Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes for Halloween

Happy Halloween everyone! I must admit that I never really celebrated Halloween, we would make chili, and carve a pumpkin but it was just another weeknight. Now with a little one the week has become super fun! And by super fun I mean Super Freddy

But, Super Freddy's best friend Dalmatian Isla can't have milk or eggs, and so for her we made special chocolate cupcakes for Halloween. These cupcakes are fantastic... I found the same recipe from multiple sources on the internet and I amended it some to make it more... um, me... but it is wonderful. I am not sure I will make regular chocolate cake again. 

Vegan Chocolate Cake Ingredients

1 1/4 cups organic flour

1 cup organic sugar
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 cup warm water
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup canola oil

2 tsp of strong coffee
1 tsp organic apple cider vinegar

Vegan Frosting 
4 cup confectioners sugar
8 tbsp margarine
1 tbsp coconut milk

2 tsp vanilla extract
Orange Dye to tint the icing for Halloween 

What you do... 

1. Preheat your over to 350 degrees F
2. Take out your trusty muffin tins, this will make about 18 cupcakes so you will need two tins, and cupcake liners 
3. I blitzed all the ingredients in my food processor, but you can use a bowl and a wooden spoon, or whatever you have handy. 
4. Fill the cupcake liners about 2/3 full and bake for 15 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean 
5. While the cupcakes are cooling make the frosting... 
6. With a standing mixer or a whisk and strong arm slowly mix together the sugar and margarine. Once you have a good whipped consistency add the other ingredients, slowly adding the orange tint until you reach your desired color. I went for a bright neon orange for the festivities. 
7. Once the cupcakes are cool you can decorate the cupcakes anyway you like. I simply used a star-tipped pastry bag and some cupcake toppers I made for the occasion. 

Happy Halloween, much love, many blessings, and happy baking! 

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Crock Pot Apple Butter

A few weekends back we took Freddy apple picking. It started last year with my best friends birthday and thus the tradition continues. It was much fun, we had coffee and apple cider donuts at the barn before we took the hay ride out to the orchard. Then with Freddy in back pack with my sweater around him we picked apples for a while at our CSA Farm "Great Country Farms" and it is great country. But unfortunately, the weeks have passed and I still have too many apples, and needing a way to preserve lots of apples I found a use for 10 pounds of apples and also a way to use the 8 apples we have in the fridge with a Freddy sized bite taken out of them. He is like a little apple vampire, doesn't eat just like to suck out the juice. I digress... here is the recipe for Crock Pot Apple Butter, I adapted it from a number of blogs...

Here is what you need:

10 pounds of apples or so, how ever much fits in your crock pot
2 tablespoons of pumpkin pie spice
2 large cinnamon sticks (to be fished out later)
1 tablespoon of salt
1/2 a cup of brown sugar (more to taste, taste after the apples are cooked down)

Here is what I did:

1. Peel, core, and quarter the apples.
2. Blitz in a food processor to make a sort of raw apple sauce.
3. Pour into the crock pot, add the rest of the ingredients
4. Cook on low over night, stir occasionally, when you remember and when and if you are awake.
5. Taste and add more salt or sugar to your liking
6. Store in sterilized containers, I used old mason jars and kept them in the fridge and gave them away as gifts.

Enjoy with pork chops, biscuits, scones, and anything else you can think of... ohhhh, apple butter cupcakes... a thought.

As always, much love, many blessings, and happy cooking!

Roasted Cauliflower

I love my CSA. I think it is a fantastic way to support family farms, buy fresh local ingredients, eat more vegetables and it is delivered to your door! Who can beat that? But sometimes, my husband just can't tolerate another vegetable lasagna. Here is a great recipe for delicious cauliflower that is the work moments to toss together and tastes great. 

What you need:
1 large cauliflower cut into relatively small florets
3 garlic cloves, minced or grated
1/4 cup olive oil
sea salt and fresh pepper
juice of 1/2 lemon
Parmigiano Reggiano, freshly grated on the top after roasting

What you do:

1. Preheat oven to 450°F.

2. Toss the cauliflower, olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, salt and pepper well so all the florets are coated and seasoned. 

