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Christmas Tree Cupcakes

In Cakes & Cupcakes, Holidays On December 16, 2019 0 Comments

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Wanna have some fun with food sculpture, colors and textures? Round up kids of all ages and make these bright Christmas Tree Cupcakes!

Decorating time:  20 to 30 minutes
Bake time: 35 to 40 minutes
Makes: 20 to 24 cupcakes

Ingredients:
One 15.25-oz. Betty Crocker® cake mix (any flavor)
Two 12-cupcake size baking pans
24 cupcake baking paper cups  (optional)
One 7-oz. package Betty Crocker® Red Cookie Icing mix
One  .67-oz. tube Betty Crocker® Green Decorating gel
One .67-oz. tube Betty Crocker® Yellow Decorating gel or icing
One .67-oz. tube Betty Crocker® Blue Decorating gel or icing

NOTE: You can substitute yellow and blue gel or icing with colored nonpareil or other types of candies.

Directions:
1. Preheat oven according to cake mix package directions .

2. Prepare cake batter according to cake mix package directions.

3. Either grease and flour the cupcake sections of baking pan or line them with cupcake baking paper cups.

4. Pour and divide cake batter evenly among cupcake sections in baking pan..

4. Bake cupcakes per package directions.

5. To check doneness of cupcakes, insert a pointed knife in center of one cupcake – the knife should come out clean.

6. If batter clings to knife, bake cupcakes 3 to 4 minutes longer.

7. After 3 to 4 minutes, check doneness again.

8. Transfer baking pans with cupcakes to a cooling rack or counter; let cool to room temperature.

9. When cupcakes are completely cool, remove them from baking pans and set on a flat surface lined with parchment or waxed paper.

10. Using a cake decorating spatula, decorate cupcake tops with the red icing.

11. Next, using green gel tube, create abstract tree design with side-to-side, squiggly lines.

12. Finish decorating each cupcake “tree” with green and yellow dots from decorating icing tubes or sprinkle with decorating nonpareils or other candies.
Text & Photograph ©2019 Nancy DeLucia Real

 

Roasted Turkey with Chipotle-Orange Marinade

In Poultry On November 25, 2019 0 Comments

Roasted turkey never tasted more succulent! The marinade for this bird is rich with smoky chipotle chiles, citrus, honey and garlic flavors. You can also use it for roasting chicken (whole or cut in pieces). Enjoy your Thanksgiving feast!

Prep time (for marinade): 15 minutes
Prep time (for roasting turkey): Follow the turkey wrapping instructions
Makes: 1 turkey (12 to 16 pounds)

Ingredients:
3 tablespoons salt (divided)
6 cloves garlic, peeled
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Juice from 2 limes
1/3 cup freshly-squeezed orange juice
1/3 to 1/2 cup chipotle chiles in adobo sauce
3 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

Directions:
1. Rinse turkey well and drain it; set on paper towels set on a baking sheet.

2. Pat turkey dry (inside and out) with fresh paper towels.

2. Place turkey in roasting pan & rub its interior cavity with 2 tablespoons salt; set remaining 1 tablespoon salt aside.

3. Meanwhile, in a food processor, puree together the garlic cloves, olive oil, lime and orange juices, chipotle chiles, thyme leaves, black pepper and 1 tablespoon remaining salt.

5. Pour the marinade over entire turkey; cover well with aluminum foil.

6. Roast in preheated oven set at temperature indicated in turkey wrapping instructions – it is usually 325°F.

7. For timing, follow the same instructions (time will vary according to weight of turkey).

8. To brown turkey: uncover it during the last 30 to 45 minutes of roasting.

9. Every 20 minutes or so, baste the turkey with marinade sauce.

10. Turkey is done when the breast is cut at its thickest point and juices run clear.

11. Set turkey in roasting pan on a cooling rack or counter for about 10 to 15 minutes.

12. Slice and serve the turkey with the strained liquid in roasting pan and with your favorite sides.
Recipe Text ©2019 Nancy DeLucia Real

 

Paprika-Dijon Pumpkin

In Sides, Vegetables On November 7, 2019 0 Comments

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Take it easy on Thanksgiving – toss pumpkin cubes with paprika, Dijon and a few more ingredients. This Paprika-Dijon pumpkin side be absolutely  “délicieux” (that’s French for “delicious”)!

Prep time: 15 minutes
Bake time: 35 to 40 minutes
Serves: 4 to 6

Ingredients:
10 to 12 cups peeled & cubed pumpkin
2/3 cup chopped red onion
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon paprika
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
3 tablespoons honey (you can add more, to taste)
Juice of 1 lime
1-1/2 teaspoons salt

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 400°F.

