Archived entries for funny food

Elmo Cupcakes!

Elmo is toddler crack.  I’ve never been the biggest fan.  I find his high pitched baby talk annoying of enough but add to that his way of always referring to himself in the 3rd person, and I just want to punch him in his red furry face.  HOWEVER, my daughter, Thora, cannot get enough of him.  I tried, and failed to keep her away from him.  But its pointless.  She LOOOOVES ELMO!  Ok, fine.  At least Elmo is not as bad as Baby Bear.

Saturday was Thora’s second birthday and I decided to make her supremely happy by combining two of her favorite things: cupcakes and Elmo!  I’m not going to take credit for this idea (its been done many times before) but it was a fun project, so I thought I would share my how-to. Everything about these cupcakes are red, from the red velvet cupcakes, to the red royal icing and the red cupcake holders.  Get ready to have red hands for the rest of the week.

Elmo Cupcakes
makes 32

Red Velvet Cupcakes:

  • 2 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 2 c. sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 c. sour cream
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 (1 ounce) red Food Color
  • 2 tsp vanilla

 Royal Icing

  • 2 large egg whites
  • 4 cups confectioners sugar
  • 1 Tbs lemon juice
  • 1/8 tsp. cream of tartar (optional)
  • 1 ounce red dye for icing

Elmo decorations

  • small marshmallows for eyes
  • black food color or cake gel for eyes
  • orange peanut m&ms for nose
  • oreos for mouth
  • Red food color for icing
  • pastry bag and large star tip

To make the cupcakes:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix dry ingredients and set aside.  Using an electric hand or stand mixer, cream butter and sugar together.  Add eggs one at a time into mixture, beating after each one.  Mix red food dye into milk.  Add milk, sour cream and vanilla, beat into mixture.  Gradually add dry ingredients, beat until mixed.

Place red cupcake holders into pans.  Fill cupcake holders 2/3 way full.  (An ice cream scoop works well for this.)

Bake for 20-25 minutes until cupcakes test done.  Allow to cool on wire rack.

Make Royal Icing

Beat egg whites until firm peaks form; about 5 minutes.

Add sugar, tartar and lemon.  Beat.  We want a firm frosting.  You may want to add more sugar or egg white to get the right consistency.  Add red dye to get the color desired.  I used the frosting dye because it is more like a gel and will not add extra moisture to the frosting.  If you are using the liquid dye, you will need extra sugar to make up for the added moisture.  Keep covered until needed.

Assemble Facial Elements

Eyes: Separate a small amount of frosting into a small bowl.  Add black dye and mix.  Apply a small dot of black frosting to the center of marshmallows to create the eye.

Noses: Separate out orange peanut m&ms and set aside.

Mouth: Spin off tops and bottoms of Oreos. Remove cream filling.  Cut mouths in half.  I actually cut them a bit smaller and discarded the excess.

Assemble Cupcakes

Spread a bit of frosting on top of each cupcake as a base layer.  Dip eyes, nose and mouth in frosting and place onto cupcake.

Spoon red frosting into pastry bag with the large star attachment and pipe onto cupcake around facial elements.  Pull away at sides to accentuate Elmo furry face.

DONE!  Now let your kiddos enjoy stuffing their faces with Elmo’s face!

Pie-Eyed Meat Pie: Drunken Pulled Pork

In old timey days, two bottles of cider was enough to make one completely pie-eyed.  Well, in this recipe, it won’t even take one!  This delicious “pie-eyed” pastry is stuffed with “drunken” pulled pork which is slow roasted in hard apple cider.  We’re upping the old timey ante by turning the classic British meat pie on its head, by substituting the traditional round shell for a tantalizing EYE shape, whose interior is porked out with our cider roasted meat.

This Eye of Pi looks great and tastes even better, especially when garnished with the delicious hard cider au jus as a dipping sauce!  The recipe itself is quite simple, however the shape of the eye complicates the process quite a bit.  To get the eye shape, we created a custom mold using a spring form pan, aluminum foil and rice.

Mold made using a spring form pan, aluminum foil and rice based from a drawing above.

Because classic British meat pies are tall and stand on their own, we needed a mold which would give stability during cooking, but then could be easily removed.   Using a spring form pan, allowed us to easily remove the sides, discard the rice, which gave the aluminum walls of the mold stability and cut off the aluminum mold.

Mold being removed half-way through baking process.

After slow roasting the pulled pork in hard cider, we pulled it apart and compressed it into a tight ball to give us a proper filling texture.

