Friday, June 26, 2009

Cherry Limeade Cupcakes

With thoughts of Sonic's refreshing Cherry Limeades, I embarked on this recipe journey with hopeful thoughts. In reality, the cupcakes were "ok." Next time, I'd like for more of the lime syrup to be absorbed into the cupcakes so they are more moist. The icing was delicious, and the presentation is so cute. My notes on how to improve this recipe are included. Enjoy!

Yield: 24 cupcakes


For the cupcakes:
3 cups cake flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp. limeade concentrate
3 eggs
3/4 cup milk (I used skim.)

For the lime syrup:
3/4 cup limeade concentrate
1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar

For the frosting:
3 3/4 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
1/2 cup butter, softened
6 tbsp. (or more) maraschino cherry juicered
food coloring (optional - highly recommended)

For decorating (optional):
fresh lime slices
maraschino cherries

To make the cupcakes, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line two muffin pans with paper liners. In a medium bowl combine the cake flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda. Stir together and set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter until smooth. Add the sugar and beat on medium-high speed until creamed. Add in the limeade concentrate and mix to incorporate. Add the eggs one at a time, scraping down the bowl between additions. Add in the flour mixture in thirds, alternating with the milk, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Mix ingredients just long enough to incorporate but no longer.

Divide the batter evenly between the prepared cupcake liners. Bake for about 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool in the pans for 5-10 minutes, then remove to a wire rack over wax paper to cool completely.

Once the cupcakes have cooled, whisk together the limeade concentrate and confectioners’ sugar in a small bowl to make the lime syrup. Poke several holes in the top of each cupcake with a skewer and pour the syrup over the cupcakes, allowing it to soak in. (Note: I poked about 5 holes in each cupcake - I would recommend at least 8-10, and make them substantial. Don't worry, the icing will cover up any holes.)

To make the frosting, combine the confectioners’ sugar, butter and maraschino cherry juice in the bowl of a stand mixer. Mix on low speed until sugar is incorporated, then increase to medium-high speed and beat until smooth. Add more maraschino cherry juice as needed to achieve desired texture. Add red food coloring if desired.

Frost cooled cupcakes. Garnish with lime slices and maraschino cherries, if desired.

Source: adapted from Baking Up Chaos and the blog, Annie's Eats

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Corn Sauté

2 tablespoons butter
1 minced garlic clove
4 cups fresh (or frozen) corn kernels
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup finely chopped green onions
2 teaspoons lime rind (optional)

Melt butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic to pan; sauté 2 minutes. Add corn, salt, and pepper; sauté 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in green onions and lime rind.

--Adapted from Cooking Light magazine

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Herb-Marinated Fresh Mozzarella Wraps

3/4 cup (3 ounces) diced fresh mozzarella cheese
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
2 tablespoons chopped pitted kalamata olives
1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives
1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/4 pound thinly sliced pepper ham
16 asparagus spears, steamed and chilled (about 1/4 pound)
4 (8-inch) fat-free flour tortillas

Combine the first 6 ingredients in a medium bowl. Cover and chill 2 hours.

Arrange 1 ounce of ham and 4 asparagus spears on each tortilla. Spoon about 1/3 cup cheese mixture over the asparagus, and roll up.

--Adapted from Cooking Light magazine

Moroccan Swordfish with Mint-Caper Sauce

1/2 cup plain low-fat yogurt
1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint
1 1/2 teaspoons capers, drained
1/4 teaspoon bottled minced garlic
Dash of salt
Dash of freshly ground black pepper

1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper
4 (6-ounce) swordfish steaks (about 3/4 inch thick)
Cooking spray
Mint sprigs (optional)

To prepare sauce, combine the first 6 ingredients in a small bowl.

To prepare fish, heat a nonstick grill pan over medium-high heat. Combine paprika and next 6 ingredients (through red pepper); sprinkle over both sides of fish. Lightly coat both sides of fish with cooking spray; add fish to pan. Cook 4 minutes on each side or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork or until desired degree of doneness. Serve with the sauce. Garnish with mint sprigs, if desired.

