Cocoa Beet Cupcakes

Hey Lori, or should I say the Beet Queen. That Cocoa Beet Cake you found at the farmer’s market is brilliant, just like the black bean brownies I made, makes you feel a little less guilty about eating cake right? Cocoa powder is very rich and goes well with the beets. Last night I tried my hands at making a batch and they turned out really good – moist, chocolatey and a hint of beets and cinnamon. Thought I’d pass on the recipe, would be fun to experiment some more with this.

Quarter and steam 3 beets in a sauce pan with water halfway covered, simmer covered for about 15 minutes till fork tender.

Drain water from beets.

Puree in blender with 1 cup of canola or olive oil.

In a bowl, add to beet and oil mixture:

1 1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 cup cocoa powder (gradually)
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp salt
1 and 3/4 cups of flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp cinnamon

Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes. The cupcakes have a red tinge to them that looks like a Red Velvet cake.

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Citrusy Yellow tail and anise

Lori here, again. Tonight I quick broiled fresh yellow tail. I put a helping of Irish butter in the pan, lay the filets on top. Sprinkled red pepper, a little cayenne, dried dill and slices of lime. I poured tangerine juice in the sides and broiled on high for, I don’t know, 5-6 min.

I cooked some anise root in a iron skillet coated with virgin olive oil. Tossed in a couple of chopped cloves of garlic and a handful of jumbo raisins. Delicious with a dash of sea salt and squeeze of lemon in the end. Perfect companion dish to the fish, both with a subtle sweetness. Can’t get enough!

Farmer’s Market Feast

Hey, it’s Lori. I got up early today and went to the first wintertime farmer’s market in Pawtucket (see interior and exterior view of building). It was fantastic between the fresh produce, gazillions of varieties of apples, pickle contest and bluegrass band, I couldn’t get enough of the festive vibe.

I got myself some Cocoa Beet Cake by a local baker Babbette’s Feast. The ingredients are listed on the package:

Organic beets, Flour, Cocoa powder, Brown sugar, Butter, Eggs, Binalla extract, Baking soda, Cinnamon & salt (a tiny bit from what I can taste).

It may sound weird, but it was ultra delicious, the beet taste comes at the very end. I like that it reminds me of an earthy chocolate cake. Perfect for an earthy virgo. They didn’t skimp on the chocolate either, nice and rich.

Tonight I made a mini feast from the items I purchased at the farmer’s market:Steamed rainbow chard, tri-colored cherry tomato,  yellow wax peppers, steamed red beets, rosemary olives, chunks of brie, marinated artichoke hearts. I poured a dill mustard and apple cider vinegar dressing (sea salt and pepper, cayenne pepper, lime juice and olive oil) on top of the hot/cold medley.

Slow Cooked Chicken Tikka Masala

So here’s a combination of two things I’ve come to love: the Indian dish ‘Chicken Tikka Masala’ and the ease of slow cooking with a crock pot. I first started making Tikka Masala from jarred sauce from Trader Joe’s which is very good but I’m happy to have learned to make my own sauce and finally put to use the bag of garam masala spice I bought. I followed this recipe from the EatLiveRun blog as a guide.

I used a value pack of chicken thighs with skin and bone, removed the skin but left the meat whole on the bone. Coat and toss chicken with seasonings and let marinate in a large bowl for 10 minutes with:

  • 1 Tablespoon Ground Coriander (aka Cilantro when fresh)
  • 1 Tablespoon Ground Cumin
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher Salt
  • 1 cup Yogurt
Brown the chicken thighs (half at a time in a skillet) with a pat of butter then transfer to crock pot. I’ve found this common practice with slow cooker recipes- to brown or braise the meat prior to putting in the crock pot.

In the same pan you browned the chicken in, add a chunk of butter and sautee:

  • 1 Large diced Onion
  • 6 cloves minced Garlic
  • 2-3″ piece of fresh minced Ginger
  • 3 Tablespoons Garam Masala
  • 1 Tablespoon Salt
  • 30 oz. can of Crushed Tomatoes
  • 1 Tablespoon Sugar
Scrape all the caramelized brown chicken juices from the bottom of pan into the sauce for flavoring and bring to a boiling simmer. Pour over chicken and add 1 whole Jalapeno Pepper (stem removed and pierced several times with a fork). Set crock pot on Low for 5 hours. About 20- 30 minutes prior to dinner, start cooking some rice. The chicken will be fall-off-the-bone tender. 10 minutes before ready, whisk in a bowl:
  • 2 teaspoons Cornstarch and
  • 1-½ cup Half n Half or Heavy Cream
Add cream mixture to sauce along with 2 cans of drained peas or 1 bag of frozen peas and cover for 10 minutes more, allowing the sauce to thicken. Serve over brown basmati rice. This food goes a long way – you’ll have lots of leftovers for the week. Such a ghoulish looking pot o’crock for Halloween!