Welcome to the new and improved Carano's Cucina. I make a lot of kick ass food and go out to some amazing restaurants. Take a look around and make yourself at home :)

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The Fab Food Show is Coming!

It's only a few short weeks away so don't forget to get your tickets for the Fabulous Food Show!  This year the show has added a new seminar on food writing and Laura Taxel (author of one of my fave books, Cleveland Ethnic Eats) wrote in to tell me about it.  Laura, along with writing coach Dianne Jacob (author of Will Write for Food) are leading workshops on both Friday and Saturday morning, November 12 and 13.  The seminar will teach you tips and give you guidance on getting started, doing it well and how to not only get readers but how to get published.  Each session is 2 hours, with a cost of $50 (that includes all day admission to the show).  Tickets must be purchased in advance.  Friday's event is for chefs and professionals.  Saturday's event is for the general public.  For more information, check out the Seminar website.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Chocolately Peanut Buttery Goodness

The two most perfect foods, together.  I do it a lot.  I can't resist.  Peanut butter and chocolate need to be together in any way, shape or form.  In this incarnation, it's chocolate cupcakes with a peanut butter cream cheese frosting. 

Start out with any chocolate cupcake recipe you like.  I happen to have buttermilk in my fridge and wanted to use it up, so I used a standard buttermilk chocolate cupcake recipe.  Start with a stick of butter, softened and 1 1/2 cups of sugar in your mixing bowl and cream together until light and fluffy.

Once it's fluffy, add 2 eggs, one at a time and beat well after each addition.   Then beat in 1 teaspoon of vanilla. 

In another bowl, combine 1 1/2 cups of all purpose flour, 1/2 cup of cocoa powder, 1 teaspoon of baking soda and 1/4 teaspoon of salt.

You will also need to combine 1/2 cup of buttermilk with 1/2 cup of water.   Then add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture, alternating with the buttermilk mixture.  In other words, add some dry then some wet, some dry and some wet, until all ingredients are incorporated.  Then fill your cupcake cups 2/3 the way full and bake at 375 degrees for 15-20 minutes (make sure your toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean). 

Let the cupcakes cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then remove from the pan and let cool completely on a rack.

While the cupcakes cool, it's time to make this kick ass icing!  You will need an 8 oz. block of cream cheese and a stick of butter, both softened, to start.

Beat until smooth and creamy.  When you have a nice smooth butter/cream cheese mixture, add 1/2 cup of peanut butter.   You can use creamy or chunky, but natural is probably not a good idea because of the oils.  Beat in the peanut butter then add 1 1/2 cups of sifted powdered sugar.   Beat until fully incorporated.

Ice cupcakes however the heck you want, but I suggest you load it on!   This frosting is all kinds of yum and you don't want to short change yourself.  Although, I suspect the leftovers might be pretty yummy on just about anything... toast, a bagel, a spoon, a hubcap, whatever.  And feel free to add a bit extra peanut butter if you want.  Personally, I think next time I make it I'm going to up it to 3/4 cup.

Money shot!

Buon Cibo mia Amici.

Ingredient lists - Cupcakes:

1/2 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 t. vanilla
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 t. baking soda
1/4 t. salt
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup water


1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 (8 oz) pkg. cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup peanut butter