Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Angel Cakes in Devil's Clothing

It seems as though every city and even some small towns have cupcake shops now. Like many people, I liked cupcakes even before this craze...baking and decorating them. I wanted to make chocolate cupcakes that were less sweet than the usual standard. I used some unconventional ingredients like almond flour to make these "devil's food" cupcakes, and cut down on the sugar. They came out with a light, spongy crumb and a very chocolaty flavor. They were pleasantly sweet and reminded me of some of the cakes in Japan where I found that many "sweets" were a lot less sweet than in America. The sweet white chocolate topping is a nice contrast to the light sweetness of the cake. If a frosting like unsweetened raspberry whipped cream were used, I may add in a few more tablespoons (2-4) of sugar to the cake mix. I have also pondered ways to make these cakes gluten free, I would guess that using only buckwheat and almond flours would work. The original idea for these "healthier" devil's food cakes came from King Arthur Flour's Whole Grain Baking book -- although my adaptation is very different.

Semisweet Devil's Food Cupcakes

1/2 cup cream (or softened butter)
1 and 1/3 cup plain, low fat yogurt
3/4-1 cup brown sugar
3/4 sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 cup no fat/no chol egg substitute (without flavorings)
1.5 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp chocolate extract (use more vanilla if you can't find this)
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup unbleached white flour
1 cup almond meal
1 cup unsweetened Dutch cocoa powder
1.5 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2/3 cup water

Mix the 1/3 cup yogurt and cream or butter with the sugars until smooth and creamy (I used a stand mixer with the all purpose attachment). Add the eggs/egg product mixing between each addition. Add the extracts and blend further. Mix the dry ingredients together in a separate bowl and add 1/3 at a time alternating with yogurt and mix each time. Add water and mix. Divide into 24 regular sized lined cupcake cups or 48 mini cupcake cups. Bake regular sized cupcakes for 14-16 min at 350 degrees. Bake mini cupcakes for 10-12 min at 350 degrees.

Use melted white chocolate or other frosting to decorate.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Snowed-in-Superbowl 2010

So, we were invited to a friend's apartment for the Superbowl. Even though they only live about 4 miles away, we were not sure we were going to make it because of the snow that has not been cleared from the roads and the limited metro service. Planning ahead, I bought ingredients for spinach and artichoke dip and made some cookies to bring over -- just in case. It turned out it wasn't possible to get there, so I made the super-bowl snacks anyway for myself and my husband-- we have quite a few cookies left, but all of my fabled Spinach and Artichoke dip is gone :) Below is the recipe, changed only slightly from it's original glory. Don't be afraid of the blue cheese in the mixture, it gives it "depth of flavor," as some might say :) Also pictured are some of last year's Superbowl cookies -- Go Steelers!

Phateline's Phamous Spinach and Artichoke Dip:

½ bag frozen spinach thawed and drained well (or whole bag fresh baby spinach, chopped, cooked and drained)
1 regular can artichoke hearts drained with a teaspoon of juices reserved for mixture (1/2 back frozen artichokes - thawed)
¾ cup mozzarella cheese
¼ cup soft crumbled blue cheese (go for a moist blue)
1 package of cream cheese softened (reg or lite)
1/4 cup of mayonnaise (reg or lite)
1 teaspoon of dried Italian Herb Mixture (just plain herb mixture, don't use a salt/garlic etc mix)
2 cloves of fresh roasted garlic
½ teaspoon of cayenne and/or your favorite hot sauce
½ teaspoon sea/kosher salt (don't use that throwaway Iodized !#$!)
½ teaspoon black pepper
teaspoon of fresh lime juice

handful of pine nuts (optional)
3 tablespoons of Parmesan cheese
¼ cup shredded mozzarella
(diced tomatoes or sliced green olives might make also nice toppings after baking)

Mix dip ingredients together with all purpose fitting of mixer; the garlic spinach and artichoke hearts should break up. Mix on Low for about 2-3 minutes until well blended. Mix for 30 seconds on high to further break up until smooth. I use my mixer, but you can even mix by hand, just make sure the spinach and artichokes are chopped well. Spread in a shallow ceramic baking dish (I used about a 6" by 8" by 3" deep) and top with toppings. Bake at 425 degrees for about 30 minutes (cover with foil half way). Serve with warm crusty bread, pita chips and veggies. Serves about six.

