Saturday, July 10, 2010

A Jam Packed Day

This morning had a memorable beging.... I awoke to my toddler Josephine, hosting an impromptu ice cream social in her brother's crib. The early riser that she is, I somehow slept through her morning freezer raid, and awoke to find Samuel in tears, covered from head to toe in homemade cookies and cream. Babies had to be bathed, sheets had to be washed, and time outs had to be served, which means that breakfast was all but skipped in the Hamiter household. Wanting to make sure that we had an enjoyable afternoon at the park, I got busy making our picnic lunch. This brought it's own challenges. With the week coming to a close, supplies tend to run low and ingredients begin to spoil, and both issues struck at the same time. While making our dessert, my sous chefs and I ran out of butter. Instead of dutifully rousing Samuel from his nap and strapping everyone into their proper car seats, or even worse, not finishing our dessert, I announced my candidacy for worst mother of the year, and decided to leave Samuel sleeping soundly in his crib for the 10 minute time frame necessary to strap the Isabella and Josephine in their seats, run into the store for one lousy stick of butter, and race home. The girls and I were able to finish our raspberry filled cupcakes with fudgy frosting (hooray!). Moving on to the pasta salad I realize that my arugula has gone yellow and must be tossed, leaving me without the requisite green component needed for a well balanced dish. I decide to sacrifice the swiss chard that was designated for the manicotti and sauté it with some garlic before adding it to the pasta, white beans, red onion, goat cheese, and vinaigrette. So off we went to the park for what would be the highlight of my day- no, not enjoying my children's joyous faces on the swing, or even the relaxation of a blanket on the grass and fresh air... it was biting into my cupcake. It was that good.

After everyone had exhausted themselves fully from playing chase, I get a call from a fellow mom who has ran out of gas, and of course load up everyone to go and assist. I realize that this is woman down on her luck who could use some cheering up, so after aiding in that situation, I have her follow me. Next stop- Targét. It is impossible not to be overwhelmed with warm and fuzzy feelings when walking through the automatic doors of Target- I have a theory that they sprinkle everything with some invisible form of crack, which is why their shopping experience is addicting like no other. After covering both our carts at the checkout, I feel like the good deed fairy, and since good things should come in threes as well, invite her and her son to join us for dinner.

I tell Wes to pick us up some organic chicken breasts on his way home from work so that I can stretch the mushroom stroganoff that much further, and enjoy a few mommy minutes before beginning dinner of chardonnay and adult conversation, all to the sound of children ransacking the back bedroom... ah, relaxation.

Stroganoff is another one of those easy, comforting dishes I was going for this week, that also happens to be incredibly versatile. I like to prepare it with mixed meaty mushrooms, but inexpensive cubed stew beef works well, as does chicken.

Mushroom Stroganoff
6 TBS unsalted butter
large shallot, sliced
1 to 2 lbs mixed favorite fresh mushrooms (cremini, portobellos, shiitake)
2 TBS flour
1 cup dry white wine
1 cup chicken or vegetable broth
3/4 cup sour cream
2 TBS parsley, minced (plus more for garnish if you like)
salt & pepper
egg noodles

-Bring a large pot of salted water to boil and cook egg noodles al dente to package directions while you make the rest of the meal
-In a large pan, over medium high heat, melt the butter, then add the shallot and cook until lightly golden, 3-5 minutes
-Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring frequently, until they have softened and released most of their moisture, about 5 minutes
-Add the flour, stir and cook for 2 minutes, then add the wine and broth and cook a couple of minutes more
-Remove from heat, add the sour cream, parsley, and season to taste with salt and pepper
-Serve over the noodles

*To add chicken to the dish, like I did this evening, simply slice up some chicken breast, season it with salt and pepper and cook it in a few TBS of butter, olive oil and a clove of garlic over medium high heat until until browned. Remove from the pan, and proceed with the recipe from the beginning, omitting a little of the butter. Then add the chicken and any accumulated juices back to the pan when you add in the broth and wine.

Jam Filled Raspberry Cupcakes with Fudgy Chocolate Frosting

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for the pan
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour, plus more for the pan
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs, at room temperature
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup plus 2 TBS whole milk
1 cup confectioners' sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 cup raspberry jam
12 raspberries, for garnish

-Preheat oven to 350, butter and flour a 12 cup muffin pan
-Combine flour, baking powder and 3/4 tsp salt in a medium bowl
-In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream 1/2 cup (1 stick) of butter with the 3/4 cup sugar on medhigh speed until light and fluffy
-Beat in the eggs, one at a time, then add the vanilla
-Reduce speed to low and beat in the flour in three parts, alternating with 1/2 cup of milk
-Divide batter evenly among the muffin cups and bake for 15 minutes, then cool completely on a wire rack
-Whisk together the confectioners sugar, cocoa, and 1/4 tsp of salt-In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat 1/2 cup of butter until light and fluffy
-With the mixer on low, add the cocoa mixture, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary
-Beat in the 2 TBS milk and 1/2 tsp of vanilla and beat on medium for 30 seconds
-Using a paring knife, cut a 1 inch deep cone shaped piece from the top of each cupcake (do not discard)
-Fill each hole with 1 tsp of the jam and place the cut piece back on top
-Frost cupcakes and top with a raspberry

1 comment:

  1. That is so kind of you! I bet you have some good karma comin' your way :)