and stir
  4. Heat griddle pan or flat frying pan and cover with olive oil on medium low heat
  5. Spread a decent amount of pesto on one side of the bread, layer mozzarella and cover with another pesto covered bread slice
  6. Place sandwiches on your pan and place a small plate flat side down on top of sandwiches and place a heavy object on it (pressing the sandwich on the pan)
  7. Check after a few minutes and flip once side is golden brown
  8. Stir kale when you flip and crank heat to high on the kale
  9. Once your other side is golden brown remove both kale and sandwiches from heat. Kale should have been cooked for at least 10 minutes
  10. Plate both and enjoy
I love LOVE LOVE sandwiches with pesto. I also love the flavor combo of the fresh mozzarella and pesto....yummy! So when I made the pesto I knew I had to have it with toasted bread and melted cheese. When I thought about making this I initally thought soup and sandwich. I quickly changed my mind when I saw the kale in the fridge. Kale is tasty, easy to cook and can be treated just like spinach. I definitely recommend everyone try this combo instead of going the soup route. I hope yall enjoy!

16 February 2009

Salvadorian Amaretto Chocolate Brownies with Walnuts

Salvadorian Amaretto Chocolate Brownies with Walnuts

  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, plus more for pan
  • 6 ounces 70% coco chocolate
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • Pinch salt
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1/3 cup Salvadorian Amaretto liqueur
  • 1 1/2 cups walnuts
  • Powdered sugar, for garnish
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Grease baking pan thoroughly with butter so the brownies don't stick
  3. Melt butter and chocolate over a double-boiler (bowl over a pot of boiling water) and stir gently until smooth and shiny
  4. Remove from the heat and cool slightly
  5. Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt into a mixing bowl and set aside
  6. Whisk together eggs, sugar and amaretto in a mixing bowl until combined
  7. Pour in chocolate mixture and continue to whisk until combined
  8. Add flour mixture, then add walnuts and incorporate with a spoon
  9. Transfer batter to baking pan and bake for 40 to 45 minutes or until a knife comes out clean when inserted into the middle of the pan
  10. Let cool completely and serve
I first saw this recipe on the Food Network show Tyler's Ultimate. It looked mighty good. When I went to go make them I decided to up the amount of Amaretto so that you could taste its almondy goodness....and mmmm they were mighty good. You should make sure to keep an eye on these while they are in the over so they dont overcook and get dry on you. This is a good one for the chocolate and nut lovers. Hope yall enjoy!

15 February 2009

Goody Goody Gum Drops!

In case you did not know, February 15 is National Gumdrop Day. In honor of this holiday, I would like to share a recipe for old fashioned gum drops. According to creativehomemaking.com, it is pretty easy:


1 1/2 cups unsweetened applesauce
1 6-oz. package any flavor fruit-flavored gelatin
2 envelopes un-flavored gelatin
2 cups granulated sugar
1 tsp. lemon juice
Additional granulated sugar for coating


1. Mix the first 5 ingredients together in a saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently. Bring to a boil and boil for 1 minute.

2. Spray a 9 x 9-inch pan with non-stick cooking spray.

3. Pour the gelatin mixture into the pan and refrigerate for 3 hours.

4. Cut the set mixture into 1-inch squares and carefully remove them from the pan.

5. Roll the candies in sugar until coated.

Refrigerate to store.

Happy gum drop making!

14 February 2009

Bleeding Heart Cupcakes

Posting this recipe was a bit of a debate. On one hand, they're a little too sweet and Yumsugar omitted the baking time (though we've added it below). On the other, they still taste pretty good, and are fun for Valentine's Day.

The cake itself is good and not too sweet, but stuffing it with jelly and topping it all off with frosting makes it go from 0 to 60 in about 30 seconds. Eating more than one might induce diabetic shock, but moderation is key, and at least they look cool - especially if you can fashion the anatomical topping on this post. We suggest a cream cheese or mascarpone frosting to cut some of the sweetness that comes with the jelly, but we've included the original buttercream recipe below.

