Sunday, March 31, 2013

Easter Coconut Cupcakes With Whipped Coconut-Vanilla Frosting

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Easter Coconut Cupcakes With Coconut-Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

Easter Eggs Nests - Coconut Cupcakes!
Coconut Cupcakes
A few weeks ago, I bought a set of sprinkles at Target and decided to make Coconut Cupcakes for Easter. When I saw Hungry Rabbit's blog, I got the idea to make Easter Egg Nests. I bought Jordan Almonds to use as the eggs and Toasted Coconut for the nests. I did not use Hungry Rabbit's recipe for Coconut Cupcakes, but it was my visual inspiration. For Hungry Rabbit's Easter Coconut Cupcake recipe, go to: http://hungryrabbitnyc.com/2011/04/easter-coconutcupcakes/.

Coconut Cupcakes
On March 28, I came across Brown Eyed Baker's Vanilla Bean Cake With Coconut Meringue Buttercream Frosting. I used the cake portion of the recipe to make cupcakes, and a different frosting recipe. I did not have vanilla beans and couldn't find any at the last minute, so I used pure vanilla extract. I will be making this recipe again once I buy some vanilla beans! The cake was amazing in its texture and taste. I bet the vanilla bean would have taken it to the next level. I recommend this recipe greatly. The recipe yields exactly 24 cupcakes. For Brown Eye Baker's, Coconut-Vanilla Bean Cake With Coconut Meringue Buttercream Frosting, go to: http://www.browneyedbaker.com/2013/03/28/coconut-cake-recipe/. I used Goya Coconut Milk with this cake recipe.

Coconut Cupcakes Ready To Go In Oven
Coconut Cupcakes Right Out The Oven
I am fond of the Whipped Vanilla Frosting recipe from A Culinary Journey With Chef Dennis, which he slightly adapted from Sweetapolita, one of my favorite blogs. I recently used this frosting with the Coconut and Red Velvet Cakes I baked during the Christmas holiday. This frosting is divine! I am a serious POF (pal of frosting), and this ranks in my top 5 for sure. If I had more time, I would have made Brown Eyed Baker's Coconut Meringue Buttercream Frosting, but I will soon since the cake recipe was fabulous! Just reading the description of the frosting is encouraging enough for me to try it. I made the Coconut Cupcakes last night for Easter dinner today with my family. I made one adjustment to the frosting, and added coconut extract and reduced the amount of vanilla extract. The recipe calls for 1 1/2 teaspoons of pure vanilla extract. I used 1 tablespoon coconut extract and 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract. It's a little more extract, but the consistency was the same. For A Culinary Journey With Chef Dennis' Whipped Vanilla Frosting, go to: http://www.askchefdennis.com/2011/12/im-dreaming-of-a-white-christmas-cake-with-sweet-peony/.  I will try the white cake recipe soon.

Time To Decorate The Cupcakes
Whipped Coconut-Vanilla Frosting
After baking the cupcakes, let them cool completely, cover with plastic wrap and place in fridge overnight. The flavors will develop this way. Before frosting, let cupcakes come to room temperature (about 1 hour) and frost with an offset spatula or pastry bag/tip. I used an offset spatula. I made the frosting right before decorating the cupcakes, but you can make it ahead of time and place in an airtight container in the fridge. If so, bring frosting to room temperature before decorating the cupcakes.

Easter Egg Nests Coconut Cupcakes
Easter Egg Nests Coconut Cupcakes
To toast the Coconut, preheat oven to 350 degrees and spread out 2 cups worth on a baking sheet. Bake for about 12-15 minutes or until Coconut has turned golden brown. Let Toasted Coconut cool completely before adding over the frosting. Add Toasted Coconut generously over frosting and top with 2 or 3 Jordan Almonds. I made 12 Easter Nests Cupcakes and 12 Cupcakes using various sprinkles, colored sanding sugars and nonpareils. Another suggestion is using gel colors to tint the frosting and/or the cake batter. Maybe next Easter I will do that. :)

Easter Egg Nests Coconut Cupcakes
Sophia/Two Frys

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Harry's Oyster Bar & Seafood

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Harry's Oyster Bar & Seafood

Harry's picture taken from the boardwalk after we ate
The last time we visited Atlantic City was our summer trip to the Food and Wine Festival, so it was nice to getaway for a day and a half. We arrived to Atlantic City, Saturday, March 9, the last day of Restaurant Week. We had our hotel booked for Friday and planned to eat at two restaurants then, but the charter bus company cancelled due to the snow and dangerous driving conditions. By Saturday morning, the 3 inches of snow we got melted completely, the weather was warm in the 50s, and our bus was back in business. On the drive to Atlantic City peering out the window, we saw so much damage to trees toppled over from Superstorm Sandy. It was sad.

