Thursday, April 30, 2009

Cinco de Mayo Spirit

Here is a great cocktail alternative from to margaritas for your Cinco de Mayo celebration.

Mojito Sparkler:

· 6 fresh mint leaves
· 1-1/2 to 2 jiggers (2 to 3 ounces) gold rum
· 1 teaspoon lime juice
· 2 teaspoons superfine sugar
· Ice
· Club soda
1. Crush leaves in the bottom of a tall glass. Pour in rum, lime juice, and sugar. Add ice, stir and top with club soda. Makes 1 serving.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Guacamole with a Twist

I know this is a Mexican theme party, but I loved this recipe that added a little Italian to it!

Recipe from
Basil Guacamole
· 2 ripe, medium avocados, halved, seeded, and peeled
· 3/4 cup snipped fresh basil
· 1/2 cup chopped seeded tomato
· 2 tablespoons chopped green onion
· 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
· 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon salt
· 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper or few drops bottled hot pepper sauce
· Tortilla chips
DirectionsIn a bowl mash avocado with a fork Stir in basil, tomato, green onion, lime juice, salt, and red pepper. Serve immediately with tortilla chips. Makes about 2 cups.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Paper Flowers - How to

This is a project that can be done by almost anyone.

2 sheets of tissue paper (same or different colors)
Green pipe cleaner or wire
Cut the tissue paper into 12 inch squares. Stack two tissue squares together. Start on one end and accordion fold the two sheets. Fold the accordion tissue in half. At the fold/middle wrap the pipe cleaner around two to three time. Now start to unfold the accordion tissue and fluff the paper flower. (You should be able to make two flowers depending on the size of your tissue sheet.)

Monday, April 27, 2009

Cinco de Mayo Celebration

Cinco de Mayo Celebration Table

The fifth of May marched the day of Independence of Mexico from France. But now the holiday is celebrated by all. As usual we are all about the table! So here are some suggestions for creating un fabuloso partido.
Use bright and bold colors on your table using traditional items. For your centerpiece, place an over sized sombrero in the center of your table. On both sides of it fill two vases or pitchers with either fresh flowers such as sunflowers, yellow daisies, or orange roses. Better yet you can buy or make tissue paper flowers. In between the vase and sombrero place a pair of maracas. Go to your local party store to find Mexican celebration banner. Cut out the string part so you are left with individual banners or flags. Each flag will be used for a placemat. Place the ‘flags’ at each place setting. White dinner plates work well, but if you have festive or colorful dessert plates, use them with the dinner plate to add color and contrast. It is only appropriate to have a margarita glass at every place setting to serve the ever popular margarita during your fiesta. For the napkin, you can purchase paper or better yet bright solid cloth napkins place under the dessert plate would add texture and dimension to the place setting. (TIP: Go to your local fabric store and find southwester or Mexican print fabric and cut them into 17” squares to create your napkin). While you are at your local party store pick up a few mini piñatas. Fill each piñata with candy and write each guests name on them. Place the filled piñata in the center of the salad plate. Not only does is it a unique place card, but it doubles as a fun party favor too.
Now you are ready for Cinco de Mayo with style. Buena Suerte!

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Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Taping a TV Segment

We had so much fun working with Lisa Quinn from View from the Bay and her new show Live Well -Home with Lisa Quinn. Here are some photos from our taping. The entire crew from KGO ABC TV Station were so incredibly wonderful to work with.
You can view the segment by clicking here.
Thank you Lisa, you are so much fun to work with!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Buona Pasqua! - Italian Easter Bread

Italian Easter Bread
Making this Italian Easter bread has become an Easter tradition that my daughters and I have started years ago. Although we have never written a true recipe down, the one listed below is very similar to what we do. Buona Pasqua!

1 package Rapid Rise yeast
1.25 cups scalded milk, cooled to room temperature
pinch of salt
1/3 cup butter, softened
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup sugar
3.5 cups flour (approximate)
1 egg, beaten with 1 teaspoon of water
6 dyed Easter eggssprinkles

Tip: the Easter eggs do not need to be hard boiled. They cook when the bread bakes. I usually just dye the eggs right out of the fridge, without hardboiling them. Saves time. Just be careful they don't crack!
In a large mixer bowl, combine yeast, warm (not hot) milk, salt, butter, eggs and sugar. Add about half the flour and beat until smooth with dough hook. Slowly add the remaining flour to form a stiff dough. Don't worry about how much flour it ends up being, just keep adding until the dough is not sticky anymore. Knead until smooth with either dough hook attachment or turn out on floured board and knead. Place in a greased bowl, cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about an hour.Punch dough down, divide into 12 pieces. Roll each piece to form a 1 inch thick rope about 14 inches long and, taking two pieces, twist to form a "braid", pinching the ends, and loop into a circle.
Place on a greased baking sheet. Cover and let rise until double, about an hour again. Brush each bread with beaten egg wash. Put on the sprinkles. In the middle of each bread ring, gently place an Easter egg, making an indentation with the egg.
Bake at 350 degrees until golden - about 20 - 25 minutes. Cool on rack.
Recipe from: The Italian Dish.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Easter Cupcake Recipe Revised

As we posted yesterday the adorable cupcake recipe and photo from the Food Network.

