Friday, July 30, 2010

Scallion Corn Muffins & Bailey's Irish Creme Creme Brulee

Our friends, Erika and Jeff, came over for dinner last night.  It was a late dinner since a few of us had to work late, but it was nice to spend the night eating and chatting away.  It was a simple but delicious menu...

Appetizers:  Bacon Cheddar Toasts and Goat Cheese, Sundried Tomato, & Pesto Torte

Main Course:  Oven-fried buttermilk chicken, Cucumber, Shallot & Celery Salad, and Scallion Corn Muffins

Dessert:  Bailey's Irish Cream Creme Brulee

Yep, I did it again...I successfully made Creme Brulee again!  This time, added with the Bailey's, it was fantastic.  I stole the recipe from The Happy Housewives Club.  Simple and perfect.

(I forgot to take pictures last night, so I found this picture online...looks very similar to what we had!)

The entire main course, I took from Martha Stewart's Everyday Food June 2010 issue.  It was the perfect late summer meal...light and refreshing.    This was my first attempt at cornbread.  I'm definitely going to make cornbread more often.  This was so simple to make!  It came together in a snap and tasted delicious.  The scallions really added some depth to the cornbread.

Can you see the little bits of scallion? 

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Salted Toffee-Chocolate Squares

As I was flipping through my Martha Stewart's Everyday Food looking for ideas for dinner, I found this recipe for Salted Toffee-Chocoate Squares in the May 2010 issue.  I thought, "That sounds good right about now," but I really did not feel like venturing out during a thunderstorm to get the ingredients.  To my surprise, I actually had everything I needed in my kitchen!  These were simple to assemble and quick to make and the perfect blend of salty and sweet.  This was the perfect snack for a Sunday afternoon. 

Happy Birthday, Johnny!

My brother Johnny's birthday was on Tuesday, so we decided to celebrate by having one of his favorite meals last night....tacos.  Johnny, my sister-in-law, Abby, and my cousins Karl, Claudine and Holly came for dinner.  It was a nice, low-key night with lots of laughs and delicious food.  Johnny is not one for birthday cake but is a huge fan of banana bread.  Holly won't eat anything called bread, so instead, we were calling it banana cake.  I think she was upset that there was no icing!  As soon as we sung Happy Birthday, she just started yelling, "I need a plate!  I need a plate!"  HILARIOUS!  I used Martha Stewart's recipe for banana bread but ommitted the walnuts since Abby is allergic to nuts...I think I like it better without the nuts.  Also, I added cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves.  I like it a little spicier...

Banana "cake" all ready for singing. 

Can you see all of those delicious spices?

Holly was excited to sing!  She did a great job helping Johnny blow out the candles. 

The table all set for dinner...

Happy Birthday, Johnny.  Love you!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Beer Cheese Cupcakes with Bacon Cheddar Cream Cheese

Sounds gross, right?  WRONG!

As you've read in the previous post, we stayed at our friends Sean and Shira's home in California last weekend.  They were awesome hosts, and Matt and I wanted to repay them in some way.  Shira had printed out a recipe for Beer Cheese Cupcakes with Bacon Cheddar Cream Cheese that she found over at the Cupcake Project, which had both Sean and Matt drooling.  As I mentioned previously, Sean shares my affinity for cupcakes, but he also works for MillerCoors and enjoys the occasional beer.  And what guy doesn't love bacon?  On Sunday morning, I woke up early, headed to the grocery store to buy ingredients and Sean's first muffin tins.  By the time Sean and Shira woke up, Matt and I had the cupcakes just about in the oven.  It smelled fantastically like beer cheddar soup while baking.  Sean helped make the icing and waited not too patiently to taste the final product.  I was reluctant, seeing as I don't even like bacon.  But I have to tell you...they were great.  We each had way too many...

Sean and Matt had way too much fun making the bacon.

Of course, we're all from Philadelphia, so we had to use Philadelphia Cream Cheese!

Sean enjoyed helping...

The Final Product. 

Sean, Matt & Shira enjoying their breakfast...

Our trip to San Fransisco....

Food, food, and more food...

