Padron Peppers

padron3

Padron peppers… are stupidly delicious. There’s no other way to put it. Stupidly delicious, completely addicting, and like playing Russian roulette. The background on these peppers is that they are extremely seasonal. They usually peak in the summer, so I first had them this past August in Seattle at a Basque pintxos (tapas) bar. Typically very mellow and nutty in flavor when cooked, they say that every one in ten of these peppers is super spicy — I unfortunately got one of those ten in Seattle. Padrons are picked when they are immature and before the spiciness becomes concentrated in the seeds. Every now and again the pepper ends up being a bit more along than its siblings. Darn you! My mouth recovered only just enough for me to polish off the rest of the plate. 🙂

padron2

Cooking them is not only easy, but also quick. Pour enough oil to cover the bottom of a sauce pan, and let it heat over a medium flame. Toss in the peppers (I added garlic for the heck of it) and let them cook about 1-2 minutes before tossing and turning them. They’ll start to blister and char. Salt them with some sea salt or other coarse salt, put ’em on a plate, and eat! No more than 4-5 minutes in the pan. Told you it was easy!

Helpful tip: When cleaning the peppers, wipe them down with a damp towel. Don’t bother washing them in tons of water unless you plan on drying each one thoroughly. You don’t want any stray water to cause the hot oil to spit at you.

padron4

The aftermath.

Advertisements

Yellow Cupcakes with Chocolate Mousse Frosting

IMG_4723

Ah, yes, the classic yellow cupcake with chocolate frosting. It’s the Betty Crocker or Duncan Hines cupcake that us Americans grew up with. For a recent potluck, I volunteered to bring a batch of cupcakes. However, I didn’t want them to be out-of-the-box type of cupcakes. I wanted to be inspired by the classic combination, but not recreate them with their cloying sweetness. So instead I turned to my copy of Joy of Cooking (which I am finding to be indispensable these days).

Continue reading

Chocolate Espresso Biscotti

biscotti

Hey everyone, I’m back! Sorry for yet another hiatus – I’ve actually spent the past week getting over the stomach flu. Man, was that miserable. Anyway, I have a backlog of things I want to post for you guys, so there’s plenty more after this one!

Now then. Chocolate biscotti! My parents visited me up in San Francisco for the first time in about four years over this past Labor Day weekend. While they were here, my mom requested a batch of her very favorite chocolate biscotti. I’ve had his recipe for eight years now and used to make it regularly until I moved to the Bay Area. Every time I go home to visit my parents, my mom always wants a batch, but I never have my baking supplies with me! So luckily this time, they were in my ‘hood and I could cater to the request.

Chocolate and coffee in a cookie. There’s nothing wrong with that combination in any way. These are great and super easy to make!

Chocolate Espresso Biscotti | Adapted from Epicurious

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 stick (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons of instant coffee or espresso granules
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions

Preheat oven to 350°F. and butter and flour a large baking sheet.

In a bowl whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, espresso, and salt. In another bowl with an electric mixer beat together butter and granulated sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla and beat until combined well. Stir in flour mixture to form a stiff dough.

On prepared baking sheet with floured hands form dough into two slightly flattened logs, each 12 inches long and 2 inches wide, and sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar. Bake logs 35 minutes, or until slightly firm to the touch. Cool biscotti on baking sheet 5 minutes.

On a cutting board cut biscotti diagonally into 3/4-inch slices. Arrange biscotti, cut sides down, on baking sheet and bake until crisp, about 10 minutes. Cool biscotti on a rack. Biscotti keep in airtight containers 1 week and frozen, 1 month.