Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Beer & Chili Party

Last year we celebrated the 1st annual Cleveland Beer Week with the Bacon and Beer Party.  This year we celebrated with a potluck Beer and Chili party (sadly nobody showed up in an unexpected costume this year).  We had a deliciously wide variety of beers and three different chili recipes to sample.  I did not make chili, but I did make corn muffinssugar cookie bars and pumpkin cupcakes.  In case you hadn't seen it though, here is my recipe for chili.

The food was good and the company was great!  I'm looking forward to our next gathering.

This first chili was of the vegetarian variety which was chock full of corn and an assortment of beans.

The second one was what I think of as a more traditional chili with a tomato base, ground beef, sausage and beans.

The third chili was another tomato base, but this one was smoky and spicy.  It was made with ground beef, bacon, beer (stout) and sausage.

My favorite was actually a combination of the first two.  The vegetarian chili was super thick and the more traditional one had more liquid than I would typically like in my chili.  However, when the two were mixed together, it was a great flavor combination and texture.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Pumpkin Cupcakes

Autumn is my favorite time of year!  I love to bake with pumpkin, but Kevin is not the biggest fan so I have to save those recipes for group situations.  I've made these pumpkin cupcakes twice already this fall.  The first time was to celebrate my sister and my dad's birthdays while I was home for my cousin's wedding (Congrats Meg and Eric!), and the second time was for our Beer and Chili party.  These cupcakes have a nice, warm flavor and will help fulfill your cravings for pumpkin this season.

Pumpkin Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen
1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature 
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar 
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 3/4 cups flour 
2 tsp baking powder 
1 tsp baking soda 
1 tsp ground cinnamon 
1 tsp ground ginger 
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/8 tsp ground cloves 
1/2 tsp salt 
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper 
2 large eggs 
1/2 cup buttermilk mixed with 1 tsp vanilla 
1 1/4 cups canned solid-pack pumpkin
Preheat the oven to 350. Line a cupcake pan with 18 liners.
In a stand mixer, beat the butter and sugars on medium speed until fluffy, about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, salt, and pepper into a medium bowl.
Add the eggs 1 at a time to the mixer, scraping down the sides after each addition. Alternate adding the flour and milk mixtures, beginning and ending with the flour. Beat in the pumpkin until smooth. Scoop the batter among the cupcake liners — you’re looking to get them 3/4 full. Rap the filled pans once on the counter to release any air bubbles. Bake the cakes until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 20 to 25 minutes. Cool the cupcakes on racks completely.

Cream Cheese Frosting
Two (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened 
1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature 
3 cups confectioners’ sugar
In a stand mixer, beat all the ingredients on medium until fluffy.