Sunday, November 28, 2010

Spiced Oatmeal

First off, I'd like to thank everyone who voted for me in the Manly Cupcake Challenge - I was chosen as the People's Choice! Along with two other final finalists, my recipe will be tested by the amazing bakers at C&C Cakery and a winner will be chosen. Congrats to the other finalists, whose cupcakes looked delicious!

On to the recipe...

This weekend I was fortunate enough to visit my favorite tea store, Sensibiliteas. The owner, Donnalynn recommended a delicious twist on traditional oatmeal, which is laid out below. The beauty is that you can cater it to your taste - want your oatmeal fruitier? Try their Peaches n' Cream spiced black tea. Are you preparing oatmeal for a traditional tea drinker? Perhaps they'd like it made with Earl Grey. The possibilities are endless.

Oatmeal is a nutritious and very very easy to make, as long as you keep an eye on what type of oats you buy. Rolled oats (also called old-fashioned oats) are what I've used here. Steel cut oats, also delicious, would work in this recipe, just be sure to extend your cooking time since they do take a bit longer to complete. More information about oats can be found here.

Original oatmeal recipe adapted from Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything.

Ingredients (makes 2 servings)
  • 2 tsp OR 2 tea bags of your favorite spiced black tea (I used Sensibiliteas' Organic Vanilla Chai)
  • 2 1/4 cups water
  • 1 cup rolled oats (NOT instant)
  • dash of salt
  • 1/3 cup of your favorite dried fruit, optional (I used raisins)
  • additional toppings, such as cream, maple syrup, brown sugar, or toasted walnuts
  1. Boil water for tea. When water has come to a boil, measure out 2 1/4 cups into a small saucepan.
  2. Steep tea in hot water for 3-5 minutes.
  3. Remove tea bag from water. Add oats and salt. Cover and bring to a boil.
  4. When water comes to a boil, turn heat to low, add dried fruit if using, and cook, covered, for another 5-7 minutes until oatmeal is tender.
  5. Remove from heat and serve with any additional desired toppings.

The hardest thing about writing this entry is that there is no Scratch-n-Sniff on the internet. The smell of the oatmeal simmering in a blend of cinnamon, cardamom, vanilla, and cloves permeated the kitchen, but obviously didn't show up in the photo. If you have any interest in oatmeal, I recommend giving this a try!

**Note: I was not compensated in any way by Sensibiliteas for this post. I am simply a fan of her products!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Boots and Beards: the Woodshed Prophets' Marble Swirl Cupcakes

C and C Cakery's 1st Annual Manly Cupcake Challenge

This week I've been reading about C and C Cakery's Manly Cupcake Challenge, which supports the Movember Foundation, a charity raising awareness for men's health issues.

I couldn't resist creating a cupcake especially for my favorite group of boys. The Woodshed Prophets. They're an awesome country/rock band in which my husband (Dan the Man) plays guitar, and are often the professional taste testers to many of the recipes you enjoy here on Artistic Eatables. They're some of the best guys I know, so I wanted to create a dessert that would make them proud.

They've been developing merchandise to coordinate with the release of their debut album, so I looked to the buttons, posters, and t-shirts to inspire me regarding my manly cupcakes. I also wanted something the boys would enjoy eating. Although hot dogs, beer, and pizza are all manly foods, I didn't think they'd translate well to cupcakes.

I decided to stick with black and white for the color scheme (which all began with their bootleg CD's) and chose to highlight the boot logo, which appears on their business cards and buttons. To give some variation and to honor Movember, I included some designs of beards, which is another accessory the boys seem to love. (Three of the four guys have 'em.)

