Monday, May 30, 2011

Shrimp in a pig's blanket

So while you were grillin' and chillin' this weekend I...wasn't. However, despite my weekend commitments, I managed to throw together a tasty snack that would have totally worked on the grill (skewered!). Since I was at home, I made it on the stove top in a skillet. Like the pig and fig, the pork and shrimp combo was super delish, if not as rhyme worthy. Dig it!

Prosciutto Wrapped Shrimp

12 (16/20) shrimp, peeled and de-veined, tails on
6 slices (2 - 3.5 ounces) thinly sliced prosciutto
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 lemon, cut into wedges

1. Preheat the oven to broil. In a medium bowl, toss the shrimp in the olive oil, salt, and pepper.

2. Cut each piece of prosciutto in half lengthwise. Wrap each shrimp in a 1/2 slice of prosciutto. Place in an oven safe pan. Broil for 3 minutes and then turn the shrimp to cook on the other side until crisp. Alternatively, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the shrimp and cook until the shrimp is pink and firm, and until the prosciutto is crisp, 3 minutes per side. Serve with lemon wedges. Serves 4 as an appetizer.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Weekend Update

I suppose that most of you are counting down the minutes until you can leave the office today. (157!) Unless you left last night? Lucky! I had the opportunity to spend the weekend at the beach, but I've squandered it to be locked up in my apartment reading and memorizing everything there is to know about sparkling wine. It would be better if I was also sampling everything I needed to know about sparkling wine, but I'm not sure about the quality of my information retention if I did. Maybe I could give it a try...

Anyway...since I won't be doing anything exciting this holiday weekend, all I have are memories of the past weekend spent tromping through the woods with Carmeliza and friends. (The mosquitos are already out BT dubs!) Since we spent ample time hiking and working up an appetite, we hit up a local butcher for provisions so that we could hang out at the house to grill and chill.

We started by sampling four sparkling wines. (There were four of us and I had to study!) Luckily the rain held off, so we grilled up a ton o' meat products starting with some hunks of pork belly cooked up with fresh figs. Can't go wrong with some pig & fig! We followed up the pig with some cow and grilled up some super tasty rib eyes that were drizzled with the rendered pork fat from the cooked pork belly. Oh yes we did! What will you be grilling this weekend??

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Drink Up!

It's only National Wine Day for a few more hours. (You don't have to ask me twice.)

Tuesday, May 17, 2011


In spite of my efforts to be shredded by summer, I offered to make cupcakes for a baby shower this past weekend. What does one thing have to do with the other? Nothing unless one eats all of the 48 cupcakes one makes. OK I did have one, but only to make sure that they were edible. They were. The cupcakes were happily consumed at the party (by others!) and I even managed to give away all of the leftovers. Success!

I went with chocolate (obvs!) and yellow cake varieties to please the masses. To simplify, I made one frosting recipe for all of the cupcakes: Cream Cheese. So delish. I considered adding some cocoa to half of the frosting so that the chocolate cupcakes looked slightly different, but that just sounded like another bowl to wash and I already had dishpan hands.

This was also my first time piping frosting onto anything. The biggest problem was not piping the frosting directly into my mouth...but I also found that working with the frosting at the right temperature was a bit of a challenge since I had made it the day before, so was working with it straight from the fridge. If it's too cool, the pastry bag is too hard to squeeze and if it's too warm, the frosting gets all mushy, technically speaking.

There are tons of great sources for decorating supplies. For the glitter and sprinkles I ordered from The Party Works and for some additional baby-esque decorations I used Lucks Dec-Ons, which The Party Works also sells. All in all I think that they would have stood up to what I could have purchased from a bakery. In my mind.

Lemon Cupcakes
(Adapted from Martha Stewart)

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened slightly
2 cups sugar
4 large eggs
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
1 cup milk

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line twenty-four muffin cups (standard size) with paper or foil liners, and set aside. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl, and set aside.

2. Combine the butter and sugar in a large bowl (or bowl of a stand mixer). Beat until pale and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition, then add the lemon zest. Mix in the flour mixture and milk in three alternating batches, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. After each addition, beat until just combined, scraping down sides and bottom of the bowl as necessary.

3. Fill the prepared muffin cups with about 1/4 cup batter. Bake, rotating the pans once, until the cupcakes are just golden brown and spring back to the touch, 18 to 20 minutes. Let the cupcakes cool in the tins, about 5 minutes, then remove them to wire racks. Repeat with any remaining batter. Let cool completely before frosting. (See recipe below.) Makes about 24 cupcakes.

Double Chocolate Cupcakes

(Adapted from Gourmet)

3 ounces fine-quality semisweet chocolate
1 1/2 cups hot brewed coffee
3 cups sugar
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch process)
2 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
3 large eggs
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups well-shaken buttermilk
3/4 teaspoon vanilla

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line thirty-six muffin cups (standard size) with paper or foil liners, and set aside.

2. Finely chop the chocolate and combine with the hot coffee in a medium bowl. Let the mixture stand, stirring occasionally, until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth.

3. In a large bowl sift together the sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. In another large bowl use an electric (or stand) mixer to beat the eggs until thickened slightly and lemon colored (about 3 minutes with a standing mixer or 5 minutes with a hand-held mixer). Slowly add the oil, buttermilk, vanilla, and melted chocolate mixture to the eggs, beating until well combined. Add the sugar mixture and beat on medium speed until just combined.

4. Fill the prepared muffin cups with about 1/4 cup batter. (If you are only making 2 dozen cupcakes, fill a 9-inch round cake pan with the leftover batter.) Bake, rotating the pans once, until a cake tester inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes.

