Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Lemonade For Sale

Lemonade is one of those things that will forever remind me of summers as a kid. These cupcakes combine tart lemon with sweet strawberries which result in a perfect summer dessert. The flavors work perfectly together and it’s quite a refreshing twist on cupcakes!

Lemonade Cupcakes
1 cup sugar
6 tablespoons butter
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 1/2 cups flour
1 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup milk
Grated zest of two lemons

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Cream butter, sugar, and eggs together until fluffy. Add vanilla and lemon zest.
Combine dry ingredients in a bowl. Add half of the dry ingredients, mixing until just combined. Add the milk. Once mixed, add remaining dry ingredients.
Pour into cupcake tins and bake for 20-25 mins at 350. Let cool, then frost.

Strawberry and Lemon Buttercream
2 sticks of butter, at room temperature
3 cups of powdered sugar + 1 cup extra
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 -1/2 cup chopped strawberries
grated zest of two lemons
1-2 tablespoons of milk (just have on hand if needed)

In the bowl of your electric mixer, cream butter until smooth. Add in powdered sugar slowly with the mixer on low, increasing to combine. Add in vanilla extract and lemon zest.
Once the berries are chopped, press them with a paper towel to just release any extra moisture. Add 1/4 cup of the berries and turn the mixer on high, scraping down the sides as you go. Being that strawberries have a high water content, you may need to add some (or all) of the extra cup of powdered sugar. This will depend on the water content of the strawberries, so add 1/4 cup, then more sugar if needed.
Frost cupcakes and enjoy!

Yield: 12 cupcakes

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Summer Salad

Fresh tomato, mozzarella and basil has always been a staple in my house. It's such an easy side to any meal and satisfies just about everything in my book. Fresh summer tomatoes and basil from the garden combined with creamy buffalo mozzarella...what could be better?
Fresh tomatoes of any kind
Buffalo Mozzarella
Fresh Basil
Balsamic Vinegar
Olive oil

To Assemble:
Slice tomatoes and mozzarella and top with fresh basil, oil and vinegar. Perfection.

Friday, July 20, 2012


Raf Simon debuted his Fall 2012 collection for Christian Dior in Paris covering the venue floor to ceiling in flowers. The show gave off such a magical, Alice in Wonderland feel which complimented the full skirts and 1950’s like glamour.

 Images via Dior Facebook and Style.com

Wednesday, July 18, 2012


Funfetti cake has always been a favorite of mine. Biting into a cupcake or cutting into a big slice of cake to find a rainbow of sprinkles brings back happy memories. Although Pillsbury Funfetti cake mix will always have a spot in my heart I decided to try out my own to celebrate my brother’s 21st birthday recently. The cake turned out delicious but I think the sea salt buttercream frosting took the cake!
Yellow Confetti Cake
·         1 cup (16 Tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened, plus more for greasing the pans
·         1 cup all purpose flour, plus more for dusting the pans
·         2 cups cake flour
·         1 Tablespoon baking powder
·         1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
·         1 3/4 cups vanilla sugar
·         4 large eggs
·         2 teaspoons vanilla extract
·         1 1/4 cups whole milk
·         1/4 cup sprinkles of your choice (I used rainbow)
Chocolate Sea Salt Buttercream
·         1/2 cup (8 Tablespoons) salted butter
·         1 teaspoon vanilla extract
·         2 cups confectioners sugar
·         1/4-1/2 teaspoon flaky sea salt
·         1/2 cup cocoa powder
·         5+/- Tablespoons whole milk
Yellow Confetti Cake
1.    Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
2.    Grease two 9-inch round cake pans with butter, then cut out parchment circles to place into the bottom of each. Sprinkle about a Tablespoon of all purpose flour into each of the pans and rotate the pans to cover them evenly with flour. Tap out the excess.
3.    In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the all purpose flour, cake flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
4.    In the bowl of your stand mixer, combine the butter and sugar. Beat on medium until light and fluffy.
5.    Beat in the eggs, one at a time, until fully incorporated.
6.    Mix in the vanilla extract.
7.    Alternate pouring the milk and dry ingredients into the stand mixer bowl in 3 portions each, beating until just incorporated.
8.    Add the sprinkles and stir them in gently.
9.    Divide the batter between the two prepared pans and bake for 30-35 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through. Remove when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with some moist crumbs.
10. Cool on wire racks for 20 minutes, then run a butter knife around the edge of the pans to loosen up the cakes. Gently dump the cakes out onto the wire racks, flipping them over so they’re right side up.
11. Cool completely before frosting.

