Saturday, February 16, 2013

Khalil's vanilla white-chocolate cupcakes

As I have mentioned previously (on this blog) my son Khalil (4-years old) wants to be a chef. For valentine's day we (he and me) devised a recipe stemming from a classic vanilla cake, but added our own twist: white chocolate chips (yum)! We also made pink whipped cream frosting and added pink sprinkles too. These cupcakes turned out wonderfully tasty!! And I highly recommend you try them too.

You'll need:
1/2 cup unsalted butter
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
zest one large lemon (yellow skin)
1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup milk
1/2 cup white chocolate chips

For whipped cream frosting:
1/2 cup heavy cream 
1/3 cup confectioners sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon of pink or red food coloring 
*Beat on high for several minutes until mixture thickens and becomes fluffy.

What to do? 
Preheat over to 350 degrees. Use a 12 muffin pan and butter it or use paper liners. In one bowl, beat the butter and sugar until fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time beat them and add vanilla and almond extract and mix again.

Combine dry ingredients in another bowl and mix together with a fork or whisk. Add a bit of dry mixture and milk and mix, repeat two more times (adding dry mixture and milk then mixing) until all comes together smoothly. Then add the white chocolate chips and fold gently with a spatula. Bake for 17 to 20 minutes, do not over bake or cupcakes will be dry. 
Khalil decorated his own cupcake and I must say, he did a fabulous job! 


Monday, February 11, 2013

Blizzard & Soup

Nemo, the blizzard, was all they said it was going to be. Our lights flickered now and then but thankfully we did not lose power. I wanted to make a warming food to help us deal with the blustery winds that Nemo brought with it. And so, I turned to a variation of one of my trusty soup recipes. We spent the weekend digging ourselves out from under the snow (and helping our elderly neighbors as well). The good part about the storm was that neighbors banded together to help each other out!

What you'll need:
-2 tablespoons olive oil
-1 extra firm tofu
-7 cups water
-2 veggie bullion cubes
-1 tomato
-1 tablespoon Sriracha hot chili sauce (or hot sauce will do)
- 1/3 cup udon noodles
-2 1/2 cups fresh spinach leafs-1 large carrot
-2 garlic cloves
-1 1/2 cups of mushrooms
-a small head of fresh broccoli
-3 tablespoon soy sauce or bragg's liquid aminos 

What to do?
Drain tofu well and cut into squares--meanwhile heat up olive oil in the soup pot. Toss the tofu in the oil and fry well on all sides. This will take several minutes. When the tofu is browned on all sides, add the water and the veggie cubes cover the pot and let the cubes dissolve. Cut the carrot and toss it in. Let this cook together for several minutes. Add the soy, the hot sauce, crushed garlic, cut the tomato and add it too. Cook for about 10 minutes on medium heat, add the mushrooms, the broccoli, and the udon noddles and cover and cook for another 8-10 minutes. Finally, add the spinach and add more soy and/or hot sauce as needed.You should cover the soup and set it on low for another 5-8 minutes. Turn off soup and let it sit for several minutes before serving. 

This soup will not only warm your body and soul, it will also warm up your house! It is a perfect deep winter soup that becomes tastier with each passing day.

Here are a couple of photos of my neighborhood immediately after the blizzard.


Friday, February 8, 2013

Representing Puerto Rico

"El Genio del Ingenio" de Julio Tomás Mártinez, 1910

I have been MIA but it is for a good reason: mainly, I am working very hard to finish my book manuscript. And so that is priority number one right now. I expect to still blog though less frequently, until my academic book entitled Representing Puerto Rico: National Art, Colonial Photography and Race during the American Century, 1890-1990, is completed. This book stems from my dissertation except that I now turn to realist painting and photographs to uncover how nation, race, and gender have been represented by Puerto Rican artists and American photographers. It is a very exciting project and I can't wait until it is born and ready for the world. I will keep you updated!