Monday, January 25, 2010

My Wrist.

I havent been on for a while and I am sad that I havent been able to cook nor bake. Ive been relying on food being delivered to me or picked up by my hubby.

Yes I decided that I needed to fracture my wrist in three life was getting a bit boring so I thought Id spice it up by injuring myself. Ive been depending on wine and pain killers to get me thru this. Im going nuts not being able to take a shower with out a plastic bag tagging along....or not being able to zip up my pants...its fun walking around with my fly open wide for all to see until I find a helping hand.

I appreciate my limbs, I wish they showed me the same amount of love and appreciation. I guess I should give my arm a brake...haha.... it has provided me a handy carrier for my purse.

I'll be back on soon..... love and cheers!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Cold Bean & Corn Salad

This simple salad is very good and very easy. You can make it in a pinch!! I really love making smells so yummy. The Cilantro is very refreshing and the snap of the sweet corn and black beans perfect. So go to your pantry pull out these items: (i know you have'em)

2 cans of black beans
1 can of sweet corn

Now head to your refrigerator and take out your organic (farmers market) veggies. :)

1 Big onion (I like to use purple onion but tonight I used the onions I got from the FM last Sunday) chopped

1 Bunch of cilantro chopped

1 clove of minced garlic

Pinch of salt and pepper

1/2 Jar of Sweet Ancho Chili Relish
(I got mine at HEB...Im sure your local market will have something like it)

Put all the fresh ingredients into a bowl and stir in the 1/2 Jar of Sweet Ancho Chili Relish, salt and pepper.

Refrigerate for at least 30 mins and there you have a beautiful side dish or a dip with corn chips to bring to a friends....

or like me, have it as a meal. and don't forget the wine. I'm going for a red wine tonight, but during the summer a great chardonnay would be perfect and refreshing.

"You have wine with everything" quotes my hubby sitting next to me as am blogging :)

It's simply delicious.



Sunday, January 10, 2010

Lemony Heavenly Cupcakes

These cupcakes turned out beautiful! It took a bit of work but the outcome was well worth it. Lots of love and mixing went into the cake batter, which turned into creamy goodness after about a thousands turns... J/k :0) As you can see, Mattie loved the taste of the lemons.

There is something heavily about the lemon, simply add a bit of sweetness to it's tartness and you have your self the most amazing flavor. It's used in so many way's and alway's ends up being a fabulous meal or dessert.

I wish I could go to my parents back yard in California and pull all the lemons I needed to make these cupcakes. They have lemon and Orange trees, and many berries to choose from and not to mention a small vineyard my dad built for my mom. The flowers my mother tends too is simply beautiful, pretty much year round. One of my favorite things to do is to sit in the backyard with my parents, playing backgammon drinking gin and tonics. Now thats the making of a good memory.


Ok enough of this chatter, lets get down to business.

Since it calls for 3 sticks of butter and 5 eggs in the cake alone, I dont make them very often ...these are perfectly portioned snippets of lemony goodness and so rich that you may only need too eat one, Maybe!!! :)

Lemony Heavenly Cupcakes

1 1/2 c. (3 sticks) of REAL butter
3 c. cake flour (no substitutions here--you really need the lightness of cake flour)
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda
2 c. sugar
5 large eggs
2 tsp. vanilla extract
4 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice Zest of 2 lemons (just zest the other lemons before you squeeze them)
1 c. buttermilk

Preheat oven to 325. Line 2 12-cup muffin tins with cupcake liners (I used white)

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, 4-5 minutes. Don't go skimping here--you want the mixture to be almost white and super fluffy. This is absolutely essential to the outcome of the cake.
While butter and sugar are mixing, sift together flour, baking powder, salt, and baking soda in a medium bowl. Set aside. After butter and sugar have mixed sufficiently, With the mixer running, add eggs, one at a time, beating to incorporate after each addition. Beat in vanilla, lemon juice, and lemon zest.

With mixer on low speed, alternate adding flour mixture and buttermilk, beginning and ending with the flour mixture and beating until fully incorporated.

