Sunday, May 8, 2011

Today I made...


Ingredients for this weekend's food projects included, citric acid, ladyfingers and agar agar. Don't worry, only the ladyfingers were intended for the tiramisu. I made this with good ol' cream, sugar, eggs, mascarpone and coffee. This was the first time I've made tiramisu and I don't know what took me so long--super easy and delish! I used this recipe (the only changes I made were swapping vanilla sugar for the regular sugar and amaretto for the rum). Did you make your mom something nice for Mother's Day?

The strata of tiramisu.

Happy Mother's Day to all of you moms; and soon-to-be moms; and two moms; and two dads; and Mother Earth! Smooches.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Uno, dos, tres, cuatro...

margarita cupcakes2
Pin It
Oh-me-oh, oh-my-oh, it's Cinco de Mayo! Between Easter and Mother's Day and lots of birthdays, Cinco de Mayo totally snuck up on me. Tragically, I have nothing going on for this totally random holiday that isn't even really celebrated in Mexico. There is not even a Corona in my fridge. Boo. But a couple of years ago I was much better prepared for el Cinco and made these delish margarita cupcakes!

The cake is a basic 1-2-3-4 cake (1 cup of butter, 2 of sugar, 3 of flour, 4 eggs) with the additions of lime juice, zest and sotol. What, you were expecting tequila? You could totally use tequila. But sotol is very similar (it's made from a wild relative of agave, rather than the blue agave used for tequila); and good aged sotol (reposado or añejo) is much cheaper than comparable tequilas. So give sotol a try! The frosting is lightly sweetened whipped cream (stabilized by some gelatin or agar-agar) with lime curd folded in. The lime curd gives you that great tart punch of a real margarita. Yum!

And since we are being visited by the ghost of Cinco de Mayo's past, last year I discovered this amazing song by Ozomatli. It's called "Gay Vatos in Love." You love it already right? It's got a great oldies vibe and has been stuck in my head all day. Cinco de Mayo doesn't celebrate Mexican independence--just an unlikely win in the Battle of Puebla. But I like the idea of celebrating the small victories along the way. And in the long-fought battle for LGBT equality, this unlikely song certainly represents a small victory. Download it already. And then eat a cupcake.

margarita cupcake 1

Margarita Cupcakes w/  Whipped Cream and Lime Curd frosting
Makes 24 Cupcakes

For the cake:
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk +1 tsp. of lime juice (or buttermilk)*
3 limes, zested and juiced
1/4 cup sotol or tequila

Preheat your oven to 325. Line your cupcake tin with paper liners.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl.

In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar with an electric mixer until the mixture is light yellow and fluffy (use a medium to high speed for several minute). Add the eggs, one at time, mixing throughly each time. Add the lime zest, juice and sotol; mix to combine.

With your mixer on low speed, add the dry ingredients in several batches, alternating with the buttermilk in between each batch. Mix just until everything is incorporated, being careful not to over mix.

Fill each cupcake liner 3/4 full and bake for 25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out cleanly. Allow to cool before frosting!

For the frosting:
1 teaspoon agar-agar or unflavored gelatin
4 teaspoons cold water
1 1/2 cups whipping cream or heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon sotol or tequila
3 tablespoons confectioners' sugar
1 1/2 cups lime curd, store bought or homemade (this recipe for lemon curd has never let me down--just swap out the lemon for lime)

The key to good whipped cream is to chill everything--the cream, the bowl and even the whisk or beaters. While those are chilling, prep your gelatin. In a small saucepan, sprinkle the agar-agar or unflavored gelatin over the cold water and let soften for 5 minutes. Place the saucepan on low heat until the gelatin dissolves. Set the saucepan aside and allow to cool. Take your chilled cream, put it in your chilled bowl and whip it with your chilled beaters. Whip for several minutes until softs peaks form. Add the sugar and sotol and whip until the cream holds stiff peaks. Add the lime curd to the bowl and gently fold it in to the whipped cream.

Top your cupcakes with the frosting and you can even sprinkle them with a little sugar and a pinch of salt. ¡Feliz Cinco de Mayo!

*No buttermilk in the fridge? Make your own! Add a teaspoon of lemon juice (or lime juice, if you are already juicing some limes for this recipe) to a cup of milk and let stand for 15 minutes or until curdled.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Today I made...

French 77
A French 77!
vintage bar cart I was so excited to snag this vintage bar cart for a song at a local flea market. Especially when Apartment Therapy, Design Sponge and other blogs routinely feature swoon-worthy carts well above my price range. I plan to strip off the brass plating because silver will work better with my decor. In the meantime, this awesome find warrants a celebration cocktail!

And nothing says celebration like a bubbly libation. But it seems wasteful (or gluttonous) to pop open a bottle of champagne for just one person. Which is why I love these single serving cans of Franis Ford Coppola's Sofia Blanc de Blancs sparkling wine. They're great for picnics and it's hard to resist booze that comes with its own straw, yeah?

French 77
1 shot St. Germain liqueur (a yummy liqueur made from wild elderflower blossoms)
1/4 shot of fresh-squeezed lemon juice
Champagne or sparkling wine

Combine the St. Germain and lemon juice in a chilled glass and top with the bubbly. Garnish with a lemon twist (I was lazy and just chucked in a lemon wedge I had squeezed for the juice). Santé!

St. Germaine + Sofia