Friday, March 28, 2014

Lemon-raspberry funfetti cupcakes

Those cupcakes are so cute and delicious!

The perfect fruity combination of tangy lemon and fresh raspberries, topped with a light cream cheese frosting and fun multicolored sprinkles make for the ultimate party cupcakes.

Making these cupcakes will make you and anyone who eats them a happy happy bunny!

INGREDIENTS (24 cupcakes)
for the cream cheese frosting
- 2 lbs confectioner sugar
- 2 x 8 oz packages of cream cheese
- 2 tbsp vanilla extract
- juice of 1 lemon
- 1 stick of butter, softened at room temperature

for the cupcakes
- 2 1/4 cups of AP flour
- 1 tbsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 cup butter, softened at room temperature
- 2 eggs
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/2 cup lemon juice
- zest of two lemons
- 1 cup fresh raspberries
- multicolored sprinkles

start with the cupcake batter
- preheat your oven at 375F
- in the bowl of a standing mixer with the paddle attachment add the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar

- mix in the butter, sour cream, water and lemon juice

- add the two eggs one at a time until smooth, add the lemon zest and vanilla then gently fold in the fresh raspberries

- line a cupcake tray with paper liners and fill 2/3 up with batter

- bake at 375F for 20 minutes until soft and lightly springy to the touch

- let cool completely before frosting
prepare the frosting
- while the cupcakes are cooling down, cream the room temperature cream cheese with the butter, lemon juice and vanilla until blended

- add the confectioner sugar 1/4 cup at a time, until all mixed in and smooth

- fill a piping bag with the frosting (or a freezer bag of which you cut a corner), and gently frost each cupcake in the pattern you like

Note: to help with filling the frosting in the piping bag neatly, place the bag in a tall glass and spoon the frosting in
- top your frosted cupcakes with multicolored sprinkles and enjoy!!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Curried parsnip and scallops soup

I saw this sentence on my Facebook feed this morning: "What a nice winter we're having this spring".

How very, very true.

If you're also stuck in a frigid climate this week, you might want to give this soup a try. Extremely simple, you only need a few ingredients to make it. It is very healthy with lotsof good seafood proteins and fats, vitamins and fibers from the parsnips and just enough of a kick from the curry. If you ask me, it is a perfect combination of flavors.

Here's how you can make it!

INGREDIENTS (for 4 people as a starter, 2 people for a light dinner):
- 4 cups chicken stock (can be replaced with vegetable stock for vegetarian option)
- 1 bag of parsnips, peeled and diced
- 1 shallot, peeled and sliced
- 1 tbsp butter
- 1 tbsp curry powder, reserve 1/2 tsp out of this
- 1 cup frozen scallops, thawed (you can also use fresh, of course!)

- add the 1/2 tsp curry powder to the scallops, mix to coat well and let marinate at room temperature while you make the soup

- in a pot, melt the butter and saute the sliced shallot over medium-high heat until soft, then add the curry powder and cook for a minute over medium heat

- add the parsnips and broth and bring to a simmer over medium heat and cook for 20 minutes or until the parsnips are soft and cooked all the way through

- after 20 minutes, puree until smooth with a stick blender then add the thawed scallops and poach over low heat for about 5 minutes, or until the scallops are just cooked

Note: if using large scallops, you may want to slice them thinly before you poach them in the soup
- serve hot, sprinkled with a pinch of curry powder
- Enjoy!

Friday, March 21, 2014

Spicy roasted chickpeas

Ok, the first thing I need to do is warn you against the highly addictive nature of those fabulous roasted chickpeas.

Now that that's out of the way, here's how you can make the most delicious of delicious snacks.

Try them, they really are a treat :)

INGREDIENTS (yields about two half-pint mason jars):
- 2 15oz cans of chickpeas, rinsed and drained really well
- 1 tbsp smoked paprika
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1/2 tsp salt
- a pinch of ground pepper
- 2 tbsp olive oil

- preheat your oven at 425F
- in a large baking sheet, or baking dish, spread the drained chickpeas in a single layer and pat them with paper towels until very dry to the touch

Note: if they are even a little bit moist, they will not get crunchy. You can let them air dry an hour after  for better results
- in a bowl, mix the spices and the olive oil until well blended, add the dry chickpeas and stir until uniformly coated

- spread the spiced chickpeas in a single layer on a baking sheet or baking pan in a single layer and bake for 45 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes, until golden

Note: the chickpeas will still be a little soft when hot. They will get crunchier as they cool down
- let cool completely before storing them in an air tight container. They will keep for about a week in the fridge (if you can refrain yourself from wolfing them down, that is...)
- eat those right out of the jar (ahem), as a snack with a cold beer, or sprinkle them on soups or salads
- Enjoy!