Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Cinnamon Cupcakes

For the cake:

1 cup all-purpose flour

¾ tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. ground cinnamon

1/8 tsp. salt

½ cup whole milk

4 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature

2 large eggs

¾ cup plus 2 tbsp. sugar

1 tsp. grated orange zest

½ tsp. vanilla extract

For the frosting:

½ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature

8 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature

2-3 cups powdered sugar, sifted

1 tsp. vanilla extract

2 tsp. ground cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 350° F. Line a 12-cup cupcake pan with paper liners. Sift the flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt in a small bowl. Stir milk and butter in a small saucepan over low heat just until butter melts; set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat eggs and sugar until thick enough for the batter to fall in a heavy ribbon when the beater is lifted, about 5 minutes. Beat in orange peel and vanilla. Add the flour mixture; beat just until blended. Beat in the milk-butter mixture just until blended. Divide batter evenly between cupcake liners. Bake until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean, about 16-18 minutes. Allow to cool in pan for 5-10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack and allow to cool completely.

To make the frosting, cream the butter and the cream cheese in the bowl of a stand mixer until very smooth. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl to ensure even mixing. Add the vanilla extract and cinnamon and mix until incorporated. Slowly add the powdered sugar, and keep adding until you reach the desired consistency and sweetness. Frost cooled cupcakes.

- Adapted from the blog, Annie's Eats and A Southern Grace

Monday, October 12, 2009

Osso Buco-style Chicken Thighs with Polenta

To substitute grits for polenta, increase the cooking time to 7-8 minutes. You keep everything else the same.

1 tablespoon olive oil, divided
6 chicken thighs (about 2 pounds), skinned
3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 cup chopped green onion
3/4 cup cubed carrot
3/4 cup coarsely chopped celery
2 garlic cloves, minced
3/4 cup dry white wine
2 (14 oz) cans diced tomato, drained
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried rosemary

2 cups 1% low-fat milk
1 (14 1/2-ounce) can fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
1 cup uncooked instant polenta
3/4 cup (3 ounces) grated fresh Gruyère cheese
1/4 teaspoon salt

3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
2 teaspoons grated lemon rind
1 garlic clove, minced

To prepare chicken, heat 2 teaspoons oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle chicken with 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper. Add chicken to pan; cook 4 minutes on each side or until browned. Remove chicken from pan.

Heat 1 teaspoon oil in pan over medium-high heat. Add green onion, carrot, celery, and 2 garlic cloves. Cover and cook 5 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. Stir in wine, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Stir in 1/2 teaspoon salt, tomato, basil, and rosemary; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and cook 15 minutes.

Return chicken to pan. Cover and simmer 35 minutes or until chicken is done. Uncover and cook 5 minutes or until tomato mixture thickens.

To prepare polenta, combine milk and broth in a medium saucepan; bring to a boil. Remove from heat; gradually add instant polenta, stirring constantly with a whisk. Cover and cook over medium-low heat 2 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in cheese and 1/4 teaspoon salt.

To prepare gremolata, combine parsley, rind, and 1 garlic clove. Serve chicken mixture over polenta; sprinkle with gremolata.

--Adapted from Cooking Light magazine

Pumpkin Pie Shake

This is a good use for extra canned pumpkin, but it gets overwhelming after a few sips.

2 cups vanilla reduced-fat ice cream
1 cup fat-free milk
2/3 cup canned pumpkin
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 teaspoon pumpkin-pie spice
3 tablespoons frozen fat-free whipped topping, thawed
Pumpkin-pie spice (optional)

Combine first 5 ingredients in a blender; process until smooth. Pour 3/4 cup ice cream mixture into each of 4 glasses. Top each with about 2 teaspoons whipped topping; sprinkle with the additional pumpkin-pie spice, if desired.

