Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Purple Day

I just earned it's Purple Day!

It's for promoting awareness of epilepsy, and since I have epilepsy, I think it's a good cause. Visit the Purple Day website for more informaiton.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Brown Butter Tilapia

So, I attempted to make this recipe, but with tilapia, tonight.

Brown Butter Perch

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 8 ounces fresh perch fillets
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 lemon, cut in half
  1. Whisk flour, salt, black pepper, and cayenne pepper in a bowl. Gently press perch fillets into flour mixture to coat, shaking off any excess flour.
  2. Heat butter in a skillet over medium heat until butter is foaming and nut-brown in color. Working in batches, place filets in skillet and cook until light golden, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer cooked fillets to a plate, squeeze lemon juice over the top, and serve.
I must say that it turned out okay. I was trying to make several other things at the same time - canned green beans and instant mashed potatoes - so I may have left the butter in the pan for longer than necessary, which may have led to the slightly burned flavor of the fish. I really didn't taste the "brown butter" flavor that I was expecting. And, of course, I omitted the cayenne pepper, for Tom's sake, so that particular flavor was lost. I think I'll try it again sometime, just to make sure that it wasn't the recipe, but me, that made a mess of it.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Irish Car Bomb Cupcakes

When we first discussed the idea of a St. Patrick's Day luncheon, Linda (my office-mate) found a recipe on Pinterest for Irish Car Bomb Cupcakes, and when she didn't snag up the idea for herself, I decided to make just one more thing for the luncheon.

Irish Cupcakes

Makes 24 cupcakes

  • 1 C. of Guinness stout
  • 1 C. salted butter
  • 3/4 C. unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 C. all purpose flour
  • 2 C. sugar
  • 1 ½ t. baking soda
  • 3/4 t. salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2/3 C. sour cream
Ganache filling
  • 9 ounces bittersweet chocolate
  • 2/3 C. heavy cream
  • 2 T. butter, room temperature
  • 2 t. whiskey
  • 1 t. vanilla
  • 6 cups of confectioner’s sugar
  • ½ stick salted butter, at room temperature
  • 8 ounces Cream cheese
  • 2 t. Vanilla
  • 2 t. of Baileys
  1. Start by bringing the Guinness and butter to a simmer. Once the mixture has melted, whisk in the cocoa powder until blended and set aside. In a stand mixer, beat the eggs, sugar and sour cream to blend in a mixer. Add the chocolate and beer mixture to the stand mixer and blend until combined. Add the salt and baking soda until mixed then slowly add the flour until combined and beat for about a minute.
  2. Pour the mixture into cupcake liners set inside a cup cake pan. Only fill them about three quarters. Bake for about 17 to 20 minutes at 350 degrees or until knife comes out clean. Let them cool on a wire rack. While they cool, make the ganache filling. Over a double boiler or pan full of hot water, place a metal or glass bowl on top. Add the cream, whiskey and vanilla and let it heat on medium until very slightly bubbling. Then add the chocolate and stir until melted and smooth. Then add the butter and whisk until all combined. Set aside of the burner.
  3. Use a sharp knife to hollow out a hole in each cupcake and I would recommend about an inch. With a spoon, fill each cupcake with the ganache. You may have some left over and you can make truffles. Simply chill and then form round balls and roll in cocoa.
  4. To make the frosting, add the cream cheese and butter to a stand mixer and whip until fluffy. Add the vanilla and baileys and mix well. Slowly add the confectioner’s sugar until all gone and whip until light and fluffy – about 4 to 5 minutes. Place into a large piping bag and decorate each cupcake. Garnish with your favorite decorations or leave plain.
If I do say so myself, they're so pretty! The cake was delicious, and when Tom tried it sans frosting, he was impressed. He said rarely does he enjoy cake without some kind of frosting, but he liked this (he gets to keep all of the scooped out insides). After tasting the finished product, I can't say more than they're delicious. The alcohol flavors are pretty mild and all of the flavors go together really well.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Bangers and Mash

My selection for a main course for the St. Patrick's Day luncheon tomorrow was Bangers and Mash.

Bangers and Mash

  • 6-8 pork sausage links
  • 2 Tb. butter, separated
  • 1 large onions, sliced thin
  • 1 bottled beer
  • 1 Tb. flour
  • 2 Tb. Worcestershire
  • ½- 1cup chicken or beef stock
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 2 lbs. red skinned potatoes
  • 2 Tb. butter
  • 3-4 Tb. milk
  • 1 Tb. whole-grain mustard
  • ¾ cup shredded Dubliner cheese
  1. Chop the potatoes into large chunks and place in a pot. Fill the pot with water until it covers the potatoes. Add a large pinch of salt. Cover the pot and bring to a boil. Once boiling, remove the lid, lower the heat, and simmer another 10 minutes—until fork tender.
  2. Drain the potatoes and add the butter and milk. Smash the potatoes will a potato masher (or a large spoon or ladle). Once you’ve reached the desired consistency, stir in the cheese and mustard. Salt and pepper to taste.
  3. While the potatoes are boiling, add 1 Tb. of butter to a large skillet over medium-high heat. Place the sausages into the skillet, allowing them to make contact with the skillet first, then add the sliced onions. Brown the “bangers” and onions for about 10 minutes.
  4. Add the beer and allow it to reduce for another 10-12 minutes—stirring occasionally.
  5. Mix 1 Tb. of soft butter with 1 Tb. of flour together. Remove the bangers and mix the butter mixture into the beer reduction. It should thicken instantly. Now add the Worcestershire and stock to thin out the gravy to your desired consistency. Salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Serve the bangers over the mash, topped with gravy.
Honestly, I had my doubts (sometimes I am leary of trying new things), but this turned out really well. The mustard and cheese in the mashed potatoes wasn't overpowering, and although I didn't try the onion gravy (I want to protect my Tidewater co-workers from noxious odors), the sausages cooked with the onions and beer were really tasty.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Irish Butter Shortbread

On Friday, we're having a St. Patrick's Day luncheon at work, and I thought I'd give these cookies a trial run tonight. They're Irish Butter Shortbread, and let me tell you, Martha Stewart can do no wrong! All of the recipes I've tried from her website have been delicious and easy to prepare. Okay, sure, this one makes number four, but until I come across a bad one, she's A-OK!

Irish Butter Shortbread

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) Irish unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for work surface
  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together butter and sugar. With the mixer on low, slowly add flour. Continue mixing until dough comes together to form a ball.
  3. Transfer dough to a lightly floured work surface; roll out dough to about 1/4-inch thickness, dusting rolling pin with flour as necessary to prevent sticking. Using a 2 1/4-inch round, fluted cutter, cut out dough. Transfer to prepared baking sheet, spacing about 1 inch apart. Gather up any scraps, gently re-roll, and repeat cutting process. Take care not to overwork dough.
  4. Transfer baking sheet to oven and bake until shortbread just begins to turn golden, about 30 minutes. Transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool. Shortbread may be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
I tried one right out of the oven, and besides burning my tongue, it was buttery and flaky, and I loved it! Now Tom, for some odd reason, wasn't crazy about them. Really? From the guy who's favorite Girl Scout cookie is Trefoils (the shortbread ones)? Oh well, his loss. Now I don't have to make a second batch for the party.