Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Please a Redditor - Make Maple Bacon Cupcakes

So I have this friend who lives in Brooklyn. He's the typical Woot-T-shirt-wearing, bare-footed, most-of-the-time long-haired, alternative-band-loving denizen of Williamsburg. It was his birthday last week, and I knew I wanted to make cupcakes, but I didn't know which kind would perfectly suit. Another friend expertly recommended... Maple Bacon Cupcakes!!!

A brilliant idea!

Mmmmm

Please note, you will be forced to use real maple syrup by your syrup snob friends. Yes, they're out there. None of that pancake Jemima goo. You'll also have to actually use nice, thick cut bacon. If it tears when you're taking it out of the plastic, save that for the kids, and go get Better Bacon.

Maple Bacon Cupcakes

Cake Ingredients - Makes 12 cupcakes, or 24 mini-cupcakes
  • 4 1/2 Tbsp Butter
  • Solidified bacon fat from...
  • 6 Strips of Bacon
  • 1 Egg
  • 5 Tbsp Brown Sugar
  • 4 Tbsp (real) Maple Syrup
  • 1 1/4 cups Self Rising Flour (1 cup SR flour = 1 cup AP flour + 1 1/4 tsp Baking Powder + 1/4 tsp Salt)
  • 1 tsp Baking Soda
  • 1/2 tsp Baking Powder
  • Pinch of Kosher Salt
  • 1/4 cup of Milk
Frosting Ingredients
  • 4 Tbsp Butter
  • 2 Tbsp (real) Maple Syrup
  • 1 cup of Powdered Sugar
  • Roughly chopped Bacon to garnish

First, make your home smell beautiful by cooking up the thick-sliced bacon. Set the bacon aside, and when they're dry, give them a rough chop. You need 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup of bacon bits to put into the cake mix. The rest can be used for garnish and gnoshing. While you're doing that, put the bacon fat in the freezer to solidify. 

Preheat your oven to 350F.

When the bacon fat is ready, beat it with the butter until it's fluffy. Add the brown sugar and maple syrup and beat until combined. Add the one egg and again, beat until combined.  

In another bowl, sift the together the SR flour, salt, baking soda, and baking powder.

Alternatively add the flour mixture and milk to your wet batter until everything is incorporated. Fold in your roughly chopped bacon.

**Note: At this point, when you taste your batter, you may be disappointed. It doesn't taste like too much, but that's because you've been eating straight bacon for 30 minutes. Just chill out and keep going.

Fill either 12 cupcake tins or 24 mini-cupcake tins with the batter and bake for about 18-22 min (or 12 minutes for minis).

While that's happening, make the frosting. I doubled this recipe, but then ended up with half a portion more then I needed. Meh, do what seems right. 

Beat the butter and syrup together in a clean bowl. Add the powdered sugar a little at a time, then whip it all until you have peaks. The frosting is pretty thick and kind of grainy. Again, Don't Worry. It will Be Fine.

When the cupcakes have completely cooled, frost them pretty and add a bacon garnish to make it all fancy. A dash of sea salt can also really make the flavor pop. 

You may or may not doubt these cupcakes before you serve them. I did. BUT, when you're eating them with your friends, you will finally be hit with the savory, smokiness of the cake, and the epic maple sweetness of the frosting (butter, really, it's just butter). Shit will be fabulous. 


:D Trust! Bake! Enjoy!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Sangria is Coming.

Hello all,

The wonderful months of summer are now upon us, and it's time to grab your pitchers and make some thirst-quenching Sangria! Sangria is a refreshingly chilled, wine based drink that usually includes fruit, a sweetener, and a bit of brandy. Soda can also be added; I like it for the tiny bit of carbonation.

Sangria is traditionally made of red wine - it is actually named for 'sangre,' the Spanish word for blood. Brunch spots, restaurants of all caliber, and your mom though, are now making white wine sangria as popular as it's bloody counterpoint.



A few weekends ago, we had my sister and her boyfriend at our apartment for the weekend, so I thought I would make two pitchers the night before our Saturday brunch.

