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This post is not actually about cupcakes, but it easily could be. It features a chocolate cake and chocolate frosting recipe from Made With Love: The Meals On Wheels Family Cookbook that I made for their virtual dinner party. The cake is extremely moist and light and doesn't even really need frosting, but the frosting is both easy (5 ingredients!) and very rich, sweet and delicious; a little goes a long way. The cake was large, photo below is just one slice. As a novice baker (yes, I've been cupcake blogging for 8 years but I usually leave the baking to other people), I can tell you that this recipe really is simple, whether you're new to baking or not. Next time I will make cupcakes with the recipe and see how I do. Find out more about the cookbook here and follow the cookbook and dinner party @madewithloveMOW on Twitter . See all the dinner party participants here . More about the book: Providing more than one million meals a day for seniors across America, Meals On Wheels Association of America is the oldest and largest national organization of its kind. Over 100 celebrities have come together in Made With Love: The Meals On Wheels Family Cookbook (BenBella Books, October 2012) to help the organization’s fight to end senior hunger in America. Made With Love includes recipes from the tables of well-known actors, chefs, athletes, writers, and other celebrities. Celebrating the importance of families coming together to help others in need, the cookbook also includes personal stories about the contributors’ favorite family meals. Contributors include Paula Deen, Helen Mirren, former First Lady Barbara Bush, Mario Batali, Martha Stewart, Kurt Warner, Dr. Maya Angelou, Joan Rivers, Patti LaBelle, Cokie Roberts, Al Roker, Judi Dench, and many more. With Made with Love, step inside the kitchens of your favorite celebrities, meet their families, and help to feed seniors in need. Recipe: The Best & Easiest Chocolate Cake by Jim Waters Jim Waters is the Director of Development for Meals On Wheels of Northampton County in Pennsylvania. Serves 12 to 16 This cake is so moist and, even better, is the easiest chocolate cake to make. I have made it for company and brought it to parties—it’s always a real hit. The icing recipe is adapted from Hershey’s Perfectly Chocolate Cake recipe. For the cake: 2 c all-purpose flour 2 c sugar 1 c vegetable or canola oil 2 tsp baking soda 1 c hot coffee 1 c 2% milk ¾ c cocoa powder 2 eggs 1 tsp baking powder 1 tsp cream of tartar 1 tsp vanilla extract For the icing: 1 stick (½ c) butter or margarine, melted 2⁄3 c cocoa powder 3 c confectioners’ sugar 1⁄3 c milk 1 tsp vanilla extract Make the cake: Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a 13- by 9-inch pan with nonstick cooking spray and then flour the pan. In a large mixing bowl, add all ingredients. Beat with an electric mixer until well mixed, about 5 minutes. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake until a toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes. Let cool. Make the icing: Place melted butter in a medium bowl. Stir in the cocoa powder. Then, alternately add confectioners’ sugar, and milk, beating with an electric mixer to make light and fluffy Add additional milk, 1 tablespoon at a time, if too stiff. Stir in vanilla. Use to frost the cooled chocolate cake.