Chocolate Sea Salt Buttercream
1.    In the bowl of your stand mixer, beat together the butter, vanilla extract, and powdered sugar until light and fluffy.
2.    Add the sea salt, and cocoa powder, beating until well-incorporated.
3.    On medium-low speed, add the milk one Tablespoon at a time, stopping when you’ve reached desired consistency.

Monday, July 16, 2012


Caramelized Onion Dip Recipe
·         2 Tbsp olive oil
·         2 cups chopped yellow onions (from about 1-2 onions)
·         1 teaspoon brown sugar
·         2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
·         1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
·         1/2 teaspoon black pepper
·         1 cup sour cream
·         1/2 cup mayonnaise
·         1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
·         1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1. Heat olive oil in a large, thick-bottomed deep pot (I used a 5-quart Dutch oven) on medium high heat. Add the chopped onions and cook until translucent and starting to color, about 10 minutes. If at any point during the cooking of the onions they start to dry out, add a tablespoon of water to the pot. Stir in the brown sugar, balsamic, salt, and pepper. Lower the heat and cook gently, uncovered, for about 25 to 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions are nicely caramelized. Then set aside. (You can caramelize the onions up to 2 days ahead and chill until you make the dip.) Let cool a bit before adding to the other ingredients.
2. In a medium bowl, mix together the sour cream and mayonnaise (a rubber spatula works well for this). Stir in the caramelized onions. Sprinkle with garlic salt and stir to incorporate. Stir in the Worcestershire sauce.
Chill until ready to serve. Serve with potato chips or veggies.
Yield: Makes about 2 1/2 cups of dip. 

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Elie Saab Fall 2012

Elie Saab is one of my favorite designers. His dresses are so beautifully crafted and they always have a little sparkle which I love.

Elie Saab Paris Fall 2012 Couture Runway Show Highlights

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Lobster Love

Although one might not associate macaroni and cheese as a summer dish, they certainly have not tried this Lobster mac n’ cheese. I made this on Fourth of July as a side dish for our BBQ and it was gone almost seconds after it came out of the oven. This is one of those tasty, warms your tummy kind of meals…my favorite kind of meal. Perfect for a cool summer’s night or a rainy day inside, everything about this dish hits the spot.

Lobster Mac n’ Cheese

1 box of penne pasta
1 sticks of butter
2 x garlic cloves, chopped
1/2 cup of flour
1/2 cup of white wine
1 can of evaporated milk (I omitted this)
4 cups of milk
1 tbsp of paprika
2 tbsp of Dijon mustard
1/4 tsp of cayenne pepper
8 oz of cheddar cheese, grated
8 oz of Monterrey jack cheese, grated (I omitted this)
Salt and pepper
2 x 1 lb. lobsters, cooked and shelled (I used about ¾ pound cooked lobster meat)
2 cups of breadcrumbs (I used 1 cup of panko)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Drop the pasta into boiling, salted water and cook until almost tender, about 12 minutes. Make sure the water tastes like a day at the beach, as the pasta will absorb it and become properly seasoned. The pasta should not be fully cooked; it should have just a touch of firmness when tasted. Drain well.
2. Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat, add garlic and cook for several minutes until it softens. Add the flour and stir with a wooden spoon until a smooth paste forms. Continue cooking for a few more minutes, in effect toasting the mixture and adding flavor to it.
3. Slowly stir in the wine and continue mixing until smooth and then add both milks, mixing well again. Continue whisking until the mixture coats the back of a spoon. Add paprika, Dijon, cayenne, salt, pepper and cheeses and stir until melted.
4. Roughly chop lobster meat and add to the cheese mixture along with the pasta. Stir well to combine and season with salt and pepper. Pour into a 9-inch by 13-inch ovenproof casserole or similar dish.
5. Sprinkle with breadcrumbs and bake until the mixture is heated through and the breadcrumbs are golden brown, about 30 minutes. (I topped it with chives before serving.)

