Monthly Archives: June 2009

Butter Pecan Caramel Cupcakes

For my birthday I invited all of my friends to toast me at the Bourbon bar in Brooklyn. It took me a long time to think of the type of cupcake would go best with Bourbon but then it became crystal clear. Caramel will match the caramel tones in the Bourbon and butter pecan will pair great with the smoky notes.

Vanilla Cake:
2 3/4 cups flour
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
¾ teaspoon baking soda
¾ teaspoon salt
2 cups sugar
½ cup butter flavored shortening
3 eggs
1 cup milk
2 tablespoons vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line cupcake pans with liners.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine all of the dry ingredients and stir to combine. Add the shortening, eggs, milk and vanilla and turn the mixer on low. Once the flour is combined turn the mixer on high and beat for at least 5 minutes so that the batter gets fluffy.

Pour the batter into the cupcake liners and bake for at least 35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Cool the cakes in the pan for 5 minutes transfer them to a wire rack and cool completely.

Once the cupcakes are cooled, cut a cone into the top of each cake. Cut off the point of the cone to form a cap for the whole in the cakes. Fill each cake with cooled caramel. Place the cap back on top of the caramel to seal. Cover with a mound of icing and sprinkle with chopped pecans.

1 cup sugar
½ cup cream
1 teaspoon sea salt

Heat the sugar in a heavy medium size saucepan on medium heat. Swirl the sugar occasionally until it liquefies and turns golden brown. Quickly add the cream and salt and return the mixture to the heat. Stir with a wooden spoon to combine. Let it boil to combine about 5 minutes. Set aside to cool.

Butter Pecan Icing:
½ cup egg whites
1 cup sugar
3 sticks butter, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoons butter flavoring
½ cup chopped pecans

Combine the egg whites and sugar in a metal bowl. Beat with a balloon whisk to combine. Place the bowl over a pot filled with water and heat on medium heat. Keep beating the eggs to dissolve the sugar and the mixture will start to thicken and turn white. When the grit is gone from the eggs, about 20 minutes later, transfer the egg whites to a stand mixer and beat on high to form soft peaks.

Fold the room temperature butter into the eggs and continue to beat on high. Add the salt, vanilla and butter flavoring and beat one last time to combine.


Southern Biscuits

When I visit my sister and brother-in-law I always like to cook a big Sunday breakfast. They love it when I make a giant tray of biscuits that they can feast on all week after I’m gone. This are a true southern staple.

Southern Biscuits
2 sticks butter, room temperature
4 cups flour
3 tablespoons baking powder
3 teaspoons salt
1 cup cream
1 cup whole milk
1 tablespoon butter, melted

Pre-heat the oven to 450 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, mix the butter, flour, baking powder and salt with a fork. Once the butter is fully incorporated into the flour and resembles course meal, add the cream and milk. Quickly mix the liquid into the dry ingredients and turn out onto a floured surface. Squeeze the dough together until it forms a full mound of dough. Roll the dough out with a rolling pin to 1-inch thickness. Using a glass or a biscuit cutter cut out biscuits and re-roll the dough after each round of cuts until the dough is all gone. Place the biscuits onto a silpat baking mat on a cookie sheet. The edges of the biscuits should touch. Paint the top of the biscuits with the melted better and a pastry brush. You can sprinkle the biscuits with parmesan cheese, cracked pepper or herbs if you want. Cook the biscuits in the middle of the oven for 20 minutes or until the biscuits are golden brown.

Miso Black Cod and Soba

My Valentine’s date this year was my best girlfriend Gaby. I went back to DC to give my sister a birthday and Valentine’s night out with her husband. We put my two cute nieces to bed and then I made a nice healthy meal for the two of us. It went great with rose Champaign!

Miso Black Cod
1 ½ lbs Black Cod, scaled and de-boned, skin on
Salt and pepper
1 clove garlic
¼ teaspoon grated ginger
2 tablespoons yellow miso
¼ cup chicken broth
1 tablespoon olive oil

Season the cod with the salt and pepper, garlic and ginger. Spread 1 tablespoon miso all over the fish. Heat the olive oil in a skillet on medium high. Place the fish in the pan skin down and cook until the skin is brown and crispy. Flip the fish and add the chicken broth and remaining tablespoon of miso. Mix the miso into the broth and cook until the fish is just cooked and the sauce has thickened.

Zucchini Soba Noodles
1 small zucchini
1 small sweet onion
1 package buckwheat soba noodles
soy sauce
sesame oil

Cut the zucchini into thin julienne strips. Put a pot of water on to boil for the noodles. Slice the onions very thin to match the zucchini. In a frying pan heat a tiny bit of the sesame oil. Add the veggies and season with a bit of soy sauce. Sautee the veggies until they are cooked but still crisp. Season the boiling water with a bit of salt and cook the soba noodles according to package directions. Immediately drain the noodles and mix in the veggies. Serve immediately as a bed for the cod. Spoon the extra sauce over the noodles.