Archives for March 2007

Ooohhh, Tiramisu

Leave it to the Italians to come up with an ultimately sexy dessert like tiramisu. I mean, the combination of espresso soaked lady’s fingers (whoever named those was probably a Romeo himself), whipped cream, coffee liqueur, shaved chocolate, and mascarpone, one of the riches, most divine soft cheeses around, is an unbeatable ensemble. Just as

sembling the tiramisu, with it velvety triple cream mascarpone and soft whipped cream, was a sensual experience.

Eating it wasn’t too bad either.

There are several versions of this Italian dessert, the traditional way involving making a zabaglione from marsala, egg yolks and sugar and mixing this with the mascarpone. Cocoa is usually sifted on top, but I much prefer shaved chocolate.
My recipe is for a quick and easy tiramisu, one that the inexperienced cook can make at home successfully. I’m not Italian, so I feel perfectly at ease making a few shortcuts! This recipe was fantastic and seemed to get better every day as it chilled in the fridge and the flavors melded together. You must try it!
Pictured here are some of the essential ingredients: shaved dark chocolate, ladies fingers, Kahlua and whipping cream, and here is the full recipe!
(NOTE! In the photos shown, I am making a double recipe, so don’t be confused if the recipe says make a layer of 6 lady fingers, and in the photo it’s obvious that I will need 12)


250 grams mascarpone cheese
1/3 cup sugar
2 tablespoons coffee flavored liqueur
½ cup whipping cream
2 teaspoons vanilla
¼ cup strong espresso or coffee
12-16 ladyfinger biscuits

¼ cup grated bittersweet chocolate

Beat mascarpone with sugar and liqueur until creamy.

In a separate bowl, beat whipping cream with vanilla until soft peaks hold. Stir half into mascarpone mixture, then fold in remaining cream.

Place coffee in a shallow bowl and dip both sides of ladyfingers into it. Place about 6 ladyfingers, breaking to fit if needed, in an 8×4 inch loaf pan. Top with half of the mascarpone mixture, then half of the grated chocolate.

Repeat with ladyfingers, then a

nother layer of mascarpone (finishing the mixture) and coat with grated chocolate.
Refrigerate at least 8 hours, overnight is better, and a few days is just fine, too!

To serve: using a large spoon, dish into pretty martini glasses or small bowl. Garnish with strawberries, if you like.

Makes 6-8 serving.
This tiramisu also freezes well.

DIY: Antipasto.That’s Amore!

Wilted Spinach and Garlic Crostini with Parmesan (recipe below)

Crusty breadsticks, plump cherry tomatoes, juicy melon with prosciutto, garlicy bruschettas, meaty green olives, spicy sausages…what’s not to love? The good news? You can Do It Yourself!

Roasted Cherry Tomatoes with Thyme and Garlic (recipe below)

The Italian word “antipasto” literally means ‘before the meal,’

but I love this type of food so much, I served it as the meal at a little Oscars party we had on Sunday.

The term antipasto

is very broad as it includes a wide selection of appetizers that may consist of a combination of cured meats, cheeses, marinated vegetables, bread, fish, seafood, fruit and much, much

It’s an ideal way to feed people informally if you don’t feel like doing a sit down dinner or if you’re all gathered in the living room around the TV.

It’s very easy to prepare, and usually doesn’t involve much more than opening some jars, arranging sliced meats, and locating the best breads around. Using good ingredients and the best quality products is key to a great antipasto! Also important is serving everything at room temperature(unless, of cour

se, it is meant to be enjoyed hot, such as meatballs.) One can better appreciate the flavors if what they are eating is not bone cold.

Prosciutto, Genoa Salami, Mortadella and Calabrese

These spicy Italian sausages were great cooked up, sliced, and served with grainy mustard and gherkins.

Marinated Artichoke Hearts, Bocconcini with Thyme, and Roasted Tomatoes with Garlic

Homemade Focaccia

A selection of non-alcoholic Italian beverages

If you want to have your own antipasto meal, I suggest you start by making a visit to the best Italian grocers in your area; you will find plenty of inspiration there and if you are short on time, you fill find a lot of antipasto items already made up.
Just to get you started, here are a few recipes to try out!

Oven Roasted Cherry Tomatoes with Garlic and Thyme

A generous handful of cherry tomatoes

¼ cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Spring of thyme
2 garlic cloves

Combine all ingredients in an oven-proof saucepan. Roast gently at 325F until tomato skins start to crack. Remove from oven and cool.

Serve warm or at room temperature with crusty bread.

Wilted Spinach and Garlic Crostini with Parmesan

Half French baguette, sliced
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt
2 – 10 oz bags baby spinach
2 teaspoons butter
6 garlic cloves, minced
2 anchovies, minced
½ teaspoon hot pepper flakes

Parmesan, for garnish

Preheat oven to 425F
Brush baguette slices with some of the olive oil and place on baking sheet. Toast until golden brown. Sprinkle with salt and let cool.

Melt butter in a skillet over medium-high heat and add spinach. ( you may have to do it in two batches, depending on the size of your skillet) Stir often until wilted and it begins to release a lot of its juices. Drain off liquid and turn spinach onto paper towel. Blot spinach dry.

Heat remaining oil in skillet. Cook garlic, anchovies and hot pepper flakes for about two minutes or until golden. Add spinach and toss to coat with oil and garlic sauce. Cook gently until well coated and warm. Season to taste with salt.
Divide spinach among toasted baguette crostinis and top with a shaving of Parmesan.
Serve warm.

Mmm! Makes me want to go whip some up right now!

Yes, Tammy, you may substitute goat cheese for the Parmesan, but it won’t be quite as exciting. It really benefits from the sharp, salty Parmesan.