Sunday, June 5, 2011

Irish Car Bomb Cupcakes

First I would like to say thank you to So, How's it taste? for posting this amazing recipe! She also posts lots of other amazing recipes, so if you don't know about her blog, check it out!

I saw this recipe posted on Facebook and thought to myself "I must make these!" So, when a friends birthday happened to be a week away, I decided that they would be the perfect thing for me to bring. They combine all of the ingredients of the traditional Irish Car Bomb Shot (Guinness, Whiskey, and Bailey's) into an awesome dessert.


1 cup Guinness
16 tbsp. Unsalted Butter
3/4 cup Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
2 cups All-Purpose Flour
2 cups Sugar
1 1/2 tsp. Baking Soda
3/4 tsp. Salt
2 Large Eggs
2/3 cup Sour Cream

Ganache Filling:
8oz. Bittersweet Chocolate, finely chopped
2/3 cup Heavy Cream
2 tbsp. Butter, at room temperature
1-2 tsp. Whiskey (traditionally Jameson Whiskey. You can also substitute Bailey's if you don't care for whiskey)

Bailey's Buttercream Frosting:
2 sticks (1cup) Unsalted Butter, at room temperature
3-4 cups Confectioners' Sugar
3-4 tbsp. Bailey's Irish Cream

*Note: the Guinness gets mostly baked out of the cupcakes. but if you're serving these for people who don't drink, you'll want to leave out the whiskey or Bailey's from the ganache and frosting. You can use milk for the frosting instead.

1. To make the cupcakes, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line the cupcake pans with paper liners. Combine the Guinness and butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the cocoa powder and whisk until smooth. Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly.

2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the flower, sugar, baking soda, and salt. In another bowl, combine eggs and sour cream until smooth. Add the Guinness-butter mixture and beat just to combine. Mix in the dry ingredients just until incorporated. Divide the batter evenly between the cupcake liners, filling them about 2/3 to 3/4 full. bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 17 minutes. Allow to cool in the pan for 5-10 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

3. to make the ganache filling, place the chocolate in a heatproof bowl. heat the cream in a small saucepan until simmering, then pour it over the chocolate. Let sit for one minute and then whisk until smooth. If the chocolate is not completely melted, place in the bowl over a double boiler or give it a very short burst in the microwave (15-20 seconds). Add the butter and Whiskey (or Bailey's) and stir until combined.

4. Set aside to let the ganache cool until it is thick enough to be piped (or you can spoon the mixture into the cupcakes). Meanwhile, using your 1-inch round cookie cutter or apple corer, cut the centers our of the cooled cupcakes. You want to go most of the way down the cupcake but not cut through the bottom - aim for 2/3 of the way. Once the ganache has reached the correct consistency, transfer it to a piping bag fitted with a wide tip and pipe into the cupcakes.

5. To make the frosting, place the butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Gradually add the powdered sugar until it is incorporated. Mix in the Bailey's until smooth. Add more if necessary until the frosting has reached a good consistency for piping or spreading. Frost the cupcakes as desired.

These cupcakes are amazing. They have a nice rich chocolate taste and the Bailey's frosting compliments it very well. I personally didn't care for the ganache filling, but everyone else that tried them liked it.

I also wanted to experiment with different flavors of frosting. So I split up the butter and sugar mixture into several different bowls first and then added in different flavors. In the front of the picture you see the Peanut Butter Buttercream Frosting. In the back on the left, there is the Cherry and Mint Buttercream Frostings. And then in the back on the right, there is the Bailey's Buttercream frosting. This was also my first time piping any sort of frosting onto anything, so be nice about how it looks. :P

Once again, thanks to So, How's it taste? for the recipe!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Venison Shish Kabobs

I recently acquired a good amount of venison and had been looking for a fun way to use it. So when the opportunity of a pot luck with some friends came up, this is what I decided to bring. It was a fun dish to make, but you should never underestimate how long it will take you to put all of the pieces on those skewers, :D. I ended up making 15 kabobs total.

