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18 November 2011

Did you miss me?

This year has slipped by me.. summer into winter, the trees didn't have time to turn. I still am growing jalapenos on my back porch, as the bush refuses to give in to the cold.
Coming up to the close of the semester, I haven't had a lot of time to sit and discuss the baking or cooking I have been doing.

We redeveloped a lot of our stations at work, adding new recipes and dishes to a somewhat stagnant menu rotation. At our Mexican line we added a dish called Picadillo to the specials rotation. This is a dish simply prepared and different than what you would expect. I added elements of Cuban and Caribbean flavors and it ended up a hit, served in tacos and taco salads.

Picadillo (my way)

1.5 pounds ground beef
3 each roma tomatoes, seeded and diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 yellow onion, diced
1/2 cup green olives with brine
2 TB capers
1/4 cup raisins
2 tsp oregano, dried
1 TB cumin
1 TB allspice
salt and pepper to taste

Brown the beef and strain off fat, add tomatoes, garlic, onion and green olives with the brine over medium heat. Allow juices to reduce by half and add the remaining ingredients and stir well. Let simmer for 5-6 minutes, allowing most of the moisture to dissipate. Serve with tortillas, rice and black beans. You can also substitute ground turkey for the beef.

As we have come to the close of the year, the beginning of Baking Season did not allude me... I have baked something every week since Thanksgiving.

It started with Peanut Butter Cupcakes
Joy of Cooking

1/3 cup butter, softened
1 cup packed  brown sugar
1/2 cup peanut butter
Cream these ingredients together well and add
2 eggs
1/2 cup packed brown sugar (yes, again)
1 tsp vanilla
Combine and beat until light and fluffy
In separate bowl mix together
2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsps baking powder
Add flour mixture to egg-sugar mixture, alternately with
3/4 cup milk

Pour into paper-lined cupcake pans and bake at 350 for 25 minutes.
You can ice them with a Maple Sugar icing or a Chocolate Ganache, I opted for the ganache.

1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup semi-sweet or milk chocolate chips
in a double boiler, melt and stir constantly until the mixture is smooth. Remove from heat and dip tops of cupcakes into chocolate and place on rack to cool.
This combo is satisfying enough to quench a craving for Reese's Peanut Butter Cups.

This is the last week of the year. I am off work, except for a couple of hours tomorrow. New Years Eve brings company: my brother, Nick and his wife, and Steven's brother, Tim and his significant other... each responsible for a meal element... I am cooking beef tenderloin with risotto and roasted green beans. Nick is in charge of dessert and Tim, the task of appetizers. I am looking forward to a fun ass evening! This year started out rough... but it mellowed out and now will end quietly. I am thankful for that.

Here's to 2012! Just hang on, it's gonna be a bumpy one.
By the way... there are pictures to accompy this post... I will put them in later, when I get them back. STEVEN.... Oh.. Steven, honey....