White Cupcakes
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2/3 cups unsalted butter, softened
1 3/4 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 1/4 cups whole milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract

20 glass marbles or small balls of tinfoil
2 to 3 cups strawberry jelly or smooth strawberry jam

  1. Sift the flour, baking powder, and salt together in a medium bowl.

  2. In a separate, larger bowl, cream the butter. Gradually add the sugar, creaming until light and fluffy.

  3. Add the eggs one at a time, and beat well after each addition.

  4. In a small bowl, combine the milk and vanilla.

  5. To the butter mixture, add about one quarter of the flour mixture and mix well. Add about one quarter of the milk mixture and mix well. Continue alternating the flour mixture and milk mixture, beating after each addition until smooth.

  6. Line cupcake tins with paper liners. Fill the liners two-thirds full with the batter. Place 1 marble or tinfoil ball between each liner and the tin. This will make a dent in your cupcake when it bakes to make it heart shaped.

  7. Bake about 20-25 minutes at 350. If you are using marbles, be careful when removing the cupcakes from the tins because the marbles will be very hot.

  8. When the cake is cool, with a small paring knife, cut out a circle about the size of a dime in the center of each cupcake, going about two thirds of the way in. Pull the little plug of cake out. Cut off the top of this piece (about 1/2 inch thick) and eat the bottom. Use a teaspoon or a squeeze bottle to fill the hole partway with the strawberry jelly "blood." Put the little cake plug back in. Continue with the rest of the hearts.

Vanilla Butter Cream Frosting
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
4 cups powdered sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1/3 cup whole milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract

  1. In a large bowl, cream the butter until smooth.

  2. Add the powdered sugar, salt, milk, and vanilla and mix until smooth and creamy.

  3. Put one-third of the frosting into two separate bowls. Color one bowl of frosting with the red food coloring. Tint the other bowl of the frosting blue. Tint the remaining two-thirds pink.

  4. Frost the cupcakes with the pink frosting. Make it super smooth by dipping a butter or frosting/palette knife in a bowl of hot water and smoothing it over the top. With a pastry bag or a knife, use the red and blue frosting to make veins on the hearts (as you'll see below, we skipped these steps).

13 February 2009

this is why you're fat

Mega Double Stuff Oreo (via jasongraphix)

To quote OMG blog, "I mean, not even Paula Dean could come up with recipes this fantastically fattening and delicious." Please check out the blog "where dreams become heart attacks."

12 February 2009

Salvadorian Amaretto Apple Pecan Muffins

Salvadorian Amaretto Apple Pecan Muffins
  • 1 cup Salvadorian Amaretto
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 cups grated apples
  • 1 cup pecans
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 11/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups wheat flour


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F
  2. Combine the Amaretto, sugar, apples, , butter, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves in a saucepan and bring to a boil
  3. Remove the pan from the heat and cool completely
  4. In a large bowl sift baking soda and flour together
  5. Add the cooled mixture to the bowl, nuts and stir until blended
  6. Fill greased miniature muffin tins with batter to the top
  7. Bake for 20 minutes.
So I have to thank Paula Deen for showing me the shell for this recipe. She made her's with water instead of Amaretto and raisins instead of pecans...silly lady! I bet you are wondering what is making this a Salvadorian dish? Its the amaretto I got from El Salvador. If you dont have any on hand feel free to use any Amaretto, but note it is no longer a Salvadorian Dish. I am not a fan of cooked fruit, but these are delicious. The pecans help me get over my cooked fruit phobia. Once you make them you will be in love. They are the moistest muffins I have ever made and they are tasty as hell! I hope you all enjoy.

11 February 2009

don't cry over spilled milk ...

...day. yup.

so on this national holiday, i think of kitchen katastrophe.

don't ask me why. simply remember to bake with good intentions and without repercussions and all will be forgiven. don't cry over spilled milk.

10 February 2009

Orange-Polenta Cake with Caramel Topping

I am still fiddling with this cake. The original recipe, from February's Gourmet, calls for a rich, orange-hued, textured cake that is baked in a bed of caramel and navel orange slices, and then inverted and topped with a shimmering of orange marmalade glaze before serving.

