Thursday, March 31, 2011

Layers of Goodness


Last weekend friends of ours invited us to a cookout. It was an informal B.Y.O.M.—bring your own meat affair. Most people showed up with steaks, but there was chicken for some and hotdogs for a couple of little ones. The host and hostess provided the best part—this idyllic little piece of heaven that they call home. The evening was layers upon layers of goodness!


My contribution was to be dessert and I immediately turned to my latest issue of Southern Lady for a recipe to try out. I am in love with this magazine! The pictures are breathtaking and the recipes are inspiring and “do-able”. The tablescapes alone are worth the price of magazine. If you live above the Mason Dixon line, no need to worry—it’s geographically inclusive :)


I often use my friends as guinea pigs to try new recipes. Over the years they have shared both successes and total flops. The fun is in the trying. This recipe is from an entire article on Neopolitan desserts. Doesn’t that bring back memories of the three-layered pastel ice cream from your childhood?


When I saw that the frosting contained strawberry extract, I knew I had to try it! Strawberries just “say” spring to me! I used my cute little gingham cupcake liners from Bridget at Bake at 350---perfect for a picnic. I’ve had them a while and have been saving them for just the right occasion. Thanks Bridget!


The perfect cupcake! —three layers of goodness-- chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry for an evening with three layers of goodness—friends, fellowship, and food! This one goes in the “success” column. If you don’t have or can’t buy a copy of Southern Lady (and I highly recommend it), here’s the recipe! This one earned a spot in the “success” column!

Neopolitan Cupcakes

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened

1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened

1 1/2 cups sugar

4 large eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3 cups cake flour

2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 1/4 cups milk

1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

Strawberry frosting (recipe follows)

Preheat oven to 35o degrees. Line 2 (12 cup) muffing pans with paper liners; set aside. In a large bowl, combine butter, cream cheese, and sugar. Beat at a high speed until creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla. In a medium bowl, sift together the cake flour, baking powder, and salt. Gradually add flour mixture to butter mixture alternating with milk, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Divide batter in half, and beat cocoa powder into half the mixture. Spoon chocolate batter into muffin cups, filling about 1/3 full. Spoon vanilla batter evenly over the chocolate batter, filling about 2/3 full. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool completely. Pipe strawberry frosting on tops of cupcakes.

Strawberry Frosting

1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened

1/4 cup butter softened

1/4 cup strawberry jam

2 teaspoons strawberry extract

1 (8 ounce) container frozen whipped topping, thawed

1 cup confectioners’ sugar

In a medium bowl, combine cream cheese and butter. Beat at medium speed with an electric mixer until smooth. Beat in strawberry jam and strawberry extract until smooth. Beat in whipped topping and confectioners’ sugar.

I’m joining our favorite author Michael Lee West @ Designs by Gollum for Foodie Friday. Click on her button on the sidebar for immediate transportation. I know posts have been sporadic. Thanks for hanging in with me while I work on both weddings, one couple’s new house, and a nursery….whewww :) I hope you’ll leave a note!!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

In Love with the Mudbug

Crayfish, crawfish, crawdad….call it what you want, but call me when you serve it! When daffodils start popping up and the pear trees bloom this southern girl starts thinking about delicious little mudbugs!


Don’t turn up your nose! They’re related to the lobster---the kissing country cousin. Crawfish boils are the easiest and most fun way to entertain in the spring. All you need is a big pot, a yard, and a roll of paper towels :) !


THIS is my favorite way to eat crawfish—seasoned and boiled in a huge pot with lots of corn and potatoes. However, it’s still just a bit early for my cravings so I made an easy and delicious alternative until the real thing arrives.


And it’s made completely in the microwave….you read it right! I confess I am something of a snob about microwaves….great for reheating or thawing. But COOKING…..a REAL meal… way. But this works and no one will ever suspect :). I’ve been making it so long that I have no idea where I got the recipe, but I have given out by request lots!

Crayfish Delicacy

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1 small onion, chopped

1 stalk celery, chopped

1/2 small green bell pepper, chopped

1 pound frozen crayfish tails, thawed and chopped

3 tablespoons flour

1 envelope prepared beef stew seasoning mix

4 green onions, chopped

1/4 chopped fresh parsley

3 cups hot water

1/4 teaspoon red pepper

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Microwave first 5 ingredients in a casserole dish on high for 6-8 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Stir in flour and remaining ingredients. Microwave uncovered on high for 15 minutes, stirring twice. Cover and continue to cook at 50 % power for 15 minutes stirring twice. Serve over hot rice.

EASY!!! You can cook and serve in the same dish. Buy a bag of salad and a loaf of French bread and dinner is served!


The food stylist had the day off :) so this picture may not do the taste justice! I am joining our dear Michael Lee West at Designs by Gollum for Foodie Friday! Michael’s latest book Gone With a Handsomer Man will be out in April. Check out your invitation to a launch party given by Laurie at Chatting and Bargain Hunting with Laurie by clicking on the Foodie Friday button on the sidebar! I can’t wait!!!!

Thanks to all of you who shared their “Grandma” names with me. You are, as always, a creative and gracious bunch! Leave me note :)~~Susan