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Saturday, April 26, 2014

Easter Egg and Peeps Sugar Cookies

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Easter Egg and Peeps Sugar Cookies
        
Peeps Sugar Cookies
I first came across Wilton Peeps cutters and was inspired to bake my own cookies via, The Sweet Adventures of Sugarbelle blog (see link below). I ordered the Wilton Peeps and Egg cutters, Wilton Sprinkles in Pink Sugar, Yellow Sugar and Blue Sugar and baked Easter Egg and Peeps Sugar Cookies last weekend. 

Peeps Sugar Cookies
Peeps Sugar Cookies
I use the Sugar Cookies and Royal Icing recipes from Joy of Baking (see link below). For the Sugar Cookies, I adjusted the recipe by adding 1 teaspoon of Almond Extract and 1 teaspoon of Coconut Extract. I prefer the Royal Icing with Egg Whites instead of Meringue Powder, and love this recipe because it tastes great and works well for me. 

Wilton Peeps Cookies
Wilton Peeps and Easter Egg Sugar Cookies
There are two variations of the Royal Icing recipe, one for the borders, and the other for flooding the cookies. If you need a lot of Royal Icing, you can double the recipe. I do this every time I bake Sugar Cookies, and always have enough and usually leftover. For the flooding recipe, I add a little water at the end when mixing to get the consistency I desire. If you need to thicken the Royal Icing, you can add a little more Confectioners Sugar as you are mixing. This takes practice but after years of doing it, I know the exact consistency I need.

Squeeze Bottles with Colored Royal Icing
Wilton Peep and Egg Cutters
To tint the icing, I separate it into plastic containers or glass bowls, and use Wilton Icing Colors Concentrated Gel in Lemon Yellow, Brown, Blue and Pink. To tint, dip a toothpick into the gel, place into icing and combine with a small spatula. I continue this process until I reach the color I want.

Borders done on Peeps Cookies
I transfer the colored Royal Icing into squeeze bottles and cover immediately (see photo). I use the larger squeeze bottles with the Royal Icing for flooding the cookies, and the smaller bottles for the borders. Be sure to keep Royal Icing covered when not in use or it will harden. If for any reason this happens, just use a spray bottle filled with water and spray 1 or 2 times or until desired consistency returns.

Flooding the Peeps Sugar Cookies
Using spatula to spread evenly
Take bowls and fill each with the Wilton Sugars. Place parchment paper under wire rack so it catches the Sugars and you can put them back easily into the bowl to reuse.

Peeps Sugar Cookies
The brown Royal Icing is used for the eyes of the Peeps bird and eyes and nose of the Peeps bunny. Since I only had three colors (yellow, pink, blue) of Royal Icing, I decorated the Peeps Sugar Cookies by color. Begin by doing a border around the cookie. Continue doing borders, wait a few minutes, flood the cookie and use a spatula to spread evenly. Liberally sprinkle with the Wilton Sugars. Use the brown border consistency Royal Icing to make the eyes and nose. Repeat until you are done.

Easter Egg Polka Dot Sugar Cookies
I made 9 Egg Cookies, and after piping a border around each, I then flooded the cookie and immediately made dots over it to create polka dots.

After you have decorated the cookies, cover and dry overnight.

For the Sugar Cookies and Royal Icing Recipe, please visit Joy of Baking:

Inspiration for Peeps Cookies from one of my faves, The Sweet Adventures of Sugarbelle:

Enjoy!

-Sophia/Two Frys

Friday, April 25, 2014

Gluten-Free Coconut Layer Cake

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Gluten-Free Coconut Layer Cake

For Easter, I made a Gluten-Free Coconut Layer Cake and it was the first time I baked anything gluten-free and three layers, since I usually stick to baking two layer cakes. A family member can only eat gluten-free, and I wanted to bake something everyone could eat and enjoy. It took some effort to find some of the ingredients, but it was worth it. This Gluten-Free Coconut Layer Cake was perfection. The cake layers were spongy and so tasty, and the coconut really shined. The Coconut Frosting was silky, creamy and loaded with coconut goodness. After baking this cake, I am glad to add Coconut and Almond Flour to my baking repertoire. They are now new favorites to use, and I look forward to baking Gluten-Free desserts in the near future.

Ingredients for Cake
(Recipe from Epicurious - see link below)

1 ¾ cup Almond Flour

2 tablespoons Coconut Flour

10 large Eggs, separated

1 teaspoon Pure Vanilla Extract

2 teaspoons Pure Coconut Extract

2 cups Confectioners Sugar, sifted, separate 1 tablespoon

¼ teaspoon Cream of Tartar

¼ teaspoon fine Sea Salt

Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Line 3 9-inch cake pans with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, whisk together Almond Flour and Coconut Flour. Set aside.