I followed the recipe verbatim the first go ‘round, except that I couldn’t find orange-blossom water and used a half-teaspoon of orange extract instead. That was a mistake, which resulted in a cloyingly orange cake. In fact, I felt the whole thing was too citrusey, and decided in my next attempt to restructure it around the delicious cake batter. The combination of polenta and almond meal is like an edgy version of Greek honey cake, and while I didn’t like it being baked in the caramel, which added a burnt, overwhelming richness that didn’t appeal to me (or the bed of orange slices—too reminiscent of pineapple upside-down cake, which has always disgusted me), I did like the addition of a dose of caramel.

Below is the recipe I’ve arrived at so far. I folded pine nuts into the batter, which are not imperative, eliminated the upside-down aspect and the marmalade glaze, and served it dripping with orange-infused caramel (based on Ina Garten’s recipe). Be careful to not over-bake the cake; it can easily dry out.

(Also, sorry I didn't remember the camera until everything was almost eaten. It is a lovely thing to behold when encased in caramel.)

Orange-Polenta Cake with Caramel Topping

Serves 8

7 oz butter, room temp (1-3/4 sticks)
1 cup sugar
3 eggs
2 t orange-blossom water
2 t grated orange zest
1/2 cup flour
1 t baking powder
1/2 t salt
2 cups almond meal (7 ounces
2/3 cup quick-cooking polenta
1/2 cup toasted pine nuts

Orange-caramel topping
3/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup water
3/4 cup heavy cream, separated
1/2 t orange extract
1/4 t vanilla
pinch fleur de sel

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Beat butter and sugar with an electric mixer until just combined. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the orange-blossom water and zest.

Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture, the almond meal, and polenta and stir until just combined. Stir in the pine nuts by hand.

Pour into a 9-inch round cake pan that has been fitted with a round piece of parchment paper and buttered and dusted with polenta on the edges. Bake for 1 hour, until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out almost clean. Cool.

To make the caramel, stir together sugar and water in a heavy bottomed saucepan. Cover and cook until the sugar dissolves. Uncover and turn up the heat, cooking the mixture until it turns a dark amber color, about five minutes, watching very closely towards the end. Stand back and pour in 2/3 cups of the cream, the extracts and pinch of salt. Cook, gently stirring once the furious steaming subsides, until thick and smooth, about two minutes. Stir in the remaining cream, pour into a heat-proof container, and cool to room temperature.

Pour the caramel over the cooled cake, spreading evenly so that it drips decoratively down the edges. Serve immediately.

09 February 2009

please welcome ...


...lukas!  he's been here for a minute now.  please judge him worthy according to the talent evidenced by this angel food cake, musings on very cold glassware & his point of origin, thanks for sharing.

07 February 2009

Simple Basil Pesto

Basil pesto


  • 1/2 cup pine nuts
  • 2 cups fresh loosely packed basil leaves
  • 1 cup fresh loosely packed parsley leaves
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan or Romano
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

  1. Toast pine nuts in a skillet over medium heat until fragrant, about 5 minutes
  2. Combine all ingredients in a food processor
  3. Pulse until well combined

So this is a great all around pesto. Great on sandwiches, pasta, salads...your fingers! Ha...its mighty tasty. As written you notice all the herbs and cheese when you taste it, if you are a fan of salt you should play around with the amount. I hope you enjoy.

05 February 2009

Make Your Own: Pita Chips

Minimum Effort---Maximum Result---Satisfaction Guaranteed

These turned out great.
To quote [dave] “these are good…you could bag and sell these good”

These chips are spicy, crunchy and have the added bonus of fiber. You can season them however you like so after you try it once, don’t be afraid to get creative. If you substitute the cayenne for cumin you’ll get sexy smoky chips. The only caveat, they don’t keep well so only make enough for immediate use (considering how easy they are that should not be too much of an issue)

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 6-7 minutes
Serves: 6

• 1/3 cup olive oil
• 4 teaspoons chili powder
• 3 teaspoons cayenne pepper powder
• 3 teaspoons garlic powder
• 6 whole wheat pita pockets (medium size)
• Salt to taste

