Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Broccoli Cheddar Soup

I love broccoli cheese soup, so I thought that I would make it homemade for this weeks "soup wednesday," which we do every week.


6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) butter, room temperature
2 pounds fresh broccoli, stems and florets separated and chopped into bite-size pieces
1 large onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
6 1/2 cups chicken stock or canned low-salt chicken broth
1 cup whipping cream
3 tablespoons all purpose flour
2 cups (packed) grated extra-sharp cheddar cheese (about 8 ounces)

Melt 3 tablespoons butter in heavy medium pot over medium-high heat. Add broccoli stems and onion; sauté until onion is translucent, about 6 minutes. Add garlic and tarragon; sauté 1 minute. Add stock; bring to boil. Simmer uncovered until broccoli is tender, about 15 minutes. Stir in cream.

Mix remaining 3 tablespoons butter with flour in small bowl to make paste. Whisk paste into soup. Add broccoli florets. Simmer until soup thickens and florets are tender, stirring frequently, about 5 minutes. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cool slightly, then refrigerate uncovered until cold. Cover and keep refrigerated. Bring to simmer before continuing.) Preheat broiler. Place 6 ovenproof soup bowls on baking sheet. Divide soup among bowls. Sprinkle 1/3 cup cheese over each. Broil until cheese melts and bubbles around edges, about 4 minutes.

Soup before cheese:
And after:

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Vampire Cupcakes

These cupcakes were the first recipe that I saved in my "cupcakes" folder of my favorites list almost a year ago. The way I did it was so easy, it isn't even really a recipe.

Cupcakes: French Vanilla Box Mix
Filling: Cherry Pie Filling, pureed until smooth (I used the cone method)
Frosting: Plain Buttercream (You could just use canned frosting)
Bite Marks: I tinted a little of the frosting red, and used a toothpick to make the holes.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Pumpkin Spice Pumpkin Cupcakes

Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes

1 box yellow cake mix (18.5 oz)
1 cup canned pumpkin
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
3/4 cup buttermilk
1/3 cup vegetable oil
4 large eggs

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine all ingredients and mix on medium speed for 2 minutes. Fill cupcake liners 1/2 full. Bake for 20-22 minutes.

Vanilla Buttercream

4 cups confectioner's sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 Tbsp milk

Cream butter. Add sugar slowly, adding milk as needed to lighten.


Top cooled cupcakes with a large mound of frosting (dyed orange). Roll frosting in orange sugar. Use a skewer to draw lines on top of icing, and pipe more orange frosting in the creases. Add a piece of pretzel stick as stem.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Orange Chicken

After seeing this recipe on Annie's Eats, I just had to make it for Phillip & I. While it took longer to make than my normal weeknight dinner, it was really good. I could see myself making it again and changing up the sauce (General Tso's, Ross?). Thanks for the recipe, Annie!

Orange Chicken

For the marinade and sauce:
1 ½ lbs. boneless skinless chicken thighs or breasts, cut into 1 ½” pieces
¾ cup low sodium chicken broth
¾ cup fresh squeezed orange juice
1 ½ tsp. grated orange zest
8 thin strips orange peel (optional)
6 tbsp. distilled white vinegar
¼ cup soy sauce
½ cup dark brown sugar
3 medium garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp. fresh grated ginger *I didn't have any, so I left it out*
¼ tsp. cayenne pepper
1 tbsp. plus 2 tsp. cornstarch
2 tbsp. cold water

For coating and frying:
3 large egg whites
1 cup cornstarch
½ tsp. baking soda
¼ tsp. cayenne pepper
3 cups peanut oil (or canola oil)

For the marinade and sauce, place the chicken in a Ziploc bag; set aside. In a large saucepan, combine the chicken broth, orange juice, zest, vinegar, soy sauce, brown sugar, garlic, ginger and cayenne pepper; whisk until the sugar is fully dissolved. Measure out ¾ cup of the mixture and pour it into the bag with the chicken; press out as much air as possible and seal the bag, making sure that all pieces are coated with the marinade. Refrigerate 30-60 minutes, but no longer. Bring the remaining mixture in the saucepan to a boil over high heat. In a small bowl, stir together the cornstarch and cold water; whisk the cornstarch mixture into the sauce. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until thick and translucent, about 1 minute. Off the heat, stir in the orange peel (if using); set the sauce aside.

For the coating, place the egg whites in a pie plate and beat with a fork until frothy. In a second pie plate, whisk together the cornstarch, baking soda and cayenne until combined. Drain the chicken in a colander or large mesh strainer; thoroughly pat the chicken dry with paper towels. Place half of the chicken pieces in the egg whites and turn to coat. Transfer the pieces to cornstarch mixture and coat thoroughly. Place the dredged chicken pieces on another plate or a baking sheet.

To fry the chicken, heat the oil in an 11- to 12-inch dutch oven or straight sided sauté pan with at least 3 qt. capacity over high heat until the oil reaches 350° on an instant read or deep fry thermometer. Carefully place half of the chicken in the oil; fry to golden brown, about 5 minutes, turning each piece with tongs halfway through cooking. Transfer to a paper towel lined plate. Return the oil to 350° and repeat with the remaining chicken.

