3/31/10

homemade pop-tarts and orange julius



Apparently my children are woefully deprived. I have single handedly ruined, I mean, RUINED, their lives. Years of therapy will, as I have been told, not help the harmful situation I have placed them in. Quick someone please call CPS and inform them my children have never had a store bought POP-TART because I have been a so-called negligent parent.

I want to yell at those little sous chefs and aquaint them with my own childhood traumatic foodie event...

'MY PARENTS NEVER LET ME HAVE A DAMN ORANGE JULIUS THAT I ALWAYS WANTED! AND I TURNED OUT JUST FINE! DO YOU HEAR ME?  JUST FINE!'



That's before I start sucking my thumb and placing the silky soft end of my blankie under my nose to erase the pain of not having a Orange Julius. It really was a low point of my childhood that and not having caramel popcorn at the place next door to Orange Julius in the mall but we won't get into that.

WHY, PARENTS, WHHHHYYYYY? (shakes fist)

You took away my blankie and I never got an Orange Julius. Was I really that bad?



(bet you guys never thought i'd call you out on this blog for that, did you?)

I mean what kid hasn't had a pop-tart or an Orange Julius? This was something that needed to be rectified quickly in everyone's opinion.

On Tuesday night's menu: You guessed it, orange julius and homemade pop-tarts... because I can't be evil all of the time.



homemade pop-tarts: bon appetit april 2010
makes about 10 pop-tarts

for a tutorial on how to roll, cut and fill the dough, click here.

2 cups plus 2 tablespoons all purpose flour plus additional for shaping and rolling
1 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
4 tablespoons ice water
12 tablespoons of preserves, we used strawberry and apricot
powdered sugar

Whisk 2 cups plus 2 tablespoons flour, coarse salt, and sugar in large bowl. Add butter. Using fingertips or back of fork, blend in butter until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add ice water by tablespoonfuls, tossing until moist clumps form. Gather dough into ball. Divide in half; shape each half into disk. Wrap in plastic. Chill for 1 hour.

Line 2 large rimmed baking sheets with parchment. Working with 1 disk at a time, roll out dough on floured surface to about 13x11 inches. Trim to 12x10-inch rectangle, then cut into eight 5x3-inch rectangles.

Arrange 4 rectangles, spaced apart, on each sheet. Spoon 1 1/2 tablespoons preserves in row down center of each rectangle. Top preserves with second dough rectangle. Using fingertips, gently press all edges of each tart to seal; press all edges with tines of fork to double-seal. Using toothpick, poke a few holes in center of top dough rectangle. Cover; freeze tarts on sheets at least 2 hours or for up to 1 week.

Position 1 rack in top third and 1 rack in bottom third of oven and preheat to 375°F. Bake frozen tarts uncovered until golden, reversing sheets after 15 minutes, 25 to 30 minutes total (some preserves may leak out). Immediately transfer tarts to rack. Sift powdered sugar lightly over. Serve warm or at room temperature.



orange julius:

6 oz. frozen orange juice concentrate
1 cup milk
1 cup water
1/2 cup confectioner's sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
8-9 ice cubes

Combine all ingredients except ice cubes in blender.

Blend for about 1-2 minutes, adding ice cubes one at a time.

Tasting Notes: Besides the sugar high and my upset tummy from all the junk, hmm... can that be why my parents wouldn't let me eat all of this stuff?

To be honest, Katie made these and I helped roll and cut the dough. It was an awful lot of effort for 10 pop-tarts. But the dough was flaky and the filling was good so I would have to assume that it was much better than the preservative filled foil wrapped things.

3/29/10

spicy corn casserole



Hic...

Hic...

Well... I have the hiccups. And I just don't have the hiccups, I get the hiccups. It becomes an event.



My sister compares me 'to that drunk mouse in the cartoons.'

My whole body jolts. I can't think, it hurts to move, I just hiccup.

Hic.

And they will come and go for hours, sometimes days.

Hic.

My cure of choice is a tablespoon of sugar but after a downing a few tablespoons... well, let's just say a sugar high and the hiccups just don't mix. I almost don't live to tell the tale.