As for the kitchen talk, I altered this recipe to create the cupcake batter, and the frosting recipe is direct from the Tasty Kitchen archives.

cupcakes, pre-frosting

Cupcake Ingredients (makes about 15 cupcakes)
  • 2 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/3 c. sugar
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • 1 c. milk
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) salted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • splash of milk
Frosting Ingredients
  • 5 Tbsp flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter
  • 1 cup sugar (not powdered sugar)
  • your desired color food dye (I used black)

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Line cupcake tin with cupcake papers.
  3. Combine flour, sugar, and baking powder in large bowl. 
  4. Add butter, vanilla, and 1 cup milk. Beat at medium speed for about a minute. 
  5. Add eggs.   Beat at medium speed for about a minute, then at high speed for another minute.
  6. Separate batter into two batches - one larger batch for your vanilla, and a smaller batch to be turned into chocolate.
  7. In small saucepan over low heat, heat chocolate chips. When chocolate chips are hot but not burnt, turn off heat and add a splash or two of milk. Stir or whisk together well until chocolate is slightly creamy.
  8. Add chocolate to smaller batch of cake batter and stir well.
  9. Fill cupcake papers about half full with vanilla batter. To each, add a spoonful of chocolate batter and swirl together using a knife. Clean the knife before swirling the next cupcake.
  10. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes.
  11. Let cool for 10-15 minutes on cooling rack.
  12. While cupcakes are cooling, combine flour and 1 cup milk in saucepan over medium heat. Whisk or stir constantly until very thick. (The recipe's author compares the desired thickness of this frosting to brownie batter.) Remove from heat and cool completely. Place pan in bowl of ice if you need it to cool more quickly.
  13. In a mixing bowl, combine sugar and butter. Beat until graininess of sugar is gone. 
  14. Add vanilla to flour/milk mixture, then pour into butter/sugar mixture. Beat on medium-high speed until texture resembles whipped cream.
  15. Frost cupcakes using white frosting. Add food dye to remainder of frosting in bowl until desired color is achieved. Scoop into icing bag with a small writing tip inside and decorate with boot design and your favorite facial hair configurations.

    More about the Contest

    Saturday, November 20, 2010

    Cream Cheese Stuffed Jalapeños

    It can be easy to fall into a routine at Thanksgiving - turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, corn, rolls, pumpkin pie.. why not spice up your holiday? Yes, literally. Live on the edge! Consider these bad boys for a fun appetizer.

    I was browsing some of my favorite blogs and came across a stuffed jalapeño recipe on The Way the Cookie Crumbles. While her peppers were wrapped in prosciutto which gave them an added texture, I was hoping to focus on flavors. With the help of my awesome friend Jen, we did an experiment with several different flavor combinations and came up with the beauties you see here. I have always enjoyed cream cheese and jelly together and was glad to see it worked out in this form. We liked the combination of spicy, creamy, and sweet.

    Some of the intensity does get baked out of the peppers, but they are spicy to work with in their raw state. You can throw on a pair of rubber gloves while you're slicing and seeding to keep your hands protected.

    (This recipe is listed as gluten-free since most cream cheeses are naturally gluten-free. However, please check the label if you are unsure.)
    • 8 jalapeño peppers, halved lengthwise and seeds removed
    • about 4 oz. cream cheese or Neufchâtel cheese (half package)
    • grape jelly
    1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
    2. Place jalapeno halves on cookie sheet. Spread cream cheese into each the "cup" of each pepper.
    3. Bake at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes, removing when cream cheese has browned.
    4. Top each with a small blob of jelly.
    5. Place on a nice tray to serve or eat hot off the cookie sheet.  :)

    Sunday, November 14, 2010

    AE Featured

    Artistic Eatables' Creamy Potato Soup was featured in the Acupuncture Studio's most recent e-mail newsletter. 

    The Acupuncture Studio, out of Glens Falls, NY, is a great place for those desiring massage, acupuncture, and other healing arts. If you're ever near the historic Troy Shirt Factory, check them out! ( /end shameless plug for one of my favorite places )

    Monday, November 8, 2010

    Roasted Vegetable Minestrone

    For weeks, I had been drooling over this soup recipe from What Megan's Making, one of my favorite food blogs. I loved the idea of roasting vegetables to bring out their flavor in an unexpected place like soup, and couldn't wait to give this a try as the weather has cooled off here. 

