Monday, February 20, 2017

A Month-of-Few Ingredients: Knock Your Tops Off Cupcake Frosting

This blog sometimes brings me in contact with wonderful people I have the pleasure of featuring. One such is author Leighann Dobbs who writes culinary mysteries and a whole passel of other genres. Check out her website. I happened on her by lucky accident and am in the process of reading her many works.

The first book in her “Lexy Baker Cozy Mystery” series is Killer Cupcakes. In the book Lexy has to solve the murder of her ex while running her bakery. She is suspected of killing the ex with poison in her signature bakery item, frosted cupcake tops. The book has the recipe  for chocolate espresso cupcakes and frosting. The cupcakes have too many ingredients for this month’s theme, but the vanilla butter frosting is delicious and does fit the criteria. Make the cupcakes on your own! Very good!

Unfortunately for you readers, I am not a cake decorator. Not only do I have to apologize for my photographic skills but also for my decorating non-talent. Apologies to Lee. Your recipe deserves better!

I have an embarrassing confession. This frosting is so good that I almost licked the empty bowl. I kept scraping up those little lines of frosting and eating them as I scraped. This recipe is my new forever-frosting. I can see me adding some Bailey’s Irish Cream, black cocoa powder, or some chocolate shavings. This frosting will take me through to the end of my baking days.

Knock Your Tops Off Cupcake Frosting (frosts 24 cupcakes)
2 sticks butter
3 ½ cups confectioner’s sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste (can use vanilla extract)

Bake 24 cupcakes of your choice allow them to cool while you make the frosting

Cream the butter, confectioner’s sugar and salt.

Mix cream and vanilla paste and add little at time to butter mixture to desired consistency.

Cut off the tops of the cooled cupcakes right where the cupcake top meets the liner. I used a serrated bread knife. Frost the tops and refrigerate if not serving right away.

I cut off the tops and then experimented with fresh baked cupcake tops and ones that sat couple of hours. It was easier (for me) to frost the dryer cupcake tops because it was easier for me to handle them. I did keep some cupcakes intact.

DH’s Rating: 5 Tongues Up   He had a split reaction. He loved the frosting, but he wanted it on the whole cupcake. He didn’t like the proportion of cupcake to frosting. So, the next night I put a whole frosted cupcake on his dessert plate. He said, “Is it allowed to have two?” You betcha. He ate two whole cupcakes, which he never does!

If you liked this recipe, I’d really appreciate you spreading the word on your social media outlets. Here are some pre-made Twitter and Facebook posts you can use or modify.

Tweet: KILLER CUPCAKES frosting #recipe from @LeighannDobbsBooks on @Good2Tweat’s blog

Facebook: Are you someone who loves the cupcake top more than the whole cupcake? Try cupcake tops with this delicious frosting from Leighann Dobbs’ Killer Cupcakes culinary mystery.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

A Month-of-Few Ingredients: Salmon Tacos

At my house, the thinking is “cook once, eat it again and again in new ways”. That means fixing larger amounts than needed for one meal. You do it, too, I know. It’s smart. It’s economical for time. And it gives you a chance to flex that “creative cook gene” a bit.

One of our favorite ways to re-purpose (so much better than calling it leftovers, right?) is with grilled salmon. Sometimes it becomes part of my world-famous (okay, only locally-famous) quiche.

Another way to use the extra salmon DH grilled using my citrus marinade is in fish tacos. We sometimes use hard shells I make by baking them at 400 degrees for a few minutes nestled between the upside down cups of a muffin tin until they get hard. They’re not the even shape of store bought, but they’re fresher.

But most of the time, we eat the salmon tacos on soft flour or corn tortillas. Delicious either way. Here’s how I make my five-minute salmon tacos:

Salmon Tacos (serves 3-4)

2 large salmon filets, already grilled
¾ cup salsa
1 ½ cups coleslaw mix
2 tablespoons cole slaw dressing (sometimes I use poppyseed dressing)

Put coleslaw mix in a small bowl and toss with dressing. Set aside.

Put salsa into small skillet and heat. Break up salmon into small chunks and toss into the skillet.

Stir around until all pieces are coated and bubbly. Remove from heat.

Spoon salmon onto tortillas and top with coleslaw. Eat and enjoy!

As with most of our Southwest meals, I serve this with black beans and Mexicorn.

