Soup Season

So, here in NYC, the temperatures are changing drastically. So much so that yours truly has become utterly plagued by body aches, coughs, headaches, a phlemy and very sore throat. Now if this were my room mate or my friends, I would be frantically making pots of soup. However since I am the one sick and I don’t want to contaminate anyone, I will resort to making healthy soups when I’m feeling 110% better.

In other words, this change in temperature means that it’s time to put the ice cream pies and all the summer-y treats all the way in the back of the freezer and bring out the soups, stews, and other fall/winter things (like hot chocolate :9)

First thing on my list?

Tomato soup. Now that paired with an excellently grilled cheese sandwich sounds like the perfect thing during the cold days.

And with that, I leave you to do my homework and try to repair my constantly deteriorating health.

 

Chocolate thumbprints

My club, Puzzled for Good, is having our first meeting of the year and what better way to start off a good semester of puzzling than with a batch of chocolate thumbprint cookies? I must say, I was going to make just a regular ol’ batch of chocolate chip cookies, but when I looked through my fridge I realized that I had run out of eggs. Seeing as the closest grocery store (that I know of) was either the food emporium or trader joe’s on 14th street (I live all the way on canal) I decided to forgo the eggs and use a recipe that didn’t need them.  I got the recipe for the thumbprint cookies from my Williams Sonoma Cookies cookbook and since I didn’t have jam I used chocolate chips instead (looks like I need to go grocery shopping soon!). I thought they were perfect seeing as the cookies were like “clues” and we are a club that loves all sorts of puzzles (we had a murder mystery event last year). So hopefully everyone will enjoy them and hopefully I made enough!

Let’s get started!

Ingredients:

-1/2 cup butter (unsalted, softened)
-3 tbsp granulated sugar
-1 cup AP flour
-3/4 tsp vanilla extract
-big pinch of salt
-large chocolate chips (or jam)

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and spray two baking sheets with non stick spray. Cream together the butter, sugar, salt, and vanilla extract until well combined. Add in the flour and mix until all the flour is incorporated. Take small amounts of dough (about 1 tbsp) and roll them into a ball. Place them on the prepared baking sheets and gently flatten them. Press the chocolate chips in the center of each cookie.
  2. Place the baking sheets in the oven and bake them for 10 minutes or until golden brown. Cool them on a wire rack.

If you’re using jam, use your thumb to make a small indentation in the dough and fill it with your favorite flavor of jam.

I would definitely be making these again, but when I do I would probably use bigger chocolate chips (maybe hershey’s kisses?). However, if you are using hershey’s kisses I would definitely place them on the cookies after they come out of the oven. So make an indentation (about the same size as the base of a kiss) in the dough and leave it unfilled. Then right after you pull the cookies out of the oven, top them with the kisses.

Hugs and Puppies!

Mimi

The Epcot International Food and Wine Festival

Okay, bear with me here as I fangirl for a few minutes over the most amazing event that one day I hope to spend forever and ever in. It’s the EPCOT INTERNATIONAL FOOD AND WINE FESTIVAL.

And I fangirl because it combines two of my absolute favorite things ever (no not the food and wine) Food and DISNEY.
I absolutely adore disney. It’s one of the reasons why I’m still 5 years old at heart. Anyway I came across these Epcot commercials on my tumblr and it was like explosions of rainbows and unicorns and cupcakes and chocolate all at once. I don’t know, I just really love disney and I really love food, so the fact that there is a place where both co-exist (without the food being theme park food) is like heaven on earth for me. Okay, okay I did know about this before so it’s not like a whole new thing for me, but seeing the commercials just made me want to go even more and now that I have this indescribable passion for all things culinary it just seems to be the perfect place! I just know I have to go there one day and hopefully, maybe someday, I can participate in it. I mean who knows? Japanese food is an international food right? So maybe I can brush up on that and get hired 🙂 Or just be like those disney characters and creep on the chefs 😛

Basically, aside from visiting the WWoHP (as a quidditch player and hopefully IQA approved snitch it should be one of my destinations in the near future) it’s now on the top of my bucket list!

I don’t think I’ve ever been to the epcot center, but a food festival there? Oh goodness, I am going to be so obsessed by it.
Enough of my babbling, I’ll just go fangirl elsewhere!

Hugs and Puppies!

Mimi

 

BUT OH SWEET MOTHER OF CUPCAKES AND ALL THAT IS NOMMY IT’S THE EPCOT INTERNATIONAL FOOD AND WINE FESTIVAL!!! EEEEEEEEE

Okay, now I’m done. I swear 😀

S’mores Cupcakes

This was my favorite cupcake to make last sunday. Perhaps it’s because of it’s simple yet complex make up, s’mores are just something that I love. The ingredients, a marshmallow, graham crackers and a square of chocolate, are simple, yet there’s so much more the s’more. The caramelization of the marshmallow, so that it’s perfectly golden brown on the outside and gooey on the inside, the way the outer surface of the chocolate melts from the heat of the warm marshmallow and the contrasting texture of the graham crackers. As you bite into this simply crafted confection the chocolate swirls with the marshmallow fluff and the cracker crunches between your teeth, sending off a shower of crumbs. Not to mention the roar of the fire and the sticky fingers that are nostalgic of camping in the summer and carefree childhood days. What’s not to love about a s’mores? And one in cupcake form!

