I made this batch of Irish Car Bomb mini cupcakes for a baby shower. It was a lot of work but they were filled with boozey goodness so it was all worth it. The recipe was snagged from Smitten Kitchen, photo from Big City Cooking.
RECIPE: Irish Car Bomb Cupcakes
1 c. Guinness stout
2 sticks butter
3/4 c. unsweetened cocoa powder
2 c. AP flour
2 c. sugar
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
2 large eggs
2/3 c. sour cream
8 oz. bittersweet chocolate
2/3 c. heavy cream
2 tbsp. butter, room temp
2 tsp. Jameson whiskey
6-8 cups confections sugar
2 sticks butter, room temp
6-8 tbsp Baileys
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line mini cupcake trays with paper liners. Bring 1 cup of stout and 1 cup butter to simmer in a heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add cocoa powder and whisk until mixture is smooth. Cool slightly.
Whisk flour, sugar, baking soda, and 3/4 tsp salt in a large bowl to blend. Using an electric mixer, beat eggs and sour cream in another large bowl to blend. Add stout-chocolate mixture to egg mixture and beat just to combine. Add flour mixture and beat briefly on slow speed. Using a rubber spatula, fold batter until completely combined. Divide the batter among cupcakes, filling 2/3 of the way up. Bake cake until tester inserted into center comes out clean, rotating them once, about 17 minutes for large cupcakes, 8 minutes for minis. Cool completely on a rack.
Chop the chocolate and transfer it to a heatproof bowl. Heat the cream until simmering and pour it over the chocolate. Let it sit for a minute then stir until smooth. Add the butter and whiskey then stir until combined.
Let the ganache cool until thickened but still soft enough to be piped. Meanwhile, cut the centers out of the cooled cupcakes. Put the ganache into a piping bag with a wide tip and fill the holes in each cupcake to the top.
Whip the butter in the bowl of an electric mixer, for several minutes. You want to get it very light and fluffy. Slowly add the powdered sugar, a few tablespoons at a time.
When the frosting looks thick enough to spread, drizzle in the Baileys and whip it until combined. If this has made the frosting too thin beat in another spoonful or two of powdered sugar. Ice and decorate the cupcakes.
Enjoy that boozey goodness.
*Baby shower note: do not feed Irish Car Bomb cupcakes to newborn babies or preggo mamas.
As a gift from a coworker, I was given a nice bottle of Limoncello and decided to spike up the dessert I was planning for my dinner party. I just got a copy of Martha Stewart’s new book “Dinner at Home” and picked out a few recipes for our meal. This recipe is so simple and can show off your skills with very little effort. I used a small hand mixer to whip the cream but you could always mix in pre-made whipped cream as a shortcut. The trick is not to scramble the eggs when you make the lemon curd but if you keep an eye on it and just keep stirring, it will be perfect. I used Martha’s lemon mousse recipe and added a few bits of my own. I wanted to incorporate a jar of home-made blueberry jam into my mousse dessert. I added a little bit of lemon zest and a dash of Limoncello to the mousse recipe when folding the lemon curd and , served it in a beautiful ceramic teacup with a bit of the blueberry jam on top. Served with nothing other than a small glass of Limoncello liquor to wash it all down.
RECIPE: Lemon Mousse with Blueberry Jam & Limoncello
2/3 cup Sugar
2/3 cup lemon juice (about 4 lemons)
1 c. Heavy Cream
1T Limoncello liquor
2T blueberry jam
I was invited over to Emily and Mike’s apartment for dinner last week and Em decided to make a Greek-inspired meal for her favorite Greeka-Chica. We were doing a little bit of celebrating for Emily’s new amazing freelance job and just catching up after not hanging out for a few weeks. Yes, it’s true. We don’t see eachother every day.
Emily paired a bottle of Prosecco with the first course and a Rosé with the entrée. We had a delicious take on a Greek salad with mixed heirloom tomatoes, red onion, Kalamata olives, oregano, olive oil and a feta cheese mousse. The mousse was very exciting; it was rich, smooth and creamy with the same salty cheese taste that you get from feta. Then we popped another bottle of wine and went on to the entrée. It was a quarter-chicken that was roasted with orange, lemon, dill, fennel, onion and garlic. It was served with a fresh cucumber salad and corn on the cob with roasted garlic butter.
