Saturday, September 24, 2011

Vanilla Cupcakes with Chocolate Spice Frosting!

In honor of my dear friend Lauren's birthday, I whipped up a quick (but tasty) batch of cupcakes! It was a busy week of work so I had to think of a quick way to make something delicious. I baked a batch of Pillsbury's Classic White Cupcakes. 

When it came time to frost I pulled chocolate frosting in my cupboard, but wasn't really fellin' it. So I thought of a great way to doctor it up. I whipped the frosting in my blender to make it creamer. Then, I added a tablespoon of cocoa powder to build richness. Then things got crazy. I wanted to change up the flavor a bit so I sprinkled in 1/8 teaspoon of cayenne pepper and 2 teaspoons of chili powder, and continued to whip the frosting until all was combined. Then voila! I had a spicy chocolate frosting! Once pipped over the cupcakes, it added a great smoky flavor to the cake. I think it was a hit. ;)

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Pan Seared Salmon!

Things have been pretty hectic over the last few months.  I feel like any night that I am home and ready to cook, I either have zero energy or no food in the fridge, hence the lack of new recipes! Rest assured, I am eating. I'm just not eating anything blog worthy. ;)

One of my reasons for cooking less is actually pretty amazing. Back in July I started volunteering twice a week at God's Love We Deliver, chopping veggies for soups and stews. It is such a great experience! Aside from improving my slicing skills (and ridding myself of constant blisters) it is so rewarding to know that the work I put into these shifts is enjoyed by so many the next day. God's Love serves anywhere between 1,200 to 1,500 hot meals to those in need a day. 

Anyways, back to the reason you're reading this. Since I've been eating a lot of the same old thing, when I am craving something new it seems as though fish is the first thing that comes to mind! This time, salmon! Growing up my mom always baked salmon in the oven marinated in Italian dressing, wrapped in foil. I figured I'd branch out tonight and pan sear it. Extra crispy!!

2 salmon filets
1 tbsp butter
salt and pepper to taste
2 dashes onion powder
1 tsp minced leak
2 tsp minced shallots
1 tbsp olive oil

1) Saute the shallots and leak in a pan with olive oil until translucent and fragrant.
2) Season the salmon filets with onion powder, salt and pepper. Then add to pan.
3) Allow about 6 minutes on one side, flip then add butter.
4) Allow another six minutes or so to sear. Then remove the filets from pan and set on a separate plate.

I served my salmon atop sauteed spinach and quinoa. This dish was incredible. It was the first time in weeks that all was silent while eating. ;)

Recipe adapted from

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Here Fishy Fishy....

With summer coming to a close my taste buds have been craving the last bites of the season. Growing up, my dad spent summer days taking us kids to various lakes and state parks to soak up the sun and relax (and so he could go fishing!) I remember countless times that we had spent hours at the lake only to leave with left over minnows but there were always a few great days when we caught loads of fish!

And loads of fish meant one thing: FISH FRY!! Nothing tastes better than fresh trout battered and fried. Yum! Naturally, living in the city makes "going fishing" completely out of the question so Trader Joe's has to be the next best thing.

After scanning the isles, I settled on tilapia fillets. I've done a few fish recipes over the last few years and was ready for something other than oven baked so I did a little research on pan frying. It seemed simple enough. After seasoning my fillets with salt and pepper, I coated them in flour, shook off the excess and placed them in an oiled, heated frying pan. They were cooked through after 5 minutes on each side. 

I served the fish with asparagus and mushroom quinoa. It was a great combination. The fish was tender and delicious. It was definitely a great reminder of growing up. :)