It’s been a while since I graced this blog or coworkers’ bellies with yummy treats. I know I’ve said it before, but baking is so therapeutic. It’s precise, like culinary chemistry, and the payoff is usually something delectable.
This past week, my team had an intern whose last day was Friday. I told him he could pick his favorite flavor and I’d come up with a cupcake for him and the team. Strawberry shortcake he said — so strawberry it was!
- 2 1/2 cups AP flour
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
- 1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1/3 cup buttermilk
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 2 cups of chopped strawberries
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
- In a bowl, cream together butter and sugar with an electric mixer until light and fluffy, around 3-5 minutes. Add eggs one at a time until combined. Then add buttermilk, oil, and vanilla. Mix until just combined. Add chopped strawberries, folding to avoid mushing the fruit.
- Fill lined cupcake pans 3/4 of the way with batter.
- Bake for 20 minutes and let cool completely on a cooling rack.
- Frozen strawberries, pureed with sugar (to your taste depending on how sweet the strawberries are)
- 2 8 ounce packages of cream cheese, at room temperature
- 2 sticks of unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 4 cups of confectioner sugar
- 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
In a large bowl, cream together butter and cream cheese with an electric mixer. Beat in 1/3 cup of the strawberry puree and vanilla extract. Add the confectioner sugar one cup at a time beating until well combined. Frost the cupcakes and garnish with fresh strawberries.
The frosting is nothing short of amazing. It literally tasted like ice cream… and I would know! I licked the spoon the night I made it. Did I feel guilty? NO I DID NOT. Make these cupcakes, you will run right down to Boston to give me a big hug and kiss.
Yeah so… salad. New year, same resolution — eat healthier and work out more. It’s been 17 days and I’m running at a 75% success rate. I went to the doctor today, had my annual weigh in and I didn’t hate it. Motivation, yes. In fact, my fingers and typing at with astronomical dexterity and speed, as I still need to get my nightly workout in.
Tonight’s dinner featured blood oranges, which beckoned me while I was perusing the produce section of the supermarket.
What you’ll need –
- Baby spinach
- Blood orange
- Red onion
- Salted pistachios, shelled
- Feta or goat cheese
- S&P to taste
- Dressing (minced garlic, dijon mustard, red wine vinegar, S&P, and extra virgin olive oil)
Combine all ingredients and toss. Eat, feel healthy, and go to the gym.
Goodnight and goodbye.
After the whirlwind I like to call the Holiday season, it’s wonderful to be nestled in and take the time to plan out a home cooked meal. For those of us still in the spirit of gift giving (like me), why not give the gift of delicious food, particularly food that’s wrapped in parchment. Some recipients might not realize, but for me the best gift I can give is food. Food is a source of nourishment for everyone, so why not make something that’s a necessity something special?
With the usual New Year resolutions of losing weight, especially now that I have a bathing suit deadline for March, I’m making every effort to eat healthier and treat my body right. One very late night, my creativity stirred me from my sleep and I drew out the following recipe for a delicate white fish in papillote.
Halibut en Papillote
- 1/2 red onion, julienned
- 1 zucchini, julienned
- 1 carrot, julienned
- 1 large clove of garlic, minced
- 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 lb of halibut (or other white fish) portioned into 4 filets
- 1 lemon, thinly sliced
- 4 pats of butter
- Fresh thyme
- 1/2 Cup of dry white wine (I use Sauvignon blanc because that’s what I have in my fridge for drinking)
- S&P to taste
- Preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Julienne your vegetables! If you’re lucky and have the best sister in the world, you can use your new beautiful ceramic knife that cuts anything like butter — BUTTER people!
- In a small bowl, combine the julienned veggies, minced garlic, olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste.
- Salt and pepper the filet of fish.
- Place the fish, 1/4 of your veggie mixture, two slices of lemon, two sprigs of thyme, a pat of butter, and 1 Tbsp of wine on a large piece of square parchment. (*I wish I could artfully photograph how to properly fold a papillote, but I’ll leave that to Cook Think. I’m no pro. I mean, I cheated and stapled at the end of my crimping. I can practically hear the French culinary masters cringing.)
- Place the four packages on a baking sheet and cook for 10-12 minutes depending on the thickness of your fish.
- Unwrap and serve over brown rice, including all of the wonderful juices left behind!
The pat of butter snuck its way into my first healthy eating post! Forgive me!
One thing to note about this recipe is that the vegetables still have some bite to them after their time in the oven. If you’re interested in baby food, I’d throw them onto a sauté pan for a few minutes before placing them in your parchment parcel.
Also, I’ve recently discovered Sous Style, brought to you by the ever talented Pippa Lord (Photo Director for Elle magazine). The blog covers fashion and food, two of my biggest interests. Plus, the Male Mondays posts (like this one) are a fun way to start your week. You can thank me later.
Merry Christmas, friends! I hope you all enjoyed a filling and festive meal with your families and friends. If you’re in my family, you make sure to grab the mashed sweet potatoes with sliced apples lest you miss your chance at the apples! You then proceed to talk loudly, laugh a whole bunch, and take in the family time you so desperately needed.
You clean your plate too… but not before snapping a picture.
I’ve already received cookbooks galore this Christmas, so prepare for fun foods in 2012. Enjoy the rest of 2011 everyone. Cheers!
I’m a bit of a mouse. When I was a child, one of my favorite snacks was American cheese slices, which as a grew older matured to heavy hitters like gorgonzola, taleggio, and cashel. There’s something magical about the taste and the way cheese can coat your mouth like velvet. Now as an adult constantly trying to shed the extra five to ten pounds, I eat cheese in moderation, which makes cheese all the more appealing.
I considered myself fairly knowledgeable in the cheese department, so I was somewhat ashamed that it took me 25 years to place a creamy, dreamy piece of burrata (“buttered” in Italian) in my mouth. Years ago, growing up on Lidia Bastianich’s Lidia’s Italy I spied this little treat. She was in the Puglia region of Italy, cutting into a piece of solid mozzarella with overflowing ribbons of fresh curd and cream. Cue your salivary glands.
A few weeks ago, the boy (aka Mr. Mouse) made his version of the first burrata caprese salad I’d tried at Alma Nove. Something about making this treat at home made it taste better than any fancy restaurant’s version. His version also tasted way better than the version I made a few nights ago. Then again, when doesn’t food taste better when someone else makes it for you?
Tomato, Burrata Cheese, and Pistachio Salad
2 large plum tomatoes
fleur de sel
freshly ground black pepper
handful of torn fresh basil leaves for garnish
unsalted shelled pistachios, chopped
2 Tbsp of balsamic glaze
1 large round of burrata cheese
Cut tomatoes into slices and place on a large platter. Add the torn basil leaves and pistachios. Take the large burrata cheese round and cut into quarters. Place cheese in the center of the plate. Sprinkle with fleur de sel and pepper. Drizzle balsamic glaze over the salad. Garnish with additional basil leaves and serve.
Stuff your face and savor each and every calorie. And remember kids, you’re doing it in the name of calcium!