Tweet #pin-wrapper > a {background-image:none !important;} From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite... This is a wonderful dish that I love to make at least once during the Christmas holiday. If I were Italian and celebrated the Feast of Seven Fishes , I would include it in my menu for Christmas Eve. That would raise an eyebrow or two because the dish, like vodka sauce for pasta, is an Italian-American creation that is rarely served in Italy. Whatever the origin, mussels prepared in this fashion are a memorable, if messy, treat. Whenever I serve these, I cover the table with vinyl or oilcloth and distribute lobster bibs. It also helps to provide a large bowl or two to hold empty shells. Everyone at the table also receives two dish towels, one damp, the other dry. Only a crab boil is messier than this to serve to folks who eat with gusto. Believe me when I say, my folk have cornered the gusto market and these preparations are a necessity rather than an affectation. Once the mussels have been scrubbed and their beards removed, the dish can be made in minutes. Its heat, the alla diavola, comes from red pepper flakes, so you can manage it to your family's liking as long as you know their tolerance for heat. The dish has just three elements, a spicy red sauce, mussels and linguine. The mussels simmer in sauce and when they open they are served along with the sauce over piping hot linguine. I always serve this with a salad and the best Italian bread I can get my hands on. I do hope you'll try mussels prepared in this fashion. They really are delicious. Here's the recipe. Mussels Fra Diavola ...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite adapted from Gourmet magazine Ingredients: 12 garlic cloves, minced (1/3 cup) 3/4 to 1-1/2 teaspoons dried hot red pepper flakes 1/2 cup olive oil 1 (28-oz) can whole tomatoes in purée 2 tablespoons tomato paste 2 teaspoons dried oregano, crumbled 1 teaspoon dried basil, crumbled 1/4 cup drained bottled capers 1/2 cup Kalamata or other brine-cured black olives, pitted and chopped 1/3 cup dry red wine 1 lb dried linguine 3 lb mussels (preferably cultivated), cleaned (see cooks' note, below) Directions: 1) Cook garlic and red pepper flakes in oil in a deep 12-inch heavy skillet over moderate heat, stirring, until fragrant but not browned, about 2 minutes. Add tomatoes with purée, tomato paste, herbs, capers, olives, and wine and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally and breaking up tomatoes, until sauce is thick, about 15 minutes. 2) Cook linguine in a 6- to 8-quart pot of boiling salted water until al dente, then drain in a colander. 3) While pasta cooks, increase heat under sauce to moderately high and add mussels, then cook, covered, until mussels just open wide, checking frequently after 3 minutes and transferring to a bowl. (Discard any mussels that remain unopened after 6 minutes.) 4) Serve linguine with mussels and sauce. Yield: 6 servings. Cooks' note: 1) Scrub mussels with a brush under cold water and scrape off any barnacles with a knife. Remove beard by pulling it from tip to hinge or by pulling and cutting it off with knife. 2) Tomato sauce, without mussels, can be made and refrigerated 2 days before serving. You might also enjoy these recipes: Salt Cod and Tomato Stew - One Perfect Bite Feast of the Seven Fishes - Italian Food Forever Broiled Mussels - Smitten Kitchen Sauteed Mussels with Garlic - The Housewife Diet Flexing My Mussels - Charm and Salt Moules Mariniere - One Perfect Bite Coconut Curry Mussels - Simply Recipes Spicy Mussels in White Wine - The Culinary Chronicles Mario Batali's Feast of the Seven Fishes - Epicurious


I was surprised to see so many comments from fellow calorie counters in my last post! I just kinda figured I was some rare OCD crazy person since most all of my friends tease me about my obsessive calorie counting. But so many of you do it too (or have done it in the past)! There were a few questions from commenters about how I handle restaurant food calories or tabulating recipes, as well as how many calories I'm allotted daily. So before we get to the BEST TOFU BURGER EVER, I'll address those questions. According to my Lose It app, I can have 1,659 calories each day to maintain my current weight. You just put your current weight, ideal weight (mine is the same as current), and height into the app, and it gives a calorie count. Other counting programs have similar systems. I always go over on the weekends (sometimes by a whole lot!), and that's okay since I generally stay a few calories under each day on week days. I figure it balances out. When I do go over on week days, I don't stress about it. I just try to do better the next day. And I never count calories while I'm on vacation or on eating holidays (like Thanksgiving, Xmas, or my birthday ... yes, my birthday counts as an eating holiday). I do the math for every recipe I make and program it into my app. It only takes a few seconds since I know most calories in common ingredients by heart. I measure everything I put on my plate. But if I'm dining out, I just estimate. The app has lots of programmed meals, including many vegan specialty items, so it's fairly easy to guess. And I can eyeball a measurement on my plate like a pro. I hope that answers all your questions 'cause now it's time for the most important part of this post: THE BEST TOFU BURGER EVER! Yes, all caps are needed to show just how good this is. It's the Tofu Chard Burger from Vegan's Daily Companion : I knew the recipe sounded good when I saw it, but I had no idea it would turn out this ridiculously amazing. I prefer tofu burgers over other ingredients bases because I love that firm-on-the-outside, soft-on-the-inside texture. These had that, plus hearty Asian flavors since they're seasoned with soy sauce, ginger, and sesame oil. The mashed tofu is mixed with sauteed Swiss chard, and it's held together with ground walnuts and breadcrumbs. I served these with sriracha-mayo (that's the orange stuff) and homemade sweet pickles. On the side, I made Food Network Chef Mario Batali's Roasted Turnips : I found the recipe while googling for fresh ideas on how to cook turnips. Although the name says they're "roasted," they're actually sauteed in Earth Balance on the stovetop until soft. Then they're seasoned with poppy seeds, paprika, and red wine vinegar. I had to cook them way longer than the recipe suggested to get them soft enough. But once they were cooked through, they were delicious. I dipped mine in ketchup and pretended like they were roasted potatoes ... just for fun. On a final note, I've been asked my friends at VegNews to pimp their Holiday Cookie Contest . They're currently taking submissions of holiday cookie recipes, and their staff will be baking their favorites to determine a winner. The grand prize is a Kitchen Aid stand mixer, second prize is a vegan cupcake kit, and the third place winner will receive a dozen Allison's Gourmet cookies. Submissions are due by December 10th. Click here for more information.


