Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Asparagus Rolls

I'm back from my hiatus!  Sorry I've been remiss on the blog posting...as Rose so delightfully pointed out a few posts ago, I've been busy getting a new and exciting project started!

Anyhoo, Easter is almost upon us, which obviously makes me think of Easter food.  I mean, hello - obvious connection!  Here is one of my favorite appetizers of all time - it sounds a little odd, but try it...I promise you'll love it too.  Plus, asparagus is such a springtime vegetable - go for it!

1.5 lb loaf bread (I use sliced white bread, but you can use wheat or whatever you'd like)

8 ounces cream cheese, softened

3 tablespoons horseradish

14 and 1/2 ounce can asparagus spears (or you can use fresh asparagus spears that you precooked)

butter, melted


Remove crusts from bread, and roll bread in both directions with a rolling pin to flatten.  Mash the cream cheese and horseradish together, and blend thoroughly.  Spread the cheese mixture thinly on the bread.  Place one asparagus spear at the edge of the slice of bread, and roll up tightly.  Cut the roll into one inch pieces and place on a greased baking sheet.  Brush lightly with butter and sprinkle with paprika.  Refrigerate until ready to bake.  Bake 10-12 minutes at 350 degrees until golden brown.

Garlic Parmesan Bread Bites

Drop whatever it is you're doing and make this. I'm serious. It's totally worth it. This is so easy and delicious! I think I'll probably make this everytime we have Italian (or you know, when I want an awesome snack).

First, pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees and cut up one of those Pillsbury cans of Italian bread dough into bite-sized pieces. When you're done cutting the dough up, in a cast iron skillet, melt a nice big chunk of butter (about 3 Tablespoons) and add 2 nice rounded teaspoons of minced garlic, 1/4 cup of grated parmesan, and 2 teaspoons of Italian dipping spices (the kind with herbs and salt that you mix into olive oil). Once the butter is melted and everything is mixed in, turn off the heat. Stir in the pieces of dough and arrange them in one layer on the bottom of the pan so all the pieces are touching. Put the pan into the oven for 25-30 minutes until you get a nice golden color on top. The house smells awesome as this is baking :-) When it comes out, you have this incredibly addictive, super delicious pull-apart bread. It's good later, but it's the best when you eat it hot out of the oven. Enjoy!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Weird comfort foods

This post is going to be really random, but I'm curious and I hope I'm not the only weirdo here. Are there certain foods that seem totally gross to everyone else, but you think are awesome? Last night I made my mom's not-so-famous "fancy hors d'oeuvres" She and I have been eating this concoction since I was little. It stemmed from having bare cupboards and making up a snack when she was a kid. When she was 8 she entered it into a cookbook, and...it made it in! Ready? This is going to sounds really nasty, but I love it...saltines with mayonaise and a pickle slice. Horrible, right? Please tell me there is something you love that no one else can relate to. Stories, please!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

If you like pina coladas...

and gettin caught in the rain (excuse me while I burst into song...we'll get to the cupcakes in a minute...)

ahem. now I'm ready...these tasty buggers were a big hit at the birthday party I brought them to. I can't think of anyone who stopped at just one... When you make these (because I know you will - who can resist?) give them a day to rest - they were much better the day after I made them. I was a bit disappointed when I first tested them out, but after they sat overnight...yummo. Also, don't judge on cake alone. The texture is more muffin-y than cake-y, but you need it to be firm to stand up to the big old glob of pudding you're going to put in the middle (and you all know my feelings about things with pudding, right? If not, refer back to my eggnog pie recipe :-) )

makes 24 cupcakes

Pineapple-Coconut Cake

2-2/3 cups all-purpose flour
2-1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 stick of butter, room temperature
1-1/3 cup granulated sugar
4 large eggs, room temperature
2 large egg yolks, room temperature
1 cup crushed pineapple in juice, well drained (save the juice)

1/3 cup of the pineapple juice you just drained off

1/3 cup coconut milk

Preheat oven to 350F. Prepare cupcake pan with liners.

In a separate bowl, sift the flour, baking powder, and baking soda.

In a stand mixer, combine butter and sugar and beat on medium-high speed until fluffy. Add the whole eggs in and then add the egg yolks one at a time, beating well after each addition. Decrease to low speed and add the crushed pineapple. Beat in the flour mixture in 3 parts, alternating with the pineapple juice/coconut milk, beginning and ending with dry.

Fill cupcake liners about 3/4 full. Bake for 20 minutes.

While you are baking the cupcakes, you can now start on the really good stuff. To make the coconut pudding for the centers, make instant vanilla pudding according to the pudding pie instructions on the box and then stir in a few teaspoons of coconut extract to taste. I needed more than I thought I would, probably about 3-1/2 teaspoons before it was sufficiently coconutty. I also made a batch with the jello instant coconut cream pudding mix. Don't go down this road. Use the vanilla and coconut extract. It was just vanilla pudding with coconut bits in it. It did not have the flavor of coconut, it was just vanilla pudding with a weird texture. blah.

After you get done stirring up the coconut deliciousness, move on to making the crack. Wait...I mean the pineapple-rum whipped cream. Go ahead and try to restrain yourself from this fluffy bowl of heaven. Won't. Happen.  In a stand mixer, whisk together 3 cups of heavy whipping cream and 4 Tablespoons of sugar. Start on low and bump it up to as fast as it will go without splattering. Continue until you have stiff peaks, but don't let it go so far that you turn it into butter. Fold in pineapple rum, I think I put in about 4 Tablespoons.

Now that all your beautiful golden cupcakes are cool, cut a cone out of the center and cut off the point (and then remove some of the middle too - we're filling this sucker with pudding, don't be cheap) Add a nice big spoonful or two of the coconut creme filling. Put the top of the cupcake cone back over the filling. Pipe the pineapple rum whipped cream on top and then garnish with toasted coconut, a cherry, and if you're feeling really fiesty, a drink umbrella .

Take a big bite and signal to the pool boy that you need lotioned. (or other beach fantasy of choice) :-)

We're baaaack

Whew! It's definitely been a while. Sorry for taking such a long break. Jenny and I have been up to lots of other projects that unfortunately left little time for our poor, neglected bloggy...

I have found that I may need an ebay intervention - once the moolah starts rollin in, it's addictive! I've been an ebay nut lately, putting up new auctions every few days and going to the post office almost daily. Jenny has been a busy bee starting up a much more exciting business venture, and I highly suggest you check it out at www.cardinalphotographync.com This girl is a genius behind the camera! If you live in the Charlotte, NC area, trust me - you don't want to miss out hiring her for your next event. (yes, a shameless plug, but she's my BFF and she is AWESOME.)

I'll try to post more regularly now that I have a handle on the other stuff going on, and I'll start off with some kick butt cupcakes I made the other day. It's a mix of several different recipes I found and then tweaked.  Stay tuned :-)