Sunday, September 25, 2011


Dear Followers:

I have fun news! I upgraded my blog to my own personal website: Please take some time out of your day to check it out and don't forget to subscribe to my e-mail list so you don't miss out on any delicious recipes!

I appreciate everyone who has followed me at Random Acts of Food and I hope you continue to follow me at my new home. I promise to post more frequently - no really, I promise.


Thursday, September 15, 2011

Club Baked: Bananas Foster Fritters

Two dessert recipes in a row! Can you even believe your eyes?
Clearly, I've been busy in the kitchen... 
Bananas Foster is a traditional dessert from New Orleans made by flambeing bananas with rum and pouring it over vanilla ice cream. Sounds yummy, right? This recipe mimics just that - only brings it to another level. Bananas are one of the fruits I can eat everyday, so to put it in a dessert? I'm sold. What else can I make that mimics the flavors of Bananas Foster?

Here are some SWEET similar recipes from blogs you may want to check out:
Bananas Foster Cakes (Lottie + Doof)
Bananas Foster Muffins (Sweet Pea's Kitchen)
Bananas Foster Oatmeal (The GD Kitchen)

Hands down, the best part of this dessert is the Rum Dipping Sauce. Seriously, you can dip a dirty leaf in that stuff and it would taste amazing. I know you want to know what's in this incredible concoction, don't you?

Unsalted Butter.
Brown Sugar.
Heavy Cream. 
Pure Vanilla.
Pinch of Cinnamon.

That's quite the line-up of ingredients. They can do no wrong though. Don't worry - the fritters are worth making as well. They were cakey in the middle, crusty on the outside and had nice little pockets of banana goodness all throughout. As you can see, I dusted completely covered all of my fritters in a mixture of powdered sugar and cinnamon. That way you could eat them with or without the glorious dipping sauce. I will definitely keep this recipe in my baking repertoire, but next time I might test out the fritters with apples instead of bananas (as per Mama's request). They would even be delicious plain! You know, you have to live a little and be willing to experiment. That's my philosophy anyway.

This recipe was chosen by Stephanie of Ice Cream Before Dinner.
Check out Club: Baked to see how the other bakers did this week!

Tutti Mangia!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Strawberry Cheesecake Cupcakes


Yes of course I love Shaun, my amazing fiance, and my engagement ring, but I'm talking about these cupcakes. They are absolutely divine. 
I searched for days for a cupcake recipe to make myself for my birthday last month and this is what I settled on. With my birthday being at the end of summer, I knew I wanted something with fresh fruit in it. Little did I know that I was soon to stumble upon a goldmine! This recipe came from a fellow blogger, Joy, and her blog Joylicious. She has beautiful step-by-step pictures of how to make these cupcakes on her blog. I, however, am not as disciplined as her. My apologies in advance. 

These cupcakes were the sweetest way to turn 28. It helped to soften the blow. 

Let me tell you ALL about them. The cupcake is made up of a moist white cake with morsels of strawberries strategically placed in every bite. There is a crunchy, buttery, thick graham cracker crust underneath the cupcake. Just wait until you start baking these bad boys. Your neighbors will wander over because they smell that good. Now, on to the frosting - OHHHH the frosting. That is by far the best part. You must try and control yourself OR make double the recipe so that you can dip things (fruit, cookies, your fingers) in it later on. What? Who said that? I didn't do that - that is an absurd idea. Should I tell them that I did it? Never mind my crazyhomemadecreamcheesefrostingeating alter ego. Just make this creamy frosting. I change my mind - I don't even care if you make these cupcakes anymore. 

This frosting really got to my head. Please make both the cupcake and the frosting. Together.
They will single handedly change your outlook on life. 
Pretty please?

1 package graham cracker crumbs
1 1/2 sticks of butter (12 tbsp), room temperature
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
12 tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup plus 2 tbsp sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup sour cream
4 large egg whites
2 cups fresh strawberries, hulled and coarsely chopped

Preheat oven to 350 F and line 16-18 muffin tins with cupcake liners. Mix one box of graham cracker crumbs with butter using a food processor. The mixture should hold together when pressed with fingers, add more butter if needed. Sprinkle about 1 tbsp of the crushed graham cracker into the bottom of each prepared muffin tin. Press down using fingers and bake for 3-5 minutes or until slightly browned. Remove immediately from oven and set aside to cool.

In a medium bowl beat the egg whites until stiff, glossy peaks appear, about 3-4 minutes, be careful not to over beat. Set aside. In a small bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder and salt. In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy and then add the vanilla and beat on a low speed. Then add half the flour mixture until incorporated then mix in the sour cream. Add remaining flour and mix until just blended.

Gently fold 1/3 of the egg into the batter until combined, do not over mix the egg whites or the cake will fall flat. Add remaining egg and fold in the chopped strawberries. Fill each muffin tin about 3/4 of the way and bake for about 20 minutes depending on your oven. You can test the doneness by sticking a toothpick through the center until it is clean.

