ANGEL FOOD CUPCAKES w/ Berries & Fresh Whipped Cream

ANGEL FOOD CUPCAKES are just like the cake…but way cuter!!

 

ANGEL FOOD CUPAKES

ANGEL FOOD CUPCAKES w/ Berries & Fresh Whipped Cream

 

ANGEL FOOD CUPCAKES w/ Berries & Fresh Whipped Cream

This past week-end the Academy Awards were on.  Big deal you may say!  To me the Academy Awards is like the Super Bowl of award ceremonies!  You have to have the special menu planned with the dinner and the dessert…the whole shebang!  I made a big pot of Pasta Faglio.  My parents came over with sloppy joes and chips for the kids. Everyone was food happy!  Usually the Super Bowl is filled with appetizers and desserts heavy on the “fat” and calories.  I decided to try to make my Academy Awards menu more on the slimming side!  For dessert I decided to make ANGEL FOOD CUPAKES w/ Berrries & Fresh Whipped Cream.  I found this recipe years ago in a magazine (magazine unknown), cut it out and glued it into my “Dessert” book of recipes.  At some point after that I made them and liked them.  I know I liked them because I wrote next to the recipe “Very Good!”  I also added a special note that I dolloped some fresh whipped cream to the top of the cupcakes.  So after finding the recipe I got to work and made a batch of these ANGEL FOOD CUPCAKES!  The  original recipe calls for “jumbo” muffin cups and makes 12.  I decided to use regular muffin tins and made 24 cupcakes instead.  The cupcakes have fresh berries in the recipe, but I also chopped up some fresh berries and served them on the side.  There is no need to add any type of sugar to the whipped cream as the simplicity of the cream goes so well with the texture of the cupcake and the sweetness of the berries.  The best part about these ANGEL FOOD CUPCAKES is that they are under 140 calories! (if you make the jumbo cupcakes each cupcake is only 139 calories). My Academy Awards dinner turned out great!  Cupcakes were a huge hit!  Now, if we could only talk to someone in charge and make the show a little bit more interesting next year!  What a yawner!!!!

ANGEL FOOD CUPCAKES w/ Berries & Fresh Whipped Cream
Serves 24
Light as air angel food cupcakes with fresh berries and a dollop of fresh whipped cream.
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Ingredients
  1. 1 1/2 cups egg whites (10-12 eggs)
  2. 1 cup sifted cake flour
  3. 1/2 cup sugar
  4. 1 1/2 teaspoons cream of tartar
  5. 1 teaspoon vanilla
  6. 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  7. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  8. 3/4 cup sugar
  9. 2 cups assorted blueberries, raspberries and diced strawberries
  10. 1 pint heavy whipping cream
  11. Extra berries to serve on the side
Instructions
  1. In a very large mixing bowl allow egg whites to stand at room temp for 30 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, sift cake flour and 1/2 cup sugar together three times; set aside.
  3. Line 24 muffin cups (or 12 jumbo) with cupcake liners. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
  4. Add cream of tartar, vanilla, almond extract and salt to egg whites. Beat with an electric mixer on medium speed until soft peaks form (tips curl). Gradually add 3/4 cup sugar, about 2 tablespoons at a time, beating until stiff peaks from.
  5. Sift one-fourth of the cake flour mixture over beaten egg whites; fold gently. Repeat, folding in the remaining flour mixture by fourths.
  6. Spoon batter into the muffin cups filling abour half way full. Sprinkle a few berry pieces on top of each, then top with another large dollop of batter and then a few more berries. Mound remaining batter over berries (the cups will be very full).
  7. Bake for 15-18 minutes or until the tops are a light golden brown and spring back when lightly touched with a finger. Cool the cupcakes on a wire rack in the pan.
  8. In the meantime pour the pint of heavy whipping cream into a large bowl. Beat with an electric mixer until stiff peaks form
  9. When the cupcakes are completely cool place a dollop of fresh whipped cream on the top. Serve with fresh sliced berries on the side.
Notes
  1. Place cupcakes in fridge until ready to use.
Adapted from Kara Francesconi - La Mia Tabella
Adapted from Kara Francesconi - La Mia Tabella
La Mia Tabella http://lamiatabella.com/
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Egg In A Hole – A Special Valentine’s Day Edition

Egg In A Hole…start you loved ones Valentine’s Day of right and make them this cute heart shaped breakfast!

