Sunday, February 21, 2010

LuAnn's Lemon Drop Cupcakes

*Warning: calorie spoiler...if you don't want to know then don't read the fine print at the end.

I am in Arizona with all of my sisters so I figured it was the perfect time to make this cake.  I made it into cupcakes because my sister didn't have any 8" cake pans.  Plus...I love cupcakes.  However, I think it would have been better as a 3 layer cake so I'd have the curd more evenly dispersed with the cake.

I'll start by their review of the lemon curd.  I'll explain this way and you decide just how good this means it was.  After it was chilled my sister, Kelli, took a little spoonful and she got really quiet...just paused...licked the spoon, oh, so slowly...and said in the most sincere voice..."it's....perfect....I'm going to cry."  And she literally had tears in her eyes.  How food can be so good it can make you cry is beyond me...but coming from Kelli it wasn't much of a surprise.  Then my other sister, Robyn, asked her..."is it Better Than Sex Lemon Cake?"  And Kelli replied, "I don't know...I've never had Sex Lemon Cake."  Of course, Robyn and I died laughing and then explained Better Than Sex Cake.

I liked the frosting, but I think next time I'll reduce the amount of butter...maybe even a whole stick.  It was a little too buttery.  But I am glad it was tasty without being super sweet because I don't like frosting too sweet.  However, the ingredients of the frosting make getting it the right consistency a little tougher.  I guess that is why so many frostings have so much powdered sugar.  It was a bit runny at first so I refrigerated the frosting for a couple hours and then when I got it out I whipped it in the mixer a bit.  It was then a good consistency to pipe onto the cupcakes.

As for the whole product...that center bite of the cupcake that had a taste of curd, cake, frosting and a lemon head was heavenly.  If you like lemon you will LOVE this cake.  But like I said earlier...I think I'd prefer it in a 3 layer cake because I wanted the curd spread more is the punch in this recipe.  My sisters thought they would just make the frosting and curd with a white cake mix (and add some lemon zest)...but I am growing to prefer cakes from scratch so I think it is worth it.

Cake layers total (makes ~26 cupcakes)= 4635
 Lemon Curd (makes ~2 1/4 C.) = 1575
1 T or curd (which is about how much was in the center of each cupcake) = 40 calories

Lemon Drop Frosting (makes ~4 1/2 C.) = 4500
1 C = 1000 calories
1 T = ~60 calories

So I figure with 1 T of curd and 2 T of frosting each cupcake had about 340 calories!  That isn't all that bad for a is?

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Cami's Orzo

This was really good. I like shrimp a lot more than I used to and orzo is my all time favorite pasta. I have so many orzo recipes and this will be added to the collection.

Mine didn't turn out dry but since I knew it had a tendency to be dry I poured the juices out of the tomato pan into the big pot. I also added 6oz of goat cheese. I really like Feta but I love goat cheese. I substitute it for feta any time I find them similarly priced. If you haven't tried it, you should. It is a really nice soft cheese.

The spinach held up well the next day. It made a lot so we had leftovers for a few days. I didn't think the dill was as flavorful as it could have been. I haven't cooked with dill before and maybe it was my inexperience.

Cami's Peanut Butter Crispy Bars

Sorry, no picture. I forgot to take one when I made them.

I'll be honest. I didn't make these this week. I made them a few months ago. We had some company for dinner and I thought they would be a nice casual dessert. They were just that and nothing more. I felt like these were just peanut butter and chocolate on top of rice krispy treats. I do like rick krispy treats but I'm a purist. I don't like M&Ms or chocolate chips in my treats. I like them plain. So maybe that's why I didn't love these.

Even thought I didn't think they were anything special I had a hard time not eating the whole pan. So I guess they were a success in that regard.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Peanut Butter Crispy Bars

because of my poor photography skills, I opted to borrow this photo from Smitten Kitchen

I'm sorry that this posting is a little late. I'm blaming the Olympics. I'm admitting my addiction right here, right now and I'm not ashamed. I am slightly ashamed that I've already eaten half a pan of these bars (pg 133) already even though the Baked Note is that they're "best served in small portions."

A few notes:
- I didn't have a candy thermometer so I just kind of eyed the cooking sugar/water combo and I didn't cook it long enough so the rice cereal isn't sticking together all that great.
- I didn't use a double boiler to melt the chocolate. I used the microwave. I am lazy.
- I just used Cadbury chocolate bars for the good-quality stuff. Works for me.

I kind of think because of my lazy and cheap ways that the fellows of Baked might want me off this blog.

Oh, and this is Melanie B. and I like you.

Another new member - Welcome Paige!

Paige is a friend of mine from church here in San Diego, and she'll be joining us in our cooking exploits. I told her about our baking group, and it turns out she's had the Baked cookbook sitting in her Amazon cart for about a year now. Crazy coincidence!

