Welcome to The Pink Kitchen.....where life is fashionably delicious!!!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Jalapeno Popper Burgers

I have to hand it to Rachael Ray. I'm not a huge fan of hers, but these burgers are freakin' AMAZING!!! (She makes them as sliders, but I made regular-sized burgers because sliders give me the creeps. Don't ask why!?!?) They are really easy to make and don't even require the regular addition of ketchup, mustard, mayo, etc. These are going to become a staple on my summer dinner menu. I just fired up the grill for the first time since last summer/fall. I love cooking on the grill and was so excited to make these. They definitely did not disappoint! 

Jalapeno Popper Burgers (altered from Rachael Ray recipe)


2 large, fresh jalapeno peppers
Olive oil, for drizzling
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
2 Tbsp grated onion
1 large garlic clove, minced
Salt and pepper
1/2 tsp cumin
1 1/4 lb lean ground beef
1 block sharp cheddar cheese, thinly sliced
1 package pita bread


1. Preheat grill on medium heat while preparing ingredients. 
2. Add grated onion, garlic, salt, pepper, and cumin to softened cream cheese and stir to blend. Set aside.
3. Form ground beef into patties; whatever size you like. I made 5 average size burgers. Place on grill over medium heat and close lid.
4. Core and seed jalapeno peppers using the handle of a spoon or fillet knife. Slice into rings. Heat a drizzle of olive oil over medium heat and cook peppers until slightly blackened and tender.
5. Once burgers appear to be cooked half-way through, flip them over. Place a dollop of the cream cheese mixture in the middle and top with a slice or two of the sharp cheddar cheese. Close grill lid and continue to cook for about 5 more minutes until burgers are done and cheese is melted.
6. Once burgers are off the grill, top with cooked jalapenos. I put the burgers on whole wheat pita bread (cut to size with a biscuit cutter) instead of hamburger rolls. I liked this so much more, but rolls would be fine, too!

Hope you like these burgers as much as I do! Oh, and what do you guys think of my new apron? :)
People driving by my house probably crack up when they see me outside grilling in a pink apron! Haha! Oh, and just to clarify, I don't only cook for shoes. I also cook for handbags, makeup, and jewelry! ;)

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Breakfast for Dinner

Breakfast for dinner? Sure, why not?! I'm a big fan of breakfast food and would eat it any time of day. Plus I was looking for an excuse to try out my brand new All-Clad griddle pan (which I love, by the way). French toast is still my all-time favorite, but pancakes have grown on me over the years. I decided to make pancakes from scratch after using Bisquick and other mixes in the past. You won't believe the difference a little fresh egg can make! This is a basic recipe, but can be switched up by adding blueberries or chocolate chips. I decided to top mine with some blueberry syrup. YUM!

Classic Pancakes


1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup milk or almond milk (original or vanilla)
2 Tbsp canola oil
1 egg


1. Whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a small bowl.
2. In a separate bowl, whisk together milk, oil and egg.
3. Add flour mixture to egg mixture and stir just to moisten- a few lumps are fine.
4. Cook pancakes on a griddle over medium heat. You'll know it's time to flip them when little air bubbles form along the outside.

I am hooked on this Blueberry Syrup by Stonewall Kitchens. You can buy it at Reading China and Glass in Reading, PA or at Gardner's Chocolates and Gift Shop in Pennsburg, PA. It's delicious drizzled on pancakes, waffles, french toast, or ice cream.

P.M.S. Cake

As promised, here's Ina Garten's FABULOUS chocolate cake recipe. To me, it's the perfect solution to a wicked P.M.S. chocolate craving! That's why I have renamed it "P.M.S. Cake". Believe me, it will make you happy!

Chocolate "P.M.S." Cake


Butter for greasing the pans
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pans
2 cups sugar
3/4 cup cocoa powder
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 cup buttermilk, shaken
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 cup freshly brewed hot coffee
Chocolate frosting (recipe below)


1. Preheat oven to 350 degree. Butter two 8-inch round cake pans. Line with parchment paper, then butter and flour the pans.
2. Sift the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into the bowl of an electric mixer. Mix on low until combined. In another bowl, combine buttermilk, oil, eggs, and vanilla. With mixer on low speed, slowly add wet ingredients to the dry. Add hot coffee and mix until combined.

3. Pour batter into prepared pans and bake for 35-40 minutes until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool in the pans for 30 minutes, then turn out onto a cooling rack and cool completely.

Chocolate Frosting


6 ounces good semisweet chocolate (I used Ghiradelli)
1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 large egg yolk, at room temperature
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups sifted confectioners' sugar
1 Tbsp instant coffee powder


1. Chop the chocolate and place in a heat-proof bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Stir until just melted and set aside until cooled to room temperature.