This is a great meal you can make in the summertime; just choose a theme like Em did and pick up some fresh seasonal veg from the market. Here are some pics from our delish dinner at the Davis apartment.
Now that I’m done with school, I have waaaay more time to actually cook for my husband, who has been subsisting on either high fat leftovers from school or granola bars and yogurt. Either way, it’s no way to live. We’ve been stepping up our dinner game lately (as much as a Manhattan kitchen will allow) and I pulled something out of my…er, hat, last night that we both thought was a home run. Here is what I had on hand: shrimp, grape tomatoes, lemons, asparagus, and some fresh herbs. Obviously, it wasn’t going to be tough making something out of that combo, but I felt like I needed something extra to make the dish actually fill me up. Look, I can’t do no carbs and I think it is a dreadful way to live. But I also eat butter sandwiches on the regular. I rummaged around in the cupboards until I found some Quaker yellow cornmeal that I had used to make cornbread a few months ago and decided I would try to something polenta-y as a base. Here’s what I did:
1. Peel and clean the shrimp. Nobody likes eating a digestive track. The easiest way to clean a shrimp is to cut a shallow slit along the back of the shrimp and then pull the little vein up with the tip of your knife. It should come out pretty easily. I used about a pound, which made 4 servings, because we like leftovers.
2. Trim the asparagus by snapping their ends off (they’ll break at the point where they are tender and you can discard the tough ends). I cut this into 1 inch lengths and then blanched it briefly (just a few minutes) in heavily salted boiling water. You really just want it to be tender with a bit of crunch since it will be going back in the pan later. Drain it and shock it in ice water or let cold water run over it for a minute (if you hate the earth and don’t mind wasting) to stop it from cooking any further and to keep that bright green color.
3. I minced up a big clove of garlic and thinly sliced the white part of some spring onions (maybe a palmful) that I had (but you can use any type of onion or shallot) and then sweated them in some olive oil over medium-low heat. When you sweat, you just want to develop the flavor and soften the veg, you don’t want color. Let these go for about 5 minutes and then add 3 cups of water (I would have used chicken stock if I had any) and a nice bit of salt (try a couple teaspoons to start). While you are waiting for the water to boil, mix one cup of the cornmeal with 1 more cup of water and stir until well combined. Once the water boils, add the corn meal and whisk continuously until it thickens up and there are no lumps. This should only take a few minutes. Cover it and turn the heat down low and let it go for 5 more minutes.
4. Heat a saute pan with some butter ( a few pats) and zest one lemon into the butter. Juice the lemon and throw that in as well. Once it’s hot, throw in your tomatoes and cook them over medium heat until they start to split. I had some fresh thyme, so I chopped that up and threw it in as well. At this point, you can add your asparagus and shrimp and cook just until the shrimp are opaque and pink. Taste the sauce (it’s a nice mix of the tomato and lemon juices and some creaminess from the butter). Add a few more pats of butter if you like and salt and pepper to taste.
5. Taste the polenta. I thought it was a little bland, so I stirred in some heavy cream (maybe a 1/4 cup), a very generous handful of grated parmigiano-reggiano, and some salt and white pepper. It rocked.
6. To plate, just dollop some polenta in the center of the plate, sprinkle the veggies and shrimp all over, and spoon some sauce around the edges. I had fresh parsley, so I chopped some of that up as well and threw it on, but it’s not necessary.
It was a truly yum combo of creaminess and citrus that worked really nicely with the asparagus and sweetness of the shrimp. I have been on a kick lately of just barely cooking grape or cherry tomatoes because the hubs isn’t a huge fan of raw tomato, and I love how the tomato flavor develops into something deeper without losing the fresh taste. As I’m sure you’ve noticed, I’m not a big fan of measuring and precision, so feel free to play around and swap veg and herbs for what you have at home. Also, the leftover polenta will firm up to a point you can cut it into squares or shapes, fry it in some butter, and use it as a base for other cooked veg, tomato sauce, or just a snack on its own.
