June 30, 2012
Chocolate, Dessert, Fruit, Gourmet Club, Recipes
chocolate, cooking, dessert, food, Gourmet, Kosher, recipe, recipes, vegetarian
As you may have guessed from yesterday’s lady finger post, I made Tiramisu for the Gourmet Club Italian dinner. I decided to take a twist on it and bring some fresh flavors to the table. While it is different (add raspberries and delete coffee) it still has the layers of flavor and, of course, the Grand Mariner. This presentation in a trifle dish is not only beautiful, but makes it easy by having to build only one. With the Tiramisu, I served each person a cannoli.
Three layers of tasty dessert.
The ingredients for the first go-around. Note the boxes of firm lady fingers.
The final making included soft lady fingers from yesterday’s post and white chocolate.
Making the creme.
Beating it to soft peaks.
Mixing the preserves (yes, I used preserves with seeds in place of the seedless jam) with Grand Mariner.
I grated the white chocolate down and sprinkled it over the raspberries in each layer.
Each layer starts with the lady fingers.
Then the preserves.
And then the fresh raspberries (and grated white chocolate).
Prep Time: 10 min | Servings: 8 | Difficulty: easy
- 1 cup(s) seedless raspberry jam
- 6 tablespoon(s) Grand Marnier
- 1 pound(s) mascarpone cheese
- 1 cup(s) heavy cream
- 1/4 cup(s) granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon(s) pure vanilla extract
- 48 soft ladyfingers
- 3 baskets fresh raspberries
- Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting
Stir together the jam and 4 tablespoons of the Grand Marnier in a small bowl to blend.
Stir together the mascarpone and remaining 2 tablespoons of the Grand Marnier in a large bowl to blend. Using an electric mixer, beat the cream, granulated sugar, and vanilla in another large bowl until soft peaks form. Using a large rubber spatula, stir a fourth of the whipped cream into the mascarpone mixture to lighten. Fold the remaining whipped cream in to the mascarpone mixture.
Line the bottom of a 13- x 9- x 2-inch baking dish or other decorative serving dish with a third of the ladyfingers. Spread a third of the jam mixture over the ladyfingers. Spread a third of the mascarpone mixture over the jam mixture, then cover with a third of the fresh raspberries. Repeat layering with the remaining ladyfingers, jam mixture, mascarpone mixture, and raspberries. Cover and refrigerate at least 3 hours or overnight.
Dust the confectioners’ sugar over the top and serve.
And the cannoli…
June 30, 2012
Foodie Pen Pal
This month I joined the foodie pen pals. It is an interesting program where you are assigned a new pal each month and you send them $15 worth of food and in return you also receive a package (from a different pal). It is rather interesting. Check it out at http://www.theleangreenbean.com/foodie-penpals/
My pal Lisa sent me items she purchased at a local farmer’s market. There were two small rounds of bread, great smelling home-made soap and a box of great tasting macaroons. In addition, she sent some information about efforts to feed Vermont and the page displayed shows her and her children. Pretty cool, huh?
I sent items to the pal I was assigned (Laura) from the local area that I am in too.
- Little Italy Marinara Sauce – Cleveland is a town of immigrants and has a large Italian presence. The Little Italy neighborhood of Cleveland is a wonderful place for fine, authentic Italian cuisine.
- Paisley Farm Dilled Brussels Sprouts – From Willoughby, Ohio (an eastern suburb of Cleveland). Ohio is mostly rural and most of the rural land is filled with farms. While these are not the crisp, fresh Brussels Sprouts that I love to cook with, they have been turned into a grab and go snack.
- Amish Kitchens Kluski egg noodles – About 90 minutes south of Cleveland is a large community of Amish. From their famous wood furniture to amazing home cooked food, it is quite a time to visit the area. These noodles are used quite often in their comforting meals.
- Espresso Anise Pizzelles – While the company that makes these is in Pittsburgh, Pizzelles are all over Cleveland. Again with the Italian influence they are a quick dessert or a nice replacement from biscotti with your coffee
- Organic Sweet Corn Crunch Dried Snack – While this company is also not from Ohio, we have thousands of acres of corn growing in the state. This is a nice way to eat it as a snack.
