Pumpkin Creme Brulee

Every year on Thanksgiving I make Pumpkin Creme Brulee for dessert. I only make once a year to keep it special and it is always my favorite dessert I eat on Thanksgiving. This recipe is super simple and I recommend it to everyone.

Ingredients & Directions:

2 C heavy cream
2 tsp vanilla
8 egg yolks
1/3 C sugar
1 C pureed pumpkin
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/4 C sugar (for caramelized tops)

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. In a large bowl, whisk together heavy creme, vanilla, egg yolks, pumpkin, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger. Blend well. Strain into a large bowl to remove foam or bubbles.

Divide mixture among ramekins (I usually use 6-8 ramekins). Place in a water bath, and bake until set around the edges, but still loose in the center. Approximately 35-45 minutes.

Remove from the oven and leave in water bath until cooled. Remove ramekins from water bath and chill for at least 2 hours, or up to 2 days. When ready to serve, sprinkle about 2 teaspoons of sugar over each custard. Caramelize sugar (I used my little torch, but you can place in broiler). After caramelizing, re-chill for a few minutes before serving.

I wrote an entire post about my Thanksgiving dinner at my other blog Two Coast Table. Check it out!


California Chicken Club Bites

Occasionally I take something out of the freezer without knowing what I’m going to make for dinner. Last night I took chicken and bacon out with the idea of doing some play on a California Chicken Club Sandwich, without bread (since I didn’t want to go to the store). I decided to make California chicken club bites instead of a sandwich. If I were to make these again I would definitely add some tomato and use fresh mozzarella probably resting on top of the chicken.


Chicken breasts or tenders, sliced into bit sized pieces
1/2 C Mozzarella Cheese, shredded
Avocado Spread (see below)
Olive Oil

I started cooking the bacon first, then placed the chicken in the electric frying pan with a little garlic, salt, pepper, and olive oil. Cook the bite sized pieces until they are full cooked and lightly browned on each side.

Avocado Spread:

1/4 C extra-virgin olive oil (plus more if needed)
1 ripe avocado-halved, peeled and pit removed, and chopped
4 garlic cloves, peeled
1 onion diced
2 tsp salt
1/4 C mayonnaise

This one is simple. Place all ingredients into a food processor (I used the magic bullet) mix until it is smooth or desired consistency.

You may need to add more olive oil to make it smoother. Set aside if using right away, otherwise refrigerate.

Putting together the bites:

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Once the bacon and chicken is cooked you can start the process of making the bites. I sliced the chicken in half lengthwise. Placed some avocado spread on one piece and then bacon on the other.

Repeat for each piece of chicken you have. Put the two halves together and then place on a baking sheet. Sprinkle with some mozzarella cheese and cook in the oven for about 3-5 minutes, or until cheese melts.

You can serve these as an appetizer or with your favorite side for a meal. I ate some brown rice with these.


Stepping Out of My Kitchen: Cupcake Class at the BCAE

This past Wednesday night I helped out at Dustin's 'How to Bake the Perfect Cupcake" class at the Boston Center for Adult Education. If you know me, you know I love cupcakes, and I would never pass up an opportunity to bake and eat them for three hours. We made 13 different cupcakes and eight different frostings. Amazing, right?

The class was broken up into stations and each of the stations worked on a different cupcake and frosting. While the cupcakes were cooking, Dustin talked about different tips and answered questions.

One of my favorite tips is his use of the ice cream scoop to fill the cupcake tins. You get the same perfect amount in every cupcake without the mess you might get when using a spoon.

The best frosting of the evening was the peanut butter frosting. I included the recipe.

Peanut Butter Frosting Recipe:

  • 1 C Butter Flavored Vegetable Shortening
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 4 C Confectioners' Sugar
  • 2 T Milk
  • 1 C Peanut Butter

In large bowl, cream shortening and butter with electric mixer. Add vanilla. Gradually add sugar, one cup at a time, beating well on medium speed. Scrape sides and bottom of bowl often. When all sugar has been mixed in, icing will appear dry. Add milk and beat at medium speed until light and fluffy. Add peanut butter and mix thoroughly.

