Saturday, December 25, 2010

Peppermint Brownie Cake

Carol made this cake as one of her Christmas desserts and it received rave reviews! After she made the dessert with York Peppermint Patties she saw a suggestion to use Junior Mints, which would have alleviated the need to cut up the patties. The glaze has a beautiful sheen to it.

Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Christmas Dinner 2010

A partial gathering of the Gourmet Gals was held at Hugo's to celebrate Christmas. The restaurant was beautifully decorated with poinsettias everywhere, including a 20-foot tree made out of the red plants and white lights. The picture below does not do it justice (the lighting was very low).

Three of us started with margaritas that were "shaken" at the table and served with much pizazz. Then everyone had a salad, either the house salad or the mango and avocado salad.

  • Ensalada de la Casa: watercress, endive, arugula, mache, beet, xoconostle, mint, cilantro, orange and lime zest, shaved fennel, chayote,pomegranate seeds and toasted almonds.
  • Ensalada de Aguacate y Mango: avocado and mango salad with blue cheese and pumpkin seeds.

Entrees ordered included:

  • Evening Special: pan fried red snapper with lump crab meat, a squash tamale, blue potato mash, Swiss chard and two mussels.
  • Sopa de Albondiguitas: rich, spicy broth with vegetables and small beef and pork meatballs.
  • Cabrito: roasted goat meat pulled from the bone, served with nopales asados, guacamole and salsa de habanero

Though thoroughly full with the amazing dishes above, as Gourmet Gals, we pressed on to dessert, choosing four different ones and then sampling all.

  • A chocolate pyramid that had a shell full of chocolate mousse and a side of ice cream.
  • Crepes with caramel and a side of ice cream.
  • Bread pudding with a side of ice cream.
  • Chocolate cake with coffee ice cream.

All were divine and well worth the calories!

Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Banana Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Frosting

As I am always buying bananas and not always eating them quickly, I am forever in search of recipes that call for bananas. I clipped this Banana Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Frosting recipe out of Bon Appetit magazine and made it this weekend. The banana cake was delicious and very moist. The frosting was easy to make and light and fluffy with a light peanut butter taste. Together I do not like the combination. I think the banana cake is more like banana bread and should be served alone, with the addition of nuts. The frosting would be delicious on chocolate cupcakes. My coworkers enjoyed the treats and none went to waste!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Collard Greens...

My mom gave me some fresh collard greens she received from a friend's garden. She told me she made some and they were bitter. I stuck the greens in my refrigerator and thought maybe I would not take up the challenge of making collard greens taste good.

Friday night I ate at a fancy comfort food restaurant (South Street Dining on Kuykendahl) and I asked for spinach rather than carrots. The waitress said they may be out of spinach and if so, how about some collard greens? She then said "they are good.. a little bitter". REALLY?! A CHEF cannot make greens not be bitter?! How was I going to?

So Sunday I was bored and decided to tackle the greens. I went to one of my favorite recipe sites,, and found a recipe for Southern as You Can Get Collard Greens and decided it looked so easy how can I not try it? I did not have ham hocks, so I used a couple of slices of bacon. I also added, as recommended by reviewers, some honey, red pepper flakes, garlic salt, onion bits and for the heck of it, a couple sprigs of fresh thyme.

WOW! These were delicious! Not bitter at all! I wished I had some ham with them and cornbread. Next time I will create a meal around these greens.

Carrot Cake!

Lately I decided that I prefer to buy things in their "whole" state, and then cut it how I want it. I started doing this with cheese and found it melts better and tastes fresher than the shredded packs. I also think this is less expensive. Similarly, I have decided that baby carrots are not really baby carrots but cut carrots. I now prefer to buy carrots in their natural state and then slice or dice or make match sticks.

After using a couple of carrots in a salad I wanted to use up the left overs and decided to make a carrot cake. This recipe for carrot pineapple cake was highly rated and I gave it a try. It was very good and very moist. The addition of pineapple takes away a bit of the shine from the carrots so next time I will try a more purist recipe. I did add 1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg as suggested by a reviewer.
This was a very nice cake with lots of healthy ingredients (carrots, pineapple, un-sweetened coconut and walnuts).