2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat butter on medium-high speed until light yellow and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add egg yolk and vanilla and continue beating for 3 minutes. 
3. Turn mixer on low and gradually add confectioners' sugar, scraping down bowl as necessary, until smooth and creamy.
4. Dissolve the coffee powder in 2 teaspoons of the hottest tap water. On low speed, add the chocolate and coffee to the butter mixture and mix until blended. Don't whip! Spread immediately on the cooled cake. (For less intense coffee/mocha flavor in the icing, decrease coffee powder to 1 tsp.)

To frost the cake:

1. Place four small rectangular pieces of wax paper along the outsides of the cake stand to keep it from getting messy. Place one layer, flat side up, on cake stand.

2. With a knife or offset spatula, spread the top with frosting.

3. Place the second layer on top, rounded side up.

4. Spread frosting evenly on the top and sides of cake. Remove wax paper by pulling slowly.

5. DIG IN!!!!!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Tuna Tapas

"Tapas" is the word for a variety of appetizers, or snacks, in Spanish cuisine. They can be either warm or cold. In Spain, dinner is typically served between 9 and 11pm, which leaves a large period of time between work and dinner. It is common for tapas to be served during this time. I could eat tapas as a meal, since I like to eat small bites of different kinds of food in one sitting. One of my favorite restaurants, Viva, is a tapas lounge located in Reading, PA. They have amazing tapas there, in particular the Bacon-Wrapped Mediterranean Dates and the French Baked Brie Puff. Yum! This is a great place to go if you want fabulous tapas and cocktails. (Their main menu has great selections as well!) This recipe, eaten cold, can be served as tapas or as a meal. 

Tuna Shells with Tomato-Caper Relish


10 pasta shells 
1 lemon (1 tsp zest, 1 Tbsp juice)
2 cans white albacore tuna in water, drained
1/2 c mayo
2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
1/4 small onion, finely chopped (or substitute onion powder or Tastefully Simple Onion Onion, about 2 tsp)
3 Tbsp caper, drained
1 tsp ground black pepper
2 medium vine-ripened tomatoes


1. Cook pasta shells according to package. Set aside to cool.  
2. Combine 1 tsp lemon zest, tuna, mayo, 1 Tbsp. parsley, onion, 1 Tbsp capers, 1/2 tsp pepper. Spoon tuna filling into cooled pasta shells (about 1 heaping Tbsp per shell).
3. For the relish, core and seed the tomatoes, then finely dice. Combine tomatoes, 1 Tbsp lemon juice, 1 Tbsp parsley, 2 Tbsp capers, and 1/2 tsp black pepper. Garnish eat tuna-stuffed shell with about 1 Tbsp of relish. Serve cold.

Alissa's notes: Be sure to drain the tuna very well, so the filling is not watery. Also, cook a few extra pasta shells since a few usually tear during boiling. The capers add saltiness to this dish, so if you choose to omit them, you may want to add extra salt. Here is the website for Viva Good Life Bistro: www.vivagoodlife.com

The Best of Ina

I'm a huge fan of Ina Garten from the show "Barefoot Contessa" on The Food Network channel. I love her show and I really love her cookbooks. Most of the time, I can rely on her show to give me great recipe ideas without all kinds of crazy, hard-to-find ingredients. Her dinner recipes are good, but her dessert recipes are even better! I love chocolate as much as the next girl, but sometimes I get a craving for something lemon. This lemon cake is so dense and rich, almost like a heavy pound cake. You don't even need a mixer to make this!

Lemon Yogurt Cake (recipe by Ina Garten)


1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 c plain whole-milk yogurt
1 1/3 c sugar, divided
3 large eggs
2 tsp grated lemon zest (2 lemons)
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 c vegetable oil
1/3 c freshly squeezed lemon juice

For the glaze:

1 c confectioners' sugar
2 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour loaf pan. Line the bottom with parchment paper.

2. Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt into one bowl. In another bowl, whisk together yogurt, 1 c sugar, eggs, lemon zest, and vanilla. Slowly whisk the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. With a rubber spatula, fold the vegetable oil into the batter, making sure it's all incorporated. Pour batter into prepared pan.

3. Bake for 50-60 minutes, or until a cake tester/toothpick placed in the center comes out clean. Meanwhile, combine the 1/3 c lemon juice and remaining 1/3 c sugar in a small bowl.

4. Heat lemon juice and sugar in a small sauce pan over low heat until the sugar dissolves.

5. When the cake is done, allow it to cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Then remove from pan and place on a cooling rack over a cookie sheet. While the cake is still warm, pour the lemon sugar mixture over the cake and allow to soak in. Cool.

6. For the glaze, combine confectioners' sugar and lemon juice and drizzle or pour over cooled cake. (I omitted this step. This cake was sweet enough on it's own.)

So moist, delicious, and half-way gone!

Stay tuned for an AMAZING chocolate cake recipe from Ina coming soon!