Another fun tip I loved was using white chocolate to make spiderwebs (or other shapes depending on the season) to decorate the cupcake. Simple ideas like that really add to the presentation.

Here are a few of the sample cupcakes Dustin made. The Necco wafer flower cupcake was really cute, but my favorite was the peanut butter and strawberry jam cupcake (use jam instead of jelly because it holds up better and will not run like jelly).

If you are in Boston check out some of the other classes Dustin is teaching at the BCAE. I am looking forward to the Cupcakes & Cocktails class!


Two Coast Table

Recently, my friend Meg & I started a new blog called Two Coast Table. Here's an excerpt from our 'About' section:

We want this blog to be about many things. We want it to contain recipes that we really make, that are easy & simple to follow. We want to talk about our favorite things, whether it be a restaurant, our favorite kitchen gadget, our favorite places to go in Boston (Steven) or Portland (Meg), and many other things we love. We want it to be about us, cause we love us and know that you will too. We want this to be a place where you will come to to laugh, cry, cook, and tell us secrets (we promise not to tell anyone, beside the few 1000 people that visit our site daily…fingers crossed!). We want to be your Paula Deen, your Oprah, your Tyra, your Mo’nique, but most of all we want you to sit at our table and enjoy the company.
Check it out won't you & tell your friends. We are also running a contest that you should participate in with some Nasoya products, like the wraps I used in my Chicken Egg Rolls.

We also love to twitter and have a twitter page.

I will still be posting here, but definitely more so at Two Coast Table. Let me know what you think.

Thanks, Steven


Crab Cakes Benedict

I happen to be searching the internet for recipes the other day and came across one for crab cakes benedict. I knew instantly that I would be eating this for dinner that night. I generally like to keep my dinners simple & easy, not too many steps, and something I can cook while doing other stuff. Crab cakes benedict at least fit most of those requirements (I had to stay focused on this meal so my bacon wouldn't burn and my poached eggs wouldn't get too hard). IN the vain of keeping things simple, I stopped at the store, Harvest CO-OP, and bought pre-made crab cakes. I have been eying those for sometime and today was just the day. It cost $2.00 for two crab cakes. How can you go wrong for that price? I had everything else at home that I needed, so in my mind my dinner cost $2.00 and there is nothing better than that feeling.

Ingredients & Directions:

Crab Cakes (Pre-made saves time, but you can make your own)
Eggs (One for each crab cake)
Blender Hollandaise Sauce
Fresh Parsley, chopped
Cooking spray or Olive Oil

You should start by cooking the bacon. While the bacon is cooking, put the crab cakes in a pan to heat thoroughly and brown a little (they come pre-cooked, but you will need to warm them through). Keep the crab cakes on a low heat so they can come off the pan and on the plate once everything is ready to be plated. Also, make sure you flip them over every so often, you don't want to burn them and waste that $2.00. Continue to check the bacon, cooking until your desired readiness. Follow the instructions for a blender hollandaise I made before (you could always make this first and then warm it up if you want). See directions below for poaching eggs, but you should start this process now too. Once the bacon is done cooking, set on some paper towels to soak up the grease.

Directions for poached eggs:

First bring water in a saucepan to almost boiling. If the water is already boiling, lower the heat until it is no longer boiling. At this point, you can add one or two teaspoons of vinegar to the water, if you want. The vinegar will help the egg whites to congeal more easily. I used rice vinegar. Working with the eggs one by one, crack an egg into a small cup, then place the cup near the surface of the hot water and gently drop the egg into the water. With a spoon, nudge the egg whites closer to their yolks. This will help the egg whites hold together.Turn off the heat. Cover. Let sit for 4 minutes, until the egg whites are cooked. Lift eggs out of pan with a slotted spoon.

Place the crab cakes on the plate, bacon will rest on top of the crab cakes, place the eggs gently on top of the bacon, and then drizzle the hollandaise sauce over the entire thing. Sprinkle with a little fresh parsley.