• 29May
    Diego, Quick get the Van - Boots has been kidnapped...


    Diego, Quick get the Van – Boots has been kidnapped…


    It’s cupcake madness in the TDK kitchen – we want the perfect topping for the 3 year old birthday girl. This recipe is based on Billy’s Bakery Chocolate Buttercream. The original called for semisweet chocolate but I opted for bittersweet and added a pinch of sea salt.

    This recipe makes about 3 cups of frosting.

    Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

    1 cup butter — room temp (2 sticks)
    6 ounces bittersweet chocolate — melted and cooled
    2 tablespoons whole milk
    3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
    1/8 teaspoon sea salt
    2 1/2 cups confectioner’s sugar (powdered sugar)

    In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter until smooth and creamy, 2 to 3 minutes.

    With mixer on low speed, add chocolate until just combined. Scrape sides of bowl as needed.

    Add milk, vanilla, sea salt and half the sugar; mix until well combined. Add remaining sugar.

    Mix until smooth and creamy.

    Store up to 2 days at room temperature in an airtight container.

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  • 28May

    take the cake!

    I’m not much of a baker – at least of the finer crumb cakes. The pressure, oh, the pressure to make cute tasty cupcakes for an up coming 3 year old’s birthday.

    The search was on – I made a few recipes – hands down and belly up -the best recipe is from Billy’s Bakery in New York City. He had done a demo back in 2006 on Martha Stewart so I’m a bit behind but better late than never.

    Here is the recipe as I made it. Be sure to use cake flour –  the first time I used pastry flour – not the same as cake flour. The pastry flour version did not have as fine a crumb. This recipe makes 30 (you can halve the recipe)

    Billy’s Vanilla Vanilla Cupcakes

    1 3/4 cups cake flour
    1 1/4 cups flour, all-purpose
    2 cups sugar
    1 tablespoon baking powder
    3/4 teaspoon sea salt
    1 cup butter — 2 sticks, room temp soft, cut into small pieces
    4 large eggs — room temp
    1 cup whole milk
    1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

    Pre-heat oven to 350F.  Line cupcake pan with liners.

    Combine dry ingredients in bowl of electric mixer. Add butter pieces, mixing until incorporated into the flour forming pieces no larger than grains of rice.

    In another bowl, beat together eggs, milk and vanilla.

    At medium speed, mix in wet ingredients in 3 parts. Scrape sides of bowl after each addition. Batter should be smooth. (I mixed by hand for one test batch and it worked out fine)

    Use #20 scoop to fill cups or use a spoon to 2/3 full.

    Bake 17-20 minutes. Rotate pans at 10-12 minutes. Cool on wire rack.

    Frost with your favorite buttercream recipe.

    Interesting to note that this method of mixing the butter with the dry ingredients and then adding the liquid reduces your chances of over mixing the batter resulting in a tough cake. The butter coats the flour preventing the gluten from forming.

  • 14May

    I’ll be doing a cooking demo next Wednesday at the Women’s Cancer Resource Center as part of the monthly ‘Cooking Club’ series that happens the third Wednesday of every month. Pick up the Summer 2009 issue of Edible East Bay to read about a past Cooking Club class on Mushrooms.

    The topic for this month is ‘Rice.’ Here is one of the recipes – albeit not the healthiest of the bunch but a mighty tasty treat.

    Lemon Cinnamon Arborio Rice Pudding

    2 1/2 cup water
    1 qt of whole milk
    pinch of sea salt
    3 each cinnamon sticks
    zest of 2 lemons
    1 cup Arborio rice
    4 egg yolks
    2/3 cup organic sugar
    1 t vanilla extract

    Bring milk and water to a boil.  Add salt, cinnamon stick and zest.   Stir in 1 cup Arborio rice.  Stir often to keep rice from sticking to the bottom of the pot.  In a small bowl, blend yolks and sugar together with a whisk.  When rice is cooked, ‘temper’ yolk sugar mixture by stirring a ½ cup of the hot rice mixture into the yolks. Then stir in this yolk mixture to the hot rice.  Stir in vanilla. Pour into individual bowls or one large bowl. Chill before serving.

