From The Kitchen Of Rachelle Underwood

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Devils Food Cupcakes with Mint Buttercream

My almost 3 year old is having his birthday on Tuesday. I wanted to make him some cupcakes for his friends at church. I normally use a box mix, but I didn't want to have 24 cupcakes laying around. So I found this fudgey devils food recipe that uses no milk or eggs. It turned out SUPER moist and fudgey. This will be my new chocolate cupcake base for years to come. Of course the mint buttercream matches perfectly with the cakes. You could really do any buttercream frosting and it would be awesome.

Devils Food Cupcakes with Mint Buttercream

1 1/2 c flour
1 1/4 c sugar
1 tsp soda
1 tsp salt
1/3 c cocoa
1/2 c oil
1 c water
1 tsp vanilla
1 tbs vinegar

Mint Buttercream:
4 tbs butter, softened
1 pound of powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp mint extract
Dash of salt
milk (enough for a good consistency)
green food coloring (optional)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees, line muffin tin with liners. Combine dry ingredients into a bowl. Add wet ingredients to the dry ones, mix well, until smooth and combined. Fill muffin cups 2/3 full. My batch made 16 cupcakes. Cook for 15-20 minutes or until done. Do not overbake.

For the frosting. Combine all ingredients except milk and food coloring into a bowl. Add milk a little bit at a time until smooth but still stiff enough to spead. Add green food coloring if desired. Taste frosting, adding a sprinkle more of salt if needed. Frost cooled cupcakes.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Best Buttermilk Pancakes

I'm usually not one to get excited over pancakes. They are pretty ordinary, and I usually buy the pre-made buttermilk pancake mix. Those taste good and get the job done, but if you want something extra special, this a recipe for you. Granted the batter has some butter in it to make it decadent, but the extra addition of sugar send these over the top! I thought I had died and gone to heaven. The buttermilk gave these cakes a great texture and flavor, and they are light and fluffy. I LOVE THESE eyes were rolling when I ate them. I poured real maple syrup over them and they were incredible. The kids didn't notice the difference, but the food snob that I am did, and that's all that matters, right?

Best Buttermilk Pancakes

3 c flour
4-5 tbs sugar
3 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
3 c buttermilk
1/4 c milk
3 eggs
1/3 c butter, melted

Mix dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Whisk eggs in measuring cup, pour into batter. Add buttermilk, milk and melted butter. Stir just until combined....don't whip and over mix. Cook pancakes on a preheated griddle. I use my 1/4 cup measure to pour my pancakes on. Cook until golden on each side.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Asian Style Green Beans

I had gotten some fresh green beans at the farmer's market this last week. So, I started looking for recipes to make these green beans go from blah to fab. Since I always have certain ingredients on hand, these were a cinch to whip up. Let me tell how good they were... I'm not a vegetarian, but eating these with some rice made me think I could turn vegetarian. These were really good, healthy and I will definitely make these again. This one's a keeper!

Asian Style Green Beans

1 tbs soy sauce
2 garlic cloves minced
1 tsp sesame seeds
1 tsp brown sugar
1 tsp peanut butter
1 tsp rice wine vinegar
2 tsp olive oil
3/4-1 pound of fresh green beans, trimmed on the ends

Combine first 6 ingredients in a small bowl. Heat 2 olive oil in a large skillet or wok, add green beans, and stir fry until green beans are crisp tender. Remove from heat, add sauce and stir to combine.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Cilantro Lemon Barley Salad

Want a healthy recipe? Here it is. I really like Tabbouleh salads @ Greek restaurants. They are light, flavorful, and can be served with any kind of meat, or with some pita (or pita chips) for a light lunch. This salad is definitely inspired by the traditional Greek salad. I use cilantro as the herb, pearl barley instead of Bulgar wheat, and some other touches to balance out this awesome salad. Pearl barley has a chewy texture like wheat-berry, so don't keep cooking the barley until soft like baby food...bleh. If you are an olive lover, I'm sure some olives would make you olive lovers love this salad even more. As for me, I can't stand them...if you want to know why, ask me in a comment. Everything in this salad can be adjusted to your taste buds, so have fun with it.