--Adapted from Cooking Light magazine

Saffron Shrimp with Fennel Seeds

1 cup dry white wine
1 tablespoon fennel seeds
1/2 teaspoon saffron threads
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 pounds large shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley or cilantro

Combine first 5 ingredients in a large nonstick skillet; bring to a boil. Cook 5 minutes; add shrimp. Cover and cook 2 minutes or until shrimp are done, stirring occasionally. Spoon mixture into a bowl, and chill. Stir in parsley before serving.

--Adapted from Cooking Light magazine

Chicken Lo Mein

8 ounces uncooked linguine

1/3 cup low-sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons sake (rice wine)
1 1/2 teaspoons dark sesame oil
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 1/2 cups fresh bean sprouts
2 cups (1-inch) sliced green onions
2 cups shredded carrot
2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
1 1/2 cups shredded cooked chicken (great use for leftovers)

Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat; drain and keep warm.

While pasta is cooking, prepare sauce: Combine soy sauce through pepper in a bowl, stirring with a whisk; set aside.

To prepare vegetables, heat vegetable oil in a wok over medium-high heat. Add sprouts, onions, carrot, and ginger; stir-fry 3 minutes or until tender. Add chicken; stir-fry 1 minute or until thoroughly heated. Stir in sauce mixture and pasta; cook 4 minutes until pasta is coated, stirring well.

--Adapted from Cooking Light magazine

Grilled Halibut with Lemon-Mint Gremolata

4 (6-ounce) halibut fillets
2 teaspoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
2 teaspoons grated lemon rind
1 teaspoon finely minced garlic
Lemon wedges

Brush fillets with oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place fillets on a grill rack coated with cooking spray.

Grill, covered with grill lid, over medium-high heat (350° to 400°) 5 minutes on each side or until fish flakes easily with a fork.

While fish cooks, combine mint, lemon rind, and garlic in a small bowl; stir well.

Place fillets on individual serving plates; sprinkle evenly with lemon-mint gremolata, and serve with lemon wedges.

--Adapted from Cooking Light magazine

Chicken and Sausage Gumbo

Total cooking time is about 3 hours. So this isn't fast food, but it's worth the time.

1 pound andouille sausage, cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices
4 skinned bone-in chicken breasts
Vegetable oil
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 large shallots, chopped fine
1/2 green bell pepper, chopped
2 celery ribs, sliced
2 quarts hot water
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons Creole seasoning
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 to 1 teaspoon hot sauce
4 green onions,
Hot cooked rice

Cook sausage in a Dutch oven over medium heat, stirring constantly, 5 minutes or until browned. Drain on paper towels, reserving drippings in Dutch oven. Set sausage aside.

Cook chicken in reserved drippings in Dutch oven over medium heat 5 minutes or until browned. Remove to paper towels, reserving drippings in Dutch oven. Set chicken aside.

Add enough oil to drippings in Dutch oven to measure 1/2 cup. Add flour, and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, 20 to 25 minutes, or until roux is chocolate colored.

Stir in shallots, bell pepper, and celery; cook, stirring often, 8 minutes or until tender. Gradually add 2 quarts hot water, and bring mixture to a boil; add chicken, garlic, and next 5 ingredients. Reduce heat to low, and simmer, stirring occasionally, 1 hour. Remove chicken; let cool.

Add sausage to gumbo; cook 30 minutes. Stir in green onions; cook for 30 more minutes.

Bone chicken, and cut meat into strips; return chicken to gumbo, and simmer 5 minutes. Remove and discard bay leaves.

Remove gumbo from heat. Sprinkle with filé powder, if desired. Serve over hot cooked rice. Garnish, if desired.

--Adapted from Southern Living magazine

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Tres Leches Marble Cake with Strawberries and Chocolate Ganache

I made this cake for my sister's birthday. It's definitely a special occassion cake, but worth every calorie!

2 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
8 egg whites
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup sour cream
1 1/2 cups milk
2 tablespoons dark cocoa powder
1/3 cup chocolate chips, melted and cooled
1 14-oz. can sweetened condensed milk
1 cup milk
1 cup heavy cream
1 pint strawberries
2 tablespoons sugar

3/4 cup heavy cream
1 12-oz. bag chocolate chips (I used bittersweet.)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 tablespoon honey

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter 2 8-inch round cake pans and line with parchment paper. Butter parchment paper and dust it and sides of pan with flour.

