Thursday, September 8, 2011

cooking with gp: part six + cupcakes

last friday, i made dinner for kyle and me. i had planned to cook for more people, but everyone ended up having plans, which i was totally fine with in the end, because kyle and i got to have more food. i made gwyneth's best stir-fry chicken and my own version of fried rice. this might not have been the healthiest meal ever, but it was definitely healthier than regular chinese takeout. i'll skip the msg and weird this-might-be-chicken-meat any day of the week. this was one of those recipes like the veggie burger that didn't have any photos, so i wasn't sure what it was supposed to look like. that always makes me nervous, but usually in the end i'm all "omg. it worked."

this was the first time for a couple of things. 1. cooking with ginger. i've never used it, like ever. i wasn't even sure what it tasted like until i made this. now i know, it's just one of those things that makes asian food delicious. 2. chopping scallions. ok, it is really hard to get these things to look like they look when you order something in a restaurant with them. they always look perfectly even and all the same. mine were all different sizes and i kept trying to get them really small. but really in the end, it didn't matter, because i just had to cook them down. 3. cooking asian food. i've never made anything like this, unless it was frozen and i just had to put it in a pan, but after this, i don't know that i will ever go back to frozen. 

the ingredients for the chicken make this sticky, brown, delicious sauce on the chicken that tastes way better than genera tso's ever thought about tasting.

for the rice, i just made some brown rice, scrambled an egg, added the rice to the pan with the egg, poured in a good amount of soy sauce and stirred it around. 

kyle and i ate wayyyy too much. i'm pretty sure i made enough chicken for 6 people and there was only enough left for maybe 2 more people after we were done with it. it was so good. i think next time, i'll add some vegetables to it, and maybe it will go a little further. i'll definitely make this one again. you did it again, gp. way. to. go. :)


also, early last week, i decided to bake. it was because, through a series of events, i finally obtained a kitchenaid mixer (thanks, mimi!).

so to break it in, i searched online for a delicious recipe. i found these key lime cupcakes with blackberry frosting from baked perfection. the original recipe had a blackberry filling for the cupcakes, but i left that part out this time. it also called for a lot of sugar and butter, which is obviously what cake is, but i didn't want to use that much. plus the frosting was a buttercream frosting calling for 6 cups of powdered sugar which made me instantly feel bad about myself. so i did some research and made a couple of swaps for some of the ingredients to make then a little healthier, and they still turned out delicious. i may have been giving gwyneth's book a rest, but i still stuck with her healthy living ideas.

for the cupcake batter i used:
1 stick of butter + a cup of greek yogurt instead of 2 sticks of butter
2 cups of splenda instead of 2 cups of sugar
lite sour cream instead of regular sour cream

for the frosting i used:
3 cups of powdered splenda (you can make it in a blender with 1 tablespoon of cornstarch per cup of splenda) and 1 cup of regular powdered sugar instead of 6 cups of powdered sugar
1 cup of greek yogurt instead of 2 sticks of butter
1 container of lite cool whip to make it fluffy
sugar-free blackberry jam instead of regular blackberry jam 
i left out the milk, too. 

i was sort of worried while i was making these, because i've never made substitutions like this with baking. but when i tasted the batter and the frosting, i wasn't that worried anymore. i'm telling you, they were great. they were definitely a little more dense than normal cupcakes, but that doesn't bother me. and i kept them in the refrigerator just to make sure the frosting didn't melt off since there was yogurt and whipped cream in it. the recipe made 30 cupcakes and they were gone in just a couple of days. i made another dozen when they were gone because i had extra frosting i had saved in the fridge. and after figuring out that the blender+splenda thing really does work to make a powdered form, i'm forever changed. i'll use that trick forever, or until splenda starts making their own powdered form. these were the perfect last-days-of-summer-let's-eat-something-fruity dessert. i highly recommend the recipe, and anything baked perfection has on her blog. it all looks delicious.

i'm still trying to hold onto summer for as long as i can. this morning i was driving my brother to school and freezing, but i refused to turn the heater on. i'm in denial. but i know that once i have to start wearing sweaters all the time and not just inside of the over-air-conditioned starbucks, i'll start planning some fall foods.


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