Nutella Frosted Saffron Cupcakes

I decided to make Saffron Cupcakes for my Saffron dessert post.

Hmmm. What kind of frosting?

Well, of course I had to pair these yummy cupcakes with Nutella frosting!

The result was better than expected and the flavor combination was perfect….

I took some cupcakes in for my coworkers to sample. They loved them!

You will find both recipes below….

Enjoy! Denise

P.S. if you want, swap out the frosting with Saffron Buttercream instead….

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Saffron Cupcakes

1 box Pound Cake Mix (I used Betty Crocker)
2/3 cup Milk
2 Eggs
1/2 cup Butter, softened
1/4 teaspoon ground Cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon Saffron
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
6 Ferrero Rocher Chocolates, chopped
Powder Sugar

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray mini-bundt cake pan with cooking spray or line your cupcake tins. Set aside.
  • Place saffron in the mortar and pestil. Press to crumble the threads.

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  • Warm milk for 45-60 seconds. Add saffron and allow to steep for ten minutes.

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  • Add cake mix, steeped milk, eggs, butter, cinnamon and vanilla to a large mixing bowl.

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  • Mix on low for 30 seconds. Increase mixer speed to medium and mix for 3 minutes.

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  • Fill each mini-bundt halfway. Smooth tops with a spoon.
  • Bake for 20 minutes (or until cake tester comes out clean).

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  • Remove from baking pan and cool on a wire rack.
  • Fill the center of the mini-bundt cakes with Nutella Frosting (see recipe listed below).
  • Top with chopped with chocolates.
  • Dust with powdered sugar.

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Nutella Frosting

1-1/2 cups Powdered Sugar
3-4 tablespoons Hazlenut-flavored Creamer
1/4 cup Nutella

  • Add all ingredients to a medium bowl.
  • Mix at a medium speed until you get to a creamy frosting consistency.

Note: If you prefer a traditional cupcake, fill the cupcake liners 2/3 full. Frost as you like with the Nutella Frosting and place half of a Ferrero Rocher chocolate on top.

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Saffron Tea for Two

Recently, I went to my local Mediterranean store to buy saffron.

The store owner told me that I had to try it in my tea. She explained the process to me.

Below is my take on the recipe…

It is so worth the splurge!

Next time you buy saffron, be sure to treat yourself to this beverage.

Enjoy!

Denise

Saffron Tea

Saffron Tea for Two

2 Cups of Boiling Water
2 Green Tea Bags
Pinch Saffron

  • Place tea bags and saffron in your tea filter.

Saffron Tea

Saffron Tea

    • Pour boiling water over tea bags/saffron.Cover and steep 3-5 minutes.

Saffron Tea

  • Serve (adding your favorite sweetener).

Yum!

Creamy Saffron Pastina with Mini Turkey Meatballs

This month I am cooking with one of my favorite spices…Saffron!

I love the floral aroma and gorgeous color it adds to food.

My first recipe combines two of my favorite comfort foods…creamy pastina and mini meatball soup.

The addition of saffron along with the layering of flavors and textures is absolute perfection.

Everyone at my dinner table agreed that this dish is a new regular….  Hope you try it and enjoy it as much as we did.

Best part? The leftovers were even better the next day!

Enjoy! Denise

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Creamy Saffron Pastina with Turkey Mini Meatballs

2 tablespoons of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 Shallot, finely chopped
1-1/2 teaspoons Saffron threads, divided
64 ounces of Chicken Stock
20.8 ounces of Ground Turkey Breast
2 carrots, chopped
2 cups of Frozen Petite Peas
1/2 teaspoon ground Nutmeg, divided
1 Bay Leaf
1 Egg
1 teaspoon of Italian Seasoning
1/2 cup grated Parmesan Cheese
1/2 cup Panko Breadcrumbs
1/4 teaspoon of Hot Paprika
One box (13.25 ounces) of Mini Pasta Shells
10 oz. Lite Alfredo Sauce
Salt & Pepper

1. Prepare Mini Turkey Meatballs

  •  In a large bowl, mix the ground turkey, egg, parmesan, breadcrumbs, hot paprika, Italian seasoning, 1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg, salt and pepper to taste.
  •  Roll into mini meatballs ( about 1 rounded teaspoon each) and set aside.

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2. Prepare Saffron Stock and Cook Mini Turkey Meatballs

  • In a large stock pot, warm the extra virgin olive oil over medium high heat.
  • Add the shallots. Cook until shallots are translucent.
  • Add chicken stock, carrots , bay leaf, 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg, salt and pepper (to taste).
  • Bring to a boil. Add 3/4-1 teaspoon of saffron and frozen peas.
  • Simmer until carrots are tender (about 15 minutes).
  • Drop mini meatballs into the saffron stock.
  • Simmer for 15-20 minutes until turkey is thoroughly cooked.
  • Keep warm.

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3. Prepare Pasta

  • Bring water to a boil.
  • Add remaining 1/2 teaspoon saffron to pasta water.
  • Add pasta to the boiling water. (Check pasta box for cooking times.)
  • When pasta is cooked to al dente, drain pasta (reserving 1 cup of the pasta water).

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4. Prepare Saffron Pasta Sauce

  • In a large saucepan, warm the Alfredo sauce. Whisk in 1 cup of the reserved pasta water and 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper.
  • Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer for 5-10 minutes.
  • Toss pasta with Saffron Pasta Sauce to coat.

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5. Serve

  • First, add a serving of the creamy pastina to a bowl.
  • Next, layer the mini meatballs, carrots, peas and saffron stock.
  • Garnish with grated cheese, red pepper flakes.
  • Serve with garlic bread.

Enjoy!

Merry Christmas!