We had a bottle of a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc from one of my favorite wine shops: Red, White & Bubbly in Park Slope, Brooklyn. They have a great deal each month that makes it worth the trek from Manhattan. They create a 4-pack of wines each month that usually retails for around $35 and includes a nice mix of unique, everyday drinkers. This month had the Sauv Blanc, a rose, and two reds that I am itching to crack open. The Sauvignon Blanc was called Kiwi Cuvee and worked beautifully with the dish. It wasn’t exactly a shot in the dark since asparagus is a tricky pair and Sauvignon Blanc is known to match well, as well as have some bright citrus notes that I knew would work well with the lemon. On its own, the wine had some grapefruit and grassy notes, but finished with a lot of fruity sweetness. With the dish, it came across as crisp and quenching without being tart or overly acidic. If you can’t find this bottle, most New Zealand SB’s will do – Cheers!
It was a grueling 24 hours of bacon, sweat, and buttercream, but Wanna Spoon? was rewarded with top honors from the judges at the Brooklyn Brunch Experiment. We entered this competition for fun and as an excuse to wear our cute aprons from Anthropologie, but the more hours and dollars we sunk into it, the more we hoped for some sort of recognition for our hard work. After the first batch of bacon buttercream, which involves rendering bacon fat into a pan full of butter (clutches chest) to infuse the butter with bacon-y goodness, then cooking Isomalt (a sugar alcohol and less sweet substitute that we used in place of regular sugar) with water to the stage where you can form it into a soft ball (not soft blob, soft ball). When the sugar syrup is ready, you pour it in a thin stream into a running mixer containing egg yolks that have been whipped to a pale yellow. You let the mixer run until the bowl feels cool to the touch, about 10 minutes. At this point, you start tossing in chunks of bacon butter and whole butter and a few pinches of salt. The whole process takes about an hour from start to finish. After that first batch I said “Wouldn’t it be awesome to win something?”. (Linda nods her head in agreement and tosses a hunk of butter in the bowl). After the second batch Linda said “We better at least get an honorable mention. Let’s shoot for that”. Me “Reach for the stars!”. Third batch (which turned to taffy and had to be tossed because we cooked the sugar syrup past soft blob and ball to medium ball): Me “We better practice gracious defeat faces if we don’t win because I might not handle it well”. (Linda: Tips a fake hat to the winner and curtsies). Sometime during batches 4, 5 and 6, we came up with an acceptance speech and tested out a few different versions of our bloody mary shooter. After 6 hours of buttercream, we still had to bake 300 mini cornbread cupcakes, mix the bloody mary’s, candy 3 pounds of bacon, and frost all those little suckers. By the time we fell into bed that night at 1am, reeking of bacon and fatigue, we just wanted someone to pat us on the back and tell us it would all be worthwhile.
And someone did! About an hour before the winners were announced, Andrew Knowlton (restaurant editor for Bon Appetit magazine and contest judge) walked up to our table on his way out the door and said “I just wanted to let you know you girls did a great job”. Linda “Thank you very much!”. Me: “Was that Andrew Knowlton? Did he really just say that?”. At that point, we didn’t care what happened, we got our pat on the back and anything else was gravy. The gravy just happened to be in the form of a Cuisinart Stand Mixer, Le Crueset grill pan, and the glory of having Mr. Knowlton characterize our cupcake as “could be an amuse bouche at the French Laundry”. WHAT?!
Obviously, that was awesome, but an equally great part about the whole experience were the other cooks. We met some great people and ate some deliciously impressive food. The guys from Righteous Burn won first prize from the audience for “The Righteous Kentucky” from Righteous Burn. Bourbon, Butter, Spicy Pork Sausage, Paprika, Egg, and American Cheese baked in a breakfast roll, finished with bourbon and maple syrup. They were a fun bunch of guys with equally cool significant others and cheerleader friends. The Babes Who Brunch had one of our personal favorites: a bread pudding with bacon-onion jam and goat cheese…divine! Plus, the Brunch Babes, Emily & Melissa were a lot of fun and super sweet. Other faves: Pig & Fig for their quiche containing, well pig and fig, and our tablemates, the Clementines, for their lovely leek quiche and adorable aprons.