The recipe is in two parts: the food pieces and the marinade.

The Food Pieces:
2lbs of Cubed Venison
1 Onion
1 Green Pepper
1 Can of Pineapple (I used the canned stuff because I didn't want to spend the money or the time cutting up a real one, but if you want to, go for it.)
Several Cherry Tomatoes

The Marinade:
1/2 cup of Soy Sauce
1/2 cup of Cooking Oil
1 tbsp of Sugar
1 tsp of Ground Ginger
1 tsp of Dry Mustard
1 tbsp of Garlic Powder
1/2 tsp of Cayenne Pepper

The preparation is pretty simple.
Start of by mixing all of the marinade ingredients into a bowl large enough to hold the venison. After the marinade is mixed together, add in the venison and let it sit in the refrigerator for 3-4 hours. After that time period, take it out and start putting your kabobs together. (Reminder, if you are using wooded/bamboo skewers, remember to soak them in water for roughly half an hour before putting the food on them so they don't catch fire while on the grill.) After you have all of your skewers full, it's time to throw them on the grill. It only takes 10-15 minutes while turning them every 3-4 minutes.

I enjoyed the kabobs a lot (and so did everyone else). They are fairly simple to make and taste great. Feel free to add in any other vegetables or fruits that you think would be tasty, but I enjoyed this combination.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Bananas Foster

This picture isn't of the finished product, but it is an "in progress" shot. I kind of got too excited when it was done and forgot to take a finished picture. I'll just have to do it again sometime so I can get one. :D

So, as you can expect, I was super excited for this one. Not only because it's delicious, but because I got to start a fire in my kitchen! My roommates were also very excited about this of course *shifty eyes*, LOL. In the end, despite their concerns, I think they were happy because they ate some pretty good bananas foster.

Any way, the recipe for this one is pretty simple:
1 stick of butter (your choice whether it's unsalted or not)
1/2 cup of brown sugar
4 bananas peeled and halved, cut lengthwise
1/4 cup of dark rum

Start of by melting the butter in a large skillet.

Add the brown sugar and stir together.

Add the bananas and cook until caramelized.

For the finishing touch, add the rum and ignite with a grill lighter (at least that's what I used, if you have a gas stove and are enough of a cooking pro, you can try to light it with that if you really want to. I take no responsibility for anyone spilling their bananas foster all over their stove though, :D) Just as a warning, the flame may jump fairly high, so don't be leaning over it when you do this.

Let the flame die down and serve it over what you fancy. I put it over vanilla ice cream, mmmm. But you could also serve it over some sort of cake if you wanted to as well.

This was really good in my opinion. Others were saying that they could taste a lot of rum, so you may want to stir it up well after the flame dies down. I don't think I would do much differently if I do it again, this was one of my favorites to do.

Poached Pears

I haven't posted in a while, but I'm going to play catch-up now and post a couple things. Also, I'm going to be adding the recipes to my posts so that any one else can try as well.

This is something I had been wanting to try for a while and I feel that it turned out well.

The recipe calls for:
5 cups of water (enough to cover the pears)
2 1/2 cups of granulated sugar
2 Lemons (for zest and juice)
1 Vanilla bean (I just used about 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract)
4 Pears (Bosc or Anjou)

Add the water, sugar, lemon zest, and vanilla bean/extract in a medium sauce pan and bring it up to a boil.

While the liquid is heating up, you can go ahead and peel the pears. (One tip is to cut the lemons in half and rub the lemon juice onto the pear after peeling so that the pear doesn't turn brown.) You will also want to cut a slice off the bottom of the pear about 1/8 inch thick so that the pear will be able to stand up.

Once the pears are peeled, drop them into the boiling water and reduce it to a simmer. (You can also squeeze the remaining lemon juice into the water for a stronger lemon flavor, which I like.) Cook the pears until they are fork tender, around half an hour. Remove the pan from the heat and let it cool to room temperature, then you can move it to the refrigerator and chill.

