Saturday, February 25, 2012

Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake Cupcakes

Its not uncommon for me to make dinner by throwing together random ingredients from the fridge.  However, I'm pretty sure this is the first time I've baked something using the same technique.  If I could guarantee that my creativity would result in something as tasty as these cupcakes every time, I'd do it more often!
Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake Cupcakes
makes 24

Graham Cracker Crust

1 small package graham crackers (8 crackers), crushed
2 tablespoons butter, melted

Mix together until crumbs are moist.
Divide evenly between lined cupcake trays.
Press down using the bottom of a small glass.

Favorite chocolate cake batter (or box as I used)

Raspberry Cheesecake Filling
8 ounce package cream cheese, room temperature
1 egg white
1/3ish cup homemade raspberry jam

Beat all ingredients together.
It is alright if the cream cheese is a little chunky.

To assemble, spoon a tablespoonish of cake batter on top of crust.
Add a spoonful of cheesecake filling.
Top with remaining cake batter.
Bake for 15-18 minutes.

Frost cooled cupcakes with chocolate frosting and top with a raspberry.  Or strawberry because they were on sale this week!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Greek Lamb Burger

Sometimes you just need a quick, easy, healthy and delicious meal. I threw this winner together a few weeks back and haven't had a chance to post it yet. 

Greek Lamb Burger
1 lb ground lamb
2 Tbs minced fresh mint leaves
Handful of goat cheese crumbles
2 Tbs minced red onion
1/2 tsp garlic

Mix the mint, goat cheese, garlic, and onion into the ground lamb. Cook in frying pan. 

Greek Salad with Balsamic Dressing
Red leaf lettuce
Goat Cheese
Mint leaves
Balsamic vinegar
Olive oil
Salt and pepper

Chop up the lettuce and cucumber. Sprinkle with goat cheese and mint leaves. Drizzle with vinegar and olive oil and season with salt and pepper.  

Serve burger on top of salad. Enjoy!

Monday, February 13, 2012

The Ultimate Valentine Cupcake

I'm competitive.  When challenged I rise to the occasion.  So begins the story of these cupcakes.

While engaged in friendly conversation about baking Valentine's Day treats I happened to mention plans to make heart shaped red velvet cupcakes.  To my surprise, the response was "You've been there and done that.  Try something new."  This was followed by an email with multiple links to unique cupcake recipes.  I hit reply and typed "challenge accepted."  So began my brainstorming for The Ultimate Valentine Cupcake.

The inclusion of chocolate is a no brainer.  And strawberries or maybe cherries are pretty much required.  Dark chocolate ganache?  Coffee?  Mmmm, caramel!  Cinnamon?  Rose water?  Definitely pink marshmallow frosting!

 And so it was born: Oreo cookie crust, mocha cake, cherry filling, and toasted pink marshmallow frosting.

Share these with someone you love.
The Ultimate Valentine Cupcake
makes 36

Oreo Crust
1/2 package Oreos, crushed
3 tablespoons butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350.
Mix together.
Spoon just enough into lined cupcake tin to cover bottom.
Bake for 5 minutes.

Mocha Cake (from Annie's Eats)
2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup cocoa powder
2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
1 cup water
4 single serve instant coffee packets
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 can cherry pie filling

Mix dry ingredients, flour through salt, together and set aside.
Also combine milk, water, and instant coffee and set aside.
Cream butter and sugars until fluffy.
Beat in one egg at a time.
Alternate adding dry and wet ingredients, beginning and ending with dry.
Spoon just enough batter into cupcake liner to cover Oreo crust.
Add two cherries from pie filling.
Top with another tablespoon of cake batter.  Be sure pie filling is completely covered.
Bake for 18 minutes.
Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack.

Pink Marshmallow Frosting
4 egg whites
1 1/2 cups white sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
pinch of salt
2 teaspoons vanilla
3 drops neon pink food coloring.

Simmer 2 inches of water in a sauce pan.
Mix egg whites, sugar, corn syrup, and salt in the bowl to your mixer.
Place mixing bowl over simmering water (we're making a double boiler), whisk egg mixture constantly.
Once the sugar has dissolved and is no longer grainy, remove the bowl from the double boiler, about 5-7 minutes.
Beat on high for about 5 minutes, until stiff peaks form.
While beating add vanilla and food coloring.

Using a ziplock bag and decorative tip (Wilton 1M), pipe frosting on cupcakes.
Place 12 at a time on a cookie sheet and slide under broiler.
Watch very carefully as this marshmallow catches on fire just as easily as when making s'mores!

Manager's Special

I went to Kroger looking for some 10 for $10 blackberries, but they were sold out. So while wandering the produce section I noticed a variety of items on manager's special so I put a few into my basket: baby greens, basil, wild mushrooms and pico gallo guacamole.