You can add cheese, tomatoes, or any other ingredient you put on tacos, but we like them like this. In this recipe, you could use salmon cooked another way, but we like the flavor that grilling adds to the salmon.

DH’s Rating: 5 Tongues Up  “I feel so virtuous when I have salmon tacos. My heart is so healthy.”  He talks like that sometimes.

If you liked this recipe, I’d really appreciate you spreading the word on your social media outlets. Here are some pre-made Twitter and Facebook posts you can use or modify.

Tweet: Salmon tacos are good for you, low-cal, and a healthful-fat way to eat dinner. See #recipes from @Good2Tweat at

Facebook:  See Parsley, Sage, and Rosemary Time for a salmon taco recipe you can make in less than five minutes using cooked salmon. Check out Sharon Arthur Moore’s take on this healthful taco at

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Month-of-Few Ingredients: Water Infusions

I am not a water drinker. This is a problem, given I live in the desert southwest. Now, I will drink water with certain restrictions. Because I know it’s good for me. Because my health matters. But I have to remind myself to do so. DH is a huge water drinker. Out of the tap, even. Ugh!

When I remember, I put a container of water next to my desk. That helps. Unless, I get so involved in writing that I don’t remember to sip. I mean, I get so involved sometimes my coffee is cold before I remember to drink it. And I LOVE coffee in the morning.

But back to my restrictions: For me to drink water it has to be really cold, and the water has to have flavor. Not chlorine! Yuck! We use a water filtration so I take the taste of tap water out of my drink. But then, I put good flavors back in.

What kind of flavor then? Well, I put “stuff” into my water. One of my writing partners, Annie Weissman, gave me an infuser water container. Unfortunately, it is not handy right now, but at the top is a stock photo that is similar. You put strawberries (or something) in the basket in the middle, fill with water, and then drink it. Yum. I can do that. Over and over. I usually just fill an ugly quart container with ingredients and water. That's why I'm not showing you that. Today I'm drinking orange peel and cucumber.

Sometimes I use a single fruit, herb/spice, or vegetable. I’ll put cucumber in the water or lemon. If I have an orange for lunch, I put the orange peel into a glass and fill it with water. I slice some strawberries and add to water. I drop in some mint leaves. I pick rosemary or basil and crush it a little to release the flavor. See, I don’t need a lot of flavor. Just a little dab will do me.

Here are some recipes for you to try that are a little more adventuresome. Go to the sites below for some gorgeous pictures of water infused with fruits, vegetables, and herbs. You will likely muddle your infusee to release flavors. Muddle means to crush a little. Hopefully, these combinations will encourage you to experiment on your own.

Orange slices with vanilla
Drop an ice cube of frozen juice (cranberry, orange, pear, etc.) into the water
Cinnamon sticks simmered then cooled. Add a few drops to water
Cucumber, lime, strawberry, and mint
Lemon, raspberry, and rosemary
Orange, blueberry, and basil
Lime, ginger root, and basil
Lime and mint
Watermelon, honeydew melon, and mint
Cucumber, mint, and jalapeno
Lemon and thyme
Orange, cinnamon stick, cardamom, and whole cloves
Pear and fennel
Pear and vanilla
Lemon and lavender
Strawberry and mint
Lemon, mint, and cucumber
Watermelon and basil
Blackberry and mint
Apple and cinnamon stick
Mix of citrus-lemon, lime, grapefruit, orange, tangerine, blood orange in any combo
Strawberry and jalapeno
Peach and ginger root
Lemon, lime, and mint

Check out these sites for some more info on nutritional value of water infusions and for more recipes. Then go hunting for others. There’s a lot out there. You could have a different combination every day.

DH’s Rating: 0 Tongues Up  Okay, this was predictable. He doesn’t like anything in his water and seems not to notice all the chemicals in tap water. So, trust me, these are great combinations. He just can’t tell that.

If you liked ideas, I’d really appreciate you spreading the word on your social media outlets. Here are some pre-made Twitter and Facebook posts you can use or modify.

Tweet: Infused waters are delicious, good for you, low cal, no fat ways to get and stay hydrated. See #recipes from @Good2Tweat at

Facebook: Flavored waters made with fruits and vegetables keep you hydrated and provide an extra boost of vitamins and minerals with a low cal, no sugar drink. Drop the sodas and go au naturel. See Parsley, Sage, and Rosemary Time for recipes at

Friday, February 17, 2017

Month-of-Few Ingredients: Nutty Chocolate-Nutella Croissants

Yum! Chocolate and Nutella and nuts. What could be better? If you’d only known, you could have served this at the end of your Valentine’s Day dinner.

