Archive for ‘Entertaining’

June 14, 2011

Shrimp Salad in a Cup

This year has been pretty big for my husband and me. I graduated medical school and am starting my first real job. We moved into our first house, and my husband graduated his Weekend MBA program. I am so incredibly proud of him for being able to accomplish this (and do extremely well in the program) while having a full time job. In celebration of this,  a couple weeks ago, I threw him a graduation party at our home.It was an open house and had mostly appetizers and finger foods. This was one of the finger foods that went over extremely well. This shrimp salad in a cup is extremely easy to make and is perfect for summer get togethers. It’s light and refreshing and looks impressive as well.

Shrimp Salad in a Cup

Ingredients:

15 Mini phyllo cups

1 cup finely chopped pineapple
1 cup finely chopped green apple
1 tbs finely chopped cilantro
white head less shrimp, one for each cup (keep the shrimp tail)
1 tsp dry parsley leaves
salt
pepper
In a bowl, mix the shrimp with salt, pepper and dry parley leaves.
Line the shrimps in a baking pan and roast them for 10 minutes at 400 F.
In another bowl, mix pineapple, green apple and cilantro with some salt and pepper.
Pour a spoon of salad mix into the cup and then, place the shrimp on top.

Source: Adapted from Sunshine & Simple

April 22, 2011

New York Cheesecake with Cherry-Raspberry Topping

New York Style Cheesecake

Don’t let the bad photography skills fool you. This cake is truly amazing. Ever since I made the Raspberry Cheesecake-Cupcakes, my mother has been buying tons and tons of cream cheese ready for baking whenever I come to her house. A couple weekends ago, she asked me to use the cream cheese to create a decadent dessert for my father’s birthday, and of course, the most decadent cheesecake dessert that I could  think of was tall, rich, gorgeous (kind of sounds like I’m describing a man huh?) New York Style Cheesecake.

This cake is truly as great as people make it out to be. Guests were very much impressed by how delicious it was and most importantly, my dad loved it.

The recipe is from Baking Illustrated, which has never let me down, with a really great cherry-raspberry topping that I think I could have probably eaten plain. This one is definitely a keeper.

New York Cheesecake

Ingredients:

Graham Cracker Crust:
5 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted, plus 1 Tbsp melted unsalted butter for greasing the pan
4 ounces Graham crackers, broken into rough pieces and processed in a food processor to fine, even crumbs (approximately 8.5 crackers)
1 Tbsp sugar

For the filling:
2 1/2 lbs (five 8oz packages) cream cheese cut into rough 1 inch chunks at room temperature
1/8 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/3 cup sour cream
2 tsp lemon juice
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 large egg yolks plus 6 large eggs at room temperature.

Directions:
For the crust: Adjust an oven rack to the lower-middle position and heat the oven to 326 degrees.
brush the bottom and sides of a 9-inch springform pan with 1/2 Tbsp of the melted butter.
Combine the graham cracker crumbs and sugar in a medium bowl.
Add 5 Tbsp of the melted butter and toss with a fork until evenly moistened.
Empty the crumbs into the springform pan and press evenly into the pan bottom using the bottom of a ramekin, 1 cup measuring cup or drinking glass to press the crumbs into the bottom. Use a teaspoon to press the crumbs into the corners of the pan.
Bake until fragrant and beginning to brown around th edges, about 13 minutes.
Cool on a wire rack while making the filling.
For the filling: increase the oven temperature to 500 degrees.
In a standing mixer, beat the cream cheese at medium-low speed to break up and soften it slightly, 1 minute.
Scrape the beater and the bottom and sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula.
Add the salt, half of the sugar and beat at medium-low speed until combined, about 1 minute.
Scrape the bowl once again.
Beat in the remaining sugar until combined (about 1 minute).
Scrape the bowl with the rubber spatula again.
Add the sour cream, lemon juice and vanilla.
Beat at low speed until combined, one minute.
Scrape the bowl.
Add the egg yolks and beat at medium-low speed until thoroughly combined, about one minute. Scrape the bowl.
Add the remaining eggs, two at a time, beating until thoroughly combined, about one minute, scraping the bowl between additions.
Brush the sides of the springform pan with the remaining 1/2 Tbsp melted butter.
Set the springform pan on a rimmed baking sheet to catch any spills.
Pour the filling into the cooled crust and bake 10 minutes.
Without opening the oven door, reduce the oven temperature to 200 degrees and continue to bake until the cheesecake reads about 150 degrees on an instant-read thermometer inserted in the center, about 1 1/2 hours.
Transfer the cake to a wire rake and cool until barely warm, 2 1/2 to 3 hours.
Run a paring knife between the cake and the springform pan sides.
Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate until cold, at least three hours. The cheesecake can be refrigerated up to four days.
To unmold, remove the sides of the pan. Slide a thin metal spatula between the crust and the bottom of the pan to loosen, then slide the cake onto a serving plate.
Let the cheesecake stand at room temp 30 minutes, then cut into wedges.

Cherry-Raspberry Topping

Ingredients:
15 ounces mix of frozen cherries and raspberries (this came in two separate bags)
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 cup water

Directions:
Place all ingredients together in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil. Once it is boiling, cook it for an additional one to two minutes then remove from heat. Cool completely before covering cheesecake.

