Archive for February, 2011

Special Dark Chocolate Cupcakes with Chambord Ganache

In honor of Valentine’s Day, I thought I’d make a special cupcake with one of those favorite V Day treats, a dark chocolate-covered strawberry.

Dark Chocolate Cupcakes

makes 12 cupcakes

  • 8 Tbsp. unsalted butter, cut up into 4 pieces
  • 1/4 cup of Hershey’s Special Dark Chocolate Chips
  • 1/2 Dutch process cocoa
  • 3/4 all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 cup sour cream

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Line a muffin pan with cupcake liners.

Combine the butter, chocolate and cocoa in a heatproof bowl and set it over a pan with barely simmering water. Stir ingredients until smooth and combined. Remove from heat and set aside until just cool enough to touch.

In another bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt with a whisk.

Whisk eggs in a medium bowl until mixed. Add cooled chocolate mixture and whisk to combine. Sift about one-third of the flour mixture in and whisk until combined. Stir in sour cream. Sift remaining flour mixture in and whisk until thoroughly combined.

Using an ice cream scoop, divide mixture evenly among muffin pan cups. Bake about 20 minutes.

Let cool about 30 minutes before frosting.

Chambord-Spiked Chocolate Ganache Icing

  • 12 ounce bag of Hershey’s Special Dark Chocolate Chips
  • 1 pint heavy cream
  • 8 Tbsp. butter
  • 1/4 cup of Chambord

In a food processor, process chips until very fine.

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, bring cream to just a soft boil. Bubbles will just begin to form around edge of pan. Remove from heat.

Add cream through the feeding tube of processor and process for about 10 seconds, or until smooth. Pulse in the butter until combined. Add the Chambord with motor running for a few more seconds to combine.

Strain and let sit in refrigerator, covered in plastic wrap for several hours, until hard enough to frost with. Mine took about three hours for piping.

Using a piping bag and tip, pipe icing onto cooled cupcakes and top with a chocolate coverered strawberry.

To make the straweberries, I simply melted chips in the microwave until almost melted. Stir to finish the melting. Dip in a strawberry and lay on a a wire rack and let cool in refrigerator.

Cupcakes adapted from America’s Test Kitchen

Ganache adapted from serveral sources.


Indian Shrimp Curry

  • 2 tablespoons canola or peanut oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated ginger
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1½ teaspoons turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder 
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 cup canned diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup coconut milk (if it looks like lard, stir it up, the milk is down below)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 pound large, uncooked shrimp peeled & deveined
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice

Heat the oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat and cook the onion for 8 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add the garlic, ginger, cumin, turmeric, paprika, chili powder and cayenne pepper and cook, stirring, for a minute.

Add the tomatoes, coconut milk and salt and bring to the boil.

Reduce the heat to medium and simmer, uncovered, for 8 minutes.

While the curry simmers, cook rice. Add the shrimp and cilantro to the curry, cover with a lid, and simmer for another 4 minutes, then stir in the lemon juice.

Serve on a bed of rice.

Recipe adapted from

Mussels in White Wine and Garlic Sauce

The first time I made this dish, I put so much wine, that’s all it tasted like. So, I got my husband on board to help me and we managed to get it pretty much right. It’s not an exact science, like all recipes like this. It’s more of what you like. How much garlic, to or to not add red pepper flakes. That kind of thing. Adjust to your preference.


  • 1 2lb bag farm-raised mussels
  • 3 to 5 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbsp red pepper flakes, or to taste
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 2 tsp parsley flakes
  • 1/2 cup of wine, approximately

1. First thing you need to do is clean the mussels. The mussels I buy are already de-bearded, but I do go through them and make sure there is no residual beard lingering anywhere. If there is, take a small paring knife and and scrape it off. Rinse several times and scrub them thoroughly. Discard any that are open. Place in a bowl with ice and refrigerate until you are ready to put them in the pan.

2. Heat a large pan and add the olive oil and butter. When that is hot, add the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook until a light golden brown.

3. Add the wine. Pouring slowly and carefully. Add parsley flakes.

4. Add the mussels, including the ice. Cover the pan and let simmer until they all open. This takes about five minutes or so. Just keep checking. As soon as they are open, you want to get them off of the heat. Nothing worse than a chewy mussel.

5. Serve with spaghetti or linguine and, most importantly, a very large loaf of bread for sopping up all of that incredibly delicious sauce. It’s the best part.