Saturday, December 1, 2007

No new posts...

I won't be posting until after the holidays. Peace out!

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Amazing Tacos!!

Everyone who receives email from me knows that I love exclamation points. I do. I love them. But, I rarely use two in a row and NEVER with regard to a recipe. But today, I made some freaking amazing tacos. I can't take much credit other than following the recipe perfectly and choosing a damn good avocado.

My friend Laura makes the best tacos, ever and my husband thanks her a zillion times for sharing this recipe with me.

This recipe takes 4.5 hours to make and it is worth it. Can you tell I love these tacos?

OK - here goes

Shredded Beef Tacos
3lb bone in beef chuck roast (or boneless if you can't find bone in)

Boil the roast in a big pot. Use as much water as will fit and leave room for boiling. Cover and let the roast boil for 2.5 to 3 hours. You can flip it over periodically. Don't worry if the water boils down some.

After boiling, let the meat cool and then shred it. It should yield at least 3 cups of shredded beef. In a really big skillet or big pot, brown the shredded beef in 3 T of oil (I used olive oil).

Add the following:
1 medium onion, chopped
3 gloves of garlic, crushed

When the onion is limp, add:

1 tsp Cumin
1 tsp salt (to taste)
1 tsp pepper (to taste)
16oz of crushed tomatoes

Cook (uncovered) for 30 minutes or longer over medium to medium low heat. Do not let the meat dry out. Add water from the boiled water or additional tomatoes as needed so the meat doesn't dry out.

For the shells, I used corn tortillas and cooked them for just a few seconds in a little oil in a separate skillet. I added cheese and avocado to mine. The hubs also added lettuce. They were so good.

The hubs gave them two thumbs up and said they were "restaurant quality." How cool is that? It made my 4 hours of cooking worth it!

Friday, October 19, 2007

Here's a pic of me in action - just about to scrape the sides of the bowl. Yes, I know a spatula works better. I didn't use the spoon, it was just nearby when the hubs told me to pose. :) Our kitchen counter was a disaster of spilled flour so I posed in the hall.

PS Isn't my apron the cutest!? It was a wedding shower gift and I love love wearing it.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Easy Chili

Three cheers for an easy dinner! This one is a snap and perfect for a cold day. To snazz it up, I put the finished product in a bread bowl. Instant gourmet!

1 lb (or so) lean ground turkey (or beef)
1 can pinto beans
1 can kidney beans
1 can corn
1 can diced tomatoes
1 small can tomato sauce
1 package chili mix (or chili seasonings)
Pepper, to taste
Grated cheese to top, optional
Chopped onion, optional
Brown the ground turkey. I usually have to make an effort to break up the pieces as the turkey doesn't crumble quite the same as beef.

In a big pot combine all ingredients and the browned turkey. Do not drain the vegetables. You may want to add up to a cup of water so it doesn't get too thick. Bring the chili to a boil. Then lower the heat and simmer for at least 25 minutes. You can continue to simmer for up to an hour - the flavor will intensify over time.

I put it in a bread bowl and pair it with a nice green salad. Perfect for a cold, rainy night!

Leftover tip - add a few tablespoons of water before reheating on the stove. The fridge makes the chili really thick.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Tools for success

I've been inspired by some of my cooking blog friends to list my favorite kitchen toys. So, here they are, my top five.

Number 5:
Coming in 5th place on the great five kitchen toys is my electric fondue pot. I know it's a 70's novelty but, I just love it. I've made cheese fondue and I hope to host a fondue party soon. Several friends of ours are newlyweds and have fondue pots now. So, I figure someone will bring the chocolate fondue, someone does the cheese, and someone makes the broth. Viola! Instant fondue party -- just no key bowl, if you know what I mean...

Number 4:
My 4th favorite thing in my kitchen is my rice cooker/steamer. The hubs and I make brown rice at least once a week, sometimes more. I love how the rice turns out perfect every time. Also, I use the cooker to steam veggies and they always turn out perfectly steamed, never mushy. It may be boring, but Mr. Rice Cooker - you're a dream to me!

Number 3:
Well, my number 3 would be number 1 if I were able to use it more. I can't believe how much I adore my cupcake carrier. It's from Crate and Barrel and holds 24 tasty cupcakes. It cradles each one without smooshing or crushing the yummy sweet goodness. I also like how one layer is removable, in case I want to transport 12 tall cupcakes. Versatile and cute! Perfect!

Number 2:
The number 2 item on my list is really a set. It's the amazing set of Henckels knives that Brian and I got for wedding gifts. OMG, I really cannot explain how using a good quality knife can change your entire cooking life. Before the wedding, I'd spend hours chopping up veggies. My bread would be mangled the second I tried to saw it in half. Ug. But, thanks to Mr. Henckels, I'm a mangler no more and I spend mere minutes chopping and dicing. You rock my world, Hencks, baby!

