Tag Archives: cooking

Tiramisu

12 Sep

This recipe I developed over LOTS of expensive trial and error, and I have lost and refound it several times. I’m finally getting it online so I never lose it again. This is a yummy not-too-complex tiramisu recipe. I hope you enjoy it!! Be sure to read the entire recipe before starting!

TIRAMISU

INGREDIENTS:

6 egg yolks
¾ cup white sugar
2/3 cup milk
2 pints heavy whipping cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract [pure vanilla, not imitation]
1 pound mascarpone cheese [next to the ricotta in the grocery store]
A pot of strong brewed coffee, room temperature
Bailey’s Irish Cream
2 (3 oz each) packages of ladyfinger cookies [Stella Doro- Margherite, in the cookie aisle]
4 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
A large pan, 7 x 11 inches ( a large lasagna pan)
Electric mixer

DIRECTIONS

  1. In a medium saucepan, whisk together egg yolks and sugar until well blended. Whisk in milk and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture boils. Boil gently for one minute, remove from heat and allow to cool slightly. Cover tightly and chill in refrigerator for one hour. This will make custard.
  2. In a medium bowl, beat the heavy whipping cream with vanilla extract until stiff peaks form. [Use a hand mixer/ electric beater] Set whipped cream mixture aside.
  3. Whisk mascarpone into custard mixture until smooth. [Use hand mixer/electric beater]
  4. In a small bowl, combine some of the coffee and Bailey’s. The mixture should be a little more coffee than Bailey’s, but it is to taste. [I pour the mixture onto a large plate with a lip.]
  5. Dip both sides of each cookie in the mixture. DO NOT let the cookie get too soggy- it will soak up the coffee quickly. As you dip each cookie, arrange in the bottom of a 7 x 11 inch dish. [A large lasagna pan]
  6. Spread half of the mascarpone mixture over the ladyfingers, then half of whipped cream over that. Get these layers as thin as possible, which is difficult. It helps to spoon each mixture into its own Ziploc baggie and cut the corner, and use it as a pastry bag.
  7. Sprinkle the first whipped cream layer with cocoa. Repeat another layer of coffee soaked ladyfinger cookies, mascarpone mixture, and whipped cream and sprinkle the top with cocoa. Cover and refrigerate for at least 24 hours. Serve cold.

Remember!! Tiramisu is best 48 hours after it is prepared. This allows the flavors to soak together. Make it at least 24 hours before you plan on serving, it will taste weird if you eat it before it sets for 24 hours.

Spaghetti squash, sweet potato fries.

15 May
Apparently, I can blog from my iPhone -.-. I’m going to try blogging shorter posts to try and start writing again. so here goes.
some stuff ive made recently 🙂
I tried spaghetti squash. I would consider it kind of a failure but it was still ok.
I boiled it until soft, about 30 minutes. Scooped out the seeds, shredded out the rest with a fork. I tossed it with a marinara sauce.
What I learned: Drain the shredded “spaghetti” before you use it. It tasted good otherwise. I might try again in a week.
I made a Santa fe turkey sandwich:
Turkey bacon, sliced turkey, cheese, roasted red peppers, lettuce, tomato slice, and chipotle mayo [I think Kraft sells a pre-made one] on a hoagie roll. Pretty good if you’re in the mood for something different.
Served with sweet potato fries, which are awesome! [and orange].  The ones I used were by Ortega and they’re really good. I made them once from sweet potatoes myself but they didn’t turn out nearly as well.
Aaand a BLT with egg.  always excellent.

