Thursday, January 24, 2008

Coconut Cupcakes

Okay, I admit it. I am not much of a baker, except for pie. But here is a great recipe based on one from the Barefoot Contessa Cookbook by Ina Garten. This is one of my favorite cookbooks, by the way.

This recipe makes a zillion mini cupcakes
3/4 pound (3 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups sugar 5 extra-large eggs at room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 teaspoons pure almond extract
3 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk
14 ounces sweetened, shredded coconut

For the frosting:
1 pound cream cheese at room temperature
3/4 pound (3 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon pure almond extract
1 1/2 pounds confectioners' sugar

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Cream the butter and sugar on high speed until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, scraping down the bowl after each addition. Add the vanilla and almond extracts and mix well. In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Alternately add the dry ingredients and the buttermilk to the batter, beginning and ending with the dry. Mix until just combined. Fold in 7 ounces of coconut.

Line mini muffin pan with paper liners. Fill each liner to the top with batter - you will think it is too much, but it isn't. Bake for 25 to 35 minutes. Ina says to bake them until the tops are brown, but mine never really get brown. Just make sure that a toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool before frosting.

For the frosting, on low speed, cream together the cream cheese, butter, and vanilla and almond extracts. Add the confectioners' sugar and mix until smooth. Frost the cupcakes and dip them in coconut.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Crockpot Collards

I based this off of a recipe I saw in Alton Brown's "I'm Just Here for the Food". I was a little nervous, based on what I have read about them, that they would stink up the house, but they didn't at all. The "potlikker" was awesome!

Crockpot Collards
2 lbs. washed collard greens, stems removed, and cut in 2 inch pieces
1/2 c. cider vinegar
3 c. water
2 smoked ham hocks

Put greens in crock pot, add water and vinegar, and put hocks on top. Cook for 10 hours on low. Remove hocks and cut up meat and sprinkle on top, if the idea of eating ham hocks doesn't turn you off. Serve with Franks Hot Sauce and a side of cornbread.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

School Day Breakfast

I've decided that the spawn can't eat breakfast at school anymore....besides being pricy, it is pretty carb heavy and I think it does them good to get a little bit of protein in the morning. Since I am long gone to the office by the time the small fry get up for the bus, I need something they can make for themselves. They both like the Jimmy Dean style breakfast sandwiches, but they are loaded down with fat and sodium and fairly expensive, to boot! So, I posted my query for some kid friendly breakfasts on chowhound, which is a pretty good site for all things food. I got some strange answers, such as this one: mash a banana, add some whole wheat flour and brown sugar and fry it, and one really good one, which was to make the eggs in a muffin tin. Even the fussy kid that lives down the street ate one, and he never eats ANYTHING. Here's how I made a week's worth:

Eggs for Sandwiches - makes about 18 servings

1 dozen eggs
Frank's Red Hot, to taste
Mix ins: 2 cups cut up breakfast sausage, minced ham, bacon, sauteed vegetables, etc.
2 cups shredded cheese - I used cheddar

Stir eggs and the hot sauce until mixed together well. Spray muffin tin with non stick cooking spray, and put preferred mix ins in each cup. Let the kids decide which ones they want. Add a pinch or two of cheese to each up. Pour in eggs until cup is about 3/4 full.

Bake until set in a 350F oven - about 20 - 25 minutes. Allow to cool in the pan. Remove and store in the fridge, labeling the flavor on the outside.

For breakfast, toast an English muffin. Heat up the egg disk on a paper towel for 30 seconds or so, and put on the muffin to each sandwich style.