Archive for February, 2012

Oh, Dr. Oz

I like to take Dr. Oz with a grain of, um, quinoa. But I have to admit, he sucks me in.

Grabbed O magazine last nite at the grocery store because the cover touted Dr. Oz’s 2-Day Wonder Cleanse. I figured I’d need a “cleanse” this weekend…after I ate the warm apple crisp I’d just made (topped with ice cream). Hey, it was an icy-cold blustery Friday night in Milwaukee. Just call me Moping in Milwaukee.

So I began this a.m. with Oz’s quinoa, ginger, nutmeg, prune, rice milk porridge. No prunes in the house, but I did have dried cranberries. Look and taste better, but I’m sure prunes are better for purging—I mean cleansing. No rice milk either. Does anyone really drink that stuff?

Even tho I had a cartload of groceries last nite, I now have to do a grocery run for the pineapple, kale, cabbage, fennel and other ingredients on the Oz list for the next two days. The recipes make a soup, a smoothie, a snack drink (pineapple-kale) and that quinoa porridge. Oh, and there’s dandelion tea, which is supposed to be a diuretic. (I may skip that tea. Water is a diuretic if you drink as much as you should daily. (Plus I think I’ll need my mint-chocolate tea to get me through the weekend of  slurping cabbage-fennel soup and other slurries for two days.)

Wish me luck. Will let you know if I feel cleansed in 48 hours. Spring cleaning will have a whole new meaning for me.

Slosh. Slosh.

Here’s my version of the breakfast recipe:

HRK’s Breakfast Quinoa

Put  1/4 cup red quinoa and 1/2 cup water in a small saucepan. Add two or three good shakes of cinnamon. Grate some fresh ginger into the pan (or add three or four shakes of ground ginger). Bring to boil, then lower heat, cover and simmer for 10 minutes or until most of the water is gone. Then add 1/4 cup nonfat milk (or almond milk or rice milk…ugh) and a handful of dried cranberries or snipped dried apricots. (Dr. Oz prefers prunes. Not me.) Simmer for 5 or 10 minutes more.

Quinoa is actually an amazing little grain, with an amino acid profile that puts it on the top of most good-for-you lists. Lot of fiber, too. I prefer my quinoa loaded up with vegetables in a salad or side dish. But, Dr. Oz says eat it for breakfast. So here I go.

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Face-First Chocolate Stout Cupcakes

Here’s how my thought process works when developing recipes. Valentine’s Day is coming up. So: Chocolate. Chocolate. Chocolate. Hmmmm. How’s about a new chocolate cupcake? Yeah.

What goes with chocolate? Something crunchy. Not nuts again. Pretzels? Yeah. Chocolate Cupcakes with pretzels on top. Not good enough. So what goes with pretzels? Beer. Yeah. Pretzels and beer, right?

In fact, I know just the beer: Chocolate Stout.

And that’s how this recipe was born. I like to insert a pretzel in a jaunty fashion off-center into the frosting…or sprinkle crushed pretzels on top just before serving. The photos, however, show the un-pretzeled versions. Obviously.

Photos: Richard Swearinger

Double Chocolate Stout Cupcakes

Makes 12 cupcakes

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup chocolate stout (Pour about 1/3 cup chocolate stout plus foam, let settle for 1 to 2 minutes, scoop off the foam, and you should have about ½ cup)

1/2 cup butter (unsalted, please. If you’re using salted butter, ditch the salt, above)

1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

3 ounces dark unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped, or semisweet dark chocolate chips

3/4 cup packed brown sugar

2 slightly beaten eggs

Dark Chocolate Frosting (next page)

Coarse sea salt

12 bite-size pretzels

1. Preheat the oven to 350* F. Line muffin pan with 12 paper liners. Set aside. Stir together flour, soda, and salt. Set aside.

2. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, bring stout, butter, and cocoa just to simmer; stirring frequently. Add dark chocolate, stirring until melted. Remove from heat. Add brown sugar, stirring until smooth. Whisk in eggs until combined. Add flour mixture, beating until smooth.

3. Fill cupcake liners about ¾ full. Bake for about 15 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. (Or just tap the top of the cupcake with your finger.  It should bounce back.) Cool in pan on rack for 5 minutes, then carefully remove cupcakes from muffin pan and cool completely on rack.

4. Pipe or frost with Dark Chocolate Frosting (below). Sprinkle coarse salt over each cupcake. Top with a pretzel. (Or skip the salt and crush the pretzels and sprinkle on top.

Dark Chocolate Frosting

Makes enough to cover 12 cupcakes

¼ cup unsalted butter

¼ cup milk (or cream as long as we’re being decadent)

1 cup dark chocolate chips (or 8 ounces dark chocolate, coarsely chopped)

2 ½ cups sifted powdered sugar

1. In a small saucepan, heat the butter and milk over medium heat until butter is melted and mixture is bubbly, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to low and stir in dark chocolate until melted.

2. Remove pan from heat and add powdered sugar. Beat by hand until smooth. Cool to room temperature. Stir well before frosting cupcakes. Add additional milk if frosting is too thick.

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