You may have noticed that I haven't been around all week.  Matt and I headed to San Fransisco for a long weekend to attend my cousin Timmy's wedding.  We were lucky enough to be able to stay with our fabulous friends, Sean and Shira.  Their hospitality was much appreciated.  We spent time in the city, went to a Giants game at AT&T field, went to the beautiful and fun wedding, then went up Mount Diablo in VERY HOT weather.  All in all, it was a great time.  We got to see lots of friends besides our lovely hosts and lots of family members. 

We were in San Fransisco for more than a day when I realized that most of my pictures were of food.  When Matt pointed it out to me, I thought, "Yeah?  What's wrong with that?!"  We started with lunch at Boudin in Fisherman's Wharf.  None of us spoke during lunch.  We were too busy enjoying our sourdough lunches!  Before we even ordered our sandwhiches, I was oogling the bread animals on display.  

How cute are these guys!? 

Next came our fantastic meals.  Matt and our friends, Sean and Shira, ordered the clam chowder in a sourdough bread bowl.  I took a simpler approach and ordered a grilled cheese.  It was the most delicious and satisfying grilled cheese I have ever eaten.  I'm assuming that the murmuring and grunting coming from everyone else meant that they enjoyed their clam chowder. 

Best. Lunch. Ever.

Then we headed over to Ghirardelli Square and checked out Kara's Cupcakes

 Sean and I were the only ones to indulge as he shares my affinity for all things cupcake.  Each of us struggled to decide which one we wanted to try, so we decided to order three and split them. 

(Left to Right) Peanut Butter Milk Chocolate Ganache, Java and Key Lime Pie. 

Seeing as I am usually devoted to Chocolate, I assumed I'd have to choose between the Peanut Butter and the Java.  Turns out, Sean and I both agreed that the Key Lime Pie was our favorite.  It was light and refreshing with a graham cracker crust.  YUM!!!

Can you see that delicious key lime center?

Finally, we had a great time at Tim and Meghan's wedding.  They are a super fun couple who have a lot of style while knowing how to have a good time.    This could not have been more evident than in their favors and cake!

Gum Ball machines as favors.  So cute!

The design of their cake matched their invitations, which were designed by the bride.

How cute are the twinkie bride and groom!?  Meghan and Tim really know how to have style but throw in a little whimsy at the same time.

Overall, it was a great weekend, although way too short!  Congratulations, Tim & Meghan, and thanks for the hospitality, Sean & Shira!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Happy 60th Birthday, Mrs. J!

Swimming Pool Cupcakes

One of my best friends' mom turned 60 this week, and her children decided to throw her a pool party.  Denise asked me to make "pool" themed cupcakes for the occasion.  After some googling, I found this idea.  I think they turned out pretty cute!  I used the recipe on the back of the Hershey's cocoa can and made Martha's Fluffy Vanilla icing tinted blue.  I used fondant, Teddy Grahams, gummy LifeSavers, and candy fish I found at HomeGoods for the decorations.  I hope the party was a success.  Happy Birthday, Mrs. J!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Chic Click Carnival

Chic Click Carnival...

Hi, y'all.  This week I'm participating in Chick Click Carnival.  I'm a therapist by day, wife and baker by night.  Cupcakes are my life.  My favorite post this summer so far is probably Jack's Robot Party

My new favorite blog that I've found is Its Sew Fun!   Lots of ideas for projects that I'll probably never get to!

Want to find a new Peep?  Go ahead and CLICK!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Creme Brulee

I finally made a decent Creme Brulee!!

Seriously, I've tried to make creme brulee several times, and it never works out quite right.  Its either not done, too done or just plain gross.  There was the time I tried to make a triple chocolate creme brulee for my friend, Katie, and her husband...we call that chocolate soup now.  Or the time I tried to make pumpkin pie creme brulee and forgot to add sugar.  Creme Brulee and I have had a difficult relationship.  Until today...we made ammends.  I stuck with a simple vanilla bean recipe out of the cookbook that came with my torch that I bought several years ago with dreams of weekly creme brulee in my head.   The only part that didn't quite work out was that all of the vanilla beans were on the bottom of the ramekins instead of mixed in with the custard.  Hmmmm.....any ideas on how to fix that?

A nice crispy crust on top. 

Creamy deliciousness in the middle. 