EGG IN A HOLE

Valentine's Day Egg In A Whole

Valentine’s Day Egg In A Hole

When I was growing up I would sleep over at my Grandma & Grandpa’s a lot with my brother’s and sister.  We just loved everything my Grandma made for us.  Even her bologna sandwich’s were so much better when she made them!  She turned chicken broth and simple noodles into an Italian lunch time soup called “pastina” that I serve my kids now.  Our most favorite breakfast that she made for us was simple eggs and toast.  She did not however just put a piece of toast and an egg on a plate…nope…not Grandma!  She made things that she called “Eggs & Toast” where she would generously butter a slice of toast, break it up into pieces into a bowl, chop up a “runny” poached egg on top, sprinkle it with salt and pepper….and ta-dah….yummy, yummy!  Our other favorite egg & toast breakfast she made us was called “Egg In A Hole“.  She would take a piece of toast and butter each side of it.  She then would tear out a circle from the middle.  The toast would be placed in a fry pan.  An egg would be broken into the cut out hole of the toast and the pan would be covered.  We then would be served an Egg In A Hole.  It is now coming up upon Valentine’s Day and I came across a picture in an In Style magazine.  It was a picture of an “Egg In A Hole“, but for Valentine’s Day the hole was cut out with a heart shaped cookie cutter.  This just brought back memories of my childhood at my Grandma’s.  This year for Valentine’s Day I am going to make a  special heart shaped Egg In A Hole for my kids and husband.  They will love it and I know it will make them feel special!

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CLEMENTINE ALMOND CUPCAKES

These CLEMENTINE ALMOND CUPCAKES will put a smile on your face the minute you bite into them!

CLEMENTINE ALMOND CUPCAKES

CLEMENTINE ALMOND CUPCAKES

CLEMENTINE ALMOND CUPCAKES

What better way to cheer up your kids on a cold winters day than by making them these CLEMENTINE ALMOND CUPCAKES!  That is exactly what I did for my kids today.  I had one home with the flu, one home from pre-k because his schools heat went out and another one home…well because…he is 3!  I told them that when the fourth child came home from school I would have a treat ready for them and we could have a little tea party!  The excitement of a cupcake and tea party actually made them behave pretty much the rest of the day…Thank God!!!!  I had a citrus cake that I had planned to make for citrus week here on La Mia Tabella, but I decided cupcakes are just…well…cupcakes just make you happy!  I did not want to make the super sweet kind of cupcakes that would have my kids bouncing off the wall until  bed time either. 

FRESH CLEMENTINES

FRESH CLEMENTINES

No one ever really comes back from Italy saying “Wow!  Italy has the best cupcakes ever!”  They do however,  come back saying that the food and desserts are to die for.  If I was going to come up with a new cupcake flavor I had to brain storm.  I know Italian desserts all have two things in common:  One, their desserts are never overly sweet and sugary.  Two, Italian desserts always have a “hint” of flavoring in their desserts such as almond, citrus, rum or coffee. Since it is citrus week I knew I had to use citrus.  There were some beautiful clementine’s in my fridge that I had picked up from Whole Foods.  Ok…hmmm…what pairs good with clementine’s….easy…almonds.  So I decided to use these two stars of the show and create an Italian cake like base to my cupcakes.  When I say “Italian cake like base” I mean it is more of a sponge cake like consistency, more dense in texture and less overall sugar than the cupcakes that we all consume in the U.S.  Now I had to think about what kind of frosting would go great with the cake base….and it came to me in a flash…Ricotta & Fresh Whipped Cream Frosting!

CLEMENTINE ALMOND CUPCAKES

CLEMENTINE ALMOND CUPCAKES

These CLEMENTINE ALMOND CUPCAKES turned out great!!  My kids devoured them!  Even my flu girl decided her stomach would be ok if she had half a cupcake.  In the end I made 18 cupcakes…some for the kids, some for the hubby and even some neighbors lucked out and scored a few.  You want to put a smile on someone’s face (even if it is just yours) make these CLEMENTINE ALMOND CUPCAKES!  You will be happy you did!

