Monday, November 21, 2011

Kevin's All Day Chili

Recipe Review: This traditional chili is great for a cold day or watching football.

Last week was a perfect fall Sunday. Kevin and I just finished a morning run and it started to rain. I have come to love rainy days in California. It gives you the perfect excuse to stay inside, wear comfy clothes, and be a little lazy. One of the great things about being home all day is slow cooked food. Kevin decided to make his dads chili, (which he refers to as his "famous" chili) which takes a good 6 hours to cook. Its a simple recipe with only a few basic ingredients, its the long cook time that really makes it special.

Kevin's Famous 6 hour chili
yield: 5-6 servings

2 white onions, diced
2 green peppers, diced
1 tbsp olive oil
2 lbs ground beef
2 28oz cans whole peeled tomatoes
1 8 oz can tomato sauce
3 Tbsp chili powder
3 Bay Leaves
2 8oz cans kidney beans

Saute peppers and onions in olive oil until onions become translucent and peppers are soft. Brown meat and drain fat. Combine with peppers and onions in a large pot. Crush tomatoes by pressing over a strainer. Add tomatoes, 12oz of liquid and sauce. Reserve any additional liquid. Cooked covered on medium low for 1 hour.

Add chili powder and bay leaves, continue to cook uncovered an additional 2 hours.

Rinse beans and add to chili, cook 1 hour. If at this point chili is too thick add some of the reserved tomato juice to thin. Chili is best reheated on day two.

Whole Wheat Cornbread
makes one 9x9 pan
adapted from

1 1/2 cups corn meal
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
5 Tbsp sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
2-3 diced jalapeno peppers
2 eggs
1 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup vegetable oil

Preheat oven to 400 degrees and grease a 9"x9" baking pan.

In a medium sized bowl combine dry ingredients and jalapenos (this keeps the jalapenos evenly distributed through the bread rather than having them fall to the bottom or rise to the top).

In a small bowl whisk together eggs, milk, and oil. Add to the dry ingredients and stir until just moistened. Pour into pan.

Bake for 20-22 minutes until a tooth pick inserted in the center comes out clean, an the top lightly browned. Cut into squares and serve warm.

I couldn't really taste the jalapenos in the corn bread (which was both confusing and disappointing) but with that aside, the bread had great flavor and tasted delish crumbled over the chili.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Pink Velvet

Recipie Review: same great taste as red velvet but with a fun pink color

I was sorta over red velvet- I've baked them about a million times this year (Including the 6 dozen a made for a wedding- phew!) But it was requested for a friends birthday. I double checked that she liked pink- and used it as a chance experiment with gel colors. (I also got to play with fire... you'll see that pic a little later) The cupcakes weren't quite as hot pink as I would have liked, so I guess I'll keep experimenting, but they still tasted great. The red velvet recipe was a new one for me too, and I liked it much more than the one I was using before. This recipe seems a little less dense, and cake rose really nicely.

The baking supply store that I go to had some new fabulous edible glitter that I snagged. Its a little expensive but I really think that it makes the cupcakes look amazing.

Pink Velvet
adapted from
yield: 24 cupcakes

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tbsp liquid food coloring
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour, sifted
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt 1 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon white vinegar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare muffin pan with paper liners.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine butter and sugar until fluffy. Add the eggs and vanilla, mixing well after each addition. In a small condiment cup, stir together liquid food coloring and cocoa powder until smooth and then add to the butter mixture.**

Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. Add flour to butter mixture in three additions, alternating with the buttermilk. Begin and end with flour.

In a small cup, combine baking soda and vinegar. Mixture will bubble and foam. Pour into the cake batter and mix until well incorporated.

** if you are using gel food coloring add it after the flour, a little at a time until desired color is achieved

printable recipe

How awesome is that picture? Lighting sparklers indoors is probably not one of the smartest things  I've ever done but I love the photo!!

I updated my cream cheese frosting recipe- before I was using a 2:1 cream cheese to butter ratio- I've upped the butter and it at 1:1 ratio. It has a very very mellow flavor- but the cream cheese really cuts the sticky sweetness of the powdered sugar in plain buttercream.

Cream Cheese Frosting

8oz cream cheese, softened
2 sticks butter at room temperature
6-8 cups of powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tablespoons milk

Combine cream cheese and butter and cream until light and fluffy. Add powdered sugar a little at a time until you reach your desired consistency. If frosting is too thick add milk to thin.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Chocolate Mousse

Recipie Review: Light and airy chocolate mousse, I used it to fill cupcakes, but its great on its own.

I was hired by a friend to do cupcakes for a babyshower they were having at her work. Horay! Cupcake jobs make me happy. I found some awesome liners at Bake it Pretty (I have such a crush on that website, their stuff is the best), matched them with some blue non pareils, and we were in business! I did a home made funfetti by putting blue sprinkles into my vanilla cake, I filled the cupcakes with chocolate mousse, and topped with dark chocolate frosting. Yummmmmm! You can make your own custom funfetti by adding 1/4 cup of sprinkles to any vanilla cake recipe. You need to use the traditional sprinkles, rather than the non pareils for it to work right. It really dosen't effect the taste of your cake- just adds a fun pop of color.

Chocolate Mousse
yield: 8 servings
from: Ghiradelli

2 cups Heavy Whipping cream
12 oz bag semi sweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup coffee, hot
4 eggs, room temperature
2 tablespoons sugar

Whip the cream until it forms light peaks, set aside in fridge.

Melt the chips a double boiler, over barely simmering water. Meanwhile whip the eggs and sugar until they are very light and fluffy, about 10 minutes.

Stir the coffee into the chocolate chips, the mixture will start to thicken. Quickly stir in the egg mixture, then fold in the whipped cream. Pour into cups and chill until firm, about two hours.

printable recipe

I had never made chocolate mousse before. It was pretty easy, especially if you have a kitchen aid mixer because it does most of the work for you. I was pretty pleased by how the cupcakes turned out! You can get the basic vanilla cake recipe that I used here, and the chocolate frosting recipe here.