Sunday, January 12, 2014

My Favorite Dinner!

I only post my sweet creations, but today I wanted to share with everyone my all time favorite meal.   It is cod with brown butter brussel sprouts and a sweet potato puree.  Food is really my first passion and baking started more recently.  I love reading food blogs and have always wanted to take pics while I cook.  Usually don't have time to take pics while I am cooking, but I tried to do it this time.  I am not a photographer, but I have a great camera so hopefully my pictures will do the food justice.  Here goes.
Ingredients for Brown Butter Brussel Sporuts
I use frozen brussel sprouts and always cut them in half.  The inside browns so nicely.
Look at that beautiful caramelization! Yummmmm

1 bag brussel sprouts
3 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon caraway seeds
Pinch cracked black pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 lemon, juiced
In a saute pan, add butter, caraway seeds and cracked black pepper. Melt butter until browned.  Add brussel sprouts and cook for about 5 minutes.  Add lemon juice.  Continue to cook until you see beautiful brown color.  
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Ingredients for Sweet Potato Puree (I forgot to include the chicken broth)

I am mezmorized with the inside of nutmeg :)

4 cups chicken stock
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons sea salt, plus more for seasoning
1 tablespoon freshly cracked black pepper, plus more for seasoning
1 pinch grated nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
3 sweet potatoes
3 tablespoons heavy cream
1 lemon, juiced

In a medium saucepan add chicken stock, brown sugar, 2 tablespoons sea salt, 1 tablespoon cracked black pepper, a pinch of nutmeg, and almond extract. Stir mixture and bring to a boil.

Meanwhile, peel sweet potatoes and cut into medium-sized cubes. Add to the chicken stock and cook for 15 to 20 minutes until soft.

Once potatoes are soft, place potatoes in a food processor. Reserve the liquid and set aside. Add heavy cream and lemon juice and blend until smooth. If too dry, add reserved potato liquid. Season with salt and pepper, to taste, and serve.

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I am hardcore dieting right now so I omitted the wine sauce and grilled the fish.  Honestly, it tasted nowhere, and I mean nowhere near as good this way so I will definitely stick to the recipe next time.  

4 (6-ounce) cod fillets
Panko bread crumbs
2 eggs, for egg wash
Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper
4 tablespoons grapeseed oil
1/2 lemon, juiced
1 tablespoon butter
1 sprig fresh thyme
Butter Sauce, recipe follows
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Place the fillets on a sheet tray or rack so the fish can release its natural juices.

Place the bread crumbs into a shallow dish. In a separate shallow dish add 2 beaten eggs. Season both sides of the fillet with salt and pepper. Once seasoned, brush the belly side of the cod with the egg. Dip the egg side into the bread crumbs.

In a cast iron skillet add grapeseed oil. Before placing fish into pan, make sure the skillet is very hot. Sear only 1 side of the fish (the side with the bread crumbs). Once 1 side is seared, place the skillet in the oven for about 3 to 4 minutes until cooked.

Once the fish is cooked, flip it over and add the lemon juice, butter and sprig of thyme. Let melt and baste the fish with the juice.

Pour over the Butter Sauce and serve.

Butter Sauce:
2 cups white wine (recommended: Chardonnay)
2 sprigs fresh thyme
1 shallot, sliced
2 clove garlic, smashed
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1/2 lemon, juiced
2 tablespoons cold butter
3 tablespoons chopped chives
Freshly cracked black pepper
In saucepan, add wine, sprigs of thyme, shallot and garlic. Set on back burner to allow the wine to reduce. Once the sauce is reduced to a syrup, strain and add the heavy cream, and lemon juice and bring to a slight simmer.

Whisk in cold butter and once melted add the fresh chives and season with black pepper.

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One more picture of my Princess Belle cake

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Christmas Cupcakes

Below are a few other cupcakes I made over Christmas.  After taste testing far too many of these delicious cupcakes, I am hardcore in eat healthy / workout mode!