Hic.



spicy corn casserole: adapted from chaos in the kitchen

4 cup corn kernels, divided into 3 cups and 1 cup... want a neat way to take the kernels off the cob? click here.
2 cups milk, divided
2 tbsp butter
1/2 onion, diced
2 jalapenos, diced
1/4 cup flour
salt and pepper, to taste
1/3 cup cornmeal
 3 tbsp cilantro, chopped
1 cup grated pepper jack cheese 
chopped cilantro for garnish

Heat oven to 350°F. Grease a cast iron pan or medium casserole dish with butter. In a food processor, combine 3 cups of corn kernels and 1 cup of milk. Pulse several times or until about half of the corn is pureed. Melt butter in a sauce pan over medium-high heat. Saute onions and jalapenos in butter until soft. Sprinkle with flour and cook for a couple of minutes or until golden. Add remaining 1 cups of milk and whisk until smooth. Cook, whisking often, until thick and smooth. Salt and pepper the sauce to taste. Stir in corn mixture, the 1 cup whole corn kernels, cornmeal, and cilantro. Taste for salt and pepper again. Pour mixture into the casserole dish and sprinkle with grated cheese. Bake 30 minutes or until cheese is golden and beginning to brown. If the cheese isn't brown enough you can place it under the broiler for a minute or two.Allow casserole to sit for about 10 minutes and then sprinkle with freshly chopped cilantro before serving.

Tasting Notes: Hic.


3/26/10

brown sugar strawberry tart



So yeah...

Let's just stare at the strawberry tart. I couldn't take a bad picture of this if I tried. 



If you think you need a dessert for Easter dinner, just make this... really. I promise it will impress, you will look like a genius and you didn't even break a sweat.

Stop licking the screen and drooling on you keyboard. I am not to blame if it shorts out.



Or maybe you need to celebrate a certain daughter getting into college with a 4 year scholarship, you make this and open a bottle of champagne to go with it.

And do a happy dance!

Because if this isn't the time to celebrate with champagne and strawberries I don't know when the right time would be.



brown sugar strawberry tart: sunset magazine april 2010

1 cup flour
1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar, divided
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 teaspoon vanilla extract, divided
1/2 cup creme fraiche
1/2 cup whipping cream
12 ounces strawberries, hulled and sliced

Preheat oven to 350°. In a food processor, whirl flour, 2 tablespoons sugar, the cornstarch, and salt until combined. Add butter and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla and pulse until fine crumbs form and dough just begins to come together. Press evenly into bottom and up sides of a 9-in. round tart pan with a removable rim.

Bake until edges are golden, 20 to 22 minutes. Let cool on a rack, then gently push tart crust from pan rim; set on a plate.
 
In a bowl with a mixer on high speed, beat creme fraiche, cream, remaining 2 tablespoons sugar, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon vanilla until thick. Spread in cooled crust. Arrange strawberries in circles on top, alternating cut sides down and up.
 
Chill, loosely covered, up to 4 hours.

If you have some lemon thyme leaves served this some thyme sprinkled on the top. It love the herbal lemony taste of the thyme mixed with the sweetness of the strawberries and the tang of the creme fraiche. 



3/24/10

easy banana cake



I am a big fan of drive-by recipes or maybe they should be called wham-bam- thank you-ma' am recipes. Those quickie recipes that are reliable, you don't have to put much thought, effort, sifting, or too many dishes to wash recipes. I like the craft of cooking but sometimes I want to be lazy.

(ducking all the rotten fruit that is being thrown my way)



Anyways...

This recipe came from Katie's boyfriend, Bo and his family.



I guess this is one of Bo's favorite cakes and Katie, like any girlfriend who like to cook and bake, quickly got (or maybe poached/stole?) the recipe. It has become a favorite around this house too.



But before I give you the cake recipe, I want you to make buttermilk. Actual buttermilk. It's a wham bam thank you ma'am recipe too and it's much better than what you buy at the store. Seriously, it will change your mind forever about buttermilk. While this cake was good when I made it with buttermilk from the store it had a much tender crumb when made with homemade buttermilk.