Like I said in the earlier post, I actually had no recipes for the s’mores cupcake and just went for it. It was pretty fun and hopefully one day I’ll manage to get more inventive and start making my own recipes. But for the meantime, I just used a classic cupcake recipe as a spring board and added a few ingredients by myself. Despite all that, I think they turned out pretty well. The broiling part was a little scary seeing as I have set marshmallows on fire before and it was, well let’s say it was a little heart stopping (especially because then the parchment paper caught on fire!) Eep! but that was in the past and now I’ve been pretty good about not burning things down. Anyway, what I liked about these cupcakes was that the roasted marshmallows is itself the topping, so there’s no need to fiddle with fickle icing or painstakingly piping elaborate and impressive designs. Nope the golden little marshmallows does it all for you. And it’s not all too sweet and I really liked how the graham crumbs added a little crunch to a moist cupcake filled with little melted pockets of chocolate. Oh goodness I’m drooling already!

So let’s get started!

Ingredients:

-2/3 cup butter (unsalted
-2 eggs
-2 1/2 cup AP flour
-2 1/2 tsp baking powder
-1/2 tsp salt
-1 3/4 cup granulated sugar
-1 1/2 tsp vanilla
-1 1/4 cups milk
-1 cup of crushed graham crackers
-1 cup mini semisweet chocolate chips
-large marshmallows

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and 2 cupcake pans with liners. In a small bowl, mix together the ground sugar and the cinnamon. Set aside. In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, salt, and baking powder. Set aside.
  2. Cream the butter in a large mixing bowl. Gradually add in the granulated sugar until the mixture is light and creamy. Add in the eggs one at a time and mix until well combined. Beat in the vanilla.
  3. Alternatively add in the flour and the milk mixture, beating as you add in the ingredients. Mix until just combined. Gently fold in the graham crackers and the mini chocolate chips.
  4. FIll the paper liners until they’re about 3/4 full. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes or until a toothpick, poked in the center, comes out clean. Remove the cupcakes from the pan and place on a roasting sheet. Cut large marshmallows in half and top each cupcake with a marshmallow half. Set the oven to broil and place the cupcakes under the broiler until the marshmallows are a nice golden brown. This happens very quickly, so make sure that you keep your eye on the marshmallows!
  5. Once the marshmallows are nice and golden, remove them from the broiler and serve!

Look at that perfectly toasted marshmallow.

You’re probably mentally checking your cupboard for ingredients now, but trust me these cupcakes are AMAZING!

Hugs and Puppies!

Mimi

Buttercream Frosting

It’s the simplest thing to make and the best way to top a cupcake. I love that this recipe for frosting, along with other types of frosting, was also in my cupcake magazine! If you want to flavor it, then by all means be my guest! It’s, in my opinion the best frosting because it isn’t too sweet (okay who am I kidding, frosting is sweet! but this one isn’t as tooth achingly sweet) and it has a nice buttery flavor. Not to mention the fact that you can add food coloring to it to jazz it up if you wanted! See it’s easy and versatile, and who doesn’t enjoy frosting on their cupcakes?

So let’s get started!

Ingredients:

-3/4 cup butter (softened, unsalted)
-2 lb powdered sugar (I didn’t end up using that much, use it to taste and for consistenxy)
-1/3 cup milk
-2 tsp vanilla

Directions:

  1. Cream the butter until it’s light and fluffy. Beat in 2 cups of the powdered sugar. Add in the milk and the vanilla and mix until well combined. Gradually add in powdered sugar (about 1 to 2 cups at a time) until the desired consistency is reached. If you want to thin it, add in milk. TO thicken just add more powdered sugar.

For chocolate butter frosting: Substitute 1/2 cup of unsweetened cocoa powder for 1/2 cup of powered sugar

For coffee butter frosting: add 1 tbsp of instant espresso powder

For fruit flavors: beat in 1/3 cup of a fruit jam of your choice with the butter

Ta-da! Like I said, easy to customize, easy to make and so very versatile!

Hugs and Puppies!

Mimi

Pasta Soup

So last friday I came down with a sudden fever and let me tell you, sudden fevers are no fun whatsoever. Lying in bed not doing anything sucks, especially when you have a laundry list of things to do like finish homework, clean your room, baby sit etc. Well anyway I guess what I’m trying to say is that being sick sucks. Especially when it’s only the first week of school. So last night to make myself feel better, I made some pasta soup. And then I realized that I use the same ingredients over and over. I suppose it’s time for a new change. Luckily I now live on the cusp of chinatown, so I’ll get to try my hand on asian cuisines.

Well I have some homework to get to, so let’s get started!

Ingredients:

-two sweet italian sausages
-1 red pepper
-1 yellow pepper
-3 carrots
-4 tablespoons pasta sauce
-pasta
-2 cups chicken broth
-salt, pepper, seasonings (oregano, basil, bay leaves, garlic [about 1 clove], parsley) to taste
 

Directions:

  1. Generously salt a pot of water and set to boil. Add in the pasta and cook until the pasta is al dente.
  2. Dice the peppers and carrots, slice the sausage. In a large pot, add minced garlic, peppers, carrots and sausage and brown for 5 minutes or until the sausage has a nice crust. Add in the chicken broth, the seasonings and the pasta sauce. Stir until well combined. Add in bay leaves and let simmer for a few minutes.
  3. Drain the pasta and add to the soup. Ladle into separate bowls and eat!

This definitely hit the spot for me. It warmed me up and I believe it was full of the nutrients that I needed to fight my fever. I would have added more veggies (aka onions, celery) and maybe some actual chicken instead of the sausage but it was still really good. Apologies for the horrible photo quality, like I said Pat isn’t living with me any more and I don’t have a fancy camera like he does (I only have a Canon IXY digital camera and it isn’t the best at food photography). One day I will get a nice camera and hone my photography skills. In the meantime though, please bear with me!

Hugs and Puppies!

Mimi