Using a standard cookie scoop, place about 2 scoops of batter into each muffin cup. Fill these almost to the top--due to the final texture (again, think super-moist and light pound cake), these cupcakes won't have a nice, curvy crown, but that's okay--no one will ever know or care.

Bake about 20-25 minutes or just until a toothpick inserted into the center of one of the cupcakes comes out clean. You don't want to
over bake these even a bit, or they'll start to lose their delicious moisture. Remove from oven and cool completely. Frost with lemon buttercream.

This frosting takes a bit of work, but you will enjoy the out come....sometimes it takes patience achieve amazing results. This is one of those times. Patience is truly a virtue.

Lemon Buttercream Frosting

7 egg whites
Pinch cream of tartar
2 c. sugar
2 Tbsp. light corn syrup
½ c. water
1 lb. unsalted butter at room temperature
2 tsp. lemon extract
Yellow food coloring (optional)

Requires candy thermometer

  • Place egg whites and cream of tartar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat on low speed.
  • Add sugar, corn syrup, and water to a pot and swirl or mix with a spoon so that the sugar has the consistency of wet sand and all of the granules are moistened.
  • Cook the sugar on high to 235F. At this stage, which candymakers call the soft ball stage, most of the moisture gets cooked out of the sugar.
  • Immediately add the cooked sugar to the egg whites, which should be foamy at this point.
  • Turn the mixer speed to high and whip the meringue to a medium peak.
  • Add the butter in small clumps (about 1½” cubes) and whip until the mixture becomes light and fluffy, and holds together.
  • Add the lemon extract and food coloring if using and whip to combine.
  • Dress up your cupcakes real pretty with this creamy buttery frosting.
The Finished Product!!!!

Find your self a pretty plate, make yourself a cup of tea and relax in your favorite chair.....enjoy a bit of Spring on this wintry day.



Saturday, January 9, 2010

Its 21 degree's Outside, its time for some Sunny Happy Lemon Cupcakes

What a perfect day to bring a bit of Spring into the kitchen.....its 21 degrees this Morning here in Texas. brrrrrr. Im going to warm us up with some sunny Luscious Lemony cupcakes with a creamy Lemon Buttercream Frosting. I think that will bring a few smiles to our faces this beautiful chili winter day. I'll post recipe's and pictures after i whip them up.

Love and sweetness to all,


Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Simple Baked Farm Fresh Chicken

You have this bird weighing about 3 lbs....what to do, what to do?? You open your vacation magnet stamped refrigerator door to see that you only have 1 onion & 1 Lemon and a Slab O' Butter (and half empty bottle of wine, that makes for another story) :) run to your pantry in a panic.....your family is awaiting for a delish dinner..... Salt, pepper, olive oil.
I run to the phone to call my mother.....RING. "Hello my dear daughter"...Mother said sweetly. "Mom HELP!" I have a whole chicken, one onion, one lemon and a Slab O' butter....salt pepper and olive oil....what to do Mother? what to do????

Take your Birdie, salt and pepper the inside, stuff it with the whole Onion, whole Lemon cut in half, stuff butter on top and underneath lemon and onion.........rub olive oil, salt and pepper on the out side of your bird.....throw into oven at 375 for about 1 hour and a half (depending on size).....and BAM!!! You got your self a killer bird to feed your crew!!! How simple is that? Make yourself sum toasty bread and a green leafy salad. DONE. The Family Loves you! THANK YOU, Meine Muntter. (thats my mother in german if you didnt know)

BTW this is a chicken purchased at the Wild Wild West Farmers Market....the family said it was beyond good and taste so fresh....if your going to feed your loved ones meat..... Go local. Ban chemical warfare in our food products!

ENJOY! Oh and now's a good time to pull out that half bottle of wine.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Farmers Market Fun Day Sunday

What a perfect cold & blistery day to get bundled up and head to the farmers market. The "Wild Wild West" farmers market is very small, but I have a since of obligation to these people who show up rain or shine to make the day a success for local shoppers, like me. I just love the quaintness of its location and the warmth of the farmers and vendors.

