Coffee is good, but coffee in a cupcake is heaven……

My all time favorite cupcake ever………I mean EVER…..is a dark chocolate cupcake with Espresso buttercreamcheese frosting. It is what my friend Patti would call a moaner. Seriously, you will moan with every bite. It is that good. It has also become the favorite of several of my friends.

Sometimes, when you buy a cupcake from a bakery, the coffee frosting is just not that coffee-ish. I hate that!!! I like my coffee bold and I like my coffee frosting the same way.  This frosting will wake you up.

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Chocolate Espresso Cupcakes

3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
3/4 cup warm water
1/2  cup sour cream
1/4  cup milk
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350°. Line standard muffin pan with paper liners. Sift cocoa powder, flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into a large bowl. Add eggs, warm water, sour cream, oil, and vanilla, and mix until smooth by hand whisk or mixer.
Divide batter among muffin cups, filling each 2/3 full. Bake until tops spring back when touched, about 15-18 minutes or until you poke a toothpick in the cake and it comes out clean. Let cool. Frost (makes 18-20 cuppies)

Espresso ButterCreamcheese Frosting

1 block of cream cheese softened
1 stick of butter
1  16oz box of powdered sugar (maybe a bit more)
1 tablespoon of espresso powder or strong instant coffee (disolved in just enough water to make a wet paste.

whip the cheese and butter together. add the sugar and espresso and whip till its the consistency you like. You may need to add extra powdered sugar. Amazingly yum yum

Cheesy Jalapeno Potatoes

 

I was craving potatoes. I was craving spicy. I was craving cheese. So, I combined them all to make jalapeno-cheesy potatoes, loaded with garlic. This is a great side dish and truly comforting. Yum.  It went very well with my skillet fried steak. If you are wimpy 🙂 and don’t like spicy, just leave out the jalapenos. Add some green onions or bell peppers, or not. OHhhhhhh, bacon would be good too. Yeah, add that.

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Cheesy Jalapeno Potatoes

3  medium potatoes (I used yukon golds, but any kind will work)
1/2 stick of butter
1 small fresh jalapeno, sliced thinly
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 cup (or more) grated cheddar cheese

Cut your potatoes in wedges or chunks. Boil till done and drain. In a skillet melt your butter and add the garlic and jalapeno slices. Dont let your garlic burn. Add the potatoes and toss with salt and pepper.

An excellant marinade…………

Who doesn’t like a good marinade? I like a marinade that you can use for beef, chicken and veggies. My friend Patrice is a great cook and baker. She is always whipping up something yummy. One of the recipes that she shared with me is for her famous marinade. She puts a frozen London broil in the marinade and lets it thaw right in the marinade. I am anxious to try the London broil, but I marinated a pork loin roast this time. I marinated it over night and cooked it in one of those rotisserie thingys that take up so much room on your counter and are a pain in the butt to clean. I do love them though. The pork was good….I may have overcooked it a bit. I think I will use the leftover pork to make some fried rice.

But the marinade!! oh so very yum-m-m-m. Patrice, it was as you promised…..deeeeeeelicous. I did add some heat though. You KNOW how I love my spicy. But you couldn’t taste the heat. I can’t wait to marinate some chicken thighs or some salmon. Thank you Patrice for sharing the recipe. It is a keeper in my recipe file.
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soaking in the marinade….

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drizzled with some of the marinade that I cooked….

Marinade

1  cup brown sugar
2/3 cup ketchup
2/3 cup vinegar
1/2 cup oil (I used vegetable)
1/2 cup soy sauce
5-6 fresh garlic cloves, minced
fresh ginger (I used 2 tablespoons of grated)

mix everything together and dump in your choice of meat. Easy as that. As with most marinades, marinate for at least 5 or 6 hours. Then proceed with your desired cooking method….barbecue, oven roasted, or even in a hot skillet, depending on what you are marinating.

I even heated some of the marinade, removing as much of the oil as I could. Just skim it off the top with a spoon. Just be sure to let the marinade cook for awhile, since it will have had meat soaking in it. Then just drizzle it over your beef, chicken or whatever.

If you want to do the pork loin, they cook up great in the oven, roasted at 400 for about 40 minutes, for a 2 pound roast. The internal temperature should be 145. Don’t overcook it or you will have a dry, yucky, tough piece of meat and you will have to toss it and order a pizza.

 

 

Thatsa spicy meat-a-ball……….

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I have to say that spaghetti is one of my top 5 things to eat. I LOVE spaghetts. Usually, I like a good meat sauce with my spaghetti. But sometimes I feel like a meatball. If I make meatballs with my pasta, then I know I will have leftovers for a messy meatball sandwich! Don’t you think there is something very comforting about a plate of spaghetti with a meatball sitting on top? Sprinkle a little cheese…ahhhh.. YUM. But a good meatball sandwich on a good crusty Italian roll, smothered with cheese….all oozy goozy, messiness…sauce dripping down your arm and all over your face. Not that it would ever happen to me! I would eat mine very ladylike, with a fork and knife….little pinky sticking out. Well, ok…I lied.  I prefer the messy version. Just so good and fun to eat. I like a meatball sandwich on my homemade Focaccia bread. You can find that recipe in my Recipe index.

Oh, sometimes I make my meatballs with Giardiniera marinated peppers. Some of your grocery stores carry them but Italian markets have them for sure. They are great on a sandwich, on fish, salads and of course meatballs. I like the extra hot ones.

Use your favorite pasta sauce…everyone has one! If you don’t, there is one posted in my recipe index under Baked Spaghetti. So, go make some meatballs!

Meatballs

1  lb ground beef (or 1/2 lb beef and 1/2 lb ground veal)
1  large Italian sausage link
1/4 cup minced onion
3 minced garlic cloves
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
2 slices of bread soaked in milk (till its all mushy gooshy)
salt and pepper
2 or 3 tablespoons of the Giardiniera peppers (optional….these meatballs are great without them)

Put your bread slices in a large bowl…pour enough milk to make the bread all mushy. Add the rest of the ingredients. Form your mixture into balls. In a large skillet, brown your balls….turning them to get them all evenly browned. Add them carefully into your simmering sauce. Simmer until the meatballs are cooked through. Pile em on top of your spaghetti or make a sandwich! Enjoy……get messy!

 

 

 

 

 

Lemon Cream Scones………..

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Sorry folks, but here is yet another scone recipe. I promise it will be the last one for awhile. But I just had to share this one with you. It is the most tender, slightly sweet, tart, melt in your mouth scone. They are really, really good. A must make!

Lemon Cream Scones

3 tbsp sugar
juice from 2 lemons (1/4 cup for scones, rest for glaze)
zest of 2 lemons
2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, cold and cut into chunks
3/4 cup heavy cream

 Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and line one large cookie sheet with parchment paper.

In the bowl of your stand mixer, combine lemon zest and sugar. Add flour, baking powder and salt and combine.

Drop chunks of butter into the mixture and using the paddle attachment, mix on low speed until butter is evenly dispersed into flour and is the size of large crumbs (approx 3 minutes).

Measure 1/4 cup of the lemon juice and the heavy cream into the bowl. Mix until dough just comes together. It should be thick but still moist. Don’t over mix.

Move dough to a lightly floured surface and gently press into a disk approximately 3/4 inch high. Cut into 8 wedges and place on prepared cookie sheet, leaving an inch or so between each scone.

bake at 400 degrees for 15-17 minutes, or until golden brown. Or you can stick a toothpick in the middle and if it comes out clean, they are done.

While scones are cooling, combine 1/4 cup powdered sugar with lemon juice to form a thick glaze. Drizzle or brush over tops of scones.