Sunday, January 30, 2011

Sticky Chocolate Icing Cupcakes

Let’s see, what are some things that happened in my neck of the woods over the weekend?

1. I cleaned our shower with Mr.Clean Magic Erasers…might have carpel tunnel at this point. Why are showers such disgusting beasts!

2. Panicked when I was 2 glasses deep into my wine and heard Indigo start to cry…at about 1030pm….I don’t do good with middle of the night wakings! Good thing it was just a random cry, put me in bed in less than 10 seconds though.

pssst....could it be my child doesn't care for wine??? *heart beats*

3. Watched Inception and understood it, oh yeah look at me I’m so smart. No - but really, totally enjoyed it & recommend it.

4. Baked cupcakes

Which one do you want to see pictures of? If you answered number 1 you might have fetish that is not happening on this blog.

Either way here are the goods. Delightfully borrowed from P-dub.


• 2 cups Cake Flour
• 2 teaspoons Baking Powder
• ¾ teaspoons Salt
• ½ cups Unsalted Butter, Softened
• 1 cup Sugar
• 3 whole Eggs Room Temperature
• 2 teaspoons Vanilla
• ¾ cups (plus A Tad More) Whole Milk
• _____
• ¾ cups Sweetened, Condensed Milk
• 6 ounces, weight Semi-sweet Chocolate
• 2 Tablespoons Butter


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt.

With an electric mixer, mix butter and sugar on high speed until fluffy. Scrape sides of bowl and mix for a few more seconds. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add vanilla. Mix to combine.

Alternate adding dry ingredients and milk in three batches, mixing for a few seconds after each addition.Scrape sides of bowl, then mix one final time.

Fill paper-lined muffin tins 3/4 full with batter. Bake for 20 to 22 minutes, or do not brown. Cool completely.

Sticky Chocolate Icing:

Mix ingredients together in a small/medium saucepan. Melt ingredients over medium low heat, stirring gently. Icing is ready when all ingredients are melted and combined.

Spoon warm icing over cupcakes, stirring icing to smooth after every third cupcake or so. Allow iced cupcakes to sit at least ten minutes before serving.

PS. In honor of Inception I am tilting this picture at a strange alternate angle, these cupcakes can be eaten in your dreams or real life.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Chorizo Rice with Black Beans

I love so many blogs! I thought that every couple of weeks, when I get a wild hair and that same night copy one of your recipes - I should share it here, along with the reasons I love that particular blog.

So my first Installment of Jennifer LURVES this blog so much is
Jenn’s Food Journey

I have to tell you, if my husband could have another blogger cook for him…Jenn would win his affections. She is a master of proteins and sauces and my husband mostly has to beg for such things. Luckily we live in different states! Ha

Jenn is inventive and has great recipes. She is a great blogger and follower, she always takes the time to comment over here in the Spectrum too.

I came across this recipe for her Chorizo rice and went to the store that night. My family enjoyed this for several days & it's a great side or main dish.

Thanks Jenn!

INGREDIENTS (only just a wee bit adapted)

1 teaspoon olive oil
1 jalapeno pepper, minced
1 red bell pepper, stem removed, seeded, and chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
Salt and Pepper
3/4 lb Mexican Chorizo (find this at your meat counter)
3 cups cooked rice
1 can of black beans, rinsed
3 green onions, chopped
2 Tablespoons sour cream
Cojita Cheese

PS. Buy a full pound of chorizo and enjoy the leftovers with some scrambled eggs, or have some Mexican Biscuits and Gravy.


Preheat oven to 375. Spray a small baking dish with non-stick spray.

In a non stick skillet, over medium heat, add the olive oil. Add the jalapeno and red pepper and let cook about 3 minutes, add green onion, season with salt and pepper. Add the garlic & black beans - cook for 30 seconds.

Now add the chorizo, breaking it up with a wooden spoon, and cook until cooked through, about 7-9 minutes. Remove from heat and toss with rice. Stir in sour cream. Top with Cojita Cheese. Pour into prepared pan and place in oven. Let cook 10 minutes.