June 29, 2012
Baking, Dessert, Kosher, Recipes, Vegetarian
baking, cooking, dessert, dinner, food, Kosher, recipe, recipes, vegetarian
I have mentioned this in the past, but I am really not much of a baker. While I say that (and believe it), I have found myself doing more baking lately than I’m used to. Some people are really happy when they bring out their electric mixer. Me, I get apprehensive. In baking you have to be exact. I am not really an exact kind of guy. In baking, my teaspoons are leveled. In cooking, I just estimate at what looks like a teaspoon.
This quarter’s Gourmet Club dinner’s theme was Italian. My assignment, dessert. I decided on a two-pronged approach. The first was Cannoli which I have already featured on the blog. The other desert was……nope. Can’t reveal it quite yet (look for it tomorrow). You might get a good guess as it is an Italian dessert that needed ladyfingers.
The first run-through of the dessert I bought firm ladyfingers. While they worked OK, the texture was off and they didn’t soak up any of the other flavors. I knew I needed to make ladyfingers.
OK. They are not uniform and not overly pretty. They were not visible in the desert, so I didn’t really take care in making them uniform.
There are only four simple ingredients.
Separate the yolks and egg whites.
Beat the egg whites and some sugar.
Beat the yolks and fold in the egg whites.
Two trays of piped lady fingers.
Servings: 3 – 4 dozen |
- 4 eggs, separated
- 2/3 cup white sugar
- 7/8 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (205 degrees C). Line two 17 x 12 inch baking sheets with baking parchment. Fit large pastry bag with a plain 1/2 inch round tube.
2. Place egg whites in bowl and beat on high until soft peaks start to form. Slowly add 2 tablespoons of the sugar and continue beating until stiff and glossy. In another bowl beat egg yolks and remaining sugar. Whip until thick and very pale in color.
3. Sift flour and baking powder together on a sheet of wax paper. Fold half the egg whites into the egg yolk mixture. Fold in flour, and then add the remaining egg whites. Transfer mixture to pastry bag and pipe out onto prepared baking sheet. Bake 8 minutes.
Total Fat: 0.4g Cholesterol: 18mg Sodium: 11mg Total Carbs: 4.6g Dietary Fiber: 0.1g Protein: 0.8g
June 28, 2012
Cheese, Gourmet Club, Italian, Pasta, Recipes, Seafood
cooking, dinner, food, Gourmet, italian, noodles, pasta, recipe, recipes, spices, tomato
The main course for the Gourmet Club, was next. The host went all out and made home-made linguine and clam sauce and eggplant parmigiana. First the eggplant:
I am not a fan of eggplant. I have never enjoyed the texture or taste of it and so I was a little apprehensive to have it. Boy, I am glad I did. It was perfectly made and if there had been any kind of leftovers to take home, I think I would have fought for it.
- Italian Bread Crumbs
- Garlic Powder
- Olive Oil
- Shredded mozzarella
- Parmesan cheese
Cut off ends of eggplant and peel it…can leave a little bit of the peel on it. Slice in 1/2 inch slices. dip in flour, then dip in egg and cold water mixture, then dip in italian bread crumbs seasoned with basil, parley,salt and pepper, and garlic powder. Place breaded eggplant on a cookie sheet. Drizzle with olive oil on top and bake at 375 for 10 minutes till brown on bottom then turn and brown the other side…usually another ten minutes or so. In casserole dish layer sauce, eggplant, sauce, shredded mozzarella, eggplant, a bit more sauce…a light covering this time, more mozzarella and parmesan cheese. bake 350 for 25 minutes.
You can use a jar sauce or your own marinara sauce for this…of course I try to use my own if I have time.