In bowl of electric mixer fitted with paddle attachment, beat Egg Yolks until pale yellow and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes.

Reduce speed to low and beat in Vanilla and Coconut Extracts, and all but 1 tablespoon of Confectioners Sugar.

Scrape down sides of bowl with spatula, increase speed to high and beat until pale and thick, about 1 to 2 minutes.

Reduce speed to low, and gradually add Almond and Coconut Flour mixture, scraping down sides of bowl and folding with spatula the last of the flour. Set aside.

Using another bowl with paddle attachment, (I used my handheld mixer since I only had 1 bowl for my stand mixer) beat Egg Whites on medium speed until very foamy, about 1 minute.

Beat in remaining Cream of Tartar, Sea Salt and 1 tablespoon Confectioners Sugar.

Increase speed to high and beat until Egg Whites hold stiff peaks, about 2 to 3 minutes.

With spatula, fold 1 cup of the beaten Egg Whites into Yolk mixture to lighten, and then gently fold in remaining Egg Whites.

Divide batter between 3 pans, and smooth tops with offset spatula.

Bake until layers are golden brown and toothpick or cake tester inserted in center comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes.

Run knife around the cake layers to loosen.

Wait 5 minutes, and invert pans onto wire rack, peel off parchment.

Cool completely, about 1 hour.

Yummy Gluten-Free Coconut Layer Cake

Toasted Coconut

Ingredients
2 cups Sweetened Coconut Flakes

Directions
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Spread Coconut Flakes onto sheet tray.

Toast for 6 to 8 minutes.

Let cool completely before you add over Coconut Frosting.

Coconut Frosting
(Recipe from Hungry Rabbit - see link below)

Ingredients
4 large Eggs, whites

1 cup Granulated Sugar

1/8 teaspoon fine Sea Salt

4 sticks, Unsalted Butter, softened and each stick cut into 6 pieces

¼ cup Cream of Coconut, Coco Lopez

1 teaspoon Pure Vanilla Extract

1 teaspoon Pure Coconut Extract

Directions
Combine Egg Whites, Sugar and Sea Salt in bowl of electric mixer, set bowl over saucepan containing 2 inches of barely simmering water.

Whisk until mixture is opague in color, and warm to the touch, and registers 120 degrees on an instant-read thermometer, about 2 minutes.

Transfer bowl to mixer and with paddle attachment, beat Egg Whites until barely warm and whites are glossy and thick, about 7 minutes.

Reduce speed to medium-high and beat in butter one piece at a time.

Beat in Cream of Coconut and Vanilla and Coconut Extracts.

With spatula, scrape sides of bowl.

Continue to beat at medium-high speed until well combined, about 1 to 2 minutes.

Place 4 pieces of parchment paper over the Cake Circle for easy clean up later. Place the bottom cake layer, and with an offset spatula frost the layers one by one.

Add Toasted Coconut and decorate with Pastel Color Malted Eggs if you wish.

I use a Cake Turntable to frost the cake since it is quicker and ensures an even coating of the frosting. I also use Wilton 10-inch Cake Circles to place the cake layers on, and it looks pretty when you are ready to serve. I take 3 teaspoons of the frosting and place it on the bottom tray of my Cake Carrier before I place the cake on it. This secures and binds the cake and prevents it from moving in transport. After the cake is frosted, I place it in my Cake Carrier and cool in the fridge overnight to let the frosting and cake layers set.

For the Gluten-Free Coconut Layer Cake, I used a recipe from Epicurious:

For the Coconut Frosting, I used a recipe from Hungry Rabbit:

Enjoy!

-Sophia/Two Frys

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Roast Chicken

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Roast Chicken

For Easter dinner at my Mom's last weekend, I made a Roast Chicken and it was so moist and flavorful. The Chicken I bought was expensive but organic, range free and antibiotic free, and it was worth the extra money I spent. I used a recipe from my guru Ina Garten (see links below), and made a few adjustments. I omitted Black Pepper since my Mom cannot eat it. If I were making this for Allen and me, I would add lots of Black Pepper, so I include it below. I did not use Fennel since I do not like it, but if you love it, just add 1 bulb of Fennel, remove the tops and cut into wedges. I like licorice candy but for some reason cannot enjoy Fennel. I added a bunch of fresh Rosemary to stuff inside the cavity with the other ingredients, because I love this herb with Chicken. I also think Rosemary and Thyme pair perfectly together when it comes to Chicken and Turkey and gives it more flavor. If you love Chicken as much as I do, give this recipe a go for your family dinner. It takes a short amount of prep time, is fail proof if you follow all the steps below, and simple to do. 