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Vegetarian Chili

20 Mar
Another chili post! This time its gluten free, vegetarian chili. and its excellent. I’m not eating any meat for lent, so I need something easy to reheat when the rest of the household is having meat. Chili is my answer 🙂
Ingredients:
Cans: (make sure that these are plain and do not have seasoning or salt added)
-large can of light red kidney beans (drained), 2 small cans of cannellini beans (drained), 1 small can black beans (drained and rinsed), 1 large can whole tomatoes (do not drain), 1 large can crushed tomatoes (do not drain), 1 teeny can of tomato paste, 1 small can corn (drained).
Fresh:
-3 large green bell peppers, 1 large red  bell pepper, 4 hot banana peppers (you need these to balance out the sweetness!),  1 sweet onion, 1 package mushrooms (sliced)
Other:
-1/2 stick of unsalted butter, garlic powder (or crushed garlic if you prefer), several tablespoons white sugar
In my last chili post, I explained my process, but here it is simplified.
I add all the canned goods into a giant pot (with a fitted lid). I chop up the veggies (coarsely), and add them. I turn the heat on medium and stir. I add a cup of water, a half stick of butter, garlic powder, and a decent bit of sugar (a few big spoonfuls.) Stir it up, put on the lid, turn the heat down to low (shouldn’t be boiling.)  Stir every ten-fifteen minutes for about 3 hours. If the chili is too watery for your tastes after an hour or two, you can leave the lid off for awhile so that some liquid evaporates. And enjoy :).
I imagine that if you used a (rather large) crock pot you wouldn’t have to stir so frequently. But my dad used a pot so that’s what I do (and I don’t have a crock pot large enough). Also, I am very against chili seasoning/ powder, etc. It tastes fake fake fake.  Please do not use it, you don’t have to, and its better without.
Generally, I don’t like corn in chili, but I think it worked well in this vegetarian version.

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This Year’s Valentine’s Day Dinner

16 Feb
So, yesterday was Valentine’s Day. The past few years, we decided to cut down on the gifts, and focus on dinners. Eat in, of course. We go out enough. So. He bought the out-of-season expensive ingredients, and I cooked. Fair trade 😀
I usually use a recipe but this year I decided to wing it, based off of a meal we had at Olive Garden, actually. What ended up on the plate: a pile of delishiousness. Harmony of flavors. Music to my TASTEBUDS. 😉 It doesn’t look all that great, but you get the idea- it was freaking fantastic.
It consisted of: cheese filled tortellini. I bought the fresh, refrigerated (not frozen) kind. Worth it. Alfredo sauce, from a jar. Next time I’ll try to make my own, but it was still great. Chopped, cooked pears. I’ve never cooked pears before this. So I chopped them up, without the skins, and threw them in a pan with a cup and a half of water and a tablespoon of sugar. I covered the pan and let them boil/simmer on medium heat until they were soft. Sauted shrimp. You know the drill; butter, pepper, frying pan. I did get the kind without tails and whatnot. And finally, a balsamic vinegar reduction drizzled on top. I’ve never made this before either. I basically put a cup of water and some balsamic vinegar with a few tablespoons of sugar. I let this simmer down until it was a bit thicker, and all the water had “steamed out.” It was great. Perfect touch, particularly with the pears.

Layers: tortellini, alfredo, pears, shrimp, balsamic vinegar reduction. Garnish: pears dipped in dark chocolate 🙂

Meatloaf for Picky Eaters

16 Feb
Meatloaf looks gross, there’s no getting around that. But this meatloaf is not only gluten-free, its healthier (it uses ground turkey meat), and GOOD. My picky eater loves it. Which is weird. There are very few meals that I can repeat once a week.
Ingredients:
– 1.2 lbs ground turkey meat (I suppose you can substitute ground beef if you really need to. ;))
– about 1.5 cups cooked rice
– 1 egg
– 2 tbsp ketchup
– 1/2 cup chopped onion
– 2 tbsp sugar OR 3 tbsp molasses. (I normally prefer molasses. Turkey when cooked is whiter than ground meat, molasses darkens it. And it makes a pretty awesome glaze on top. But in the batch featured I used sugar)
– dash of pepper

Ingredients

Preheat oven to 350*F. Mix all of the ingredients together in a largish bowl. It looks gross. I refuse to show my picky eater this step, in fear of refusal to eat the result.

Mixed Together....yummmmm hahaa

Put the mixture into a loaf pan. Shape/smooth it the best you can with the spoon/spatula. Place in oven, uncovered*** for about 45 minutes.
***Covered in foil if you used molasses. Take off the foil for the last 15 minutes, and drizzle a spoonful of molasses on top for a glaze.