My family enjoyed this topped with a diced Avocado & Extra Sour Cream…OK and maybe some more cheese too…I am useless against the power of cheese.

Visit Jenn and her fabulous blog.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Monday, January 24, 2011

Tequila Lime Tart

There are certain times in life that call for a party. Times that require friends, food, drink, and smiles. I can think of all the basic ones…

Births, Birthdays, Weddings, Anniversaries, Graduations..etc…etc…

If none of these are happening in the next few weeks then we have just got to come up with some other fan-freaking-tastic reasons for you to sample this tart. So let’s make a list.

Reason 1 - Finding your work badge after a 3 day weekend. I tend to store my badge in what I believe to be a highly visible and non lose your badge area. NOTE TO SELF AND OTHERS, YOU NEVER REMEMBER THE "EVER SO SECRET NEVER FORGET THAT IMPORTANT ITEM SPOT"

So find that badge, make this tart.

Reason 2 – Printing out all of your 2 ½ year olds first year pictures. Yes, I am totally a slacker. I seem to have a talent for taking pictures just not one for printing and putting them away. Needless to say they are printed and neatly tucked away in a place I will never lose them in..

Organize pictures, make this tart.

Reason 3 – Any day that ends in Y is a reason to make this tart, there you are so totally covered if abiding by my rules for making this tart.

If you need any other reason simply take a swig of tequila..which could possibly steer you in this tarts direction.

Delightfully borrowed from : This place


For the crust:

• 10 ounces vanilla wafers
• 1/4 cup pine nuts
• 1/2 cup butter, melted

For the filling:

• 2 egg whites
• 1 tablespoon sugar
• 1/4 cup tequila
• 1/2 cup fresh lime juice
• 4 egg yolks
• 1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
• Fresh whipped cream, for serving


For the crust:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F

Add wafers and pine nuts to food processor, pulse until well ground up. Pour into bowl and add melted butter. Mix by hand, with a wooden spoon, and press into 10-inch tart pan.

Place tart pan in the oven and bake for 8 minutes.

For the filling:

In a mixing bowl add egg whites and sugar, beat until there are soft peaks.

In another mixing bowl, add remaining ingredients and mix thoroughly. Fold in the egg whites. Pour into tart shell and bake for 25 minutes.

Party on dude.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Delightful Crab Bites

I think delightful is a really delightful word.

To explain, let’s start with another word that is still in the nice spectrum but far surpasses delightful in feeling…but also with the work required to get there – that word is perfection. Perfection is pretty hard to beat, but perfection might mean you have worked 3 hours on icing one cake. That is a huge amount of work for perfection.

Let’s face it, perfection often then costs the most.

A second word to show you where delightful fits in my brain is decent. Decent is almost always acceptable, most people would not send decent back. However, does decent put a smile on your face?

Now on to that word I truly adore, delightful. Delightful is light, you barely break a sweat for delightful – it often results in a smile and can often lead to a little bit of laughter.

This is why I love the word delightful, you do not expect perfection but you laugh in the face of decent.

These are delightful….and delightfully borrowed, albeit slight modified from AllRecipes


• 1 (6 ounce) can crab meat, drained
• 5 ounces Old English cheese, jar
• 1/4 cup butter, softened
• 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
• 1 pinch garlic salt
• 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
• 1 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
• Red Pepper Flakes
• 6 English muffins, split in half


Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Cover a baking pan with foil.

In a medium-size mixing bowl, combine crabmeat, cheese spread, butter or margarine, mayonnaise, garlic salt, parsley, chives, and red pepper flakes. Mix well, and spread on English muffins. Cut the muffins into quarters and arrange them on your baking sheet.

Bake at 400 degrees for 12 minutes. Broil the muffins for the last minute to get them toasted.

