Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Roasted Beet Salad with Citrus & Pistachios

I don't know about you, but I wasn't a very healthy eater around the holidays this year.  I tried to get back on track this month, and this salad certainly fit the bill.  It's healthy but full of interesting flavors.  Also, let's talk about pistachios.  I've never eaten them much before, but my mom had a bowl out at holidays, and yum....I am hooked.  What a delicious snack.

- 1 medium size golden beet
- 1 medium size red beet
- 5 oz. arugula
- 2 cups packed baby spinach
- 3/4 cup roasted salted pistachios
- 1 whole pint grapefruit, cut into segments
- 1/4 cup crumbled Gorgonzola or blue cheese crumbles

For Dressing:
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 3/4 extra virgin olive oil

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Scrub beets and trim any roots or stem.  Place in a small glass baking dish and sprinkle with a small amount of olive oil and a dash of salt and pepper.  Cover with foil and bake for 1 hour.  After an hour, test to see if beets are tender.  If not, bake for an additional 15-30 minutes or until tender.  Remove from oven and cool completely.  Once beets are cool to the touch, rub skins with a paper towel or your hands to remove the skins.  Slice into 1/2 cubes and set aside.

2.  Make dressing.  Mix all ingredients except for olive oil in a small mixing bowl.  Once combined, slowly add oil while using a whisk to incorporate.  Keep whisking as you slowly add the oil until dressing takes on a creamy consistency and all oil is incorporated.

3.  Assemble greens and all salad toppings.  Serve and drizzle with dressing.

I hope you enjoy this salad as much as I did!

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Best Ever Chocolate Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Frosting

I've been looking for a good chocolate cupcake recipe and I think I found it.  This one is chocolaty, moist, and overall just delicious.  If you like the combination of chocolate and peanut butter, you will love this frosting.  I couldn't get enough of it.  I won't tell you how many days in a row I had one of these cupcakes...

{ Recipe adapted from Ina Garten.  Find it here }

- 12 tablespoons (1-1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 2/3 cup granulated sugar
- 2/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
- 2 extra large eggs, at room temperature
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
- 1/2 cup sour cream, at room temperature
- 2 tablespoons brewed coffee
- 1-3/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup good quality cocoa powder
- 1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt

Peanut Butter Frosting Ingredients:
- 2 cups confectioners sugar
- 2 cups creamy peanut butter
- 10 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1-1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2/3 cup heavy cream
- Chocolate sprinkles for decorating, optional

1.  Several items need to be at room temperature before baking.  make sure to set these out ahead of time.

2.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line cupcake pans with paper liners (16-18).

3.  In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and 2 sugars on high speed until light and fluffy, approximately 5 minutes. Lower the speed to medium, add the eggs 1 at a time, then add the vanilla and mix well. In a separate bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, sour cream, and coffee. In another bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt. On low speed, add the buttermilk mixture and the flour mixture alternately in thirds to the mixer bowl, beginning with the buttermilk mixture and ending with the flour mixture. Mix only until blended. Combine with a rubber spatula to be sure it's completely blended.

4.  Divide the batter among the cupcake pans (Use 1 scoop of a standard size ice cream scoop for each cupcake). Bake in the middle of the oven for 20 to 25 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes, remove from the pans and cool on a wire rack. Cool completely before frosting.

5.  Frosting:  Place the confectioners' sugar, peanut butter, butter, vanilla, and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Mix on medium-low speed until creamy, scraping down the bowl with a rubber spatula as you work. Add the cream and beat on high speed until the mixture is light and smooth.

6.  Frost each cupcake and enjoy! I used a piping bag with a Wilton 1M frosting tip.  

* Makes 16-18 cupcakes.