I have never been shy in pronouncing my love for my main man, Smitty. To say the “cat is out of the bag” would seem a little ridiculous. So, I’m not saying that (even though I just did). What I am saying is that my sidekick of nearly six years has been more loyal than some friends and certainly more loyal than any boyfriend I’ve ever had. To say we are inseparable would be a bit of an understatement. Although I’ve been away from him for over a week and feel as if my heart may be missing. For that, I spoil him in anyway I can; whether it be a belly rub or some delicious home baked treats.
I’ve mentioned making pupcakes for my beloved pooch once before, but this time we’ve got a full blown tutorial. Sure, sure, you could shell out an astronomical $2.50 a pop at Sprinkles, but as delicious as their K9 treats may be… they’re missing one very important ingredient: your love. Sweet, I know. Don’t get used to it.
Anyway, these are very easy to make and are safe for your pooch to eat. Just don’t overindulge the little guy/girl… we all know what a cupcake hangover feels like. Not good.
Bow wow wow.
So, it’s up to you again. What shall we “How To” next week?
There are two things about Valentine’s Day that go hand in hand… hearts and chocolate. Personally, I’m a fan of both, so I’m happy to share a way for you to combine them and delight yourself and those around you… okay, so maybe not your thighs. When home visiting my mom, we decided to whip up this tasty treat and to justify making fudge in mid January, I prefaced it by saying my readers would love this recipe and then came up with the brilliant idea of ditching the standard squares for happy little hearts. And if you think about it… this recipe could go on and on and on… bunnies for Easter, trees for Christmas, initials for engagements… If there’s a cookie cutter, there’s a way.
2/3 cup evaporated milk
1 1/2 sticks butter
3 cups sugar
1/2 tsp salt
5 cups mini marshmallows
12 oz (1 bag) semisweet chocolate chips
1 tsp vanilla extract
Combine sugar, salt, butter, and evaporated milk.
Bring to a rolling boil.
Cook five minutes stirring constantly.
Remove from heat.
Add marshmallows, chocolate chips, and vanilla.
Stir until smooth.
Pour (with the help of a spatula) into a butter 9 x 13 inch pan.
Smooth evenly and allow to cool.
Use 1 inch heart shaped cookie cutter (eat your mistakes).
Okay, so many of you have probably vowed to spend 2012 in the gym working off all those winter pounds you acquired while hibernating… and while that’s all good and fine, let’s be serious. You will probably last at the gym for about a week (two tops) before going back to your old ways. And well, that’s okay. Promises are made to be broken, right? Okay, okay. You should keep your promises, but if you happen to have a cheat day and are craving a bit of comfort food, I have the perfect little place (and recipe) to do just that.
The Meatball Shop with three locations in New York, is exactly what it sounds like. A restaurant serving up meatballs with little fuss and lots of flavor. With a straightforward menu (checboxes included), there are plenty of options without being overwhelming. While I opted for a classic meatball hoagie, you could order anything from naked balls, to sliders, to spaghetti with meatballs. There is something to to please everyone’s palate. A small venue that doesn’t take reservations draws in celebrities and locals alike.
Can’t make it into the shop? Here’s a recipe to make your own balls. (Their cookbook is now also available for purchase here):
2 tbs olive oil
4 tbs unsalted butter
1/3 cup Franks Redhot Sauce (or your favorite hot sauce)
1 lb ground chicken (preferably thigh meat)
1 large egg
1/2 celery stalk, minced
3/4 cup bread crumbs
1 tsp salt
Preheat the oven to 450. Drizzle the olive oil into a 9×13 inch baking dish and use your hands to evenly coat the entire surface. Set aside.
Combine the butter and hot sauce in a small saucepan, and cook over low heat, whisking until the butter is melted and fully incorporated. Remove from the heat and allow the mixture to cool for 10 minutes.
Combine the ground chicken, hot sauce mixture, egg, celery, bread crumbs, and salt in a large mixing bowl and mix by hand until thoroughly incorporated.
Roll the mixture into round, 3/4 inch balls, making sure to pack the meat firmly. Place the balls in the prepared baking dish, being careful to line them up snugly and in even rows vertically and horizontally to form a grid. The meatballs should be touching one another.
Roast for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the meatballs are firm and cooked through. A meat thermometer inserted into the center of a meatball should read 165 degrees.
Allow the meatballs to cool for 5 minutes in the baking dish before serving.
You know what will clear a cold right up? Mulled wine. Okay, not really. That’s an old wives tale. You also shouldn’t give your crying baby whiskey. However, mulled wine is pretty glorious for chilly winter get togethers. It’s especially delightful when sipped fireside with friends. You might think warm wine sounds ridiculous, but I promise that once you give mulled wine one sip (or two, or three…) you’ll have a new favorite winter cocktail. It’s also pretty easy to make (and double for bigger parties).
2 large oranges
12 whole cloves
12 allspice berries
12 whole black peppercorns
2 cinnamon sticks
2 bottles (6 cups) fruity red wine – Might I suggest merlot?
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup brandy
With a fine grater, zest, then juice the oranges.
In a large pot (not aluminum), combine zest, juice, cloves, allspice, peppercorns, cinnamon.
Pour in wine, sugar, and brandy.
Cook over medium heat, stirring, until sugar dissolves, 1 to 2 minutes.
Reduce heat to low; simmer until flavors have melded, about 30 minutes (or until it smells more like cider than well, bad).
Pour through a fine-mesh sieve and garnish with cinnamon stick, if you’re fancy.
Serve immediately in a mug (a glass will not do- we learned this the hard- and hot- way).
For upcoming holiday parties, what’s better than a candy coated creation that can not only act as a centerpiece, but also as a party favor? That’s right. Absolutely nothing. Precisely the reason why my lovely lady friend, Katie (who also guest DJ’s from time to time), whipped up some beautiful and festive candy apples for a party she was hosting. (Is there anything this girl can’t do?). Anyway, I was lucky enough to witness (and document) her working her wonders in the kitchen and have for you the secrets to creating the prettiest candy apples ever. This isn’t rocket science, BUT it is a little tricky so follow directions closely and be sure to be patient (it’s a virtue, afterall).
2 cups sugar
3/4 cup water
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon red food coloring
6 medium apples (we used Granny Smith)
Line a baking sheet with wax paper.
Wash apples, remove stems, insert wooden dowels.
In a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine sugar, 3/4 cup water, corn syrup, and food coloring.
Bring to a boil over high heat; reduce heat to medium-high. Insert candy thermometer and continue to boil until temperature reaches between degrees 310 degrees (about 20 minutes).
When mixture reaches 310 degrees, immediately remove from heat. Working quickly (seriously), dip apples in sugar mixture until completely coated. Transfer to prepared baking sheet; allow to cool.
How d’ya like them apples? As a disclaimer, I have to suggest that you don’t actually bite into these apples. You will crack your teeth… and that’s not the kinda look you’re probably going for.