Sunday, January 31, 2010

Coconut Rum-Raisin Cupcakes

These are GREAT if you like Rum. If you don't, well then not great. You get my drift?  I like all things Rum and Coconut. I also really like raisins so I knew these would be right up my alley. This recipe comes from Martha Stewart's Cupcakes cookbook. I fully intend to make every single cupcake in the cookbook. Well except the stupidly decorated ones. And by stupid I mean fancy and those that require more attention and time than I am willing to spend on frosting a cupcake.

Oh...and not to be bossy here but when you bake and the recipe says butter and eggs at room temperature. Do it. It's important. Butter at room temperature should be able to dent easily when you place your thumb onto it. Eggs should be set out about an hour prior to baking. If you're in a hurry you can always place the eggs in a bowl of very warm water. OK. I'm done with that.

 Coconut Rum-Raisin Cupcakes

1 1/4 c unsalted butter, room temperature (more for tins)
3 cups all purpose flour (plus more for tins)
1/2 c dark rum
1 cup raisins
1/2 t baking powder
1 t salt
2 3/4 cup plus 2 T packed light brown sugar
6 large eggs at room temperature
2 t pure vanilla extract
3/4 c heavy cream
1 cup sweetened flaked coconut

Rum-Caramel Glaze
(recipe follows)

Preheat oven to 325. Brush standard muffin tins with butter, dust with floor, tap out excess. In a bowl pour rum over the raisins and set aside to soak.  In another bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt.

Cream butter and brown sugar in bowl of electric mixer n medium speed until fluffy and pale in color. Add eggs one at a time, beating after each until well incorporated. Beat in vanilla. Reduce speed to low. Add flour alternating with cream until combined. Add raisin mixture and coconut.

Fill muffin cups 3/4 full and bake for about 30 minutes (mine took less time) Let cool completely.

To serve, place one cupcake on dessert plate and spoon glaze over each.

Rum-Caramel Glaze

1 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup dark rum
1/4 cup heavy cream

In a heavy medium saucepan cook water and sugar until sugar is dissolved and syrup is clear. Stop stirring and cook until boiling. Continue to boil until it turns amber in color. Remove from heat and carefully and slowly stir in rum and cream. Stir with a wooden spoon until smooth. Let cool, stirring occasionally until thickened.

Chicken Quesadilla with Pico de Gallo

So I am definitely craving Mexican food. I went to a Mexican Restaurant the other night before a movie, about ten years ago I ate at the same place. I hated it then and I still hate it. Everything about it,  the food, the atmosphere, the obnoxious decorating. I honestly think my Mexican food is better than their "Authentic Mexican" food. Maybe they should try their hand at Swedish Meatballs.

Here is my recipe for Quesadillas.

Chicken Quesadilla's with Pico de Gallo

Pico de Gallo
2 tomatoes diced small
1 small onion diced small
juice from 1 lime
chopped fresh cilantro
jalapeno seeded and diced
salt and pepper to taste

Mix the above ingredients together in small  bowl and set aside.
For the Quesadillas
2 T olive oil, divided
2 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves - cut into strips
1/2 onion, thinly sliced
1 green bell pepper, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 (12 inch) flour tortillas
1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
1/4 cup sour cream, for topping
  1. In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil. Add chicken and saute until cooked through and juices run clear. Remove chicken from skillet and set aside.
  2. Put the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil in the hot skillet and saute the sliced onion and green pepper until tender. Stir in the minced garlic and saute until the aroma is strong. Mix in half of the pico de gallo and chicken breast meat. Set aside; keep warm.
  3. In a heavy skillet, heat one flour tortilla. Spread 1/4 cup shredded cheese on the tortilla and top with 1/2 the chicken mixture. Sprinkle another 1/4 cup cheese over the chicken and top with another tortilla. When bottom tortilla is lightly brown and cheese has started to melt, flip quesadilla and cook on the opposite side. Remove quesadilla from skillet and cut into quarters. Repeat with remaining ingredients. Serve quesadillas with sour cream and remaining pico de gallo.

Suzy's Delicious Black Bean Soup with Cilantro Sour Cream

I warned you all that I would probably lose interest in blogging about the things I cook and I did not disappoint. My last entry was Dec 3rd. Trust me when I tell you it was not the last time I cooked! My scale tells me different.

Today I was really craving some flavorful soup and after looking through my refrigerator I had some cilantro, limes and a red pepper along with a whole lotta other stuff that I must have bought for some other use and forgot what I was going to make with it. This happens to me often. I have some very odd cans and jars of things in my cupboards and have no idea why I would have bought them except for a recipe long since lost. Anyway I'm rambling. On to the soup. This could be made as I did or if you like a thick pureed soup you could blend 1/2 or all. Personally I like seeing all the beautiful vegetables I'm eating so I left it as is.

 Suzy's Delicious Black Bean Soup

I used canned black beans for this but if you prefer you could certainly start with dry.

1 large onion diced small
4 T Olive Oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 jalapeno, seeded and minced  (I used about 1 T of jarred jalapenos)
1 red pepper chopped
1 yam chopped into 1/2" cubes
2 carrots diced small
1 celery rib, chopped small
1 granny smith apple, peeled and chopped small
1/2 t salt
1 T cumin
1 t chili powder
1 jalapeno, seeded and minced
1 cup chopped smoked ham
2 slices bacon chopped small
3 cans black beans, drained and rinsed
1 15 oz can vegetable broth
3 cups water
1 T molasses
juice of 1 lime
salt and pepper

1. In large soup pot  heat olive oil over low heat and add the onion, garlic, salt celery, sweet potato, apple, carrot (ham and bacon) and jalapeno. Cook all until softened. Stirring occasionally. Approx 10 minutes.

2. Add cumin and chili powder, cook another 5 minutes.

3. Add drained beans, broth, water, molasses and simmer until all vegetables are tender and flavors have meld.

4. Add juice of 1 lime and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Cilantro Sour Cream 

1/2 cup sour cream
2 T minced fresh cilantro
juice of lime

Mix together and serve a dollop on top soup with extra cilantro leaves as garnish.