Compressed ball of pulled pork to be used for filling.

Once our mold and our meat filling was ready, we made a pastry dough and began construction of our eye pie.  Because the pie needs to stand on its own, once cooked, the dough needs to be thick, about 1/4″.

Once the dough topper was in place, we decorated with extra pieces of dough cut out to mimic the eye lashes,  pupil, iris and tear duct.  Food coloring was applied for added effect and the parts were laid on the pie to create the final touches.

The pie was baked for an hour at 325 degrees, until it was strong enough to have the mold removed.  Once this was done, it was brushed with egg yolk and put back in the oven for an additional 30-45 minutes at 400 degrees.

It was sliced and served warm.  Delicious.

Here is the full recipe with detailed steps.  Check out the slide show for more images.

How To Make Stuffed Grape Leaves

Stuffed grape leaves, also known as dolmades are some of my favorite finger food for parties.  Although assembling each of these tart Mediteranean treats can be time consuming, they’re really easy to do.  Once you start making them, you can get on a roll and the process can become quite meditative.  People love the salty tangy taste of the pickled grape leaves, tempered by the sticky dill and rice filling, and they’re always impressed you made them.  So let me help you impress your friends with some stuffed deliciousness.

Stuffed Grape Leaves

  • 2 c. dry rice
  • 4 c. vegetable or chicken stock
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 c. chopped dill
  • 1-2 lemons, juiced
  • 1 medium red onion, chopped
  • 1-2 Tbs pomegranate syrup**
  • 1 8 oz. jar of pickled grape leaves*

* Grape leaves can easily be found at any Middle Eastern or Mediterranean market.  You can also check the ethnic isle of your local grocery store.

** Pomegranate syrup can also be found at your local Middle Eastern market as well.  If you don’t have any or can’t find it, you can substitute a fruit jam as a sweetener for your filling.

Prepare filling: Mix the dry rice with the vegetble or chicken stock and salt and cook.  Chop red onion and dill.  Once cooked, mix rice, red onion, dill, pommegranate syrup and lemon juice.  Taste and season according to taste.  If bland, add more salt, lemon and/or onion.  You can add more pomegranate syprup if it needs a bit more sweetener.

Wrap Grape Leaves:  Remove grape leaves from jar, unfold and allow to drain in a colander for 5-10 minutes. Clip any stems off grape leaves.  To assmeble the grape leaves follow these steps:

1.  Place a single grape leave on a wooden board with the veiny side face up.  Place 1 Tbs of filling onto the leaf, at the center of the base near the stems.

2.  Fold the bottom of the leaf up until it just covers the filling.

3.  Fold both sides of the leaf inward, around the filling.

4.  Roll forward over the remainder of the leaf to complete the stuffed grape leaf.

Repeat process until you run out of leaves, filling or both.

Poach Dolmades: the final step to completing your stuffed grape leaves is to poach them to soften the leaves and consolidate the filling.  Place the stuffed grape leaves in the bottom of a pan.  Add water until grape leaves are almost covered submerged in water but not covered.  Weigh down with a few heavy plates.  Over high heat, bring water to a boil and then reduce water to a simmer.  Simmer for 25 minutes.

Chill completed dolmades over night:  Remove grape leaves from the pan and place in a sealed container.  Chill overnight to allow the flavors to mature.

Serve cold.  Yum!

Mr. Sammy Face

Friday nights I get home and don’t want to fuss with making dinner. However, Ira and I have learned the hard way too many times, a night out at the bar with no dinner makes for messy results in the morning. Somehow a sandwich doesn’t sound too exciting or filling for dinner, but if we change our way of thinking and go the panini direction, we have fast and fun dinner which gives us a sense of European delight.

Assembling our sandwiches with mayo, honey mustard, swiss and munster cheese, homemade dilly green bean pickles and ham (which hasn’t been put on yet.)

Panini, you think, don’t you need a Panini Press? Of course you do, but you don’t have to have this fancy one.

Do you notice the large “Blaze” Le Creuset Dutch Oven?? Yes, I am a spoiled rotten lucky girl, this was my Xmas present from my parents. I’m already putting it to good use.

For ours we just fried our boring ham on our cast iron grill. Using a small baking pan to press the panini evenly, we weighted them down with my heavy enamel cookware pots.

The results were a delicious continental dinner treat which proved the perfect base for our Friday night drinks. A potato pancake from our neighborhood Polish deli finished off our quick healthy fried dinner.

