Strange But Good Gluttony: Irish Car Bomb Cupcakes

Gluttony is controversial in blog-land.

 

I’m a firm believer that you should have everything in moderation.  Including moderation.

When my softball team requested these cupcakes after our game last weekend, I had to oblige.  I’d made the ‘cakes for them 3 or 4 years ago, and they’ve been requested every year since.

These are not your ordinary cupcakes.  They are called Irish Car Bomb Cupcakes.  A reader pointed out the negative connotation of that name… I’m sorry if it offends anyone.  These cupcakes are referring to the popular shooter.  Many of you may have taken seen the shot in college.  You take a 1/2 pint of Guinness and drop a shot of Irish cream and whiskey in it.  Then you chug (you have to drink it fast of it will curdle).

Irish Car Bomb Drink

It tastes like chocolate milk, or so I’m told. ;)

 

Turning a shooter into a cupcake may be strange, but it most certainly is good.  In fact, I think these cupcakes are better than the shooter.  Not better for you – hence the gluttony.  But the booze (mostly) cooks out, so at least they won’t give you a hangover. ;)

Oddly, they don’t taste particularly boozy.  The cake portion is a chocolate-Guinness combo.  The carbonation from the Guinness makes the cake light and fluffy, and amplifies the chocolate taste without adding too much sweetness.  The center of the cupcake is scooped out and filled with Irish whiskey ganache.  It is also not terribly sweet, and the whiskey only deepens the chocolate taste.

Irish Car Bomb Cupcakes

 

The booziest part is the icing.  That Irish cream isn’t cooked out, so you get a little of liqueur taste.  However, if you’ve ever had Irish cream you know it’s sweet and creamy, so it works well as an icing component.  I whipped this up the same time I made the hazelnut icing for Kat’s cake.  I topped it with lucky charms marshmallows (thank you again for that gift, Heather!) to be more “festive.”

The combination makes for a fluffy, moist, decadent cupcake.  You will promise yourself you will only take a bite of… then look down and realize it’s GONE.  Not to be made every weekend, but once a year I think it’s worth a little gluttonous indulgence.

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 Irish Car Bomb Cupcakes 1

Irish Car Bomb Cupcakes

For the Cupcakes:

  • 1 C stout (I used Guinness)
  • 1 C (2 sticks) salted butter
  • 3/4 C unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 C all-purpose flour
  • 1 3/4 C sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 eggs
  • 2/3 C sour cream

 

For the Ganache:

  • 8 ounces bittersweet chocolate
  • 2/3 C heavy cream
  • 2 T salted butter, room temperature
  • 1 T Irish whiskey (I used Jameson)

 

For the Frosting:

  • 3 C powdered sugar
  • 1 stick (1/2 C) salted butter, softened
  • 4 T Irish cream (I used Bailey’s)
  • Food coloring (optional)

 

To make the Cupcakes:

Preheat oven to 350.  Line 24 cupcake cups with liners.  

Bring the beer and butter to simmer in medium-sized saucepan over medium heat.  Add cocoa powder and whisk until mixture is smooth.  Cool slightly.

Whisk together flour, sugar, and baking soda in a medium bowl.

In a large bowl and, using electric (or hand) mixer, beat eggs and yogurt.  Add the chocolate beer mix to the egg bowl and beat just to combine.  

Add flour mixture and slowly beat.  Just before it’s completely mixed, use rubber spatula to fold batter until completely combined.  

Pour batter into the cupcake liners, ~3/4 full.  Bake ~15-17 mins. Allow cupcakes to cool completely.

 

To make the filling:

Break up the chocolate and place in a glass (heat-proof) bowl.  

Place cream in a small bowl and bring to a simmer.  Pour the hot cream over the chocolate, allowing it to sit for a minute before stirring until smooth.  If your chocolate isn’t melted completely, you can pop it in the microwave in 15-20 second increments until melted.  

Lastly, add the softened butter and whiskey.  Stir until combined.

 

To fill the cupcakes:

Let the ganache cool and thicken.  If you’re impatient like me you can place it in the fridge to firm up; however, it shouldn’t be hard.

Using a cupcake corer, knife, or an apple corer, remove centers from the cupcakes.  Take care to not cut through to the bottom.  About 3/4 deep is perfect.  (Note: save the centers and mix it with leftover ganache and/or icing to make fudgy cake balls.)

Spoon the ganache into the holes, filling to the top.  (This could also be done with a piping bag, but I don’t have one.)