I am not going to post the buttermilk recipe, I am going to direct you to Rebecca's website. Why? Because she deserves all the credit and people have been know to poach her stuff without giving her her props.

Become a fan of Foodie with Family on Facebook and if you have a question about cooking, canning, baking, or cheesemaking... ask her. She is a walking encyclopedia of cooking knowledge. This is who I go to if I have a question and she always answers back quickly.



banana cake: adapted from the lee family

2 1/3 cups flour
1 cup brown sugar*
2/3 cup white sugar
1 1/4 cups mashed banana, about 3 bananas
2/3 cup finely chopped nuts, optional
2/3 cup shortening
2/3 cup buttermilk
3 eggs
1 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt

*You can use 1 2/3 cups white sugar instead of brown and white sugar combined.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 9x9 square pan. Place all the ingredients in to a stand mixer bowl. Beat together all ingredients on low speed for 30 seconds. Then beat on high speed for 3 minutes. Pour batter into prepared baking pan and bake for 40-50 minutes or until a tooth pick insert in the center comes out clean.

Tasting Notes: I top this cake with some sliced bananas and whipped cream. I would imagine some ice cream would go well or some spiced nuts might be a nice addition in the batter. This cake is pretty flexible.



3/22/10

blt's with caesar mayo



Rich and I went for breakfast a couple of days ago. What does this have to do with blt's? Everything.

I have this crazy notion that BLT's are the perfect breakfast food. Toast, bacon, veggies, and a side of fries. It is everthing you want and crave in a breakfast. Except for an egg but everytime I try to order an egg over easy on the top waitresses give me that arched eyebrow thing they got going on. I know they are thinking, 'Honey what in the hell wrong with you? Did your mama drop you on your head when you was a baby? Order some eggs, toast and a side of bacon. Don't make my job more difficult than it already is. A BLT with an egg on top? Who has ever heard of such a thing.'



It's easier not to ask anymore than deal with the strange looks. Because really I am not a freak.

So anyways, Rich and I went out to breakfast the other day to our favorite local dive diner and I ordered a BLT and a 1/2 order of fries. I was looking forward to my BLT. I was hungry... starving... don't mess with me because I will bite off your arm hungry.



And then my BLT arrived, I took a bite and BLECH!!!!

What in hell?

Miracle whip.

Miracle Whip on a BLT.

Oh no they didn't.

Oh yes they did!

Fucking Mircle Whip on a BLT.

OH GOD GET IT OUT OF MY MOUTH!

Well let's just say I didn't finish my sandwich and was angry for the rest of the day BECAUSE THERE WAS MIRACLE WHIP ON MY BLT.

:::

I had to right this wrong quickly before my tastebuds suffered from too much post traumatic stress.

Miracle Whip on a BLT. The worst kind of sin. Who dropped that guy on the head?



blt's with caesar mayo: sunset magazine

8 slices thick cut bacon
1 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 medium garlic clove
1 drained canned anchovy fillet
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire
8 large slices crusty bread
2 large ripe red tomatoes, sliced
About 1/4 tsp. coarse sea salt
4 large romaine lettuce leaves
1 avocado, sliced

In a large frying pan over medium heat, cook bacon, turning occasionally, until lightly browned and crisp but not brittle, about 10 minutes. Drain on paper towels.

Meanwhile, in a blender or food processor, combine mayonnaise, parmesan, lemon juice, mustard, garlic, anchovy, salt, pepper, and Worcestershire. Whirl until smooth. Scrape into a small bowl.

Spread Caesar mayo on bread slices. Top half with tomato and sprinkle with sea salt. Add bacon, lettuce, avocado and remaining bread slices. Serve with extra mayo.



Tasting Notes: I am not really a mayonnaise fan period. I don't care for the smell more than anything else BUT this mayo is good and don't get all freaked out by the anchovy. It just adds a layer of depth to the mayonnaise that gave it some bite. While I am not a fan of sneaking ingredients into food without telling anybody. I didn't tell the kids about the anchovies in the mayo and they didn't complain about the taste and my kids are like the Princess and the Pea except with their tastebuds and not a mattress. So if they didn't complain I think this passes muster.

Get it?

Mayo and muster.

