Archive for February, 2008

Trio of cupcakes part 2

trio3

Cream cheese frosting
1 cup light cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
about 4-5 cups sifted icing sugar
1-2 tsp vanilla
splash of milk

Variations: For the chocoalte, I added some melted semi sweet chocolate and a bit more milk. For the strawberry, I stirred in strawberry jam. Very easy and it tasted amazing.
The Strawberry was my favourite overall, but the chocolate – chocolate cupcakes might have been the crowd favourite.

Study Snacks seemed to go well this week and all the cupcakes were eaten quickly and well-received.

Here’s Liam eating one of my cupcakes with a mini cupcake on top.
ss3

And here’s Sam enoying one
ss4
mmmm…

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February 12, 2008 at 9:18 pm 1 comment

Study Snacks 2 – a trio of cupcakes

For this Sunday I made strawberry, chocolate, and vanilla cupcakes. I also made strawberry, chocolate, and vanilla frosting, and gave some of each frosting to each type of cupcake. So there were nine different combinations.
I made the cupcakes at home, brought them back to school and frosted them here.
stcake
Saucy Strawberry Cupcakes
1/2 cup butter
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1-1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
pinch of salt
1/2 cup strawberry sauce (see below)

Cream the butter and sugar, add the eggs and vanilla and combine. Whisk or sift the flour, baking powder & soda, and salt in another bowl, then alternate adding the dry ingredients and the strawberry sauce into the butter mixture.

sauce
Strawberry sauce
1 1/2 cups of frozen strawberries
1-2 tbsp vanilla sugar
Cracked black pepper to taste

Let the strawberries sit with the sugar for about 5 minutes, then gently heat for about 15 minutes. Add the pepper (no, really. It’s amazing, use lots). Pour into a food processor or blender and puree.

Vanilla Cupcakes
1/2 cup butter
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla
1-1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
pinch of salt
1/2 cup of milk

For the chocolate cupcakes, I added 2 tbsp of sifted cocoa, that’s all.

trio

Tah-dah! That’s chocolate, strawberry and vanilla (left to right). Coming up next: The icing!

February 11, 2008 at 5:13 pm 1 comment

Azteca Fire

tea2
My mom got this new tea for Christmas from my brother. There are a few other kinds as well but Azteca Fire was the one I tried. It smells amazing, it’s a herbal tea with strawberries, chilies, apple, cocoa and chocolate pieces.

It’s really delicious, the flavour isn’t overly fruity or strong but really pleasant, and it has a touch of tingly heat in the back of your mouth after each sip. I added a bit of honey and it really brought out the sweet chocolate and fruit flavours. As for the cost, I got to try it for free but it is a bit pricey (the website’s below, you can see the cost per ounce). If herbal tea is really your thing, though, I would strongly reccommend it, it’s one of the nicest I’ve had.

My brother ordered the tea (and this teapot and cups) online from Teavana.
tpot

February 10, 2008 at 8:44 pm 2 comments

Welcome home salad

I went home over the weekend for the first time since Christmas. The first thing I did was make this salad.Then I made three dozen cupcakes and supper, but that’s for another post (or two).
This was just a side salad for supper (we had pasta that my mom made), but I made it interesting by adding warm toasted pine nuts right before serving. Everyone loved it and there wasn’t any left, so I’d say it was a pretty successful salad.
salad2

Spinach Salad
with pine nuts

Some baby spinach, washed
2 tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1/2 english(seedless) cucumber, chopped
pine nuts, lightly toasted

I toasted my pine nuts by putting them in a 350 F oven for just a minute or two until they were lightly browned.

February 10, 2008 at 1:48 am Leave a comment

Curry-flower Soup

This is the flower from the Murraya koenigii or Curry Tree.
flower
It’s not actually in my soup at all.
But I made a curry cauliflower soup which came out pretty well (Martin helped – mostly he showed me what to do with the leeks. Thanks Martin).

    In keeping with the money theme, I added up the cost of the ingredients that I had to buy (most of them except garlic and curry paste). It cost about $25, but I still have rice, a leek, a bit of cauliflower and some other ingredients to make more food. It’s not profitable, but it’s pretty affordable. (Note to self: find a way to make people pay to eat my food)

I made this recipe myself, but it was inspired by Melancauli Baby from Eat, Shrink & Be Merry (I love all their stuff).