To serve, reheat the sauce over medium heat until simmering, about 2 minutes. Add the chicken and gently toss until evenly coated and heated through. Serve immediately.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

My Omnivore's 100

A British foodie site has come up with a list of what it calls The Omnivore's 100 -- a hundred foods that everyone should try at least once in their life. I've posted the list on the extended entry, with the foods from it that I've tried in boldface. How do you fare?

1. Venison
2. Nettle tea
3. Huevos rancheros
4. Steak tartare
5. Crocodile
6. Black pudding
7. Cheese fondue
8. Carp
9. Borscht
10. Baba ghanoush
11. Calamari
12. Pho
13. PB&J sandwich
14. Aloo gobi
15. Hot dog from a street cart
16. Epoisses
17. Black truffle
18. Fruit wine made from something other than grapes
19. Steamed pork buns
20. Pistachio ice cream
21. Heirloom tomatoes
22. Fresh wild berries
23. Foie gras
24. Rice and beans
25. Brawn, or head cheese
26. Raw Scotch Bonnet pepper
27. Dulce de leche
28. Oysters
29. Baklava
30. Bagna cauda
31. Wasabi peas
32. Clam chowder in a sourdough bowl
33. Salted lassi
34. Sauerkraut
35. Root beer float
36. Cognac with a fat cigar
37. Clotted cream tea
38. Vodka jelly
39. Gumbo
40. Oxtail
41. Curried goat
42. Whole insects
43. Phaal
44. Goat’s milk
45. Malt whisky from a bottle worth £60/$120 or more
46. Fugu
47. Chicken tikka masala
48. Eel
49. Krispy Kreme original glazed doughnut
50. Sea urchin
51. Prickly pear
52. Umeboshi
53. Abalone
54. Paneer
55. McDonald’s Big Mac Meal
56. Spaetzle
57. Dirty gin martini
58. Beer above 8% ABV
59. Poutine
60. Carob chips
61. S’mores
62. Sweetbreads
63. Kaolin
64. Currywurst
65. Durian
66. Frogs’ legs
67. Beignets, churros, elephant ears or funnel cake
68. Haggis
69. Fried plantain
70. Chitterlings, or andouillette
71. Gazpacho
72. Caviar and blini
73. Louche absinthe
74. Gjetost, or brunost
75. Roadkill
76. Baijiu
77. Hostess Fruit Pie
78. Snail
79. Lapsang souchong
80. Bellini
81. Tom yum
82. Eggs Benedict
83. Pocky
84. Tasting menu at a three-Michelin-star restaurant
85. Kobe beef
86. Hare
87. Goulash
88. Flowers
89. Horse
90. Criollo chocolate
91. Spam
92. Soft shell crab
93. Rose harissa
94. Catfish
95. Mole poblano
96. Bagel and lox
97. Lobster Thermidor
98. Polenta
99. Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee
100. Snake

Saturday, October 11, 2008

S'mores Cupcakes

Graham Cracker Cupcakes

1 ½ cups of graham cracker crumbs
½ cup of flour
2 ½ teaspoons of baking powder
½ cup of butter, softened
¾ cup of sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon of vanilla
¾ cup of milk

In a small bowl combine the crumbs, flour and baking powder; set aside.

Beat the butter and the sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time. Beating well after each addition. Add the vanilla.

Alternately add flour mixture with milk, beating well after each addition.

Bake at 350F degrees for 22-25 minutes or until done. Cool in pans for 15 minutes. Remove from pans and place on a wire rack.

Cut a small slit in the top of warm cupcakes, and insert a half of a snack size Hershey bar.

Swiss Meringue Marshmallow Frosting

1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
4 egg whites
1-2 teaspoons vanilla extract, optional

Combine egg whites and sugar in the top of a double boiler (or a glass bowl over but not touching a pan of simmering water). Whisk constantly over medium-high heat until mixtures reaches 160°F, about 5 minutes. Pour egg white mixture into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat on high for 6 minutes or until room temperature. Add optional vanilla extract 1 teaspoon at a time until desired flavor.

Frost cupcakes and dust with cinnamon and top with remaining half of Hershey bar.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Apple Pie Cupcakes

Cinnamon Apple Cupcakes:

1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 medium sized tart apples, peeled, cored, and chopped small (about 2 cups)

1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Insert liners into a medium cupcake pan.
2. In a large bowl beat together the brown sugar, oil, cinnamon, and vanilla with an electric mixer on medium speed. Add the eggs one at a time, beating for 1 minute after each addition.
3. In a separate bowl sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
4. Slowly add the dry mixture to the wet mixture. Beat until blended. Stir in apples.
5. Fill the cupcake liners 1/2 to 3/4 full (I did about 1/2) with batter. Bake for 20-25 minutes (mine were done at about 18 minutes), or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

I cut out a very small cone and filled it in with cooked, chopped apples. Then, I frosted over the apples with a brown sugar glaze.

Brown Sugar Glaze:

1/2 Cup Light Brown Sugar
1/2 Cup Butter
1/4 Cup Milk

Cook in saucepan until butter is melted and sugar has dissolved. Cool before frosting cupcakes.