Sandy Bremser, one of my writing critique partners is a fan of chocolate croissants. And one of my on-line writing friends, Martha Reynolds wrote a series in which the main character indulges her love of chocolate croissants. And why not? Oozy, gooey chocolate on flaky layers. I repeat. Yum!

I adapted this chocolate croissant recipe from one with two ingredients to make it into four.

And I think the two additional ingredients up the wow factor. You will notice that one of the ingredients is one on my “scared of” list: puff pastry. But since the earlier recipe worked out swell, I decided to give it another go! Besides, the stuff comes two to a box.

To make it easier, these are not rolled up from a triangle, but from a rectangle. The non-conventional shape just adds to the charm, don’t you think?

Nutty Chocolate-Nutella Croissants (makes 4 croissants)

1 frozen puff pastry sheet, thawed per directions
1/3 cup mini-chocolate chips
2 tablespoons Nutella
¼ cup chopped pecans (or walnuts or other nut)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line your baking pan with parchment paper or Silpat sheet.

Open the puff pastry sheet on a floured cutting board and divide into four rectangles.

On the bottom third of each rectangle, place ¼ of the mixture. Fold over the bottom third, then bring the top third down to cover the edge.

Place the croissants on the prepared baking sheet, seam-side down. Bake until golden brown, about 15 minutes. Check the oven after 12 minutes to monitor.

Serve warm or at room temperature, or quickly heat them up the next day for an extra gooey, chocolate croissant.

DH’s Rating: 5 Tongues Up  I like chocolate. DH LOVES chocolate. This was right up his alley!

If you liked this recipe, I’d really appreciate you spreading the word on your social media outlets. Here are some pre-made Twitter and Facebook posts you can use or modify.

Tweet: What’s better than chocolate croissants? This #recipe for EASY Nutty Chocolate-Nutella Croissants by @good2tweat at

Facebook: On Sharon Arthur Moore’s blog, Parsley, Sage, and Rosemary Time, see her easy Nutty Chocolate-Nutella Croissants at

A reminder:
House rules for what counts as an ingredient:
Salt and pepper are not ingredients.
Oil is not an ingredient when it’s for the cooking pan, not the recipe.
Water is not an ingredient.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Month-of-Few Ingredients: Pruney Beef Short Ribs

This recipe for Braised Beef Short Ribs just sounded interesting to me, and the prune juice could be, umm, beneficial to those of a certain age.

Did you know Epicurious has a bunch of 3-ingredient recipes on their site? Check them out for some easy-to-do dishes. As you may know, Epicurious is synonymous with interesting recipes.

I made this one as is, no modifications. I know! Shocking, isn’t it? The directions are as written on the site.

This recipe also allows you to practice your braising skills. Remember, braising is fry first, stew in liquid for hours.

So I called it Pruney Beef Short Ribs because of the obvious ingredient, prune juice. But also, more subtly, you know what happens to your skin when you soak in hot liquid for a while? Voila! You could be doing the second part of braising when you take a bubble bath.

I served this on buttered, parsleyed whole wheat noodles and a salad. Very satisfying.

Braised beef short ribs (serves 6-8)
3 pounds, bone-in beef short ribs
Salt and freshly ground pepper (I used sea salt)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup prune juice
1 cup teriyaki sauce

Preheat oven to 350°F. Season ribs with salt and pepper. Heat oil in a Dutch oven or large ovenproof pot over medium-high. Working in batches if necessary, sear ribs until browned on all sides, 8–10 minutes. Transfer ribs to a plate. 

Drain fat from pot. Add prune juice, teriyaki sauce, and 1 1/2 cups water. Bring to a simmer and return ribs to pot. Cover pot, transfer to oven, and braise until beef is very tender and falling off the bone, 2–3 hours. 

Transfer ribs to a platter. Bring liquid in pot to a boil on stovetop. Cook, uncovered, until liquid is reduced to a glaze, 12–15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper; pour over ribs.

NOTE: Next time, I think I’ll add some cut up “dried plums” (marketing) to the sauce for more texture and taste.

DH’s Rating: Four Tongues Up  Me: “What did you think?” Him: “Tasty.” Me: "I had a secret ingredient. Can you tell what it was?” I told him. He was speechless.