3 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour 1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour , for dusting 4 extra large eggs 1/2 teaspoon olive oil 1 Pile the larger amount of flour in the center of a large wooden cutting board or countertop. Make a well in the center and add the eggs, oil, and any flavoring agents you desire (herbs, spices, tomato paste, etc). 2 Using a fork, beat the eggs and oil together, slowly incorporating flour from the walls of the well. As you expand the well, keep pushing the outside of the mound up to maintain the well shape. 3 Once about half the flour is incorporated, the dough will begin to come together. From this point, start working the mass with your hands, using mostly the palms. 4 Once the flour is fully incorporated and the mass is cohesive, remove the dough from the board and scrape the board clean. Dust the board lightly with flour and knead for 6 minutes, dusting when necessary. The dough should be elastic, and a little sticky. Wrap the dough in plastic and allow to rest for 30 min at room temperature. 5 Roll out dough using a rolling pin or pasta machine. Cut into desired shapes and cook as required by the shape. Strand pastas like fettuccini, spaghetti and linguini only need to cook 2-4 minutes. For cannelloni, lasagne or ravioli, cook as per the recipe.


10 medium chicken drumsticks 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil 2 cups medium shrimp , enough for about 5 per person 1 medium Spanish onion , cut into 1/4-inch dice 1/2 cup pureed ripe tomato 1 teaspoon kosher salt , to taste 1 teaspoon saffron thread 2 tablespoons sweet pimientos (Spanish smoked paprika) 4 quarts chicken stock 2 cups bomba or other short-grain rice 1 lb manila clams , scrubbed 1 cup fresh peas 10 asparagus spears , stalks cut on the diagonal into 1/4-inch thick slices 1 inch piece sausage 1 Preheat an oven to 400°. Place the drumsticks on a baking sheet and season all over with salt and extra-virgin olive oil. Bake for 20 to 22 minutes and set aside. 2 In the meantime, heat a 14- to 18-inch paella pan over medium-high heat. Add the oil and heat until smoking. Add the shrimp and cook until golden brown on both sides, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate and set aside. Add the onion to the pan and cook until soft, about 8 minutes. Push the onions into the center of the pan and sprinkle 2 tablespoons of the salt around the edges of the pan. 3 Add the tomato puree, stirring it into the onions, and cook for 3 minutes. Add the remaining salt, the saffron, pimentón and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes. Add chicken stock, bring to a boil, and cook for 5 minutes. Add the rice and stir well to distribute it evenly. Add clams, drumsticks, arranging them nicely throughout the pan. Then add the peas and asparagus and bring the stock back to a boil, and cook, without stirring, for 10 minutes. Taste for salt and add it if needed, then cook, again without stirring, for 10 more minutes, or until the liquid is almost completely absorbed and the pan starts to make a crackling noise (don't worry, this is what you want). 4 Remove from the heat and let rest for 10 minutes before serving.