Harry's pic from the boardwalk, outside dining in the summer and it is always packed
Ready for lunch once we arrived, we headed to Harry's Oyster Bar & Seafood to enjoy the Restaurant Week price of $15.13 per person (excluding drinks, tax and gratuity). This is a good deal and great way to enjoy different restaurants in Atlantic City. The atmosphere is a lively, casual oyster bar, sports bar and seafood house all in one. In the summer, you can dine outside in the courtyard of the lovely Denis Hotel to live music, not too far from the boardwalk and beach. There were huge screens showing different sports events throughout the restaurant, and the seating was comfortable and roomy. A lot of people were having lunch and taking advantage of the Restaurant Week menu offer, so that was great to see. The beautiful sunny warm weather made it really feel like spring. You would never believe how much it rained and snowed Friday.

Lovely mural inside Bally's by Harry's entrance inside Bally's
Appetizer
We both ordered the Oyster Trio. Allen got three freshly shucked oysters served raw on the half shell. I ordered the breaded and fried oysters. Allen loved his raw oysters which were perfectly chilled, and tasted fresh. I enjoyed my oysters which had a crispy, flavorful batter, and each one the perfect bite. I only wished we had more.

Oyster Trio Raw On The Half Shell
Oyster Trio Breaded And Fried
Entrees
For the main part of lunch, Allen got BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwich with House BBQ sauce, crispy onion straws, with sides of fries and coleslaw. Allen's generous serving of pork was sweet and had a great smoky flavor. The crispy onion straws were well-seasoned, tasty and in abundance. The french fries were cooked right and tasted like a fry should taste. The coleslaw was very good, fresh and cold, and we both wanted more of it. I ordered Cajun Tempura Flounder Sandwich with lettuce, tomato and tartar sauce with sides of fries and coleslaw. The flounder was seasoned to my liking, and the tempura batter was light and complimented the fish.

BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwich
BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwich, close-up
Cajun Tempura Flounder Sandwich
Dessert
I ordered Chocolate Cake and Allen got Key Lime Pie. The Chocolate Cake was dense, rich, creamy and velvety. The chocolate drizzle and whip cream were yummy. I did not leave one bit on my plate. Allen's Key Lime Pie was sweet, tart and very satisfying. The key lime slice on top and whip cream were lovely. 

Chocolate Cake

Key Lime Pie
Our server Mark was great, attentive, friendly and knowledgeable regarding the menu. Mark even brought Allen some fresh horseradish to top over the monster oyster crackers they have on each table. I popped like 2-3 of them, and they were so good! Overall, we really enjoyed everything we ate and had a fun time eating here. We were not rushed and felt comfortable, which is key for us! 

Huge Oyster Crackers, Want One?
When you visit Atlantic City and are craving some seafood or just great grub, check out Harry's Oyster Bar & Seafood.

Located at Bally's Ground Floor of the Denis Hotel
Park Place & Boardwalk
Atlantic City, NJ 08401
Tel: 609-431-0092
Web: http://www.harrysoysterbar.com/

-Sophia & Allen/Two Frys

Friday, March 15, 2013

Breaded Chicken Cutlets

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Breaded Chicken Cutlets with Vigo
Breaded Chicken is one of my favorite and go to ways to cook it. Most of the time, I use plain Panko Bread Crumbs and season it myself. The fine folks at Vigo, sent us Italian Seasoned Bread Crumbs With Imported Romano Cheese to try. Allen bought some chicken cutlets so for dinner, I used Vigo and the chicken was superb. The breading was so flavorful, and the chicken cutlets came out tender, juicy, and had the perfect crunch from the breading. For our sides dishes, I steamed broccoli and made small red potatoes with butter and lots of parsley. Here is the Breaded Chicken recipe.

