Thursday, May 21, 2009

Martha's Cupcake Book

Martha's Cupcake book is coming out in just a few weeks...and to tease us...she is giving us a recipe a day on her show.

You can PREORDER the book...I think I might just do that. I would love to do it for my brother Louis, but I am sure he did already! He should write his own book with his AMAZING cupcakes!

Anyway, I have only seen a few the Martha shows this week (my dvr is full!) but every cupcake I have seen is worth a try. The Lemon meringue especially because I have one of those cool torches and love to use it!

The Lemon Meringue Cupcakes:

Makes 24
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups sugar
4 large eggs, room temperature
Finely grated zest of 3 lemons (about 3 tablespoons), plus 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk
Lemon Curd
Seven-Minute Frosting

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners. Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt.
With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, cream butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until each is until incorporated, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Beat in zest and vanilla. Add flour mixture in three batches, alternating with two additions of buttermilk and lemon juice, and beating until just combined after each.
Divide batter evenly among lined cups, filling each three-quarters full. Bake, rotating tins halfway through, until golden brown and a cake tester inserted in centers comes out clean, about 25 minutes. Transfer tins to wire racks to cool completely before removing cupcakes. Cupcakes can be stored overnight at room temperature, or frozen up to 2 months, in airtight containers.
To finish, spread 1 tablespoon lemon curd onto middle of each cupcake. Fill a pastry bag fitted with a large open-star tip (Ateco #828 or Wilton #8B) with frosting. Pipe frosting onto each cupcake, swirling tip slightly and releasing as you pull up to form a peak. Hold a small kitchen torch 3 to 4 inches from surface of frosting, and wave it back and forth until frosting is lightly browned all over. Serve immediately.

Then there is the Chocolate Cupcake...always good!

Makes 12
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup sour cream
Easy White Icing
Sprinkles (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 12-cup standard muffin tin with paper liners.
Into a medium bowl, sift together cocoa, flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside. In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each, then beat in vanilla. With mixer on low speed, add flour mixture in two batches, alternating with sour cream and beginning and ending with flour.
Pour batter into cups, filling each 3/4 full. Bake until a toothpick inserted in centers comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes.
Cool in pan 5 minutes; transfer to a wire rack to cool completely, then spread with Easy White Icing using a table knife or small offset spatula. Decorate with sprinkles, if desired.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Show Me Your Mussels

I am convinced that Friday nights are the best nights to entertain...they force you to be casual, impromptu, no preplanning, just "hey let's get together and make a feast" kind of nights. You can have a few drinks, and still have Saturday and Sunday to recover, which in my mind is a VERY good thing! :)

My friend Kristy came over and we started to cook. But first a cocktail break...

This is the Peach Basil Martini:


This is a great cocktail that we all enjoyed...a great summer drink that you should try! :)





But I digress...this post is all about the Mussels!

On our way home from work, we stopped at the market to pick up something to make for dinner. We wanted some shrimp, then I noticed the mussels...they were on I asked Kristy if she had ever cooked them...she said no, so I said...what the heck! We bought a pound each of shrimp and mussels thinking we would just figure it out when we got home.


Fish, shellfish, anykind of fish...I have always been afraid to isn't cheap, and it is very delicate easily ruined...and that I just couldn't face! :) I love it though! So, I had to start somewhere.

What I didn't realize is fish makes a quick meal...and elegant one, and one that doesn't require lots of planning! I love this.

We found a recipe in the Barefoot in Paris book by Ina Garten...and I just happened to have everything on hand...and off we went to create this FANTASTIC dinner.

Note: This recipe uses all mussels, but we bought 1 lb of shrimp and 1 lb of mussels to make this recipe.

Mussels in White Wine
Barefoot In Paris by Ina Garten
Serves 2-3

3 pounds cultivated mussels
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons good olive oil
1 cup chopped shallots (5 to 7 shallots)
1 1/2 tablespoons minced garlic (5 to 6 cloves)
1/2 cup chopped canned plum tomatoes, drained (4 ounces)
1/2 teaspoon good saffron threads
1/3 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
1 cup good white wine
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

To clean the mussels, put them in a large bowl with 2 quarts of water and the flour and soak for 30 minutes, or until the mussels disgorge any sand.



Drain the mussels, then remove the "beard" from each with your fingers. If they're dirty, scrub the mussels with a brush under running water. Discard any mussels whose shells aren't tightly shut.

In a large non-aluminum stockpot, heat the butter and olive oil over medium heat. Add the shallots and cook for 5 minutes; then add the garlic and cook for 3 more minutes, or until the shallots are translucent. Add the tomatoes, saffron, parsley, thyme, wine, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil.


Add the mussels,


stir well, then cover the pot, and cook over medium heat for 8 to 10 minutes, until all the mussels are opened (discard any that do not open). With the lid on, shake the pot once or twice to be sure the mussels don't burn on the bottom.


NOTE: at 8 minutes, we added the peeled, deveined shrimp to the pot to cook for the last 3 minutes.

Pour the mussels and the sauce into a large bowl and serve hot.


Isn't this gorgeous? We served it with fresh lemon slices and toasted garlic ciabatta bread to sop up the delicious good!


This is an impressive dinner. The flavors are out of this world...tastes like a million bucks. This will be a go to recipe for me from now on. It was so simple and easy, and the results to DIE FOR! :) I know I say that a lot, but it is so true...this is a delicious recipe. If you are a virgin shellfish cooker, give this one a try, you won't be sorry!