1.Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. Combine oil and powders in a small bowl
3. Cut pita into quarter (cut them in half once then cut the halves in half) and separate the tops from the bottoms
4. Place pita pieces in a large bowl. Pour oil over pita pieces while moving pieces around until evenly coated.
5. Transfer to a cooking sheet and bake for 6-7 minutes until brown (watch’em though cuz they will quickly go from brown to burnt

Serve with your favorite hummus or dip and enjoy

04 February 2009

Beach Themed Cupcakes


Recently, I went to a Cupcakes and Champagne party. Clearly, this was a great reason to make themed cupcakes. In the dead of winter, what theme is most desirable? You got it: Beach themed cupcakes. I was inspired by yogi_lo's beach themed cupcakes on flickr and decided to create my own.


For the cupcake, I made both cappuccino brownie and vanilla funfetti bases. For the frosting, I took some "white" whipped frosting and added some blue food color until I got the desired sea blue. I used graham cracker crumbs for the sand and Teddy Grahams as my beach-goers. The rest of the elements were hand formed out of marzipan and tinted accordingly with food coloring.


I made a variety of scenes. I made happy swimming and surfing scenes, and also some shark attack and red tide scenes. I had SO much fun making these... maybe too much fun.

03 February 2009

Carrot Cake Alternatives

Since today is National Carrot Cake Day, you might expect us to post a classic recipe of the vegetable-infused baked good. But here at mad tasty (and Shake and Bake HQ), we don't succumb to the expected. So while the crumbly sweetness of carrot cake is all well and good, we want to introduce a few alternatives with which to celebrate the day. Who knows, maybe these will have their own holidays soon!

Hummingbird cake is apparently a Southern recipe and makes are one of our all-time favorites cupcakes, perfect if you're looking for a chocolate-free dessert. We've seen a bunch of recipes (Martha even has one, video included) and each is just a bit different. Some add coconut (which we think is a good addition to any cake), some call for pecans or walnuts (though we opted for toasted almonds), and the recipe is so simple that you can probably just wing it. We went with the one from Cupcake Bakeshop today, since it uses oil instead of butter and because we miss this blog being active.

Hummingbird Cupcakes
makes 24 cupcakes

3 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
3 eggs
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1-1/2 tsp vanilla
1 8oz can crushed pineapple, with liquid
2 mashed bananas (the browner the better, though ours are lacking in ripeness)
1 cup slivered almonds, toasted

1. Mix flour, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon, salt with a whisk in a good sized bowl.
2. Beat eggs.
3. Add oil and vanilla to beaten eggs and mix until somewhat combined.
4. Add egg/oil/vanilla mixture to flour/sugar/baking soda/cinnamon/salt mixture.
5. Mix together pineapple, bananas, pecans until combined.
6. Add to the rest of ingredients and stir to combine.

Bake at 350 degrees for ~25 minutes until golden and a cake tester comes out clean. Top with cream cheese frosting (recipe below).

The almonds add an interesting little crunch though, to be honest, we think these were better last time when we made them with pecans - especially if you toast those babies for a few seconds before tossing them in your batter. Toasting isn't necessary, but it really makes the nutty flavor pop, and is helpful in adding more flavor to your cookies. But we digress...

Cream Cheese Frosting (for 12 cupcakes, but it's much easier to double and use for two dozen)

4 tablespoons softened butter
4 oz softened cream cheese
2 cups confectioners sugar (note: for a frosting that's not as sweet, you can stick with 2 cups sugar even if you double the recipe)
½ tsp vanilla

In a medium bowl, with an electric mixer, beat butter and cream cheese until smooth. Add 2 cups confectioners sugar and 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract. Beat until light and fluffy.

We like this recipe for cream cheese frosting because it uses less cream cheese and butter to make the same amount of frosting. Maybe it's a scientific miracle, but we think if you combine almost any amount cream cheese, butter, powdered sugar, and vanilla you'll get a passable frosting.

For those who really want veggies in their sweets, consider Zucchini cupcakes. We don't know where this recipe came from, but not to worry - it's tried and true.