Cami added her to the rotation to pick a baking item on June 7. Glad you're joining!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Welcome Erin

I would like to welcome Erin, our newest delish maker! I'm sure you'll have tons of fun like the rest of us! I've added you to the rotation for May 31. Feel free to post any previous recipes you've made or just jump in whenever you can.

Just a reminder, delish is open to anyone, so if you know anyone who would like to join, please let me know.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Danielle's Orzo

First, here are the changes I made to the recipe. I made mine vegetarian and omitted the shrimp. I think next time I'll try it with chicken (I'm not that into shrimp these days). Also, I used regular orzo instead of whole wheat orzo. I would've preferred to use whole wheat since it's healthier, but I couldn't find any. And I used goat cheese instead of feta. Feta is a bit too sharp for me, and I pretty much always substitute goat cheese.

I have mixed feelings about this meal. I liked it well enough, and I think I'll make it again. But I think it needs some changes.

Good things first -- I loved the combination of dill with the goat cheese. Those flavors went really well together. I also liked the roasted grape tomatoes. And the best part is that Max loved the roasted tomatoes! He usually doesn't like tomatoes very much, and up till now I thought he always preferred to leave them out of any meal. But the first thing he said when he took a bite was, "Wow, these tomatoes are great! This has got to be the best way to eat tomatoes!" Any recipe that can get Max to eat tomatoes stays in my recipe rotation. And overall, Max really liked this dish.

My biggest complaint is that it seemed too dry -- like it needs a sauce or liquid or something. I added some extra olive oil, but I didn't want to add too much and make it greasy or add too much fat. I'm not sure what I'd do about that next time. Maybe some lemon juice? I think lemon could go well with it. Also, next time I'll definitely add extra dill and extra goat cheese, but I think I'll also add some roasted garlic or sauteed garlic. I think it could use it.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Roasted Shrimp and Orzo

This recipe comes from Good Housekeeping magazine, December 2009 edition. I made it about a month ago and thought it was really yummy. I thought about taking a picture of it at the time, you know, because I was thinking ahead, but didn't. And I don't know if I'll make it this week, so sorry no picture. But tastes good and looks really good, trust me! This is what the magazine has to say about it: "The Mediterranean flavors will make you feel like you're on a summer vacation. This dish also delivers over half your daily fiber." So, it's flavorful and healthy.

I shared this recipe at a recipe exchange with friends in Chicago, so some of you might already have this.

Roasted Shrimp and Orzo

1 pt. grape tomatoes
3 tsp. olive oil, divided
1/8 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper, divided
8 oz. whole-wheat orzo (1 1/4 c.)
1 can (15 to 19 oz.) white kidney beans (cannellini), rinsed and drained
12 oz. medium peeled and deveined shrimp
1 bag (6 oz.) baby spinach
2 oz. feta cheese
1/4 c. packed fresh dill, chopped, plus additional springs for garnish

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Line jelly-roll pan with foil. In prepared pan, combine tomatoes, 2 tsp. olive oil, salt, and 1/8 tsp. pepper. Roast 15 minutes or until tomatoes begin to collapse.

2. Meanwhile, heat covered 4-quart saucepan of water to boiling on high. Cook orzo as label directs; drain and return to pot.

3. In medium bowl, toss beans, shrimp, 1/8 tsp. pepper, and remaining 1 tsp. olive oil. Add to tomato mixture; stir to combine. Spread in single layer and roast 5 minutes longer or until shrimp are opaque throughout.

4. Add spinach to orzo in pot; toss to wilt. Stir in shrimp mixture, feta, and dill. Transfer to shallow bowls; garnish with dill sprigs.

Total time: 30 minutes
Makes: 4 main-dish servings

Each serving: About 480 calories, 35g protien, 67g carbohydrate, 10g total fat (3g saturated fat), 15g fiber, 142mg cholesterol, 585mg sodium.
(This was included in the magazine. Don't think I calculated that all on my own!!)

Total cost: approximately $10-$12.

I followed the recipe pretty much exactly, but I used regular orzo instead of whole wheat because that's what I had, and my shrimp were large not medium, but I don't think that matters at all. It filled us up for dinner, plus we had leftovers the next day (though you probably want to add fresh spinach the next day).

Also, I know some people might not be familiar with orzo. It's ok, I didn't know what it was until just a couple years ago. It's basically rice-shaped pasta that can be found in the pasta section, usually in a small box. Here's a picture:

Friday, February 5, 2010

Calorie/Cost Counter

I thought I would make a little reference post for some of the ingredients we often find in these recipes.  Anyone can add items as they come up.  I just pulled the basics out of this recipe.  An easy reference for anything not listed is this site.  What I recommend is calculating the cost/calories of the entire recipe.  Our serving sizes will all be different so we can each divide it by the # of servings we got out of it.  Just don't let the big number of the full recipe get to you.  Also, if you identify one as low calorie or low cost make a label for it.

