Archive for December, 2010

December 13, 2010

Irish Car Bomb Cupcakes

by horseradishsauce

These are one of my favorite types of cupcake/cake to make. Everybody loves them. The cake itself is delicious and the frosting is amazing. I took the original recipe from Annie’s Eats, but I added some Jameson to make it a true Irish Car Bomb in a cake.

Irish Car Bomb Cake
Adapted from Annie’s Eats
Yield: 24 cupcakes or 1 9 x 13 sheet cake*
Ingredients:
For the Guinness chocolate cupcakes:

  • 1 cup stout (Guinness)
  • 16 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • ¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1½ tsp. baking soda
  • ¾ tsp. salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2/3 cup sour cream

For the Bailey’s ganache filling:

  • 8 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 2/3 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tbsp. butter, at room temperature
  • About 1 tbsp. Bailey’s Irish cream
  • About 1/2 tbsp. Jameson Irish Whiskey

For the Bailey’s buttercream frosting:

  • 8 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3-4 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • 8+ tbsp. – 1/4 cup Bailey’s Irish cream

Directions:
To make the cupcakes, preheat the oven to 350° F.  Line two cupcake pans with paper liners.  If making sheet cake, butter the pan(s) using your butter wrappers.
Combine the stout and butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat.  Add the cocoa powder and whisk until smooth.  Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking soda and salt.  In a separate large bowl, beat together the eggs and sour cream to blend.  Add the stout-butter mixture and beat just to combine.  Mix in the dry ingredients gently just until incorporated.  Divide the batter evenly between the cupcake liners, filling them about 2/3 to ¾ full.  Or pour into the sheet pan/divide evenly between two sheet pans. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 17 minutes for cupcakes…longer for sheet cakes but probably not as long for 1/2 sheet cakes…  Allow cupcakes to cool in the pan for 5-10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Allow sheet cake to cool for about 30 minutes. Of you are serving it out of the pan, remove it and place it on your serving pan to finish cooling.

To make the ganache filling, place the chocolate in a heatproof bowl.  Heat the cream in a small saucepan until simmering, then pour it over the chocolate.  Let sit for one minute and then whisk until smooth.  If the chocolate is not completely melted, place the bowl over a double boiler or give it a very short burst in the microwave (15-20 seconds).  Add the butter, Bailey’s and Jameson and stir until combined.

Set aside to let the ganache cool until it is thick enough to be piped.  (You can use the refrigerator to speed the cooling process, but be sure to stir every 10 minutes or so to ensure even cooling.)  Meanwhile, cut out a portion from the center of the cupcakes using the cone method (a small paring knife works best for this).  Or, follow which ever sheet cake method you decided on. Once the ganache has reached the correct consistency, transfer it to a piping bag fitted with a wide tip and pipe it (or just spoon it) into the cupcakes.

To make the frosting, place the butter in a medium bowl and beat until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes.  Gradually add the powdered sugar until it is all incorporated.  Mix in the Bailey’s until smooth.  Add more if necessary until the frosting has reached a good consistency for piping or spreading.  Frost as desired.

*Discussion on Methods for Making a Sheet Cake
The sheet cake method in the following pictures I used because my friend hadn’t given me back my second sheet cake pan.
There are two ways that I make sheet cakes with a filling.
1. Slice the final cake in half OR bake two half-thickness cakes, then cut a bit of an indentation into the bottom half (using the same method as below), fill, and add the top.
2. Take the finished single (cooled) cake and cut off the top crust, leaving a border of about 1/3-1/2 inch around. To do this, just cut into the crust about a 1/4 inch into the cake, then after the square you plan to cut out is complete, just slice horizontally underneath it. Lay the pieces on a separate pan or plate, then hollow out the exposed part of the cake. The amount you hollow out will depend on how much filling you have.
If you want the filling to be closer to the middle than the top, cut the top slices thicker and remove more cake.
Add the filling, replace the top, and frost. Bam

Pieces of the top layer, upside-down.

Filling the cake with ganache

Done!

Frosting, mmmm...

