Monday, March 28, 2011

Black Beans

I made the black beans from Our Best Bites recently. They were so good!

Link here.

I served them with some lime-cilantro rice and cheese quesadillas. Yum!

Fried Plantains

I don't have an official recipe for these but they're a fun, something different sort of thing! We first had them at our friend's house in Pennsylvania. In case you don't know, plantains look like bananas but they're not sweet. You buy as many as you want (we usually get two for our family of five). Then you put about an inch of cooking oil in a pan. Peel and slice the plantain into 1/2" circles. When the oil is hot, put a few of them in at a time and cook until lightly browned on each side. Remove them from the pan and flatten with the bottom of a cup until they're about 1/8-1/4" thick. (They'll look sort of like banana chips.) Put them back in the oil and fry a little bit longer on both sides. Remove and place on a paper towel. Sprinkle with sea salt.

We went to a Caribbean restaurant recently and they served these with fry sauce. It was good, but I tend to like them best plain.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Barefoot Contessa Coconut Cupcakes

We had these for our RS birthday Party dinner and they were so AWESOME!  So much better than the chocolate cupcakes and that's saying something.  They just used buttercream icing instead of cream cheese icing.
Coconut Cupcakesfrom The Barefoot Contessa Cookbookmakes 12-16

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
3 large eggs
3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3/4 teaspoon pure almond extract
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 7-ounce package flaked sweetened coconut, divided
Cream cheese icing (recipe to follow)

Line muffin cups with paper baking cups, and set aside. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside. In a large mixing bowl, beat together the sugar and butter on medium speed for about 3 minutes, or until light and fluffy. Turn the mixer speed to low, and add the eggs one at a time, beating on medium high 1 minute after each addition. Beat in the vanilla and almond extract. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, and beat again briefly.

Add the flour mixture and the buttermilk alternately to the butter mixture, beating on low speed after each addition just until combined. Fold in only 1 1/3 cups of the coconut.

Use an ice cream scoop to fill each muffin cup almost full with batter. Bake in a 325-degree oven for 22 to 28 minutes on the center rack, until the cupcake tops are golden and a wooden toothpick inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean.

If you bake 2 pans at once, switch them out (put the bottom pan on the top and the top on the bottom) halfway through cooking so they brown evenly.

Allow the cupcakes to cool completely, and then top them with cream cheese icing. Store in an airtight container for up to 2 days. If you want to freeze these, store them unfrosted in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 6 weeks. To serve unfrosted cupcakes that have been frozen, allow to thaw at room temperature for about 1 hour before serving, then ice and serve them. Makes about 16 cupcakes.

Cream Cheese Icing

Do not consider skipping the sifting of the powdered sugar or you will have unattractive white lumps in your icing.

2 - 3-ounce packages cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon pure almond extract
2 1/2 cups sifted powdered sugar
Remaining coconut

In a mixing bowl, beat together the cream cheese, butter, vanilla extract and almond extract until light and fluffy. Gradually beat in 1 1/2 cups of the powdered sugar, beating well. Gradually beat in as much of the remaining sugar as needed to reach a comfortable spreading consistency.


Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Chicken Pot Pie Soup

My friend Natalie made this the other day for our "ladies lunch" that we informally have every couple of weeks.  It was delicious!  And great for those cold days, which apparently are going to be never ending here in MN.

Chicken Pot Pie Soup