January 25, 2009

Beet Oreo Cakes

I've been feeling culinarily challenged lately. What's the point in telling you about the same old dinners all the time? And the internet is annoyingly spotty in my apartment, making it hard to upload photos and post regularly.

But a couple weeks ago I did host two dinner parties, both lovely. I had some extra time to get ready for the second one, so I decided to experiment with using beets in baking. I was aiming for brownies with edges by baking them in cupcake tins, but they really came out more like dense little cakes, not quite fudy enough to be brownies. I also added some oreo crumbs leftover from my last baking endeavor to make an amazing crunchy topping that really set these cakes over the top. The hint of beet flavor made these cakes rich, moist, complex, (and slightly reddish). I'll definitely be using beets more often in my chocolate goods.

adapted from here

Beet Oreo Cakes
about 4 small beets
3.5 oz dark chocolate
6 tbsp butter, softened
2/3 cup sugar
2 eggs
3/4 cup flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp cocoa powder
1/2 cup crushed oreos
1 tbsp butter, softened

Preheat oven to 350. Boil beets with skins on until fork tender. Let cool, peel, and then puree in a food processor. You should have about 3/4 cup of beet puree.

Melt chocolate in a bowl over a saucepan of boiling water, stirring until melted completely. Set aside to cool.

Cream butter and sugar together until fluffy. Whisk in eggs, then chocolate, and beet puree. Add flour, baking powder, and cocoa powder, and beat until smooth.

In a smaller bowl, make oreo topping by combining crushed oreos and butter until butter is incorporated.

Pour batter into two greased muffin pans. Sprinkle oreo topping over each cake. Bake for approximately 20 minutes until knife inserted comes out clean. Enjoy!

January 11, 2009

Oreo Cupcakes

My sister and I threw a party on Friday night to welcome her to the hood. She made these fab Oreo Cupcakes, displayed in a new cupcake holder I got for Christmas. Scroll past the pictures for the recipe

Oreo Cupcakes
1 cup butter
1 cup plus 2 tbsp sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs
3 oz melted chocolate
1 1/2 cups milk
2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 cup cocoa powder
dash cinnamon
dash ginger

Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.

Oreo Frosting
1 cup butter
1 cup powdered sugar
3 tbsp milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
chocolate shavings

Combine ingredients, frost cupcakes, and top each with Oreo crumbs and one large Oreo chunk.

January 5, 2009

Healthy Beans and Rice

It's a typical story but true - after gorging on food of all sorts over the holidays, I actually couldn't stand the thought of any more sugar and started craving whole grains and greens. So I devised this healthy version of rice and beans, with spinach, brown rice, and quinoa for added nutrition. For flavor, I tossed in salsa and cheddar cheese, but plenty of other cheeses would work well with this. Likewise, feel free to swap in an onion for the leek depending on what you have on hand.

Jesse called it his "favorite thing you've ever made." Of course - this is exactly the kind of one pot dish he loves - a creamy bowl of hearty grains, protein and greens. I only wish I had made more because he ate about 3 straight servings, leaving me without leftovers, so next time I might double the recipe.

Healthy Beans and Rice

1 cup dried black beans (or 2 cans black beans)
1/2 cup brown rice
1/2 cup quinoa
1 leek
1 bunch spinach
1/4 cup grated cheese
1 cup salsa
crushed hot pepper

Soak dried beans overnight (or bring to a boil and then let soak for one hour). Rinse beans and then return to pot covered with two inches of water. Bring to a boil and simmer until tender, about 60-90 minutes.

Combine rice, quinoa, and 2 1/2 cups water in a small pot, and simmer for about 40 minutes until rice is tender.

After about 30 minutes, rinse and chop the leek into half moons. In a large pan, sautee leeks over low heat. Then rinse the spinach, chop into small pieces, and sautee until wilted. Add salsa to pan to warm.

When rice and beans are done, combine in pan with spinach, grated cheese, salsa, and spices. Makes about 4 servings.