Tuesday, March 23, 2010

white chocolate cupcakes w/white chocolate buttercream...

1 1/4 cup cake flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp salt
3/4 cup whole milk
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
6 Tbsp butter; room temp
1 cup sugar
3 large egg whites; room temp
1/2 cup chopped white chocolate pieces

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 12 muffin cups with paper cupcake liners.
Sift the cake flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl set aside. In a small bowl stir the milk and vanilla together.
In a large bowl, using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the butter and sugar until smoothly blended and light in color, about 3 min. Stop the mixer and scrape the sides of the bowl as needed during mixing. On low speed and in 3 additions add the flour mixture and milk mixture alternately, beginning and ending with the flour. Mix just until the flour is incorporated and the batter looks smooth. Fold in white chocolate. Set aside.
In a clean large bowl and clean beaters on medium speed, beat the egg whites until foamy, about 30 seconds. Increase speed to high and continue beating until the egg whites look shiny and smooth. Stir in about 1/3 of the beaten egg whites into the cake batter, Use a rubber spatula to fold in the remaining egg whites just to blend into the batter.
Fill each paper liner about 2/3 full with batter.
Bake about 20 min, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool completely.

white chocolate buttercream:
3 oz white chocolate, chopped
1/4 cup butter; room temp
4 oz cream cheese; room temp
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar

Melt white chocolate in microwave (starting at 30 sec, then 10 second intervals stirring in between). Stir until completely melted and smooth. Transfer to a large bowl. Add the butter, cream cheese, and vanilla. Using an electric mixer on low speed, beat until smooth, about 1 min. Add powdered sugar, mixing until the frosting is smooth (thin with milk, if necessary). Frost cooled cupcakes, top with white chocolate curls (or chocolate chunks) and dust with powdered sugar.

These are lovely, yummy little creations, I must say. The white chocolate cream cheese buttercream (say that three times fast) just takes these over the top. To be completely honest...you could substitute a white cake mix here. I've done it (in a pinch) and was not disappointed. These would be a fabulous Easter dessert...that is if you haven't had enough chocolate bunnies, jelly beans & peanut butter eggs...just sayin'.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

amazing beef stir fry = love on a plate...

1 1/2 lbs beef sirloin, top round or flank steak
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 small red onion, sliced
2 cloves garlic; minced
2 cups asparagus, cut into 2 inch pieces
2 cups broccoli florets
1 cup edamame

3 Tbsp soy sauce
2 Tbsp water
2 Tbsp hoisin sauce
2 tsp corn starch
2 tsp grated gingerroot
1 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp pepper

Combine ingredients for stir fry sauce and set aside.
Thinly slice steak across grain into strips (you can place meat in freezer for about 15-20 min to make this a little easier.)
Heat a large skillet over med heat. Add olive oil and onions and cook until onions are soft. Add garlic and cook, stirring constantly for 30 seconds. Add beef and cook to desired doneness (3-7 min) Add asparagus, broccoli and sauce and cook until crisp tender, stirring frequently. Lower heat and if needed put a lid on skillet and steam vegetables until done. Add edamame and warm through.
Serve over or along side rice (jasmine would be perfect, brown or white are delicious, as well!)

Loved, loved, loved this meal. This was lick-the-plate clean delicious. Did I actually lick my plate clean? Maybe...
This has been inducted into the hall of fame of favorite recipes.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

mini marbled pound cake(s)...

1 3/4 cup flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
8 Tbsp butter; room temp
1 cup granulated sugar
3 eggs; room temp
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp almond extract (optional)
2/3 cup buttermilk
5 Tbsp cocoa powder

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Sift together flour, baking powder & salt. Set aside. Grease and flour four 5 1/2 x 3 x 1 1/2 (approx) mini loaf pans OR one 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 inch loaf pan.
In large bowl cream butter and sugar until fluffy (3-4 min). Add the eggs in one at a time, mixing to incorporate after each one. Stir in extract(s).
Add the dry ingredients, alternating with the buttermilk, starting and ending with the flour. Set aside 1/3 of batter.
In a small bowl combine cocoa powder and 6 Tbsp HOT water. Mix until smooth. Add to reserved 1/3 batter. Stir until well combined. Fill prepared pan(s) by alternating spoonfuls of each batter. Swirl with a skewer or cake tester.
Bake 40-45 min (for one cake) or 20-25 for small cakes (check after 15 min) or until cake tester comes out clean. Place on a wire rack to cool. Invert after 5-10 min. Let cool completely and top with icing glaze.


1 1/2 Tbsp butter; room temp
1/2 cup powdered sugar
4 tsp milk
Combine all ingredients and stir until smooth and pourable (add more milk if necessary.)

I have been making this cake for years and was surprised that I have not shared it! This is a moist, delicious cake. Best part is, it comes together pretty quickly. I like making it into small loaves so I can get rid of 3/4 of it thus not downing it myself...just kidding...sort of...
Make it. You will love it.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

cool, crisp lettuce wraps...

1 1/4 lbs ground turkey
1/2 of a medium red onion; diced
1/2 cup diced carrot
2 cloves of garlic; minced
1 tsp freshly grated ginger
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 green onions; diced
1 can water chestnuts; diced
salt & pepper
pre-made Hoisin sauce
1 head iceberg lettuce

Cook onion and carrots (season with salt & pepper) in olive oil over med high heat about 4-5 min. Add garlic and cook about 30 seconds more. Add turkey and cook until browned and onions are soft. Season with salt & pepper. If turkey and veggies are sticking to the pan add 1/4 cup water to deglaze and cook until water is absorbed. Add green onion and water chestnuts and cook just until warmed through (you can add 1/4 cup Hoisin sauce at this point, or serve it on the side)

I've been wanting to try home made lettuce wraps for a while and have been looking for that "perfect recipe." There are LOTS of great recipes out there...but most of them call for a lot of ingredients. I like to keep things simple. I just thought about what I like in a lettuce wrap (crunch, great flavor, salty sauce) and this is what I came up with. I did not add the Hoisin sauce (found in small jars by the Asian food in the grocery store) to the cooking process, but I wish I had. We just used it as a sauce drizzled in the wraps. This recipe is so versatile. If you like mushrooms or sprouts...throw 'em in!
We all (well...5 out of 6 of us) LOVED them. I have one picky eater. Stinker.