To make the frosting:

Whip the butter at a med-high speed using an electric (or hand) mixer until light and fluffy.  Slowly add the powdered sugar – just a few tablespoons at a time.

When the frosting thickens, drizzle in the Irish cream and whip until combined.  Add food coloring, if using, until desired color is reached.  In the event that the frosting becomes too thin, simply add more powdered sugar until its think enough to spread.

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Now that my gluttony is out of the way, what’s strange but good creations have you been concocting?  Someone post a healthy recipe to balance me out… ;)

The link up rules can be found here or by clicking on “Strange But Good” in the menu bar above.

In short, I want to see what concoctions have earned you weird looks from co-workers, family and friends!  Post your Strange But Good creations, grab the logo below for your blog, and link up here.

 

Sprint 2 the Table


Remember to use #strangebutgood in any Tweets and Instagrams of your creations. :)




***

 No need to wait until next St. Paddy's to make these cupcakes.  I've done them for birthdays, 4th of July, NYE... Easter... break those Lenten alcohol and sugar bans in style! ;)

Spill it: Have you ever done an Irish Carb Bomb?

What strange but goodness have you been eating this week?

 

Marvelous Monday Meals

Rainy Mondays can be hard.

 

Ok, always.  Rainy Mondays are always hard…

A few weeks ago I committed to making an effort to be more positive on this most glorious day of the week and joined the diva-licious Katie in her Marvelous in My Monday link up.  This week I need to get back on that train.

Marvelous Monday

What a better way to do it than recap some tasty food?  I’ve been eating good this past week, and I have a LOT to share.  This is a long one.  That’s what shai said.  Sorry… but not really. ;)

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To start it off, last Sunday my friend Kathleen and I went to an underground supper club hosted by Souper Jenny. she does these once or twice a year; the secret location and chef is announced the day before the event.

Our surprise chef was Omar Powell!  He is the Chef de Cuisine at my favorite Indian Restaurant, Cardamom Hill (a James Beard nominee!), yet he is Jamaican with a French culinary training.  I was beyond excited to see what he came up with!

Souper Jenny Underground Supper Club - Omar Powell

 

We arrived at the secret location (a local pasta shop, Storico Fresco) and were immediately blown away by the stunning table setting!

Before the meal, we had the chance to walk around a bit and I got in the professional photographer’s way snuck behind the counter to grab a shot of Chef Powell and Chef-Owner Asha Gomez discussing a dish.

 

The first course was a small treat that left me way too excited for the rest of the evening.  Soft farm eggs with ackee, cod, scallions, and bacon.  The flavors could have easily over-taken the egg, but they were perfectly balanced in the delicate shell.  There is nothing more fabulous than a perfectly cooked egg.

Soft Farm Eggs from Omar Powell

Next we were presented with a brown stewed chicken served over tun cornmeal, pickled onions, and fin herbs.

We questioned whether it was really chicken – I’ve never had a more rich, flavorful piece of chicken in my life.  This could have easily passed as a tender piece of red meat.  It doesn’t even look like chicken, does it?

I almost asked for seconds… and I did ask for the recipe!

Omar Powell's Brown Stewed Chicken

The third dish was a Jerked Pork served with yellow yam augratin, mango, papaya jam, and all spice oil.

The flavor combination in this dish was perfection.  The jerk was just the right amount of heat against the sweet fruit, and the creamy augratin.  Augratin can often be too rich for me, but this yam was restrained and didn’t take away from the other components.

Omar Powell Jerked Pork

This next dish was my favorite of the night.  I think… it’s hard to choose!  It was a oxtail agnolotii (agnolotii is a stuffed pasta, like ravioli) in a pumpkin soup laced with all spice and black pepper tulie.

I’m a huge oxtail fan, and the agnolotii did not disappoint.  However, what made this dish for me was the soup.  I admired his use of all spice here because it is one I’m timid with.  A little bit can go a long way.  The burst of it here gave a depth of flavor to the soup, allowing it to stand out against a big flavor like oxtail.

Oxtail Agnolotti by Omar Powell

Lastly, we enjoyed a sweet and savory dessert.  This was a cornmeal pone with comte cheese, “drops,” and thyme honey.

I had not heard of drops before.  Apparently they are a Jamaican street food candy.  It’s a sugar-glazed, chewy piece of coconut.  That sweetness with the thyme honey and the more savory pone and cheese was a storybook end to a memorable meal.  I’d like to say I was too stuffed to eat it all… but I ate mine and half of Kathleen’s.

#sorryimnotsorry

Cornmeal Pone by Omar Powell

Yes, I ate the flower too.