If you liked this recipe, I’d really appreciate you spreading the word on your social media outlets. Here are some pre-made Twitter and Facebook posts you can use or modify.

Tweet: Pruney Beef Short Ribs are MUCH better than the name! This #recipe for dinner tonight by @good2tweat at

Facebook: Have a couple of hours? Fix this in 15 minutes and put in the oven for 2-3 hours. Delicious Pruney Beef Short Ribs on Sharon Arthur Moore’s blog, Parsley, Sage, and Rosemary Time.

A reminder:
House rules for what counts as an ingredient:
Salt and pepper are not ingredients.
Oil is not an ingredient when it’s for the cooking pan, not the recipe.
Water is not an ingredient.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Month-of-Few Ingredients: Mojito Fajita + Cinnamon Crisps

We’re sort of on a roll with Mexican-style foods, eh? Well, we eat a lot of them.

This is such the great meal for those nights when you have no time to cook. If you prepare the meat and veggies the night before (or before you leave for work), you can have dinner on the table in ten to fifteen minutes. And that time is mostly for searing the meat and veggies while warming up the beans and corn!

You might also consider serving this faux Mexican dessert for a light finish to the meal. This is not the cheese crisp of the earlier post, rather, this one is simpler with two ingredients. It simulates the taste of the churro without the work (or shape!).

Cinnamon Crisps
1 pie crust
cinnamon-sugar blend

Sprinkle a cutting board with a cinnamon-sugar mixture.

Lay a homemade (or pre-made) pie crust on top of the cinnamon sugar and press down on the dough to make the cinnamon mixture stick.

Sprinkle the top side of the pie crust with more cinnamon sugar. Cut the pie crust in quarters. Cut each quarter into strips about ½ inch wide.

Separate strips and place on a parchment sheet on a baking pan. Dump the cinnamon sugar from the cutting board on top.

Bake at 375 degrees for about 15 minutes or until golden brown. Put in a bowl to serve warm or cold.

Hey! No dessert until you eat your veggies! But eating them is a cinch and a delight when they are wrapped in a warm tortilla.

Mojito Fajita (makes 6-8 fajitas)

1 pound flank steak, cut into strips
4 tablespoons Mojito Lime seasoning blend (I use McCormick’s), divided
1 large onion, cut into pieces and separated
2 bell peppers-any colors you wish, cut into strips (ribs, seeds discarded)
2 tablespoons olive oil

Put cut up strips of steak in a zipper bag and toss with 2 tablespoons Mojito Lime seasoning blend. Refrigerate for at least two hours, longer is better. Remove from refrigerator one half hour before cooking.

Precut the onions and peppers and toss with the remaining two tablespoons of Mojito Lime seasoning blend. Put in zipper bag. Set aside to infuse flavors at room temperature.

Preheat cast iron skillet or grill pan (indoors or out) on medium-high heat. When hot, immediately add meat and sear (about three minutes). Remove meat to a medium heat part of the grill to continue cooking.

Put veggies on the hottest part of the grill and fry for about 3 minutes. You want them to be al dente. Ladle into warm tortillas with the meat and serve immediately.

We like this with Mexicorn and black beans. A small side salad of lettuce and tomatoes adds a fresh element, if you’ve got room for more veggies.

You can use your own favorite fajita seasoning instead of the Lime Mojito blend.
Lots of people like to add extras to their fajitas. To the basic recipe above, add strips of one poblano pepper to the veggies, if you’d like. On the side, serve your favorite accompaniments like cheese, salsa, plain yogurt/sour cream, tomatoes, and such.

DH’s Rating: Five Tongues Up!  Give the man anything in southwest cuisine, and you can do with him what you want. (BTW, that’s an observation, not an invitation!) He loved that it was spiced but not too hot to enjoy all the different flavors. He also liked that the small amount of lean meat to the proportion of veggies makes this a more healthful dinner entrée. However, he wasn’t satisfied with the dessert. He wanted a bowl of ice cream with a side of cinnamon crisps. Alone, they weren’t enough for him.

If you liked this recipe, I’d really appreciate you spreading the word on your social media outlets. Here are some pre-made Twitter and Facebook posts you can use or modify.

Tweet: Craving pseudo-Mexican tonight? #recipe for easy Mojito Fajita with by @good2tweat at

Tweet: Mexican-inspired cinnamon crisp #recipe from @Good2Tweat at  Not a churro, but a good stand-in with less work.

