Print Friendly and PDF

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Mashed Tots - by Brand

Hello... just wanted to share today about a great "Movie Snack" that my friend and collaborator Brand (who recently started contributing with cooking ideas/tips and recipes  for this blog) sent to me by e-mail... So... here it is...

Mashed Tots
by Brand Schoolcraft

My wife made a wonderful dinner complete with Mashed Potatoes.  We had a movie at home planned later, so I made some movie snacks.  The left-over Mash rolled up into quarter size balls, by hand.  Creamy Mash makes better balls than dryer...fridge them for about 15 minutes (helps them stay together for the dredging process. Dredge...roll them in flour, one beat egg, pulverized bread crumbs (I like Ritz Crackers in the Pestle and Mortar).  Fry them in enough oil to float freely, the less oil you use, the smaller batches you fry.  Pull them out of the oil; golden brown (approx 2-3 min.), salt them immediately, toss them, salt again.   Then I added Michael Chiarello's recipe for toasted spice rub (which is a whole 'nother recipe, worth it.  I have kept it on hand for months now, still good.  Way better than any pre-canned spice mix.  But, your favorite canned spice will work also.)  Crunchy crust, creamy hot insides, uh,...yum.


So, there you have it... I think they are easy to make and a great way to use leftover mashed potatoes, don't you think? Enjoy!

© Paloma King

Friday, April 27, 2012

Chocolate Cupcakes w/ Oreo Butter Cream Frosting

Yesterday I felt inspired, I knew I wanted to bake something but I wasn't sure what! Now that I've been eating healthier and exercising... basically trying to lose weight, I TRULY BAKE OUT OF LOVE... Out of love for baking and out of love for my family! Because I know I will not get to enjoy what I bake... I am trying to find pleasure in just the art of mixing ingredients together, decorating and seeing others eat it all! And ... I am loving it! Yes... it is still tempting and yes I wish I could eat it too! But... I guess I love baking so much that I never feel deprived! So... I baked... but I decided for "Chocolate Cupcakes and Oreo Buttercream Frosting" My girls and I went to the store to buy what we were needing, basically we were needing just the Oreo Cookies because this recipe is very simple and I am sure you have all the ingredients at hand. Trust me! You want to make these! Hubby and dd#1 loved them! Hubby said they are like a delicious chocolate cupcake covered with a Dairy Queen Blizzard.

The recipe for the cupcakes is from Hershey's and it's to make a chocolate Cake ... but I went for cupcakes... My recipe (the one I am sharing) it's to make 12 cupcakes... (because I halved the original)

Hershey's "Perfectly Chocolate" Chocolate Cupcakes


  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cups and 2 tbsp. all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup and 2 tbsp. HERSHEY'S Cocoa
  • 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil (I use Safflower Oil)
  • 1 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup boiling water
Heat oven to 350°F. Line standard muffin cups with paper bake cups and set aside. Stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in large bowl. Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla; beat on medium speed for 2 minutes. Stir in boiling water (batter should be thin. 
Fill cups 2/3 full with batter. Bake about 22 minutes or until toothpick in the center comes out clean. Cool completely before frosting. Makes about 12 cupcakes.

Oreo Buttercream

  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup shortening or butter
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 Ttbsp. milk
  • About 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 7 OREO cookies, finely crushed (food processor or blender)

In a large bowl, cream butter, shortening, vanilla, and milk. Add powdered sugar until desired sweetness is achieved, around 1 1/2 and 2 cups. Stir in crushed Oreos until well combined. Check the thickness of your frosting and add a little more milk to thin if necessary or more sugar to thicken. This is enough for the 12 cupcakes.