Curry-flower soup
1/2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tbsp butter
about 2 leeks, finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic
about 3/4 of a cauliflower (small florets)
1 white potato, chopped
1 tsp curry paste (or powder)
3 cups chicken broth
salt & pepper
1/2 tsp cumin
1 cup brown & wild rice
1 cup coconut milk
1/3 cup grated 2 yr cheddar cheese
1/4 cup swiss cheese

(Cook rice while making the rest of the soup) Heat oil & butter, cook leeks with curry until soft (3 minutes). Add cauliflower and potato, cook for another minute. Add broth, cumin, salt and pepper, bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover & simmer for 12-15 minutes (vegetables should be tender) Add cooked rice, milk, and cheese. Heat again, serve.

soup3
*not shown: tasty country bread broiled with cheddar cheese on top

Martin was a bit flabbergasted at my use of rice in a soup. I was defending the rice by saying, “it’s just a starch! Like potato soup”…then I realized I was putting potato in too. So this is the starchiest soup in the world – even without the bread I served it with. The good thing about it is that it is filling. I’m still feeling very nicely full from a few hours ago. Martin and I called over some friends and we ate soup and talked about finite universes…and Dune. I made way too much soup but most of it was still eaten, with about 2 servings left for me to eat later.

So, the soup. It was interesting… Next time I make it I will change a few things though. Like use more curry than I did, add hot sauce, use regular milk instead of coconut milk (or only a little coconut milk), ditch the potatoes, and forget the swiss cheese and go for the cheddar.
Side note – the 2 year old cheddar I bought was award winning cheese (Canadian Reserve – evidently the world’s best aged cheddar)! It was really nice and sharp without being too sour tasting.
Anyway – even the way it was the soup was very very good. I liked the leek flavour even though it seemed it would be overpowering at first, it wasn’t.
All in all, a fine soup and I’m actually going to bed on a full stomach. =)

February 5, 2008 at 5:56 am 1 comment

Introducing…The Swedish Chef

My friend Martin and I made cookies the other night. He was born and raised in Sweden, and he’s teaching me to speak Swedish while I teach him to cook. (Jag lär Martin att laga mat!)
Here he is stirring the cookie dough:
Martin

This time we made chocolate chip cookies with some neat chocolate chips I picked up around Christmas time that are white chocolate and milk chocolate swirls.
chocchips
The chips were really really pretty, so I was sad they didn’t show up in the cookie very much(maybe I should place one on top of each cookie next time?).
They tasted great though, very very sweet.
I adapted a standard chocolate chip cookie recipe for these, actually more than I intended to. I only had baking powder on hand in my dorm room (oddly enough), and neither store we visited to pick up eggs and milk had baking soda. So I found out that you can substitute baking powder for soda, but you have to use about 3 times as much. It’s recommended that you reduce the salt to make up for it though.
The cookies still came out a little flat, but they rose enough for me, and I didn’t have to wait until I found baking soda to bake.
Cookies
1 cup butter
3/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup granulated (white) sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
2 1/4 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda (or 3 tsp baking powder)
Pinch of salt
1 1/2 cups chocolate chips
Cream the butter with the sugars, the eggs and the vanilla. Mix up the dry ingredients and then combine with the wet. Stir in the chocolate chips last. Bake at 375 F for about 8-12 minutes.
mugface2
The cookies didn’t last very long…we made 48, around 9:30pm, and none survived past midnight.

February 4, 2008 at 5:01 am 1 comment

The snack that smiles back

(until you bite their heads off)
My school has this thing called Study Snacks where people edit papers and have lots of snacks about every other week. And the last time, I got to bake cupcakes for it!
cupcakes2
I went with basic vanilla and chocolate cupcakes with vanilla buttercream in pink and blue. I think the colours look like cotton candy…they taste like vanilla though. People really liked them, and I’m not just saying that because of how quickly they disappeared and because I had to hide these two in a cupboard so I could take their picture later.

I wanted to pipe on the frosting all pretty, but I had some issues with the bags and the tip I was using. I ended up thinning out the rest of the buttercream and smearing it on.
Oh well.
Here’s the recipe for Golden Vanilla Cupcakes.
(someone left nutmeg in the kitchen so I added a pinch of that)
For the chocolate ones I just took out a little flour and replaced it with cocoa, and cooked them about 2 minutes longer.

February 4, 2008 at 4:35 am Leave a comment

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