Remi's Summer Red

Ingredients:

  • 1 Bottle of Merlot
  • 1 Lemon cut into wedges
  • 1 Orange cut into wedges
  • 2 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 Shot of Brandy
  • 1 Cup of Ginger Ale
  • 1 cup of Club Soda
Easy as pie! The night before serving, cut the fruit into wedges and squeeze out all of their juice into your pitcher (or another container if you're straining it in the morning). Add all the other ingredients except the Ginger Ale and Club Soda, and return the juiced fruit to the pitcher. In the photo above, I had cut the fruit into rounds, but I think wedges or even cubes would be better. I found that the rounds re-absorbed too much of the Sangria for my liking. Chill overnight. When you're ready to serve, add the Ginger Ale and Club Soda and you're done! Hubby liked this one better than the white, because its sweetness is understated, making the drink very refreshing. 

**Protip: You can strain out the old fruit before serving, and add some fresh slices (don't squeeze the juice out). This will maximize the amount of Sangria for your guests, and clean up the liquid a bit.

Remi's White Summer

Ingredients:
  • 1 Bottle of Riesling,
  • 2/3 cup white sugar
  • 3 oranges wedged, or may substitute 1 cup of orange juice)
  • 1 lemon, wedged
  • 2 oz. brandy
  • 1/2 liter of ginger ale
Follow the same directions as the Summer Red, and you can't go wrong. This Sangria is much sweeter, and it has a little more kick! Perfect for me and my sister. 



Enjoy your summer Sangrias!


Monday, May 20, 2013

Quickie: Free Shake Shack Burger!

Quick post for you today guys,

Delta airlines has set up a pop-up store in Soho, and they're giving out coupons for a FREE Shake Shack burger!



The address is 371 W. Broadway (cross street is Broome). They'll be open until May 22nd, 11am to 3pm. You do have to give them your email address.

For those of you who don't know, Shake Shack is the In'n'Out of New York, and waaay better than its west coast competitor. They serve Juicy burgers on sweet, fresh buns, thick milkshakes, the Best fries, and even beer!

So quick like a bunny, get down to Soho!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Portable Love: the Bacon Wrapped Breakfast "Muffin"

Hello hello, food-lovers!

This past weekend was Mother's Day in the U.S. and all over the country, citizens clogged the freeways trying to see their dear mommies for Sunday Brunch. In my new-in-name, but longtime-in-heart family, we like to do a breakfast-in-bed special. We also like to hyphenate as much as possible, ha!

This year, I decided I wanted to contribute more than just scrambled eggs, so I prepped, assembled, and baked my first batch of Breakfast "Muffins." They're a filling, savory, hand-held cup of warm goodness. Best of all? They're super easy to make.

I'm going to share the how-to, but let me tell you, we had to do Breakfast-in-Bed for the Mothers in the family at 8:00am this year, due to a morning awards ceremony in a different state. Since I don't like to wake up in the morning at all, I did my prep the night before. OF COURSE, we all (9 of us) decided to watch a movie before bed that night, so my sister-in-law, her bf, and I did our prep at 1:30am.

It was my first time working with Turkey Bacon, so I just want to put out there, shit was cray. For me at least. I was tired.

Breakfast "Muffins"




Ingredients:

- 6 Slices of Bread you like to eat
- Enough Butter to butter a 12 muffin tin
- 1 1/2 packs of Button Mushrooms
- 24 slices of Bacon you like to eat
- 12 Large Eggs
- Salt, Pepper
- Paprika, Thyme (optional)

Preheat your oven to 350F.

First, you'll have to get your ingredients prepped. Partially cook the bacon until it's juuuust starting to get firm. It shouldn't be browning yet. Set that aside.


