Friday, May 4, 2012

Project Cupcake, Cinco Links, and Micheladas

I had a momentary lapse from my Cinco de Mayo posting schedule because I took a cupcake order on a slightly short turn-around...  I ended up making Red Velvet/Cheesecake Marbled Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting and Orange Zest; Cherry Coke Float Cupcakes with Whipped Cream and Maraschino Cherries, and Brown Butter Cupcakes with a Girl Scout Samoa Coconut Topping.  The party is being held at what I think is one of those indoor trampoline places...  I'm not sure how it can go wrong with a bunch of really rich cupcakes, trampolines, 30-year olds acting like kids, and a can of Reddi-Whip for the Coke Floats.  I should hide a video camera in the cupcake courier thing.  I have a feeling this is going to be hilarious.

Here's what I ended up with:

Pretty huh?  Don't worry, I am signed up for cupcake piping lessons with a professional cake decorator.  In my defense, those are the red velvet cake and cheesecake marbled ones so the surface is not even.  But they taste DELICIOUS, so I'm not concerned.  Furthermore, I really don't think anyone cares.

Anyway...  Since I didn't want you all to feel I had deserted you, I've complied everything you could possibly need for your Cinco de Mayo celebration tomorrow...  Just click on the handy links...

Salad and Dressing
Tomatillo Salsa
Shrimp Salsa
Seven Layer Dip

Main Dishes:
Shrimp Tacos
Beef Enchiladas
Chicken Enchiladas

Spanish Rice

Sopapilla Cheesecake
Mayan Fudge Cupcakes


You know what else is good for Cinco de Mayo?  Micheladas.  Where I'm from, they call a Bud Light ((or whatever)) mixed with tomato juice a Red Beer.  This is a slightly spicier version.

Fill your mug/glass/swimming pool halfway with a cold, light beer.  Fill the glass the rest of the way with Clamato.  Add a squeeze of lime, a dash of tabasco or other hot sauce, a dash of soy sauce, and a couple of shakes of salt.

*I make them half beer/half juice.  I googled around ((that's a verb)) to see if that was "right" and most are saying like 1/4 beer, 3/4 tomato juice.  EFF THAT.  That's ridiculous.  Do it my way.  Bunch of lightweights.  ((Mutter mutter.))


All right.  I'm apparently having a garage sale tomorrow so I should probably do something about that...

Happy Cincoing!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Mexican Quinoa Salad, Websites, and Yes and Yes

In keeping with the "It's almost Cinco de Mayo" theme, let's do something vegetarian, shall we?  How about a Mexican Quinoa Salad?

Black bean and corn quinoa salad
We have discussed this before, but I love quinoa.  It is an ancient cereal grain that has found a great deal of popularity in the last couple of years.  It is really easy to prepare and is kind of like rice or cous cous, but not.  ((Wow.  That was helpful.))

What you need for four servings:
1 cup quinoa
2 cups water
1 can of black beans
1 large or 2 small ears of corn
3 green onions
2 tomatoes
1 jalapeno
A handful of cilantro
Balsamic vinegar

What to do:

Start by rinsing the quinoa in a very, very, very fine colander in cold water.  It has a bitter outer coating that needs to be washed off.  Drain it as much as possible and then add it to a small pot with two cups of water.  Bring it to a boil, uncovered and then simmer it covered for 10-15 minutes or until the water is absorbed.

The start

If you are using fresh corn on the cob, boil the water for that as well and then cook it for approximately 8 minutes.  ((If you are using stuff from a can or that is frozen, well, I can't help you.  I'm boycotting.))

While that is cooking, drain and rinse your black beans.  Chop up your tomato, removing the seeds.  Chop the green onions, jalapeno, and the cilantro.

Throw everything ((the black beans, the corn that you have taken off the cob, the tomatoes, the onion, the jalapeno, and the cilantro)) into a large bowl and mix it around.  Add about 2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar ((maybe more, maybe less; I like more...)), a hearty squeeze of lime, and a few cracks of salt.  Stir it around again.    

So pretty

By about now, your quinoa should be finished.

The end

Add the quinoa to your bowl and stir to combine.  Taste test and add more lime, salt, or whatever you may think it needs.

Refrigerate it for a couple of hours or overnight and serve.  

Nutritional Information:  Approximately 280 calories and 1 gram of fat per serving.  And full of protein and antioxidants and other good stuff too!  Yes!


That reminds me...  Yesterday, this little corner of the internet was linked to by Yes and Yes!  So exciting!  ((Waves vigorously at new people!))  

The rest of yesterday was spent working on my website for my other ventures...  It is still in the works but I am really happy because like a three-year-old I DID IT ALL BY MYSELF.  There are some things to work out, photos to add, general crap I don't understand at all, but I'm pretty impressed that I got as far as I did with it.  I didn't have a temper tantrum ONCE.  I don't know who the hell I am anymore!  Anyway, I'm sure you will figure out the link so you can go check it out.  For the time being, I am leaving this blog here.  I feel like that way I can still be kind of profane and post stupid pictures and be kind of random without people who are looking for my culinary business getting scared off.  We shall see as time goes on though.  

