Sunday, July 24, 2011

Tiramisu -- Posted by Jessica

So, I had ricotta cheese, egg yolks and whipping cream left over from the Hazelnut Cream Casatta and was looking for recipes to use them in. I came across this tiramisu recipe that if I cut in half would used up the egg yolks, whipping cream and most of the ricotta I had left so I decided to give it a try. I had it on good authority from my sister that it was a good recipe! Traditionally, most recipes of tiramisu seem to use mascarpone cheese so I'll have to try one of those versions sometime as well. But this turned out pretty well. I was short about 4 ladyfingers so it was a little more soft, though it did set up better as it sat overnight than from the intial 2 hour chill time. Also, I didn't have brandy and didn't want to buy some as I was cutting the recipe in half and would only need a few tablespoons so I substituted hazelnut flavor coffee syrup I had on hand and just reduced the sugar called for as the syrup is plenty sweet. I have recently discovered bottled Bolthouse Farms hazelnut latte flavored drinks (found in the produce sections of some grocery stores) that I really like (again courtesy of my sister!) so I figured substituting the hazelnut syrup should be good. And it did turn out good! And I had a little individual packet of instant coffee I had brought back from a hotel in Ireland that was exactly the 1/2 Tb I needed so I didn't have to buy any extra ingredients for this recipe except the ladyfingers, so this recipe worked out really well for me! Here is the full recipe:


6 egg yolks
1/2 c sugar
1/3 c cognac or brandy
2 c ricotta cheese
1 c whipping cream, whipped
32 ladyfingers, split in half
1 Tb instant coffee disolved in 3/4 cup boiling water
1 Tb unsweetened cocoa powder

In top of double boiler, whisk together egg yolks, sugar and cognac. Place pan over simmering water in bottom of double boiler. Cook, whisking contantly, about 2 to 3 minutes until mixure is thickened. Remove top of double boiler; cook yolk mixure completely. In large bowl of electric mixter, beat yolk mixture and ricotta cheese on medium speed until blended. Fold in whipped cream.

Place half the ladyfingers in bottom of 13x9 inch pan, cut sides up. Brush with half the coffee and top with half the ricotta mixure. Repeat layers. Chill 2 hours. Dust with cocoa powder using fine sieve.
16 servings

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Hazelnut Cream Cassata - Posted by Jessica

This is one of the BEST cakes I've ever had! I highly recommend it! It is a little bit of a project as it is 3 layers (but it does use cake mix so that helps in prep time) and whipping cream can take a little while, but it is totally worth it! Thank you Better Homes and Gardens for this amazing recipe!


1 pkg 2-layer-size white cake mix or lemon-flavor cake mix (I used white)
1 Tb. finely shredded lemon peel (only if using white cake mix)
1/3 cup Nutella
1/3 cup ricotta cheese
1/3 cup red raspberry jam
2 1/2 cups whipping cream
2 Tb sifted pwd sugar (I forgot to sift it and it was fine!)
Toasted chopped hazelnuts (I used 2 Tb)

Grease and flour three 9" round cake pans (I also put parchement paper on the bottoms to make sure the cake wouldn't stick - spray bottom of pan, cut parchement paper or wax paper to fit, put in bottom of pan and spray paper and sides of pan, then dust with flour).
Preheat oven to 350. Prepare cake mix according to pkg directions. (If using white cake mix, stir in lemon peel). Divide batter among prepared pans. Bake about 15 minutes or till done. Cool in pans on wire rack 10 minutes. Remove cake from pans and cool completely.

For filling, stir together the nutella and ricotta. Place one cake layer on serving platter; spread with half of the jam and half of the nutella mixture. Top with 2nd layer and spread with rest of jam and nutella. Top with 3rd layer. In a chilled bowl beat whipping cream and pwd sugar with chilled beaters of electric mixer on medium speed until stiff peaks form. Spread whipped cream over top and sides of cake. Top with hazelnuts. Cover and chill up to 24 hours. Slice and serve.