Cilantro Lemon Barley Salad

1 c pearl barley
5 c water
4 tsp chicken bullion
2 tomatoes, seeded and chopped finely
1/2 cucumber, seeded, and roughly chopped
2 green onions, minced
3/4 c chopped cilantro
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 large lemon, juiced
3 tbs extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp cumin
2 tbs crumbled feta cheese
salt and pepper to taste

Combine pearl barley, water and bullion. Bring to boil and boil for 40 minutes. Drain, and rinse with cold water, drain well. Combine all other ingredients in a large bowl. Once barley is at room temperature, add it to the bowl. Mix well, tasting it to make sure it is flavored right. Refrigerate for about 3 hours before serving. It is even better the next day!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Toffee Almond Chip Cookies

These are so good. It's like english toffee in a cookie form. They are the chewiest cookie I have ever had, and that is not a bad thing. I made this recipe during the holidays, and just remembered that I needed to post it. The baking time is finicky, as you do not want to burn the toffee bits. So, even though the cookies may not look done, remove from the oven once the edges start to turn golden and let sit on the cookie sheet. This insures a chewy cookie.They are truly a winner. By all means, if there is an ingredient that does not suit you, leave it out. But, you must, must, must include the toffee chips. (P.S. the dough is soooooooo good!)

Toffee Almond Chip Cookies

1 c butter
1 c brown sugar
1 c sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
1/2 tsp salt
2 c flour
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2-3/4 bag of toffee chips (I used heath bar chips)
1 c chocolate chips, chopped
1 c oatmeal
1/2 c coconut
1 c almonds, toasted and chopped

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Mix butter and sugars until fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla and mix well. Add flour, salt and baking soda, mix until combined. Add oats, chopped chocolate, coconut, chopped nuts, and toffee bits. Stir to combine. On a baking sheet drop dough by rounded tablespoons. Bake for 10-12 minutes, or just until the edges turn golden. Let cool on cookie sheet before removing.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Moroccan Chicken

I did some adventurous cooking tonight for dinner. My husband took a trip last May to Morocco, and said he really liked the tagines they had. I had never had a traditional tagine, so I didn't really know what I was looking for in flavor. I had found a recipe for easy chicken tagine by Rachel Ray that I have been meaning to try. But, I also wanted to see how the recipe compared to other chicken tagine recipes. Rachel Ray's recipe used prunes in it, and lets face it....those are only used for one reason and one reason only. I had bought some dried apricots instead, and decided to take several elements from a few different recipes, and we have a winner. To put it simply this dish is flavor packed chicken over rice or cous cous. Don't be afraid of the use of some of the ingredients, trust me. After having this tonight, I jumped right onto the blog so that I would have it typed down somewhere. I definitely see myself making this in the future. P.S. the little boys loved it as well.

I don't have a picture of the meal, so here is a picture my husband took in Morocco...:)

Moroccan Chicken

1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp tumeric
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp coriander
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 1/4 tsp salt
3 tbs olive oil
3 large chicken breast butterflied or 4-5 small chicken breast (3 lbs.)
1 tbs butter
1 onion, sliced in half, and then sliced 1/4 inch thick
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 c water or chicken broth (I added water and then 1 1/2 tsp. chicken bullion)
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
1 tbs tomato paste
1 tbs honey
1/2 c dried apricots (cut into 4th's)
1/4 c raisins
1 tomato, chopped

In a bowl, stir together first 5 spices, add 1 tbs olive oil to the spices, and then add chicken to coat well. In a large skillet heat the rest of olive oil and butter in a skillet, brown chicken on both sides (don't worry if it's not done all the way through). Remove chicken to a plate. Add onion, and 1/4 tsp salt. Cook onion until soft, about 8 minutes. Add garlic, cook for a couple of minutes. Add water and bullion, using a wooden spoon scrape up any brown bits on the pan. Add tomato paste and honey, stir. Add chicken, 1/4 cup cilantro, raisins, and apricots. Cover and simmer on low for 30 minutes. Serve over hot white rice or Cous Cous. Top with fresh tomato and cilantro.