Wednesday, June 24, 2009

S'mores Cupcakes

S'mores just scream summer. They take me back to girls camp, camping trips with the family, and fire pits in my parents' backyard. I even made s'mores over a barbecue, a stove, and a candle when I was in college and didn't have a place to build a fire. Needless to say, it's one of my favorite treats. Building a fire isn't always practical, though. Plus, let's face it, it's super messy! These are my solution. They taste just like a s'more, plus they're super cute and don't invovle lighting any fires. They're the perfect summer treat!

S'mores Cupcakes

Graham Cracker Cupcakes
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs (I used 1 cup regular and 1/2 cup cinnamon)
1/2 cup flour
1 Tb. baking powder
Dash salt
1/2 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
3/4 cup milk

Marshmallow Frosting (from The Smitten Kitchen)
1 large egg white
1/4 cup sugar
2 Tb. light corn syrup
1 Tb. water
1 tsp. vanilla
pinch of salt


14 squares hersheys chocolate
2/3 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
3 Tb. heavy whipping cream

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 14 muffin cups with papers.
2. Beat the butter and the sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time. Beating well after each addition. Add the vanilla.
3. Add flour, graham cracker crumbs, baking powder, salt, and milk. Divide batter between muffin cups (the cupcakes don't rise much so feel free to fill them pretty full).
4. Bake for 22-25 minutes or until top springs back when touched. Cool completely.
5. Meawhile, make the frosting. In large bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water, combine all frosting ingredients. Beat with a hand mixer for 6-7 minutes, until light and fluffy. Remove bowl from heat and continue to beat for 3-5 more minutes, or until slightly cooled. Top each cupcake with a dollop of frosing. (Optional: Broil cupcakes for 1-2 minutes after frosting to brown for that "toasted marshmallow" look, or toast with kitchen torch).
6. Prepare the ganache by combining the chocolate chips with the heavy whipping cream. Microwave on high for 30 - 35 seconds. Stir until thoroughly melted and combined. Drizzle over frosted cupcakes. Garnish with hershey's squares.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Teriyaki Swordfish with Orange-Mango-Tomato Salsa

I'd never eaten swordfish before making this, and I have to say that I quite enjoyed it. I think that the recipe would be just as good with tuna, so try it with that if you don't want to eat swordfish. This recipe is my tweaked and adapted version of one from the Bon App├ętit cookbook.

Teriyaki Swordfish with Orange-Mango-Tomato Salsa
Serves 6


3 oranges, peel and pith cut away, seeded and diced
1 mango, diced
1 1/2 cups chopped seeded tomatoes
1/4 cup minced red onion
1/4 cup fresh cilantro (substitute fresh parsley if you prefer)
2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons vinegar (I used sherry vinegar, but the original recipe calls for balsamic)
1 teaspoon fresh ginger, minced
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper (I like it hot, so I quadrupled this)

Marinade and fish:
3/4 cup bottled teriyaki sauce
2/3 cup fruit juice mixed with citrus juice (about a 3/1 ratio)- I used apple/pomegranite/lime juice
4 garlic cloves, mixed
2 teaspoons fresh ginger, minced
1 teaspoon seasame oil
6 5- to 6-ounce swordfish steaks (about 1 inch thick)

For salsa:
Toss together all the ingredients in a large bowl. Throw some salt and pepper on there to your taste. Put in the fridge for at least an hour before serving. (It can stay in the fridge for up to four hours).
For marinide and fish:
1-Combine the teriyaki sauce and the next four ingredients in a small saucepan. Bring it up to a boil. Set it aside to cool.
2- Arrange the swordfish in a shallow glass baking dish. Pour the marinade over the swordfish, turn and coat evenly. Save out some of the marinade if you want to have some for drizzling on later. Cover the fish and put it in the fridge to marinade for 1 1/2 hours.
3- Preheat the grill (or I used a skillet on the stove) to medium-high heat. Make sure that you've cleaned and oiled the grill before hand.
4- Grill the fish until opaque in the center, about 4 minutes per side. Put it up on a plate with some salsa. (I served it with field greens and rice)
5- Eat pleae.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

The Essentials: Limes

There are very few things that add a burst of flavor and intensity like a good lime. Sweet, sour and flavourful, they're the perfect compliment to a wide array of flavours, but I like it the best with spicy food. Nothing improves a good taco, or curry, than a squeeze of lime.

But don't think that this is the only way to use the delightful lime. Adding some lime juice to something as unlikely as a pot roast can have wonderful effects. The acid in the juice will help to break down and tenderize the meat, while just adding a hint of the taste. You'll be shocked at the difference.

Don't be afraid to branch out and try different kinds of limes. Everyone knows (and should love) the standard Persian lime that is available everywhere around the United States. Most people even have a passing acquaintance with its smaller, tarter cousin the key lime. But have you had a Kaffir lime (Try the leaves! They're a great addition to Thai recipes!)? Or a blood lime? They're pretty fabulous. One of my personal favorites is the Palestine lime. It's a sweeter hybrid between the standard Persian lime and a sweet lemon or citron. Very, very tasty.

If you can't tell already, I love limes. They're just something that you should have around to add to any recipe, or to serve as a garnish. They're important, tasty and fun. You might as well just say that they're essential.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Southwestern Cobb Salad

This was a nice, light summery meal that was both healthy and delicious. Enjoy!

Southwestern Cobb Salad

4 cups lettuce, chopped
1 cup shredded cheese, such as pepper jack or colby jack
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 can sweet baby corn, rinsed and drained; or 2 cobs fresh corn, removed from cob
1 avocado, diced
2 Roma tomatoes, diced; or 1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
1 small can sliced olives
1 - 1 1/2 cups chicken, cooked and cubed
1/2 cup chopped red or green pepper (optional)
1/2 cup chopped red or green onion (optional)
1 handful fresh cilantro
1/4 cup salsa verde
1/2 cup ranch dressing
Tortilla chips or fresh cooked tortillas

1. Arrange lettuce along the bottom of 4 plates or bowls. Arrange cheese, black beans, corn, avocado, tomatoes, olives, chicken (and peppers and onions if desired) along the top of the lettuce.
2. Combine cilantro, salsa verde, and ranch dressing in a food processor or blender until well combined. Drizzle over top of salads. Top with additional cilantro, if desired. Serve with tortilla chips or freshly cooked tortillas.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Caramelized Salmon with Mango Salsa

When this popped up on my google reader, I immediately starred it and decided to make it ASAP. I am SO glad I didn't wait, because it is delicious! I've been wanting to make it again all week. Make it and I'm sure you'll devour it just like we did!

Caramelized Salmon with Mango Salsa
Adapted from Quick Cooking Site

1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 lb. salmon (about 6 fillets, 1/4 lb. each)

Mango Salsa
1 mango, peeled and finely diced
1/4 cup red onion, finely diced
2 Tb. finely diced green pepper
1 small jalapeno pepper, finely diced
1/4 cup cilantro, diced
1 Tb. rice vinegar
1 tsp. lime juice
1 tsp. olive oil
dash kosher salt
dash black pepper
dash garlic powder

1. Preheat grill. Combine sugar, salt, and pepper in shallow dish. Rub each salmon fillet in the sugar mixture, being sure to well coat each side. Grill over low heat for about 5-8 minutes on each side, until crispy and cooked through.
2. Meanwhile, combine all salsa ingredients and set aside.
3. Top salmon with salsa and serve with rice and grilled pineapple.
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