Saturday, April 25, 2009


On April 22, 2009 (Wednesday), my day was totally dedicated to Bobby Flay.
First, I drove to Bobby’s Burger Palace in Eatontown, New Jersey for lunch.
The restaurant is located in Monmouth Mall.
I enjoyed the “Blue Burger” with Sweet Potato Fries. It was fantastic!

I then headed northbound to Bobby’s book signing at William Sonoma in Short Hills Mall.
I arrived around 2:30pm for a 5pm book signing.
I made new friends while waiting on line…we had a great time!
William Sonoma employees passed out miniature burgers with garlic pesto to all.

When it was finally my turn to get my book signed by Bobby, I gave him a big hug and I even got a photo with him…I am sooo happy!!

I took a video so that you can see Bobby in action. (go to end of post)

It was a fabulous day...I will always remember it!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Bobby Flay's book signing 4/22/09 at William Sonoma at Short Hills Mall (NJ)

* Don't miss the three BURGER RECIPES at the end of this post.

I love baking...and cooking. I watch the Food Network Show for inspiration.
Bobby Flay has several shows on the Food Network.

Bobby Flay will be at William Sonoma at the Short Hills Mall in New Jersey for a book signing on April 22, 2009 from 5pm to 7pm.

Bobby has a new book out, BOBBY FLAY'S BURGERS, FRIES & SHAKES. I've got my copy and am ready for him to sign it! Oh Yeah!

He also owns several restaurants such as Mesa Grill, Bolo, Bar Americain, and Bobby's Burger Palace.

He is married to beautiful actress Stephanie March.

Fire up your barbecue grills and enjoy your burgers!

* * * * * * * HERE ARE SOME RECIPES YOU CAN ENJOY * * * * * * *

Serves 4

This is the "house" burger at Bobby's Burger Palace.
It's a basic burger (I like it garnished with red onion, tomato, romaine lettuce and horseradish mustard) with CRUNCH.
The crunch factor comes from a big handful of potato chips layered between the burger and bun. Some of you may have added chips to your sandwiches as kids, and if people ever told you that you were nuts, I'm here to say that you're not!
Oozing melted cheese becomes a part of the chips, and those crunchy chips become a part of the burger-delicious.
I love getting a mouthful of juicy burger and salty, crispy potato chips in one bite; it's a way to get a true contrast of textures into your cheeseburger.
In fact, I make it an option to have all of the burgers at Bobby's Burger Palaces "crunchified."

1 1/2 pounds ground chuck (80% lean) or ground turkey (90% lean)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 tablespoons canola oil
8 slices American cheese, each 1/4 thick
4 potato hamburger buns, split; toasted if desired
4 slices beefsteak tomato (optional)
4 leaves romaine lettuce (optional)
4 slices red onion (optional)
Horseradish mustard mayonnaise, optional
4 handfuls of potato chips

1. Divide the meat into 4 equal portions (about 6 ounces each). Form each portion loosely into a 3/4-inch-thick burger and make a deep depression in the center with your thumb. Season both sides of each burger with salt and pepper.

2. Cook the burgers, using the oil and topping each one with two slices of cheese and a basting cover during the last minute of cooking.

3. Place the burgers on the bun bottoms and, if desired, top with tomato, lettuce, onion and a dollop of horseradish mustard mayonnaise.

Pile on the potato chips, top with the bun tops, and serve immediately.

Serves 4

Arthur Avenue in the Bronx is where you'll find NYC's most authentic Southern Italian fare.
It's the place to go when you want the real deal, from great eggplant Parmesan to baked ziti to mouth- watering Italian sandwiches.
This burger, with its crispy frico made from nutty fontina cheese, and a garlic- and chili-infused ketchup, is my ode to that neighborhood

1 tablespoon olive oil 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/4 teaspoon red chili flakes
3/4 cup ketchup
2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh oregano leaves
2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh basil leaves
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

3/4 cup grated fontina cheese
2 teaspoons all-purpose flour

1 1/2 pound ground chuck (80% lean) or ground turkey (90% lean)
Kosher salt, freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 tablespoons canola oil

4 ciabatta rolls or sesame seed buns, split; toasted if desired

1. To make the ketchup, heat the oil in a small nonreactive saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic and chili flakes and cook for 1 minute. Add ketchup and oregano and cook for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the vinegar and basil and season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a bowl and let cool to room temperature or cover and refrigerate for up to 1 day. Bring to room temp before serving.

