Requested Recipes

During the past few weeks, I have had a few recipe requests and decided to post them here for convenience.
  • First on the list:
Maia's birthday cupcakes -- a.k.a, Strawberry and Mascarpone filled Cupcakes (recipe by Giada De Laurentis)
1 box vanilla cake mix (like Duncan Hines Moist Deluxe French Vanilla cake)
1 (8-ounce) container mascarpone cheese, chilled
1/2 cup thawed and drained frozen strawberries
1/4 cup sugar, plus 1/2 cup 1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 cup water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups confectioners' sugar
Make the cupcakes according to package instructions. Lightly grease muffin tin and fill the batter almost to the rim of each muffin cup. Bake according to package directions and let cool. In a food processor combine the mascarpone cheese, strawberries, 1/4 cup sugar, and lemon juice. Process the mixture until smooth. Transfer the strawberry mixture to a pastry bag fitted with a small tip. Push the tip gently into the bottom of a cupcake and squeeze in the strawberry mixture until the cupcake plumps. Continue with the remaining cupcakes. In a small saucepan bring the 1/2 cup sugar, water, and vanilla extract to a simmer over medium heat. Simmer until the sugar is dissolved. In a medium bowl combine the vanilla syrup with the confectioner's sugar. Stir until smooth. Working quickly, use a rubber spatula spread the icing on the top of the cupcakes. If the icing begins to firm up, place in the microwave for a few seconds to warm up again. Garnish each cupcake with a fresh strawberry slice.
Note: combining melted chocolate with the mascarpone also makes a nice filling for the cupcakes -- I've substituted pureed raspberries for the strawberries, added white chocolate to the mascarpone mixture and used almond extract instead of vanilla in past cupcake trials.
  • Next:
4-Food Group Pasta Salad (note to self: don't forget to take a photo next time you make this to include here)
1lb. whole grain pasta cooked according to manufacturer and cooled
¼ pound salami (preferably pepper salami), chopped
¼ pound pepperoni sausage, chopped
½ cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1 (6 ounce) can sliced black olives, drained
½ yellow bell pepper, diced
3 tomatoes, diced
2 - 6oz. jars marinated artichoke hearts, chopped
4-5 marinated sun-dried tomato halves, minced
1 medium-sized red onion, thinly sliced & quartered
¾ cup extra virgin olive oil
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
¼ tsp. dried oregano
¼ tsp. dried basil
3-4 garlic cloves, minced
salt and ground black pepper to
Whisk all ingredients for dressing in small bowl. Refrigerate while preparing salad. Combine salad ingredients. Drizzle dressing over salad (you don't have to use all of the dressing-just to taste). Stir to combine. Best when served chilled for at least 8 hours. (Keeps about 1 week in fridge).
  • Lastly (for today):
Guacamole - makes enough for a summer BBQ crowd of 12+ (note to self: don't forget to take a photo next time you make this to include here)
3 avocados, halved and pitted
Juice of 2-3 limes
A splash of balsamic vinegar (about 2-3 teaspoons)
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 jalapeño, seeds and ribs removed and minced
4-6 scallions, minced
2 medium-sized tomatoes, finely diced
2 good-sized handfuls of cilantro, finely chopped (I usually use 1/3-1/2 of a bunch - to taste)
Mash avocado, lime juice, balsamic vinegar and garlic with fork or potato masher, leaving a few small bits of avocado. Stir in jalapeño, scallions, tomato and cilantro until combined.
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