We have a garden on our hands!

So its not a recipe, but it is a very exciting beginning to hopefully a few!

To be perfectly honest, I am not sure exactly what this sprout is, I planted equal containers of tomatoes and eggplants. Here is a picture of the other kind of sprout:

It was so exciting to see the little sprouts come up! so far I have counted 10 shoots!

I was a little nervous about growing tomatoes from seeds, usually I just buy plants that are already started but the lady at the counter said it was easy enough... I hope she was right, and while there are a lot of shoots, there are 3 of the small round leaves, they are very small and flimsy looking, and the rest are a heartier pointier sprout. Only time will tell, and to think in a few months I will have beautiful vegetables growing on my deck, what a reward! I'll keep you posted on the progress.

Its such a great feeling to plant a little seed all dry and wrinkly then put it in a safe little home of soil and give it a little drink of water and it grow up into a big fruit bearing plant. Just think a little nurturing will lead to nourishment.

Happy Cinco De Mayo! Guacamole

You know I just can't help but feel like I mis-spell Guacamole every time... such a funny word, but what a great taste. And for Cinco De Mayo pair it with some crisp corn chips, a refreshing margarita and this creamy guacamole will provide a party in your mouth. Its no wonder why they're always smiling south of the border.
This is one of my go to recipes, I love it! Here it is:

2 ripe avocados
1-2 Roma tomatoes
1/2 red onion
Juice of 1-3 limes

I keep it simple and always go by my instincts, for recipes like this you really need to adjust it based on the quality of your ingredients until you have a prefect symphony of salty, limey and creamy with pops of juicy tomato and sharp onion.

I dice the avocados and mash them with the back of my fork in a bowl, then I squeeze the juice of 1/2 a lime and stir it together to prevent the oxidization of the avocado (brownness) then I chop the tomato and onion to roughly the same size, I like my guacamole chunky so I leave them about the size of my thumbnail, do what ever you prefer. mix them in and then season with salt. Remember that you can always add more salt, but trust me! you can never take it away, I had to learn that the hard way.
Anyways I add the salt and squeeze in more lime, I then taste it and adjust to my preference. I like just a bit of bright lime, and a decent amount of salt to taste.

Then I have to get a chip and eat it right away!

Had to! Irish Carbomb Cupcakes

Just look at that deliciousness! How could a girl resist making these cupcakes? I couldn't, I did however wait for the perfect opportunity, one of my favourite friends, and drinking partners 25th birthday. I loved it because I had a super busy week so I made the chocolate stout cupcakes and Jameson Whiskey ganache filling one day, and the Baileys butter cream icing on another day, although in all honesty, I preferred them with out the icing, it was intensely sweet and overpowered the other flavours. The cake though, my goodness - it was perfectly balanced with the ganache, the stout helped it to be less sweet and the creamy filling just made you want to melt! Here is the recipe that I adapted from Smitten Kitchen:

For the Stout Chocolate Cupcakes

1 cup stout (such as Guinness)
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (preferably Dutch-process)
2 cups all purpose flour
2 cups sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
2/3 cup sour cream

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line around 24 cupcake cups with liners - I actually ended up using 23. Bring 1 cup stout and 1 cup butter to simmer in heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add the cocoa powder and whisk until smooth. Allow it to cool a bit

Whisk the flour, sugar, baking soda, and 3/4 teaspoon salt in large bowl to blend. Using an electric mixer, beat eggs and sour cream in another large bowl to blend. Add the stout-chocolate mixture to egg mixture and beat just to combine. Here is where it is important to have let the beer/chocolate cool, if you don't you will end up with chocolate beer scrambled eggs. Add the flour mixture and beat briefly on slow speed. Using rubber spatula, fold batter until completely combined. Divide batter among cupcake liners, filling them 3/4 of the way. Bake cake until tester inserted into center comes out clean, rotating them once front to back if your oven bakes unevenly, about 17 minutes. Cool cupcakes on a rack completely.

Ganache Filling
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate
2/3 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons butter, room temperature
5 -6 teaspoons Irish whiskey (optional)

Chop the chocolate and put it in a heatproof bowl. Heat the cream until simmering and pour it over the chocolate. Let it sit for one minute and then stir until smooth. Add the butter and whiskey (if you’re using it) and stir until combined. The original recipe calls for 1 -2 tablespoons of whiskey, but I just kept adding and tasting until it was strong enough for me, I do like it strong, but I also wanted it to stand out against the cupcake.

Let the ganache cool until thick but still soft enough to be piped (the fridge will speed this along but you must stir it every 10 minutes). Meanwhile, using your 1-inch round cookie cutter or an apple corer, cut the centers out of the cooled cupcakes. You want to go most of the way down the cupcake but not cut through the bottom — aim for 2/3 of the way. A slim spoon or grapefruit knife will help you get the center out. Those are your “tasters”. Put the ganache into a piping bag with a wide tip and fill the holes in each cupcake to the top. Or if you aren't feeling fancy, just put out little holes with a paring knife and spoon in the filling, like I did.

Baileys Frosting
3 to 4 cups confections sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
5 -6 tablespoons Baileys (or milk, or heavy cream, or a combination thereof)

Whip the butter in the bowl of an electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, for several minutes. You want to get it very light and fluffy. Slowly add the powdered sugar, a few tablespoons at a time. Add the baileys a table spoon at a time until it is as strong as you like it, you may need to add more powdered sugar if it gets to thin.

In the picture there is a ton of icing, but when I served them I actually only put on a ring of icing around the filled center and a dab in the middle, and I actually preferred them without the icing served at room temperature so the filling melts in your mouth. The other benefit to not using a fancy cooking cutter or apple corer is that you can make the holes a little bigger to optimized the capacity of filling. Happy baking!