Chocolate Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Frosting












I admit it. I have a secret fantasy (albeit not so secret anymore) that Ina and Jeffrey Garten invite me for a summer vacation to their beautiful home in East Hampton. Naturally, Ina is so impressed with me, she hires me as an overpaid assistant. We cook and bake all day and afterwards Ina prepares one of her famous cocktails for us and we enjoy them outside in the sweet Long Island salty summer air. (I’m not so sure what happens to the husband and the two kids in this dream of mine—whatevs.)

Today is a rainy day and because I have so much stuff to do (laundry, bills, some work for clients who don’t know it’s the weekend) I decided to make cupcakes instead. I must admit, I’m not sure why I was drawn to this recipe. I’m not a peanut butter fanatic. But they are flippin amazing. Worth the trouble. Enjoy.



Lupé’s Kid-Friendly Jumbalaya











I must start by saying this isn’t an authentic Jumbalaya, but it’s close enough. My kids will eat anything in a casing so I was looking for sausage-inspired recipes and combined a whole bunch for this effort. I’m thinking this jumbalaya will accomplish two goals: 1) not using too many pots (this is a woman who hates cleaning)  and 2) getting some vegetables into the kids. I know, I know, sausage is not exactly healthy. But everything in moderation. Oddly enough, my son (age 11) is the real picky one, but he lurves spicy food and he’ll actually imbibe vegetables if they are mixed in with other stuff. So there you have it, my reason for making Jumbalaya.


  • 3 /4 lb andouille sausage (If you can’t find that, use kielbasa—just not italian sausage)
  • 1 pound shrimp (peeled and deveined, duh)
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 2 yellow onions, diced
  • 3-4 stalks celery, diced
  • 4-6 garlic cloves, minced (or more if you are a garlic fanatic)
  • 1 28 oz can diced tomatoes
  • cayenne pepper to taste (I used 1/2 tsp and my husband still doused in Tabasco)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3-4 scallions, sliced
  • 3 tlb flour
  • 3 tlb butter

Here’s what to do.
Slice the sausage and saute it in a big pot over  medium heat in a little bit of olive oil until is starts to get brown around the edges. The sausage will give off some fat so you don’t need too much oil. Add the red and green bell peppers, celery and yellow onion and cook them until they are soft (throw about 1 tsp of salt in there too.) Then add the minced garlic and only cook it a minute or two—until it is fragrant. After that add the can of diced tomatoes and the cayenne and the bay leaves. Let the whole thing simmer for a while. Melt the butter in a small pan and add the flour. Mix it until it gets a touch of color.  Add the flour and butter mixture to the pot. You can skip this, it just thickens it up a bit and butter makes everything taste better. A few minutes before you serve it, add the shrimp. Serve over rice and top with the sliced scallions.

Note: You can cook the rice in the with this mixture but my kids like rice on the side. In fact, that’s really what jumbalaya is- don’t tell any Cajuns what I’ve done.

El Jefe, Deerfield Beach

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