Applelicious Cupcakes

Applelicious Cupcakes

Channeling June Cleaver

Channeling June Cleaver

Monday, November 29, 2010

Cioppino - A Wonderful Italian fish stew!

After my husband order Cioppino many years ago in a restaurant, I've started making this wonderful Italian fish stew for my family. I make mine with a thicker sauce to serve over pasta because who doesn't love pasta, or you can just serve it with fresh crusty bread and a salad.  I love one pot meals that are easy to make and taste delicious. Many other nationalities have similar fish stews and I love to make the different ethic dishes.

3  tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 shallots, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
1 bay leaf crushed
1 can(28 oz) tomatoes with juice, chopped or two cans (14 oz) chopped tomatoes with juice
3/4 cup dry white wine
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 pounds mussels, scrubbed and debearded
2 pounds clams, scrubbed
1 pound shrimp, peeled 
1 pound sea scallops
1 pound scrod or other white fish.

Heat oil in large double boiler. Add  onion, shallots, and garlic cook for 5 minutes. Add seasonings, tomatoes, wine and tomato paste. Simmer for 30 minutes so flavors will blend. Add mussels and clams, cover and cook for 5 minutes until they open. Discard any that don't open. Add remaining shrimp, scallops and scrod. Gently stir the stew, cover and cook for 5 minutes until all the fish is cooked.

Serve over 1 pound of pasta.  To make this dish really nice serve with fresh pasta.

You can add any variety of shell fish and fish depending on what is available at the market. If you like calamari add in  place of scallops or white fish. Just use your imagination


Sunday, November 21, 2010

Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Coffee Cake

I love this cake because it combines the wonderful taste of chocolate and pumpkin. What makes it even more delicious is the wonderful spices added to the batter. This cake not only taste great but smells like spiced hot chocolate.  I love a pretty presentation for my cooking and baking and by adding the mini chocolate chips and powered sugar not only does that enhance the taste but also adds a nice visual presentation. You can do more to this cake to dress it up.  I sometimes decorate the cake with chocolate dipped strawberries or dried apricots, both are very easy to do. I just place the fruit around the base of the cake on the cake dish. This is very nice for a buffet table. As I like to say just use your imagination and try different ideas. Remember no fear, just enjoy. I've included the recipe for chocolate dipped fruit.

Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Coffee Cake
3 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/4 cup vegetable oil
3 large eggs
1 can (29 oz) solid pumpkin
3 squares (1 oz) unsweetened chocolate melted, cooled
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

1/4 cup mini chocolate chips
powdered sugar for dusting

Pre-heat over to 350 F. Grease 10 " tub pan.  In a large bowl combine sugar and oil.  Add eggs; mix well. Stir in pumpkin, chocolate and vanilla, mix well.  Sift together the dry ingredients and stir into pumpkin mixture until just blended. Add chocolate chips. Pour cake batter into prepared tub pan. Sprinkle mini chocolate chips on top and bake for 1 hour and 30-40 minutes or until wooden skewer inserted into the center comes out clean. (use the long bamboo skewers). Cool for 1 hour in pan before removing. Dust top of cake with powdered sugar.

Chocolate dipped fruit
Finely chop 4 ounce bar semi- sweet chocolate or white chocolate( I like Ghirardelli). Microwave on 50% power until almost melted, about 2 minutes. Stir until smooth. Dip strawberries or dried apricot into the chocolate, place on parchment or wax paper lined baking sheet and chill until set. about 10 minutes.


Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Delicious black or green Olive tapenade

Olive tapenade is so easy to make and a wonderful delicious spread for crackers or bread or to use in other recipes. Most traditional tapenades are made with black olives but I like to make tapenade out of black or green olives.

Black Olive Tapenade
2 cups pitted Kalamata olives
2 clove garlic, chopped
1 teaspoon capers rinsed and dried
1 teaspoon lemon juice
2 teaspoons olive oil
Combine all ingredients in a food processor or blender. Puree until the olives are a fine spread. I like my black olive tapenade like a fine spread but you can try different constituencies from chopped to pureed.

Green olive Tapenade
2 cups pitted green olives
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 teaspoon capers, rinsed and dried
1 bay leaf crumbed
1 teaspoon fresh thyme
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 teaspoon lemon juice
2 teaspoons olive oil

Combine all ingredients in food processor or blend. Blend to a desired consistency. I like to make the green tapenade more like chopped olives but you can blend either fine or choppy.


Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Leek, Garlic and Cauliflower Soup

This is a soup that is rich on flavor but low on fat and calories. It taste like a creamy soup without any dairy product. A healthy choice for a light meal.

Leek, Garlic and Cauliflower Soup
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 large leeks, sliced
1 head cauliflower, remove leaves and thick core and coarsely chop
1 head of garlic, roasted
2 tablespoon dry white wine
3 14-ounce cans chicken broth, use light
1 teaspoon snipped fresh thyme or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme, crushed
Cracked black pepper
sniped fresh thyme sprigs (optional)

1. In a Dutch oven, heat butter and oil over medium heat.  Add leaks; cook about 10 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally.
2. Slowly add wine.  Cook and stir about 2 minutes or until wine is almost all evaporated.  Carefully add broth and cauliflower.  Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, covered, about 30 minutes or until vegetables are very tender.  Cool slightly.
3. Transfer mixture , in batches to blender or food processor along with roasted garlic, cover and blend until smooth.  Return pureed mixture to Dutch over.  Stir in thyme; heat thoroughly
4. Season to taste with salt. Sprinkle with pepper and if desired, garnish with fresh thyme.

Roasted Garlic: Cut 1/4 inch off  top of garlic head.  Place garlic in a garlic roaster or baking dish with a cover.  Drizzle with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Roast covered at 350 F for 1 hour.  Garlic will be soft. Gently remove cut garlic from skin with a fork or small knife.


Monday, November 1, 2010

Good Dinner Mrs. Mellen: Apple Crumb Cake

Good Dinner Mrs. Mellen: Apple Crumb Cake: "Fall and apples what a wonderful combination. This is a great recipe to use the apples from an apple picking excursion. I remember apple p..."

Apple Crumb Cake

Fall and apples what a wonderful combination.  This is a great recipe to use the apples from an apple picking excursion.  I remember apple picking not only with my children but with the brownies and how much fun we all had.  After picking we went back to the troupe leader's house and baked with all the wonderful apples we just picked. Save some delicious fresh picked apples for this cake, you won't be disappointed.

Apple Crumb Cake
4 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 cup oil
1 cup orange juice
3 large eggs (4 if small)
1 teaspoon vanilla

Apple Filling

4 Apples peeled and slice
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoon cinnamon

Crumb Topping
1/2 cup butter (1 stick), softened
1/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease tube pan and set aside. Sift together flour, sugar, salt and baking powder. Place in a large mixing bowel and make a well.
2. Combine oil, orange juice, eggs and vanilla. Pour into center of well and beat for three minutes.
3. Combine sugar and cinnamon for apple filling and set aside.
4. Pour third of batter into prepared pan, add half sliced apples and half cinnamon-sugar. Cover with half the remaining batter. Top with remaining apples then cinnamon-sugar. Add remaining batter on top.
5. Combine ingredients for crumb topping blending until thoroughly combined.
6. Sprinkle over cake. Bake 1 hour and 1/2 or until tester comes out clean.
7. Cool for 1 hour before removing from tube pan.

Serve with Vanilla ice cream or just plain.