2 packets of cream cheese (16 oz)
2 sticks of unsalted butter (16 tbsp)
3 3/4 cups powdered sugar, sifted
1 tsp vanilla extract 

In a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese, butter and vanilla together until smooth. Add the sugar slowly in small batches, beating on low speed until incorporated. Once all sugar has been added, increase the speed to high and mix until light and fluffy. Refrigerate for 1 hour. When ready to serve, spread icing on cupcakes or use a pastry bag with a star tip. Garnish with freshly cut strawberries and graham cracker crumbs and refrigerate until ready to serve. Makes 16-20 cupcakes.

This recipe is not for the beginner baker. It is not necessarily hard to make, but it does require a lot of equipment and many different steps. You really need to multi-task to get these cupcakes done within two hours. They are so delicious and worth every second of time they take to prepare though. I did not attempt to modify this recipe on my own. I take no credit here. All the credit goes to Joy, the amazing baker.

Tutti Mangia!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Creamy, Cheesy, Garlicky Rice with Spinach

A French version of risotto? Yes, you heard me right.
Italian's aren't the only one on the block cookin' this up.
This dish was incredibly rich... probably because I almost doubled the amount of cheese used and there was heavy cream on the ingredient list, but that is okay! There is a good amount of spinach in this dish, so I almost felt like I was eating something healthy... for about a second. The name of this recipe describes the dish oh so well, but nothing is exaggerated. It is not too much of anything. It has just the right amount of creaminess, cheesiness and garlic-i-ness? Is that even a word?
 I have to admit, I did not follow Dorie's recipe method exactly. I couldn't bear the thought of cooking away my beautiful Arborio rice in a pot without my gentle touch. So, I cooked it the way I learned to cook risotto. I couldn't tell you if that changed the way the recipe was supposed to taste or not, but I have no complaints! It would take a lot less time to cook this dish if I had followed her instructions though. If you want the full recipe, buy Dorie's amazing book or email me directly.

To see how other bloggers fared with this “risotto”, check out French Fridays with Dorie.
Tutti Mangia!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Pan-Fried Pork Chops with Potato-Carrot Latkes and Curried Apple Chutney

I was so excited when I saw this month's recipe swap assignment because it was NOT a dessert. Don't get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with desserts... but contrary to popular belief - I like cooking much more than baking! Here was the Recipe Swap assignment:
I am not a vegetarian in any sense of the word, but rabbit is not on my list of meats to cook up for dinner. All I think about is Thumper from Bambi... ooh bad visual. That is why I decided to pick out a few of the ingredients used in this recipe and incorporate them in a different way, but still use the same spices throughout.

Pork Chops
4 boneless pork chops, about 1/2 inch thick
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp curry powder
1 tsp paprika
2 eggs, beaten
3 tbsp milk
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup seasoned breadcrumbs

In a small bowl, combine the flour and spices. In another small bowl, beat together the eggs, milk, salt and pepper. Pour your breadcrumbs into a third bowl. Dip each pork chop into the flour first, then eggs, then breadcrumbs, coating evenly. Heat the olive oil in a 12 inch nonstick skillet. Place the pork chops in the skillet to brown and cook through, about 5 minutes on each side (depending on their thickness). 
Potato-Carrot Latkes
adapted from Rachael Ray
5 medium Idaho potatoes, shredded 
2 carrots, peeled and shredded
1 medium onion, peeled and shredded
2 eggs, beaten
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp curry powder
1/2 tsp paprika
1 tsp baking powder
2 tbsp all-purpose flour
Vegetable oil, for frying

Heat 1/2-inch vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Shred potatoes, carrots and onion with a hand grater into a large bowl. Add eggs, salt, curry, paprika, baking powder and flour to the mixture and stir to combine. Drop mixture into oil in 3-inch mounds, press down gently with spatula to form patties. Fry in batches of four, 1-inch apart, until golden, about 3 minutes on each side. Drain on paper towels and continue frying consecutive batches. If not serving right away, keep warm on a baking sheet in a 225 degree oven.
Curried Apple Chutney
adapted from Whole Foods and Martha Stewart
3 peeled, cored, chopped Granny Smith apples
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
1/3 cup water
1/3 cup golden raisins
1/3 cup brown sugar
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Dash of curry powder

Combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan. Cook on medium-high heat for about 20 minutes or until apples are tender and most of the liquid is evaporated.

For those of you who think you are afraid of curry, don't be! When used in moderation, I find it adds a nice depth of spice to your dishes. My favorite part of this meal was the latkes for sure - I forgot how much I like those things! Those potato pancakes pack a punch of flavor because they get thin and crispy on the outside. The apple compote was a nice sweet compliment to the salty pancakes.

Visit the swap page for everyone's bios and please visit all of our blogs to let us all know what you think of our creations! Tutti Mangia! 
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