Monday, April 25, 2011

Chocolate Stout Cupcakes

Over the weekend,
I made two dozen cupcakes for my cousin's thirtieth birthday.
I love celebrating birthdays as it is a reason for me to bake for friends and family.
My cousin loves Guinness
(it must run in the family)
I decided on making
Guinness Chocolate Stout cupcakes with a Bailey's Irish Cream Cream Cheese Frosting.
For the cupcakes I used this recipe
but when it came to the frosting I improvised.
Cream Cheese frostings are by far one of the easiest frostings to make
I prefer them to most others.
The cupcakes were a hit!!
I must say my heart skipped a beat when I saw only one cupcake left
one of the pleasures I get from baking
is watching people eat and enjoy my creations.
Happy Monday!!

Bailey's Irish Cream Cream Cheese Frosting
2-3 tablespoons heavy cream
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
3-5 tablespoons of Bailey's Irish Cream (for a less expensive version I used Carolans from Trader Joe's)
1 8oz package of cream cheese (make sure it is soft)

1. In a medium sized bowl combine the powdered sugar, cream cheese and vanilla extract ... next, with an electric hand mixer ... mix till smooth
2. Add your heavy cream and Baileys and mix again
3. Make sure to taste and add more of whatever ingredient you would like until you are happy with the taste ... I say this as you really can't go wrong with these ingredients. Taste as you go.
4. Enjoy!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

strawberry preserves

Strawberry Preserves:
best served in greek yogurt with wild flower honey,
over vanilla ice cream,
on toast,
or on their own
straight from the jar.
how do I stock my pantry when making tantalizingly tasty recipes?
Jars of preserves, jams, and pickles do not last around here.
The recipe I used was from the book Canning for a New Generation.
I loved that the recipe for strawberry preserves
called for less sugar than recipes I have used before.
The recipe was easy,
and the preserves pretty much speak for themselves.
there is nothing quite like sweet strawberry preserves.
If you have any jamming, pickling and preserving questions
feel free to email as I am happy to help.
Check out the author's sweet blog here

Friday, April 15, 2011

A Five Course Food Cart Adventure

Food Carts in Portland
Monica is excited
one of the best thai iced teas
mmm mmm
so tasty
beignet thievery ... Monica tried taking mine
stopping at Tabor
mini donuts
perfectly made
taking a coffee break
one of my favorites ... Lucy's Original
a juicy lucy burger
the cake

One of my good friends is headed to Portland this weekend
and asked me to give her a list of places to eat.
with utter excitement I put together a quick list of some of my favorite places.
What I reiterated to her over and over was
One of my favorite things about Portland is all of the food carts.
when my Gourmands and I visited Portland a month ago
we had a five course food cart lunch that was incredible.
When doing a five course food cart lunch or dinner
I love each and every food cart but if I had to recommend one
A must order ... the Juicy Lucy Burger and a piece of their famous cake.
Even if you do not live in the Portland area I am sure there are food carts in your city so,
go out this weekend and have a meal at a food cart.
Happy Weekend.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

waffles and?

a waffle to share
fluffy foam
a simple pleasure
breakfast, lunch, or dinner

Who doesn't love a good waffle??
On Saturday,
my sister and I split a waffle and chatted over lattes at one of our favorite cafés.
I got lost in the cooking section of my favorite bookstore ... Kepler's.
One of my simple pleasures is spending hour upon hour in bookshops.
Later that evening,
Marc and I watched Iron Chef and we were so inspired by Mario Batali
that we ended up poaching eggs for a good part of the evening.
If you have been intimidated with poaching eggs
do not fear ... poaching eggs is quite easy
if you do this:
1. Bring a medium sized pot with water and a pinch of salt to a simmer ... not boiling
2. crack an egg into a small bowl
3. Once your water is simmering, begin to whisk the water in a clockwise motion in order to create a whirlpool effect
4. drop your egg into the middle of the whirlpool and adjust heat, making sure the water is not overly boiling
5. Depending on how you like your poached eggs cook for 3-5 minutes
6. Using a shallow spoon ... spoon your egg out of the water and serve
My favorite way to enjoy poached eggs are on toast with a pinch of salt,
fresh ground pepper,
a thin slice of parmesan cheese
that is layered upon sourdough toast
with avocado and tomato.
this is a great breakfast, lunch,or dinner.
I hope I demystified the process of making poached eggs for you!!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

the art of coffee

the art of coffee
simple and soft
all of the pieces
all of the little details
a perfectly poured latte
espresso in a martini glass
a good night

After visiting Portland I have made it my mission
to find good coffee in my area.
I was so inspired by the coffee in Portland
that my standards for a good cup of jo have changed
in a good way.
I now make coffee outings only once or twice a week
and drink tea the rest of the week
this way it is a real treat when I enjoy a latte, capuccinno or a shot of espresso.
Last week,
Marc and I made a visit to one of my favorite spots along the Peninsula
The café has European charm and the espresso will knock your socks off.
At Caffe del Doge
I sat at the counter mesmerized with the barista's coffee art skills.
I think he could tell I was mesmerized
as he made two extra drinks just so I could take photos.
Don't worry, the extra cappuccino and chocolate espresso did not go to waste
as Marc and I enjoyed them on top of our drinks.
(good thing we had spared our coffee intake that week).
We left Caffe del Doge smitten!!
I love that even if you aren't a coffee drinker
can still be admired.
Happy Wednesday!