Who's mama dropped them on the head when they were a baby?

My mama, that's who!



Craving something sweet after all that craziness? Check out this recipe from my cookie blog. Hazelnut and White Chocolate Cookies.

3/19/10

fettuccine alfredo with asparagus



I had this Pollyanna post all planned for you. Sitting in stop and go traffic trying to fight your way to Stanford Medical Center gives you plenty of time to think of posts. Two and half hours of time to be exact. I wanted to write about this is the time of year when I fall back in love with California. High taxes and our legislators can't get along. Smog, traffic and gangs. Google Stockton and see what comes up. I promise you most of it is not pretty. Matter of fact it's grim more often than not. But right now, when Mother Nature puts on this show, it's easy to forget for awhile.

The sky is clear bright blue, free of smog and if you are lucky you can catch a glimpse of the Sierra's and the snow topped mountains to the east, a hundred miles away. The leaves and grass are electric green, so bright it hurts your eyes to stare at it too long but you need to because in a few months the hills and grass with turn a gold color, dry and burnt from the unrelenting summer valley heat.

The air smells sweet from the almond and cherry blossoms and that will only last a week or so before the wind rains down the blossoms. It's all very romantic.

That there are farm workers on street corners selling strawberries, huge and sweet.

And that there is local asparagus for sale. Thin as a pencil or as thick as you thumb. Take your pick.

Asparagus is huge in Stockton and the whole Delta region, if I have my facts straight, our growing region produces most of the asparagus in North America. We even have a festival celebrating asparagus.

I was going to write about all of this in some M.F.K. Fisher way but yesterday evening we had a plainsclothes policeman come to the door and say in the alleyway behind our house someone had spray painted a swastika on a car and house and in all honesty there went the post. It's hard to write about the good stuff when the ugly, mean, nasty, hateful stuff happens in your own backyard.



I could keep it light and goofy but this is my way of keeping it real. This is what is going on in my neighborhood and I feel hopeless. The only way I can make it right is by not ignoring it. Bake some cookies and deliver them to our neighbors and ask them is there anything I or my family can do.



fettuccine alfredo with asparagus:

*I double this recipe

1 pound of asparagus, washed
1 pound of fettuccine (i didn't have any fettuccine so i substituted penne)
4 tablespoons butter, cut into pieces
1 cup of heavy cream
4-6 ounces of pancetta, thinly sliced
pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup grated Parmesan, plus more for serving
juice of 1/2 lemon

Snap the tough ends of the asparagus and discard them. Cut the asparagus spears into 1-inch pieces.

While waiting for the water to boil, in a pan, fry up the pancetta until lightly crispy and set aside, grease and all.

In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the fettuccine until almost done, about eight minutes. Add the asparagus and lemon juice, cook until the asparagus and pasta are done, about 4 mintues longer.

Drain the pasta and asparagus. Toss with butter, cream, nutmeg, salt, pepper, Parmesan, and pancetta (grease and all... unless there is alot of it, then you might want to drain it). Serve with additional Parmesan.



Tasting Notes: This dish is Spring and as a bonus since you should be outside enjoying the lovely weather... this dish takes under a half hour to cook and doesn't leave you with many dishes to wash. All good in my book and right now I will take any good I can.


3/16/10

kahlua coffee cocoa cake



sigh...

Do you hear the weight of the world in that sigh? I am about to let you in on my biggest flaw. I am a con-trol fr-eak. Feel sorry for my family and friends because if I had my way they would all live within a two block radius of me, I would have named their kids, picked their cars, and husbands, wives or girlfriends. I would plant their flowers and everything would be perfect.

I try to be a laid back control freak if there is even such a thing. I know I can't control a damn thing so by knowing I can't control anything I, therefore, can control everything. Follow my logic? So when someone doesn't do what I think is best, I stress out.

sigh...

I fancy myself as a dictator of some small eastern European country that you can't find on a map. Actually come to think of it I don't want a small European country, it's cold and snowy 9 months of the year. I would prefer a small warm Latin American island with palm trees, white sand, and good looking cabana boys. I can control that.

Freud says: This is why Krysta likes to cook, it's the only thing she can control.