2. In 16X14 baking pan, toss all ingredients together until uniform.

3. Place baking pan with pumpkin mixture on a rack set in center of oven.

4. Bake pumpkin for 30-35 minutes, stirring once or twice during the process.

5. After 30-35 minutes, taste pumpkin. It should be tender but not fall apart or purée.

6. When pumpkin is done, transfer pan tu upper rack, 6 to 7 inches away from top oven broiler.

7. Broil the pumpkin for 5-7 minutes or until it turns golden brown. You may have to stir it every 2-3 minutes until evenly roasted.

8. Serve pumpkin as a side with your turkey dinner on Thanksgiving.

9. Alternatively, serve pumpkin with any meat, poultry or fish dinner.
Text & Photograph ©2019 Nancy DeLucia Real

Nancy’s Challah Bread

In Breads, Crêpes, Pancakes & Puddings On October 3, 2019 0 Comments

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Sabbath is a day of religious observance by the Jewish people, from Friday evening to Saturday. Traditionally, the celebration begins with the breaking and eating of Challah bread, together with wine and the prayer ritual.

Here is my recipe for Challah bread. Enjoy!

Ingredients:
1 envelope active dry yeast
1-1/2 cups lukewarm water
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 large eggyolks
1/4 cup vegetable oil (preferably safflower or sunflower)
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1-3/4 teaspoons salt
4-4-1/2 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour

Directions:
1. Combine yeast and sugar in a small bowl; add water and swirl – DO NOT MIX WITH A UTENSIL.

2. Cover the yeast mixture with aluminum foil; let rise for 10 to 12 minutes or until it is puffed and foamy.

3. In a large mixing bowl, combine the yeast mixture, 2 eggs, 1 egg yolk, oil, sugar and salt; mix on medium speed with a hand mixer (if using a stand mixer, then mix on medium speed, as well).

4. If using a free-standing bowl, using a wooden spoon, add the flour, 1 cup at a time, until the dough amalgamates.

5. Transfer the dough onto a floured surface and knead it – it will absorb remaining flour. The dough should become smooth and elastic.

6. When dough is smooth and elastic, transfer it to an oiled bowl.

7. Cover the dough in bowl with aluminum foil – set aside to rise on a warm surface (wooden board or oven rack with oven turned off) for 1 hour.

8. After one hour, transfer dough to a lightly-floured surface and divide it into 3 equal parts.

9. Working on floured surface, lightly roll & elongate each dough piece until it is about 18 inches long.

10. Transfer the 3 dough cords, one at a time, to a greased and floured 18 X 12-inch baking sheet – make sure the dough cords are centered in baking sheet.

11. Make a braid with the 3 dough cords; set aside to rise in baking sheet, uncovered, for 30 minutes.

12. After 30 minutes, preheat oven to 450°F.

Shape the Challah and Bake:

1. In a small bowl, make egg wash: mix together 1 egg yolk with 1 teaspoon water.

2. Brush the egg wash all over top of braided dough.

3. Place the baking sheet with braided dough on a rack positioned in center of oven.

4. Immediately lower oven temperature to 400°F and bake for 15 minutes.

5. After 15 minutes, lower oven to 375°F and bake for an additional 15 minutes.

6. When Challah bread looks golden brown and a knife inserted in center comes out clean, it is done.

7. Transfer the baking sheet with Challah bread to a counter to cool until it is warm.

8. Serve the Challah warm or cold.

9. TO STORE CHALLAH: Cut the bread in sections large or small enough to fit in gallon-size freezer bags. Store in refrigerator up to 8 days. Alternatively, store the Challah bread in double freezer bags up to 2 months.
Text & Photograph ©2019 Nancy DeLucia Real

Brown Rice Salad with Carrots, Cranberries & Chives (Vegan)

In Meats On September 3, 2019 0 Comments

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Now that we’re back to “laboring” after Labor Day, keep it simple in the kitchen. Here is a fast, delicious Vegan rice dish!

Prep time: 30-40 minutes (for cooking rice)
10-12 minutes (for assembling salad)
Serves: 4 to 6 (as a side dish)

Ingredients:
1 cup organic brown rice (any variety)
3 to 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 to 2/3 cup dried cranberries
1 small to medium carrot, peeled & finely shredded
1/2 cup finely-chopped, fresh chives
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
4 to 6 fresh mint leaf sprigs for garnish

Directions:
1. Cook the rice according to package directions.

2. If rice has some liquid after it has cooked, make sure to drain the rice in a colander.

3. Transfer the cooked rice to a glass, porcelain or metal mixing bowl (DO NOT USE PLASTIC, AS IT WILL HEAT UP).

4. Add all ingredients except for mint leaf sprigs to the rice in bowl; toss and taste.

5. Adjust seasonings, per taste.

6. Garnish with mint leaf sprigs and serve as a side dish.

NOTE: This rice salad can be made early in the day and covered, set on a counter at room temperature. It also keeps well as a leftover, refrigerated, up to 3 to 4 days.
Text & Photograph ©2019 Nancy DeLucia Real