Monday, January 19, 2009

Peppermint Cupcakes

In the last two weeks I have conducted several baking experiments that I was too embarrassed to post on the blog. I made my first ever Angel Food cake with the new Kitchen Aid Mixer, but it stuck to the pan and came out in pieces. I tried a double layer chocolate cake with chocolate frosting with mini chocolate chips and vanilla frosting on top, but it was not very photogenic. I also made a quite decadent and a batch of brownies with cream cheese and chocolate chips, but they crumbled in a million pieces after I pulled them out of the pan. All of the recipes tasted good, but I have a lot of work to do on my finishing. Finally last week, I managed to successfully make a batch of peppermint cupcakes from a cupcake recipe book that my good friend Stephanie gave me for my birthday last year. These were a better site to see then my previous experiments. The recipe (using a box cake mix) made very moist cupcakes with just enough mint to be refreshing. I combine the cupcakes with the regular old canned vanilla frosting and some sprinkles and that’s it.

What you need:
1 package white cake mix
1 1/3 cup water
3 egg whites
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
½ teaspoon peppermint extract
3 to 4 drops red liquid food coloring
1 container prepared vanilla frosting
½ cup crushed peppermint candies (I used sprinkles because I didn’t have peppermints)
Muffin Pan
Paper baking cups

1. Preheat oven 350 degrees and line muffin tin with baking cups.
2. Prepare cake mix as usual and add peppermint extract and food coloring while beating with electric mixer.
3. Spoon batter in muffin cups and bake 20-22 minutes.
4. Remove and cool on cooling rack
5. Spread frosting and sprinkle with crushed candies (or sprinkles).

Friday, January 9, 2009

Photo Shoot

The weekend after Thanksgiving, Evan and I went to visit my brother in NYC. It was a quick weekend trip, but we got to see his new apartment, did a little shopping in Soho, met a Super Model and had brunch at the diner where Kelis shot her Milkshake music video. (The video does not depict the people who actually work there and it is kind of funny to watch it after being there.) It was a really nice weekend despite the fact that is was rainy and cold. I was just happy to spend some time with my brother in his world. While at the apartment, Brad took some photos of me and printed them along with photos of Chris to give to the family as Christmas gifts. In this photo my brother was trying to tell me how to pose like a model. This is my favorite of the bunch. My funny face is absolutely typical of how I am if my brother (or anyone) is trying to tell me how to do something. I can’t wait to go for another visit in February.

Thanks again, Brad. These photos are wonderful.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Top Chef - I can't get enough

I don’t know why, but certain television shows I will watch over and over again. I’ve seen each episode of the current season of Top Chef at least four times. I watch all the reruns on Bravo and recently caught a rerun on NBC. I absolutely love this season! I can't wait for tonights episode. Last season I didn’t feel a connection with any particular chef, so I probably only watched each episode once or twice. I wasn’t glued to the TV every Wednesday. I thought Spike and Andrew were entertaining, but there wasn’t anyone that I would be genuinely upset about being eliminated.

This season, I get physically nervous that one of my favorites will be sent home. I’ve already lost some of the chefs that I liked. I know it is the nature of the show, but I got a little teary when Richard was eliminated during the Foo Fighters Challenge and it was sad to see Danny go because I thought he was fun. My favorites are hanging in there so far, but I can tell it is going to be an intense winter. I love Jeff because he looks like Chase from House. I am a big fan of Carla because I think she is interesting and I like her commentary. Stefan and Fabio are both adorable and European, so they need to stay. Ariane is fun to watch and I’m glad that she keeps winning after her struggling beginning. The other chefs aren’t as close to my heart, but I was relieved when no one was sent home on the last episode. Tonight is a double elimination, so I’m glad I had some time to mentally prepare. I will be pretty bummed if one or more of my picks is given the boot.

I do know that Top Chef is a reality show and I really need to get a life, but thank goodness there is something on TV that I can watch now that Project Runway has disappeared and Heros is on a break.

Also, a BIG thank you to my little brother for giving me a copy of the Top Chef Cookbook this Christmas. I’ll have Evan making us meals from it in no time.