- 1 onion chopped
- 4 cloves minced garlic
- 2 28 oz jars crushed tomatoes… organic if you can
- 2 6 oz cans tomato paste
- 3 tsp basil
- 2 tsp parsley
- 2 tsp brown sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
- 1/4 tsp pepper
- 1 handful parmesan cheese
- 1 cup water so you can cook it down…add more if needed during simmering
Drizzle olive oil on bottom of pan and add your chopped onions to it and cook till soft. Add garlic and cook on low a few more minutes, you don’t want the garlic to brown, then add everything else and simmer for about 2 hours uncovered. Stir occasionally and don’t burn. You can make this the day before you make your eggplant and just keep it in the fridge till the next day when you need it.
Now on to the pasta. It was wonderful. If you have not had fresh made pasta, it is just such a treat. The bowl was huge and looked and smelled wonderful. It had such a smooth, clean taste. Yum!
Linguine and clam sauce
You can make your own pasta or use boxed pasta…of course it is better if you make your pasta from scratch
- 3/4 cup olive oil
- 4 cloves of garlic
- 2 tbsp parsley
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp basil
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- 3 cans minced clams
- 1 cup clam juice reserved after draining clams
- 1-1 1/2 pounds linguine
Brown garlic that has been chopped in oil. When brown let oil cool and remove garlic from oil and discard. Pour in clam juice and add spices. Boil for 3 minutes. Add clams and heat but do not boil. Pour over linguine and serve with grated cheese.
June 27, 2012
Gourmet Club, Recipes, Salad, Vegetable
cheese, cooking, food, Gourmet, low carb, recipe, recipes, salad, spices, tomato, vegetable
As noted in yesterday’s post, this quarter’s Gourmet Club theme was Italian.
Three of the couples live within several miles of each other and the other couple, the host for this dinner, lives all the way across town. The three couples decided to carpool (1 designated driver….and it wasn’t me!) together and when the salad made it into the van, it very nearly didn’t make it out as there were six people eyeing it all the way there.
This salad was huge. The platter was a two foot square behemoth and when it was first unveiled, no one at the table thought we’d get through even half of it. Boy were we wrong. It was so good that there were only scraps left at the end.
Prep Time: 20 mins | Cook Time: 0 hr 0 min | Servings: 8 | Difficulty: Easy
- 2 heads romaine lettuce
- 1 head butter lettuce
- 1 bag of romaine, butter and radicchio mixed
- 1 can of marinated artichoke hearts
- 1 small can of black olives, sliced
- 1/2 red onion sliced thin
- 8 slices provolone
- 16 slices of hard salami
- 16 slices of spicy capicolla
- 1 can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
- Sliced pepperoni to taste
- Fresh basil and parsley chopped and sprinkled in with lettuce
- 16 grape tomatoes halved
- Pearl sized mozzarella balls
- 4 Roma tomatoes, quartered
Wash, dry and tear the lettuce. Mix all the lettuce. Sprinkle a little salt and dill on the leaves. Add a handful of chopped parsley and about 3 leaves of chopped basil to the mix. Lay 1/2 the lettuce mix on a platter. Layer 1 slice of provolone, 2 capicolla and 2 salami. Stack them together and slice into thin strips (cutting the long slices in halves or thirds). Repeat until all meat and cheese is used.
Add 1/2 of the mozzarella balls, pepperoni, tomatoes, artichoke hearts (cut into thirds), pepperoni is, olives, garbanzo beans, and red onion. Repeat with the remaining lettuce then the other ingredients.
Serve with Italian dressing of your choice.
One of the coolest part of the salad were the Mini Caprese Salad Bites. I love Caprese salad and these mini ones on a toothpick were a great addition to the salad.
Mini Caprese Salad Appetizers
Prep Time: 10 mins | Cook Time: 0 hr 0 min | Servings: 5 | Difficulty: Easy
- 20 grape tomatoes, halved
- 10 basil leaves, cut in half or 20 folded in half
- 20 pearl sized fresh mozzarella balls
Use a toothpick and spear half a tomato, basil leaf, mozzarella ball and another half of tomato.
Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Optional: Mix 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar and 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil to use as a dipping sauce.