Today I spoke to Cindy from the Herb Cottage...she grows an amazing array of herbs, vegetables and different types of plants. This spring she inspired me to grow my own herbs and veggies. I do have a perfect spot behind my garage, so thats my plan, very excited for that....she has a monthly newsletter that helps newbies like me and full timers, her website has tons of information, and a pictorial visit of her farm: . She chooses an herb a month to discuss in her newsletter, she also mentioned that 2010 is the year of the Dill herb, who knew???!!! She was more then willing to share some valuable information on making my herb box, Im very excited about this. And of course I will continue to go to her for advice and help. Thank you Cindy!

Ok you've heard me talk about the Grape Pie and Cake. Its simply to die for....when I first heard about this grape pie, I wasn't sure that I heard right, Grape Pie?? who on earth makes a grape pie....and how can it possibly fit into a pie. Boy was I 100% wrong, grapes belong in a pie. It has the perfect amount of sweetness, and a crumbly crust that falls apart perfectly in your cant go wrong with this pie. Ralph and Joyce have a vineyard in Matagorda Tx. they'll be at the farmers market every other Sunday...and you better get there early because the pie and cakes go flying off into the Texas Sky as fast as they put them on the table.
I bought one for my dear friend who couldnt go with me today, she keeps thanking me :)
she really should be thanking Ralph and Joyce for such a perfect pie!!

Now we got to talk about the meat Guy (I forgot his name) :) If I'm going to buy meat, I try only to go local. Ive been buying my families meat from Ranchers Meats, Inc. very good meat if your a meat eater. They are a state of Texas inspected plant, you can be assured the meat is processed under the most stringent food safety regulations. And most important to me all animals are processed under strict humane standards. Please visit their website and only buy local grown and processed meat products.
they also have fresh eggs and honey.

There's many vendors and farmers that I've bought from before, but today I kept it simple....... I'll share with you my other findings the next time I go Local :) I hope I inspired you to find a local Farmers Market, I know you'll find something that'll make your day a better one...even if its just a sweet farmers smile......ENJOY!!!

Friday, January 1, 2010

Hot Choclate Cinnamon Cupcakes

I took a nice brisk walk with my German Shepherd this morning, I noticed couples young and old all bundled up walking holding hands or walking the beloved family pooch., its so nice to see people strolling together hand and hand enjoying the cool refreshing winter day and not just rushing along in their normal busy day, it warmed my heart to see. I think we all appreciate the cooler weather we've had over the last few weeks. Cool weather always makes me want to bake, I'm sure you would agree, its really fun to bake in cold weather. It makes the house smell all decadent and cozy, this is definitely preferred over my cinnamon spice scented candles, its the real we get to eat whats making the house smell so yummy.

So I was thinking what is one thing that most everyone loves on a cold winter night. Hot chocolate (and maybe with a splash of something)! Yes I nice cup of cocoa warming your hand. So last night I was thinking I would make something that would warm my tummy, not just my hands. I made some outrageously good cupcakes, with a perfect name "Hot Chocolate Cinnamon Cupcakes" I made them for a friends gathering last night....and they were a HUGE HIT!

Here are the dry ingredients, you'll never believe what I added, Cayenne Pepper! The cake had a nice subtle mingled nicely with the cinnamon and Cocoa.

The wet ingredients, I added HOT just brewed coffee and touch of chocolate liquor (not shown)
mix that with the egg, vanilla and buttermilk.

Mix all the lovely wet and dry ingredients together.

I used the mini pan to bake these tiny bits of goodness.

Then I prepared Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting. Now doesn't that sound so scrumptious? Cant think of anything sweeter.

Then the finish product!!!!!! YUM!

Then I topped them with a Ghiradelli's chocolate chip, and a dusting of chocolate powder and WOW, these turned out beautiful and what a pleasure to eat and share with others.

Tomorrow, I'm going to try my hand at my Great Great Grandmothers Ginger Cake. Cupcake Style..... and you know I'll post the goodness.