Not Your Grandma's Chicken and Noodles

We are still stuck in the apartment from the huge snowstorm. I decided to prepare an appropriately hearty treat for lunch, Chicken and Noodles. I tried to make this classic in an updated, and hopefully healthier, way. Don't get me wrong, I am a true believer in appropriately using traditional ingredients like butter and whole eggs, but "hi-test" is not always necessary (or healthy) for every meal. I used whole grains and low fat, low salt products. One may think that the lack of butter and extra salt is a sin, but this meal was delicious and flavorful without it.

"Not Your Grandma's" whole grain egg noodles:
3/4 cup whole wheat Flour
1/2 cup plus 2 Tbs unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 cup spelt flour (buckwheat flour is also appropriate)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup no fat/no chol egg product (without flavorings)
2 Tbs low fat milk
flour for dusting

Pour dry ingredients in a bowl and combine with a fork. Make a space in the middle of bowl and pour the egg and milk. Combine with the fork until moistened, being careful not to over mix. Dust mixture with flour until you are able to pick up the mixture and form a soft ball. It should be very sticky inside. Refrigerate for a half an hour (or more). Roll out on a floured surface to about 1/8 in thick and cut thin strips. Cook in a mixture of boiling water and low salt chicken stock for about 4 minutes. The noodles should be tender and fluffy. Free form dumplings would probably also work with this recipe. Serves 4-6 (we used about half the dough and it was more than enough for 2).

Chicken and vegetables for "Chicken and Noodles:"
1-2 sprays Olive oil cooking spray
1/4 cup yellow onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup celery, finely chopped
1/2 cup mushrooms, thinly sliced
1 Chicken cutlet (about 6-7 oz), thinly sliced - on the bias
1/2 of a small lemon
1/2 cup frozen peas
1/2 cup fresh carrots, thinly sliced (blanched in microwave for 2 min)
3/4 cup green beans (blanch if fresh)
2 tsp dried thyme (or fresh)
1/2-3/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4-1/2 tsp cumin
pinch of nutmeg
black pepper to taste
1-1.5 cups low salt chicken stock (for deglazing)
1 tsp olive oil (for gravy)
1 tsp flour (for gravy)

Spray a pan with the cooking spray, heat on med-high heat until sizzling. Add onions and celery, cook until almost translucent deglazing as needed. Add mushrooms and continue to cook for about 3 minutes, saute and deglaze as needed. Add chicken and continue to saute and deglaze, cover for about 2 minutes. Add spices. Add carrots and green beans, continue to saute and deglaze for another 2 min. Squeeze lemon over the mixture. Add peas and cook through. Add enough chicken stock for there to be about a 1/4 inch on the bottom of the pan. Move the mixture to the sides of the pan, leaving a pool of liquid in the middle. Add already combined olive oil and flour to the liquid and mix vigorously until a thin gravy is formed. Sprinkle with black pepper and serve over noodles. These are vegetables we had on hand, use anything you like. Serves 2.

Saturday, February 6, 2010


Baking and cooking are two of my passions. I have baked from scratch for many years and enjoy tweaking and creating interesting recipes. Baking and decorating sugar cookies always makes me happy. I love to give them away for gifts or serve them to friends and family at parties. This Christmas I was into plaid and mittens and I made a couple of batches with these themes :) Spreading plain sugar cookies with jam and dipping them in dark chocolate also produces a decadent treat and a definite crowd-pleaser.

In the recent past I have also had the opportunity to make such treats as "brain cookies," mehndi themed wedding cake cookies, superbowl cookies and St. Patrick's day wedding anniversary cookies - the list goes on. Here are pictures of just a few...

Dinner For Two

There is an epic snowstorm outside. After taking a walk through the calm white streets, I thought that my husband and I should continue to savor the childhood feeling of a "snow day." Fondue immediately came into my mind and soon enough the vintage Alpine treat was a reality.

This time we used a mild Gouda and lite Swiss cheeses. It was delicious with apples, bread and a simple salad. Warm fondue on this cold day made for a cozy, early Valentine's supper.

Finally - an addieblog!

It has been a long time coming. Here's to pretty things and life's little pleasures. I am here to share my happy and creative moments. Enjoy! Now I have to figure out how to make my background gingham...