  • 07May

    here is a tasty and healthy dip – a take on Romesco sauce…

    Roasted Red Pepper and Chickpea Dip

    10 oz of cooked garbanzo beans (from a 15 oz can)
    1 whole roasted red pepper (2.5 oz by wt)
    1/4 cup almond butter
    1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
    4 halves of sun dried tomato packed in olive oil
    2-3 cloves of garlic
    2 Tbs sherry wine vinegar
    1 teaspoon fresh thyme
    1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika (Spanish pimenton or sub plain paprika)
    1/2 teaspoon sea salt
    1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

    Put all ingredients into the bowl of a food processor and blend until smooth. Add a bit of water if needed.
    Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.
    Serve with vegetable sticks, crackers or tortilla chips

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  • 05May

    Crock Pot Chili

    I like to make a big batch of this chili on the weekends and freeze in two portions containers. This chili with and a big salad rounds out the meal on a busy weeknight.

    When shopping for ingredients try to get low sodium and organic brands.

    2 cups or 1 pound of your favorite dried beans (ex. pinto, black bean, navy, kidney)
    2 Tb. lemon juice or vinegar

    1 lb. ground grass fed ground beef or naturally raised turkey (more or less if you like)
    1 can (14.5 oz.) diced or crushed tomatoes, undrained – fire roasted is nice
    1 jar (16 oz.) Chunky Salsa or other favorite salsa – low sodium and no sugar added!
    2 cups of water
    2 tsp. chili powder
    1 tsp. ground cumin
    sea salt to taste
    Hot Sauce to taste

    OVERNIGHT, SOAK beans in 5 cups of water and the 2 TB of lemon juice or vinegar. The next day, drain beans.

    Brown ground meat in skillet on medium-high heat until cooked through, stirring occasionally. Put into the Crock Pot along with the remaining ingredients – tomatoes, salsa, water and seasonings. Stir Well.

    Cook on HIGH for 5 to 6 hours or LOW for 9 to 10 hours.

    Serve with optional garnishes: Shredded cheddar or jack cheese, sour cream, sliced green onions, diced fresh tomatoes

    To complete the meal, serve chili with a salad and steamed vegetables.

    · Use ground chicken or lamb or buffalo or vegetarian with no meat
    · Any combination of beans work well – for a twist try garbanzos or black eyed peas
    · Add ground chipotle chile to taste to give the chili a spicy smokiness
    · The last 20-30 minutes of cooking, add a bag of frozen corn or spinach for extra nutrition


    This can also be made in a 6 quart pot on the stove. Cook time would probably be an hour or two.


  • 03May

    R and M invited the family over to their new house for a spring roll out. Everyone had a great time rolling up their own tasty bite.

    Here’s a Blue Print for

    Fresh Spring Rolls

    Rice Paper Wrappers (preferably a brand that has tapioca flour in it)

    Suggested fillings – use to your taste:

    Protein: tofu cut into strips, cooked shrimp split in half, strips of pork

    Noodles: rice vermicelli or mung bean noodles

    Vegetables: mung bean sprouts, lettuce cut into strips or baby lettuce mix, julienne or grated carrot, cucumber, red pepper strips

    For fun: apple, pear, jicama or mango

    Herbs: basil, thai basil, mint, cilantro

    The How To:
    Prepare proteins. Cook noodles to package instructions Prepare Vegetables & Herbs. You can keep these separate on a large tray or mix together in a big bowl.

    To make rolls: Fill a bowl with warm water. Dip one wrapper at a time into the water for a few seconds to soften. Lay the wrapper on a clean dry chopping board or dinner plate. The rice paper should become pliable within a few seconds.

    In a row across the middle, put slices of tofu or 3 prawns if using, some noodles, veggies and a few leaves of herbs. Leave about 1-1 1/2 inches on each side.

    Fold the sides inward, then start to roll tightly and firmly from the end that is near to you into a cylinder, enclosing the filling completely.

    Repeat with the remaining ingredients. Serve immediately with dipping sauce(s).

    Dipping Sauces

    Nuoc Cham

    2 clove of garlic, crushed
    2 tbsp sugar
    2 tbsp lime juice
    3 tbsp fish sauce
    3 tbsp rice vinegar
    1 tsp red chili paste (Sambal)
    some chopped cilantro (optional)

    Mix all the ingredients and stir well until the sugar dissolves. Then, stir in cilantro.

    Quick Peanut Sauce

    1/2 cup crunchy peanut butter
    2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
    2 tsp tamari
    1 tsp red chile paste (Sambal)
    1 clove garlic, minced (optional)
    1/2 cup water

    In a small bowl, stir together peanut butter, tamari, hoisin sauce, chile paste and garlic until well mixed. Gradually whisk in water until smooth and creamy.

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