Ingredients
4 Chicken Cutlets

1 cup, Vigo Italian Stlye Seasoned Bread Crumbs With Imported Romano Cheese

1 Egg, slightly beaten

1/2 cup, All-Purpose Flour

Kosher Salt

Canola Oil

Vigo Italian Stlye Seasoned Bread Crumbs With Imported Romano Cheese
Directions
Pat Chicken Cutlets dry with a paper towel on both sides. Be sure to wash your hands a lot. Season both sides with Kosher Salt.

Take 3 square pans (such as Pyrex) and in each put Flour, Egg, Bread Crumbs. Add 1 tablespoon Kosher Salt to Bread Crumbs.

In a large skillet, add a generous amount of Canola Oil and heat on medium-high. It will just take a few minutes to get hot.

While the skillet is heating up, dredge Chicken Cutlets on both sides, beginning with Flour, Egg (shake off excess) and lastly, Bread Crumbs making sure you press on the Chicken and coat completely.

When hot, add breaded Chicken to skillet and continue dredging until you have all four in. The first Cutlet will be ready to turn by the time all four are in the skillet.

The Chicken Cutlets cook for about 3-4 minutes on each side.

When Chicken Cutlets are done, place each on a plate lined with paper towels. After a few minutes of letting them rest, pat lightly with paper towel and serve with the rest of your meal.

You can find Vigo Italian Seasoned Bread Crumbs With Imported Romano Cheese and other fine products in your local supermarket.

Visit Vigo's website for further information, http://www.vigo-alessi.com/.

Enjoy!

-Sophia/Two Frys

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Food Fear Factor

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Food Fear Factor

Food Fear Factor flyer posted around campus
Today, the Wellness Education Program at Lehman College held an event, Food Fear Factor from 12:00-2:00PM. On my lunch break, I went to check it out and had a good time watching students eat the samples offered. Samples to try were: Wasabi Peas, Red Curry Paste, Lychee, Cactus Dulce, Dates, White Asparagus, Cascos de Guyaba, Beaten Rice and Kefir. The food samples were set up as a blind tasting and after students ate what was offered on each table, they were shown a card with a description of what they ate and background information on it. I have added this information preceeding each photograph.

Welness Education & Promotion Program
I have eaten half of the food in this event. My hubby Allen loves Wasabi Peas and I have enjoyed eating these, though they are a bit too spicy for me. We frequently eat White Asparagus and cook with Red Curry Paste in Asian cuisine. I tasted Lychee in Chinatown in a smoothie and thought it was yummy, and like Dates in desserts. Guayaba, I have loved since I was a kid because my Mom used it as a filling in Dominican Cake. Also, it is sold with Dulce de Leche candy in Dominican grocery stores where I grew up in Washington Heights. The other samples Kefir, Cactus Dulce, and Beaten Rice I have not had before, but enjoyed taking pics of students and seeing their reactions. A lot of people disliked the Cactus Dulce and White Asparagus. One student thought the Cactus Dulce was a Jalapeno.

Lehman College Student Eating A Cricket
Cricket
Lychee is a juicy tropical fruit popular in many Southeast Asia countries. Lychee is a rich source of vitamin C, B-complex vitamins and a good source of dietary fiber.

Lychee With Blueberry, Eyeball anyone?
Lehman College Student About To Eat White Asparagus
White Asparagus - The white variety of asparagus has the same flavor as the green spears. Considered a delicacy in Europe, white asparagus, gets its look because of the way it's grown. The plant is either covered with plastic or by mounds of dirt to avoid the sun's rays. It's a good source of vitamins C and A.

White Asparagus
Lehman Students Eating Cactus Dulce

Cactus Dulce - Edible cactus is also known as nopales, nopalitos or cactus pads. This vegetable is popular in Mexico and other Central American countries. Cactus pads contain beta carotene, iron, some B vitamins, and are food sources of both vitamin C and calcium.
Cactus Dulce
Red Curry Paste - Curry pastes are used in Thai, Indonesian, Malaysian and Indian cooking. The most versatile and widely used in red curry paste, it's a mash of red chiles, coriander roots and leaves, shrimp paste, lemon grass, garlic, shallots and galangal. It's used in chicken, duck, beef, pork and shrimp and flavors everything from stews, curries and soups to dressings, marinades and condiments.

