Archive | May, 2012

Root beer isn’t just for floats

17 May

Since an old co-worker left town, I’ve been in charge of baking for office birthdays. She let me know when she left that it was really important to her that someone carry on the tradition of each person getting baked goods on their birthdays–no birthday month baking or shared treats allowed. So for the past two years, I’ve diligently baked 35ish times per year for office birthdays.

But sometimes you forget someone’s birthday. Oops.

I woke up this morning at my usual 6am to do clips for a client and get an early workout in. It was then that I looked at my calendar and saw that there was a birthday today. Shit! See, I keep flour and sugar and eggs around–but I was low on butter, had to no baking powder, no chocolate chips, no cream, and limited time.

So I tabled my workout and started scurrying around the kitchen, trying to figure out if I could whip something together.

Luckily, the BF and I went to Taste of the South this past weekend–an event filled with lots of swag. And luckily, Missouri had a table loaded with Fitz’s Root Beer, one of the BF’s childhood favorites, that we then piled into our swag bags and stocked in the fridge. <<Lightbulb>>

With that, a birthday treat was born: mini root beer cupcakes with a bourbon/root beer frosting.

Not to pat myself on the back, but I think I did pretty well for an impromptu 6am baking adventure.


Ingredients: Cupcakes

  • 2 cups root beer
  • 1 stick butter
  • 1 heaping scoop chocolate topping (most recipes call for cocoa powder, but I was all out)
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/4 t baking soda
  • 1 t salt

Ingredients: Frosting

  • 1 cup butter (or shortening, or half of each)
  • Powdered sugar – to taste
  • Bourbon – to taste
  • Root beer – to taste
  • Vanilla – to taste

Directions – Cupcakes:

Preheat oven to 350

1. In a medium saucepan, heat butter and root beer on medium-high heat until butter is melted. Mix in sugars and stir until dissolved.

2. Whisk together flour, baking soda and salt in large bowl

3. In a small bowl, beat 2 eggs

4. Remove root beer from heat and cool; once cool, add eggs to mixture

5. Slowly add root beer mixture to dry ingredients; mix together to get rid of any lumps

6. Grease your mini cupcake trays or use mini cupcake liners; bake for 15 minutes or until done. Note: the cupcakes will be a bit sticky because of the root beer

Directions – Frosting:

1. Use a hand mixer to whisk butter/shortening until creamy

2. Slowly add in powdered sugar, 1/2 cup at a time

3. Add bourbon, root beer, and vanilla to taste



Founding Farmers Brunch. Take 3.

15 May

I’ve had some hits and some misses with Founding Farmers, but I so desperately want to love the restaurant as much as I love the concept that I’m planning to head out to their new Montgomery County location this weekend to check it out–and it doesn’t hurt that Foodie and the Beast will be recording live with some awesome special guests!

It should be a fun event, and I’ll be sure to report back on the entire brunch experience. Show highlights include:

– Founding Farmers Award-Winning Chief Mixologist Jon Arroyo mixes up three of his new ‘Eight Buck Savvy’ seasonal drinks and a fun Tiki cocktail for everyone to try.
 – Bibiana Chef Nick Stefanelli and Pam the Butcher talk Lamb Jam 2012
 – Food & Wine 2012 Best New Pastry Chef Chris Ford of the newly opened Pabu and Wit & Wisdom restaurants at the Four Seasons in Baltimore, Md, along with Pabu Executive Chef Jonah Kim
 – Fancy Food Show purveyors Ron Tanner and Peter Kaldes from Kaldes Bros. Trading, and Maggi Castelloe of Hunt Country Foods share their products and highlights of what to expect at the show in June
 – Founding Farmers Director of Honey Valerie Zweig chats about the Founding Farmers / GWU Apiary, which is in it’s second year, and the new Russian bees that make up the largest restaurant-owned urban apiary in the U.S.
 – Founding Farmers Executive Chef Joe Goetze shares new seasonal menu items, farm fresh cooking inspiration, and the new Herb Garden that grows right in front of the restaurant in MoCo.

 – and, each brunch guest receives a take-home bag of treats from Founding Farmers and show guests!

If anyone wants to join the fun, be sure to make an early reservation–since the show starts at 10:30. If you’re able to roll out of bed that early and get yourself to Maryland, maybe I’ll see you there 🙂

I have a three strikes and you’re out policy, so I’m keeping my fingers crossed for FF and have high hopes for the MoCo location!

When good herbs go bad

14 May

My pet peeve is when I have to buy a full bunch of some herb or another so that I can use 2 Tablespoons in a recipe, and then the rest sits in my crisper drawer while I sit around and hope that I’ll have another recipe in the next few days to use the leftovers. But I rarely do. And then the herb starts to get brown and mushy–and some of it may find a new home in my vegetable stock bag in the freezer, but most winds up in the trash.

But I’ve turned over a new leaf. No more brown and mushy herbs for me!

It’s so easy to re-purpose bunches of herbs that I feel guilty for not having done so enough in the past. Make a pesto to use on sandwiches, make a dip for crackers or veggies, add some flavor to your hummus, or even just puree your herb down and stick it in ice cubes in the freezer to use later. There are so many options that it now seems silly to have let so many of my herb bunches go to waste as I waited for culinary inspiration.

My projects whist hungover on Sunday morning:

Cilantro Pesto (to be used at a later date on white fish with a mango salsa)

  • Cilantro
  • Garlic
  • Olive Oil
  • Salt/Pepper

Yogurt Dill Dip (for vegetable dipping)

  • Dill
  • Non-fat plain yogurt (or Greek yogurt)
  • Lemon
  • Garlic
  • Olive Oil
  • Salt/Pepper

No more brown mushy herbs for me!