Yield: 8 servings

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Monday, July 9, 2012

Happy Birthday America!

I hope everyone had a wonderful 4th of July! My vacation was much needed and so much fun. Here is the recipe for my annual American Flag Cake! This is one of my favorite yellow cake recipes, perfectly moist and delicious. 

For the cake:
  • 1 1/2 cups (3 sticks/342 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 cups (400 grams) granulated sugar
  • 3 egg
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 cups (360 grams) cake flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup (240 grams) nonfat buttermilk
For the Icing:
  • 3 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons whipping cream
  • 1 cup Strawberries, sliced
  • 1 cup Blueberries
For the cake:
1. Position a rack in the center of the oven, and heat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour two 8-inch round cake pans.
2. Using a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachement (or a handheld mixer), cream together the butter and granulated sugar on medium speed for 3–4 minutes, or until light and fluffy. (This step will take 8–10 minutes if using a handheld mixer.) Stop the mixer a few times and use a rubber spatula to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl and the paddle to release any clinging butter or sugar.
in a small bowl, whisk together the eggs, egg yolks, and vanilla just until combined. On low speed, slowly pour the egg mixture into the butter mixture and mix just until incorporated. Scrape the bowl and paddle again, then beat on medium speed for 20–30 seconds, or until the mixture is homogeneous.
3. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. On the lowest speed, add about one-third of the flour mixture to the egg-butter mixture and mix just until barely combined. Immediately pour in about half of the buttermilk and continue to mix on the lowest speed until the buttermilk is almost thoroughly incorporated. Stop the mixer and scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl well. Again on the lowest speed, add about half of the remaining flour mixture and mix just until barely combined. Add the rest of the buttermilk and mix just until combined. Be careful not to overmix.
4. At this point, it is best to finish the mixing by hand. Remove the bowl from the mixer stand and, using the rubber spatula, fold in the remaining flour mixture just until the batter is homogeneous. As you fold, be sure to incorporate any batter clinging to the sides and bottom of the bowl. Divide the batter evenly between the prepared cake pans.
5. Bake for 40–50 minutes, or until the tops are golden brown and the cakes spring back when pressed in the middle with a fingertip. Let cool completely in the pans on wire racks. (The cooled cakes can be tightly wrapped in plastic wrap and stored in the freezer for up to 1 week. Thaw at room temperature, still wrapped tightly in plastic wrap.)
For the Icing:
In a standing mixer fitted with a whisk, mix together sugar and butter. Mix on low speed until well blended and then increase speed to medium and beat for another 3 minutes. Add vanilla and cream and continue to beat on medium speed for 1 minute more, adding more cream if needed for spreading consistency. 
*Note: I only did half of this recipe for my Flag Cake and only did one layer.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Stars and Stripes

4th of July is one of my favorite holidays. Celebrating with good food, fireworks, friends, family, and putting in some quality beach hours are on my to do list this week.

Monday, July 2, 2012

I Scream!

Ice cream is, and forever will be, a perfect summer pastime. I recently purchased an ice cream maker and it has changed my life! Ice cream is such an easy dessert to make and it comes out so incredibly delicious. I have a long list of flavors to make but I started out with Cookies n’ Cream, a classic.
Cookies n' Cream Ice Cream
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup whole milk
2/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
20 Oreos

Combine cream, milk, sugar and vanilla in a saucepan and heat until the sugar is completely dissolved.
Pour into a bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Chill in the refrigerator or in an ice bath until completely cool.
Place the chocolate sandwich cookies into a gallon size plastic bag. Using a rolling pin or a rubber mallet (my weapon of choice), break up the cookies being sure to leave some larger pieces. Store the cookies in the freezer.
Freeze in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. When the ice cream is nearly finished freezing, pour the frozen cookie pieces into the machine, and allow to mix thoroughly. (You will still have to stir it up a bit after the machine is done.)
Store in an air tight container and freeze for an additional 2 hours.