Thursday, March 28, 2013

Birthday Wishes!

I love to bake and my kids have given me their orders for their birthday cakes.  This year, my daughter (her birthday is today!) gave me her birthday gift list and it included what she wanted to eat for dinner during her birthday week.  Yes, I did say week. So, list in hand, I made her the veggie lasagna and tiramisu. Tiramisu is an Italian dessert that is so delicious and a favorite of my family.  Tiramisu means pick me up in Italian.  The recipe below includes raw eggs. If you are looking for a recipe with cooked eggs, please try PW's Tiramisu recipe.

Here's my recipe:


5 egg yokes (from the freshest eggs you can find)
1 pound Mascarpone cheese (Italian dessert cheese)
6 egg whites
1 3/4 cups of cooled, brewed espresso
1/2 cup of brandy, amaretto or cognac
3 Tablespoons of powdered sugar
3 Tablespoons of granulated sugar
1 - 1 1/2 packages of lady fingers (I use Balocco Savoiardi - a crispy cookie)
1/2 cup of shaved dark chocolate (or cocoa powder)

Mix egg yokes and granulated sugar until thick and frothy, about 5 minutes. Yes, this is raw eggs.  If this really bothers you, you can "coddle" the eggs over a double boiler, whisking constantly with the sugar for 2 minutes after the water in the double boiler has reached a boil.  If you don't whisk, you'll end up with scrambled eggs.  Add  mascarpone cheese and stir until smooth.  2 Tablespoons of cooled, brewed espresso, stir until incorporated.

Take egg whites and whisk until you have the stiff peaks of a meringue.  Gently fold egg whites into mascarpone and egg yoke mixture.

In a small shallow dish, add remaining espresso and brandy. Dip each ladyfinger into espresso for only 5 seconds. Letting the ladyfingers soak too long will cause them to fall apart. Place the soaked ladyfinger on the bottom of a 13 by 9 inch baking dish, breaking them in half if necessary in order to fit the bottom.

Spread evenly 1/2 of the mascarpone mixture over the ladyfingers. Sprinkle 1/2 of the shaved chocolate.  Arrange another layer of soaked ladyfingers and top with remaining mascarpone mixture. Sprinkle with rest of shaved chocolate. You can shave more chocolate depending on your taste

Cover tiramisu with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, up to 8 hours.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Below is the St. Paddy's Day Feast I cooked for my family today.  As I have a bit of the Irish within me, I love to celebrate the day. However, my daughter who also has a wee bit of the Irish within her, continues to remind me that St. Patrick was Italian.  Since we're both - then I guess it's still okay for use to celebrate.

For starters, I cooked Beer Braised Irish Stew. I searched high and low for a recipe and read all of the reviews before I settled for one.  Below is the recipe that I've adapted for my family.  The original recipe can be found here - Beer Braised Irish Stew

I also made Irish Champ and Cheddar Beer Soup (click for recipes) again I read the reviews.  With these recipes, I altered the soup by adding about 4 cups of extra sharp cheddar. Next time I'd add half the beer and replace it with chicken broth.  The beer flavor was overpowering.

For dessert, I traditionally make my scones or Irish Soda Bread, however I forgot to pick up apricots and butter milk at the grocery store, so it's mint chocolate chip ice cream made into Shamrock Shakes (ice cream, milk, and vanilla cream (used in coffee)).

Adapted Recipe
Image from
1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
3 pounds beef chuck stew meat
6 ounces of Guinness Stout Ale (original recipe called for 12 ounces)
2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup coarsely chopped onion 
1 1/2 cup coarsely chopped carrot (approximately 5 medium)
1 1/2 bay leaves (original recipe called for 2)
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme (original recipe called for 1 teaspoon)
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 cloves garlic minced
2 Tablespoons Worcestershire sauce


  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
  2. Heat the vegetable oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat until very hot, and brown the meat in 2 batches, stirring to brown the cubes on all sides. Return all the meat to the Dutch oven, sprinkle with flour, and stir lightly to coat the meat with flour. Stir in onion, carrots, dark beer, bay leaves, thyme, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, garlic, and Worcestershire sauce. Bring the mixture to a boil, and cover.
  3. Place the Dutch oven into the preheated oven, and cook for 45 minutes; uncover, stir the stew, and cook until the beef is very tender and the liquid is reduced by half, about 45 more minutes.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

PW Strikes Again

I have to admit, I love watching Pioneer Woman. She has great recipes that are easy to re-create. Some do tend to be on the butter heavy side, but that is something that can always be reduced. And since we don't live on a cow farm, we aren't able to work off those pats of butter.

Last night I made PW's Patty Melt and Crash Hot Potatoes.  They were awesome! I hadn't had a Patty Melt in at least 20 years. For the Patty Melt, I did not put butter in the pan to fry the hamburger, but I did put butter in the pan when I fried the sandwich, but did not spread butter on the bread. I used about 1/2 stick of butter.

Here are the recipes:

Pioneer Woman's Patty Melt

Pioneer Woman's Crash Hot Potatoes