Well, doesn't that just take the cake.

kahlua coffee cocoa cake:

5 oz. (10 tablespoons) very soft unsalted butter
1 2/3 cups granulated sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons flour
1/2 cup plus 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, (not dutch processed)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 cup of brewed espresso, cooled to warm
3/4 cup of Kahlua liquor

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Generously butter a 9x9 inch baking pan, dust the bottom and sides of pan with cocoa powder. Tap out any excess.

In a stand mixer, put the butter and sugar in the bowl and using the paddle attachment cream until smooth (about 1 minute). Blend in the eggs one at a time, mixing just until corporated, about 20 seconds. Mix in vanilla and salt.

Take bowl of stand mixer and sift the flour, cocoa, baking soda, and baking powder directly onto the batter. Pour in coffee and Kahlua. Gently whisk the ingredients together until the mixture is smooth and mostly free of lumps.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan, spreading it evenly with a spatula. Bake until a skewer inserted in the center comes out with only moist crumbs clinging to it, about 40-43 minutes. Set the pan on a rack to cool for 20 minutes. Carefuly run a knife around the edges of the pan, invert cake onto the rack, and remove the pan. Invert again onto another rack and let cool right side up until just warm. Serve immediately.



Tasting Notes: This cake is the perfect Audrey Hepburn little black dress cake. Simple, plain, but somehow very sexy and perfect. It's the go to snack cake.

"Do not mess with it!" says the control freak blogger behind the curtain.



Still here? Cool beans... so I have been keeping this on the down low but I have a new blog called preheat-oven. It's a 24/7 cookie blog. I'll be posting once a week normally on Sunday nights-Monday mornings. The first recipe is Peanut Butter Chocolate Sandwich cookies. You can catch all the updates here on facebook. Actually I should just demand that you go there but I won't because I am a benevolent dictator.


3/11/10

stir fried red rice with sliced sirloin steak and edamame



My little nephew, Bub, just turned 3... and let me tell you the boy is freaky smart and I'm not saying that because he's my nephew.



(doesn't he look like he's got it all figured out.)

Bub knows his cars. Take him for a walk in your neighborhood and he will name every car... Silver Volkswagen, Red Chevy Truck, Black Volvo. Ford, Dodge, Mercedes Benz, BMW, he knows them all. I'm not sure if he knows: Lotus, Ferrari, Lamborghini and Aston Martin but I wouldn't doubt it.

update: my sister, bub's mom, informs me that yes he does know aston martin.

He tells me, 'Auntie Ta-Ta drives her blue Toyota.' when he sees my cars keys.

Last Christmas he saw Katie pull up in our Toyota Sienna. He said, 'Katie drives a Cash Cab.'

... from then on he calls her Cash Cab.

Have you ever seen Cash Cab with Ben Bailey? Where unsuspecting New York City taxi passengers hail a cab, a Toyota Sienna, and Bam! they are contestants in a trivia game show.

The kid put together Katie driving our Toyota Sienna with The Cash Cab Taxi and there you have it. Instant nickname. From now on please refer to Katie as Cash Cab.



stir fried red rice with skirt steak and edamame: heavily adapted from this recipe from food & wine march 2010

1/2 cup red rice*
1 cup water
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 thai chilies cut in half
2 garlic cloves, minced
6 ounces thinly sliced skirt steak
Salt
1 large red sweet onion, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
4 cups thinly sliced baby spinach
2 cups thawed shelled edamame
3 tablespoons soy sauce
freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
lime wedges, for serving

In a small saucepan, cover the rice with the water and bring to a boil. Cover the saucepan and cook over low heat for about 25 minutes, until the rice is tender and the water is absorbed. Spread the rice out on a baking sheet and let cool.

In a skillet or wok, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil until shimmering. Add the garlic and thai chilies and cook over moderately high heat until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the flank steak, season with salt and cook, turning once, until browned, 1 minute; transfer to a plate. Remove chilies.

Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil in the skillet. Add the onion and ginger and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 6 minutes. Stir in the spinach and stir-fry over high heat until wilted, about 1 minute. Stir in the rice and edamame, then the soy sauce and steak and stir well. Season with salt and pepper and transfer to a bowl. Garnish with the cilantro and serve with lime wedges.