Ingredients
1 (5 to 6) pound Chicken

Kosher Salt

Black Pepper

4 tablespoons Butter

1 large bunch fresh Thyme, plus extra sprigs for the pan

1 large bunch fresh Rosemary

1 large Lemon, cut into 4 quarters

10-12 cloves of Garlic, peeled

1 large yellow Onion, cut into wedges

5-6 Carrots, cut into 2-inch pieces

Olive Oil

Directions
Slice the Lemon into 4 quarters.

Take Garlic cloves and peel. Leave them whole.

Slice a large yellow Onion into wedges.

With a peeler, take off top layer of Carrots and cut into 2-inch pieces.

Melt Butter in microwave or pan. Put aside for now.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Remove Giblets from Chicken and rinse it inside and out. Pat Chicken dry with paper towels.

In a roasting pan with rack place the Onions and Carrots. Take about 2 tablespoons of Olive Oil and coat Onions and Carrots, and season with Salt and Pepper. Add sprigs of Thyme around the pan.

Place Chicken in roasting pan.

Liberally Salt and Pepper the cavity of the Chicken.

Take bunches of Thyme and Rosemary, Lemon, and Garlic and stuff into the cavity.

Take melted Butter and brush the outside of the Chicken making sure you coat it entirely.

Add a liberal amount of Salt and Pepper.

Tuck the wing tips under the body of the Chicken.

Roast Chicken for 1 ½ hours uncovered in the middle rack of your oven.

The Chicken is cooked when it reads 165 degrees.

Remove Chicken and Veggies and place on a platter. Cover with aluminum foil for 20-25 minutes.

Serve and enjoy!

For Ina Garten’s Perfect Roast Chicken, please visit:

Watch Ina Garten's Perfect Roast Chicken: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ys7dyV97FXw

-Sophia/Two Frys

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Adoboloco Hawaiian Hot Sauce

Pin It Adoboloco Hawaiian Hot Sauce

Prepping the Kabobs!
I recently made steak shish-kabobs and topped them with hot sauce from the Hawaiian Islands, Adoboloco. I was corresponding with the Adoboloco hot sauce creator about Moruga Scorpion Pepper growing and he sent me some seeds from Hawaii. He sent me the seeds in a package that seemed large and when I opened it, I was thrilled to see a bottle of Hawaiian Adoboloco Hot Sauce along with some cool stickers. Being a food blogger and urban gardener here in NYC, I was so glad to receive the seeds and their hot sauce was a big bonus. Thanks!

I wanted to have the sauce with fresh food, so I made shish-kabobs. The shish-kabobs were made with cubed London Broil Steak, Onions, Amphora Herb Infused Olive Oil (Thanks Robert and Sheri), Sweet Orange Bell Peppers, Green Bell Peppers, Kosher Salt and Ground Cracked Black Pepper. The shish-kabobs were cooked in a Foreman Grill to perfection. Then I added the Hawaiian Adoboloco Hot Sauce to the meat and veggies on the halfway point and added more when cooking was completed. This added a good heat to both the beef and vegetables.
Nice steaming Kabobs, Just add more Adoboloco!

Adoboloco have many different sauces and do batches according to the harvest and local crops they grow. The ingredients are great, fresh tasting items like Hawaiian Peppers, Apple Cider Vinegar (Distilled), Sea Salt and Garlic. The heat on the Hawaiian Adoboloco Hot Sauce is hot, does not linger but has bold flavor. They also have hotter sauces for the more extreme, but this is a great one for fans of both heat and flavor. I can recommend Adoboloco to my chili-head fans and friends with confidence. Order some now, it is Ono Brah.



For further information and to order, please visit: 

Hawaiian Adoboloco Hot Sauces: Website

Adoboloco on Facebook: Official Facebook

-Allen/Two Frys

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Sous Chef 24 Hours On The Line - Michael Gibney

Pin It Sous Chef 24 Hours On The Line - Michael Gibney (Ballantine Books)

Gibney's debut, Sous Chef describes the good, bad and ugly reality of a chef from experiences working in NYC restaurants. The intensity of the job, long hours, and details of the responsibilities of each kitchen staff who work the line every day comes to life through the pages. Gibney portrays a raw and honest view of the hard work, passion and dedication that goes into this line of work. Gibney provides the reader with a genuine sense of what it takes to make a restaurant run, and showcases the personalities of Executive Chef, Sous Chef, Lead Cooks, Entremetiers, Garde Manger, Chef Plongeur, etc... Gibney enigmatically explains what he does on an a typical shift from beginning to end. For anyone who has ever wondered what really goes on in a restaurant, this book fulfills that curiosity on all levels. The intelligent writing and great storytelling makes for an interesting read. Sous Chef is a great lesson for the person interested in culinary school who dreams of being a Chef, or for the foodie who frequently dines in restaurants and wants to know what really goes on in the BOH (back of the house). I recommend Sous Chef and look forward to more food related books from Gibney in the future.
-Sophia/Two Frys

