Back on the Braisy Chain

November 9, 2007

A few weeks back, I tagged a few of my fellow bloggers and asked them to share their favorite braises. Some, in turn, tagged others and thus a Braisy Chain was born.

Here’s what’s simmering so far:

Wine Braised Duck with Chestnuts and Polenta

DuckAmanda, from Figs, Olives, Wine, concocted this gorgeous Wine Braised Duck with Chestnuts and Polenta. Could there be a dish more autumnal?

 

 


Braised Pork with Onions and Apples

Pork and applesKatie, from Thyme For Cooking, shared Braised Pork with Onions and Apples (along with a hilarious story about a bungled golf tournament victory).

 

 


Stracotto with Fennel Seeds and White Wine

StracottoKatie also tagged Ilva from Lucullian Delights, who posted a delectable looking Stracotto with Fennel Seeds and White Wine.

Thanks to Amanda, Katie and Ilva for playing!

 

 

 

Anyone else want to join the Braisy Chain?

My thought is that you can never have too many braises to choose from. So throughout the long, chilly nights of winter, I’ll be tracking who joins the Braisy Chain and doing a roundup here, on Swirling Notions, on the second and fourth Fridays of each month.

Here’s how to join:

1. Write a post with a recipe for your favorite braise (and a photo too, if you’re so inclined) and include Swirling Notions Braisy Chain somewhere in the text.

2. Link back to the person who tagged you, and a link back to this page on Swirling Notions.

3. Tag other bloggers to join the Braisy Chain.

I’m excited to see where this leads! Talk about keeping the home fires burning . . .

 

 

 

 

Pumpkins and Peanuts

November 1, 2007

Yet another self-indulgent post here . . . for three reasons:

1) My daughter is turning turned one (ONE!) on Tuesday and we had her party this past weekend, with loved ones mingling and toasting and sipping pink champagne. I swear, when we all broke out into Happy Birthday, Noe clapped her hands and got this look on her face that said, “oh wait a second, you mean you’re really all here for ME?” It was precious. 

2) I baked cupcakes. Pumpkin spice cupcakes with caramel cream cheese frosting to be exact (you may have skidded to a halt in shock after reading “I baked,” so let me just restate . . . I . . . baked . . . cupcakes)—and they turned out FABULOUS. 

Cupcakes0004

3) We dressed Noe up as a peanut for Halloween and paraded her about our cozy little town with all the adorable kiddos trick-or-treating from shop to shop (naughty mommy and daddy even filched a Snickers bar) and she was so dang cute I had to share.

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So consider this an “isn’t life grand?” post. Can’t get the smile off my face . . .

{ Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes with Caramel Cream Cheese Frosting }

I had the combo of pumpkin cake and caramel-cream cheese frosting in mind and scoured the internet for recipes, bound and determined as I was to actually follow a recipe. I even gave my friend Julie free reign to smack my hand if I so much as uttered a “but what if we . . .” In the end, I went with pumpkin spice cupcakes from Martha Stewart Living, and a caramel-cream cheese frosting from Cottage Living. (Nicole, as much as I wanted to make your double chocolate pumpkin cupcakes, we thought these might pair better with champagne . . . so I’ll just have to make yours for the next party and serve red wine!)

{ Cupcakes }

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon coarse salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1 cup packed light-brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 can (15 ounces) pumpkin puree

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cupcake pans with paper liners; set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and allspice; set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together, brown sugar, granulated sugar, butter, and eggs. Add dry ingredients, and whisk until smooth. Whisk in pumpkin puree.

Divide batter evenly among liners, filling each about halfway. Bake until tops spring back when touched, and a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes, rotating pans once if needed. Transfer to a wire rack; let cool completely.

{ Frosting }

1/4 cup light brown sugar
10 tablespoons butter, divided
1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Dash of salt
1 3/4 cups powdered sugar

Melt brown sugar and 4 tablespoons butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir until sugar dissolves. Bring to a boil over medium heat; remove from heat. Whisk in cream; blend well. Transfer to a heat-resistant bowl. Cool at room temperature, stirring occasionally.

Place remaining 6 tablespoons butter and cream cheese in a large bowl; beat with a mixer on medium-high speed until smooth. Beat in vanilla and salt. With mixer running, slowly pour in cooled brown sugar mixture; beat until smooth. Add powdered sugar gradually, beating well after each addition until completely smooth. Chill slightly for a firmer texture, stirring occasionally.

PS — I also made a mix of the spices used in the cupcakes, added a bit of salt and olive oil, and tossed it with almonds and pumpkin seeds (separately) and roasted them at 350 until they were nice and toasty and crisp. Then I cooled them and mixed them together and served them as a little nibbly before the cupcakes. It was kind of cool to have the spice theme play throughout the party.

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