Sunday, June 29, 2014

Tropical Mandarin Cupcakes

There's something about a mandarin orange that makes me think of special occasions. Maybe it's because when I was growing up they were a treat reserved for Christmas. Every year around mid December my mom would buy a box of mandarins - each one cleverly wrapped in light green paper - that she would hand out at the end of the school day, or place in my Christmas stocking with a handful of roasted peanuts, still in their shells.

Those were the good old days when everything wasn't so easily accessible. Days when we'd wait impatiently for a movie to come to the theater, for a favorite song to be played on the radio, or when a cherished TV show like The Wonderful World of Disney came on after roast beef dinner Sunday evenings and the whole family gathered around the TV to watch.

That said, I don't recall ever having mandarin oranges at other times of the year - and most especially, not during summer - which is shame, really, because in all their vibrant, sweet, orange glory, they were really made for the summer!

Especially when baked up in cupcakes!



I can't even begin to tell you how much I love this recipe!

Maybe it's because the cupcakes are so moist and full of flavor, or maybe it's because the butter cream frosting adds just the right touch of sweet to the nutty toasted coconut on top - but mostly, it's because there are juicy mandarin orange segments in every single bite and the 9 year old in me who still believes in Santa likes that!

If you'd like to learn more, pull up a chair in the kitchen witch cottage, watch the step by step video, and you can bake them along with me!




Enjoy the printable recipe here: Tropical Mandarin Cupcakes

Ingredients
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 4 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 1 tin mandarin orange slices, drained
Directions
  1.     Preheat the oven to 350°. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper or foil liners.
  2.  In a medium bowl, whisk the flour with the cornstarch, baking powder and salt.
  3.  In a large bowl, using a handheld electric mixer, beat the sugar with the eggs and vanilla extract at medium-high speed until smooth and thickened slightly, about 3 minutes. Add the butter and oil and beat until incorporated, scraping the bottom and side of the bowl. Add the dry ingredients and coconut milk in 3 alternating batches, beating well between additions. Carefully pour the batter into the lined muffin tins, filling them about two-thirds full.
  4. Bake the cupcakes in the center of the oven for 20 to 23 minutes, until springy and a toothpick or cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Let the cupcakes cool slightly in the muffin tin, then transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely. Frost and top the cupcakes with toasted coconut.
Frosting Ingredients
  • 6 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 2 cups icing sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon coconut or vanilla extract (I use coconut extract in mine but the recipe is still delicious with vanilla)
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 tablespoons coconut milk
  • 2 cup toasted coconut
Directions
  1. In a medium bowl, using a handheld electric mixer, beat the softened butter at medium speed until smooth. Add the confectioners' sugar, vanilla extract and salt and beat the mixture at low speed just until combined. Increase the mixer speed to medium and beat until smooth. Add the milk or heavy cream and beat until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Spread the frosting on the cupcakes and top as desired.
  2. Sprinkle toasted coconut over all.

Author:

Lyndsay Wells is a professional trainer, writer, and program developer with a passion for food and cooking. She is an award winning recipe developer, and a website ambassador for Kraft Foods Canada. Lyndsay believes cooking should be approachable and easy and has great tips and ideas for putting together sophisticated looking dishes that cooks of all levels can accomplish.

Visit her daily on her blog, The Kitchen Witch or on her YouTube Channel, CHARMED With The Kitchen Witch.

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Saturday, June 21, 2014

Deep Dish Pizza Pie

My husband "Big V" got into the kitchen last week and - Oh. My. God. - the man created a food miracle!! And I'm not gonna lie... when he first told me he planned to make a deep dish pizza with a lid like a pie using bread dough, I was skeptical - not to mention all the meat he planned to use. But I should have learned my lesson by now that when the man I married straps on an apron, good things always come out of the kitchen!

Just look....





















Oh my gosh! I'm hungry again just looking at it!!

Join Big V in the Kitchen Witch cottage today to learn how to make this for yourself - or scroll down for the recipe!

Anyway you slice it, Big V is making magic in the kitchen!