THANKS MOM!

THANKS MOM!

 

CLEMENTINE ALMOND CUPCAKES
Serves 18
An Italian cake like base with a hint of almond & clementine flavors, topped with ricotta & fresh whipped cream frosting.
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For Cupcakes
  1. 2 cups cake flour
  2. 1 teaspoon baking soda
  3. 1 teaspoon baking powder
  4. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  5. 1/2 cup butter, room temp
  6. 1 cup sugar
  7. 2 large eggs
  8. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  9. 1 teaspoon almond extract
  10. 1/4 teaspoon clementine zest
  11. 1/2 cup fresh squeezed clementine juice
For Frosting
  1. 1/2 stick of butter
  2. 1/4 cup whole milk ricotta
  3. 1/4 teaspoon clementine zest
  4. 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
  5. 1 pint heavy whipping cream
For Cupcakes
  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a medium bowl whisk together cake flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl beat together sugar & butter until light and fluffy.
  4. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each one.
  5. Add vanilla & almond extract. Mix well.
  6. Mix in the flour mixture and fresh clementine juice alternately; starting and ending with flour. Mix until all ingredients are incorporated well.
  7. Line cupcake pan with cupcake liners. Fill cupcake liners 1/2 way with batter. Bake for about 15-20 minutes until light golden on top and toothpick comes out clean when center is pricked.
  8. Remove from oven and let cool for about 5 minutes. Remove from pan and place on wire rack. Cool completely before frosting.
For Frosting
  1. In medium bowl beat the butter and powdered sugar until creamy. Add in the ricotta and whip until it mixes in well with butter mixture. Mix in clementine zest. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl whip the heavy whipping cream until stiff peaks form. Add the butter/ricotta mixture to the whipped cream. Carefully fold in the butter/ricotta mixture into the whipped cream until it is all incorporated.
  3. Frost cupcakes. Can place a tiny slice of clementine on top for decoration.
  4. Refrigerate cupcakes until ready to serve.
Notes
  1. * Do not overly mix the butter/ricotta mixture into the whipped cream as the stiff peaks will soften.
  2. ** When frosting cupcakes it is best to use a cake/frosting decorating tool so it can be piped on instead of spread on to preserve the peaks of the whipped cream.
  3. *** These are best served the day you made them as the frosting will "fall" slightly by the next day.
La Mia Tabella http://lamiatabella.com/
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LOBSTER CORN CHOWDER

LOBSTER CORN CHOWDER a showstopper of a soup that will wow your guests!

LOBSTER CORN CHOWDER

LOBSTER CORN CHOWDER

LOBSTER CORN CHOWDER

We came about finding the recipe for LOBSTER CORN CHOWDER because we wanted to keep the Italian tradition, Feast of the Seven Fishes, alive in our family. Christmas Eve in an Italian family is the feast of the seven fishes, which means the Christmas Eve meal is all about the fish!  It is a tradition for Italian cooks to serve seven different types of fish. In Italian, the meal is known as La Vigilia, or Feast of the Seven Fishes, and it is one of Italy’s most famous traditions.  No one knows for sure the significance for offering seven fishes, although there are numerous explanations for it. Some believe that seven fishes are served because it took God seven days to create the world, while others mention the Seven Hills of Rome. There is also the possibility that the seven fishes symbolize the seven sacraments in the Catholic Church, along with the seven sins. Today, the number of fishes served varies. Although seven remains the historical number.

