Reprise: Fan Cave Food for Super Bowl Sunday

Back in time for Super Bowl Sunday…Watch this short video and see how to hold a man cave party. The menu and mood translate perfectly for Super Bowl Sunday. 

Semantics, Shemantics

Man Cave = Fan Cave = Fam Cave…whatever you call it, have fun! I hope your team wins!

Here is my  white chicken chile recipe from the video in the video.

White Chicken Chile – The Framework

Chile is one of those soups that can be made to your taste by varying the amount of beans, meat, tomatoes, peppers, and seasonings .Here is a recipe to start with, then make it your own. Mine comes out different each time.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1-1/2 pounds chicken breasts, boneless, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1 yellow pepper, chopped
  • I green pepper, chopped
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 6 tablespoons oil
  • 3 cans white Northern beans, do not drain
  • 3 cans tomatoes (I either use Muir Glen Diced Fire Roasted Tomatoes or Del Monte Zest Chili-Style tomatoes, or both)
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder, adjust for seasonings
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin, adjust to taste
  • 3 tablespoons fresh cilantro
  • Salt and pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS:

  • Sauté onions and peppers in 3 tablespoons of olive oil unless soft. Transfer to stew pot.
  • Sauté chicken in 3 tablespoons of oil until cooked through. Add to pepper and onions.
  • Add the beans, tomatoes, cilantro and seasonings. Simmer on low.
  • Taste periodically and adjust for seasoning.

Can make ahead. As with all soups, it’s better the second day. Freezes well. Serve with sour cream, cheddar cheese, and tortilla chips. Yields about 8 servings.

Click here for other Barbara Kelley eHow™ videos on party themes.

If You Build It, They Will Come

In some years when I take down the Christmas decorations, I deliberately leave the candles in the window and put up a snow flag and leave it that way during January. I call it the “Snow House” while I mischievously tempt Mother Nature.

In 2011, I did this and the result was the 2011 North American Blizzard — “Snowmagedon” as we called it here in the Washington, DC, area.

After Christmas of 2012, I didn’t bother. My husband was deployed and the last thing I needed was another Snowmagedon!

This year, after Christmas 2013, I teased Mother Nature and put up the snow flag. Here’s a scene from yesterday, January 21, 2014.

Ha! Pure proof that if you roll out the welcome mat, they will come. 

Livin’ the Dream

The four boys must have been hungry one day in the car on the way home from school because homemade chocolate chip cookies came up, then a discussion about a buffet of other foods they wanted to eat.

I said, “My dream is take one whole Saturday and just bake all day – cookies, pies, Napoleons, donuts – and have people stop in and sample and take goodie bags home. …just keep the confections coming!”

I glanced in the rear view mirror and the nine-year-old’s tongue reflexively came out his mouth and licked his lips.

Later, my 14-year-old son said, “Mom, why couldn’t you just take a whole Saturday and bake?”

I didn’t want to burden him with all the reasons why this was highly improbable. I guess he didn’t think about the sports schedules, the chores, the work, the this, and the that.

Living the dream isn’t about what you can’t do, it’s about what you can do, even if it’s not to the extent you wish. The roadblocks to an all-day-do-as-you-dream session are work, chores, caring for elderly parents, sick children, paying the bills, and sometimes feeling sad or dealing with tragedy.

This Saturday I carved out a little time to make my family cupcakes. No, it wasn’t an all-day bake fest, but it made some people happy, including myself. Living the dream doesn’t mean having it all your way, all the time. It means doing bits and pieces of things that make us and others happy woven in with our duties and obligations. It means putting in a good day’s work, whether it’s for pay or not, doing the hard things and making moments of happiness and memories. Hopefully, you’ll feel less overwhelmed, more satisfied and thankful for the things you can do.  And, I’m thankful for a car full of school boys who keep me grounded in what’s really important in life.

Dark Chocolate Cocoa Cupcakes
The cupcake recipe is adapted from The America’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook

 You can short cut this recipe by using a boxed cake mix, but don’t short cut the frosting. The seven-minute frosting is the best nine-minute investment you’ll ever make for a cupcake!

The key to making any cupcake is not to over bake. Don’t wait until the tester toothpick comes out completely clean. It shouldn’t have raw batter on it, but there should be some crumbs clinging to your toothpick or the cupcake will be over baked. Remember, carryover heat after it’s taken out of the oven will continue to bake the cupcakes. Cut the baking time down by five minutes from the any recipe and keep checking.

CUPCAKE INGREDIENTS:

  • 16 tablespoons (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 4 ounces bittersweet chocolate (I used unsweetened because that’s what I had in the pantry)
  • 1 cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder (I used Rademaker’s but you can sub Nestlē or Hershey’s pure cocoa if that’s what you already have.)
  • 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 large eggs, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1-1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup sour cream

Garnish: To make these cupcakes into “hot cocoa” cupcakes, I used 24 mini marshmallows for the top and sifted cocoa powder over the cupcakes.

DIRECTIONS:
These cupcakes can be put together without an electric beater, just a whisk.

Microwave the butter, chocolate, and cocoa together, whisking often, until melted and smooth, one to three minutes. Set aside to cook until just warm to the touch.

Meanwhile, adjust oven rack to the middle position and heat oven to 350⁰. Line two muffin pans with cupcake liners (24 total).

Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt together in a large bowl and set aside.

Whisk the eggs and vanilla together in a large bowl. Slowly whisk in the sugar until combined. Whisk in the cooled chocolate mixture.

Sift one-third of the flour mixture over the batter, then whisk it in. Whisk in the sour cream. Stir in the remaining flour mixture and stir until incorporated (batter will be thick).

Fill the cupcake liners about two-thirds full (do not overfill). Bake until a wooden skewer in the center of the cupcake comes out with a few crumbs attached, about 18 to 22 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through baking.