Monday, April 30, 2012

Shrimp Salsa for Cinco de Mayo

I've made the executive decision that this week is going to be a Mexican food fest in honor of Cinco de Mayo.  Cinco de Mayo is, well, the 5th of May in case that isn't obvious to you.  I'm not judging.  I'm blonde.  I couldn't figure out how to double 2/3 of a cup the other day.  Anyway, I'm going to be giving you some mainly healthier alternatives, but you know damn well at some point there is going to be some cheese-laden something or other pile of goodness...  All things in moderation.

Let's begin at the beginning.  Salsa.  Well, that sounds kind of boring.  How about shrimp salsa?  The idea for this came via Pinterest, but I modified it so that it is basically my pico de gallo with shrimp added in.

Salsa con Camarones
What you need:
1 lb of cooked large shrimp, de-veined and de-tailed
5 roma tomatoes
1/2 red onion
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 jalapeno pepper
1 handful of cilantro
1 lime
Sea salt

What to do:

Start by dicing the shrimp as finely as you can.  Double check that  all of the tails are completely removed and there aren't any mystery shell remnants hanging around.

Move on to the tomatoes and de-seed them. ((Seeds in tomatoes are typically kind of bitter... it will taste better if you get them out.))  You can do this quite efficiently by cutting the tomato into quarters, and then just scraping out the seeds.  If you miss some, you miss some.  Not the end of the world.  Chop the tomato quite finely.

Chop your onion, mince the garlic, and cut up the jalapeno.  Jalapenos in and of themselves are not that hot.  It is the seeds that hold the heat.  Depending on who I'm making it for, I leave varying amounts of seeds in.  ((Arizona natives can take it and will say the hotter the better.  Upper midwest transplants tend to be pretty wimpy and can't seem to handle it.))  Chop up the cilantro, give the lime a good squeeze, and crack some salt over the top.

Stir it all together and place in an airtight container in the refrigerator.  Keep in mind that at this point, none of the flavors have had a chance to mingle so this is not really what your finished product is going to taste like.  After it has had at least a couple of hours in the refrigerator, but preferably overnight, stir it again and sample.  At this point you can add more of whatever you may think it needs.  I generally tend to add another squeeze of lime and some more salt.  Or maybe I'm thinking of tequila...

This will serve somewhere between 8-10 people.  If you are going to have it at a potluck or a cookout, be very aware that seafood is not so happy when it sits outside or even inside for very long.  I would recommend at the very least, putting it on ice and just throw the damn stuff out after a couple of hours.  I don't want any of y'all to get food poisoning, blame me, and tell everyone how I tried to kill you.

Nutritional Info:  Basically free!  This is very low cal and has no fat.  Enjoy with reckless abandon.


Other Mexican goodies can be found under the label of "Mexican" which you should be able to search on the side bar.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Seven Layer Dip Roll-Ups, Free Stuff, and Baby Tigers

It has been a super busy weekend in JuliaWorld as you may have guessed.  The highlights include cooking for a 40th birthday party for about 30 Friday evening, being a massive failure on the 3d Annual Food Bloggers Bake Sale ((gah)), a free 90-minute massage, and an evening on the patio with a couple of bottles of wine and better company.

The menu for the birthday party was basically whatever the birthday boy wants, the birthday boy gets.  I ended up with quite an unusual assortment which actually turned out well because that way there was something for everyone.  One of the items was tortilla roll-ups.  I remember my mother making these and so I had emailed her for the recipe a while back.  Her reply was something to the effect of "I thought they sucked so I threw it out."   Luckily we have Pinterest to the rescue for the basic proportions.

Some rolls are more triangular, some are more rectangular...

What you need:
16 ounces of sour cream ((I used low fat))
8 ounces of cream cheese, softened ((again, I used low fat))
16 flour tortillas ((I used high-fat...  meaning the most authentic ones I could find))
1 bunch of green onions
1 small can of diced black olives
1 cup of shredded Mexican cheese
1 packet of taco seasoning

What to do:

Start by mixing together the sour cream and the cream cheese.  If you are a moron like I am, you will realize you don't have time to soften the cream cheese and will instead resort to using your immersion blender to finish mixing it after saying, "goddammit you fothermucker, stir!"

Add in the taco seasoning and then the green onions, olives, and cheese.  Give it all a healthy stir until it is well combined.

Lay out your tortilla on a piece of waxed paper.  Spread the mixture across it evenly, avoiding the edges on 2 sides.

Picture by Blooming on Bainbridge
She didn't avoid the edges...
Roll it as tightly as you can and then wrap the entire "tube" in waxed paper.  Place into a large tupperware container with the seam side down.

Again from Blooming on Bainbridge
Refrigerate for at least a couple of hours if not overnight.  Just prior to serving, slice them into pieces.  At this point, you will understand why I said to avoid the edges...  Because of the round shape of the tortillas, the edges do not have as many layers and so the filling just falls right out.  I just cut these off first and then usually snack on them while I'm putting the rest of them together.

((If you have leftover filling, it is really good on chips too.))

Nutritional Info:  For about 4 slices, we can call it about 150 calories.  Anyone who actually manages to only eat four slices though is suspect in my book.


Here is a glimpse into how odd things are around here...  This is what came in yesterday's mail.

That would be a FREE ((my favorite word)) 12-inch pan and a picture of a baby tiger being bottle fed.  I swear, there is never a dull moment.  But if you want to help me get more FREE stuff and make me eternally grateful, you can do so by placing an order here.  However, it will not come with pictures of baby tigers.  Well, I highly doubt it.  If that is really helpful in my quest for more free stuff, I'll send you all pictures of baby tigers.