Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Chocolate Curacao Smoked Paprika Truffles and November's LOL Food Blogger Posts

For the chocolate truffles, I used this basic recipe from Joy of Baking

I added two tablespoons of Chocolate Curacao I brought home from a scuba diving trip to Curacao and rolled them in a mixture of cocoa powder, powdered sugar and smoked red paprika.

The smoked paprika added a little bitter bite to all the sweet chocolatelyness.

Tomorrow is World AIDS Day. Check out the macarons I made HERE to commemorate it.

On a lighter note, below are the posts that made me smile, giggle, laugh or all three this month...

Sunday, November 28, 2010

World Aids Day Macarons With Red Hibiscus Filling

WAD is coming up on December 1st. Spending time in NYC these last weeks had me reconnecting with two special people I worked side by side with in the trenches of the AIDS crisis in the late 80's early 90's. Barry and Jamie are two extraordinary human beings and it was an honor to be activists together.

We were volunteers at an organization that kept pets with their HIV positive owners as long as possible so they could provide comfort and companionship. You can read more about my experience and the organization and see the Ribbon Angel cookies I made HERE in my last year's WAD post.

Friday, November 26, 2010

A Kool Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade Kraft Party & A Balloon Premiere

With all my complaining about what has happened to the balloon inflation event here in NYC, I think the universe heard me because I was rewarded yesterday with being able to attend a really fun Thanksgiving Day event.

A friend of mine invited me to attend a parade viewing party thrown by Kraft at the Red Eye Grill. The restaurant has a terrace that directly overlooks the parade route.


Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Apple Cider Cupcakes With Maple Cream Frosting & Givaway Winner!

First I would like to announce the winner of the To Romance, With Love cookbook package is Susan who said:

My husband and I celebrated our 27th wedding anniversary this year. We met in college only weeks before I was diagnosed with cancer. He actually took care of me through surgeries, radiation, and chemo. To think we were only 19 at the time! 

I can't express how much I love him. It was love at first sight. When I saw him from across a crowded dance floor, I thought "that is the man I'm going to marry."

We are very much in love, and tell one another several times a day. I practically count the minutes until he comes home from work. I just can't wait to be with him again.
I cook nearly every night. I have a cookbook collection so I can find new recipes for us to enjoy.

I'm actually not much of a dessert maker, but I do have this exceptional romantic cake recipe called The Surprise Cake. Let's just say that the frosting is made out of freshly whipped cream, and there is a secret to keeping the cream from sliding off of the cake. I think I have said enough. Let's just say, it's one romantic cake.

This is what Dave Valletta, the author had to say about Susan's comment:

To Romance, With Love thanks those who took the time to think of a meal ending Romantic Dessert. From Tarts to dipped strawberries, any of these tasty treats would be the perfect topping for a Romantic dinner. But romance is more than just sweet endings, it's a feeling that begins with a thought and ends with an action. A romantic night is a short story that you a can read over and over again. The dessert that caught my heart was not just the dessert but the story behind it. So, congratulation to Susan for her 27 years of marraige and I would like to say that Whipped cream can be used for more than just cake topping. Enjoy the Romance and let us know what you think of the book.  

With Love,

Dave Valletta 

Here is the link to the website for the book if you would like to check it out yourself.

Congratulations Susan!

Now onto the cupcakes:

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Hot Chocolate Macarons with Hot Buttered Rum Filling - Giant Thanksgiving Balloon Memories - A MacTweets Challenge

Growing up right outside of NYC, I have been watching the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade or attending it in person for most of my childhood up through my 30’s. I also lived in NYC for 12 years, mostly downtown. Every year, the night before Thanksgiving, I would make the trek uptown at 11PM to 81St and Columbus to meet friends to watch the progress on the inflation of the giant character balloons for the parade. For me the balloons symbolize many fall seasons. Every year, as I walked around and visited them it was like reconnecting with old friends. No matter how old I was, I would greet each one.

"Hello Pink Panther."

"Oh Snoopy, so wonderful to see you.."

"Underdog, you look as handsome as ever!"

"Hi Clifford. Hi Kermit. 

"Spiderman! Superman!"

This was mostly a neighborhood event with local residents and a few of us living more south, north or east milling around in a festive mood. It was romantic, fun, nostalgic and exciting. It was one of the things that made you think “I live in the greatest city in the world!” 

Kermit's Fingers

Friday, November 19, 2010

Honey Pecan Mini Corn Muffins

I was in a baking frenzy before my trip to NYC when I spotted this cookbook, Quick Breads: 63 Recipes for Bakers in a Hurry on my shelf. Perfect. I was in a hurry. When I opened the book, I saw that I had previously marked this recipe to try but had never made them. 

The author originally intended them to be baked as sticks in a special pan but I thought they would make cute mini muffins.