When lunch time rolled around, I decided to make use of all of this plus add a few additional items to make a contemporary version of taco salad.


Start browning 4-6 oz. of ground beef (preferably grass fed) in a skillet, then add:

  • 1/4 of a sweet onion, sliced
  • 1/4 of a red bell pepper, sliced
  • 4 oz. of wild mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 clove minced garlic
  • 1/3 C. grape tomatoes halved
  • sea salt, fresh ground black pepper, cumin, chili powder and turmeric to taste
Coarsely chop some greens and place on your plate. Once the ground beef is fully cooked and the onions are nicely caramelized, plate the contents of the skillet on the greens and top with chopped black olives and sliced basil. Finish with a drizzle of lemon or lime juice and add some guacamole on the side.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Breakfast in Bed

Average folks probably get breakfast in bed on their birthday and Valentines Day; if they're lucky.  However, breakfast in bed is a much more regular occurrence when the Weage princesses return home.  We have special trays that until last year had unicorns and fairies on them.  And usually we move from our separate bedrooms into our parents' room so we can watch TV and socialize while eating.  It would be just as easy to relocate down to the kitchen table instead of Mom and Dad's bed, but that is beside the point.

To the rare reader who possesses a Y chromosome, let me help you out a little.  Surprise your wife with breakfast of these whole wheat yogurt and blueberry pancakes this weekend.  Yes, this weekend, before Valentine's Day.  And while we're at it, a single flower on the tray is a nice touch.  So is cleaning the kitchen after you make breakfast.  And opening car doors, winking and smiling from across a crowded room, notes left on the bathroom mirror, annnnnnnnnnd I digress.

To the single ladies, make these for yourself this weekend instead of lamenting spending another Valentine's Day alone.  Buy yourself a single long stem red rose and be thankful for this season of being in full control of your schedule and the remote control!
Whole Wheat Yogurt and Blueberry Pancakes (adapted from Annie's Eats)
Serves 2

1 1/2 tablespoons butter, melted
heaping 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
heaping 1/4 cup all purpose flour
small handful oatmeal
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 egg
2/3 cup plain yogurt
1/2 teaspoon grapefruit zest
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup blueberries

Mix dry ingredients together.
Beat in butter, egg, yogurt, zest, and vanilla.
Fold in blueberries.
Heat skillet on medium.
Melt small pat of butter in pan and pour about 1/3 cup batter for each pancake.
Flip pancake after bubbles rise to the surface.
Serve with maple syrup, whipped cream, or powdered sugar.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Grapefruit Cupcakes

Sixteen years ago I would have never thought I'd willingly eat grapefruit, never mind buy 15 pound bags of them!  The only way I'd come close to eating one was with a tablespoon of sugar poured on top.  And there was no way you'd convince me to drink the leftover juice.  Now I just can't get enough!  I've stopped buying the usual citrus in favor of ridiculous quantities of grapefruit.  When one has this many in the kitchen they must be used creatively.

So began the quest of creating a grapefruit cupcake.

I'd never contemplated flavor combinations for grapefruit.  After a brief Google search and promptly crossing avocado off the list (people actually eat the two together?!), I settled on a simple and from the box white cupcake with sections of peeled grapefruit, grapefruit curd filling, and honey cream cheese ginger frosting.  While I can't comment on the combination of the three components together, the filling and cake were the perfect sweet/ sour balance and tasting the frosting and curd together made my tongue smile.

When I returned to the surgery resident research room the next day to retrieve my container, there was not a crumb left.  Using this as evidence to support the deliciousness of these cupcakes may not be the most reliable as they will devour anything I drop off!

Grapefruit Cupcakes
makes 24

white cake mix and required ingredients
sections of 1 grapefruit

Prepare cake as directed on box.

Gently mix in the sections of grapefruit.
Divide batter evenly in paper-lined cupcake pan.
Bake as directed.
Cool on wire rack.

Grapefruit Curd Filling (from Confections of a Foodie Bride)

Juice of 1/2 large grapefruit
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Zest of 1 grapefruit
1/3 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 stick butter

Mix grapefruit and lemon juice, zest, sugar, and eggs in a glass bowl.

Create double boiler by putting glass bowl on top of pan of simmering water.
Stir until warm.
Add butter.
Whisk until thick.  Temperature will be about 170.
Set aside to cool.

Honey Ginger Cream Cheese Frosting
8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup honey

1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups powdered sugar
2 teaspoons fresh, grated ginger

Beat cream cheese and butter together.

Add honey and vanilla, mix.
Carefully beat in powdered sugar one cup at a time.
Mix in ginger.

To assemble, cut a cone shaped hole in the top of each cupcake.

Fill with grapefruit curd.
Use a bag and decorative tip to pipe frosting on to cupcakes.
Refrigerate until ready to serve.