Remove from oven, let sit for about 5 minutes…get ready…smile

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Cooking Beef Bourguignon

Because I am totally a sheep, I watched Julie and Julia and promptly got my Beef Bourguignon on. What can I say, I am easily influenced.

I learned many things while making this dish.

1. I loved the process and I felt really connected to this dish.
2. It is fun to light food on fire.
3. I cannot for the life of me pronounce Beef Bourguignon or Worcestershire or Conscience

I have made this dish three times since that movie inspired me. I wake up early to start the whole process. In between loving my baby and passing by the husband cranking out some coffee on the Keurig (love that thing!) I am happily searing the beef and peppering up the carrots and onions…don’t get me started on how hard it is to resist the bacon…and making your husband resist it.

INGREDIENTS (Serves 8) delightfully borrowed from Ina.

• 1 tablespoon good olive oil
• 8 ounces dry cured center cut applewood smoked bacon, diced
• 2 1/2 pounds chuck beef cut into 1-inch cubes
• Kosher salt
• Freshly ground black pepper
• 1 1/2 pound carrots, sliced diagonally into 1-inch chunks
• 2 yellow onions, sliced
• 2 teaspoons chopped garlic (2 cloves)
• 1/2 cup Cognac
• 1 (750 ml.) bottle good dry red wine such as Cote du Rhone or Pinot Noir
• 1 can (2 cups) beef broth
• 1 tablespoon tomato paste
• 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves (1/2 teaspoon dried)
• 4 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature, divided
• 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
• 1/2 pound frozen whole onions
• 1 pound fresh mushrooms stems discarded, caps thickly sliced


Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F.

Heat the olive oil in a large Dutch oven. Add the bacon and cook over medium heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the bacon is lightly browned. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon to a large plate.

Dry the beef cubes with paper towels and then sprinkle them with salt and pepper (do this!!! Make sure beef is really dry). In batches in single layers, sear the beef in the hot oil for 3 to 5 minutes, turning to brown on all sides. Remove the seared cubes to the plate with the bacon and continue searing until all the beef is browned. Set aside. Make sure to do in batches, you want to keep the juice to a minimum.

Toss the carrots, and onions, 1 tablespoon of salt and 2 teaspoons of pepper in the fat in the pan and cook for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions are lightly browned. Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Add the Cognac, stand back, and ignite with a match to burn off the alcohol. Put the meat and bacon back into the pot with the juices.

Add the bottle of wine plus enough beef broth to almost cover the meat. Add the tomato paste and thyme. Bring to a simmer, cover the pot with a tight-fitting lid and place it in the oven for about 1 1/4 hours or until the meat and vegetables are very tender when pierced with a fork.

Combine 2 tablespoons of butter and the flour with a fork and stir into the stew. Add the frozen onions. Saute the mushrooms in 2 tablespoons of butter for 10 minutes until lightly browned and then add to the stew. Bring the stew to a boil on top of the stove, then lower the heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Season to taste.

I make this in the early am and let it rest all day on my stove top, it really is something you cook..not just eat.

PS. I have no dutch oven, I improvised my placing a large ceramic dish in my preheated oven, then pouring the BB into that dish from a regular old pot. I covered it tightly with foil. Improvise!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Italian Roast Pudding with Cookie Croutons


Oh how I love thee, let me count the ways.

1. You help people make it to work, chipper.
2. You help make my house clean when disaster strikes.
3. In baked goods you add pizazz
4. You set a mood and are a great fill in for wine.
5. You babysit Indigo when I can’t find a sitter.
6. World Peace is in your sights.
7. 5 &6 are lies
8. I love cheese too.
9. This post will also include browned butter chocolate chip cookies.
9. I am off track let’s see the recipes.