2. To make fricos, combine cheese and flour in a bowl. Heat an 8-inch nonstick pan over medium-high heat. Add 3 tablespoons of cheese mixture and cook until light brown on the bottom. Turn over with heat-proof silicone spatula and continue cooking for another 10 to 15 seconds. Remove to a plate to cool. Wipe out the pan with a paper towel and repeat to make 3 more fricos.

3. Divide the meat into 4 equal portions (about 6 ounces each). Form each portion loosely into 3/4-inch-thick burgers and make deep depression in the center with your thumb. Season both sides of each burger with salt and pepper. cook the burgers, using the oil.

4. Place the burgers on the bun bottoms. Add some of the arugula to each burger, top with the fricos and then add a dollop of the ketchup.

Top with the bun tops and serve immediately.

Serves 4

Flavorful Kalamata olives are blended into a spread for the bun, and this combo wouldn't be Greek without some salty feta cheese and ripe tomato.
You might not be as familiar with tzatziki, but this tangy blend of thick yogurt, pungent garlic and grated fresh cucumber is a staple in Greek cuisine.

1/2 cup Greek yogurt
1/4 cup grated cucumber
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cup pitted Kalamata olives
2 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano leaves, plus more for garnish
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 pounds ground chuck (80% lean) or ground turkey (90% lean)
1 1/2 tablespoons canola oil
1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese, plus sliced feta cheese for garnish (optional)
4 hamburger buns, split; toasted if desired
1/2 ripe beefsteak tomatoes, chopped

1. Whisk together the yogurt, cucumber and garlic in a small bowl, and season with salt and pepper. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or up to 8 hours before serving to allow the flavors to meld.

2. Combine the olives, oregano and olive oil in a food processor and process until smooth. The olive paste can be made up to 1 day ahead, covered and refrigerated. Bring to room temperature before using.

3. Divide the meat into 4 equal portions (about 6 ounces each). Form each portion loosely into a 3/4-inch-thick burger and make a deep depression in the center with your thumb. Season both sides of each burger with salt and pepper.

4. Cook the burgers, using the canola oil and topping each one with crumbled feta cheese and basting cover during the last minute of cooking.

5. Place the burgers on the bun bottoms and spoon some of the yogurt sauce and olive paste over the burgers. Top with chopped tomato, sliced feta, if desired, and oregano.

Cover with the bun tops and serve immediately.

Monday, April 20, 2009

My Chocolate Fix...with a glass of milk

Recipe courtesy of Martin Howard
NY Pastry Chef & Graduate of CIA

I opted on not making the violet buttercream.

This changed the level of this recipe from difficult to EASY! You can't go wrong with that!

I use the jumbo size cupcake liner. So, the yield will be approximately 16-18 cupcakes.

This cupcake was moist, tender, delicious and a great compliment with a glass of milk.

Chocolate Devil's Food Cupcakes
• Cook Time 40 min
• Level Difficult
• Yield 36 medium-sized cupcakes

Prep 45 min
Inactive Prep--
Cook 40 min
Total: 1 hr 25 min

• 3/4 cup boiling water
• 3/4 cup cocoa powder
• 6 ounces butter
• 2 cups sugar
• 1 teaspoon fine salt
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 3 eggs
• 2 1/2 cups cake flour
• 1 teaspoon baking soda
• 1 teaspoon baking powder
• 1 cup buttermilk
• Ganache, recipe follows
• Violet Buttercream, recipe follows

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Whisk together boiling water and cocoa.
Cover and set aside.
With a mixer, cream together the butter, sugar, salt and vanilla extract.
Add the eggs, 1 at a time, and continue creaming until light and fluffy.
Sift together the flour, baking soda and baking powder and add this mixture, alternately with the buttermilk.
Add cocoa and water mixture and mix until thoroughly combined.
Scoop into cupcake pans and bake for 20 to 25 minutes.

