Applelicious Cupcakes

Applelicious Cupcakes

Channeling June Cleaver

Channeling June Cleaver

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Fabulous Cioppino, my way!

I love fish especially in a wonderful fish stew! Cioppino, Bouillabaisse, Portuguese fisherman stew, I love them all. Today I made an absolutely delicious Cioppino. What I love about fish stews is you can use a variety of fish depending what is fresh.  Living in the Boston area all our grocery stores have fantastic fish markets making getting fresh fish easy. Give this easy dish a try. I know that you'll be surprised at just how quick and easy you can make this fabulous meal. Serve with fresh baked crusty bread and a farm fresh salad, don't forget the wine!

1 teaspoon fennel seeds, toasted and crushed
1/4 cup olive oil
2 shallots, finely chopped
1 small fennel bulb, finely chopped
4 cloves of garlic, crushed
3 bay leaves, crumbled
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly grown pepper
1 28-oz can ground tomatoes,  (I use kitchen ready Pastene)
1 1/2 cup dry white wine
1 8-oz bottle clam juice
1 lb. cod fillets or other white fish
1 lb. mussels, scrubed, debearded
1 lb. large uncooked shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 lb. sea scallops or cleaned squid, thawed if frozen, cut into 1/2 in rings, leave tentacles whole

Heat olive in a large pot over medium heat. Add shallots, fennel, garlic, bay leaves, oregano, and red pepper flakes. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes.
Stir in fennel seeds, ground tomatoes, wine, clam juice. Cover bring to a boil, reduce to low heat, simmer, stirring often for about 15 minutes. Stir in fish, mussels, and shrimp simmer for about 2 minutes. Add scallops or squid cover and cook until mussels open about 5 minutes.  Serves 6-8


Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Chocolate Cream Cheese Cupcakes

A double chocolate cupcake with a cream cheese center,  a heavenly treat. I use this recipe often changing the frosting according to the occasion. I used the recipe for my falling leaves cupcakes with a orange tinted butter cream frosting. I promised I'd share the recipe so here it is!


2 cups brown sugar
1 3/4 cups flour
3/4 cup natural unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted ( I like Ghirardelli)
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup strong coffee, room temperature
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs

Cheesecake Filling
8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1/4 cup sugar
1 egg
2 tablespoon flour
1/2 cup mini semisweet chocolate chips

Butter cream Frosting
1 cup unsalted butter(2 sticks), softened.  I like Cabot butter from Vermont.
3-4 cups powdered sugar sifted ( I use closer to 4 cups)
1 tablespoon vanilla extract, use real vanilla not imitation
2-4 tablespoons milk or heavy cream

Cupcakes: Pre heat oven to 350 F. Line cupcake pans with liners. Whisk sugar, flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt in  large bowl to blend. Add buttermilk, coffee, oil and eggs, whisking until smooth. Divide half the batter between prepared cupcakes.

Cheesecake Filling: Beat cream cheese and sugar in medium bowl to blend. Beat inn egg, then flour. Spoon filling over cupcakes. Sprinkle mini chips over cheesecake filling. Cover with remaining cupcake batter.  Bake for 12 large cupcakes 30-25 minutes, 24 regular cup cakes 20 minutes and 48 mini cupcakes 15 minutes or until tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool cupcakes and decorate with butter cream frosting. I decorated these cupcakes with colored leaves and mini leaf sugar cookies.

Frosting: Beat butter in mixer at high speed until creamy. Add three cups of powdered sugar, mix at low speed until sugar is combined. Add vanilla and 2 tablespoon milk, mix at medium speed for three minutes. Add remaining sugar until you reach your desired constancy, follow the same with the milk. The more sugar makes the frosting stiffer and the more milk the more creamier. It depends on how you use your frosting. Thicker if you are spreading and creamier if you are piping. It very easy to adjust the constancy using more sugar or milk.
Tint to desired color.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Spices of life, Shout out to Penzeys Spices

Nothing add zing to a dish that wonderful spices. Today I stopped by Penzeys Spices on Mass Avenue in Arlington Ma. You can find them on the net What I love about Penzeys is not only the freshness of the spices but the variety of spices and blends. You can find all different kinds of pepper, curry, cinnamon plus so many other spices. I especially love their blends like Tuscan Sunset, Mural of Flavors and for fish I just love Northwoods seasoning. And all the spices come in different quantities so you can buy a little or a lot. So convenient. Spices don't last forever be sure to clean out you spices regularly and buy spice quantities based on your usage.

So live large, use interesting spices to "spice' up your meals.


Sunday, November 13, 2011

Apple-Cream Cheese Bundt Cake

I made this cake from Southern Living Magazine for friends last night with wonderful results.  The cake tastes as delicious as it looks. A wonderful combination of apples, pecans, applesauce, cream cheese center  and spices with all the scents and taste of fall in one glorious bite. Your friends will enjoy this cake I promise!

Check out the recipe and Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Falling Leaves Chocolate Cream Cupcakes

I made this arrangement of cupcakes for the GFWC JR's cup cake contest. I won most unique combination of flavors.   Recipe to follow!