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I had another awesome meal with my mom last friday night.  We went to a family favorite, Everybody’s Pizza.

This place is one that will forever have a place in my heart.  They have been open since 1971 and this coming Tuesday is their last day in business.  My parents used to go on dates there in college, and later my dad would take me as a treat on Friday nights.

He’d tell me stories about what it was like “back on the day” when then had communal seating and tables of strangers would share pies and pitchers of beers.  We would eat an entire pizza and then polish off a giant order of bread pudding.  There are staving kids in Africa, right?

Everybody's Pizza

In honor of my dad, my mom and I had one last meal there.  We toasted my dad’s memory with beers and shared a  giant pizza.  Half cheeseless veggie, and half with extra feta cheese, portabello mushrooms, jalapenos, and meatballs.  And then a bread pudding.  We were only going to eat half… but you know that didn’t happen.  :)

It was a great night sharing stories and eating one last meal at a local haunt.  Everybody’s, you will be sorely missed.

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What do you do the morning after carb-loading?  You take a trip up Stone Mountain!  Mom and I met up with my friend Kathleen the next morning for a hike up the mountain in the gorgeous spring weather.

They were great sports, cheering me on as I ran my sprints up the steep part.  They even joined in for a couple of rounds!

Where’s Waldo?

 

The refuel was classic.  Fro-yo from Yoforia for lunch!  Fruit, dairy, protein… I got chocolate and Irish cream flavors with kiwi, strawberries, pretzels and a Reese’s egg.  Is that not the BEST topping offering?!

This deliciousness fueled my trip to the gym for a killer shoulder and glute workout.  Sprints + glutes in the gym = one tired butt.

Yoforia

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Finally, on Sunday, I rounded out the marvelous with a day of softball.  My women’s softball team beat both male teams we played!

I think it was the lucky socks.

 

After the game we had a social, and I brough a St. Patrick’s Day treat for the team: Irish Car Bomb Cupcakes!!  These cupcakes are an annual request… they don’t have to twist my arm too hard to oblige. ;)

Irish Car Bomb

This is a fantastically indulgent cupcake.  The base is Guinness chocolate cake.  I fill them with Irish whiskey ganache and then ice them with an Irish cream frosting.

I’m too late to post a recipe for the holiday… but if you’re interested I may do a post later this week.  Let me know!

***

It was a bit of a gluttonous weekend, but coupled with a LOT of activity.  No regrets, but I’m really looking forward to getting back to normalcy this week!

Does your family have a nostalgia restaurant?  Is it still there?

What is making YOUR Monday marvelous today?

 

Succumbing to the Shamrock

Curiosity killed the blogger.

 

 

In the spirit of all things faux Irish and green, I caved to the Shamrock Shake.

 

My healthified version was quite tasty!  I mentioned Wednesday that I am not a fan of minty desserts.  This was an exception.  Two contributing factors:

 

  1. I didn’t make it too sweet
  2. The extract I used was a high-quality peppermint extract.

 

Nielsen-Massey Peppermint Extract

 

The green color is all-natural from the spinach and avocado.  Avocado also made this shake more creamy and milkshake-like.  You can’t taste either “healthy” ingredient, and (to my earlier point #1) they aren’t sweet additions.

 

You know I have to do the obligatory nutritional comparison.  This doesn’t even begin to take into account all of the added vitamins and nutrients in my version!

McDonald’s Shamrock Shake (size small): 416 calories, 9.8g fat, 72.4g carbs, 61.5g sugar, 9.4g protein

vs.

My Shamrock Shake (1 pint): 198 calories, 8g fat, 13.3 g carbs, 1.3g sugar, 20g protein*

*This will vary slightly depending on your protein powder, milk, and topping choices.

 

 

 

This shake was minty and refreshing at the top o’ the morn.

It was still pretty dark, so I didn’t fully capture the color until I took it to the bathroom to eat while getting ready (does anyone else do this?).  Check out the neon green under the bright lights!

 

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Shamrock Shake

  • 1 handful spinach (~1.5 C)
  • 1 scoop vanilla protein powder
  • 1 tsp maca (optional)
  • 1/4 large avocado
  • 1/2 C unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/4 tsp peppermint extract
  • 7-8 drops liquid stevia (or other sweetener)
  • Ice

 

Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.

I topped mine with cinnamon, but some whipped cream and chocolate would have been good as well.

***

I made the FoodBuzz Top 9 yesterday with the my Creamy Tomato Basil Soup – thank you for the Buzz!  Check out my soup and the other 8 recipes out by clicking here

Have you made your own Shamrock yet?

