Sunday, October 31, 2010
I made these Pumpkin Carrot Cupcakes using an Anna Olson recipe from the Food Network and they turned out great. I made a Cream Cheese Frosting to go along and decorated with a pumpkin shaped candy. Aren't they cute! Of course, it's not as if the kids are going to need any extra sugar in their diets any time soon, but the cupcakes might just stop me from digging inside the kids' goody bags for a while. Maybe...
For the cupcake recipe click here. The only changes I made to the recipe was using butternut squash puree instead of pumpkin because that's what I had!
Cream Cheese Frosting
This frosting is perfect if you want to pipe it on thickly onto the cupcakes.
8 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
1/4 cup of unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
3-4 cups confectioners sugar, sifted
In the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese, butter and vanilla extract, until well blended. Then, a little at a time, blend in the confectioners sugar, until the frosting is thick, creamy and luscious. Pipe it or spread it onto your cupcakes and dig in!
Friday, October 29, 2010
Squash varieties abound and they are all delicious and so easy to prepare. Either baked cubed or halved or even whole, squash can be served as a side dish, its purée can be used in quick breads or muffins, and you can even serve it as a bowl for your main dish. My favorite way is to serve it with risotto. I don't know what it is that makes them go so well together but the creamy, cheesy risotto served inside a halved, baked squash just seems even more comforting. You can't eat this and not feel all comfy and warm, it's just impossible.
2 or 3 small, roundish winter squash (such as acorn or carnival), cut in half, seeds removed
Salt and pepper
Preheat your oven to 400F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the squash, cut side up, on the baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle fresh thyme, salt and pepper on the squash and then flip it over (cut side down). Bake in preheated oven for 45 minutes to an hour, depending on the size of your squash. The flesh should be very tender when the squash is done. While the squash is baking, prepare the risotto.
Adapted from The Food Network
1 onion, finely chopped
3 tbsp butter
Pancetta, bacon or diced ham, about 2 ounces
5 cups or more of chicken broth
Fresh thyme, a few branches
1 ½ cups Arborio rice
Salt and pepper to taste
½ cup freshly grated Parmesan or Grana Padano Cheese
Melt the butter in a 4 to 5 quart saucepan over medium heat, stirring regularly. Add the diced pancetta, bacon or ham and let it brown a few minutes. Add the onion, continuing to stir, until it turns soft and translucent. Turn the heat down if the onion starts to brown.
Meanwhile, pour the chicken broth into a separate saucepan, add the fresh thyme and set over medium heat, and bring to a gentle simmer. Adjust the heat as needed to maintain this simmer the whole time you are preparing the risotto.
Once the onion is soft, add the rice and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, for about 3 minutes. Adjust the heat as necessary -- if the rice is cooked at too high a heat, it will turn brown and take on an undesirable flavor.
Using a ladle, scoop up about 1/2 to 3/4 cup of broth. Pour it in the pan with the rice, stirring constantly with a spoon. After the first addition of broth, the rice mixture will look a bit soupy.
As the rice begins to cook, stir it constantly, making sure that you scrape along the bottom of the pan so that it does not stick. You should see little bubbles popping up on the liquid from time to time. If it bubbles more vigorously than this, turn the heat down to medium-low.
When most of the liquid is absorbed into the rice and the rice begins to look a bit dry, add another ladle of broth to the pan and stir constantly, as before.
Continue to add the broth in 1/2-to-3/4-cup batches and stir the rice until you have used most of the broth (this will probably take about 20 minutes). It is now time to test whether the risotto is cooked. Spoon up a grain of rice and bite into it -- it should be tender without being too mushy. If it is still crunchy and tastes a bit starchy, you will need to continue adding liquid and cooking further.
If it looks as if you will run out of chicken broth and your rice is still not cooked, don't be alarmed. Because of variations in individual stoves and cooking temperatures, you may need more liquid than called for in the recipe. Simply heat up another cup or 2 of chicken broth. If you run out of broth, use hot water.
When the rice is tender and the risotto has a creamy consistency, almost like thick oatmeal, it is done.
Add salt and pepper to the risotto, about 1/4 teaspoon at a time, until it seems well seasoned to you. Stir.
Add the grated Parmesan cheese and stir well.Serve the risotto immediately in the warm squash "bowls" and have extra grated Parmesan on hand.
Friday, October 15, 2010
Comment number 48 Tabathia! Congratulations, I hope you have fun spending your 125$ from CSN Stores!
Thursday, October 7, 2010
Do you guys remember that great website I talked about a few weeks ago? You know, the one with everything from bed sets to wine glasses to coffee grinders? That's right, CSN Stores! Do you also remember I told you I was going to host a giveaway sponsored by CSN Stores? Well, today's the day!!! Aren't you guys lucky you know me?
Alright, so one lucky Canadian or US resident (sorry, dear international readers!) is going to win a 125$, yes you read right, 125$ gift certificate (cannot be used on shipping or international costs) to be used on ANY of CSN's stores! Imagine what you could get with 125$ and all that choice! Too many exclamation marks, I know I'm just too excited. Way too much excitement for me since last week, whew!
To enter the giveaway, leave a comment on this post. It's that easy! And for a bonus entry, you can "like" And then I do the Dishes on Facebook! Did I mention I have a Facebook page now? No? Well, look at the right column and you'll see a nice little box where you can "like" And then I do the Dishes. Then, come back and leave another comment telling me the name you use on Facebook so I can check you really "liked" the page. To be fair, I really will have to check. So be nice! You'll have until Thursday October 14th, 2010 at midnight (Daylight Savings Time) to enter the giveaway. Winner will then be chosen at random and will be announced on Friday October 15th, 2010.
Since I didn't include a recipe in my previous post, I just had to share one with you today. It has nothing to do with the giveaway, I just love these little Savory Muffins! I hope you enjoy them too!
These can be endlessly adapted with the ingredients of your choice. Change the cheese, use cooked chicken instead of ham, thyme instead of basil; use your favorite ingredients.
1 1/2 cups (215g) all-purpose flour
1/2 cup (65g) whole wheat flour
1 tbsp (10g) baking powder
1 tsp (5g) kosher salt
1/2 tsp (3g)baking soda
Freshly ground black pepper
1 cup (130g) Mamirolle cheese, cubed
1 tbsp fresh basil, chopped
3 tbsp olive oil, or the oil the sun-dried tomatoes were packed in
1 cup (300g) fat free sour cream
1/4 cup (40g) oil packed sun-dried tomatoes, finely chopped
1/2 cup (75g) Black Forest Ham, chopped small
Preheat your oven to 400F. Butter a 12-cup muffin tin or line with paper cups and set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk together the all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and pepper. Add the cubed cheese and chopped fresh basil and toss to coat; set aside.
In another bowl, mix together the eggs, oil and sour cream. Pour over the dry ingredients, mix lightly, then fold in the sun-dried tomatoes and the ham. Don't over mix.
Spoon the batter into your prepared muffin tin and bake in preheated oven for about 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the muffins comes out clean. Let the muffins cool in the tin for about 5 minutes then invert onto a wire rack to cool completely.
These are wonderful served with a salad or with crudités for a light lunch.
Giveaway Details Recap: Giveaway open to US and Canadian residents only. The prize, consisting of a 125$ gift certificate is provided by CSN Stores and cannot be used to pay for shipping or international charges. Contest is open from Thursday October 7th, 2010 until Thursday October 14th, 2010 (Midnight DST).