Friday, November 23, 2012

Pumpkin Cupcakes with Maple Frosting

It's been a long time since I've posted, but I've made these cupcakes twice in 1 week, and about to make them again for our friends visiting us for Thanksgiving. It is another Ina winner.

The recipe is straightforward, easy, and uses common ingredients. The cupcakes crown nicely, and I love that I can make it easily in the morning (both times before work), and it tastes fantastic! I've adapted the recipe a little, and I've made my comments in italics.

Note: I saw a blogger who substituted maple extract for maple syrup, and you couldn't even taste the maple flavor- at all. Luckily, I found maple extract and wow! The maple frosting really adds to this recipe, and gives it a nice maple coloring to the frosting. I would highly recommend purchasing maple extract for this recipe. The frosting made too much for the number of cupcakes, so I'd reduce the frosting amount by 30% (which I've made the adjustments in italics below).

I hope you love this recipe as much as I have, and it is perfect for Thanksgiving :)


 Pumpkin Cupcakes with Maple Frosting

Ingredients:
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp kisher salt
  • 1 tso ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature (I used large eggs)
  • 1 cup (8-oz) canned 100% pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped Heath bars, for serving (I used 1 bar and had enough to top)
Directions:
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Brush or spray the top of 10 muffin tins with vegetable oil and line them with 10 paper liners.
  2. Into a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg.
  3. In a larger bowl, whisk together the eggs, pumpkin purée, granulated sugar, brown sugar, and vegetable oil. Add the flour mixture and stir until combined.
  4. Divide the batter among the prepared tins (I use a level 2 1/4-inch ice cream scoop) and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. (Mine baked in 24 minutes.) Set aside to cool completely.
  5. Spread the cupcakes with the Maple Frosting and sprinkle with the chopped toffee bits.
Maple Frosting
  • 6 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature (I'd recommend 4-oz)
  • 3 Tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature (I'd recommend 2 Tbsp)
  • 1/4 tsp maple extract
  • 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cups sifted confectioners' sugar (I'd recommend 1.5 cups)
Directions:
  1. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the cream cheese and butter on low speed until smooth.
  2. Stir in the maple flavoring and vanilla extract.
  3. With the mixer still on low, slowly add the confectioners' sugar and mix until smooth.
Yields: 10 cupcakes

Adapted from Ina Garten

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Black Bean Patties with Corn Relish & Avocado Cream Sauce


We've been having a lot of meat lately in our weekly rotation, and given this weekend was going to be so hot and humid, I opted for a lighter main entree- vegetarian style.

I was hesitant to make this because D isn't a fan of black beans, but with its high fiber content and the accompanying corn relish, I thought just maybe he could learn to like it. 


The black bean patties are healthy, light, and full of healthy fiber. The corn relish was a refreshing accompaniment, and we thought the avocado cream sauce flavors combined the dish beautifully. The recipe makes 16 small patties, and I made the patties uniform by using my large OXO cookie scoop. My very first black bean patties, and I'm a convert!



Black Bean Patties
  • 2 (15 oz.) cans black beans, drained and rinsed, divided
  • 2 roasted red bell peppers, divided
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp. oregano
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 chipotle in adobo, chopped
  • 1 medium onion, finely diced
  • 1/2 – 2/3 cup cornmeal, breadcrumbs, or panko (or a combination) (I ended up using 3/4 cup panko breadcrumbs)
  • salt and pepper
  • Canola oil
Corn Relish

  • 2 tsp. canola oil
  • 2 cups corn
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 jalapeno, minced
  • 1 medium tomato, seeded and diced
  • 1 lime, juiced (about 2-3 Tbsp.)
  • 2 Tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro 
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Avocado Cream