Sunday, April 6, 2014

NYC Hot Sauce Expo 2014 - 1

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NYC Hot Sauce Expo 2014
March 29 and 30, 2014
Penn Plaza Pavillion
NYC
Text and Photos: © Copyright, 2014, Two Frys, www.twofrys.com

Allen, Two Frys with Steve Seabury, High River Sauces and Expo King!
This year's NYC Hot Sauce Expo surpassed expectations. The expo brought out hordes of Chile-head and Hot Sauce aficionados, and hot sauce vendors from all over showcased their goods. Last year, the NYC Hot Sauce Expo was in Brooklyn but this year, the new locale was right in the heat of the city at Penn Plaza Pavilion, across the street from Penn Station and Madison Square Garden. The location was great and adjacent to the Pennsylvania Hotel providing convenient room accommodations for fans and vendors. The location offered an easy access point for people in the five boroughs and New Jersey, as the subway and train connections were right across the street.

Spicy  Pizza Eating Contest 
Spicy Pizza Eating Contest
The NYC Hot Sauce Expo event was the place to be for heat lovers. Congrats to Steve Seabury and High River Sauces for making the expo possible, and bringing the heat level in all its forms so everyone could enjoy tasting and buying from a huge selection of products.

DEFCON Sauces Spicy Chicken Wing Eating Contest
Igor from Astoria, Queens, NY, winner of the DEFCON Sauces Spicy Chicken Wing Eating Contest
My wife Sophia and I attended the NYC Hot Sauce Expo on Saturday, March 29 and saw two competitions, the Spicy Pizza Eating Contest presented by I Love It Spicy and Volcanic Peppers with pizza courtesy of Grimaldi's, and the DEFCON Sauces Chicken Wing Eating Contest. We enjoyed watching the intensity of suffering looks on contestant faces from the fiery burn ripping inside as they swallowed pizza and chicken wings. Igor from Astoria, Queens prevailed (see photo), and took top honors for the trophy in the DEFCON Sauces Chicken Wing Eating Contest. The chicken wings and wing sauce were made by DEFCON the night before. These events were two of many scheduled today, on a stage in a large area in the back of the expo room. Both events were crowded, and it took a bit of navigation skills to see it all.

Karma Sauce
Deception Salsa
There were over forty hot sauce vendors, food vendors as well as bars with water, drinks, booze, etc. The event was well organized and the layout good, featuring several rooms that opened up into a large area. I saw some of my local old friends like High River Sauces, Heartbreaking Dawns, Bonfatto's, Torchbearer Sauces, Jordan Brenners Waa Cha, Karma Sauce and more. Between Sophia and me, we visited as many of the booths we could, and did a ton of tasting from Wimpy to Extreme heat levels. A lot of vendors from last year were back like Puckerbutt, Big Fat's, CaJohn's, all slinging their sauces and showcasing new flavors.

Saint Lucifer
I also met a lot of my online friends and cohorts from companies Sweet Heat Gourmet, Gemini Crow, Voodoo Sauces, Hoboken Eddie's, Hellfire Hot Sauce, Lucky Dog Hot Sauce, and Grinders, which I have been a fan for some time. It was great tasting so many sauces and meeting these folks for the first time, face to face. This expo provides a great networking aspect for us food bloggers and shoppers alike, and it is great to be part of this Chile-head community. I also met an online friend from the UK and the Clifton Chili Club, Chili Dave.

Allen, Two Frys and Doug Spiros, Peppers And More
Allen, Two Frys with Carline Phanor, Men Pa'w Sauces
Some highlights were meeting my friend Chip Hearn from Peppers.com and talking shop a few minutes. It was great to meet Carline Phanor of the Florida based company, Men Pa'w Sauces. I was thrilled to see my bud Johnny McLaughlin from Heartbreaking Dawn's again, a big #1 fave sauce of our blog. I enjoyed spending a few quality minutes with John the Creator, my friend from DEFCON Sauces, Hellfire Hot Sauce maestro Merle, talking to Steve Seabury (event promoter and High River Sauces king) and meeting Thom from VooDoo Chile for the first time and buying PORCUS directly from the man himself. I have my eye on some of VooDoo Chile's sauces for upcoming reviews and recipes on Two Frys.