Red Curry Paste
Kefir is a fermented milk drink made with kefir grains. Kefir is a drink popular across Eastern and Northern Europe, and in Russia. Kefir is a source of probiotics, live organisms (like bacteria and yeast) that, when consumed in certain amounts, exert health benefits. Kefir is rich in protein, calcium, B vitamins and potassium.

Kefir
Dates are popular in Middle Eastern countries and offered to guests as a sign of hospitality. Dates contain a good amount of fiber, anti-oxidants, and minerals.

Dates
Beaten Rice is an easily digestible form of raw rice and is very popular across Nepal, India and Bangladesh. It is normally used to prepare snacks or light and easy fast food in a variety of Indian cuisine styles, some even for long-term consumption of a week or more.

Beaten Rice
Wasabi Peas - Wasabi is a Japanese condiment similar to horseradish. While the Japanese often eat it with sushi, wasabi also helps season a favorite American snack, wasabi peas. These peas are either roasted or fried and seasoned with a combination of wasabi, salt and other flavorings. They make a crunchy and spicy snack. Since peas are a vegetable, wasabi peas have some nutritional benefits, including calcium and fiber.

Wasabi Peas
At the end of the event there was a giveaway for a Kindle Fire. Lehman student, Pamela Sanchez won so congrats to her! The Lehman College students that attended Food Fear Factor were very brave and ate Crickets like it was no big deal. I applaud them. Maybe next time, the Wellness Education Program will add more bugs like bamboo worms, and take it to the next level.

-Sophia/Two Frys

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Tabanero Hot Sauce Picante

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Tabanero Hot Sauce Picante
This newer, on the scene table Tabanero Hot Sauce Picante is amazing and highly recommended. I have used Tabanero to cook with and as a condiment. This sauce is a Two Frys favorite that I have shared with the whole family, as well as getting the word out (via samples) to my local restaurants, family and friends. 

The Habanero heat is great and very tasty with the combined ingredients of this sauce. The key lime juice adds a different all around taste than what vinegar based sauces offer. I also think the carrots have a lot to do with the flavors along with the onions and garlic. The tasty natural ingredients include habanero peppers, carrots, onions, key lime juice, agave nectar, garlic, salt, and grapefruit seed extract. Tabanero is a great hot sauce to addition for your pantry.

Chicken Wings with Habanero
I have made many chicken wings at home and at family events with Tabanero, and they have always been a hit. Some other good items to put Tabanero on as I have done: rice, burritos, sandwiches, pizza, green bean casserole, and it is really good on macaroni and cheese. Tabanero is not just for Mexican food and a real delicious hot sauce to put on all your favorite foods. Chili heads will love it, but it will not burn out weaker, more pepper intolerant spicy food fans. Every restaurant and diner should have Tabanero on the table.

You can order Tabanero online at their website: http://tabanero.com/ 
You can Like Tabanero on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Tabanero

Allen/Two Frys

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Chef's Touch

Pin It Chef's Touch - March 4, 2013 - Montefiore Hospital, Bronx, NY

Celebrity Chef Tom Valenti
I attended a great community event this week at Montefiore Hospital in the Bronx, NY. The event titled, Chef's Touch was a great food cooking demonstration with question and answer interaction. Montefiore hosted this event in their auditorium and in a conference room adjoined to the cooking demonstration. The celebrity chef was Tom Valenti from Manhattan who has authored several cookbooks. Chef Tom had a great personality and answered all questions from the large audience. Chef Tom discussed healthy eating and gave many examples of good and bad for you foods. He was also very comical, yet sincere and happy to show and share his cooking knowledge. Chef Tom's Sous Chef for the evening was Dr. Peter Selwyn, M.D. from Montefiore Hospital. Chef Peter as he was called for the eve made a healthy, homemade vinagrette with all fresh ingredients. This dressing is a much healthier salad dressing than one you would buy at the supermarket.

Chef Tom Valenti and Dr. Peter Selwyn, M.D.
Chef Tom and his sous Chef made some great dishes in the auditorium. There was a demonstration on how to make Slow Cooked Chicken in a pot, as well as Root Vegetable Stew with Cumin, Coriander and Millet among the ingredients.

After the long and informative cooking demo, these dishes were served to us in the adjoining conference room. We dined on Chicken, Vegetable Stew, Braised Kale, Healthy Salad Greens and Fruit Salad. All the food I ate tasted great and is good for you, which was the whole point of the event.

