Thursday, June 26, 2014

Chłodnik (Cold Polish beet soup)

Summer is definitely here! I love eating all the fresh fruit and veggies that are finally in season. I have to admit I was a little skeptical when I saw this recipe, but I like gazpacho and figured that this would probably be pretty similar. It doesn't tasted anything like gazpacho, but does sort of serve the same purpose - savory, creamy, vegetable-y, and most importantly, cold!

By the way, this soup is very filling, but the entire recipe is under 400 calories, at least according to my calculations. Winner!

No process photos this time, just the recipe.

Chlodnik (Cold Polish beet soup)
Adopted from Seraphic Singles
Makes three-four servings

4 cooked beets
1 cube beef bullion dissolved in one cup water (or one cup veggie broth)
Juice of half a lemon
Half a cucumber, finely chopped
2 radishes (three if you like the taste of radishes), finely chopped
1 ounce fresh dill (one package)
1 Tbsp chopped chives
1 cup plain Greek yogurt
Salt to taste

Shred the cooked beets into a bowl using a cheese grater. Add the broth and lemon juice and stir.
Combine the cucumber, radish, dill, and chives in a separate bowl, mixing well, and then add to the beet mixture. Stir in the Greek yogurt. Cover the mixing bowl with a lid or with plastic wrap, and chill for 4-5 hours to let the flavors mix. Ladle the soup into a blender or Magic Bullet and blend for 30 seconds, or until smooth. (If you like, you can eat the soup without blending it, but I found the texture of the shredded beets to be kind of weird.) Garnish with chives and serve cold. (I sprinkled some feta cheese on top as well for the picture, but found that it actually didn't taste very good with the soup!) I've eaten this for lunch twice this week, once with a toasted English muffin on the side and once with chips. Some carbs are definitely a good match! :)

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Ariquipe-filled Banana World Cup-cakes

One of L's favorite podcasts is called Men in Blazers, which discusses soccer, particularly the World Cup. They had a series of shows previewing the World Cup before it started, and at the end of each show the two hosts ate some World Cup-cakes and pretended that the cupcakes revealed the final score of the matches.

Well, my cupcakes definitely don't have any magical predictive powers, but I think they count as World Cup-cakes because we ate them during the US-Portugal match on Sunday. Also because I attempted to decorate them like soccer balls, but my chocolate ganache pretty much just failed. So...just stick with the banana cupcake recipe and frost them however you like. :)

The ingredients:

Flour, sugar, salt, cinnamon, butter, eggs, vanilla, baking powder, and bananas. Plus milk (not pictured). Sift the dry ingredients together: 

 Then in a separate bowl, cream together the butter and sugar. I don't have a mixer, so I softened the butter for about 45 seconds in the microwave, to the point that it was extremely soft but not quite melted. Then I used this fork-like spatula to try to get as much air in the butter as possible. I think it worked pretty well!

Add in the eggs, one at a time:

And then the rest of the wet ingredients. I was lazy and didn't mash the banana separately first, but it probably would've been better to do so. Combine the wet ingredients with the dry.

And portion into muffin tins! These were pretty full, but I liked how they rose nice and tall after baking. 

Once they're out of the oven, it's time to fill them! Make sure the cupcakes are cool.
Arequipe is a Colombian sweet that's pretty similar to dulce de leche or caramel. This tiny little jar is designed for schoolkids to bring in their lunchboxes to school! They even come with a tiny little spoon. So cute!

With a knife, carefully cut a circle in the top of the muffin, angling in as you cut so that you make sort of a cone shape. (You can really see how small the arequipe container is here!) Remove the cone from the muffin. 

Spoon about a teaspoon of arequipe into the hole, until it's just below the top of the muffin. Cut off most of the cone from the top, leaving just a fairly flat circle of muffin "crust."

Then, put the top back onto the muffin. Once you frost it, nobody will even notice that little mark! The arequipe helps the lid stay in place, but you do have to be a little careful when frosting it not to budge the cut-out part too much. 

I just used cream cheese frosting from a can for the top (again, I don't own a mixer at the moment, so I can't really make frosting). Then I tried to make a chocolate ganache for decoration, but it was super lumpy and runny and challenging to my not-so-good decorating techniques. So...just decorate them however you'd like. 
Enjoy, and go USA! #Ibelievethatwewillwin

Arequipe-filled Banana World Cup-Cakes
Adopted from The Betty Crocker Big Book of Cupcakes 
Makes approximately 18 cupcakes

2 1/2 cups flour
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon

3/4 cup butter, softened
1 cup + 2 tbsp sugar (original recipe called for 1 1/4 cups, but I bumped it down a little because my bananas were so sweet and ripe)

3 eggs
3 mashed bananas
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup milk

Topping: 1/2 cup arequipe, cream cheese frosting. 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Sift together flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon, and set aside. Cream together butter and sugar until soft and fluffy. Add in eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition. Fold in bananas, vanilla, and milk. Combine with dry ingredients and stir well. Divide into greased cupcake tins. Bake for 22 - 27 minutes (mine took exactly 25).

To fill cupcakes, cut out a small cone shape out of the top of each cupcake. Fill the hole with about 1 teaspoon of arequipe. Replace the top of the cupcake with the top part only of the cut-out cone. (Discard the rest of the cone). Frost with cream cheese frosting.