But do you see him in there? Mr. Sammy Face? He’s dangerous and he wants to eat your face. To bad for him, just the opposite is going to happen.

Martha Snoop Mash up

I meant to post this before the holidays so we could all perfect the Martha Stewart method of making mash potatoes, but I totally forgot. It doesn’t really matter unless you favor the cognac flavor in your Christmas dinner. To all you Boing Boingers and such this, of course, is old news, but for me, I can eat mashed potatoes all year round.

Cutest Christmas Candy: Kissable Mice!

These little cuties are really simple to make. Holding on to the stem, maraschino cherries are dipped into melted chocolate and pressed while wet against a Hershey’s kiss with almond slices placed for the ears. I used red cooking jell for the eyes. I love how the stem becomes a cute little curly tail!

These guys love climbing around their ginger snap hills.

This is one of the few times where the more mice you have in the kitchen, the better.

Brain Food: A Bloody Fabulous Cake

Eating brains is the best. Halloween isn’t complete without a brain shaped food product. When doing a search for Halloween food, I kept coming up with images of jello brains. I am not a big fan of jello. Actually to be completely honest, I’ve never made Jello and am a bit afraid to, with images in my mind of a liquid mess which won’t solidify. People laugh at me, but since I don’t care for eating Jello that much, it doesn’t bother me to much.

White chocolate in the brain mold.

I wanted to do something with a brain jello mold though, so I started to brain storm different alternatives. I had a bunch of white chocolate left over from making my eyeballs and ghosts, so I decided, I should use it to make a cake. I wanted a nice red interior so, red velvet cake fit the bill perfectly.

Melting Chocolate and paraffin wax in a double boiler made of a mixing bowl in pot of boiling water.

I had to do multiple tests to figure out the best way to shape the chocolate and still get it out of the mold. Once the chocolate was in the mold, I couldn’t get it to come out again. I kept having to scoop the chocolate out and rinse down the mold before trying again. The process I finally came up with was to pour the melted chocolate in a mold sprayed with cooking oil and swirl it around until it coated all sides. I put it in the freezer to harden for about 10 minutes and then repeat until I had a nice thick coating of chocolate.

Two pans of red velvet cake ready to be baked.

I had two cake pans of red velvet cake baked and ready. Taking the cake and breaking it apart, I stuffed the pieces in tight. The cake was very moist, so it consolidated back together pretty well. When I had filled the brain cavity with red pulpy cake, I took the remaining white chocolate and spooned it in to coat the cake and fill in any gaps.

On left, my chocolate coated brain mold with the cake, on right, cake filling stuffed in mold ready for final layer of chocolate.

I banged the mold against the table multiple times to release as many air bubbles as possible and placed the brain in the freezer for 3-4 hours to harden. By freezing the cake, the brain solidified and made it easier to release from the mold.

My two brains packed and ready to go the party. The brain on the right cracked a bit when coming out of the mold, so I patched it with a bit of melted chocolate to patch the seams.

The brains turned out well, but as I said in the party post, they didn’t cut that great. In order to have the cake release from the mold, I had to make the chocolate layer pretty thick making the cake want to crack apart when cutting. For the most part, I used them as a table centerpiece, but everyone wanted to know what was inside them, forcing me to cut ‘em up. I tried heating the knife, which helped but didn’t really solve the problem. They were worth trying, although maybe some of you may have tips which would make this process easier with better results.

Although these cakes weren’t prefect, the broken look to them did create a grotesque look which fit my general aesthetic. It was fun watching people gathered around them, picking them apart, using their fingers to shovel the red pulpy meat into their gaping mouths with a feral gleam in their eyes.

I Ain’t Afraid O’No Ghost

We made lots of fun food for the Halloween party, but I think the Marshmallow ghosts were the most fun to do. By the time my friend Katherine came over after work to give a lending hand, the marshmallows had been skewered and dipped in chocolate using the same double boiler method we used with the eyeball cookies. Next for the decoration. Using the ends of skewers with food coloring dye, we started painting on scary faces.

Aided and abetted by some glasses of Żubrówka our faces got scarier and messages got crazier. It all started with a Ghostbusters reference.

We kept thinking of awesome quotes from our favorite scary movies. We ended up with a troupe of big and small marshmallow men, ready to kill and be killed. Check it out.

The Shining!

Lost Boys

The Crow

More Ghostbusters! I always get the quote wrong. Curses.