Lobster Corn Chowder

Lobster Corn Chowder

So that is a sweet story…but….seven fishes is for sure not happening at my house on Christmas Eve! Who am I kidding…I have four kiddos! That being said, my husband and I  still wanted to keep our Italian heritage alive! So a few years ago we decided to create a tradition all our own with our children for Christmas Eve and make this LOBSTER  CORN CHOWDER . Since we attend Christmas Eve mass prior to eating dinner I knew that I would have to prepare most of the meal before we left. I also wanted to make something that would allow me to relax and enjoy my family as well. This LOBSTER  CORN CHOWDER was perfect!  I created a menu that is not complicated and is also a bit lighter since we will be eating basically all day at my parents the next day. We also wanted to stick with the Italian-Christmas Eve seafood theme as well.  I served this creamy LOBSTER CORN CHOWDER with a Three Hearts Salad (recipe to come), popcorn shrimp (for the kids) and some store bought crescent rolls.  The LOBSTER CORN CHOWDER combines lobster meat, pureed and whole corn, bacon and cream to perfection.  To save some time you can use cooked lobster meat which is available ins some fish markets and grocery stores, or follow the directions below for cooking frozen lobster tails.  I think you will find this LOBSTER CORN CHOWDER is simple and yet elegant enough to serve on Christmas Eve!

LOBSTER CORN CHOWDER
A hearty and yet elegant soup of lobster meat, corn puree, whole corn, bacon and cream.
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Ingredients
  1. 2 (10 oz) frozen uncooked lobster tails, thawed, or 1 lb. freshly cooked lobster meat cut into bite-size pieces
  2. 8 cups frozen yellow corn kernels (about 2 1/4 pounds), thawed
  3. 3 cups low-salt chicken broth
  4. 1/2 cup white wine
  5. 8 bacon slices, chopped
  6. 2 cups chopped onions
  7. 3/4 cup peeled finely diced carrots
  8. 2/3 cup finely diced celery
  9. 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  10. 1 tsp. tarragon
  11. 3 cups bottled clam juice
  12. 1 1/2 cups whipping cream
  13. 6 tablespoons sour cream
  14. 3 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
Instructions
  1. If using thawed frozen lobster tails, cook in pot of boiling water until almost cooked through, about 6 minutes. Drain. Cool. Using kitchen shears, cut lobster shells open. Remove lobster meat; cut into bite-size pieces. Discard shells.
  2. Purée 4 cups corn with 1 1/4 cups broth in processor until almost smooth.
  3. Sauté bacon in large pot over medium heat until crisp, about 5 minutes. Transfer bacon to paper towels. Pour off and discard all but 3 tablespoons drippings from pot.
  4. Add onions to pot; sauté until light golden, about 5 minutes.
  5. Add remaining 4 cups corn; sauté 3 minutes. Add carrots, celery, and cayenne; sauté until vegetables soften slightly, about 5 minutes.
  6. Add white wine and simmer for about 5 minutes.
  7. Add clam juice and 1 3/4 cups broth; simmer 10 minutes.
  8. Stir in corn puré and whipping cream; simmer 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
  9. Lobster, bacon, and soup can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover and chill lobster and bacon separately. Cool soup slightly; chill uncovered until cold, then cover and keep chilled.
  10. Bring bacon to room temperature. Bring soup to simmer (do not boil as the cream will separate) add bacon to soup.
  11. Add lobster meat and cook just until heated through, about 3-5 minutes.
  12. Remove soup from heat; stir in sour cream.
  13. Ladle soup into bowls. Garnish with chives and extra bacon and serve.
Adapted from Bon Appetit
Adapted from Bon Appetit
La Mia Tabella http://lamiatabella.com/
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MERRY CHRISTMAS – 2015

MERRY CHRISTMAS 2015!

It is December 23rd and I, of course, am running around like a crazy woman getting ready for Christmas!  It is a fun sort of crazy trying to make Christmas perfect for my husband and kids.  The cooking, the cleaning, the buying, the wrapping, the baking, setting dining room table, washing dishes….the list could go on and on.  If I really sit back and think about all this craziness I realize that I am not really trying to make everything perfect…I am really trying to create memories for my family!  Memories just like my parents created for their kids and memories that my husbands parents created for him.  Part of those memories have to do with food and the traditions we create with food.  What is on the menu here at the La Mia Tabella household??  Two of our Christmas Eve favorites….Lobster Chowder and Peppermint Ice-cream.  These recipes and more will be posted after Christmas!!!  Until then I wanted to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and happy memory making!!!!!!!

Christmas  Pic-2015

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