Thursday, January 20, 2011

Treats for the Weekend...Red Velvet Ruffle Cake and Homemade Granola!

Red Velvet - click for recipe!

Granola - click for recipe!


Should be a good weekend....

Monday, January 17, 2011

Nom Nom Naan

A three day weekend. Oh it held so much promise. Starting with a fabulous staff holiday party complete with me winning a gift card for some delish food at the Embassy Suites hotel and some dancing at a new lounge downtown, but ending with a runny nose and phlemmy cough. Boo. After spending much of Sunday lounging on the couch watching movies and tv, I decided some comfort food would do just the trick to make me feel better. Well, along with my strict regimen of cold pills, allergy pills, humidifier refills, medicinal tea (No, Carrie, I am not drinking"pot-tea") I do believe some homemade Naan should do the trick.

Indian food is something that I find very comforting. It fills you up with this warm, savory and spicy feeling that can be washed down with a glass of red wine and a dollop of hummus on some naan. Naan is an Indian bread that somewhat resembles a pita and can be made to encompass any flavor you may choose. For my first attempt at homemade naan, I played it safe and only topped the bread with flavors. I used garlic powder, curry, cumin, butter and some pesto. Next time, I plan on incorporating raisins in some of my dough balls, adding pine nuts to the dough and maybe even trying a sweet naan with honey and cinnamon. 

Have you ever taken a bite of something and just closed your eyes and savored the texture, flavor, chewy goodness and warm feeling it brought to your senses? Well, good Lord, you need to and you can do it with this bread. This was seriously a very simple process and totally worth the outcome. Dip it in a little Olive Oil or hummus and share this starter with friends and family, they will be sure to thank you for the experience....and compliment you on your brilliance in the kitchen ;)
Enjoy, friends!

Ingredients:   Makes 8 loaves of Naan
2 cups all purpose flour or wheat flour
1/2 cup of warm milk
1/2 cup of plain Greek yogurt
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tbsp sugar
1/2 tbsp oil

1. Mix all the dry ingredients together and make a well in the center of flour.
2. Combine milk and yogurt and pour half of it into the well and with your hands, slowly mix it together.
3. Add the rest of the liquid slowly and combine it all together slowly until a soft dough is made. The dough should be soft enough for you to be able to dig your finger into it without applying any pressure. If dough sticks to hand too much then use little bit of oil on hand and then punch into the dough.
4. Cover with damp cloth and let it sit in a warm place for at least 2 hours. I pre-heated my oven to 175°, turned it off and then set the dough inside.

5. After a few hours, dust your working board, take out the dough and knead it for about 2-3 minutes. 
6. Divide the dough into smaller balls (in this case you should get about 8 balls to make naans).
7. Dust the board again and flatten the balls to make bread which is a little thick and elongated. Roll these balls out flatter than what you think may be necessary, they will puff up!

8. Sprinkle one side of the dough with whichever flavor you want.
9. Brush the other side with water.

Heat a thick bottom skillet or a wok or any heavy bottom pan with a lid. Once its nicely hot place the naan wet side down which would stick and cover it with a lid. I used a cast iron skillet and it worked perfectly.
Let it cook for about 30 secs or until you see bubbles on it. Flip the naan and cook it on the other side for a couple of minutes until you see a few charred brown spots, then you will know it's ready!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Kahlua Kupkakes

 Well friends, it certainly has been awhile. Please accept my dearest apology for being mad crazy absent from my food blogging life. The fall is most definitely a busy time in Nebraska when you work for a University where football reigns king. Although my mighty Huskers did not have the storybook ending to the Big 12 we were all hoping for, we will now gallantly ride off into the distance and arrive in the good company of the Big Ten!

I was planning on "kickstarting" the blog up again with a New Year's post, well you can guess how that went, since it is now the 14th of January. Whoopsies. But in another attempt to have a great homecoming back to my little online home away from home, I am getting back to the blog after being named an Aries! The first sign, the color of red, the sign of fire, the representative of....birth? Excuse me? My symbol is now a ram and a uterus? I'm not sure my old Taurus stubborn ways are ok with this change, but since apparently Taurus was lazy and I am now an active Aries, I better get back on blogging regularly! I have a new personality, new traits, I hope I'm still in the correct career field. Good thing I'm not married yet, because I could have married the completely wrong person if I would have matched him up with my sign, phew.

So in an attempt to start living my life as an Aries, with no further adieu, I give you Kahlua Kupkakes in celebration of Jeff's birthday, new signs, and our belated-but-sure-to-be-a-great-time staff holiday party!!

(As adapted and changed from Annie's Eats)
Yield: approx. 20-24 cupcakes


For the cupcakes:
¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tbsp. instant espresso powder
1½ cups all-purpose flour
1½ cups sugar
1½ tsp. baking soda
¾ tsp. baking powder
¾ tsp. salt
2 large eggs
¾ cup warm water
¾ cup buttermilk
3 tbsp. vegetable oil
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 tbsp. Kahlua

For the Kahlua: Of course, you could just go out and buy some Kahlua, but why not make it yourself? Here is an easy recipe for homemade Kahlua!
12 cups Toffee flavored coffee (brew your favorite kind or flavor for a fun twist!)
2 pounds sugar (white, brown, you pick)
1 bottle Everclear

Boil coffee and add sugar, stir until dissolved. Let cool. Add Everclear and mix it up! Bottle and share with your friends, or have a party and tell everyone to bring a different coffee flavor so you can trade :)

For the frosting:
12 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
4 cups powder sugar
7-8 tbsp. Kahlua
2 tbsp. heavy cream (I used 1% milk, because that's what I had in the fridge)

1. Preheat the oven to 350˚ F
2. Line standard cupcake pans with paper liners.
3. In a large mixing bowl combine the cocoa powder, espresso powder, flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder and salt; whisk well to blend.
4. Mix the eggs, warm water, buttermilk, vegetable oil,  vanilla extract and Kahlua in a separate bowl.
5. Add the wet mixture to the dry ingredients and mix on medium-high speed until smooth, 2-3 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
6. Divide the batter evenly between the prepared cupcake liners, filling about 2/3 full.  Bake until the tops look set, about 18-20 minutes. When cupcakes look finished, stick a toothpick in the middle of a cake and if it comes out clean, they are ready to come out!
7. Let cool in the pan 5-10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack.  Poke a few holes in the top of each cupcake with a fork and brush with Kahlua while still warm. Allow to cool completely.

To make the frosting:
1. Beat the butter in the bowl of an electric mixer until smooth and fluffy, about 2 minutes.
2. Mix in the powder sugar slowly until incorporated.
3. Add in the Kahlua and beat on medium speed until well blended.
4. Pour in the heavy cream and beat on medium-high speed for about 4 minutes, until light and fluffy.  Frost cooled cupcakes as desired.

Thank you for joining me on my first addition back to blogging as an Aries, I appreciate all of you and hope you enjoy these delightful treats!!