 Like I said, this was my first time working with Turkey Bacon. My new family doesn't eat pork, so I was happy to switch it out, but this stuff is Wild! It came in one pack of twenty-four thin strips. The texture was like spam, the color like fruit leather. I was getting pretty concerned, but onward I cooked! Only - the hotter the pan got, the drier it got! NO fat came out of these babies. Oh, woe was me! I was going to use the fat to saute the mushrooms. Oh well. So at 1:30am, bewildered, I added CANOLA OIL to my pan with Turkey BACON in it. Shit was cray.





Anyways, things turned out fine. The cooling, partially cooked Turkey Bacon is above. Since it was the night before, I rolled up the Bacon in paper towel, surrounded it in aluminum foil, and put it in the fridge. Done, son.

Next, wipe the Button Mushrooms clean using a damp cloth and give them a rough dice. Slice the garlic. Using the  bacon fat (if you have any) or oil or butter (just get some lipids in the paaaan!), saute the mushrooms and garlic until the 'shrooms are small and brown. Make sure to season, and don't burn the garlic! The garlic slices should be soft and utterly delicious when you're done.

While those are cooling, liberally butter your muffin tin and tear or cut the bread into small discs that fit into the bottoms of the cups. Wrap two slices of bacon between each bread disc and the metal. Then add a tablespoon or two of the sauteed mushrooms.


 Now crack an egg over those babies. If you're lucky, you might get a double yolk!

When it looks like thiiiiis,



SEASON THEM!! That's the most important step. Salt and pepper are a must. Add some paprika and thyme if you like too. I like.

Toss them in the oven for 10-20 minutes, depending on how runny you like your eggs. You can watch the whites turn white, it's pretty neat.

Pop them out, and serve immediately. I would have taken a nicer photo, but I forgot in my haste to devour.

Yuuuuuum (no forks necessary).


And that's it! Go wow your mothers, your roommates, your partners. Go eat them all yourself. You will not regret this easy, yummy, treat.

:D


Friday, May 3, 2013

Why, hellllo there :)

Very rarely does my beloved Hubby consider recipes for sweets, or really enjoy them, the way he does a nice blue steak. One day, however, my gmail alerted me to his unusual message - "Hubby recommends you try smitten kitchen's Hello Dolly bars. Best. Thing. Ever."

My husband? A fan of a baked morsel? With coconut in it?? Of course I couldn't resist baking these the first chance I got. They turned out to melt-in-your-mouth AMAZING. With nuts, chocolate, peanut butter, coconut, and condensed milk on a graham cracker crust, how could you go wrong? Every single  self-proclaimed hater of coconut who tried these, loved them! Yum yum.

You can find the original recipe for smitten kitchen's Hello Dolly bars here, but I wanted to change it up a bit to more represent Hubby's appreciation.

So I present to you,
Hello Dani Bars!


Ingredients:
1/2 cup (1 stick) salted butter, cut into large pieces
1 1/2 cups graham crackers crumbs
1 1/2 cups chocolate chips
1 cup peanut butter chips (I used Reese's)
1 cup shredded coconut, fresh
1 cup pecans, coarsely chopped
1 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped
1/3 cup sweetened condensed milk 

Before you start, preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Crunch up the graham crackers until they're all crummy, and then nuke the butter until melted. 
Mix the butter and cracker crumbs and spread across the bottom of an 8x8 baking pan. If you're doing a double batch, 9x13 works just fine. 

Neeext, layer the coconut, pecans, walnuts, chocolate and peanut butter chips until your pan looks FREAKING AMAZING. For different portions of my pan, I layered with the coconut on top to make it more creative looking. Up to you. 

Finally, pour the sweetened condensed milk over whole thing. Try not to lick the inside of the can, the edges are sharp!

Bake in oven for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the coconut starts getting a nice light brown fringe.

Here's the hard part. You HAVE to WAIT for the bars to cool before cutting them. Your whole living space will be smelling bomb-dot-com, but you HAVE to wait. If you try to cut now, they'll just fall all apart, and they be so ruined you'll have to eat the mush right away. That would just be terrible. 