Delightfully lifted & slightly altered the pudding from : Life’s A Feast
Delightfully stole for the 2ND time on the same day from Completely Delicious, she provided the cookies

INGREDIENTS for pudding (serves 6-8)

3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar (I used light brown)
3 Tbs cornstarch
2 individual packs of Starbucks Italian Roast Via Coffee packets
3 ¾ cups half & half or cream

DIRECTIONS for pudding

Put the brown sugar, cornstarch and espresso powder in a small saucepan and whisk to blend. Add about 3/4 cup of the cream or half-and-half and whisk until the coffee is almost dissolved. Whisk in the remaining half-and-half. Cook, whisking frequently, over medium heat until boiling. Boil, whisking constantly, for 1 minute.

Pour into a bowl, cover tightly (touching) with saran wrap. Refrigerate for 4 hours.

INGREDIENTS for cookies (makes about 15)

1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cups chocolate chips

DIRECTIONS for Cookies

In a medium saucepan over low heat, melt the butter. Once melted, continue to cook until it turns golden brown. You will get a nice nutty smell, with tiny flecks. Remove from the heat and pour into a shallow dish. Store in the refrigerator until it is just solid again.

Pre-heat your oven to 375.

Beat the brown butter, sugar, and brown sugar on medium high speed with an electric mixer until light and creamy, about 4 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing after each. Add the vanilla. Add the flour, baking soda, and salt and mix until just combined. Mix in the chocolate chips.

Spoon by the tablespoon on to a parchment lined baking sheet and get your baking on…about 12 minutes.

Remove from oven – cool – dice into small squares and sprinkle on the pudding.

Serve … sit back…there it is….you are now being hailed as the queen and deserve it.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

White Chicken Chili

Call an ambulance…I have lost my senses of taste & smell! Yikes.

Having a cold sucks for a person addicted to food.

Having a cold sucks for a person who has a hard time sleeping as it is.

Having a cold sucks for a person who just invited people over and is praying to the cold gods to remedy the situation by Saturday because she has all this fantastic stuff she needs to cook and eat and drink..phew

You know what rocks while you’re sick? Besides the day off of course (which I do not have, cry)…chili in your belly, it just seems right. The nasal passages cleared for just the right amount of time for me to enjoy this…then they closed right up on my glass of Sauvignon Blanc.

If my nasal passages ever show themselves in human form I will promptly whoop their butt.

This recipe was delightfully borrowed from a website I stalk constantly…Pioneer Woman PS….all you foodies…she is having a photography contest for FOOD pictures, so hop on over…I realize I am hurting my chances of the grand win I have planned but I am praying to the karma gods here about my cold.


• 3 cups shredded chicken
• 1 whole Medium Onion, Diced
• 4 cloves Garlic, Minced
• 2 whole Cans Green Chilies, Chopped
• 1 pound Dried Great Northern Beans, Rinsed
• 8 cups Chicken Broth
• 2 whole Jalapenos, Sliced
• 1-½ Tablespoon Ground Cumin
• ½ teaspoons Paprika
• ½ teaspoons Cayenne Pepper
• Salt To Taste
• White Pepper, To Taste
• 1 cup Whole Milk
• 2 Tablespoons Masa
• Grated Monterey Jack, To Taste
• Sour Cream For Garnish
• Cilantro For Garnish


In a large pot over medium-high heat, saute onions and garlic for 2 minutes. Add chopped green chilies, then rinsed beans. Pour chicken broth into the pan. Add sliced jalapenos. Season with salt, pepper, and cumin. Place lid on pot and reduce heat to low.

Cook for 2 hours or until beans are done. Halfway through the cooking process, add 3 cups of cooked chicken.

When beans are tender, mix milk with masa and pour into the chili. Cook for an additional ten minutes to thicken. Check seasoning and adjust, adding cayenne pepper and paprika if desired.

Add some Monterey Jack cheese to the pot and stir to melt.

Serve chili in a bowl. Garnish with cilantro, sour cream, extra cheese

PS. Reserve a bowl for the cold gods, you just never know what will work with those jerks.

PS. Hide a 2nd bowl in the back of the fridge, aka the area your significant other will not find it.

PS. I have let my cats in and out of the house approximately 7,234 times this week…so far…yes this is off topic…but dear lord pick a side cats.