    To switch up the original recipe, I changed which vegetables to roast, catered the seasoning to my liking, and altered the amounts for a smaller crowd. This recipe will make enough for 3-4 people as a main dish.

    Ingredients for roasting vegetables
    • 1 bunch small carrots, sliced in rounds
    • 1 small zucchini, halved lengthwise and sliced
    • 1 yellow (summer) squash, halved lengthwise and sliced
    • 1/2 red onion, halved and sliced thinly
    • generous drizzle of olive oil
    • salt + pepper
    Ingredients for rest of soup
    • more olive oil
    • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
    • 3 stalks celery, sliced
    • pinch of dried thyme leaves
    • 14.5 oz can cannellini beans, drained
    • 6 cups vegetable broth (more if you want it brothier)
    • 2 cups pasta shells, uncooked
    • 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes with juice
    • salt + pepper
    • fresh parsley or Parmesan or mozzarella cheese (garnish, optional)

    1. Preheat oven to 500 degrees.
    2. Combine ingredients for roasting vegetables in large baking dish and cover. Bake at 500 degrees for 20-25 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside, still covered, until soup is complete (Step 8).
    3. While vegetables are roasting, heat olive oil in a large stockpot over medium-low heat. 
    4. Add garlic, celery, and thyme. Cook for about 5 minutes.
    5. Add cannelini beans and vegetable broth. Increase heat to medium-high until broth boils, then reduce to low. 
    6. Add pasta shells and cook until they are al dente (about 10 minutes).
    7. Add tomatoes and cook until heated throughout. 
    8. Pour roasted vegetables into soup and stir to incorporate.
    9. Season with salt and pepper, and top with desired garnish.

    Wednesday, November 3, 2010

    Cinnamon Chip Cookies

    First things first - the winner of my first blogiversary giveaway (a jar of homemade blackberry jam), who was chosen randomly, is Kate, who said about her favorite homemade item: "I love love love anything with peanut butter. I have kind of a problem with it. Hi, my name is Kate and I'm a peanut butterholic." Kate, I will be contacting you via e-mail for your info!

    On to the deliciousness...

    Cinnamon chips, unlike chocolate chips, don't really taste great on their own. But after baking in a hot oven and melting a little, they become one of my favorite additions to a cookie. They're more like cinnamon sugar really, and since they're so tiny they help create a cookie that much resembles snickerdoodles in flavor. I was able to find my bag of cinnamon chips at a local independent grocery store that sells bulk products. You may be able to find some at a food co-op or specialty baking store if they're not at your regular grocery store.

    The trick with these, and any cookie, is when you remove them from the oven. To get a crunchier cookie, wait until the edges of each cookie have just browned. For a chewier cookie, check on them as the minimum time gets close. Remove them as soon as they look firm, regardless of their color. They will continue to cook for another minute or two out of the oven until they cool completely.

    Recipe adapted from The Cookie Book by Nancy Baggett.

    Ingredients (makes 25-30 cookies)
    • 1 cup (2 sticks) salted butter, at room temperature (not melted)
    • 1/2 cup sugar
    • 3/4 cup brown sugar
    • 2 tsp vanilla
    • 2 eggs
    • 2 1/2 cup flour
    • 1 tsp baking soda
    • 3/4 lb cinnamon chips
    1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
    2. In a large mixing bowl, combine butter, sugar, and brown sugar.
    3. Add vanilla and eggs.
    4. In a separate bowl, combine flour and baking soda.
    5. While stirring / mixing sugar mixture, slowly add flour mixture until completely incorporated.
    6. Add cinnamon chips and stir well.
    7. Grease two cookie sheets.
    8. Place dough balls the size of golf balls onto cookie sheet, spacing them about 2" apart.
    9. Bake, one tray at a time, at 375 degrees for 8-10 minutes.
    10. Remove from oven and place cookies on a cooling rack for at least five minutes.