December 3, 2010

Leftover-Tomatoes Soup for One

by cillefish

shrimp, onion, tomato & barley soup
I’ve made those vegetarian “sausage”-stuffed tomatoes a few times because they’re absurdly easy and delicious, and every time I’ve frozen the middles of the tomatoes to experiment with using them as the beginnings to soup later on. Here’s a the best of my experiments so far — very tasty.

Ingredients:

  • 2 big round tomatoes (or the middles of 4-6 tomatoes used in that stuffed-tomatoes recipe, above)
  • 2-3 cups cups of water
  • 1/2 cup leftover cooked barley or brown rice
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced small
  • 1 cup cooked wild shrimp
  • 1/4 cup to 1/2 can garbanzo or kidney beans
  • 1 1/2 tsp hungarian paprika
  • 1 tsp dried rosemary, minced
  • 1 tsp Thai or Chinese fish sauce

Put the tomatoes, water, barley, onion, shrimp, and beans in a small pot and bring to a boil. Simmer 5 minutes, then add the spices and fish sauce and keep simmering until the onions are done. Salt & pepper to taste. Eat.

Some scissored chives thrown in just at the end to make it look pretty probably wouldn’t go amiss.

That’s not my photo (sorry! Here’s the one-skillet meal that it goes with), but aside from the jalapenos, my soup looked pretty darned similar (and, eff it, it’s friday and the light in here is terrible. no photo stuff at this hour).

December 2, 2010

Top 10 Best Tofu Marinades

by cillefish

Marinaded, pan-seared tofu with kale and cheese-topped bread
Marinades easily, simply, & brilliantly get tofu to “pop” with flavor. If you get the marinade going ahead of time, they’re also fast.

Squeeze or drain the tofu very well beforehand, slice it (see below), put in a watertight lunch container with the marinade ingredients, and refrigerate for 1/2 hour or more (1 hour is better), shaking or turning upside-down every 15-30 min (you can even open the container up and rearrange things to help ensure maximum absorption).

To pan-sear: Cut tofu into 3/4-inch cubes and marinade. Once marinaded, arrange, sans oil, in your favorite super-nonstick, tofu-friendly pan and sear each side until firm and crunchy (should be the color of medium to well-done toast, but not burnt).

To bake: Preheat oven to 400° F. Cut tofu into 1/2 slices, then slice crosswise into strips 1/4 to 3/8 inches wide and 2 to 3 inches long. Prick on both sides with a fork, marinade, then place in a nonstick or lightly-oiled baking sheet, reserving any unabsorbed marinade if serving tofu on its own. Cover sheet with parchment paper or foil and bake 30-45+ minutes (depending on how dry you want it), turning ever 15 min or so. If serving tofu on its own, after baking, add back the reserved liquid and test seasoning to add more sauce or herbs as necessary.

The Recipes:

Bonus Tips:

  • Timing: I like to put together the marinade before going out on a run or hike; after I’ve cleaned up, the tofu is ready to cook for an easy dinner, along with rice (or pasta) and a salad.
  • Tofu: I like Trader Joe’s firm tofu because it’s in 2 containers for easy halving and is more amicable to getting the juice REALLY pressed out of it. For Azumaya tofu I cut out the top label along the inner edge of the tofu container, then use the plastic to press the tofu down while I squeeze from the sides. Instead of squeezing, the tofu-wary &/or faint of heart can just slice the tofu and put it between two plates, bottom plate tilted to drain, with some books on top (takes longer, though).
  • Meat Eaters: Most of these are equally superb with tofu or chicken, but if you’re going with real meat, cut the soy sauce down by half, add another tablespoon of oil, and marinade overnight or up to 3 days, depending on how juicy and tender you want the results to be. For longer-marinaded items slated for the barbecue, be careful not to cook at too high a heat, or the juicy middles will stay undercooked while the outsides burn. Easy solution: halve breasts lengthwise-flatwise before marinading. Obviously, always discard marinade used for meat; never use it for anything afterward. If you need additional marinade, make a separate batch that won’t touch the raw stuff.

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