Who is running a race this weekend?  I can’t wait to cheer on Tina, Heather, Lee, and Lindsay in the Publix 1/2 Marathon!

 

Roasted Veggies + Parsnip Rice with Cashew Curry Sauce

Breaking News: Alcohol Makes You Happy

 

I love reading studies that seem to draw the most obvious conclusions.

According to this recent study, researchers have found evidence that alcohol releases endorphins.  This causes that “happy” feeling when you’re having a drink (or 2… or 4…).  Until you wake up the next day.

 

The second part of the article is less obvious more interesting: people who are heavy drinkers or alcoholics may have brains that are changed so that the feeling of pleasure they get from drinking is greater than that of a casual drinker.

Just a little conversation starter for you to use at the bar on St. Patrick’s Day. ;)

 

Maybe have one of these instead:

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While everyone else is living like the Irish this week, I’m turning to India.  They both start with an “I.” 

It’s no secret that I love spicy food.  Indian delivers every time.

Source: geekgoneraw.blogspot.com

 

Often Indian dishes use rice or lentils as the base.  I’ve recently seen the idea of veggie-based rices floating around on Pinterest.  The one I chose to use to is made from parsnips.

This is the easiest thing in the world to make, and the flavor is really cool.  The root veggie leant a slightly sweet, nutty taste to my cashew curry sauce.

 

The cashew curry sauce was also a simple creation.  You literally throw all the ingredients into the blender and presto!  You have a tasty curry sauce.

The cashews make it a creamy topping, and the jalapeno adds a little kick on the end.

 

You’ll see that I added a cinnamon stick to the sauce.  I almost always add cinnamon to tomato-based sauces – it adds a neat depth of flavor that compliments savory sauces.  If you are not using a super-powerful blender (like a Vitamix), use ground cinnamon rather than a hard stick.  I learned that lesson the hard way.

Alternately, you can grind your own cinnamon in a coffee grinder.

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Roasted Vegetables with Parsnip Rice and Cashew Curry Sauce

  • 1 eggplant
  • 1 head cauliflower
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp curry powder
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 2 large parsnips
  • 1 medium tomato, chopped
  • 1 medium zucchini, chopped
  • 1/2 small yellow onion, diced
  • 1/4 large red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 jalapeno, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 C fresh basil
  • 1/2 tsp curry powder
  • 2 in cinnamon stick (or ~1/4 tsp ground)
  • 1/2 C raw cashews
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

 

For the Roasted Vegetables:

Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees.  

Cut the cauliflower and eggplant into bite-sized pieces.  Spread out in a roasting pan, and toss with olive oil, cumin, curry powder, and red pepper flakes.  Cook for 40-45 mins, until soft.

 

For the Parsnip Rice:

Cut parsnips into 3-4 in pieces.  Place in blender or food processor and pulse until it becomes fluffy and rice-like.  You may have to stop and scrape down the sides.

 

For the Cashew Curry Sauce:

Place remaining ingredients except for the cashews in a blender or food processor.  Blend until smooth.  Taste and adjust spices as needed.

My sauce was warm from blending in the Vitamix.  You may serve warm or room temperature.

 

Place “rice” into bowls.  Top with curry sauce and roasted vegetables to serve.

Makes: 2-4 servings

***

It really is Asian week for me – I’m meeting a friend for Thai food tonight!

Are you planning for some green beer this weekend?  Or maybe some Irish Car Bomb cupcakes instead?

Have you ever made a veggie-based rice?  If so, what did you use?

 

Reunited with Green

This week has been NUTS!

 

I was really glad I had Zucchini-Banana Muffins in the freezer for breakfast this morning.

This is how I feel right now

 

D.C. was a great trip though.  My meetings went really well and I had a chance to go running through the Mall Wednesday night with bossman.

If you’re ever in D.C., I highly recommend it.  There’s nothing like seeing a city by way of a good run.  It also makes the run go by more quickly… which I needed.

The Tough Mudder threw my body for a loop.  I’m not so much sore as I am worn out.  My legs feel like bricks.  Spaghetti bricks.

At least I have something to show for it:

Muddy cuts

Random bruising

But damn it feels good to be a gangsta’. ;)

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I really missed green smoothies (and St. Patrick’s Day!) while I was traveling.  File under: things I never thought I’d say.

So here’s my oops-I-missed-St. Patrick’s Day Smoothie of the Day.

I was too excited and almost forgot to take a pic before it was too late!