  • 1 ripe avocado, pitted and cut into a few pieces
  • 1/2 cup light sour cream or Greek yogurt
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • salt and pepper to taste
Directions:
  1. To make the black bean patties: Place 1 can of drained black beans, 1 coarsely chopped red pepper, eggs, oregano, cumin, garlic, and chipotle in a food processor. Pulse process until well-combined and relatively smooth. 
  2. Finely dice the remaining red pepper. 
  3. In a bowl, lightly mash the remaining can of black beans (not completely, just enough to smash each one). Add the diced red pepper, onion, and the mixture from the food processor.  Season to taste with salt and pepper (I used about 3/4 tsp. salt).
  4. Stir in the cornmeal/breadcrumbs a little at a time, and mix lightly until the mixture firms up. It doesn’t have to be super firm, but enough that you can pick up a piece and roll it into a ball in your hands. Place the mixture in the fridge for 30 minutes or longer.
  5. Form the mixture into patties.
  6. While the beans firm up, make the corn relish: Heat a pan over medium-high heat and add the canola oil. Stir in the corn, and let it sit for about 1-2 minutes before stirring. Continue to saute until lightly browned. Stir in the garlic and jalapeno, just until fragrant – about 30-60 seconds. Place the mixture in a bowl. To the bowl, add the tomato, lime juice, cilantro/parsley, and salt and pepper to taste.
  7. Make the avocado cream sauce: Puree all ingredients in a food processor until smooth.
  8. Heat a nonstick skillet with a little canola oil over medium heat. Add the patties in batches and cook until done, flipping halfway through (about 4-6 minutes total for small patties). (To make uniform patties, I used my large OXO cookie scoop , which made patties ~3.5" in diameter.)
  9. Once the patties have been cooked, top the patty with the avocado cream sauce and add a side of corn relish.
Yields: (16) 3.5" black bean patties

Source: Annie's Eats, as seen on Elly Says Opa

Monday, June 18, 2012

Balsamic Grilled Summer Vegetables with Basil Quinoa Salad

This could quite be my favorite grilled vegetable dish to date. The homemade balsamic vinegar is delicious, refreshing, and easy (can't complain with only 4 ingredients). It's the perfect time to grill this (or, in our case tonight, roasted it) since the vegetables are in season, plentiful, and we have mother nature cooperating with us.

The basil in the quinoa (pronounced keen-wah) dish added just the touch of flavor, and overall, this was a great grilled side dish (and for me, it was satisfying enough for my main meal tonight).


The only thing I'd change next time would be to use cherry tomatoes- regular tomatoes, when chopped, are so watery/juicy and they produced too much liquid in this dish. I also made 2x the balsamic vinegar since we like our veggies with robust flavors (edited below).



Photo courtesy of Veggiebelly

Balsamic Grilled Summer Vegetables (Eggplant, Zucchini, Tomato, Red Onion), Pearlini Mozzarella and Basil Quinoa Salad Recipe


For balsamic vinegar (we use my homemade version)

  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 5 Tbsp olive oil
  • 5-6 cloves garlic minced
  • salt and pepper
For summer grilled vegetables:
  • 1 small italian eggplant (about 2 cups when cut into big cubes)
  • 1 small zucchini (about 2 cups when cut into big cubes)
  • 1/2 small red onion (1/4 of a large red onion)
  • 3/4 cup cherry tomatoes 
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves stripped 
For the basil quinoa:
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1/4 cup basil leaves loosely packed, chopped
  • 1/2 cup pearlini mozzarella balls, or bocconcini mozzarella balls, tossed in a little salt and pepper (I used fresh mozzarella and diced them)
Serves about 3. (you will have as much grilled vegetables as quinoa)
Directions:
  1. Make the balsamic vinegar: Whisk together all the balsamic dressing ingredients and set aside.
  2. Make the basil quinoa: In a medium saucepan, boil water for the quinoa salad. Add quinoa and bring back to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer covered on low, till all the water has been completely absorbed, about 20 minutes. When the quinoa finishes cooking, toss it with 1/3 of the balsamic dressing. Stir in chopped basil, salt and pepper. 
  3. Prep the veggies: While quinoa is cooking, cut the eggplant and zucchini into 1-1/2 inch cubes. Cut the red onion into rings. Place cubed eggplant, zucchini, red onion, tomatoes and thyme leaves in a large bowl. Pour the other 1/3 the balsamic dressing over the vegetables and toss well.
  4. Grill the veggies: Brush grill grates with olive oil or non-stick spray (I used a stove top cast iron grill). Heat grill to medium-high. Grill the vegetables about 3 minutes on one side or till grill marks appear, about 3 minutes. Flip them over and grill other side till vegetables are tender but still a bit firm. Tomatoes will cook quicker, remove them from the grill as soon as they start to blister. (We roasted our veggies on 475 degrees for 25-30 minutes.)
  5. Spread quinoa on a platter or bowl. Arrange the grilled summer vegetables and mozzarella around the quinoa. Serve warm with the remaining 1/3 balsamic dressing on the side.
Source: Adapted from Veggiebelly



 
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