* You can find red rice or Bhutanese in most Asian stores, I found mine at Safeway in the Asian section. Go figure



Tasting Notes: This was great. End of Story. The red rice was nutty and chewy, the onion added a little sweetness, the thai chilies added some heat, the edmame gave it some bite, and the lime and cilantro finished it off.

update on my other little nephew who was born a week ago: baby marshall is doing pretty good. he opened one of his eyes yesterday and is gaining a little bit of weight. he is still having some issues breathing which most preemies have but he's hanging in there. i want to say thank you for all your kind words and comments and emails. i have passed them along. i have pictures but some might find them a little disturbing so we'll hold off until he's off the cpap breathing machine. but thank you for including him in your thoughts and prayers.


3/9/10

bacon wrapped dates and a winner



Here I am about to announce the winner of ad hoc at home giveaway and I go and pull up the random number generator and look who's number gets picked.



The third comment is Saint TigerLily's comment...

'She will leave the biscuits for someone else to make and go read some Flannery O'Connor? See, but the only problem there is we don't get fresh biscuits...Since I already HAVE Ad Hoc, as a lovely giftie from you, no less, I don't need to be included in the thingamabob. I just wanted to add to the story. And seriously, if you ever want to read about a drastically different Southern woman, Flannery is your gal.'

Yeah you read that right, I had sent an extra copy to TigerLily awhile back ago because if anyone loves Keller more than I, it is my gal STL. Soooooo... while the force is strong between her and Keller (or so she says. I think he loves me more.) I gave her the opportunity to pick the winner.

She liked this comment the best...

'Well, I really just want the cookbook, but I'm pretty sure the heroine's next step would be to take the biscuits out of the oven, and serve them up to everyone in her crazy family with a entrée of chicken fried rat poison - so the ghostly ancestor can finally have their revenge and the young maid can run off into the sunset with the charmingly sexy, yet horribly undereducated, farmhand named Jackson Rhett Nathaniel Rutherford Lee, III - or, Sonny for short.'

-Liam O'Malley of My So Called Knife

Liam, you are THE WINNER! Please email me at krysta [@] evilchefmom [dot] com and let me know where you want me to ship ad hoc at home to.

Now we must discuss these little crack grenades...



My whole family is a snacking/hors d'oeuvres family. When there are large get togethers we have been known to skip dinner and just eat the
hors d'oeuvres or better yet just have an hors d'oeuvres dinners. Katie made these last Saturday and the little crack grenades (make them and you'll understand what i am talking about) were gone as soon as they were cool enough to grab. I had to sneak a couple and take a quick picture before I was attacked. Sorry but that's why the picture was so dark, it's the only picture I was able to take.

bacon wrapped dates: adapted from apples and butter which she in turn got from gourmet (gasp-sob) which originally came from suzanne goin

Makes 30, allow 5 per person

10 slices of bacon cut crosswise into thirds
30 dates
3 - 4 oz of Parmigiano-Reggiano, broken or cut into small pieces about the size of a date pit

Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 450°F. Stuff 1 piece of parmigiano into each date, then wrap 1 piece of bacon around each date, securing it with a pick. Arrange dates 1 inch apart in a shallow baking pan. Bake 5 minutes, then turn dates over with tongs and bake until bacon is crisp, 5 to 6 minutes more. Drain on a paper bag or parchment. Serve immediately.

I served this with a side of really good balsamic vinegar to dip the crack grenades into. You got a little sweet, salty, sour in each bite.


3/8/10

tiramisu




Last Wednesday was Nancy's birthday. For her birthday dinner she chose chicken soup with dumplings and tiramisu for dessert. An odd combo that strangely worked.

Now anybody who has had tiramisu in their lifetime at one point has probably had a bad tiramisu. Soggy, soppy, goopy, any bad adjective ending with a -y pretty much sums up a bad tiramisu.

What no one tells you is it's all in how you dip the ladyfingers. We'll get to that in a second.



Shall we make a good tiramisu?

Yes let's.