1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil light 1 sm red onion cut into crescents 2 x lean Italian sausage links crumbled 1 tsp fennel seed crushed 1/2 lb Tuscan cabbage or possibly kale leaves only     cut into 1/2-inch ribbons 1 x garlic clove finely minced 1 c. ready cut Italian Peeled Tomatoes with juice     seasoned with Basil and Oregano 4 ounce tomato sauce     salt and pepper to taste 1 sprg fresh thyme leaves only 2 c. rotini pasta dry measure 2 Tbsp. Parmigiano Reggiano freshly grated 2. Heat a Dutch oven or possibly 4 qt sauce pan with a non-stick surface. When warm, ass oil and onion and cook over medium heat till just softened, about five min. Add in crumbled sausage and fennel seed. Cook till red is gone. Remove from the pan; drain grease and use a knife to chop the meat into a finer crumb. 3. Meanwhile, return the pan to the burner. Add in the garlic and kale and cook over medium for 2 to 3 min or possibly till kale has wilted. Add in the seasoned tomatoes and the tomato sauce. Season with salt, pepper, and thyme. Cover pan and simmer over low heat for 20 to 25 min. 4. Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package instructions till just "al dente" and drain. Remove lid from pan and add in warm pasta. Toss to mix well and keep hot for about 5 min while you prepare a sale. Serve topped with freshly grated cheese. EACH: 638 cals, 27% from fat, Mario demonstrated this dish on television to introduce Tuscan Cabbage, also known as Cavolo Nero or possibly black cabbage. Similar to kale but it holds it's color: it will be dark green after cooking. Another tip: mix the pasta and sauce and heat together before serving. The dish is Mario's: simple home cooking, slightly undercooked with lots of color. My version added peeled tomatoes and herbs; used less oil and lean turkey sausage. NOTES : REVIEW: Classic pasta and tomato with the crunch and color of kale. With cheese, it was very comforting. Just a rustic and straightforwardone-pot meal. The Tuscan Cabbage didn't have much flavor: which was asurprise. Mario's show on Tuscan Cabbage and fact which it was available at Ralphs got me to try it. The recipe is Mario Batali's - very rustic, quickly cooked. Tri-color: white red and green. Except: I substituted lean turkey Italian sausage. After tasting it with just tomato sauce, I added herbs and some ready-cut tomatoes with juice. I also let it steep longer. The cabbage/kale was pleasant. It did not have much of a flavor or possibly it didn't compete with the tomatoes. I will use the other half lb. in a Tuscan potato soup.-Pat and Bob email to ELF, FareShare, MC


1/4 cup red wine vinegar 3 garlic cloves , minced 1 teaspoon dried oregano , crumbled 1 teaspoon ground cumin 1 teaspoon colman's dry mustard 1 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil 1 grated orange, juice and zest of 2 small Japanese eggplants or 2 small italian eggplants 2 red bell peppers 2 yellow bell peppers 12 baby zucchini , with zucchini flowers or 4 small zucchini 2 medium red onions 6 scallions 12 spears pencil asparagus kosher salt 12 fresh basil leaves , cut into chiffonade (thin slivers) 1 Preheat a gas grill or prepare a fire in a charcoal grill. 2 In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, garlic, oregano, cumin, mustard, pepper flakes, olive oil, and orange juice (reserve the zest for garnish). Set aside. 3 Cut the eggplant into 1/2-inch-thick slices. Cut the peppers into quarters and remove the cores and seeds. If using baby zucchini, remove the blossoms and set aside; cut the zucchini lengthwise in half. If using small zucchini, cut lengthwise into 1/4-inch-thick slices (discard the first and last slice from each). Cut the onions into 1/4-inch-thick rounds. Trim the scallions. Snap off the tough bottom parts of the asparagus stalks. 4 Place the vegetables on two large baking sheets. Brush lightly with some of the marinade and season lightly with salt. Place on the grill over medium-high to high heat (you will probably have to cook the vegetables in batches) and cook, turning once or twice, until tender and slightly charred on both sides: the eggplant will take about 8 to 10 minutes, the peppers 10 to 12 minutes, the zucchini 6 to 8 minutes, the onions and scallions 4 to 6 minutes,and the asparagus 5 to 7 minutes. Remove each vegetable from the grill as it is done and return to the baking sheets. 5 Cut the peppers into 1/2-inch-wide strips. Arrange the vegetables decoratively on a large serving platter and drizzle with the remaining marinade. Sprinkle with the orange zest, the zucchini blossoms if you have them, and the basil. Serve warm or at room temperature.


10 lamb shanks kosher salt black pepper 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil 2 Spanish onions , chopped 5 carrots , peeled and cut into 1 inch pieces 6 leeks 2 cups dry white wine 1 cup tomato sauce 3 cups chicken stock, Brown 2 cups red grapes , Concord grapes, halved and seeded 1 Preheat the oven to 375 degrees 2 Rinse and dry the lamb shanks, and season them liberally with salt and pepper. In a very large heavy-bottomed Dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat until smoking. Add the lamb shanks, 5 at a time, and sear until dark golden brown all over, 10 to 12 minutes per batch. Remove the shanks and set them aside. 3 Add the onions, garlic, carrots, and leeks to the pot and cook until softened, 8-10 minutes. Use only the white and light green parts of the Leaks only, trimmed, halved lengthwise, cut crosswise into thin half-moons, rinsed thoroughly, and drained. 4 Add the wine, tomato sauce, and sock to the vegetables and bring to a boil. Return the lamb shanks to the pot and bring back to a boil. Cover the pot tightly, place it in the oven, and bake for about 1.5 hours, until the meat is fork-tender. 5 Remove the pot from the oven, check the sauce for seasoning, and then add the grapes. Stir them in gently, and serve directly from the pot.