Visit the printable recipe here: Deep Dish Pizza Pie




Deep Dish Pizza Pie

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Serves: 4

Ingredients
  • 1 1/2 loaves frozen bread dough, thawed
  • 1/2 cup pizza sauce
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 cup shredded, fresh, Parmesan cheese
  • 5 slices of bacon
  • 5 chorizo sausages, casings removed
  • 1/2 cup diced white onions
  • 1/4 cup diced green pepper
  • 5 slices each, pepper salami, capicola, calabrese salami
  • 1/4 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1/4 tsp dried chiles
 Directions
  1. Fry the bacon over medium heat in a non-stick skillet, turning every minute and a half so they don't curl up. 
  2. In the same pan, saute the Chorizo sausages until they're almost cooked through.
  3. Add the diced onions and green peppers and continue to saute until the chorizo is completely cooked and the vegetables have softened. Set that aside. 
  4. Roll out a loaf of thawed bread dough - use a little cornmeal to keep it from sticking - and then place into a well oiled deep dish pie plate. Press it down but don't worry if there's a little air in the bottom, your other ingredients are going to weigh it down. 
  5. Brush the dough with a quarter cup of pizza sauce and then cover with 1 cup of grated mozzarella cheese, and  a quarter cup of Parmesan cheese. Top that with the cooked onions, peppers, and Chorizo and, using your hands, press it all down into the plate.
  6. Lay the slices of Italian meats over top.
  7. Roll out another half loaf of bread dough and stretch it across the top of the pie. Seal, cut off any additional dough, and crimp the edges. 
  8. Cover the top with another quarter cup of pizza sauce, the remaining shredded mozzarella cheese and Parmesan cheeses, the Italian seasoning and the chilies.
  9. Bake in a pre-heated 400 degree (200 c, or gas mark 6) for 22-25 minutes until golden (don't worry if you get a little air into the top, just make a slit with a sharp knife and let it out).
  10. Let cool 10-15 minutes and than place a plate over top and flip to remove from the pan. Flip again onto a cutting board and, using a sharp knife, cut into wedges. 

Author:

Lyndsay Wells is a professional trainer, writer, and program developer with a passion for food and cooking. She is an award winning recipe developer, and a website ambassador for Kraft Foods Canada. Lyndsay believes cooking should be approachable and easy and has great tips and ideas for putting together sophisticated looking dishes that cooks of all levels can accomplish.

Visit her daily on her blog, The Kitchen Witch or on her YouTube Channel, CHARMED With The Kitchen Witch.

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Wednesday, June 11, 2014

What's For Dinner? Orange Roasted Salmon and Fennel, Wasabi Mashed Potatoes, and Polenta Pound Cake with Blueberries

Hi everyone,

Along with my new URL, I've decided to change the format of this blog a bit in order to work in better connection with my Youtube channel (and if you haven't subscribed yet, what are you waiting for??) to create an entire meal - main, side, dessert - each week.

Every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday I'll be posting a video on Youtube - Tuesdays will feature the main dish, Thursdays "What's on the side?" and Saturday the dessert. And then the following week I'll compile them all here as a featured meal - starting today with the following foodie fabulousity:

Orange Roasted Salmon and Fennel, with Wasabi Mashed Potatoes, and Polenta Pound Cake with Blueberries and Thyme!


And I have to say, this meal was not only incredible - it so well balanced. The slight hint of heat in the Wasabi Mashed Potatoes was the perfect counter point to the roasted fennel and the unctuous orange cream sauce that blanketed the salmon.

So come on over to my Kitchen Witch Cottage and learn how to make this beautiful meal - starting with the Orange Roasted Salmon and Fennel.