Combine 5 cups of hot brewed espresso + 2 tablespoons sugar + 2 tablespoons of rum.



Combine egg yolks and 1 cup sugar in a stand mixer beat until light and fluffy.

Jacques Pepin tip: When cracking eggs don't crack the egg on the edge of a bowl, always crack it on a flat surface. That way bits of shell will not get into the egg or the bowl and any nasties that might be on the egg or cookware will also not get into the egg. Especially good tip when making a raw egg dish.


Add mascarpone cheese to egg yolks.


Wash stand mixer bowl.




Whisk egg whites until they form medium stiff peaks.



Fold* 1/3 egg white mixture into mascarpone mixture to lighten it, then gently fold in the rest of the egg whites into the mascarpone mixture. Cover and refrigerate.

*To Fold: The lighter mixture is placed on top of the heavier mixture, then the two are combined by passing a spatula down through the mixture, across the bottom, and up over the top. This process continues until the mixtures are combined. This traps air into bubbles in the product, allowing baked goods to rise.

Folding egg whites or whipped cream into mixtures still gives me nightmares. I hold my breath and ever so gently use a spatula to fold whatever I am doing... so scared that it's going to get heavy and not be light and airy. Just remember to take your time and everything should be okay. Trust me if I can do it, you can too.



Dip ladyfinger into cooled espresso-rum mixture.

So this is the most important part... depending on what kind of ladyfinger you have, it might only take a one second dip or up to a ten second dip. You want the coffee to only soak about halfway through the ladyfinger. Test one by dipping it in the espresso mixture and break one in half to see how far the espresso has saturated into the ladyfinger. The ladyfingers I had were a very quick one second dip.



Tightly fit one layer of espresso dipped ladyfingers into a 9 X13 baking dish.



Spread one half of mascarpone mixture on the ladyfingers. Then repeat the above; laying the ladyfingers on top of the mascarpone mixture. Spread the rest of the mascarpone mixture on the second layer of ladyfingers.

Cover and chill for at least two hours.



Before serving, sift cocoa powder over the top.



tiramisu:

5 cups of hot brewed espresso
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 tablespoons rum (I used spiced rum)
4 large eggs, separated
16 ounces (2 cups) mascarpone cheese
40-50 ladyfingers
2 tablespoons of cocoa powder

Pour the coffee while it is still hot into a large bowl and add 2 tablespoons of sugar. Stir well and let cool to room temperature. Add rum.

Combine egg yolks and the remaining 1 cup sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer. With the whisk attachment, beat on meduim high speed until the yolks are pale yellow and fluffy (about 5 minutes). Add the mascarpone and beat until fully incorporated into a smooth cream, about 2-3 minutes. Transfer to large bowl.

Wash and dry stand mixer bowl and whisk attachment. Put the egg whites in the bowl and whip on medium high speed until the egg whites form medium stiff peaks when you lift the beaters (the tips should curl over onto themselves just a little). With a rubber spatula, fold about 1/3 of the beaten eggs whites into the mascarpone mixture to lighten it. Then gently fold in the remaining egg whites, taking care not to to deflate the them. Cover and refrigerate.

Submerge one ladyfinger in the cooled coffee mixture until the coffee penetrates about halfway through, carefully shake out any excess coffee and immediately set into a 9x13 inch baking dish; continue until you have ine tightly fitted layer that covers the bottom of the dish. (You might need to break a few ladyfinger to fit in snugly) Spread 1/2 of the mascarpone cream evenly on top of the ladyfingers.

Repeat the soaking procedure with the remaining ladyfingers to create a second layer, arranging them on top of the mascarpone mixture as you did for the first layer. Spread the rest of the mascarpone mixture evenly on top. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Before serving, sift cocoa powder or finely grate some bittersweet chocolate over the top to evenly cover.

* This recipe contains raw eggs. So if you have a suppressed or weakened immune system or you are simply freaked out about eating raw eggs,
use pasteurized eggs or just don't make it.

Tasting Notes: After Rich took the first bite of this tiramisu, he looked at me... pointed at his plate, smiled and said 'this' and couldn't say another word. This tiramisu left him speechless. I felt like I hit one out of the park.