Saturday, November 18, 2006

Polaroid Reporter Land Camera (Polaroid 87) ~ Reflections

My Apartment, Colorado Springs, CO ~ Dinaripper Creations ©2006 (this image may not be copied, printed, or displayed without permission)

Thursday, November 16, 2006

The Best Tiramisu

I've been using this recipe for years now, and it is by far the best Tiramisu recipe. People have ranted and raved over it. So, I've decided to spill the beans and pass it on. I ate it after some lasagna, asparagus with olive oil and garlic and lemon juice, a loaf of good crusty garlic bread, and a nice chianti (insert noise like Hannibal Lecture on "Silence of the Lambs").


3 eggs, separated
2 cups mascarpone cheese, at room temperature
1 T vanilla sugar (who really has vanilla sugar on hand?? I use sugar and vanilla extract which does not interfere with the integrity of the dessert)
3/4 cup cold, very strong black coffee (I either brew some espresso in the machine, but since it's on the fritz, I've used instant espresso, just follow the directions on the jar)
1/2 cup Kahlua or other coffee-flavored liqueur
18 savoiardi (Italian lady fingers)
sifted cocoa powder and grated bittersweet chocolate, to finish

Put the egg whites in a grease-free bowl and whisk with an electric mixer until stiff peaks form. Put aside.

Mix the mascarpone, sugar, vanilla and egg yolks in a separate large bowl and whisk with the electric mixer until evenly combined. Fold in the egg whites, then put a few spoonfuls of the mixture in the bottom of a large serving bowl (I use a 9x9 glass baking dish with lid which is very pretty) and spread out evenly.

Combine the coffee and liqueur in a shallow dish. Dip ladyfinger in the mixture, turn it quickly so that it becomes saturated but not mushy, and place it on top of the mascarpone in the bowl. Keep adding the dipped ladyfingers side-by-side till you cover one layer.

Spoon in about one-third of the remaining mixture and spread it out. Make more layers in the same way, ending with mascarpone. Level the surface, then sift cocoa powder all over. Cover and chill overnight. Before serving, sprinkle with cocoa and grated chocolate. Serves 6-8 or less if people ask for seconds!

I always have dessert with coffee, and this one is superb with the hints of coffee and it's not very sweet at all other than the ladyfingers. Great to take to a friend's house for dinner!

My First Comestible Creation: Caramelized Onion & Mushroom

Well, I wasn't quite sure how this was going to turn out as I'm not a big bread baker. I haven't mastered the science (and being at a high altitude I'm not sure if that contributes), but I attempted to make a pizza from scratch.

First of all I wanted to make the crust out of whole wheat. I'm a "granola chick" at heart, and wanted to add some extra goodness into an all-time favorite of mine. I used all organic products too, and no meat in this recipe. I'm also a HUGE onion fan. Everyday in Iraq, I ate onions. Yes, even in the morning with my bagel and cream cheese. So I thought that since my pantry is pretty bare (being back only a week now) I did get the staples which includes white onions.

I'm not going to give the recipe for the crust as it turned out alright. I used a recipe from Everyday Food but substituted the all-purpose flour with whole wheat pastry flour. The result was a very dense, very crispy crust. I liked it, but I don't think that most would. The crispiness came from baking the pizza on a preheated stone. I don't think I will do that again in the future as I'm a huge fan of soft and chewy crust, not crispy, but for you crispy crust fans, the preheated stone is the ticket.

The topping was fantastic! I used Balsamic vinegar and lots of garlic. You can't go wrong with a lot of garlic! Here is the simple recipe below. It's a bit time consuming but well worth the wait. You could make it ahead and save it in the fridge for a later time. Either way, I think you'll like the results.

Caramelized Onions & Mushroom Pizza

1 pizza crust (I used a recipe for thick crust)
2 T marinara sauce
8 oz. fresh mozzarella, sliced thin

1 large onion, sliced thin
1 T olive oil
2 T Balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup shredded carrot
5 cloves garlic, crushed
2 large white mushrooms, sliced thin (can use more if you like lots of mushrooms)
2 T vegetable stock
1 t dried rosemary

In heavy saute pan heat olive oil over medium heat, add onions, and saute till brown. Lower heat to low and continue to heat onions till caramel colored (about 20 minutes). Turn heat to medium and add Balsamic vinegar and shredded carrot (this sweetens up the mixture) and cook till carrot is not visible. Add crushed garlic, mushrooms, rosemary and vegetable stock and reduce till liquid is gone. Set aside.

Prepare crust or use premade and drizzle with olive oil, lightly spread marinara sauce, add prepared onion and mushroom mixture, and then evenly space the mozzarella slices. Transfer to hot stone in oven and bake for approximately 20 minutes or until top is temptingly brown.

Slice and enjoy! Makes 8 servings, or 4 servings since I like to eat two slices each time. Good for leftovers too!