Lil’ Head Trauma

Troupe of little guys, meet Scary Mouth, Slit Throat, Bloody Eyes, Scalpy Head, Snaggle Tooth, and Pit O’ Flames. Aren’t they cute!

This one is a bit of a stretch. A Batman inspired “I’m going to do a magic trick and make this skewer disappear”.

Rip your head off man!

Food For the Dead

Last night, the dead awoke dressed in lacy finery and performing feats of daring deadly might. The Aloft Loft’s Homecoming Dance of Death was a total riot with acts which included contortionists, jugglers, and strong men flinging their girlfriend high into the air.

Acts were interspersed through the night, to allow guests to mingle and partake of the complimentary spiked punch and food between acts. That’s were we came in.

Our very Forkable friends, Amber and Laura help with the set up.

When my friend Shayna, Aloft’s Artisitic Director, asked me if I could make some food for her party, I knew it was going to have to be something special. Her events always make an impression so I wanted to do the same with the food. Forkable pulled out all the stops. Here are some deadly treats to tempt even the most anorexic high school cheerleader zombie.

Of course we had platters of the finger and eyeball cookies we previously posted about.

We had wrapped hot dog spiders.

The deviled eggs were supposed to look like the Great Eye of Sauron from the Lord of the Rings. I don’t know if I succeeded; you be the judge.

Can you tell which is which. I know; it’s a hard boiled situation. Te he.

I think of all the things we made, nothing got as much attention as the Brain Cake.

The brains were red velvet cakes covered with white chocolate. These were really hard to make (as I am not a super skilled baker). I had to make the chocolate thick enough to release from the mold, but I knew because of this, they would break apart when I cut them.

I left them untouched as table centerpieces for most of the night, but everyone wanted to see inside them, so I finally cut them up. I tried heating up the knife to melt the chocolate as it cut, but they still sort of broke up. They were tasty though!

Here are more pictures of our treacherous treats.

Amber in German gear, and Myself as a Mad Scientist on the trapeze.

We had a fabulous time. Thanks to all my fabulous friends especially Amber for helping me get this all together. So all the dead have been put to bed. What’s next on the party list… I’ll keep you posted.

Eye Popping Treats: Delciously Gross!

As all meat eaters know, the eyes are always the best part; they’re squishy yet crunchy at the same time. I wanted to share this recipe with you so you’ll know how to prepare your eyeballs once you’ve scratched them out of your victims.

“Eye”deal Cannibal Cookies

  • 5 1/4 cup confectioners sugar
  • 4 cup peanut butter
  • 1 cup melted butter
  • 6 cup Rice Crispies
  • 1 1/2 lb of white chocolate or 2 12 oz. bags of white chocolate chips
  • 1/2 bar of paraffin wax
  • 1 large bag of M&Ms
  • red food coloring

Mix the sugar and Rice Crispies together in a large bowl and set aside. Mix the peanut butter and melted butter until smooth, then fold into Rice Crispies and sugar. Don’t be afraid to use your hands. With this recipe, you’re gonna have to get dirty! Roll your peanut butter mixture into 1″ balls.

Place your balls on a cookie sheet lined with wax paper and chill in the fridge for about 15 minutes.

Using a double boiler, melt the chocolate and wax. If you don’t have a double boiler like me, you can create one by placing a mixing bowl on top of a soup pot. Boil water in the soup pot. The steam will create enough heat to keep your chocolate melted but not enough to burn it.

Double boiler with a mixing bowl in a soup pot with white chocolate and wax.

What does the wax do? The wax gives you the best of both worlds: it makes your chocolate more fluid, which helps when coating your cookies, but when drying it helps the chocolate harden faster. I love eating wax!

Stir the chocolate to help everything melt and mix together. When the chocolate is nice and smooth, begin dipping your nut balls. I like using a skewer, but you can just drop it in with a spoon.

Place your coated ball back on the wax paper tray and put an M&M in the center of the ball to create the pupils. Make sure you place the m&M while the chocolate is still wet. It won’t stick well if the chocolate dries.

Place your trays in the refrigerator for 15 minutes to let the chocolate completely harden.

To create the veins, take red food coloring and dilute it with a few drops of water to make it easier to use. Using the end of a skewer or tooth pic, draw on some veins. Asymmetrical ones are best. Have them branch out a lot too, that’s always great. If you have areas where the peanut butter is exposed, just paint some red in there to create a nice pulpy blood clot. Done!

You can devour these eyeballs paired with a nice Chianti.

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