Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Chocolate Cabernet Cupcakes

For once I didn’t need to use the Better Homes and Gardens New Baking Book for a baking inspiration. The Artful Cupcake – Baking & Decorating Delicious Indulgences by Marcianne Miller is one of those books that I purchased just for the pretty pictures. It’s a collection of lovely cupcake designs and recipes created by twelve professional bakers and compiled and modified for the home baker by Marcianne Miller, the author. I was looking for a cupcake recipe and design idea that was simple, easy to make but interesting and this one recipe and simple design by Martha Vining on page 26-27 caught my eye. All I had to do was shift some all-purpose flour together with sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon, unsweetened cocoa powder (the usual suspects) and mix them together before adding the wet ingredients that consist of vegetable oil, vanilla extract, a couple of eggs, cabernet sauvignon wine and then mix all of those ingredients in a stand mixer starting at low speed and then gradually increased to high speed for a few minutes and then fold in some dried cherries, spoon the dough into muffin cups, bake for about 20 minutes or so at 375 F (1) and voila! Here’s one lovely and sophisticated tasting cupcake with whipped cream and cherry on top. Who would’ve thought that cabernet sauvignon could be used as an ingredient for sweet baked goods! All I can say is: Martha Vining, you’re genius!

(1) For a detailed and more accurate recipe see source: The Artful Cupcake – Baking & Decorating Delicious Indulgences by Marcianne Miller, page 26 – 27“Chocolate with Cabernet Cupcakes” design and recipe by Martha Vining.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Mom’s Recipe - Sweet & Sour Fish

I finally tried out mom’s recipe for Sweet and Sour Fish but instead of corn flour I used all-purpose flour since it was the only flour I had. The fillet still turned out quite crispy not to mention quite tasty too, although I can’t say the same about the sauce. I must’ve missed a step or something because the sauce, although colorful and healthy, didn’t taste exactly the same as when mom made it. The sauce was a bit too sour and not sweet enough, I must’ve put too much vinegar and not enough sugar.

1) Fish Fillets, cut into small/bite pieces
2) Lemon juice from ½ a lemon
3) Worchester Sauce
4) Salt & white pepper
5) Fish Sauce
6) 1 tbsp Chinese cooking wine (Wong Chiu or Sau Sing Chiu)
7) A dash of white vinegar (to make fish crispy)
8) Egg white
9) Mrs. Dash, paprika, black pepper and “Old Bay” Seafood seasoning (optional)
10)Corn Flour (Mazena) or all-purpose flour

Heat canola oil in a pan on medium heat. Mix ingredients 1 to 7 together in a bowl and ingredients 9 and 10 together in another bowl. Dip the fish fillets into the first mixture and then dip into the egg white and then cover with flour mixture. Once the oil is hot, put each piece into the oil and fry until golden brown and set aside.

Sweet and Sour sauce
1) Lemon juice from ½ a lemon
2) Ketchup
3) Tomatoes (optional)
4) Red and green peppers, diced
5) Carrots, diced
6) 1 tsp. Cornstarch dilute in 3 tbsp. water
7) Sugar
8) 1 tsp vinegar

Stir fry all ingredients until cooked and pour over the fried fish fillets. Serve.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Salmon melts on toast

I’ve made this easy and healthy lunch/snack twice in the past two weeks, well, because it’s quick and easy, fresh tasting and delectable and best of all, no stove cooking required. Who knew a fish out of a can can taste so good?

1) 1 can Sockeye salmon
2) ¼ cup dice red onion
3) ¼ cup capers
4) ½ lime juice
5) Fresh dill (optional)
6) Black pepper, Mrs. Dash
7) “Old Bay” seasoning for seafood
8) 1 tbsp. light sour cream
9) Swiss cheese, slice or grated
10)Multi grain bread, lightly toasted

Place the canned salmon into a mixing bowl and break the salmon into smaller pieces with a fork. Add the rest of the ingredients (except cheese and toasts), mix together evenly and set aside. Put some grated cheese on the toasts and then place a spoonful of the salmon salad mixture on top. Bake/broil the toasts for 5 minutes or until cheese is melted and then serve.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Pan Seared Salmon

I just discovered a way to pan-fry a salmon fillet without burning the skin and without crumpling it in the process. The trick, apparently, is to preheat the oil on high heat and then lower the heat once the oil is hot and then put the salmon in the pan, skin down and leave it to cook for a few minutes before turning it over. Elementary really, but it was a revelation to me (duh!!) I’ve ruined (and burnt) so many salmon fillets in the past when trying to pan fry/sear them in the pan because I either kept the heat on too high for too long or put the fish in the pan too early, before the oil is hot. No more burnt salmon for me from now on! The salmon fillet turned out perfectly this time, the skin was crispy and crunchy and the meat was delicious and nicely spiced. It was slightly greasy but oh, it was goo-ood!

1) Salmon fillet
2) Garlic, chopped
3) Shallots, diced
4) Sea salt, black pepper, Mrs. Dash
5) Canola oil

Heat canola oil in a (iron) pan over medium high heat and then sprinkle a dash of sea salt, black pepper and “Old Bay”/Mrs. Dash. Season the fillet with sea salt, black pepper and seafood seasoning. Once oil is heated in the pan, lower the heat to medium and place the salmon fillet, skin down, and let it cook for about 5 minutes. Turn the fish over and cook for another 3-5 minutes (or until cooked). Turn the fillet over once if more crispiness is desired and then set aside on a plate. In the same pan, stir shallots and garlic together for a few minutes or until shallots are cooked. Pour over the salmon and serve with salad.