1 oz. cream cheese = 100, $.20
1 C flour = 400
1 C cake flour = 440
1 C shortening = 1920 (1 tbsp. = 120)
1 C sugar (brown and granulated) = 768 (1 tsp. = 16)
1 egg = 80
1 egg yolk = 63
1 egg white = 17
lemon juice = 0
1 C butter = 1600 (1 tbsp. = 100)
1 C heavy cream = 832 (1 tbsp. = 52)
1 C skim milk = 80, $.15 (based on $2.50/gal.)
1 C 1% milk = 102
1 C 2% milk = 120
1 C whole milk = 150
*salt = 0, super cheap
*baking soda = 0
*1 tsp. baking powder = 4

*I don't think it is necessary to calculate these types of things into cost or calorie, but just thought I'd throw them in there because I am a little OCD...forgive me for stating the obvious.  :)

Later I can also do a calculation of the estimated cost for each of these items.  Sorry if requesting the calories and cost ruins all the fun.  It doesn't so much for me because I will totally go for a high calorie dessert if it tastes good...I just want to be aware.  Is that backwards?  I'd like to say that I compensate by eating eating other healthy foods on that day, but it isn't happening now.  (If anyone is wondering if my new pooch is a isn't.  Will exercise soon and continue to eat sweets.  Couldn't stop if I wanted to.)  But for my next postpartum era it would be nice to have a few delectable recipes up my sleeve.

As for cost...I also don't mind spending money for a good dessert, but we will all (well almost all of us) have times that are tight so we might as well have a few good recipes on hand so we can still take pleasure.  In all honesty...if your primary concern is about calories and/or cost then I suppose Baked isn't the book for you.  But I imagine there are some lower cost/calorie items in this book and I'd just like to identify them.  If you don't want to go through the trouble then I will do it for you (unless I'm too busy...and can't promise it will be timely).

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Danielle's Lemon Drop Cake

*Sorry, no pictures of the inside of the cake since the pieces I cut fell apart.

Isn't it cute? I love 6" cakes!

Today is Max's birthday, so this is Max's birthday cake. (Such a mean wife... he didn't even get to pick the flavor.) But lucky for me, he also really likes lemon flavored things. And we both thought this was such a delicious cake!

My experience with this recipe may not be all that helpful for the rest of you because the only part I followed out of the recipe was the cake layers. I made more of a traditional buttercream frosting because that is Max's favorite. And as I said before, I wanted to use up the curd I had leftover. However, the recipe I used for my lemon curd is very similar to the one in the book, and the curd I used made a delicious filling.

The cake itself was my favorite part. The only thing I changed was the ratio of butter to shortening. Instead of 50/50, I used a 75/25 ratio (more butter, less shortening). The cake was perfectly moist and light and had a great flavor. I'm interested in trying this recipe to make cupcakes sometime.

For anyone else who tries this, let me know how you like the frosting. I'd like to try it with the Baked frosting next time if it's good.

One thing I wanted to do was crush up a bunch of lemon heads and press them into the sides of the cake, but I went to two stores and couldn't find any! Do people not sell lemon heads anymore? Sad.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Cami's Lemon Drop Cupcakes

I think this is one of my favorite Baked recipes we've done so far. I mean, it is right up there with the German Chocolate Cake. So, as you can tell, I made cupcakes instead of the cake. They are easier to divide up and share than a cake. Not that you need to share these.

As you can see I put the curd inside. After they were cooled I cut a circle in the top and emptied out a little bit of the center of the cupcake. I put about 1 1/2 teaspoons in each cupcake. I could have put a little more I think but I was worried about getting too close to the bottom of the cupcake. I then popped the top back on and frosted them. You would never know I cut the hole. I love the little surprise in the center. I think I am going to try it with different flavored cupcakes and filling.
The flavor is so good! It is very lemony but I like it that way. The curd is delicious. I didn't put mine through a sieve. I'll be honest, I was lazy. I actually like the texture of it. The cakes turned out very fluffy and just right I think. I baked mine for 23 minutes. The frosting is good. Not too sweet but just right. This frosting would be great for piping if you so desired. To sum it up, I loved them. The Young Women I work with loved them and my husband's coworkers loved them.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Cost and Calorie Counts

The cost and calorie calculations are totally optional. If you choose to include them with your recipe, great, if not that's great too. I think it would be most helpful for the dinner recipes and not the dessert recipe. Obviously those aren't too healthy.

Also, if someone knows an easy way to calculate the cost of a meal, could you share? I'm having a hard time wrapping my mind around it. I mean, do I include the cost of a whole onion if I only use half of it in the recipe? If you know of a website that does this for you, please let us know.