Thursday, September 18, 2008

Mini's Cupcakes

Minis Cupcakes.JPG

After earning good marks on a cholesterol test this week I decided to celebrate--and nothing says celebrate to me like frosting and sprinkles. These little lovelies from Mini's Cupcakes pack plenty of party but little guilt.

I first fell in love with Mini's Cupcakes last summer when they had a booth at the Salt Lake Farmers Market. Now housed in a downtown Salt Lake City storefront--complete with candy-striped walls and sassy "Change your cup size" T-Shirts--Mini's has come a long way from their days of selling cupcakes out of coolers.

Back Row (Left to right): S'more Please(Marshmallow meringue on a chocolate cake) Snowball (coconut) and Breakfast at Tiffany's (blue cream cheese frosting on a vanilla cake). Front Row (Left to right) another S'more Please (so the other one wouldn't feel lonely) Blueberry Hill (Cream cheese frosting on a blueberry cake) and my personal favorite, Lemon Pie (lemon meringue on a lemon cake).

At $2 each half a dozen cupcakes will run you $12.36, but with fine ingredients like Madagascar Vanilla and fresh roasted coffee, you get what you pay for.

- K

Mini's Cupcakes
14 East (Between Main and State) 800 South
Salt Lake City, UT 84111

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Monday, September 08, 2008

Tagliatelle Bolognese


White shoes and seersucker are off limits and the sun is setting far too early in the evening: Fall is close upon us, whether we are ready for it or not.

One positive result of the shift in season is that we begin revisiting heartier dishes we bid adieu during the summer. This Tagliatelle Bolognese, courtesy of The Food Network's Tyler Florence, is a favorite that when prepped on the weekend, makes for a very easy week of leftovers.

2 ounces dried porcini mushrooms, wiped of grit
1/4 pound pancetta or slab bacon, finely chopped
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 celery stalks, finely chopped
2 carrots, finely chopped
5 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
2 bay leaves
2 sprigs rosemary
1 1/2 pound ground pork
1 1/2 pound ground beef
2 cups milk
1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
2 cups dry red wine
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 pound dry tagiatelle pasta
Freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, for serving
1 handful fresh basil leaves
Fresh ricotta cheese

Reconstitute the mushrooms in boiling water for 20 minutes until tender, drain and coarsely chop.

Puree the mushrooms, pancetta, onion, celery stalks, carrots, garlic, together in a blender.

In a heavy-bottomed pot add olive oil, bay leaves, herbs and cook gently until fragrant, then add vegetable puree and continue to cook for a further 5 to 10 minutes.

Raise the heat a bit and add the ground pork and beef; brown until the meat is no longer pink, breaking up the clumps with a wooden spoon. Add the milk and simmer until the liquid is evaporated, about 10 minutes. Carefully pour in the tomatoes, and wine and season with salt and pepper. Bring the sauce to a boil, then lower the heat and cover. Slowly simmer for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, stirring now and then, until the sauce is very thick. Taste again for salt and pepper.

When you are ready to serve, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, add the pasta and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente. Drain the pasta well and toss with the Bolognese sauce.

Serve with a good scoop of fresh ricotta cheese and garnish with some shredded basil, grated Parmigiano and a drizzle of olive oil. (We didn't have any ricotta this time so we substituted fresh mozzarella.)

This dish doesn't make it any easier to get out of bed on these cooler mornings, but it does inspire thoughts of leaves crunching underfoot and plenty of red wine.

- K