Monday, October 31, 2011

Caramel Apple Cupcakes

I received this recipe for Caramel Apple Cupcakes in an email and loved the sound of it.  The cake is delicious and would make a wonderful bread, like banana bread.  The icing is amazing and easy to prepare.  The dough was very dry and I thought I made a mistake but when I added the apples, it became the perfect consistency.  I ended up using about 3 apples because I thought if I added all the apples that I cut up it would be so much apples that the cake would not come together.

My icing was more like a thick glaze and I think it was because I did not let it cool all the way.  You should start making the icing as the cupcakes are baking since you need to let it cool at least an hour or more.  I made 15 full size cupcakes and 24 mini cupcakes and had a bowl full of icing left, so next time I will halve the icing recipe.

These were delicious and my coworkers and neighbors gobbled them up!  The cinnamon in the batter really makes these taste like fall and the holidays.

Friday, October 28, 2011

October 23, 2011

We met at Lauren's house and she picked a wonderful, fall theme of pumpkin.  All gourmet gals were in attendance.  Yea!

Appetizer:  Tonya, Pumpkin Seed Pesto crostini with goat cheese and manchego cheese.
Salad:  Angie, Fall Greens Salad with Pumpkin Seeds and Asiago
Soup:  Carol, Pumpkin Soup
Bread and Wine:  Janet, Spiced Pumpkin Biscuits and Riesling
Main:  Lauren, Pumpkin Corn Cakes with Creole Shrimp and Avocado Butter
Desserts:  Mary, Pumpkin Butter Cake and Pumpkin Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Lauren set a beautiful fall table with pumpkins and leaves and Carol's pumpkin soup bowls fit right in.  

We started with Tonya's appetizer of crostini with pumpkin seed pesto and either goat cheese or manchego cheese.    Both were delicious and looked beautiful on Tonya's green platter.
I also brought along some sweet and salty roasted pumpkin seeds which I found on the Nutmeg Nanny blog.  They are an addictive little snack!

Carol made for us a heavenly pumpkin soup.  I unfortunately did not get a picture of the beautiful orange soup and it was creamy and just the right amount of sweetness from the carrots and apple. 

Carol doubled the recipe and the following modifications were made for a SINGLE BATCH:
  • used just 1.5 tablespoons butter
  • used just 1/2 cup cream
 For our bread, Janet made Spiced Pumpkin Biscuits.  These were wonderful with butter and Janet suggested that they would also be great with some honey and served for breakfast.

Alternations made:
  • added 1 teaspoon dried sage to dough
  • add pumpkin seeds to the middle and top of biscuits
For our main dish, Lauren combined three recipes to create this creative and fancy entree.  The corn cakes were fluffy and flavorful, the avocado butter creamy and the shrimp spicy.   All complimented each other well.

Pumpkin Corn Cakes with Creole Shrimp and Avocado Butter
Prep Time: 30 Minutes Total Time: 45 minutes Yield: 4 servings


For Avocado Butter:

2 ripe avocados, peeled and diced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 lemon, zested and juiced
2 tablespoons honey (or more, if you like it sweeter)
¼ cup olive oil
Salt to taste

For Pumpkin Corn Cakes:

2/3 cup all purpose flour
1/3 cup low-fat buttermilk
1 egg
¾ tsp baking powder
½ cup pumpkin puree
2 cups fresh corn kernels
2 green onions with tops, thinly sliced
½ tsp coarsely ground black pepper

For Shrimp:

8 oz large uncooked shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 tbsp olive oil, divided
2 tsp Creole Rub (recipe below)
1 tsp lemon zest

For avocado butter, combine avocados, garlic, lemon, honey, olive oil and salt in blender or food processor and blend until smooth.

For cakes, combine flour, buttermilk, egg and baking powder in bowl; whisk until smooth. Add pumpkin, corn, green onions and black pepper to bowl; mix well.

Heat olive oil on griddle over medium heat 1-3 minutes or until simmering. Using a medium sized scoop, scoop pumpkin batter onto griddle for a total of 12 cakes, lightly pressing down with back of scoop. Cook 4-5 minutes on each side or until cakes are golden brown. Remove cakes from griddle, keep warm.

For shrimp, combine shrimp, 1 tsp of the oil, rub and zest in stainless mixing bowl; toss to coat. Arrange shrimp on griddle; cook over medium-high heat 1 ½ - 2 minutes on each side or until opaque.

To serve, top pumpkin cakes with avocado butter then shrimp.

Cook’s Tip: Creole rub consists of: 1 ¼ tsp paprika, ½ teaspoon garlic powder and ¼ tsp each of salt, cayenne pepper and dried oregano. Combine ingredients in prep bowl.

Mary blessed us with TWO desserts, both featuring pumpkin.  The first was Pumpkin Gooey Butter Cake which had a delicious spice cake crust and a similar texture and taste to pumpkin pie.  Mary topped the cake with freshly whipped cream.  The pumpkin cake with cream cheese frosting was wonderful and sinful with that icing!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Apple Oatmeal Crisp

Fall weather is around the corner and that makes me think of fruit crisps.  Apple is my favorite variety because apples are abundant any time of year.  I found this recipe for Apple Oatmeal Crisp on allrecipes and it was easy to prepare and tasty!  I like the fact that the butter is melted and you do not have to "cut it" in.  I HATE cutting in butter as I think it is hard work and takes too long.  To me, butter is best when it is soft enough to not fight back when incorporating into a recipe.

Minor modifications made were instead of putting some of the topping on the bottom of the pan, I instead tossed some of it with the apples along with a couple of tablespoons of white sugar and generous dashes of cinnamon.  You do NOT need the full amount of white sugar and the couple of tablespoons was plenty.

This would be excellent served with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream along with a tall glass of cold milk.  Sitting in front of a fire is optional.