Facebook: On Sharon Arthur Moore’s blog, Parsley, Sage, and Rosemary Time, see her simple Mojito Fajitas and Cinnamon Crisps at

A reminder:
House rules for what counts as an ingredient:
Salt and pepper are not ingredients.
Oil is not an ingredient when it’s for the cooking pan, not the recipe.

Water is not an ingredient.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Month-of-Few Ingredients: Have a Heart (Healthy) Dinner

Ah, that time of year again! Time for love and flowers and chocolate and sappy cards. Sigh. Do visions of cupid’s arrows dance in your head?

Okay, I did my bit to support America’s insane marketing of a holiday of which most of know little to nothing. If you’re curious for the real story, here’s a link to Saint Valentine on America’s encyclopedia, Wikileaks. Oops, sorry, Wikipedia.

I wish, instead of a focus on the ephemeral flowers and candy, we could celebrate instead the Martin Luther King, Jr. quote that is making the Internet rounds.
Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. 
Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.

If only Valentine’s Day were about love, and not just the trappings. But you didn’t come here for a treatise. You want food. And I got food!

And what did I pick for you? In honor of the color-of-the-month, red, we’re fixing salmon. Now it might look like Christmas because I almost always serve this salmon recipe on a bed of steamed spinach, but trust me. This is for a heart-healthy Valentine’s Day.

First, buy a couple of nice fresh salmon pieces for you and your sweetie. Then marinate the salmon for a couple of hours, turning several times to coat all sides. The juice is a citric acid, so there is some chemical cooking going on during marination. Don’t marinate too long or your fish will start to fall apart.

After grilling the salmon, I nestle it into a bed of steamed spinach. A side dish of quinoa and brown rice makes for a lovely meal.

Citrus Marinade for Salmon for Two
½ cup orange juice
1 minced garlic clove
1 tablespoon grated ginger (I like the ginger paste from Gourmet Garden)
1 tablespoon lemon grass (I like the lemon grass paste from the same folks)
3 tablespoons soy sauce

Discard sauce after marination and grill.

A healthful and light dinner like this one deserves an elegant dessert, right? And to keep with the red and healthful theme, let’s do Chocolate Covered Strawberries, the grown-up way. Boozy Chocolate Strawberries can be left as is, or they can be decorated to make them fancier. These strawberries are NOT to share with children. Here’s my version of the recipe. On the site, they suggest various alcohols to soak the berries in.

Sherried Chocolate Strawberries
6-8 strawberries, biggest you can find
2 cups cream sherry (I like Harvey’s Bristol Cream)
3 ½ ounces of the darkest chocolate you can find (at least 72%)

Rinse the strawberries and pat dry. Place in large bowl. Cover the berries with the cream sherry. Keep berries submerged.

Cover the bowl and refrigerate for at least 12 hours.

Drain the berries in a sieve. You can use the liquid as a part of a cocktail or toss.

Put the berries on a paper towel and blot dry so the chocolate will adhere. Let berries sit on a clean towel for at least five minutes.

While the berries are drying out, finely chop the chocolate and place in the top of a double boiler with hot water on a medium heat burner. Stir continually as the chocolate melts.

Line a baking tray with parchment paper. Holding the strawberry by the stem, dip each into the chocolate, about ¾ of the way. Swirl the berry to coat with chocolate. Hold over the chocolate pan to allow the excess to drip off. Place berry on the parchment paper and repeat the process.

You can drizzle melted white chocolate if you wish. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

DH’S Rating: 5 Tongues Up! Way Up! Him: “This salmon is always good.” Me: “You grill it so well.” Him: “We’re a good team.” Me: “What about dessert?” Him: “Just right.”

If you enjoyed these recipes, please share my blog site with others through your social media outlets. You can copy and use these blurbs or create your own. Thank you.

Twitter: Citrus Marinated Salmon #recipe from @Good2Tweat on Parsley, Sage, and Rosemary Time at

Twitter: Sherried Chocolate Strawberries #recipe from @Good2Tweat on Parsley, Sage, and Rosemary Time at

Facebook: There’s still time to make this salmon dinner for your sweetheart tonight. Check out the Citrus Marinade and Sherried Berries on Sharon Arthur Moore’s Parsley, Sage, and Rosemary Time blog at

A reminder:
House rules for what counts as an ingredient:
Salt and pepper are not ingredients.
Oil is not an ingredient when it’s for the cooking pan, not the recipe.
Water is not an ingredient.