3. Pour into a large shallow roasting pan.

4. Roast in the oven for about 25-35 minutes

5. Top with Parmigiano Reggiano and additional salt and pepper if needed.

Truth be told, I cook very rustically, and you can use this recipe for almost any vegetable. This is my family's favorite way to eat Brussels sprouts, minus the cheese. 

As always, much love, many blessings, and happy cooking. 

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Butter Cream

My sister (in-law, in-law) birthday was last Sunday. Her favorite cake is red velvet and so, to celebrate her we had red velvet cupcakes and champagne before her flight. The cupcakes are delicious and easy to make, and quite tasty if I do say so myself. We had good intentions about sharing the 6 cupcakes we had left over, but we just ate them... I wish I could say it was my son, but it wasn't.

Happy Birthday Melina!

Here is what you need:
·         1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
·         3/4 cups sugar
·         ½ teaspoon baking soda
·         ½  teaspoon salt
·         ½ teaspoon cocoa powder
·         ¾ cups vegetable oil
·         ½ cup buttermilk, room temperature
·         1 large egg, room temperature
·         1 tablespoon red food coloring
·         ½ teaspoon white distilled vinegar
·         1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the Cream Cheese Frosting:
·         1 package (8 oz) cream cheese, softened
·         1 stick butter, softened
·         1 teaspoon vanilla extract
·         2 cups sifted confectioners' sugar

Here is what I did:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line 12-cup muffin pans with cupcake papers, I used red ones, get it, red velvet cake…
  2. I put all of the cake ingredients in my food processor, and blitz to combine
  3. Fill the muffin cups about 2/3 of the way full, for me a ice cream scooper does the trick
  4. Bake for 16 minutes or so.
  5. Let cool and frost. For a pretty presentation use a star tip on a pastry bag, but the frosting is so good it really doesn't matter.

For the Cream Cheese Frosting:
  1. Using an electric mixer, whip all of the ingredients, starting on low or you will be standing in a powdered sugar tornado. Increase the speed to high and mix until very light and fluffy.

Truffled Popcorn with Lemon Sea Salt

I go through food phases, salts, honeys, at the moment, I am emphatically in a popcorn and hot cocoa phase. I have decided to become something of a flavored popcorn expert. It is funny, any time I mention this I seem to either solicit two responses. 1) Looks of bewilderment... i.e. blank stares in titled head as I can hear their internal monologue questions, "don't you have a life, a baby, a full time job, and a company, don't you have better uses for your time?" The second reaction I receive is the obligatory nod and casual comment, "yeah, I like the popcorn that comes in the tins with butter, caramel and cheese flavors."  To those of you who wonder what I do with my life, "Yes, I am a busy working mama, but popcorn is my medium to express my creativity and de-stress. Plus I can't spend all of my time on Pinterest."  And for those of you who talk about popcorn in tins... "go wash off your fake cheesy fingers, we have some cooking to do." 

What you need: 
3 Tablespoons of oil (canola, grape seed, something with a high smoke point)
1/2 cup of popcorn kernels
3 teaspoons of white truffle oil 
zest of one lemon
good quality grey sea salt

What you do: 
1. Over medium heat place a heavy bottomed skillet with a tightly fit lid. 
2. Add the oil and popcorn kernels and let pop (covered, no peaking or you'll get shot)
3. Shake occasionally, once the popcorn has stopped popping or you only hear one every few seconds, take it off the heat. 
4. mix equal parts salt and lemon, how much salt will depend on how big your lemon is, but lets say a tablespoon or two
5. Decant 1/3 into your vessel of choice, add a teaspoon of white truffle oil drizzle, and 1/3 of the salt and zest mixture. Layer your flavors and popcorn for even distribution. Mix as well as possible. 
6. Eat while still warm preferably with good hot cocoa and quality football or a fire. 

Lots of love, many blessings, and happy popping!