Did you know that popcorn has been around since 4700 BCE? Popcorn sure has a long history, with the knowledge of it having spread north from Guatemala to the Native Americans, who then taught the practice of making popcorn to the English in the 16th century. Continue reading
For years, the only way I knew how to eat spaghetti was with a tomato-based sauce. Spaghetti is one of my favorite foods, and when I realized that it didn’t have to have that tomato-based sauce, I was ready to branch out and try new things with my spaghetti.
I haven’t made this recipe for a while, but when I saw the picture I took of it way back when in my Flickr photo set I was reminded of how much I enjoyed this particular spaghetti.
This is chili spaghetti and the recipe comes from a Jamie Oliver cookbook. I no longer have the book (it’s stored away with my other possessions in Sydney for now), but I think it was the book titled Jamie’s Kitchen.
Adapted from Jamie Oliver
1 pound dried spaghetti
1 large clove of garlic, finely chopped
1-2 fresh red chilies, seeded and finely chopped
1 good handful of flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped (I toss in the leaves whole, for that rustic appearance)
salt and freshly ground black pepper
While cooking the spaghetti in salted boiling water until al dente, fry the garlic in a couple of good glugs of olive oil until softened. Add the chilies, drained pasta and parsley. Toss to coat, season and serve.
Just a reminder on the chilies – try to wear rubber gloves if possible while chopping chilies, and if not possible, then wash your hands thoroughly immediately after chopping (i.e., do not touch your eyes or other parts of your skin). Also, if you’re looking for more mild chilies, choose larger ones; if you want a hotter chili, choose smaller ones.
These are Jupiter cupcakes for the solar system cupcake contest!
The cake is chocolate with a kick of cayenne pepper to represent the heat of Jupiter’s core, and the center of the cupcake is filled with a soft whipped cream to represent the many layers of clouds on Jupiter. The frosting is a cream cheese/chocolate buttercream swirl in colors similar to Jupiter’s. Hanging above the Jupiter cupcakes are the 4 Galilean moons of Europa, Ganymede, Io and Callisto, formed from homemade playdough.
Thank you Cupcakes Take The Cake for posting my Jupiter cupcakes on your blog!
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4-1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (use more or less to suit your taste)
1 large eggs
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons warm water
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons buttermilk
1 tablespoon + 1 1/2 teaspoons vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cupcake pans with liners; set aside. In a large mixing bowl, sift together cocoa, flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, cayenne pepper and salt. Add the eggs, warm water, buttermilk, oil, and vanilla; mix batter until smooth, about 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides and bottom of bowl to assure batter is well mixed.
Divide batter evenly among liners, filling each about one-third full. Bake until tops spring back when touched, about 20 minutes, rotating pan once if needed. Transfer to a wire rack; let cool completely.
Whipped cream filling
Makes about 1 cup
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Chill stainless steel bowl and whisk attachment of an electric mixer in freezer for about 10-20 minutes. Combine all ingredients in steel bowl and use whisk attachment at high speed until stiff peaks form. Fill cupcakes when the cupcakes are completely cool.
Cream cheese frosting
Makes enough for 1-2 dozen cupcakes
8 ounches cream cheese, softened and cut into small pieces
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened and cut into small pieces
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
In a large bowl, on the medium speed of an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and butter until smooth, about 3 minutes. Add the vanilla and beat well. Gradually add the sugar, 1 cup at a time, beating continously until smooth and creamy. Cover and refrigerate frosting for 2-3 hours, but no longer, to thicken before using.
Makes about 1 cup
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
2 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Melt butter. Stir in cocoa powder. Alternately add powdered sugar and milk, beating to spreading consistency. Add small amount of additional milk, if needed. Stir in vanilla.
To make swirled frosting, spoon an amount of each color individually into a piping bag so that the colors are side by side. Squeeze out the frosting over a bowl first until all the colors start coming out, then start swirling!
I had heaps of leftover chili chocolate ganache from my Iron Cupcake: Earth chili cupcakes, so I decided to try out Martha Stewart’s truffle brownie recipe, except instead of her semi-sweet chocolate ganache I would use my chili chocolate ganache:
It was more hot on the brownies than on the cupcakes; I presume that all that sweet frosting on the cupcakes took some of the chili sting out. But the brownies just weren’t sweet enough to cover up the chili that much! But, overall, this was a very tasty dessert.
I have finally completed my entry for Iron Cupcake Earth’s challenge of chili pepper. I made two variations of my entry and chose the one I liked best.
My entry is a chocolate cupcake, filled with chili chocolate ganache, topped with a layer of chili chocolate ganache, frosted with peanut butter frosting and sprinkled with a dash of cayenne pepper.
My other variation was the same as the above, but with chocolate frosting.
I chose the one with peanut butter frosting because it tasted more interesting. I loved this cupcake; it tasted like a chocolate cupcake with peanut butter frosting, but with an extra spicy tingle. When my husband took his first bite he said, “I don’t taste any chili in these!”. I smiled and waited. A second later, he said, “Oh, now I do!”.
What I also love about these cupcakes was the fact that I used our own chili peppers that we grew in our garden. We dried them and kept them to use for later. I ground them up today and mixed them up in the chocolate ganache, along with a dash of cayenne pepper.
I didn’t post a cross section of this cupcake because the chili chocolate ganache was so dark that you couldn’t even tell that the chocolate cupcake was filled with the ganache in the photos!
Adapted from a post at Cupcakes Take The Cake
makes 12-14 cupcakes
1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/4 cups sugar
2 eggs, room temperature
3/4 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup milk, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla
Preheat oven to 375, then turn it down to 350 just prior to baking
Beat the butter with an electric mixer until it is soft, then add sugar. Beat about 3 minutes.
Add the eggs, one at a time beating until they are well combined.
In a separate bowl, combine the dry ingredients and whisk them to incorporate them.
Add 1/3 of the dry ingredients to the butter and sugar and beat it just to combine. Add 1/2 of the liquids (milk & vanilla), scrape down bowl and beat to combine. Continue adding the dry and wet ingredients alternately making sure you END WITH THE DRY.
Fill cupcake liners 2/3′s of the way.
Bake for about 20-22 minutes. Do not overbake! Allow to cool, then frost.
Chili Chocolate Ganache
Adapted from Cupcake Bakeshop
makes about 1/2 cup ganache, you’ll probably have some leftover
1/4 cup + 3 tblsp + 1/2 tsp heavy cream
1 tblsp + 1/2 tsp butter
1 3/4 tsp ancho chili powder
1 small pinch ground cayenne pepper
3.6 ounces dark chocolate, chopped
Heat cream and butter over medium heat until butter is melted and cream bubbles around saucepan edge.
Place peppers and chopped chocolate in a medium sized bowl, pour heated cream and butter over the chocolate.
Let the mixture sit for about 30 seconds then start whisking it until smooth.
Set aside mixture and stir occasionally with a wooden spoon, until it cools enough to use.
Peanut Butter Frosting
Adapted from Shazam In The Kitchen
1/4 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup peanut butter
3 cups powdered sugar
2-4 tablespoons milk
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 small pinch cayenne pepper (optional)
In large bowl, combine butter, peanut butter, sugar, salt, vanilla, and 2 tablespoons milk. Mix well, adding more milk as needed to make a fluffy spreadable frosting. Sprinkle with a very small pinch of cayenne pepper if desired.