In the Oven

Take out, let sit for about 3 minutes. Cut and serve :). We like ketchup on ours, but honestly this recipe is sweet enough so that you don’t need it.
I use the same basic mixture for my meatballs, as well. Substitute the ketchup for whatever marinara sauce you want, and throw in some Italian seasoning. Roll into balls. Smother in marinara sauce.  Bake covered for the same time and temperature.

Slice & Serve

P.S. I apologize for my blurry pictures! I had to use a phone camera for these.

Experiment on Cream Puffs

12 Feb
I’ve been trying to make cream puffs, which a friend introduced me to. She saw them in this Japanese drama that was based on a manga, “Absolute Boyfriend.” She got me hooked on the show and wanting to try to make cream puffs (which were featured in the show).  I’ve never made pastries before this. Turns out, they’re actually a bit complicated to make and pretty sensitive (DO NOT open the oven while these are baking!). My first batch was on Wednesday night. They didn’t rise, I suspect because there was too much butter/egg in the recipe. So they ended up looking like small, flat cookie disks. Fail. I also made custard filling on Wednesday, which I wasn’t a fan of.
On Thursday, I resiliently bought more butter and looked up another, more complex recipe. It worked! They rose! I was seriously pumped. They were darling little puffballs. I did have a few technical mistakes and preferences that I hope to correct in my next batch. I think that the dough could’ve used more sugar, and more time in the oven drying out. (After they finish baking, you cut a small hole in the bottom of each one and put them back in the oven for about 20 minutes to dry out the inside of the pastry.) I would really really like a pastry bag to make filling these little pastries simpler. I had to cut my darling little puffballs in half to get the custard inside. And lastly, I really don’t think I am a fan of custard, and neither is my picky eater. I looked up another recipe Thursday night, and I tried it. And I’m not a fan of custard that other people make… I don’t know why I thought I’d be a fan of custard that I made. For a pastry, it seems like it’s just too heavy. I’d like to try folding in some homemade whipped cream into the second recipe that I tried, or even just making a vanilla cream filling.
Click Me! <- This is the blog that I took the second recipe from, both for the dough and the custard.
Overall, I am pretty proud of myself, knowing that I am capable of making awesome pastries (even if it’s only one kind as of now). And I am proud that I didn’t get frustrated with myself and quit after my first night of trying.

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Turn on some tunes for better food

21 Jan
When I was in high school, I had this amazing art teacher.  Ms. D  is creative, strong, passionate, and insightful. During the hours that I spent in her classroom, we listened to all sorts of music while we drew/painted/sculpted/whatever she felt like doing. She said that different music helps you settle into different creative “tones.”
I don’t have much time to draw anymore, but I do cook. Cooking is pretty much where all of my creative energy goes. And I’ve found that Ms. D’s theory about music and creative expression applies to the kitchen as well. When I’m baking and getting flour all over the place, I tend to listen to The Beatles, or some other dance around sing at the top of my lungs music. When I make lasagna or something a bit less precise, I tend to listen to classical music (pandora.com is great for this!). Some how, when I listen to music, my meals turn out better tasting. And it doesn’t hurt to actually enjoy cooking dinner for your family. Music makes my cooking experience more fun and meaningful. And if you mess something up, or cover your black cat in flour, music makes everything a bit more lighthearted ;).
My black kitty 😀
I was wondering if anyone else does the same thing? Listen to music while cooking, not specifically The Beatles or classical. If you don’t, try it out.
On a different note, today I went out and got some Chinese food (at the Sesame Inn, if you’re from Pittsburgh). I keep promising myself that I will be adventurous and order something like duck or at least some scallops. But I reverted to chicken. It was fantastic. And when they gave me my plate, it had this baby on it:

Radish Flower

Isnt that awesome? Its made of a fresh (not dried) radish, dyed pink and wrapped/folded, kept in place with toothpicks. It comes on all of their dinner plates.
So go get yourself a radish flower, and turn on some tunes. 😀