© Paloma King

Friday, April 20, 2012

Cinnamon Swirl Buttermilk Pound Cake

Doesn't just the name sound delicious? "Cinnamon Swirl Buttermilk Pound Cake" it sounds inviting! This is the cake that was chosen this month by The Cake Slice Bakers (which I am a proud member of) just the name of the cake made me think of enjoying it with tea or a cup of coffee in the company of friends! And that's what I intended to do! I even created an "open event" on facebook invited friends to come and enjoy it with me! Everything was going perfect, the batter smelled amazing, I could perceive the hint of cardamom in it! oooh! I even used my Vietnamese Cinnamon for the "swirl" and then... things started to go wrong... not so much with the cake... but with my littlest one... she had been cranky during the day and I didn't give it much thought... but then... she was fussy, not eating and seemed very uncomfortable... even in pain... I had to cancel my "dreams of enjoying this cake with tea/coffee and friends" and called the doctor, that's ok... I just want my girls to be fine... but I must say that I even get afraid of making plans because it seems whenever I do one of my girls gets sick (or both!) then... the cake came out... smelled amazing... it had a beautiful golden color, but nothing seemed to make me feel better, my little one was crying and screaming... anyway... I probably rushed removing it from the pan, maybe I should've waited longer, who knows, but when I flipped the cake over to get it out some of the cake got stuck in the pan and ... well... it didn't look too pretty... So... here is my "Cinnamon Swirl Buttermilk Pound Cake" step by step

Making "The Swirl"
The batter was so fluffy! It required lots of beating.
Then you add the "Crumbs" to make the Cinnamon swirl and the rest of the batter
Isn't this a sad view!? It could've been so beautiful!
A slice... showing the Swirl (I would've even liked more of that "cinnamon swirl, next time I might double it)
My 3 yr. old loved it (and hubby did too)
I can't really eat cake (isn't this like some kind of curse?) because I am watching very strictly what I eat ... but I did taste it and ... oh! It was good! There was this very subtle taste of the cardamom, nothing overpowering! Just perfect! making this pound cake a very different one! and one that I will definitely try and make again (making sure I don't rush it!) If you want the recipe for this cake... you can e-mail me to: and I will send it to you... I want to give all the credit to Tish Boyle and her amazing book "The Cake Book" if you love baking you MUST have this book in your collection! I definitely recommend it!

© Paloma K.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Stuffed Olives - Finished

So... here is the last Part of Brand's post and his Stuffed Olives... Enjoy! (Read the previous posts in case you didn't see the process of elaboration of these Olives... I think it is very clear we can "play" with the ingredients we have at hand... Brand is very clear sharing what he did without much detail but just giving us an idea on how we can be creative in our kitchen... Enjoy!

© Paloma K.


"These are fried in peanut oil, flavor is an issue for me, peanut is the best.  My old friend James taught me that trick.  I also use a small deep fryer with a basket, it is just sooooooooo much easier to fry things with the right equipment.  They are pretty inexpensive, but peanut oil is NOT.  I recapture that stuff and strain it through a sieve and cheesecloth.  It stays good for a LONG, long time.  You aren't running a burger joint, the stuff is reusable.  Unless you fry fish, then it is done for.  One use.  Trust me.  One use.  I intended to bring these for my friends to try, but, I ate them all...and I never touched the leftovers in the fridge either.   No regrets."

©  Brand

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Stuffed Olives - Dredge Line

So... If you've been reading our latest posts you now know that my friend Brand is collaborating with "The Coffee Shop" and sharing his culinary skills with us... Plus, he is adding his style and if you read about his previous dish (Potato Polpettes) you know he likes to add some "suspense" to it all and he kind of divides the posts in two (or more) parts and always leaves us wanting more! Today is no exception... so... the last post was the FIRST PART of his "Stuffed Olives" dish ... and this is the continuation ... So... there you go... I'll share what he sent me. ^Paloma.