Late night snack

Rice Krispie Treats with Peanut Butter & Chocolate

Matt and I had a "date" night last night.  I made vegetarian Sloppy Joe's, and we watched "Friday Night Lights."  Big night out for us, right?  After dinner, we were both looking for something sweet, so I started looking through the most recent issue of Martha Stewart's Everyday Food.  On the very last page, she had this recipe, and I just happened to have all the ingredients!  I've googled this recipe and couldn't find it for you all, so I thought I'd share with you here.  It comes together very quickly...if you can make Rice Krispie Treats, you can make these. 

3 tbsp. unsalted butter, plus more for baking dish
4 cups miniature marshmallows (I only had regular marshmallows  on hand and it seemed to work fine)
1/3 cup creamy peaut butter, preferably natural
1/2 tsp. coarse salt
6 cups Rice Krispies cereal
Non-stick cooking spray or vegetable oil, for pressing
1 package (12 oz) semisweet chocolate chips, melted
1/4 cup chopped, roasted & salted peanuts

Butter an 8-inch square baking dish.  In a large pot, combine marshmallows, peanut butter, butter, and salt.  Cook over medium, stirring, until melted, about 4 minutes.  Add ceral and stir to combine.  With a wooden spoon (I used a rubber difference) greased with cooking spray or oil, press half the cereal mixture into dish.  Spread half the melted chocolate on top.  Repeat with remaining cereal mixture and chocolate; sprinkle with peanuts.  Cut into small squares and enjoy! 

I stuck the dish in the freezer for a few minutes to set up so we could eat them right away! 

Since we were impatient and wanted them asap, these were SUPER gooey and messy.  Seriously.  I looked like a  toddler eating birthday cake. 

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Buttermilk Cupcakes

Book Club!

Book club is tomorrow night, so I threw together some cupcakes for us to enjoy.  I decided to try Martha Stewart's buttermilk cupcakes with Hershey's chocolate frosting.  Can't go wrong, right?  Only problem is that it made 42 coworkers will be very happy when I come in tomorrow with leftovers. 

My mom and I found chocolate covered sunflower seeds at HomeGoods the other day, and I thought I'd try to do something cute with them.  It didn't quite turn out the way I thought it would, but cute enough, I guess.

I found these liners at Michael's a few weeks ago.  I love the brown and turquoise damask design. 

Sorry for the poor quality of the photos.  Its late, and I just want to go to bed!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Oreo Cake

Lots of baking in one weekend...

So, my third and final post of the day!  You may remember that my friends, Maureen & Andy, had bought me the Oreo Cake Mold from Williams Sonoma a few months back.  Considering that we were heading to their house yesterday to see some out of town friends, I thought I'd give it another whirl.  This time, I followed the recipe on the back of the box.  This cake is a little different in that it is a little drier and sturdier than most cakes...but it tastes just like an oreo cookie!  I followed the recipe for the icing, as well, but I crushed up some oreos and mixed them in.  We weren't able to hang out long enough to try the cake, but hopefully we'll get a report back that it tasted ok!

Doesn't that frosting look delicious?

Blueberry Muffins

I wish Laura could come for breakfast more often...

My lovely cousin, Laura Beth (she may get mad at me for adding the "Beth" part), lives in Indiana with her husband; therefore, I NEVER get to see her.   She was in visiting her family in New Jersey and was gracious enough to squeeze us in!  I made the quiche I made for Mother's Day, some fresh fruit with yogurt, and blueberry muffins from Martha Stewart's Baking Handbook.  The muffins were fantastic!  Very simple to make and very fresh tasting.  Laura stated that she liked the "blueberry to muffin" ratio... I just through in an entire pint of blueberries without looking at how much the recipe called for.  I loved the crunchy tops.  There are only three left, and I'm going to rush home to get a final one before Matt polishes them off!

Check out those giant blueberries!

Don't you just love my new cupcake stand?  It spins!  My mom bought it for me at HomeGoods a few weeks ago.  I absolutely love it.

And more Paula Deen cupcake liners.  So sweet...

By the way, Check out Laura Beth's blog.   Her writing is so eloquent and thoughtful that she always makes me wish I could express myself as well as she can.