Cupcakes!

I have been looking for a cupcake recipe for my cousins upcoming bridal shower and I have found it! It is a Martha Stewart recipe called triple citrus cupcakes. These cupcakes are not too sweet and very dense. Perfect for a luncheon bridal shower.

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Triple Citrus Cupcakes

Ingredients

3 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons coarse salt
1 pound (4 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups sugar
3 tablespoons finely grated lemon zest (from 3 lemons)
3 tablespoons finely grated orange zest (from 2 oranges)
3 tablespoons finely grated lime zest, plus more for garnish (from 3 limes)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
9 large eggs, room temperature
Citrus Glaze

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners. Whisk together flour and salt.

With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, cream butter and sugar until pale and fluffy, scraping down sides of bowl every few minutes. Add citrus zests. Reduce speed to medium, and add vanilla. Add eggs, three at a time, beating until until incorporated, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Reduce speed to low. Add flour mixture in four batches, beating until completely incorporated after each.

Divide batter evenly among lined cups, filling each three-quarters full; tap pans on countertop once to distribute batter. Bake, rotating tins halfway through, until a cake tester inserted in centers comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Transfer tins to wire racks to cool 10 minutes; turn out cupcakes onto racks and let cool completely. Cupcakes can be stored up to 2 days at room temperature, or frozen up to 2 months, in airtight containers.

To finish, dip tops of cupcakes in glaze, then turn over quickly and garnish with zest. Cupcakes are best eaten the day they are glazed; keep at room temperature until ready to serve.

Citrus Glaze

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
1/4 teaspoon finely grated citrus zest, such as orange, lemon, or lime
3 tablespoons fresh citrus juice, such as orange, lemon, or lime
Directions

Whisk all ingredients until smooth and combined. Use immediately.

Making Pasta

My parents had Steve and I up for the weekend a couple weeks ago and I have been asking to experience my mother’s homemade ravioli, she finally agreed. I have never made pasta before and it was quite an experience. My dad and Steve were in charge of rolling the dough out and then my mother and I would fill the dough and cut out the ravioli.

The ravioli filling was a crab and shrimp filling that my mom described as little pillows of delicious. She was 100% right.

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Lump Crabmeat Ravioli with Red Pepper Cream Sauce and Asparagus

Makes 40 ravioli

1/2 pound cold, peeled and deveined shrimp
1 large egg white, cold
1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh parsley leaves
1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh basil leaves
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
1/4 cup cold heavy cream
6 ounces lump crabmeat, picked over for shells and cartilage
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
2 tablespoons chopped shallots
1 large egg, beaten with 2 teaspoons water, for egg wash
3 ½ pounds pasta (buy roll from Pastazza)
Red Pepper Cream Sauce, recipe follows
16 spears Blanched Asparagus, recipe follows
1/4 cup grated Parmesan, for garnish
4 teaspoons finely sliced fresh basil leaves, for garnish

Note: To achieve the right consistency, make sure that the shrimp and egg white are very cold, and chill the food processor bowl and blade in the refrigerator for 20 minutes before beginning.

Combine the shrimp, egg white, parsley, basil, lemon juice, garlic, salt, and white pepper in a food processor and pulse for 5 seconds. Scrape down the sides and pulse for 5 seconds. With the machine running, add the cream through the feed tube in a steady stream. Transfer to a bowl and fold in the crabmeat, cheese, and shallots.

Place 1 pasta sheet on a work surface. Scoop heaping tablespoons of the crabmeat filling evenly down the sheet, about 4 inches apart in 2 rows of 4. Using a pastry brush, lightly coat the areas around the filling with egg wash. Place another pasta sheet on top and press down around each mound of filling to squeeze out the air pockets and seal. With a 4-inch round cutter, cut into individual ravioli.

Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Add the ravioli and cook until tender, 4 to 5 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and divide among 4 plates. Drizzle the sauce on top and arrange the asparagus on the side. Garnish each portion with the cheese and basil and serve immediately.

Red Pepper Cream Sauce:
2 red bell peppers (about 3/4 pound), cored, seeded, and coarsely chopped
2 cups heavy cream
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
Pinch cayenne

Combine the bell peppers and cream in a medium heavy pot, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until reduced by half, about 35 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat.

Add the paprika, lemon juice, salt, white pepper, and cayenne. With an immersion blender, or in batches in a food processor, puree the mixture until smooth. Serve hot.

Yield: 2 cups

Blanched Asparagus:
16 asparagus spears

With a sharp knife, remove the tough woody ends from the asparagus. Lay the asparagus flat, align the tips, and trim the spears to the same length.

Bring a large saucepan of salted water to a boil. Add the asparagus and cook until just tender, 1 to 2 minutes, depending upon their thickness. Drain and transfer to an ice bath to stop the cooking; drain and serve immediately.

Yield: 4 servings

Pasta Dough for Ravioli

Makes enough for 48 ravioli

5 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1 teaspoon salt
6 large eggs
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

To make the pasta dough: In an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook, combine the flour and salt. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, and continue to mix. Pour in 1 tablespoon olive oil and continue to mix until a smooth dough is formed. If the dough is too dry drizzle in a bit of water, if it is too wet sprinkle in some more flour. Dust some flour on a work surface, knead and fold the dough until it is elastic and smooth, this should take about 10 minutes. Brush the surface of the dough with the remaining olive oil and wrap the dough in plastic wrap; let rest for about 30 minutes to allow the gluten to relax.

To make the dough by hand: Combine the flour and salt on a flat work surface, shape into a mound, and make a well in the center. Add the eggs and 1 tablespoon olive oil to the well and lightly beat with a fork. Gradually draw in the flour from the inside wall and mix it with the beaten eggs. Use 1 hand for mixing and the other to protect the outer wall. Continue to incorporate all the flour until it forms a smooth dough. Dust some flour on the work surface; knead and fold the dough until it is elastic and smooth, this should take about 10 minutes. Brush the surface of the dough with the remaining olive oil and wrap the dough in plastic wrap; let rest for about 30 minutes to allow the gluten to relax.

To roll out the dough: Cut the ball of dough in half, cover and reserve the piece you are not using to prevent it from drying out. Dust the counter and dough with a little flour. Press the dough into a rectangle and roll it through a pasta machine set at the widest setting 2 or 3 times. Guide the dough with your hand as it emerges from the rollers to prevent it from puncturing or stretching. Dust the sheets with extra flour whenever the dough gets sticky. Reduce the setting and crank the dough through again 2 or 3 times. Continue reducing the setting and rolling until the machine is at its narrowest setting; the dough should

Monday Night, Pizza Night

My mother taught me that barbecued pizzas are delicious and we try to incorporate this meal at least once a month. Just take pizza dough, I buy the ready made dough from Trader Joe’s, sprinkle with olive oil and barbecue. For the sauce, I made a very easy homemade sauce (recipe below). The toppings this time were sausage, pepperoni, sweet hot peppers, cheese, black olives and pineapple. We like to barbecue the dough, add the toppings, and melt the top under the broiler. Delish!

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Tomato Pizza Sauce

1 large garlic clove, minced
¼ tsp freshly ground pepper
1 T olive oil
28 ounce can Italian plum tomatoes including the juice

In a heavy saucepan, cook the garlic and the pepper in the olive oil for a couple of minutes. Squash the tomatoes with your hand and pour into the pan. Bring the mixture to a boil and cook it over moderately low head, stirring occasionally for 20 to 30 minutes or until the sauce is thickened and reduced to about 2 cups. Season with salt. The sauce keeps in the frig for 1 week, or freeze the leftovers.