Let cool completely before decorating.
Dip tops of cooled cupcakes in the warm ganache and let set.
Pipe more ganache on top for decoration.

To fill, put buttercream in a pastry bag with a small round tip.
Stick tip into the center of each cupcake and pipe in filling.
Be careful not to pipe too much or you will break the cupcake.

8 ounces chocolate
3/4 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons butter
Chop chocolate and place in a stainless steel or glass bowl.
Bring cream and sugar just to a boil in a small saucepan and then pour over chocolate.
Whisk together and then stir in butter until melted.

Violet Buttercream:
4 ounces egg whites
6 ounces sugar
8 ounces butter, cut into small pieces, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon violet essence
Violet food coloring

Whisk together the egg whites and sugar in a stainless steel bowl.
Place bowl in a water bath set over low heat.
Whisk occasionally until sugar is dissolved and mixture is very warm, about 150 degrees F. Remove from water bath and whip with a hand-held mixer on high speed until stiff peaks.
Lower speed and add the butter in small pieces.
Add vanilla and violet essence and mix until smooth.
Add violet color, 1 drop at a time, until desired shade is reached.
Use to fill cupcakes as directed above.



Saturday, April 11, 2009

Karren & Rob's New Bundle of Joy ~ Brandon

Karren & Rob's new baby,
Brandon was born on March 15, 2009 weighing in at 7 pounds, 8 ounces.

They are great neighbors of mine...Congrats to the new mom & dad...

In celebration of little Brandon, I baked Karren & Rob a cake...

Karren & Rob met at a baseball game.

They dated for four years.

They tied the knot on September 29.

Karren & Rob are young professionals...

Karren is a Pediatric Nurse &

Rob is a High School Teacher and a Football Coach.

I gave Brandon a card and a cd with beautiful

lullaby music he can listen to...

from Joy of

I added the almonds for interest...

Karren & Rob &'s great having neighbors like you!

Love & Peace,

Monday, April 6, 2009

April cupcakes for the Easter Holiday

Easter is a great opportunity to bake.
So, I fired up my oven and starting baking...CUPCAKES!

A cupcake with a special surprise inside...a STRAWBERRY.
The cupcake is adorned with a lime glaze icing and topped with a sprinkling of colored sugar. It makes for a simple, easy & delicious sweet nibble.

I found this recipe on the Food Network website. This cupcake is at its best eaten a few hours after being baked. The day after, the cupcake is not as moist. So...if you have a favorite moist cake recipe, use it instead.

by Barefoot Contessa (Ina Garten)

Here is another recipe which is fabulous! It's also great for Easter Holiday baking. You can embelish the cupcakes in an easter theme.

The S E C R E T to making these great: don't overmix the batter when adding the flour & buttermilk alternately.

My passions: Baking ~ Music ~ Singing & Playing Guitar

I have been involved in music all of my life. I sang and played guitar in church and for wedding ceremonies and various functions. I had made coconut cupcakes for the group that I sang with in the Easter Season last year.

front row: Elizabeth (Soprano), Me! Carmen (Alto), Rebecca (Soprano)
and tenors, altos, basses in second row
Ray, Choir Director, on the right

Click on song title... Sit back...
Enjoy one of my favorite songs by Scott Soper.

By Scott Soper

I know that my Redeemer lives, the One who calls me home.
I long to see God face to face, to see with my own eyes.

I know that my Redeemer lives, that I shall rise again.
I know that my Redeemer lives, that I shall rise again.

I know that I shall one day see the goodness of the Lord,
when God will wipe away our tears, and death will be no more.


The last day I shall rise again, shall be remade like God.
My home shall be by God’s own side, the dying, rising Lord.


....................Text: Based on Job 19; Psalm 27; Isaiah 25

Bake for those you love, Peace...Carmen




Thank You.

~ Carmen Ortiz - blogger (Baking is my Zen)