Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Red Velvet Cake by Martha Stewart

Red Velvet Cupcakes
Yield Makes 24



Ingredients


1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
2 large eggs, room temperature
1/2 teaspoon red gel-paste food colour
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons distilled white vinegar
Cream Cheese Frosting
2 tablespoons unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder.
2 1/2 cups cake flour (not self- rising), sifted

Directions
1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners.

2) Whisk together cake flour, cocoa, and salt. With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, whisk together sugar and oil until combined. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until each is incorporated, scraping down sides of bowl as needed.

3) Mix in food color and vanilla. Reduce speed to low. Add flour mixture in three batches, alternating with two additions of buttermilk, and whisking well after each. Stir together the baking soda and vinegar in a small bowl (it will foam); add mixture to the batter, and mix on medium speed 10 seconds.

4) Divide batter evenly among lined cups, filling each three-quarters full. Bake, rotating tins halfway through, until a cake tester inserted in centers comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Transfer tins to wire racks to cool completely before removing cupcakes.

5) Cupcakes can be stored overnight at room temperature, or frozen up to 2 months, in airtight containers. To finish, use a small offset spatula to spread cupcakes with frosting.

Cook's Note
Gel-paste food color is much more concentrated than the supermarket liquid variety; if you substitute the liquid, you may need to add an entire bottle (1.5 ounces) to achieve the desired shade.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Precious Stones and Gems

Stones have been valuable for humans since time immemorial. They were one of the first tools for defence when we were evolving and surviving the wild. Some of our oldest monuments are built by stones, no wonder, because they may have seemed formidable as well as eternal to our ancestors. And some of them stood out in this function. The pretty gemstones with their tenacious strength as well as the quality to attract light may have seemed like something divine.
 
And they continue to fascinate us. Even to this day we assign them names, and have seemed to have developed a science describing how they affect us. Whether they really do so or not may be a matter of debate. But here is an entire website describing qualities of gemstones and their healing qualities as described in a branch of Ayurveda.
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Types of Wines Infographic

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Peanut Butter Easy Recipes

This Yahoo article on using Peanut Butter seems interesting!

Peanut Butter Popcorn:
Place 8 cups air-popped popcorn in a large bowl. Line a rimmed baking sheet with waxed paper. Bring 1/2 cup honey and 1/2 cup sugar to a boil in a small saucepan, swirling pan to dissolve sugar, and cook until foamy and slightly darker in color, about 3 minutes. Add 1/2 cup peanut butter and 3/4 teaspoon salt; stir until mixture is smooth. Pour over popcorn; toss to coat. Spread out on prepared sheet. Let cool completely. Break into bite-size pieces.


Buckeyes: 
Line a rimmed baking sheet with waxed paper. Pulse 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs (about 12 crackers) and 1 cup powdered sugar in a food processor until mixture is finely ground. Add 1 cup peanut butter and pulse several times to form a dry dough. Roll the dough into approximately 24 1" balls; place on prepared sheet and freeze until firm, 30-45 minutes. Place 12 oz. semisweet chocolate chips in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave in 15-second bursts until melted, stirring until smooth. Dip peanut butter balls almost completely into melted chocolate so that a small circle of visible peanut butter resembles an eye. Remove buckeyes from chocolate with a fork, tapping tines lightly against inner edge of bowl to shake excess chocolate from balls; return buckeyes to same sheet. Freeze until set, 10-15 minutes, then transfer to refrigerator to store.

Peanut Butter Noodles: 
Whisk together 1/4 cup peanut butter, 2 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce, 1 tablespoon unseasoned rice vinegar, 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil, and 1/2 teaspoon sugar in a large bowl. Add 6 oz. cooked udon or spaghetti plus 2 tablespoons pasta cooking liquid. Garnish with 2 tablespoons thinly sliced scallions, 2 tablespoons toasted peanuts, and 1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh red Thai chile or jalapeno.

Place 8 cups air-popped popcorn in a large bowl. Line a rimmed baking sheet with waxed paper. Bring 1/2 cup honey and 1/2 cup sugar to a boil in a small saucepan, swirling pan to dissolve sugar, and cook until foamy and slightly darker in colour, about 3 minutes. Add 1/2 cup peanut butter and 3/4 teaspoon salt; stir until mixture is smooth. Pour over popcorn; toss to coat. Spread out on prepared sheet. Let cool completely. Break into bite-size pieces.

Tofu Stir-Fry with Peanut Sauce:
Drain a 14-16-oz. package of firm tofu and wrap in several layers of paper towels; let drain for 20-30 minutes. Discard paper towels. Cut tofu block in half diagonally, then place both halves, cut edge down, on a cutting board. Slice each wedge lengthwise into three 1/2"-thick triangles. Season each piece lightly with salt and dredge in 1/2 cup cornstarch to coat. Heat 1/4 cup peanut oil in a 10" pan over medium-high heat until oil is hot but not smoking, 2-3 minutes. Add tofu and cook until golden, 3-4 minutes per side; transfer to a plate. Add 1 tsp. each minced garlic and ginger to the pan; stir-fry until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add 1 1/2 cups trimmed snow peas (about 1/2 lb.), 1 cup thinly sliced onion (1/2 medium onion), and 1 cup thinly sliced red and green bell peppers (each, 1/2 medium pepper). Stir-fry until crisp-tender, 2-3 minutes. In a small bowl, mix 1/4 cup peanut butter, 1/2 teaspoon toasted sesame oil, 1 tablespoon chili-garlic sauce, 2 tablespoon reduced-sodium soy sauce, and 3 tablespoon water. Add peanut butter mixture to pan and stir-fry until sauce comes together and vegetables are evenly coated. Return tofu to pan, turning to coat. Serve over brown rice and sprinkle with sliced scallions.