Makes 12 servings (I cut it into 16 slices and they were perfect size.)

Coq Au Vin -- posted by Jessica

Fancy name for chicken and vegetable stew! This recipe is really good, but it is a project. Next time I will used boneless skinless chicken breasts to make it a little faster! I found this recipe in a Cooking Light cookbook and wanted to try something new.


1/4 c flour
1/4 tsp black pepper, divided
1/8 tsp salt
2 chicken breast halves, skinned
2 chicken thighs, skinned
2 chicken drumsticks, skinned
1 Tb olive oil (I had to use more)
2 Tb diced shallots
1 pound small mushrooms
1 1/4 c diced plum tomato
1 c diced carrot
1 c diced celery
1 Tb chopped fresh tarragon (I used parsley as I has a bunch on hand)
1 bay leaf
2/3 c dry red wine
1/2 low salt chicken broth
1/4 tsp salt
2 Tb finely chopped fresh chives

Combine flour, 1/8 tsp pepper and 1/8 tsp salt in shallow dish. Dredge chicken in flour mixture.

Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add chicken and shallots. Cook 5 minutes browning on all sides. Remove chicken. Add mushrooms; saute 3 minutes. Add tomato, carrot, celery, tarragon and bay leaf. Cook 1 minute, stirring contantly. Stir in wine and broth; scrape pan to loosen browned bits. Return chicken to pan and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat and simmer 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Stir in 1/8 tsp pepper and 1/4 tsp salt. Discard bay leaf. Garnish with chopped chives.

Yield 4 servings (more like 6 servings I think)

Raspberry Streusel Muffins -- posted by Jessica


1 1/2 c flour
1/4 c sugar
1/4 c packed brown sugar
2 tsp baking pwd
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1 egg
1/4 c plus 2 Tb milk
2 Tb butter melted (vegetable oil works too)
1 1/4 c raspberries (if frozen, do not thaw)
1/4 c chopped pecans
1/4 c packed brown sugar
2 Tb flour
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp grated lemon peel
1 Tb butter, melted
1/4 c pwd sugar
1 1/2 tsp lemon juice

Combine 1st 6 ingredients in bowl. Combine egg, milk and butter and lemon peel. Stir into dry ingredients just until moist. Fold in raspberries. Fill greased or paper lined muffin cups 3/4 full.
Combine topping ingredients; spring 1 Tb on each muffin. Bake at 350 for 18-22 min or till done. Cool 5 min then remove to wire rack. Combine glaze ingredients and drizzle over warm muffins.

Yield 12 muffins

*I only got 11 muffins; maybe because my raspberries were large. Next time I may cut them in half  so they spread out in the batter more. Also, I didn't have any nuts for the topping (I think almonds would be really good) so I used oats in place of the pecans in the streusel and it turned out well!

Banana Split Bread -- posted by Jessica

This is a really moist and delicious banana bread recipe; with the chocolate chips and fruit it could be a dessert! The original recipe calls for 2 cups of chocolate chips, but as much as I love chocolate, I found that it overwhelmed the banana and pinapple flavors so I reduced it to 1 cup the next time I made it. Also, green maraschino cherries are fine too. That is what I had in my fridge the last time I made this (strangely, they were cheaper than the red ones! I would think they would be more expensive as they are dyed green).

2/3 c shortening or butter (I have also used vegetable oil)
1 1/4 c sugar
4 eggs
3 1/2 c flour
2 1/2 tsp baking pwd
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 c mashed ripe banana (4)
2 (8 oz) cans crushed pineapple, drained
1 - 2 c chocolate chips
1 (10 oz) jar red Maraschino cherries, well drained and chopped
1 c chopped nuts

Cream shortening and sugar. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Combine flour thru salt; add to creamed mixture alternately with banana and pineapple. Fold in the chocolate chips, cherries and nuts. Pour into 2 greased 9 x 5 loaf pans. Bake at 350 for 60 - 65 min or till done. Cool for 10 min then remove from pans to cool on wire racks.

Yield: 2 loaves 12 slices each.