Learn how to make the simplest, most elegant accompaniment to a cheese plate with Oven Roasted Grapes on the Vine. Recipe from award-winning chef, Nancy Silverton of Mozza restaurants Roast grapes 350F until blistered Serve with fresh ricotta drizzled with honey, brie, smoked cheeses! Nancy Silverton’s Mozza at Home Cookbook

Nancy Silverton bio: Nancy Silverton is the co-owner of Osteria Mozza, Pizzeria Mozza, Chi Spacca, and Mozza2Go, in Los Angeles, Singapore, and Newport Beach, California. She is the founder of the La Brea Bakery and is the only chef ever to be awarded both the Outstanding Chef and Outstanding Pastry Chef awards from the James Beard Foundation. Silverton is the author of nine cookbooks, including The Mozza Cookbook, A Twist of the Wrist, Nancy Silverton’s Sandwich Book, Nancy Silverton’s Pastries from the La Brea Bakery (recipient of a 2000 Food Wine Best Cookbook Award), Nancy Silverton’s Breads from the La Brea Bakery, and Desserts.

Her newest book, Mozza At Home features 150 recipes categorized into 19 menus for entertaining at home. The dishes are no-fuss, and many of them, like this one for Oven Roasted Grapes, are deceptively simple.

I love that the book features dinner party menus – for each, Nancy provides one main course, and several antipasti, salads and side dish options. Each of these menus is meant to be family-style – nothing intricately plated, no fancy restaurant gadgets needed, and nothing needs to be served piping hot.

According to Nancy, one of her requirements for the book was, “…every dish should hold up on a buffet, which meant it had to taste good at room temperature, wouldn’t wilt after an hour, and also wouldn’t look terrible as guests started digging in.”

Our favorite menus have been:

Garlic Rubbed Skirt Steak

Scallion Vinaigrette Skillet Corn Bread with Honey Butter Chris Feldmeier’s Santa Maria Style Beans Charred Broccolini with Salami Burrata Corn Fava Bean Succotash Salad

The Ultimate Hamburger Ultimate Hamburger Onions Liz’s Secret Sauce Spicy Tarragon Mustard Potato Chips with Atomic Horseradish Cream Iceberg Wedge Salad with Gorgonzola Dressing Sliced Heirloom Tomatoes with Sweet Onion Dressing Spicy Cucumber Pickles

As you can see, I’ve been on a big beef streak at the Steamy Kitchen household! If you love to entertain, I can’t recommend this book enough. Everything about Mozza At Home is relaxed, unrushed. I’ve read every single page of this book, fascinated with Nancy’s philosophy of enlisting guests to help prepare the meal, and how she pairs complementary (and contrasting!) flavors and textures.

Mario Batali puts it best: “Nancy Silverton is the high preistess of delicious.”

If you have time, read the entire Introduction chapter of the book over at Oven Roasting Grapes

The following is an excerpt from the book, reprinted with permission:

This method of preparing and presenting grapes is a perfect example of the simple magic that happens when you put something in the oven. Of course, grapes are delicious just as they are, and you can eat or serve them without doing anything more than rinsing them. But roasting them transforms the grapes into something unusual and eye-catching.

Roasting intensifies the flavor of the grapes by drawing out the liquid, so they taste like a really fresh raisin. And it gives them a different kind of beauty, like the beautiful patina of old silver. These grapes could find their place on almost any table except that of a Mexican or chili-themed party, and they make a stunning and delicious accompaniment to fresh ricotta drizzled with honey, or on any cheese board.

This preparation will yield a delicious result using ordinary supermarket grapes, but will be even better made with grapes found at farmers’ markets, such as Thompson seedless, pale multicolored muscat, or super-sweet Concord grapes. Use this method to roast as many bunches of grapes as you want.

(recipe is below) Thank you for supporting Steamy Kitchen!

Even if you don’t buy the product shown, starting your Amazon shopping here helps our small family business. We get a small commission from Amazon that helps keep this site running free!

By the way, check out Nancy Silverton’s other books too! She’s got 9 of them


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