quadruple chocolate tiramisu

Tasty! I loooove a great summer dessert that takes absolutely no heat to make. It is way too hot with this 25+ days of over 100 degrees to turn on the oven. Sure to thrill any coffee/chocolate lover.

For some reason my grocery store doesn’t always carry ladyfingers or mascarpone cheese, but my subsitutes of sponge cake slices and Neufchatel cheese (a low-fat and softer version of cream cheese) have worked extremely well. I’ve made this recipe three times now- once with ladyfingers, once with chocolate angel food cake (below pictures), and now once with store bought vanilla angel-food cake.

The recipe is called ‘Triple Chocolate Tiramisu’ but I think it has four:

  1. white chocolate
  2. bittersweet chocolate
  3. chocolate liqueur
  4. cocoa powder

Quadruple Chocolate Tiramisu

Recipe version from Liz Devlin’s Better Homes & Gardens – Pink Plaid Cookbook

Prep: 30 min, chill: 6 hrs (longer is better, but at least 3 needed), makes: 1 8x8x2 inch dish

  • 2- 3oz packages ladyfingers, split  (or a store-bought angel-food cake, these pics show chocolate flavor cake)
  • 1/4 cup brewed espresso or strong coffee (for reals, this makes it amazing)
  • 1- 8oz carton mascarpone cheese (can use low-fat cream cheese, at room temperature)
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 1/3 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla (could change it up with almond/hazelnut extract)
  • 1/3 chocolate liqueur (i used Creme de Cacao)
  • 1oz white baking chocolate squares, grated (from freezer) or finely chopped (i used a small food processor)
  • 1oz bittersweet chocolate, grated (from freezer) or finely chopped
  • unsweetened cocoa powder, for top dusting
  1. Line bottom of  8x8x2 inch dish with enough ladyfingers to cover. Cut to fit. Drizzle half of the espresso over ladyfingers.
  2. In medium mixing bowl beat mascarpone cheese, whipping cream, powdered sugar and vanilla with electric mixer just until stiff peaks form, standing straight up when lifting beaters from mixture), scraping sides of bowl occasionally. Beat in chocolate liqueur until combined.
  3. Evenly spread half of the mascarpone mixture over ladyfingers layer. Sprinkle with mixed white and bittersweet chocolate crumbs.
  4. Add another layer of ladyfingers and drizzle remaining espresso. Spread remaining mascarpone mixture and top with more crumble chocolate and dust with cocoa powder.
  5. Cover and chill in refrigerator for 6 to 24 hours. Flavors will meld through cake and cream filling with time.
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tomato basil bisque

An (extremely) favorite menu item, a la Harry’s Restaurant in downtown Manhattan, Kansas. Recipe featured a few years ago in a Kansas magazine when spotted by my mum.

Back a few months ago, my dear friend Sally came down to my little abode and we made a fabulous dinner. Homemade pasta ravioli with ricotta and spinach with basil pesto from last fall. What better to pair the pasta with than a delish tomato basil soup! Did I mention that basil is my favorite herb? Well its running a close race with rosemary, thyme, and ginger at least. Sure doesn’t hurt that it grows like a weed here in the hot Kansas summers.

We made the soup again about a week ago, during these strange cold, windy, and damp May days. I love the surprise of the science experiment in the middle (think 6th grade volcano).

I adore this soup. It’s what I’ve decided to ask for if I ever get really sick – with some freshly grated parmesan and a good glass of wine.  Enjoy!

sally’s ravioli!

adding pepper, basil, and flour to sautéed onion

simmering the tomatoes for the science experiment portion of the evening

adding the soda!

frothy soup. Soda added to acidic tomatoes to even out the PH before adding cream, cause it would curdle.

cream!

or half and half

enjoyed with a bit of fresh basil from the window sill

Tomato Basil Bisque

  • 1 medium onion diced
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 1/2 tsp dried basil
  • 3 tbl flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 3 cup chicken stock
  • 25 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 26 oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream (i use half-n-half)
  • 3 tbl chopped fresh basil
  • oil to saute
  1. Saute onion and salt, pepper, dried basil, and flour.
  2. Whisk together, add stock, mix.
  3. Add tomatoes and stir.
  4. Cook 20 minutes over medium heat.
  5. Add baking soda and sugar.
  6. Simmer 15 more minutes.
  7. Add cream and fresh basil
  8. Serve.

Makes 9- 8oz bowls.

risotto w/ mushrooms

First thing to know about risotto- It will be some work, stirring work to be exact, but its more than worth it. Prepare yourself for the results! Risotto is an incredible comfort food, creamy, savory, and can have an infinite number of flavor variations.

Second thing to know- You must use Arborio rice. Do not substitute long grain or anything else. Arborio is an Italian short grain rice, grown originally in the Po Valley, think Modena, Parma, and westward to Torino. The creaminess of the risotto comes straight from the rice starches and proteins, oh and the Parmesan cheese! 

Third thing- How I underestimated the flavor combination of thyme and mushrooms. From this recipe, I now always add thyme when sauteing mushrooms, even for Portobello mushroom sandwiches.

Fourth- I know many people are not giant fans of mushrooms. I, on the other hand, am a huge fan, and happened to find shiitake mushrooms on sale at the grocery store, prompting me to finally make the risotto I had been craving for months. Other variations might include using a vegetable or beef broth in place of chicken, adding basil pesto to the rice before Parmesan, or something else. Onion and garlic are nearly required, so don’t skip them.

sauteing mushrooms, herbs, onions, and garlic

stirring until broth is absorbed, many times

cooked risotto, pre-Parmesan addition

Risotto con fungi, 4 to 6 servings

  • 8 cups chicken broth, low sodium
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 pkg shiitake, 1/2 small pkg button mushrooms sliced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 tbsp fresh thyme, chopped, or 2 tsp dried
  • 2 tbsp fresh italian parsley (flat leaf), chopped, or 2 tsp dried
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 cups Arborio rice
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1/2 cup fresh Parmesan cheese, grated
  1. Heat all chicken broth in saucepan, keep warm over low heat.
  2. Heat 1 tbsp oil in very large skillet over med heat. Saute 1/2 onion and 1 clove garlic until translucent, be careful not to burn garlic. Add fresh mushrooms, herbs, and butter. Saute all for 3 to 5 min until lightly browned and season with salt and pepper. Remove from pan and set aside.
  3. Heat rest of oil (2 tbsp)  Saute remaining 1/2 onion and garlic clove. Add rice and stir quickly until grains are well coated and opaque, 1 min. (cooks starchy coating and prevents grains from sticking). Stir in wine until nearly all evaporated.
  4. With ladle, add 1 cup broth at a time, stirring until absorbed into rice, then add next cup broth. Keep adding broth and stirring until each cup absorbs until rice is slightly firm and creamy, not mushy. Will use most if not all broth. Stir in mushrooms. Stir in Parmesan cheese, cook until melting, still stirring.
  5. Serve, top with any left over chopped herbs.

recipe altered from Foodnetwork.com, Tyler Florence. http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/tyler-florence/mushroom-risotto-recipe/index.html