For those of you who can't read, I give you an instructional photo set:




Uhhhh-huh. Results when properly cooled. Mmmmmmm.....
Favorite bars ever. These bad boys found me standing at my kitchen island at 2am shoveling crumbs into my mouth. Enjoy! :D XD



Thursday, April 25, 2013

Hubby's Kitchen: Home-made Pan Pizza for Two!

Good Morning Internets!

I couldn't wait to share with you the magic that happened in our kitchen last night. Although a seasoned (eh, eh?)  veteran of protein preparation, my husband had never stepped into the non-frozen pizza realm -until he conquered it yesterday.

Now, I know New York is home to the delectable crispy, thin-crust, foldable, generously sliced version of pie, but our lovely cast-iron skillet was just perfect for a thick crusted, sauce-laden, cheesy monstrosity of a Chicago-style deep-dish. So we deep-dished away.


Hubby's Spinach, Broccoli, and Pepperoni Pan Pizza

Ingredients:
  • 9 oz. Pizza Dough (ours was frozen)
  • Marinara Sauce, about 18 oz.
  • 3/4 lbs fresh unsalted Mozzarella
  • 4 oz. fresh Spinach
  • 2 cups Broccoli florets
  • 1/4 lbs thin Pepperoni
  • 2 T Bacon Grease
Preheat your oven to 500 F. 

In an 8'' oven safe pan, saute spinach in bacon grease and set aside. 

Put your broccoli florets into the same pan and roast them with the little fat you'll have left. They're done when they're a little brown. Set those aside.




Carefully stretch the dough and put it in the now warmed pan. Add a layer of marinara sauce, then cover it with pepperoni slices. Sprinkle on some florets and spinach. Mmmmm....










Cut that  yummy mozzarella into fat slices and layer it on!


















Another layer of spinach, broccoli, and mozz! Height is what you want. A huge pan full of love is what you want.



  More sauce please! 
















When you're done layering, stick that beauty into the oven and turn the temp down to 450F. Let it go until the cheese starts to  brown on top (about 30 min).






Your finished pie should look a little something like this:


How you get it out of the pan and onto your plate is a challenge that I'll leave to you. It will be messy, it will be sloppy. There Will Be Marinara Sauce. But don't let that stop you! Pull up your bib and pretend to be a true Chicagoan!

Thanks for reading! Enjoy yourselves and please do comment on how yours turned out! Hubby would love to hear. <3


Monday, April 22, 2013

Back from the Dead - with Soft-Shell Crabs!

Hello New York,

I'm back from my long silence! What have I done in that time? Moved apartments, got married, got kittens, started a fashion enthusiast blog, and returned to my first love: food. Not to worry, I've taken plenty of food photos around town while I've been away, so there won't be much of a lull anymore.

New developments to watch out for:
1) My love of sushi has only grown since moving to nyc, so there will be many, many posts full o'fish.
2) Cupcakes. I'm in to cupcakes now. Hooraaay, cupcakes (said in the Red Stripe voice)!

Onwards!

My wonderful husband Dani made these for us yesterday.

Delicious, Fried Soft-Shell Crab with a Simple Balsamic Dressed Arugula Salad


Here's his recipe:
Ingredients -

  • 3 soft-shell crabs
  • 1 egg
  • splash of milk
  • canola oil
  • breadcrumbs
  • spices:
    • cayenne pepper
    • chili powder
    • garlic powder
    • salt

Wet Batter: Egg, Splash of milk
Dry Batter: Flour, Breadcrumbs, Cayenne Pepper, Chili Powder, Garlic Powder, Salt

Clean and dry 3 crabs.
Dip in wet batter.
Fully coat in dry batter.
Stick in fridge.

In a cast-iron skillet, heat 1 inch of canola oil in on high. Test oil temp with a drop of Wet Batter - batter should instantly sizzle, float to the top, and harden.
Turn the heat down to medium.
Cook crabs for 5-10 minutes per side, or until crispy light-brown.

Dipping sauce:
Mix sour cream, whole-grain Dijon mustard, horseradish, garlic powder to taste.


Bon Appetite!

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