Post by Brand begins here:

This is a dredge line.  You take something prepared to cook and then prepare it to fry!  Now these contain a good amount of garlic... Garlic Tip:  Once you have a naked garlic clove ready to chop, slice it in half length ways, make sure there is no part in the center of the garlic that is turning green, or thinking of turning green.  If you find a bit that is greenish, simply dig it out and discard.  That junk is bitter like you wouldn't believe!  Then chop the rest, because its fine.  Now, don't be confused by the order of the dishes in the picture:  Olive in flour, then egg, then breadcrumbs (I like pulverizing Ritz crackers, choose your own breadcrumb...EZ prep: buy a package of breadcrumbs)

© Brand

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Easter Dishes

Hello friends! So... what are your favorite things to cook for Easter? Any recipe you'd like to share? It's hard to get inspired when dieting, but I am having family over and I do want to cook something special! Plus... it's such an important occasion if you are a Christian... Jesus died and ... ROSE :) He lives! so... I do want to start some tradition going! I am thinking ham and an amazing Potato Salad I make (it is pretty awesome!) For dessert? I am not sure... cookies? I don't want to be in the kitchen that much! I just want to enjoy the company and the time and just rejoice! how about you... what are you making?

And just to not leave this post without pictures I will share two pics of my girls...

so... please share about your Easter Plans


Stuffed Olives - Part I

You're staring into your fridge at the leftovers, not thrilled.  Maybe just a cold cut sandwich... sometimes, I know I have to eat the food we already have on hand, but, I still want to cook something with some style, something to look forward to eating. BIG flavors, packs a punch.  Sausage Garlic Stuffed Fried Olives!  There are only a couple of words left in my vocabulary that would make that title sound more appealing.  Novice level prep... get pre-pitted olives, minced garlic in the tiny jar, red pepper flakes from your last pizza night, and some Jimmy Dean (or other favorite) non-linked sausage.  That cuts half the prep time.  Advanced prep... don't cut corners, an olive pitter is about 7 bucks (better taste if you pit them, and only higher quality olives get shipped with pits), get sausage from a place that makes their own, fresh garlic is cheap and well,... fresh.

Let's stuff some olives
 If you want to see how this story ends tune in for tomorrow's post where we'll display the finished product!

© Brand S.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Potato Polpettes - Finished Product

These is the finished product of the Potato Polpettes I posted about yesterday. These guys just look impressive.  Pan frying is very forgiving, in that even when something gets a little burned, it really doesn't seem to hurt the final product.  Polpettes are an italian style meatball traditionally.  This is just a potato spin on an old classic.  Surprisingly tangy, don't be afraid to use the salt in the uncooked mixture, you will need a good amount.

Delicious food doesn't have to be expensive

© Brand S.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Potato Polpettes - PART I

Well, lots of food for very little money...potatoes.  Potatoes carry their own set of problems.  Big, boring, much so, that if you have a broth or soup that is too salty, drop a potato in and it sucks up the salt! Potatoes actually make food have LESS flavor.  So, spuds require the presence of some other superstars to help them shine. 
Mixing the ingredients
Oil works wonders, strong cheeses, herbs and other root veggies all do a wonderful job of hiding the fact that potatoes are very plain.  If you are to take advantage of this nutrition packed super-food, don't think of it as a vast tasteless desert, instead think of it as a blank canvas!  Feta is a cheese that can hold its own.  Dill (my favorite secret ingredient), often paired with potato.  Lemon...Hmm?  its a Mediterranean thing.

Frying stage
If you want to see the FINISHED PRODUCT come back tomorrow.

© Brand S.

Introducing our New Collaborator: Brand!

Well... I had already announced that a new collaborator would join "The Coffee Shop", well... his name is Brand... We'll be seeing his posts with recipes and tips here and on our FB page so stay tuned so you get to know him too! I know you will like what he shares, he is funny, witty and... well... I'll let his posts speak! For now... I'll just share a picture so you start getting to know him... and you can "put a face with the name" ...

This is BRAND:

His first post will appear tomorrow.... and he will also be hosting Gevalia's Beanchat on FB this Thursday Aptil 5th at 9:00 a.m. Central Time where you can join and get to know him better!

Welcome to "The Coffee Shop" Brand.