--Adapted from Cooking Light magazine

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Cuban-style Red Beans and Rice

8 bacon slices
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/2 cups chopped green onion
1 1/2 cups chopped green bell pepper (about 1 medium)
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 cups uncooked long-grain rice
1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 bay leaf
2 cups water
3 (14-ounce) cans fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth, divided
3 (16-ounce) cans red beans, rinsed and drained
Sliced green onions (optional)

Cook bacon in a Dutch oven over medium heat until crisp. Remove bacon from pan, reserving 1 tablespoon drippings in pan; crumble bacon, and set aside. Add oil to pan. Add onion and bell pepper; sauté over medium-low heat 10 minutes or until onion is tender. Add garlic; sauté 1 minute or just until garlic begins to brown. Add tomato paste; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add rice, oregano, cumin, salt, and black pepper; cook 2 minutes, stirring constantly.

Place reserved bacon and bay leaf in pan; stir in water and 2 cans broth. Bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat, and simmer 20 minutes or until rice is tender. Remove from heat; discard bay leaf. Stir in remaining can of broth and beans. Cook 5 minutes over low heat or until heated through, stirring frequently. Garnish with green onions, if desired.

--Adapted from Cooking Light magazine

Classic Hot Fudge Sauce

Very good.

1 cup sugar
2/3 cup 1% low-fat milk
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
2 tablespoons light-colored corn syrup
2 teaspoons butter
Dash of salt
3 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Combine the first 6 ingredients in a medium heavy-duty saucepan over medium heat; bring to a simmer, stirring constantly with a whisk. Cook 2 minutes or until smooth, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Add chopped chocolate and vanilla, stirring until chocolate melts. Serve warm.

--Adapted from Cooking Light magazine

Lemon Poppy Seed Cake with Raspberry Curd Filling

For the cake:
2 1/3 cups cake flour
2 3/4 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tbsp. poppy seeds
5 large egg whites, at room temperature
1/4 tsp. cream of tartar
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 tbsp. finely grated lemon zest
12 tsbp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup whole milk

For the raspberry curd:
8 tbsp. unsalted butter
1 pint ripe raspberries or 1 12-oz. package frozen raspberries, thawed
5 large egg yolks, lightly beaten
3/4 cup sugar
Pinch of salt
2-3 tsp. fresh lemon juice For the lemon buttercream frosting:
16 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 tbsp. finely grated lemon zest
3 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
3 tbsp. fresh lemon juice Fresh raspberries, for garnish

To make the cake, position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter and flour two 9×13″ cake pans. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and poppy seeds in a bowl; set aside. In the clean, dry bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites on medium speed until foamy. Add the cream of tartar and increase the speed to medium-high. Beat just until stiff peaks form when the whisk is lifted. Transfer the egg whites to a separate bowl, clean the mixer bowl and reattach it with the paddle attachment.

Add the butter to the mixer bowl and beat on medium speed until smooth. Gradually add the sugar and beat until incorporated. Mix in the lemon zest. Beat the mixture on medium-high speed until light and fluffy. Add 1/4 cup of the milk and beat until just blended. Reduce the speed to low and add the flour mixture alternately with the remaining milk in three batches, beginning and ending with the flour, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Beat until just blended. Using a rubber spatula, fold one quarter of the egg whites into the batter, being careful not to deflate the mixture. Once incorporated, add in the rest of the whites and gently fold in until well combined.

Pour the batter into the prepared pans and bake until golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 24-26 minutes. Cool the cakes in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Run a thin knife around the outside of pan and gently turn the cakes out. Allow to cool completely.

To make the raspberry curd, melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the raspberries, egg yolks, sugar and salt, and cook, mashing the berries. Stir frequently at first and then constantly at the end, until thickened, about 10 minutes. Pour the mixture through a coarse strainer set over a bowl, pressing hard on the solids to extract as much liquid as possible. Cool to room temperature; the curd will continue to thicken as it cools. Stir in lemon juice to taste. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Place one layer of the cake on the serving platter. Layer with the cooled raspberry curd, and top with second layer. Once layered, allow the assembled cake to cool in the refrigerator to help it set. In the meantime, make the frosting. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and zest on medium speed until light and fluffy. Gradually add the sugar and beat until smooth. Add the lemon juice and beat for one minute longer.

Frost the chilled cake with the lemon frosting. Garnish with fresh raspberries as desired.

--Adapted from the blog, Annie's Eats and Notes from My Food Diary