Pineapple Upside Down Cake Smoothie

  • 1 C unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 scoop cookies’n’cream protein powder
  • 1 tsp maca powder
  • 1/3 C pineapple
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp ginger
  • 6-8ish almonds
  • huge handful spinach
  • ice/water (to taste)

 

Just what the doctor ordered to feel human again just in time to throw a wedding shower this weekend.

Shower recipes coming Monday soon! (I may need a buffer in order to sleep at some point.)

Worth the wait: mini quiches, fruit + cannoli cream, and my favorite savory cookie recipe.

***

I love entertaining, but I hate the fact that you have to clean house.  It seems ridiculous since you have to clean again post-party.  Let’s start a movement to change expectations!

What’s your best time-saving party-prep secret? 

Do you have a favorite/go-to dish to make for entertaining?


Can’t Pinch My Soup

This time last year I was putting the finishing touches on the plans for my trip to Ireland.

Cliffs of Moher

That’s right.  I went to Ireland for St. Patrick’s Day!

It was crazy… but the bigger party happened a couple nights later when what I think is like the Super Bowl of Rugby was held in Ireland.  Ireland vs. Scotland.  Yes, there were more kilts than you can imagine!

If you ever have the occasion to go to Ireland, I highly recommend it.  We stayed in Dublin most of the trip, but had I to do it again I would rent a car and explore the countryside more.

 

My Irish Top 5 Attractions:

  1. Tour the Guinness Museum – The history/backstory is fascinating and the beer really does taste better on-site.
  2. Eat at the The Winding Stair – Make a reservation!!  It was easily one of the best meals I’ve eaten.  Order this bottle: Gigondas, Domaine La Bouïssier, a 2004 Grenache/Mouvedre/Syrah blend from Rhone, France.
  3. Get out of the city and check out the Cliffs of Moher – The view is breathtaking (note: the “do not go beyond this point” signs are optional).
  4. Wander around St. Stephen’s Green – Excellent people-watching and many, many photo ops.
  5. See St. Valentine – Well, see his shrine/remains at the Whitefriar Street Carmelite Church.  This church is teeny, but there was something so peaceful about it. And locals actually go here!

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In honor of the upcoming green holiday, I decided to ensure that my soup bowl doesn’t get pinched.

And I have been craving the tasty yet hard-to-chew asparagus.


I discovered that I can eat crackers when they’re crumbled up and soggy in soup.  Ah, the small things.

FYI - Trader Joe’s Sea Salt and Black Pepper Lentil Chips are awesome!

 

And the soup!  This was an delicious, VEGAN, souper-green cream-less asparagus and spinach blend.

Inspired by Martha Stewart’s Asparagus Soup.

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Souper Green Asparagus-Spinach Soup

  • 1 bunch asparagus (~1 lb), chopped
  • 1 T salted Earth Balance (or butter)
  • 1 T coconut butter
  • 1 T EVOO
  • 1 medium shallot, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 C high-quality vegetable broth
  • 1 C water
  • 3 oz spinach (1/2 a bag)
  • handful cilantro
  • 1/4 c nutritional yeast
  • 1 T fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 tsp coriander
  • 1/8 tsp nutmeg
  • S + P, to taste

 

Bring a medium pot of water to a boil. Add salt, return to boil, and add asparagus tips. Cook until just tender. Meanwhile, prepare an ice bath. Transfer asparagus tips to ice bath, letting cool for ~1 min. Drain and set aside.

In a large pot, heat the butter and oil over medium-high heat. Add shallot and red pepper flakes. Cook, stirring occasionally, until shallots are tender and just beginning to brown, about 5 minutes. Add minced garlic for the last min, being careful not to burn.

Add remaining chopped asparagus stalks (i.e. NOT the iced tips), and cook 2-3 mins longer.  Stir in broth and 1 cup water; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and continue cooking until asparagus is tender, ~10 mins.

Remove from heat.  Add spinach, cilantro, nutritional yeast (or cheese), lemon juice, and zest, stirring to combine.

Puree soup using immersion blender (or regular blender in batches).  Return to heat and cook until heated through, adding seasonings.

Ladle into bowls, add toppings, and serve immediately.

Potential tasty topping selections: grated Parmesan and lentil chips (pictured), crispy prosciutto, cilantro, sweet potato chips, blue cheese… etc.

***

Why is St. Patrick’s Day not on the weekend?  My green beer likes to sleep in.

Are you doing anything fun for St. Patrick’s Day?  

Do you celebrate on the day or or wait until the weekend?