Friday, January 29, 2010

Pho Cyclo on Broadway

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I've already written before about Pho Cyclo on Broadway, and I'll say it again, YOU MUST GO HERE TO GET GOOD VERMICELLI NOODLE BOWLS AND VEGGIE PHO!  It's one of the best places to get Vietnamese food in Seattle, with all the ingredients always fresh and fragrant.  You walk in, and instantly know by the smells that they know what they're doing.  So check them out next time you're on Broadway in Seattle!

I love my Number 17.
Darren loves his Veggie Pho!

Friday, January 8, 2010

Double Chocolate Stout Cupcakes with Irish Whiskey Ganache Filling and Bailey's Frosting

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Making Double Chocolate Stout Cupcakes with Ganache filling and Bailey's FrostingIn process Double Chocolate Stout Cupcakes with Ganache filling and Bailey's Frosting
Double Chocolate Stout Cupcakes with Ganache filling and Bailey's Frosting

These cupcakes were so delectable, and definitely NOT vegan in any way, shape, or form. I was inspired by THIS recipe. I made just a couple of changes, but not much.  The frosting was super sweet too, so I just did a small swirl on each one, and I'm glad I did because I don't think I could have gone into diabetic shock having the whole thing covered it it!  I also used this AWESOME CUPCAKE PAN that was gifted to me by my wonderful husband, which made filling the cupcakes with ganache, a breeze!  But if you don't have one of these, instructions are below.*

Makes 20 to 24 cupcakes
For the Double Chocolate Stout Cupcakes

1 cup Double Chocolate Stout
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (preferably Dutch-process)
2 cups all purpose flour
2 cups sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
2/3 cup sour cream

Ganache Filling 
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate
2/3 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons butter, room temperature
1 to 2 teaspoons Irish whiskey (optional)

Baileys Frosting (see Recipe Notes)
3 to 4 cups SIFTED confections sugar (aka icing sugar)
1 stick (1/2 cup or 4 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperatue
3 to 4 tablespoons Baileys

*Special equipment: 1-inch round cookie cutter or an apple corer and a piping bag (though a plastic bag with the corner snipped off will also work)

Make the cupcakes: 

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 24 cupcake cups with liners. Bring 1 cup stout and 1 cup butter to simmer in 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 teaspoon salt in large bowl to blend. Using 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 rubber spatula, fold batter until completely combined. Divide batter among cupcake liners, filling them 2/3 to 3/4 of the way. Bake cake until tester inserted into center comes out clean, rotating them once front to back if your oven bakes unevenly, about 17-20 minutes (depending on the hotness of your oven). Cool cupcakes on a rack completely.

Make the filling:  

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 one minute and then whisk/stir until smooth. (If this has not sufficiently melted the chocolate, you can return it to a double-boiler to gently melt what remains. 20 seconds in the microwave, watching carefully, will also work.) Add the butter and whiskey (if you’re using it) and stir until combined.

Fill the cupcakes: 

Let the ganache cool until thick but still soft enough to be piped (the fridge will speed this along but you must stir it every 10 minutes). Meanwhile, using your 1-inch round cookie cutter or an apple corer, cut the centers out of the cooled cupcakes. You want to go most of the way down the cupcake but not cut through the bottom — aim for 2/3 of the way. A slim spoon or grapefruit knife will help you get the center out. (Leftover centers are perfect for your piehole to "test" the cake). Put the ganache into a piping bag with a wide tip and fill the holes in each cupcake to the top.
(Personal Note: I used a very tiny spoon to put the ganache into the holes, since I had that fancy cake pan)

Make the frosting: 

Whip the butter in the bowl of an electric mixer, or with a hand 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 (it shouldn’t, but just in case) beat in another spoonful or two of powdered sugar.  Ice and decorate the cupcakes how you like!  VOILA!

Monday, January 4, 2010

My $3.00 Dinner

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Pan seared pork chop (garlic, salt, pepper, olive oil, & fresh thyme) and then baked in the oven with tomatoes.  Made sure it rested after cooking, so all the juices didn't run out.

I roasted the carrots with olive oil, pepper, and salt, chopped an apple in half and put it in the same roasting pan.  The apple eventually burst, so it peeled easily, and I mashed up the apple pulp into a yummy puree with cinnamon.

Pork: $1.50
Granny Smith Apple: 40 cents
Carrots: 45 cents
Tomatoes: 50 cents

My Three Dollar Dinner, Ta-da!

My Three Dollar Dinner
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