Source: Cheesecake:Baking Illustrated
Cherry/Raspberry Topping adapted from: Smitten Kitchen

Birdseye NY Style Cheesecake

April 4, 2011

Teddy Bear Cupcakes for a Teddy Bear Picnic

 

Teddy Bear Cupcakes

I know I’ve been on a bit of a hiatus, but honestly, it hasn’t been without good reason. We’ve had some major life-changing events in the past few weeks that have kept me pretty busy.

A short summary of the past few weeks for us:

– I ‘matched’ into a surgical residency position. This basically means that I got my first job! I know that I’ll have to work harder than I ever have in my life, but the way I look at it is that I’ll be doing exactly what I want to be doing (surgery)…I’ll just be doing a whole lot of it. So I’m thrilled to start this new stage in my medical education.

-My husband graduated from his MBA program in the top 20 percent of his class. For the past two years, he’s been working full time and doing a weekend MBA program and I am extremely proud of him for graduating and doing so well.

-We started looking for a home. This was so exciting at first, but it’s been a bit of a roller coaster. We lost one home to another offer and are now in a bidding war on another home. Maybe it’s some sort of first-time-home-buyers curse? Anyways, I’m hoping it works out.

So as you see, it’s been busy, but hopefully things will slow down a bit and I can actually update it now since I have lots of great recipes waiting to be posted.

These cupcakes were made together with my good friend and great baking buddy Bree (who I know I’ve mentioned several times in this blog). Her daughter turned one last weekend and since her nickname is Brynne Bear, Bree thought that it was most appropriate to throw her a teddy bear picnic. She actually found this recipe in the Jewish Chronicle Online (a bit random) but these were  so adorable a cinch to make. For the base cupcake, we used my favorite Hershey’s Perfectly Chocolate Cake batter…always a winner.The frosting wasn’t overly sweet, which was a perfect contrast to the cupcakes. The only catch with the frosting is that the directions were in grams and while this was not a problem for me (since I recently purchased a kitchen scale to make macarons with), I know that many people do not own a scale. Bree and I were having a bit too much fun baking, chatting and sipping wine that I didn’t think to count how much chocolate and butter 75 grams is, but I will definitely take note of this next time.  And the decorations? Well, I think they speak for themselves. Bree reported back that everyone was very impressed, especially the birthday girl.

Happy Birthday Brynne!

Teddy Bear Chocolate Cupcakes

For the cupcakes

Ingredients

2 cups sugar
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cups Hershey’s Cocoa
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup boiling water

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cupcake tins with liners.
Stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in large bowl. Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla; beat on medium speed of mixer 2 minutes.
Stir in boiling water (batter will be thin). Fill cups 2/3 full with batter. Bake 22 to 25 minutes. Cool completely. Frost.

For the frosting:

Ingredients:

75g semisweet baking chocolate
75g butter
2 tsp powdered sugar
pinch of salt

Directions:

Melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a pan of warm water, then allow to cool for five minutes.
Beat the butter and sugar together with a pinch of salt, then beat in the cooled chocolate.
The icing will be very soft, so refrigerate for 20-30 minutes, stirring halfway through until firmer, but spreadable. Swirl the buttercream over the cakes using a palette knife.

For the decorations:

Ingredients:

Ready to roll white icing
Chocolate buttons
Chocolate M&Ms
Black writing icing

Directions:

Make small balls of white icing and flatten into oval shapes.
Place in the center of each cupcake and attach and M&M for the nose using a little of the writing icing.
Draw on a mouth using a tube of black writing icing and add chocolate buttons for ears and M&Ms for eyes.

Source: Hershey’s Perfectly Chocolate Cake , The Jewish Chronicle Online

January 13, 2011

Baby Shower

 

Baby Shower

Last weekend, I helped host a baby shower for my sister-in-law, Molly. She’s actually the reason that I know my husband as I was friends with her in college before I met Francis. Molly is expecting her first child in March, a little baby girl, and I couldn’t be more excited to meet my FIFTH niece.

The theme of her baby shower was pink and yellow and rubber dickies. We tried to make ‘baby food’ as in miniature foods and make a lot of red/pink and yellow foods. It was a ‘brunch’ shower so there weren’t too many ‘heavy’ foods.

We also decorated with pink and yellow table clothes, pink and yellow tye-dye onsies and pink and yellow rubber ducky center pieces. Overall, I think this first shower that I’ve ever hosted was   a great success! Everyone seemed to really love the food and thought the decorations were adorable.

As favors, we gave out pink and yellow duck sugar cookies and little boxes of homemade truffles.We also had small bowls of the homemade truffles on each table so people could help themselves.

Pictures:

 

Onsies

 

Buffet

Buffet

Dessert table

The food (recipes will be  coming in the following days):

Drinks:

Pomegranate lemonade
Regular lemonade

Main  Food:

Pizza bites  and pizza sauce
Mini mac and cheese bites
Mini blueberry muffins
Mini cranberry muffins
Spinach and artichoke dip in a pumpernickel breadbowl
Leek and Red Pepper mini-quiches
Fruit salad

Dessert

Raspberry cream puffs
Oreo truffles (also in favor boxes)
Peppermint truffles (also in favor boxes)
Cookie dough truffles (also in favor boxes)
Berry trifle

Favors:

Boxes of oreo, peppermint and cookie dough truffles
Pink and yellow duck sugar cookies

And just because I couldn’t resist…my niece Katie looking absolutely adorable at the shower:

Katie