Chocolate hand piped Christmas Tree cupcakes
Bourbon Pecan 
Recipe for Bourbon Pecan Cupcakes:

Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Pie Cupcakes with Butter Pecan Frosting
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours
Yield: 18 cupcakes
    Bourbon Chocolate Cupcakes
  • 1 cup bourbon*
  • 1 cup canola oil
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2/3 cup greek yogurt
  • Pecan Pie Filling
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup cold water
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup corn syrup
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 2 tablespoons bourbon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Butter Pecan Frosting:
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
  • 2/3 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup + 2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, divided
  • 2 tablespoons bourbon
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 cup finely chopped raw pecans + 18 whole pecans
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 standard cupcake pans with 18 liners.
  2. In a medium bowl whisk together the bourbon, canola oil and cocoa powder until smooth and creamy.
  3. In a separate bowl, beat the eggs and greek yogurt with an electric mixer. Slowly add bourbon and cocoa mixture. Combine on medium speed until silky and smooth. Beat in the sugar.
  4. Slowly add flour, salt and baking soda, combining on low speed until just incorporated.
  5. Fill baking cups three-fourths full. Bake for about 18-22 minutes. Allow to cool completely before filling, at least 2 hours or covered overnight.
  6. Meanwhile make the pecan pie filling. Combine 1/4 cup cold water with 2 tablespoons cornstarch, whisk until smooth. Add the brown sugar, corn syrup, eggs, salt and corn starch mixture to a sauce pot. Bring the mixture to a boil, whisking consistently for about 5 minutes. Do not stop whisking the mixture, especially in the beginning or you will end up with scrambled eggs. Remove the mixture from the heat and stir in the pecans, bourbon and vanilla. Allow the mixture to cool a few minutes and then transfer to the fridge for at least one hour or until completely cooled and thickened.
  7. To make the frosting. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with foil or a silicone baking mat.
  8. In a medium sauce pan, melt together 1/4 cup butter, cream, and brown sugar. Bring to a boil and boil for one minute. Remove from the heat and add to the bowl of a stand mixer. Place the bowl in the freezer (or fridge for longer) for 15-20 minutes or until cool.
  9. In a bowl whisk together the bourbon, 1 tablespoon vanilla, 2 tablespoons brown sugar and cinnamon. Add pecans and stir to coat evenly. Transfer nuts to prepared baking pan. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until toasted. Remove and toss the pecans with 1 tablespoon butter. Allow to cool 10 minutes, set aside.
  10. Now grab the cooled butter mixture and add the remaining 1/2 cup room temperature butter, vanilla and powdered sugar to the bowl and beat together until well combined. MIx in about 1/2 cup of the chopped pecans. If the frosting is not stiff enough to frost the cupcakes place it in the fridge for 30 20-30 minutes or the freezer for 5-15 minutes. The remove and whip it for a few second to get everything smooth again.
  11. To assemble the cupcakes: Use a small paring knife to cut a cone-shaped piece from the center of each cupcake. Fill the hole with the cooled pecan pie filling. Add the frosting (if you want to pipe the frosting on use a circular tip, double the frosting recipe and swirl the frosting on in a circular motion) and sprinkle each cupcake with the remaining pecans. If desired top with 1 whole pecan.
*If you do not want to use a whole cup of bourbon you can do 1/2 cup coffee + 1/2 cup bourbon. I really recommend using all bourbon though!

Peppermint Popcorn Crunch

My friend at work brought in this amazing bag of popcorn and shared with me.  Angie's White Chocolatier Peppermint Kettle Corn.  Best.....popcorn....EVER!

I thought, a cupcake based on this popcorn would probably be unbelievably wonderful so here is what I came up with.  Let me just say it was the hit of every party I made it for this past holiday season.

Princess Belle Cake

Oh my gosh, I am so behind in my posts.  With the holidays, I just didn't have time.  Here is a Princess Belle cake I just finished for Emma who is turning 3.  I love how it turned out.  It is vanilla cake with yellow vanilla buttercream and has 3 layers on the bottom and 2 layers on top.