Zucchini cupcakes (yields 12)

1 1/2 cups flour
1 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1 zucchini (grated/shredded)
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs lightly beaten
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 and line cupcake pan with paper or foil liners. In a medium bowl, mix together flour, brown sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. Mix in nuts.

In another bowl, combine zucchini, oil, eggs, and vaninlla. Add to flour mixture and mix until combined. Divide batter evenly among cups. Bake until a toothpick inserted into center comes out clean, about 40-45 minutes. Cool and add cream cheese frosting (frosted cupcakes are best eaten within one day, but honestly, why would you wait?).

today is national ..

carrot cake day. i'm a fan. you?

02 February 2009

BreakFast Tacos

BreakFast Tacos

Minimum Effort---Maximum Result---Satisfaction guaranteed
Nutritious and Delicious

These take no time at all and will fill you up without slowing you down.

Time: 7 minutes
Makes: 3 tacos (one is enough for me but my man will eat 2)

• 3 Medium Flour Tortillas
• 3 Small Handfuls Shredded Cheddar Jack Cheese
• 3 Large Spoonfuls of refried beans (you can buy them in a can, I use the fat-free kind)
• 2 Eggs
• 3 egg whites
• 1/2 cup frozen peppers
• 2 teaspoons chilli powder
• 2 teaspoons cumin
• Salt and Pepper to tase

1. Place tortillas on a piece of foil and spread 2 spoonfuls of refried beans on each

2. Place a frying pan on stove over medium heat.
3. Spray with cooking spray and add peppers.
4. While peppers are cooking sprinkle a handle of cheese on each tortilla
5. Once peppers are thawed (1-2 minutes) and seasoning
6. When you can smell the seasonings add eggs and egg whites then scramble.
7. Once cooked place eggs on top of tortillas fold in half and serve

If you are running out of the house simply wrap in the foil and go.

01 February 2009

Gin and Tonic cupcakes

What better food to bring to a cocktail party than a snack that's based on a cocktail? Combining alcohol and baked goods is right up our alley, so we decided on these Gin & Tonic cupcakes from Yumsugar for a cocktail party we attended.

2 medium egg whites
Pinch of sea salt
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 cup confectioner's sugar, sifted
1/4 cup flour
1 1/2 tablespoons tonic water

*This recipe makes 12 cupcakes, but we doubled it and made them mini for the purpose of this cocktail party snack.

1/2 cup mascarpone
1 tablespoon gin
2 tablespoons corn syrup
Green food coloring
Lime slices covered in sugar or lime jelly candies, for garnish

*We added one more tablespoon of corn syrup and a couple teaspoons of Rose's lime juice to make this sweeter, but beware - it changes the consistency of the frosting.

Preheat the oven to 325° Fahrenheit.

With an electric hand mixer, beat the egg whites in a large bowl with salt and cream of tartar until they are risen, like a soft merengue. Now beat in the sugar, a couple of tablespoons at a time, sprinkling it over the egg whites and beating about 20 seconds with each addition. Fold the sifted flour into the meringue in three stages, and then stir in the tonic water.

Arrange muffin paper baking cups inside a muffin tin and fill two thirds full. Bake for 15-20 minutes until lightly golden on the surface and still springy to the touch. We figured out that when these are really golden brown they're more chewy than cakey, so try not to overbake. Remove and let cool.

Spoon mascarpone into a bowl and beat in the gin and then the syrup and tint it the palest green with a little food coloring. This ended up tasting cheesy and not very sweet, so we added some more corn syrup and some Rose's lime juice. Unfortunately, the exra liquid and over-mixing made the frosting less creamy and separate a bit, so it tasted better, but looked a little off. If anyone has a solution to this, please let us know. Anyway, frost and top with a lime slice or candy.

These cupcakes are light and soft, a lot like angel food cake. They don't taste much like tonic, but the lightness kind of gives the illusion of a mixer.

Now, it's no secret on this blog that Bake hates gin. Luckily, this frosting is creamy and just a little sweet, so it's the perfect way for her to work her way up to actually imbibing the juniper liquor.


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