Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Beef Mechado

My neighbor Nikki and I like to trade food back and forth. It's really fun because I get to try things I don't normally make. She brought me some of this stew a couple months ago and we loved it, so I asked her for the recipe. It's a Philippine style beef stew with a tomato base. When I make stew I use a beef gravy base (which I realize now that I haven't posted a recipe for) so I really like this different recipe, especially the olives. This picture is actually of my leftovers, so there isn't much liquid because it had absorbed. You can see the finished stew in the picture at the bottom.

Beef Mechado
adapted from Nikki Lee's recipe
1 lb beef stew meat or any tender beef meat
3/4 cup onion, chopped
4-6 cloves garlic, minced
2 cans (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes, undrained
1/2 cup soy sauce
2 cups frozen crinkle cut carrots
1 can whole black olives
4 cups potatoes, cubed

Place first 5 ingredients in a pot and bring to a boil. Simmer on low for an hour to an hour and a half until meat is tender. Add veggies and let simmer until potatoes are cooked, about 15-20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve over rice.



Thursday, February 20, 2014

Chocolate Strawberry Cupcakes with Ganache - New and Improved

I posted these in 2010, and remade them for Valentine's Day this year with a new chocolate cupcake recipe. I didn't want to change or delete the original post, so I'm doing a repost. :) I used the same strawberry frosting (pretty much) in the middle and same ganache on top. If you prefer chocolate buttercream to whipped ganache (which can be very thick) you can substitute that.

Chocolate Strawberry Cupcakes with Ganache
Chocolate Cupcakes
beantownbaker.com
2 oz unsweetened chocolate, chopped
1/4 cup Dutch-process cocoa powder
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter, cut up
1/3 cup water
1/2 cup milk
1 egg
1 egg yolk
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt

1. In a heatproof bowl, combine chocolate and cocoa powder.
2. In a saucepan over medium heat, heat the granulated sugar, butter, and water, stirring occasionally, until the butter melts and the sugar dissolves. Pour the butter mixture over the chocolate and whisk until the chocolate melts and the mixture is smooth.
3. Whisk the milk, egg, extra yolk, and vanilla into the chocolate mixture until combined.
4. In a bowl, stir the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt until blended. Add the flour mixture to the chocolate mixture and whisk until smooth.
5. Let the batter sit at room temperature for 1 hour or cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days.
6. Line a standard 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Divide the batter among the muffin cups. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the tops spring back when pressed lightly with a fingertip. Set on a wire rack and leave to cool completely. Makes 12 cupcakes

Sprinkles' Strawberry Frosting
adapted from Sprinkles
1/4 cup whole frozen strawberries, thawed
1/2 cup butter, firm and slightly cold
1 3/4 cups powdered sugar, sifted
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Place strawberries in the bowl of a small food processor; process until pureed (I just used a fork to mash the strawberries and it worked fine).
2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter on medium speed until light and fluffy. Reduce mixer speed and slowly add powdered sugar; beat until well combined. Add vanilla and 1 1/2 tablespoons strawberry puree; mix until just blended. Do not overmix or frosting will incorporate too much air. Frosting consistency should be dense and creamy, like ice cream.

Using a bismarck tip, fill cupcakes with strawberry frosting. Or cut a hole out of the top and pipe some down into the middle.

Ganache Frosting
1 cup whipping cream
2 cups semi sweet chocolate chips

1. In a sauce pan bring the cream to a slight boil. Remove from heat. Add the chocolate chips and let sit for 5 minutes. Stir until chocolate is melted. Place in refrigerator until cooled through.
2. When cool, transfer chocolate to bowl of electric mixer fitted with whisk attachment and beat until desired consistency. Frosting will be thick. You could add a little milk if needed. Spread or pipe on cupcakes.