It was pretty tasty. If I'm going to try this again, I think I'm going to try out a different syrup with it. Not that this one was bad, but just to try different things.

Philly Cheese Steak Pizza

I had a steak left in the freezer and wanted to use it up, so I decided to make a Philly Cheese Steak pizza with it. I used a Chef Boyardee pizza kit for the crust and the sauce. While the dough was rising, I sliced the steak and a green pepper and an onion and sauteed them in a pan. When the dough was done, I flattened it out on a oiled 12 inch pizza pan and covered it in sauce. I then put down most of the cheese. The cheese I used was a blend of several different cheeses including Mozzarella, Provolone, Parmesan, and Romano. I then put down the steak, peppers, and onions and put a second smaller layer of cheese on top. I cooked it at 375 until the cheese browned some. 
If I did it again, I would want to find a thicker crust (Personal preference, I like thick crust pizzas.) Other than that, I think the pizza turned out great.

Stuffed Chicken Breasts and Garlic Green Beans

The stuffing for the chicken breast consists of bacon, crumbled feta cheese, and tomatoes. I mixed those ingredients well with a pinch of salt in a bowl and deemed the stuffing ready to go.
I then sliced the chicken breasts down one of the sides to make a kind of pouch out of the chicken breast and filled them with a tablespoon or so of the stuffing and sealed the opening closed with a toothpick.
Then I prepared an oven safe pan with enough oil to coat the bottom and placed the chicken in the pan on the stove. I proceeded to cook the chicken on the stove top for 4 minutes on each side, then placed the pan in the oven and let the chicken finish cooking. It took my chicken about 8 minutes in the oven to finish.
While the chicken is cooking, I prepared the green beans. I used fresh green beans which I boiled in a pot on the stove top until they were slightly tender with a bit of crisp still left in them and then dumped them into cold water to stop the cooking process. While the beans are boiling, I finely chopped three cloves of garlic. I then used another pan on the stove with some melted butter and a small bit of oil and tossed in the beans and the garlic and stirred them around making sure to coat the beans well in butter and garlic.
The meal tasted great. I don’t think I would change anything about the dishes unless I wanted to experiment with different stuffing ingredients. But I liked it the way it turned out.
I was also going to serve baked sweet potatoes with the meal, but the local grocery store apparently does not stock sweet potatoes so I had to nix the idea. I’ll have to make them some other time when I can get to a store that doesn’t fail.

Apple Egg Rolls

I’ve been sitting in front of my computer all day attempting to work on homework when I needed a break. So I went to the store and picked up the things I needed to make this.
I first peeled and cored the apples (Fuji apples, btw). I then sliced them up thinly.
I then placed a few slices of apples on an egg roll wrapper and topped them off with about a teaspoon and a half of brown sugar and wrapped them up.
I put them into the deep fryer for about 3 minutes, flipped them over, and let them sit for another 3 minutes.
I let them drain on a paper towel for a minute and sprinkled some cinnamon and sugar over the top, put them on individual plates and drizzled some caramel and chocolate sauce over the top (the picture doesn’t have any chocolate).
They were really good. If you like really sweet things, leave this as is. If you don’t like your desserts extra sweet, you can leave off the caramel and chocolate and they still taste amazing.

Loaded Potato Skins

I first thought about creating this blog when I made these Loaded Potato skins.
I started off by “baking” potatoes. I say “baking” because I actually just stuck them in the microwave for about 5 minutes each. After the potatoes we done, I cut them in half and scooped out most of the insides (which can be used to make other things, like mashed potatoes!) and then tossed them into the deep fryer for several minutes to crisp up.
While the potatoes were cooking, I browned some hamburger on the stove and added some onions and other spices to liven things up a bit.
When the skins are crispy and the hamburger is brown, I filled the skins up to the top and covered them with cheddar cheese and some cooked pieces of bacon.
I put them into a pan and into the oven until the cheese was all nice and melted.
They were pretty good. If I do it again, I would think about adding in some jalapenos to make things a little more flavorful.