These are a perfect mix of savory sweet with the added delightful crunch of pecans. What I also like about them is their year-round appeal. Perfect for fall/thanksgiving but equally appropriate for a summer picnic.

Honey Pecan Mini Corn Muffins
(From Quick Breads: 63 Recipes for Bakers in a Hurry by Beatrice A. Ojakangas)

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Bakerella's NYC Book Signing & a Cupcakes Take the Cake Meetup

Bakerella & Rachel from Cupcakes Take the Cake

Last Sunday was no day of rest for the Mad Hausfrau. I went to sleep in the wee hours of the morning after throwing a fabulous triple Scorpio Saturday night birthday party, then hauled my tired behind out of bed to get to the Bakerella book signing at Williams & Sonoma on 59th and Lexington Avenue. For the few of you who don't know who Bakerella is, well, she's the rock star blogger who created Cake Pops and this is her first book sharing how to make her adorable creations. I say first because, I am sure there will be a second.

I apologize for the quality of the photos. I just couldn't seem to get it together with adjusting the settings properly. I'm blaming it on the previously evening's revelry.

Let's just say Bakerella is beyond adorable and it is wonderful to see someone so talented and nice reap the rewards of their significant creativity.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Caramelized Walnut Tartlets

We were nuts at home. Literally. The two walnut trees in our garden were shedding nuts faster than we could gather them up.  Even faster than the squirrels could scurry away with them. There was no avoiding baking with them.

Once again, I turned to my Heartland cookbook for inspiration and found exactly what I needed.

Marcia, Marcia Marcia...

Mmm caramel. Don't hate me but I prefer it over chocolate. The tartlets came out just the right mix of chewy, crunchy and sweet. I added some cinnamon to the shells to kick up the flavor a bit. These are a great addition to any Thanksgiving feast.

Friday, November 12, 2010

To Romance, With Love - A Cookbook Giveaway

I received the cutest cookbook package in the mail a few weeks ago from an ex colleague of mine (we worked together on the Geraldo show) who is repping this cookbook. I just had to share it with you. This would be a more appropriate givaway for Valentine's Day, but it's such a sweet package I just couldn't hold it until then.

As a TV producer, I have been on the receiving end of 100s of packages from PR people over the years containing all sorts of books and products. This one would have had serious consideration for a segment and not ended up on the huge pile beside my desk.  To Romance, With Love is a compilation of delicious recipes, love stories and tips for happy, long-lasting passion. It is a guide for men on how to romance their women through the kitchen.

To Romance, With Love features full-color photos of each meal, as well as accompanying side dishes and appetizers. The recipes are basic with an emphasis on Italian dishes. Nothing too fancy but the menu selections are well put together. Some examples are Tuscan Lamb Chops, Snapper Wellington with Dill Sauce and Ratatouille with Orzo.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Bourbon Buttermilk Chocolate Pie

Thanksgiving time often finds me turning into this Heartland cookbook book for inspiration and comfort. In this case, maybe a slight buzz. Bourbon is a uniquely American product and goes back to the early settlers. How appropriate for this time of year.

A very interesting history of bourbon can be found here. The birth of bourbon has it roots in the three year Whisky Rebellion of 1791 and is accentuated by war, politics, homesteading and a reverend from Bourbon county, Kentucky. No wonder everyone needed a drink!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Spicy Orange Pepper Almond Cookies

These are perfect with a nice cup of tea to mitigate the chill of November. I added orange and galanga, a ginger-like spice I picked up in Thailand. The cream makes them smooth and chewy.

Spicy, nutty with a hint of orange, this is one sexy cookie.

Spicy Orange Pepper Almond Cookies
(Adapted from Spicy Pepper Cookies recipe from The Cooks Encyclopedia of Cookies by Hillaire WaldenBarnes & Noble Books 2002)

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Velvet Mashed Potato Chocolate Cake

Omg - big luscious chewy chocolatety moistness. This cake could sustain a group of castaways on a deserted island for a month.

Ok not really. But it's extremely dense loaded with little surprises and a little goes a loooong way. You cannot taste the potato in the cake it just adds to the weight and moisture.

The frosting is elaborate. Well for me anyway. I'm used to mixing up flavored buttercreams and glazes and done. For this frosting, I went even further than Marcia did, adding Gran Marnier. I also split the 1 cup of raisins into half regular and half golden raisins.

One of my favorite cookbooks is Heartland: the Best of the Old and the New from Midwest Kitchens by Marcia Adams. She traveled through Midwest regions collecting recipes everywhere from church socials to well known restaurants all utilizing local and seasonal products. It has beautiful photos of people and places as well as stories an anecdotes behind the recipes.  I love to flip through it while sitting in my kitchen in Germany for a taste of home.

Well, sort of. I am a NYC/LA girl after all, and the midwest is still almost like a foreign country to me but I do connect with most things American in this book.