Let the cupcakes cool completely in the tins, then remove them to wire racks to frost. (See recipe below.) The cupcakes can be made 1 day ahead and kept, wrapped well in plastic wrap, at room temperature. Makes about 36 cupcakes (or 24 cupcakes plus one 9-inch cake).

Cream Cheese Frosting

2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, room temperature
1 1/2 pounds (about 6 cups) confectioners' sugar, sifted
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1. Beat the butter and cream cheese with a mixer on medium-high speed until fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Reduce the speed to low. Add the sugar, about 1 cup at a time, and then add the vanilla. Mix until smooth. Makes about 6 cups.

NOTE: This should be enough for both batches of cupcakes, but it depends on your frosting to cupcake ratio! If you need a little more, I sometimes make cream cheese frosting by this simple ratio: 1 stick butter, 1 package
(8 oz) cream cheese, 1 box (16 oz) powdered sugar. Dash vanilla. Mix. It's a little sweeter but doesn't require any measuring.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Getting Toasted

I used to eat salmon that I made in my toaster oven at least twice a week. (Like Sonja!) That little Betty Crocker oven has since been demoted due to lack of counter space, but it might explain my off the chart HDL cholesterol levels. 50 - 60mg/dL is desirable in women to help protect against heart disease. I clocked in at over 100. Yay Omega-3s! Or genes. Or something.

Anyway, I haven't been eating quite as much salmon as I used to, but then I came across a recipe for grilled salmon infused with Indian spices that I couldn't pass up. I learned early on that grilling is a really bad idea unless I want the fire department to show up (maybe!) or prefer that my apartment smells like a restaurant kitchen for over a week. My solution in this scenario was to broil the salmon. I coated a fillet in the spicy paste and then
t̶h̶r̶e̶w̶ ̶i̶t̶ gently placed it under the flame to cook and to develop a nice crunchy crust. It was SO good that I am tempted to give my toaster oven another chance...except that it is buried behind (several) bottles of wine. I'll have to get through those first.

Indian Spiced Salmon with Raita (Grilled OR Broiled)
Adapted from Bon Appétit

1/2 cup coarsely chopped peeled fresh ginger
1/4 cup vegetable oil (plus more as needed)
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon garam masala
2 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 (2-pound) center-cut piece of boneless salmon fillet, skin on
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup plain whole-milk yogurt
3/4 cup finely chopped peeled, seeded cucumber
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro, plus more for garnish
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

1. Prepare a grill (medium-high heat) or broiler. Purée the ginger, 1/4 cup oil, 1 tablespoon garam masala, garlic, coriander, and cumin in a blender or food processor until a coarse purée forms. Put the salmon into a baking dish or broiler pan and season with salt and pepper. Coat salmon with ginger pureé. Let marinate at room temperature for 15 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, stir the yogurt, cucumber, cilantro, lime juice, and remaining 1 teaspoon garam masala in a medium bowl. Season the raita to taste with salt and pepper.

3. Brush the grill rack with oil if using. Brush off the marinade for easier grilling, or leave it on for a better crust and for broiling. Grill the salmon, turning once, until it just begins to flake in center, 4 - 5 minutes per side. OR broil the salmon, skin side down, for about 7 minutes (depending on the thickness of the fillet) until it flakes when tested with a fork. Transfer the salmon to a platter. Garnish with cilantro and serve with the raita. Serves 4.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Double Magnum

Attention: The most amazing frozen food on a stick that you will EVER enjoy has arrived on US soil! Many thanks to the people at Magnum for airing the Rachel Bilson commercial during Gossip Girl (don't judge!) and bringing me this breaking news. Watch for yourself below. (Should Rach appear on GG as Blair's new brunette arch rival? Me thinks...Totes!)

I thought for a moment that I was seeing things. This is my favorite ice cream snack of ALL TIME. I first discovered it in Portugal in 2001 and have waited 10 long years to see it in my very own city. (I haven't actually seen it yet...though I haven't really looked...I'm currently off fun food, but that's another story...) Check out the photo (below) that I took of the awesome ad for it while I was in Portugal. Since then, I did manage to thoroughly enjoy a double chocolate Magnum while in Italy last summer, but it just wasn't the same as the caramel version which is SOOOOO GOOOOOODDDD!!!!

Lifesize Magnum in Portugal

In case you still aren't convinced that you need to chow down on this tasty treat ASAP, what other branded ice cream treat (on a stick no less!) could get Karl Lagerfeld to direct a couple of promotional spots for it. NONE, that's who! (Thanks to Megan for pointing this out to me.) He must love it as much as me! Check out the first of his films below.

Originally premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival, (and now here) you can see more of the Karl Lagerfeld directed, Bilson starring, original film series here. See you in the frozen food aisle!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Cuatro de Mayo

OMG!!! I can't believe that I completely forgot that tomorrow is Cinco de Mayo! This is my holiday! I mean, I've thrown some pretty mean Cinco de Mayo parties in my day, but then I got tired of the prep and clean up. I'm old.


The Wrinkly Slut

I have a really great margarita recipe to share as well, but since I forgot about the holiday, I forgot to make it! Maybe I will remember on diez de Mayo. Don't worry. It will be perfect all summer long! In the meantime, check out these recipes from The New York Times and peruse some of my themed recipes below (and above!). From good old guacamole to my blog originator, The Wrinkly Slut, I have some tasty treats for mañana. Or, if you're planning to go out to sample one of the many margarita options, be sure to stop by the Eater/The Little Owl pop-up taco extravaganza. I need to get myself over there...

Potato, Pepper & Chorizo Empanadas

Black Bean Dip

Shrimp & Jalapeño Quesadillas