Sunday, April 25, 2010

Strawberry Cupcakes

Happy Spring!

These cupcakes are super moist, and the strawberry flavor is great. I didn't even use a food processor to puree my strawberries, because I wanted to have them visible in the bread. I took about 1 cup of almost-overly-ripe berries and mutilated them with a fork. :)

These would really be good with or without the icing. I feel like they could be muffins, but once the frosting goes on, they immediately transform into cupcakes.


Ingredients: (makes 1 dozen cupcakes)

-1 cup sugar
-1/2 cup or 1 stick butter, room temperature
-2 eggs
-2 tsp vanilla extract
-1 1/2 cup flour
-1 3/4 tsp baking powder
-2/3 cup mashed strawberries

Cream cheese frosting:
see the recipe from an earlier post here

1. Preheat oven to 350

2. Cream butter and sugar

3. Add eggs and vanilla; stir until creamy

4. In a separate bowl, whisk together flour and baking powder

5. Combine wet and dry ingredients until smooth. Add in strawberries and mix until well incorporated.

6. Pour into muffin/cupcake tins until about 3/4 full. Bake for 20 minutes.

7. After cupcakes are cooled completely, top with cream cheese frosting.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Cocoa and Chili Rubbed Pork Chops

This recipe is adapted from Food and Wine Magazine.

Being an ex-vegetarian, I'm still not a huge meat eater. I really could do without eating meat, if I was just cooking for myself. However, my hubby is the traditional "meat and potatoes" boy, and I therefore have needed to find some meat recipes that we both enjoy. This recipe is a WINNER! I only had regular chili powder, which is not terribly spicy, but the overall flavor still came out well balanced and savory. Not too sweet, not to spicy. The chops were really moist, which is always something I work for when I'm making meats. Overall, super easy, super good, and one that I believe will appeal to a lot of people.


INGREDIENTS (serves 4):
4 boneless pork chops
1 tbsp chili powder
1 tbsp cocoa powder
1 tbsp brown sugar
Sprinkling of course sea salt and fresh ground black pepper
1-2 tbsp olive oil

1. Mix together the chili, cocoa, and sugar. Rub liberally onto each side of the chops, and let sit for 20 minutes.

2. Heat olive oil in the pan, on medium high heat. After ten minutes, sprinkle salt and pepper on the chops.

3. Cook chops, covered, 3-5 minutes on each side, depending on the thickness. The two indicators for doneness are: white throughout on the inside and a crispy outside.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Paula's Pumpkin Cake with Cream Cheese goodness

No matter what others may say about her, I L-O-V-E Paula Deen. Why? Because she makes it ok to eat an entire day's worth of fat in one serving of her casseroles. She makes you feel good just by watching her show. I just want to sit there in her kitchen and help her lick the spoon when she's making desserts. She may not be the most sophisticated, but that woman has got it going on.

Therefore, I have made Paula's recipe for pumpkin bars exactly to see if it was really as good as all the reviews said. Result? I-want-to-eat-these-three-times-a-day good. I know pumpkin is a fall flavor, but I really love it and wanted to mix it in with all the spring-inspired cooking I've been doing lately at home.

Instead of bars, I made cupcakes as they would be more visually appealing. So good. Turned out just as moist as any other "bar" or "bread" could be.

(ps, I love you Paula!)

Makes 10 cupcakes. I halved the cupcake recipe on Paula's page, but made the full recipe for the keep for other I-need-sweets moments. :)

Wet Ingredients for cake:
2 eggs
1/2 plus 1/3 sugar
1/2 cup canola oil
8 oz pumpkin puree

Dry Ingredients for cake:
1 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda

Cream cheese frosting:
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup (or 1 stick) butter, softened
2 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla

For the cake:

1. Preheat oven to 350, and grease cupcake pan

2. Mix together all wet ingredients and beat until smoooooth!

3. Whisk together dry ingredients.

4. Add dry ingredients into the wet and mix, mix, mix until smooth.

5. Fill cupcake pans 2/3 full.

6. Bake 20 minutes or until inserted toothpick comes out clean. Let cool completely before frosting.

For the frosting:
1. Beat together cream cheese and butter until smooth and creamy

2. Add in powdered sugar one cup at a time. Mix on medium until smooth

3. Add in vanilla and then mix until smooth and fluffy. Then, mix some more until it's extra smooth and fluffy.

4. Eat a spoonful just for fun, and then add to cupcakes.