Let the cupcakes cool completely before frosting, about one hour.

Yield: Makes 24 cupcakes

Seven-Minute Frosting

I chose this basic frosting for glossy look, perfect for the hot cocoa effect. Lay it on thick and swirl it. Recipe makes enough for 24 cupcakes, or a two or three-layer cake. However, you can cut the recipe in half if you ever need to. I prefer using the mixing bowl in the simmering water rather than a double boiler.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1-1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 large egg whites, room temperature
  • 6 tablespoons of cold water
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons light corn syrup (like Karo)
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • Pinch salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Bring two inches of water to a simmer in a large saucepan. Combine the sugar, egg whites, water, corn syrup, cream of tartar, and salt in a large bowl.

Set the bowl over the saucepan with simmering water and beat with a hand-held electric mixer on high speed until the egg whites have quadrupled in volume and are shiny, about seven minutes. Remove the bowl from the sauce pan, add the vanilla, and continue to beat for two minutes. Use immediately because it hardens.

Purple Potato Eater

Yesterday on the drive home from school, I told our son I was making purple potatoes for dinner?

“Mom, why would you do that?”

“Do what?” I said.

“Color the potatoes purple?”

Then, later that evening, a call from my brother, brought a similar inquisition:

“Do you have anything good cooking tonight?”

I said, “Yes, I am making purple potatoes.”

Pause…

“You mean they are purple?”

“Yes.”

“Purple inside?”

“Well, I don’t know yet, but I’ll let you know,” I replied.

I admit, I have never cooked a purple potato but I heard recently of their health benefits and thought why not try them? I planned to mash them exactly like I would Russet potatoes. Yes, they are beautifully purple inside.

Purple potatoes contain antioxidants that strengthen your immune system and can help prevent certain heart diseases and cancers. Purple potatoes have a delicate skin which contains many of the beneficial nutrients. Therefore, I left the nutrient-rich skin on when I cooked and mashed them.

Purple potatoes are similar to the popular Russet potatoes in nutritional value. One-half cup of purple potatoes contains 70 calories, 15 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 2 grams of protein and no fat. One-half cup of Russet potatoes contains 66 calories, 16 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 1 gram of protein and no fat. The one significant difference between purple potatoes and Russet potatoes is the antioxidant content; purple potatoes contain 4 times as much antioxidants as Russet potatoes. Anthocyanin is a pigment that creates the purple color in the potatoes and also acts as an antioxidant. (Source: SF Gate). To read more on their effects on lowering blood pressure, click here.

I must admit they were the prettiest mashed potatoes I have ever made. In fact, I am going to make them for Mardi Gras because purple is one of the traditional colors of the festivities. Purple potatoes have a nutty flavor and hold up to baking, mashing, or putting in soups. I think they would add a pop of color to potato salad. The possibilities are endless (and nutritious).

The reaction at my dinner table?

My husband said to our son, “If I have to eat purple potatoes, so do you!”

It’s a Marshmallow World in the Winter

Click here for a little mood music with Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra singing and twirling to “A Marshmallow World.” (You might even want to mix a martini — I’m sure they did!)

Now, when you’re ready, imagine homemade marshmallows. It’s a January thing for sure. The homemade ones are nothing like those spongy, chewy, solid cylinders you buy in the store. Homemade marshmallows are airy, powdering puffs of sweet confection that melt in your mouth. Melanie just delivered some to me fresh from her kitchen. I’m popping one in my mouth while listening to Dean and Frank.

There’s nothing like some hot chocolate and some homemade marshmallows to bring everyone together after the snow has been shoveled and the snow forts have been built!

Homemade Marshmallows
Melanie adapted this version from a Susan Branch recipe.
She says you can substitute other extracts such as almond, lemon, etc.,
for the vanilla if you wish. Peppermint might be fun if you are planning to use the marshmallows for hot chocolate!

  • 1/3 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/3 cup cornstarch
  • 3 packets powdered unflavored gelatin
  • 1 cup water, divided
  • 1-3/4 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla

DIRECTIONS:

Sift together the powdered sugar and cornstarch; set aside. Spray a 13” x 9” metal baking pan (nonstick is best, if you have it – still need to spray it though) with vegetable oil spray. Dust pan liberally with sugar/cornstarch mixture, reserving extra.

In the large bowl of a stand mixer, combine 1/2 cup water with the gelatin; set aside.

In a medium saucepan, combine the sugar, corn syrup, salt, and remaining 1/2 cup water. Cook over medium heat until sugar melts, stirring occasionally. Clip on a candy thermometer to side of the saucepan; turn heat up to high and cook until candy thermometer reads 240 degrees. 

Slowly pour hot mixture into gelatin, beating on low speed with whisk attachment. Turn on high speed; beat for 11 minutes.

Add vanilla and beat one minute more. Pour into prepared baking pan, smoothing with a knife or spatula. Sprinkle reserved sugar/cornstarch mixture over top.  Set aside for six hours or overnight. 

If you’ve used a nonstick pan, you can pull the whole sheet of marshmallows out of the pan and place it on a cutting board. Make sure you reserve the sugar/cornstarch mixture that is loose on top (I just let it fall back into the pan). If your pan isn’t of the nonstick variety, you’ll probably have to cut the marshmallows in the pan.

Cut into one-inch squares and roll each square in the reserved sugar/cornstarch mixture. Store in an airtight container.

2013 — A Year of Hospitality

I’ve collected some favorite photos from my 2013 blog postings. Kelley Hospitality is about heartwarming stories of people, food, family and home, and making others feel good about themselves.

Please join me in remembering 2013 and looking forward to another year of making the ordinary extraordinary.

MorninJamMuffinsDSCN1646