Number 1:

My absolute favoritest, favorite kitchen toy is my beautiful tangerine Kitchen Aid Mixer. Seriously, I have dreams about it sometimes. I love the color, I love the sleek lines, I love the sounds it makes and whips my meringue...


OK, so you can see I love my mixer and that's the top dog in my kitchen. I also love all the attachments available for it. We have put our ice cream maker attachment to use several times.

Thanks for reading my top five kitchen items. I'm curious, what's the one kitchen thing that you just can't live without?

Chocolate Mousse Cupcakes

Sorry it has been a while since I posted anything. For some reason, the cookie settings on my computer would not let me log in. So frustrating! I still can't view the comments so hopefully no one is posting anything nasty. Or maybe they are... ::wink::

OK - now for the good stuff...

I made these tasty treats for my friend Aly's birthday. We work together and I took them to the office and gave them to her in my cupcake carrier. (Love it!) I told her that she could do as she wished with them. Luckily, she shared with me!

This recipe makes 12 tall cupcakes. It is adapted from Cupcakes! by Elinor Klivans. I used her recipes for the mousse and frosting but cheated and used a chocolate cake mix for the cupcakes. (Hey! I like to make my life a little easier, now and then.)
For some reason, when I made this recipe, I had batter left over and made a couple extra cupcakes. I had just enough mouse and frosting left to spruce up one. I gave it the hubs and he loved it. That's a big thumbs up since he's not a huge chocolate fan. These babies take a while to make but damn, they are good.

Prepare and bake the cake mix as directed on the box with one exception. Fill the paper cupcake liners with 1/3 cup of batter. It will nearly completely fill the paper cup. This will ensure the cupcakes will bake up with really tall tops. I was worried I may have to add baking time to the cupcakes but the box times worked fine.

Once the cupcakes are baked put them on a wire rack to cool and start preparing the chocolate frosting/mousse.

Make the chocolate sauce.

Chocolate sauce:
3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 2 pieces
9 ounces (1 1/2 cups) semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
In a medium saucepan, heat the cream and butter over low heat until the cream is hot and the butter has melted. The mixture should form tiny bubbles and measure 175 F on a thermometer; do not let it boil. Remove the pan from the heat, add the chocolate chips, and let them sit in the hot cream for 30 seconds to soften. Add the vanilla and whisk the sauce until it is smooth and all of the chocolate has melted.

To frost, take half the sauce and let it sit at room temperature to thicken. Once it is at the desired consistency, (thick but easy to spread) use it to frost the cooled cupcakes.

Once the cupcake are frosted, you a sharp knife to cut off the tops of the cakes and set the aside.

Remaining chocolate sauce (at room temperature but pourable)
1 1/4 cups heavy whipping cream
2 tablespoons powdered sugar
2 teaspoon instant coffee granules

Make the filling. Put the chocolate sauce in a large bowl; set aside. In another large bowl, using an electric mixer on low speed, beat the cream, powdered sugar, and coffee granules until the coffee dissolves, about 1 minute. Beat on medium-high speed until firm peaks form. Whisk about 1 cup of the whipped cream into the chocolate sauce until no white streaks remain. Use a rubber spatula to fold in the remaining whipped cream. Using an ice cream scoop or large spoon, place a scoop of mousse on each cupcake bottom. Using a wide metal spatula, carefully place the cupcake tops on top of the mousse. Refrigerate to firm the chocolate frosting, then cover and keep refrigerated. Serve cold.

These cupcakes can be refrigerated for up to 2 days.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Welcome to my foodie blog!

Hi All! Thanks for reading my very first food blog entry. I named this little blog after my pride and joy - my Tangerine Kitchen Aid Mixer. It's the Artisan version. I haven't progressed to the Professional, but maybe someday I will.

I've always been a fan of baking. As a little girl, I loved helping my mom or grandma scoop out flour or pour the milk. Cracking eggs was big time! But, the best part of baking up treats was sharing it with my parents or my brother. I always felt so proud when I saw them eating the treats, knowing that I helped.

In Jr. High I would beg my mom to let me stay home from school so I could whip up various concoctions from the cupboard. Sometimes, she'd say yes. I'd take a recipe and switch it all around to see what the result would be. Oftentimes, it was edible. Other times, not so much.
Once I got to College, I realized that I liked cooking meals, too. But, I only liked cooking for others and that is still the case. If I am home alone, I'm happy to eat a grilled cheese sandwich. But, if my hubby is around, I'm sure to create something more elaborate. I'm not saying all my meals are tasty, but thankfully he always eats them up and tells me how much he appreciates my efforts. He's the best!

Anyway, enough with the background - let's get to the good stuff!