We’re very excited to compete in the Brooklyn Brunch Experiment this weekend. Cheftestants from all over NYC are cooking for a few hundred guests at The Bell House in Gowanus Brooklyn. (Dumb name for a neighborhood, it sounds like a Gooooooo Anus!) Anyway… We’ve been testing out a few recipes for the last few weekends and think we’ve perfected our signature brunchy bite. We’ll be serving up a boozey treat on the side because this is brunch after all.
TICKETS ARE SOLD OUT and the competition will be fierce. We already encountered the two-time champion last night when we picked up a the graciously donated dairy items from Organic Valley and hosts Nick & Theo (masterminds behind The Food Experiments). Just 15 lbs of butter, 3 quarts of heavy cream, 3 quarts of milk and 6 dozen eggs. Just what you need to whip up a quick little brunch for 300 on a Sunday afternoon. Photos and details on our secret recipe will be available after the event. Wish us luck.
team Wanna Spoon?
The Brooklyn Brunch Experiment
Sunday March 28
Noon – 4PM
The Bell House
149 7th Street
Brooklyn, New York 11215
Located in the Gowanus area of Park Slope.
“Wanna Spoon?” is a dynamic duo consisting of Linda & Emily, two culinary students from the FCI. We are cooking and competing in this event on Sun March 28th. Come out and support us while snacking on some tasty brunch treats.
What do all New Yorkers need and love to do every weekend? Eat brunch!! Cookoff impresarios Theo Peck and Nick Suarez present NYC’s premier culinary competition, the Brooklyn Brunch Experiment. The most creative and competitive chefs will prepare various brunch-type dishes and showcase them to you! The audience, along with one of the most esteemed, culinary judging panels, will select their favorite dishes and grandiose prizes and cash will be awarded to those who strive to be the next Brunch king or queen.
Advance Tickets: Dream On… These Babies are SOLD OUT.
A portion of ticket sales help support Ovarian Cancer Research
One Brunch Drink Included with Ticket
Free After Party in Front Lounge.
Andrew Knowlton – Iron Chef Judge and Bon Appetit
Sean Rembold – Chef from Diner/Marlow and Sons
Emile Castillo – Executive chef at Norma’s
I hate to be that girl that says “OMG! We had the best time ever! It was an epic day. You sooooo should’ve been there.” But I am going to have to do that when I tell you about the Bordeaux bash that we threw with the lovely ladies of the French Culinary Institute. It sounds like we might have a bikini calendar coming out from that statement, but I’m pretty sure everyone is fasting after the food and wine we consumed that day…so no calendar this year.
Bordeaux Wine Tasting Bash
The premise: Let Emily spout off about Bordeaux and the lovely grape varietals grown there and then taste, taste, taste, and eat!
What you missed: Red wines from Bordeaux can be made from a blend of five grapes. Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot. Wines from the Left Bank are predominantly Cab Sauv (if you see Margaux, St. Julien, Pauillac, or Ste. Estephe on the label they are from the Left Bank) and you should expect full-bodied, higher tannin wines. Wines from the Right Bank are predominantly Merlot (St. Emilion or Pomerol are the big names to look for on the label) and these are going to be a little softer and perhaps lighter in body than the Left Bank boys. There were also maps, history, and a brief discussion on each varietal’s characteristics, but you kinda had to be there.
How it turned out: Each calendar girl, I mean classmate, brought a delicious dish to be paired with a specific style of wine, ranging from black pepper crusted tuna loin to roasted duck sliders with pomegranate molasses. 10 women, 13 bottles, and the night may have ended with Linda and I singing into a hairbrush.
How you can do it: Go to your favorite wine shop (or mine: www.astorwines.com) and pick up a Lefty and a Righty for the Bordeaux, pick up a Meritage blend from a New World region (meritage is the name used to indicate that the blend is a Bordeaux style and uses some or all of the 5 grapes listed above), and then pick up a bottle of each varietal on its own. It’s no accident that these five are blended together with such frequency as each brings its own unique flair to the mix. Tasting each by itself is going to tell you a lot about what makes that particular grape shine.
What to eat: Think roasted meats, mushrooms, black cherry, plum, and even bell pepper. These wines love hearty fare.
Let us know how your Bordeaux wine tasting bash turns out or contact Wanna Spoon? to set up an event with us.