Here are some simple tips to save time in creating the cupcakes:
  • Use a boxed cake mix and follow as directed

  • Replace frosting recipe with store bought frosting and add food coloring to the container to create the desired color.

  • If you don't have time to color shredded coconuts, use green sprinkles or green jimmies to make the nest.

  • If you can't find White Airhead candy, you can purchase fondant at your local craft store (like Michael's) or cake supply store.

These little tips will reduce the time it take to create these adorable cupcake and allow you to carry out the Easter theme at your Easter feast.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Easter Dessert Idea

Cupcake recipe and photo from: Food Network Kitchen

1 vanilla cupcake, recipe follows
About 1/3 cup White Fluff Frosting, recipe follows
Green coconut grass, recipe follows
6 small candied malt balls (2 yellow, 2 pink, 2 white)
1 yellow chick peep
White Airhead candy

Frost a cupcake with fluff frosting. Press a circle of coconut grass on top. Nestle the malted eggs on top of the grass. Gently press the peep onto the center of the grass. Cut the white Airhead into a 1/2 oval shape; trim one side so it has a cracked egg jagged edge. Place egg next to chick.

Vanilla Cupcakes:
2 2/3 cups sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
2/3 cup milk
2/3 cup water
2 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/3 cups cake flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon fine salt
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line two 12-cup cupcake tins with paper liners. (To avoid cupcakes sticking if they overflow slightly, lightly spray the tops of the pans.) Put tins on a baking sheet. Set aside.
Process sugar and butter in a food processor until very creamy, scraping sides as needed, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the eggs and yolks, one at a time, pulsing after each addition. Add the milk, water, and vanilla and process to blend.
Whisk both flours, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. Add the dry ingredients, in 3 batches to the wet, pulsing, and then scraping batter off the sides of the processor as needed after each addition. Process until the batter is very smooth, about 2 minutes.
Evenly pour the batter into the prepared cups, filling them 3/4 of the way full. Bake until the cakes are just firm and spring back when gently pressed, and the tops are golden, 18 to 25 minutes. Cool slightly in tin, and turn out of tin when cool enough to handle. Cool cupcakes completely on a rack before frosting.
Yield: 24 cupcakes
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Inactive Prep Time: 30 minutes
Ease of preparation: easy
Fluff Frosting:
1/4 cup whole milk
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
10 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
5 cups confectioners' sugar
1/2 cup marshmallow fluff
Pinch fine salt
Whisk the milk and vanilla extract together in a small bowl.
Slowly beat the butter and sugar, in another medium bowl, with an electric mixer until incorporated. Raise the speed to high and mix until light and fluffy, about 5 to 7 minutes. (Occasionally turn the mixer off, and scrape the sides of the bowl down with a rubber spatula.) Add the fluff and salt and reduce the speed to low. Add the milk and vanilla mixture, scrape the bowl down, and mix until fully incorporated. Raise the mixer to high and beat briefly until fluffy, about 1 to 2 minutes. Frost cupcake immediately.
Yield: 3 3/4 cups

Coconut Easter Grass for Cupcakes:
2 cups sweetened shredded coconut
1 to 2 teaspoons liquid green food coloring
1/2 to 1 teaspoon liquid yellow food coloring
Preheat oven to 250 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place a mesh rack on top, if available.
Put coconut in a shallow bowl. While tossing with a large spoon, add food coloring drop by drop until the desired color is reached. A little more green than yellow makes a pretty grass color. Add a few tablespoons water to moisten the mixture and help disperse the color evenly. If the color is too dark, add additional water, as needed, to dilute to the desired color. Drain the coconut in a sieve or strainer.
Spread the coconut in an even layer on the rack, or directly on the lined baking sheet. Place in the oven until dry, about 10 to 15 minutes. Use immediately, or store in covered container for up to 3 days.
Cook's Note: Food coloring can be messy and can stain your skin. To prevent this, wear latex gloves. You may find it easier to color the coconut in a large zip top plastic bag, tossing it to color evenly.
Yield: 2 cups coconut grass

Stay tune for how to Fake the Food on this recipe!