Also, there was a raffle event held for some prizes. I was actually drawn in the raffle and won a $100 gift certificate to Fresh Direct in the Bronx. I cannot wait to order some fresh veggies and fruits online from Fresh Direct with my prize. Fresh Direct was one of the sponsors of the event. Attendees received a gift bag with recipe cards from the dishes cooked at the event, kitchen goodies, a set of measuring spoons, apron with Chef's Touch embroidery and Montefiore logo.

Chef Tom discussing healthy foods 
Chef's Touch highlighted via a Powerpoint presentation just how bad eating habits and Diabetes are in the Bronx. Very high percentages of people surveyed in the Bronx, drank sugary drinks daily and many did not eat fresh vegetables and fruits on a daily basis.

The Chef's Touch cooking event was held to help the community cook healthier for better health. As previously mentioned, the audience interacted great with Chef Tom. A variety of questions were covered about deglazing meats, using fresh vs. dried herbs, leaving skin on or off chicken when cooking (yes to cook, but remove if you want to save calories), allergy concerns to seeds and grains, cooking oils, and broths. There was even a live demo on how to butcher a Chicken, and was helpful to anyone that may not know how to do this.

Chef Tom brought up a good tidbit on food labels and said, just because a food or snack states it is healthy you have to read the label since it can be very misleading. You have to read the labels and know what you are eating.

Due to unhealthy eating, data presented showed that kids today do not live as long as people used to. A Chef's Touch was a great event and much needed in the Bronx. The Bronx needs more of these great healthy eating demos. Montefiore, Chef Tom, the sponsors and staff put on a great event.

Healthy Food  Recipes Served to attendees.
I attended the event with my good friend Barbara, host of Food For All People another Bronx based website you should check out.

-Allen/Two Frys

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Red Rooster Louisiana Hot Sauce

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Red Rooster Louisiana Hot Sauce
Red Rooster Louisiana Hot Sauce is a tasty classic Louisiana-style sauce from Bruce foods. They make several great Southern style sauces and much more. This hot sauce is a red pepper hot sauce that goes good on pretty much everything. The heat level is not too high, but the flavor is bold. This hot sauce is made with aged peppers, vinegar and spices and is all natural with no preservatives.

Chicken Wings with Red Rooster
We made Chicken Wings with Red Rooster and they rocked the house. The Chicken Wings had a great vinegar based pepper flavor that was nice, spicy and smooth. Also, Red Rooster is a great condiment for Rice, Vegetables, Fries and tastes really good in a Wrap with cold cuts. If vinegary Louisiana sauces are your preferred flavor, then pick some up now. Again let me mention Bruce Foods makes a whole line of spicy hot sauces in Louisiana. Red Rooster is pure goodness, so be sure to try some of their other sauces as well. This sauce makes white rice taste like heaven. Red Rooster is a must have for hot sauce fans that like a strong vinegar based flavor. 

For further information, visit:

Allen/Two Frys

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Island Fever Crucian Hot Sauce

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Island Fever Crucian Hot Sauce

Island Fever Crucian Hot Sauce
Island Fever Crucian Hot Sauce is a delicious slow-smoked hot sauce with Chipotle peppers made in the Virgin Islands in St. Croix. This is one of the best smokey flavored hot sauces I have ever had. The Chipotle smoked peppers are very tasty and not overpowering. I love smoked flavors and this sauce is a real treat for smoked pepper hot sauce lovers. It is not too hot to share and pass around the dinner table. This hot sauce has a medium high heat with tons of really good flavors. I made Steak with Peppers and Onions and Basil Rice for the blog, and also some amazing smokey Chicken Wings with Island Fever.

Chicken Wings with Island Fever Crucian Hot Sauce
Order a few bottles as one might not last long in your pantry or fridge. I used the remainder of the bottle on various foods and it paired well with all grub I tried it on. The smoked Chipotle is prominent with the other secret mix of ingredients Island Fever Crucian Hot Sauce is made with. Island Fever Crucian Hot Sauce is great on Rice and in Soups to kick them up a notch. This hot sauce tasted awesome on New England clam chowder I recently ate. This hot sauce is recommended from me. It is one of the most flavorful smokey sauces I cooked with last year.

For further information, visit:


Allen/Two Frys