{Food for Thought} Christmas Reflections

Merry Christmas!This year I sent out holiday cards for the first time in years. Luckily, we scored a great family photo taken at a recent family event (it is not easy to locate a photo where everyone is actually looking at the camera and not making funny faces) .

So, I designed a nice Christmas card, stuffed and labeled the envelopes (with help from my favorites elves).

When it came time to address the cards, I realized that my address book was really out of date. I have to admit that it was kind of a “downer” to see the names of so many people who had passed away or were no longer “part of the family”.

It dawned on me that we not only have to remember to take time to be grateful and appreciative for all that we have in our lives…Christmas is also about remembrance. It is good to spend time thinking about memories of Christmas past….especially those memories of those we have lost.

Sure, we all remember the gifts we received like board games, Barbie dolls, coloring books & crayons.

What I cherish more are the memories of family time and playing board games with my parents and relatives….memories of the amazing food and everyone sitting around the table….and opening gifts in a big frenzy! (we did not open one by one…they let us just “go at it”).

Since we live away from the family, we had to get used to doing things a bit differently. I realized we have developed our own traditions like our gingerbread village decorating party, Christmas Eve Pasta, Christmas Day Beef, visiting with friends and playing Christmas music on the piano.  It is also amazing to see how much our extended family has grown with new family members and friends…   

This year, the boys have really helped me a lot.  I loved hearing them remember all of the things that are part of our family holiday traditions. I hope that when they are grown and have their own families that they look back and remember their Christmas holidays as fondly as I do mine.

Merry Christmas! Enjoy!

Denise

Cardamom Waffles {Christmas Breakfast}

Why not spice up your Christmas breakfast with cardamom?

Every year my family looks forward to Christmas waffles. I have tried several recipes over the years (some more complicated than others). On holiday mornings, simple recipes packed with flavor are my ticket to getting breakfast on the table with no stress.

So, for this recipe, I decided to adapt a classic waffle recipe using Bisquick.

We did a “test run” this past weekend…

Cardamom is known as being the “queen of spices”. These Cardamom Waffles are now going to rule our Christmas breakfast every year…

We found that if you put 1/2 cup of the waffle batter onto the center of a belgium waffle maker, the waffles look like snowflakes.

Have a great holiday! Enjoy!

Denise

Cardamom Waffles

Cardamom Waffles

Makes 5 Belgium Waffles

2 cups Bisquick Baking Mix

1-1/3 cups Milk

2 tablespoons Vegetable Oil

1 Egg

1 tablespoon Cardamom

  • Heat your waffle iron according to your manufacturer instructions.
  • Mix all ingredients in a large bowl.

Cardamom Waffles Batter

  • Spray your waffle iron with cooking spray.
  • Place 1/2 cup of waffle batter onto the center of the waffle iron.

Cardamom Waffles

  • Close waffle iron and steam according to your manufacturer instructions.

Cardamom Waffles

  •  Repeat with remaining batter.

Tres Leches Vanilla Steamer

Tres Leches Vanilla Steamer

“Baby, it’s cold outside…”

The holiday season can get very hectic.   Don’t forget to take time to soak in the holidays memories….

Make yourself a nice warm drink and take time for you. You deserve it!

Here is my take on my son’s favorite vanilla steamer.

Of course, I just had to add some Latina flair by using Tres Leches (3 milks).   In fact it was so good that somehow some of the foam ended up in my espresso.

Stay warm.  Enjoy!

Denise

Tres Leches Vanilla Steamer

Yields 4-6 servings

12 oz can Evaporated Milk

1-1/2 cups Milk (I used 2%)

4 tablespoons Sweetened Condensed Milk

1/2 teaspoon Vanilla Extract

  • Pour all ingredients into a large glass measuring cup. Stir to combine.
  • Steam the milk according to your espresso makers directions. (If you don’t have an espresso maker, you can easily froth milk with just a microwave and a jar.
  • Pour into serving cups and sprinkle some freshly grated nutmeg on top.
  • Serve immediately.
Grilled Cardamom Cumin Tuna

Tuna Medallions Marinated with Orange Juice, Cardamom & Cumin

Cardamom is one of my favorite spices.   I love to pair it with cinnamon when I bake.  Some call it the “Queen of Spices”. 

It is a bit pricier than most spices.  But, definitely worth it!   It doesn’t have a long shelf life.  So, be sure to buy in small quantities.

I wanted to try to do a savory dish with this spice.  This week, when I placed my online grocery order, I saw that tuna medallions were on sale. Below is a recipe that pairs the tuna medallions with cardamom with cumin and coriander and orange juice. 

The result was right on!  The aroma was just amazing.  You have to try this one…

Enjoy!

Denise

P.S. Yes, you read that right…online grocery shopping.   I am a huge fan of online grocery shopping.  I place my order, schedule my pickup, pull up and they bring it out.  Great timesaver!

Grilled Cardamom Cumin Tuna

Tuna Medallions Marinated

     with Orange Juice, Cardamom & Cumin

1/2 cup Orange Juice (freshly squeezed preferred)

1/4 cup Olive Oil

2 teaspoons ground Cardamom

1 teaspoon ground Cumin

1/2 teaspoon ground Coriander

1 teaspoon Salt

1/2 teaspoon Pepper

  • In a small bowl (or measuring cup), whisk together the orange juice, olive oil, cardamom, cumin, coriander, salt and pepper.
  • Place the tuna medallions in a casserole dish.  Cover with the marinade.  Toss to coat.  Cover with plastic wrap and set aside for 30 minutes.  Be sure to flip the tuna every 10 minutes.

  • Heat your grill pan.  When hot, add your tuna medallions.  Grill to your preference for “done-ness”.  (We like it medium-well.)