Quick and easy cupcake decorations just in time for Valentine’s Day

If you’ve ever felt that you’re not particularly handy with a pastry bag then these tips are for you.
They’re just some quick decorating tips that don’t need special equipment. They’re also fairly easy.

First up just in time for for Valentine’s Day treats. Use seasonal candies as decorations. Like these conversation hearts. Frost the cupcakes, then add the candies. I also added red, white and pink nonpareils for texture.

Sweet Talk

Next up, dried coconut and lemon or orange zest can dress up a simple yellow cupcake. It will also add an extra pop of flavor. Just sprinkle the zest and coconut over the top of frosted cupcakes and you’re done.

Lemon Chiffon Cupcakes

And finally, just place dots of alternating colors of piping gel on the frosted cupcake, then drag a toothpick through the dots to make a cool pattern. You can usually find small tubes of different colored piping gel on the cake aisle in most grocery stores.

Piping Gel Swirls

There you have it, three quick easy and almost effortless decorating ideas.

Bibimbap

A recent photo essay on the Huffington Post placed Bibimbap 13th in a list of 25 Foods You Have to Eat Before You Die. Though I disagree with the position that Bibimbap came in. I think it should have been in the top 5, I whole-heartedly agree that you should try Korean cuisine’s answer to comfort food.

Bibimbap

Bibimbap

Bibimbap is basically a rice dish served with a variety of stir fried vegetables, grilled beef like bulgogi, sweet tangy chili sauce then topped off with raw egg. The western variation is usually served with a fried egg. This is a fantastic way to use up vegetables or extend leftovers and change them up into a different meal. Popular vegetables are, spinach or similar green, zucchini, fiddle heads, beans sprouts, julienned cucumbers. The version pictured above has spinach, julienned carrots, julienned yellow squash, julienned shitaki mushrooms, marinated skirt steak and cucumber kimchee.

The Bulgogi marinade can be used for any protein, its especially good on Kalbi (Short Ribs) and chicken.

Bulgogi Marinade
1/2 cup soy sauce or tamari
1TBS Sesame oil
1 bunch of scallions chopped
¼ cup natural style apple sauce or 1 grated Asian Pear
2 cloves of garlic finely minced or grated
1″ finger of ginger. Peeled and grated
1tsp toasted sesame seeds
1tsp chili powder (ghochutgaru) or sriracchia
¼ cup honey or agave syrup

Combine all the ingredients in a zip top bag. Add the meat and marinade in the fridge up to 3 days.

The veggies are prepared the following way…
Julienne then sauté in a very hot wok in 1TBS of sesame oil, along with some minced garlic and ginger and a dash of soy.

To assemble, put a large scoop of steamed rice in a warm bowl. Place the fried egg in the center and then the chili paste. Arrange the meat and veggies around the egg.

There’s also a variation called dolsot bibimbap. Which is served in a heated clay or steal bowl. The heat from the bowl fries the bottom of the rice to give it a wonderfully nutty flavor and crunchy texture. You can simulate that texture and nuttiness by frying the steamed rice for a few minutes in some sesame oil.