Allen, Two Frys
Sophia, Two Frys
One of the highlights was spending time all afternoon, on and off with my pal Doug Spiros from Peppers and More from over the river in NJ. I am a member of this online group, and the Hot Sauce Group for some time now, and it was an honor to meet and converse with this local Chile-head. 

DEFCON Sauces
I started the expo with my friend John Dilley, President and Creator of DEFCON Sauces. Based in New Jersey, DEFCON had a large selection of award-winning sauces, horseradish habanero spreads, and other very hot rubs and seasonings. 

Allen, Two Frys with John Dilley, DEFCON Sauces Creator
DEFCON Sauces new Contaminated Soil and other goodies
DEFCON Sauces products
We purchased the new item premiered at the expo by DEFCON creators, Contaminated Soil. As John put it, Contaminated Soil blend is a New Jersey product; an exquisite blend of natures abominations. This powdery blend contains habanero, bird pepper, Trinidad scorpion, ancho's, cayenne, naga jolokia, chipotle, jalapeƱo, hickory and other powdered peppers and flavors. I tasted Contaminated Soil on popcorn, and it was good and spicy. I am looking forward to cooking with it and posting a recipe soon.


DEFCON Sauces Wing Sauce products
DEFCON Sauces Contaminated Soil
DEFCON Sauces Deathmatch Mark IV Cluckwing Orange and Habby Pony Mild Habanero Horseradish
Bonfatto's Wing Sauce & Marinade
I was pleased to see PA based Bonfatto's Wing Sauce & Marinade at the expo. We have been fans since the Atlantic City Food and Wine Festival some years ago. Bonfatto's offer a large line of wing sauces and marinades, all diverse in flavors, and available in different heat levels. I purchased one of their hotter sauces, the Apocalips Sweet Habanero Hellfire Sauce, and it was real smooth and flavorful. 

Bonfatto's
Apocalips Sweet Habanero Hellfire Sauce
Also, recommended is Bonfatto's Hawaiian BBQ, one of our blog faves that we cooked with before. New to the company are Bonfatto's Spice Cream with chili peppers, and the Sweet Peachy Heat Wave Sophia tasted was amazing and said, "It was spicy, hot, sweet".

Varieties of Bonfatto's Wing Sauce & Marinade 
Bonfatto's Gooney B Sweet N Sassy BBQ Sauce
Red Hawk Premium Peppers
It was nice meeting Red Hawk's Dan Lowenstein and his wife at the expo. I have been following them on Facebook for some time and was happy to do tastings of their sauces. 

Red Hawk Premium Peppers
Dan Lowenstein and his wife, Red Hawk Premium Peppers
Red Hawk Premium Peppers, Grounds for Divorce Hot Garlic Sauce
I found one of the top garlic based hot sauces I have had to date, Red Hawk's Grounds for Divorce. Red Hawk has done great and hit the nail on the head with this garlic sauce. Some other folks with garlic sauces have not been able to get it right. Red Hawk offers an impressive line of hot sauces, spreads, rubs and fiery condiments.

Red Hawk Premium Peppers
Red Hawk Premium Peppers
Race City Sauce Works
Based in North Carolina, Race City Sauce Works is another company I have been following on Facebook. I was glad to do tastings with Race City as they have an impressive selection of sauces. I really liked and bought a woozy bottle of Smoked Habanero Honey Mustard and cannot wait to make a recipe with it.

Race City Sauce Works
Race City Sauce Works
Owen G. Willikers' Chocolaty Chile Elixirs
Sophia went nuts over Owen G. Willikers' Chocolaty Chile Elixirs and loved the creamy, rich taste of the Salted Caramel & White Chocolate Formula made with dried fresh chiles. The elixirs are perfect for adding to cocktails, coffee, milk and drizzling over desserts.

Owen G. Willikers' Chocolaty Chile Elixirs
Owen G. Willikers' Chocolaty Chile Elixirs
The MURPH'S Famous Bloody Mary Mix
It was awesome speaking to Stephen Murphy about his newer The Murph's Hot & Spicy Famous Blood Mary Mix. I tasted The Murph's Famous Bloody Mary Mix before and was looking forward to tasting the spicy mix. It was flavorful and the best mix I have had to date. This is a very hearty mix containing cayenne pepper sauce, horseradish and many other great spices. The Murph treated us to a bottle of the Hot & Spicy to use for the blog.

Stephen Murphy, The MURPHS Famous Bloody Mary Mix
The MURPH'S Famous Bloody Mary Mix
-Allen and Sophia/Two Frys