Sunday, April 29, 2007

DIY Taco Seasoning

Perfect for Taco Salad, Tacos and other dishes

Single Serving (about 3 Tablespoons)
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 and 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1 pinch unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon brown sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper

Make in bulk and store in glass jar  (enough to season 8 pounds of meat)
1/2 cup chili powder
1/4 cup cumin
2 teaspoons garlic powder
2 teaspoons onion powder
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 tablespoon and 1 teaspoon paprika
3/4 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa powder
2 Tablespoons and 2 teaspoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons salt
2 tablespoons and 2 teaspoons black pepper

For single serving add  3 Tablespoons of the mix to one pound cooked and drained meat.  (Note: I stir in 2 teaspoons of flour to the mix  first before dusting on meat to help it stick better, but that is optional).  Add 2/3 cup water.  Bring to a boil, and lower heat and simmer until liquid is cooked away, stirring every few minutes.

For a great Taco Salad, add some Taco Salad Dressing (a version of Kraft Catalina, the dressing my Mom always used for Taco Salad).

1/4 onion roughly chopped (or use 1/2 tsp onion powder if you don't have a blender or food processor)
1/2 cup tomato sauce
1/4 cup red wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar (I use only Braggs)
1/4 cup honey
1/2 cup light oil (such as canola or extra virgin olive)
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon  smoked Paprika
1/4 teaspoon celery salt
dash of salt and pepper

Mix in food processor or blender until smooth if using onion.  If using onion powder shake in a glass jar.  Keeps in the fridge for at least a week.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Almond Cupcakes with Brandy and Vanilla Buttercream


1 3/4 cups cake flour
1 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups granulated sugar
2 sticks unsalted butter, chopped
4 large eggs (at room temperature)
1 cup whole milk
1 teaspoon Mexican Vanilla
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 Tablespoon of Brandy
tiny pinch of cardamon

Preheat oven to 325° With an electric mixer with a paddle attachment,combine flours, sugar, baking powder, and salt.  Mix on low speed until combined, scraping the sides of the bowl down with a spatula as it mixes. Add butter pieces, mixing until just coated with flour.

In a small bowl mix together the liquids, eggs, milk, vanilla and almond extract. Whisk together eggs, Set your mixer down to medium and add wet ingredients in 4 equal parts, scraping down sides of bowl before each addition; beat until ingredients are incorporated.  But do NOT overbeat!.

Divide batter evenly among two cupcake pans, using the little paper liners if you like.  Fill each about 2/3 full,. Bake, rotating pan halfway 17-21 minutes, inserting a toothpick into one in the center at about 19 minutes.  If it comes out clean, it's done 

Unless you have a really big oven, you'll have to cook one pan at a time to do the turning, but it does make them cook nice and evenly.

Frosting

1 cup salted butter, softened
3 cups confectioner's sugar
2 Tablespoons whipping cream
1 teaspoon clear vanilla extract

In a bowl  with a mixer, combine butter and sugar. If you don't have salted butter add a couple of pinches of salt (just shy of 1/8 tsp).  Beat on high for an additional minute, then add whipping cream and continue beating for 4 minutes (you want 5 minutes total whipping time).  Add another 1/2 Tablespoon whipped cream if necessary to get the consistency you want to pipe or spread. (I use a Wilton 1M pipe tip).

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Saturday, April 21, 2007

Dark Chocolate Salted Caramal Buttercream Cupcake


Cupcake Ingredients: 
1/2 cup whole milk
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
1 1/4 cups white granulated sugar
 1/4 cup light brown sugar
2 eggs
2 and 1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
1 and 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup plus two teaspoons dark chocolate cocoa powder (I like a half and half mixture of Hershey's Special Dark and Scharfeenberger unsweetened cocoa powder)
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. sea salt
1/2 cup  strong coffee,cooled to room temperature

Have your eggs and butter out room temperature before using.

Mix milk and lemon juice (or vinegar) in a small bowl and set aside. 

In a large bowl with an electric mixer, cream butter and sugars until light and fluffy.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after you add each. Stir in vanilla.

In a separate bowl whisk together the flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt.  Mix the 1/2 cup coffee into the sour milk mixture..  Add the dry ingredients to the butter/sugar mixture in small amounts, alternating with the milk/coffee mixture, beating well after adding each.

Full paper lined cupcake tins 2/3 full and bake at 375 for about 18 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Cool on a wire rack for 10 before removing, but don't let them cool in pans or the bottoms will be soggy.  Cool completely before frosting.


Vanilla Buttercram Frosting

1 cup salted butter, softened
3 cups confectioner's sugar
2 Tablespoons whipping cream
1 teaspoon clear vanilla extract

In a bowl  with a mixer, combine butter and sugar. If you don't have salted butter add a couple of pinches of salt (just shy of 1/8 tsp).  Beat on high for an additional minute, then add whipping cream and continue beating for 4 minutes (you want 5 minutes total whipping time).  Add another 1/2 Tablespoon whipped cream if necessary to get the consistency you want to pipe or spread. (if you want super  big mounds of frosting on your cupcake, double the recipe).

Spread the frosting with a knife or put the frosting in an incing bag (or make your own with a gallon ziplock type back with a little hole down in one corner you can put the frosting tip down into, I use a Wilton Extra  Large Round tip to make big mounds o'frosting.

Salted Caramel  - there are all kinds of recipes on the net to make this, I don't have one that is my own.  Honestly though, I usually just use the jarred kind from Williams Sonoma, as I get a gift certificate for them for Christmas from a family member yearly.  Just drizzle a little over the frosting with a small spoon before serving. You could also use inexpensive jarred caramel ice cream topping and add sea salt to taste.


Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Buttermilk muffins

Muffin mixes can range from 50 cents (Jiffy type, multipack  on sale) to as high as $6 for the some the high end ones. But even those you have often add an egg and or oil, increasing the price by a quarter or two.

In about 10 minutes you can make a dozen muffins, from scratch, one bowl, for less than 50 cents, and they are a whole lot better.

Preheat oven to 400 F.

In a bowl mix 1 cup milk with 1 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar or lemon juice
Let sit about 8 minutes while you measure out everything else
whisk in:
1 large egg
a drop of vanilla
1 tsp salt
1/4 cup sugar (up to 1/3 cup for sweeter breakfast muffins.)

Stir in (I like a big wooden spoon for this)
2 cups flour
1 Tablespoon baking powder

Mix just until no dry areas remaining, about 30 good stirs, Do NOT overmix  Mixture will be QUITE lumpy.

Spoon into greased 12 cup muffin tin and bake at 400 F. for 20 minutes.

Serve with butter, honey or jam, or plain alongside of soup or stew.