In a medium size bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.

In mixer, cream butter until smooth, about a minute on medium speed. Add in sugar, and beat until light and fluffy, approximately 2-3 more minutes. With mixer on medium low, add in egg whites one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add in vanilla, and beat until mixture becomes cohesive and smooth, approximately 3-5 minutes.

With the mixer on low, add in a third of the flour mixture, followed by half of the milk and sour cream. Add in the next third of the flour mixture, the second half of the milk and sour cream, and finally, the last third of the flour mixture. Mix until just combined.

Remove a third of the batter and place in a medium bowl. Sift in cocoa powder and pour in melted chocolate. Gently fold together. Divide white batter evenly among pans and drop chocolate batter by the spoonfuls, and swirl with knife. Tap pans on counter to remove any bubbles.

Bake at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes or until toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Let the cakes cool in the pan for 10 minutes, and then move to a cooling rack. Remove cakes from pans. Peel off parchment paper and put the paper rounds back into the pans. When cakes have completely cooled, cut off the tops of the cake with a serrated knife. Return the cakes to the pan with the cut sides up.

Mix condensed milk, regular milk and cream together in a large glass measuring cup. Pour evenly over the tops of both cakes. Cover and refrigerate cakes for 6 hours or overnight.

Reserve 4-5 strawberries for garnish on top of cake. Slice the rest of the strawberries and mix in 2 tablespoons of sugar.

Place three pieces of parchment paper on serving plate. Place the first layer, cut side up on the serving plate. Layer the strawberries on top of the cake, and then top with the second layer, cut side down.

In a microwaveable medium size bowl, heat cream until it just boils, approximately 30-60 seconds. Immediately stir in chocolate chips and let stand for one minute. Add vanilla and honey, and whisk until smooth and shiny. If lumps remain, microwave mixture for an additional 20 seconds, and whisk again.

Pour ganache over the top of the cake using an offset spatula to spread over the top and sides of the cake. Refrigerate for 30 minutes, or until set. Run pairing knife around the bottom of the cake to release the ganache from the parchment paper. Remove the parchment paper. Garnish top of cake with halved strawberries, and serve.

--Adapted from the blog, Sophistimom

Red Chile Enchiladas with Chicken and Melted Cheese

2-3 tablespoons chile powder
2 tablespoons minced garlic
One 28-ounce can diced tomatoes in juice (preferably fire roasted)
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil, plus a little extra for the tortillas
2 cups chicken broth
12 corn tortillas
1/2 teaspoon sugar
2 generous cups (about 8 oz.) coarsely shredded cooked chicken (about a half of a large rotissiere chicken)
1 cup shredded monterey jack cheese
Cilantro sprigs

In food processor, blend together chile powder, garlic, tomatoes with their juice, cumin and black pepper. Blend to as smooth as consistency as possible.

Heat oil in a large (4 qt.) saucepan over medium high heat. Cook sauce, stirring until it is reduced to the consistency of tomato paste, about 5-7 minutes. Pour in the broth, reduce the heat to medium-low and let simmer for 10 minutes while you prepare the tortillas, filling and toppings.

Lay out the tortillas on a baking sheet and brush lightly on both sides with oil, then stack them in twos. Slide the tortillas into the oven and bake just long enough to make them soft and pliable, about 3 minutes. Remove from the oven and stack them in a single pile; cover with a kitchen towel to keep warm.

Taste the sauce and season with salt, usually about 1 1/2 teaspoons, and the sugar. Stir in additional chicken broth if the sauce has thickened beyound the consistency of light cream soup.

Spread about 1/2 cup sauce over the bottom of a 9x13-inch baking dish. Stir another 1/2 cup sauce into the chicken. Lay out a warm tortilla, top with a portion of chicken and roll up. Lay seam side down in the baking dish. Continue filling and rolling the rest of the tortillas, then ladle the remaining sauce over the enchiladas and sprinkle with cheese.

Bake for 10-15 minutes, until the cheese is starting to brown. Sprinkle with cilantro and serve.

Serves 4 to 6.

--Adapted from Rick Bayless