Happy New Year!

Happy 2015!  Wow, it has been WAY too long since I’ve blogged.  Since July I have made all kinds of delicious foods that I’ve failed to post, probably because I was too interested in consuming the foods soon after cooking or baking….so as many people after the holidays, I need to lose some LBs.  Now, just because I’m “watching it” does not mean I will sacrifice my taste buds, no no no.  Any fad “diet” (ie paleo, gluten free, juice cleanses, etc) are against my religion (my religion is love and happiness).  For me, it’s everything in moderation and I really need to emphasize on the moderation!  You will be seeing less baking posts because that has been my problem area.  Any who, here’s a recap of all my food happenings July – December!

So what have I been up to since July…..well, to start we had our annual McVicker camping trip in July.  This year we decided on Fort Bragg and it was so beautiful and amazing!  I highly recommend camping at Mackerrichter State Park!  An added plus, someone caught some fresh fish and decided to leave it hanging on our campsite…score!  We grilled those suckers up and dug in!  I also made my Campfire Nasi Goreng on this trip.

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Son Devours Fish

Soon after the camping trip my husband and I celebrated our 10 year wedding anniversary in Sonoma.  It was beautiful and peaceful.  On our way up we stopped in Petaluma for the Lagunitas Brew tour….wow was it worth it.  I mean how could it not be…its delicious Lagunitas beer and it was free!  We stayed at the Old Crocker Inn in Cloverdale, hit up some wineries off Dry Creek Road, and stopped at our favorite little restaurant in Geyeserville called Diavola Salumeria.

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Once we got back from Sonoma the kids started school so that consumed much of my time which is part of the reason I haven’t posted in a while.

In November we did manage to get in a pretty kick ass rijastaffel (Dutch Indonesian feast).  We BBQ’d satay, made nasi goreng, kroepoek, cucumber salad….it was amazing!  And of course the people and the company are the most important ingredient 🙂  All the love we put into the food (especially the satay pricking which I did not do but did delegate the task and micromanage lol), the conversations…I just love my family!

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In the beginning of December my Godmother, Mom, and God sisters had a holiday bake day and it was deliciously sinful.  Shots of fernet, too much sugar and carbs, old school Christmas records, it was so fantastic!  This was the first year we did this and I hope we can make it a tradition!

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For Christmas Matt and I hosted our 3rd annual Pho Christmas and I can’t even believe I took NO pictures of the amazingly delicious Pho!  Darn!  However I did snap a pic of my festive white holiday cake topped with candied cranberries and edged with fresh rosemary.

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And finally we have New Years.  We had my cousin and her husband over.  I made classic cheese fondue from a cook book my husbands late grandmother gave me (she used to make fondue every Christmas Eve).  We also had plenty of fernet and champagne!

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Happy 2015!!!

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Very Vanilla Cupcakes with Swiss Merengue frosting

This recipe is adapted from Crazy for Crust

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Ingredients:

1 1/2 cup all purpose flour

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1 stick unsalted butter, melted

1 cup cane sugar

3 large eggs

1 tbsp vanilla extract

3/4 cup buttermilk

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and line cupcake tin (makes 12 – 15 cupcakes).  Whisk flour, baking powder and salt in a medium sized bowl.  In a large bowl, beat sugar and melted butter with a hand mixer for about 30 seconds.  Add eggs, one at a time, to butter and sugar mixture until each one is incorporated into the mix.  Beat in vanilla extract to wet mixture.  Add dry ingredients and buttermilk to the wet mixture alternately starting and ending with the flower mixture.

Pour batter into cupcake tins about 3/4 of the way full.  Bake for 15 – 20 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean.

Now, onto the frosting!

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Seriously, this is like the best frosting I’ve ever tasted and pair SO well with the vanilla cupcakes.

Vanilla Swiss Merengue Frosting

Ingredients:

5 egg whites

1 cup cane sugar

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened at room temp

1 tsp vanilla extract

Combine egg whites and sugar in a medium sized sauce pan.  Heat on medium high, whisking constantly, until sugar is completely dissolved.  Transfer mixture to the bowl of a mixer and beat on high until mixture triples in size and comes to room temperature, about 10 minutes.  Mixture should be white and glossy.

Lower your mixing speed to medium.  Cut up butter into small cubes and slowly add to the mixture, one at a time, until it is completely incorporated.  Remove whisk attachment and add paddle.  Beat on high speed until buttercream comes together, about 5 minutes.  Lastly, beat in the vanilla extract.

Dutch Mocha Cupcakes

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Ingredients:

4 eggs, room temp

4 egg yolks, room temp

3/4 cup organic cane sugar

1 3/4 cup all purpose flour

1/2 tablespoon vanilla extract

Mocha buttercream frosting ingredients (its ALL about the frosting in these cupcakes):

1 stick unsalted butter, room temp

1/2 cup powder sugar

1 tablespoon coffee syrup (mix 1 cup strong coffee with 2 heaping tbsp organic cane sugar, simmer until it reduces to 2 tbsp and has a syrup consistency)

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1/8 cup heavy whipping cream

Directions for the cupcakes:

Whip together eggs, yolks, sugar, and vanilla on high speed for about 10 minutes.  Mixture should triple in size and be a light yellow color.  Sift flour.  Fold sifted flour into the batter.  Line a cupcake pan with cupcake tins and pour batter about 3/4 of the way full.  Bake for 18 minutes at 350 degrees F.  Makes 12 cupcakes.

Directions for the frosting:

Whip together butter, powdered sugar, coffee syrup and vanilla extract on high for about 5 minutes.  Slow down mixer speed and add heavy cream.  Continue whipping a few minutes, adding more coffee and/or powder sugar to your liking.

Once cupcakes have cooled, frost the cupcakes.  If you like, you can top them with chocolate muisjes (which is what I did, yum!)  Enjoy with a strong cup of coffee and good company!

**This recipe was adapted from http://www.thedutchtable.com

 

Meyer Lemon and Rasberry Loaf

Meyer lemon season is right around the corner! This bread is so deliciously moist and such a burst of citrusy, yet sweet hints of meyer lemon and rasberry in each bite. Believe me, this recipe will not disappoint any crowd!
Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups all purpose flower
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. sea salt
6 tbsp. unsalted butter at room temp
3/4 cup white sugar
2 eggs (mine are fresh from my Aunt and Uncle’s farm, spoiled I know)
1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 tbsp. grated lemon zest (from 1 lemon)
1/4 cup milk
1/3 cup rasberry jam
the juice of 1 lemon freshly squeezed
Lemon glaze:
3/4 cup confectioner’s sugar
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and place the oven rack in the center of the oven. Spray with a non-stick vegetable spray (or butter if you prefer) the bottom and sides of a loaf pan (9 x 5 x 3 inch). In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt.
In the bowl of your electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, beat the butter until softened (about 1 minute). Add the sugar and continue to beat until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Beat in the vanilla extract, lemon zest, lemon juice, and rasberry jam. With the mixer on low, add the flour mixture (in three additions) and milk (in two additions) alternately, starting and ending with the flour. Mix only until combined.
Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 55 minutes, or until the bread is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, whisk the 3/4 cup confectioner’s sugar and the 2 tablespoons of lemon juice together until all blended together. Allow loaf to cool for about 10 minutes, remove from pan and drizzle glaze over top. Enjoy!