Chocolate Cupcakes with Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

This is officially my go to chocolate cupcake recipe now. I made 3 dozen of these this week, and again I loved them. These are also what I used for my b-day salted caramel cupcakes. Loved those too. The neat thing about this recipe is that you can leave the batter in the fridge for up to 3 days. I made a triple batch of this batter on Valentine's Day for a fun dessert. I let it sit at room temp for 1 hour and then baked 12. I then refrigerated the rest of the batter for 3 days, pulled it out, and baked the rest. The batter straight out of the fridge is VERY thick, but I just scooped it out and baked them. The are dense like a bakery cupcake, but still moist. I used a basic chocolate buttercream recipe to frost them. You can use all butter, or do part butter, part shortening. I like a little shortening because I feel like the frosting holds it shape better. The frosting recipe frosts 24 while the cupcake recipe makes 12, so you might need to half or double something.

Chocolate Cupcakes
beantownbaker.com
2 oz unsweetened chocolate, chopped
1/4 cup Dutch-process cocoa powder
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter, cut up
1/3 cup water
1/2 cup milk
1 egg
1 egg yolk
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt

1. In a heatproof bowl, combine chocolate and cocoa powder.
2. In a saucepan over medium heat, heat the granulated sugar, butter, and water, stirring occasionally, until the butter melts and the sugar dissolves. Pour the butter mixture over the chocolate and whisk until the chocolate melts and the mixture is smooth.
3. Whisk the milk, egg, extra yolk, and vanilla into the chocolate mixture until combined.
4. In a bowl, stir the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt until blended. Add the flour mixture to the chocolate mixture and whisk until smooth.
5. Let the batter sit at room temperature for 1 hour or cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days.
6. Line a standard 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Divide the batter among the muffin cups. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the tops spring back when pressed lightly with a fingertip. Set on a wire rack and leave to cool completely.

Makes 12 cupcakes

Chocolate Buttercream Frosting
3/4 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup shortening
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 tsp vanilla
4 1/2 cups powdered sugar
3-4 TBSPs milk

1. Beat butter and shortening until light and fluffy; 2-3 minutes.
2. Add cocoa powder and vanilla and mix until smooth.
3. Gradually add powdered sugar, scraping down sides of bowl as needed.
4. Add milk to reach desired consistency, scraping down sides of bowl.
5. Mix on medium-high speed for about 2 minutes.
6. Pipe or spread onto cupcakes.

Frosts 24 cupcakes




Sunday, February 9, 2014

Warm Bean Dip

Here's another snack that we had during the Super Bowl. Pretty sure chips and dip are a requirement. Can you tell who we were cheering for? :) I had made this a couple of years ago, and decided it would be perfect for the occasion. I love that this has so much cream...cheese and sour. Can't go wrong with that stuff. This makes a lot, but you could easily half it.

Warm Bean Dip
1 (8 oz) package cream cheese, softened
1 cup sour cream
2 cans (16 ounces, each) refried beans
1 packet taco seasoning
2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded
2 cups monterey jack cheese, shredded

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix together cream cheese and sour cream in a large bowl. Mix in refried beans until combined. Stir in taco seasoning.
2. Spray a 9x13 baking pan with cooking spray. Spread mixture evenly into the bottom of the baking dish. Sprinkle the top with both cheeses.
3. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until cheese in melted and slightly browned. Serve with tortilla chips.


Thursday, February 6, 2014

Bacon Wrapped Lil' Smokies

I made some party food last Sunday for the Super Bowl. We're not huge football fans, but just had to watch since we are living Seattle, and I must say, it was a great game. :) One of my husband's food requirements was bacon, so I made these. I did only a few, because you can really make however many you need with this recipe. They are so easy, and they turned out amazing.

Bacon Wrapped Lil' Smokies
adapted from mommysavers.com
1 pkg Lil' Smokies sausages
1 pkg bacon
Brown sugar

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cookie sheet with aluminum foil for easy clean-up
2. Take bacon out of package and cut strips into thirds.
3. Drain Lil’ Smokies and them let them sit on paper towel to dry.
4. Wrap each Lil’ Smokie with one piece of bacon and secure with a toothpick and lay on cookie sheet. (If you don’t want to secure them with toothpicks just make sure to lay them seam side down on cookie sheet).
5. Sprinkle all of the Lil’ Smokies with brown sugar. You can use as much brown sugar as you want. The more brown sugar you use, the more they caramelize.
6. Place in oven and bake for 45 minutes. Serve with any type of dipping sauce or sauces that you like.