Visit the printable recipe here: Orange Roast Salmon and Fennel

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 32 minutes
Serves: 4

Ingredients
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 bulbs fennel, trimmed and cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices
  • 1 large navel orange, zested
  • 3/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice 
  • 1/2 cup Philadelphia Cream Cheese
  • 3-4 whole sprigs of thyme and 2 teaspoons thyme leaves
  • 1 tsp each salt and freshly ground black pepper, divided
  • 4 fresh salmon filets
Directions
  1. Heat oven to 450 degrees. Coat the bottom of a large roasting pan with 2 tbsp of the oil. Add the sliced fennel. Add the sprigs of thyme. Drizzle 1 tbsp of oil over the fennel and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss to fully coat the fennel with oil and seasonings. Roast 12 minutes.
  2. Remove the fennel from the oven. Reduce the oven temperature to 400. Top fennel with the salmon, skin side down. Drizzle with the last tbsp of olive oil, salt, pepper, and orange zest.
  3. Roast for 15-20 minutes until the salmon reaches your desired doneness.
  4. Warm the orange juice in a small saucepan along with the thyme leaves. Add the cream cheese and let it melt into the sauce.
  5. Remove pan from oven. Place fennel on a large platter. Remove skin from salmon. Place on top of the fennel and spoon the cream sauce over all.

What's on the Side this week features me mashing up those fluffy, savory, potatoes - along with me dishing about some of the more adventurous things I've done in my life. Mechanical bull anyone?

Help yourself to a coffee, and join me....




Visit the printable recipe here: Wasabi Mashed Potatoes

Ingredients

  • 8-10 unpeeled new potatoes
  • 2 cloves peeled whole garlic
  • 1 Tbsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup whipping cream
  • 1/4 cup butter or margarine
  • 1 tbsp wasabi paste
Directions
  1. Quarter the potatoes, cover with water, add the garlic cloves and salt and bring to the boil. Boil potatoes until soft and tender.
  2. Melt the butter, whipping cream and wasabi together over medium heat in a small pot.
  3. Drain the potatoes and garlic and smash with a potato masher, and add the cream mixture. Continue to mash and stir until it's creamy and incorporated.
And finally, join me for this week's happy ending - which is my new favourite dessert for summer! I honestly can't enough about this one and hope all my friends and readers will give it a try!

Again, pull up a chair and join me in the Kitchen Witch cottage...




Visit the printable recipe here: Polenta Pound Cake with Blueberries

For the blueberries

    1/4 cup granulated sugar
    1 tsp. chopped fresh thyme
    1 pint fresh blueberries (can also use frozen and thawed)
    1-1/2 tsp. finely grated orange zest
    Pinch kosher salt

For the cake

    8 oz (1 cup) unsalted butter, softened; more for the pan
    6-2/3 oz (1-2/3 cups) cake flour; more for the pan
    1/3 cup polenta (cornmeal)
    2 Tbs finely chopped fresh thyme
    1/4 tsp kosher salt
    1-1/3 cups granulated sugar
    5 large eggs, at room temperature
    1 Tbs fresh orange juice
    2 tsp pure vanilla extract

Make the blueberries

In a small saucepan, combine 1/4 cup of granulated sugar, 1 tsp fresh thyme, and 2 Tbs. of water. Stir over low heat, until the sugar dissolves. Next add one pint of fresh (or frozen and thawed) blueberries, 1 and a half tsp of orange zest, and a pinch of kosher salt. Raise the heat to medium high and bring the mixture to a boil. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the syrup thickens slightly and the berries are warm - about 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from the heat while you make the cake.

To do so, whisk together 1 and 2/3 of a cup of cake flour, with a third cup of cornmeal, 2 tbsp of finely chopped fresh thyme, and 1/4 tsp of kosher salt.

Meanwhile beat 1 cup of softened butter together with 1 and 1/3 cups of sugar on medium-high for about 2 minutes until fluffy. Add 5 large room temperature eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Finally, add 2 tsp of the best vanilla you can get your hands on and 1 tbsp of orange juice. Add the flour mixture and stir with a spatula until just combined.

Scrape the batter into a buttered and floured pan and smooth the top.

Bake in a 325 oven for an hour and 15 minutes - but check on the cake at the hour point and test with a tooth pick. Depending on how hot your oven gets it could be ready earlier.

Slice and serve warm or at room temperature, topped with the blueberries.

Author:

Lyndsay Wells is a professional trainer, writer, and program developer with a passion for food and cooking. She is an award winning recipe developer, and a website ambassador for Kraft Foods Canada. Lyndsay believes cooking should be approachable and easy and has great tips and ideas for putting together sophisticated looking dishes that cooks of all levels can accomplish.

Visit her daily on her blog, The Kitchen Witch or on her YouTube Channel, CHARMED With The Kitchen Witch.

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