Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Almond Macaroon Galette With Strawberries

This is a fantastic and easy dessert  now that fresh strawberries are available everywhere.  If you haven't thought of an Easter dessert, this is it!


Serves 12

3 large egg whites

2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest, plus 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

1 cup confectioners' sugar

1 1/2 cups sliced blanched almonds, toasted and finely ground in a food processor

Vegetable-oil cooking spray

1 1/2 pints strawberries (about 6 cups), hulls on

1 tablespoon granulated sugar

1 tablespoon kirsch

3 tablespoons strawberry jam


1.Preheat oven to 325. Put egg whites into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat on medium speed until soft peaks form. Beat in lemon zest. Gradually add confectioners' sugar, beating until whites are glossy and hold a ribbon on surface. Fold in almonds.

2.Coat the inside of an 8 3/4-inch flan ring with cooking spray, and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Spoon batter into mold, and smooth top. Let stand 10 minutes. Place cake in oven; prop door open about 1/2 inch using a wooden spoon. Bake 10 minutes. Reduce oven to 300, and close door completely. Bake until pale golden and set, about 25 minutes. Unmold, and let cool completely on a wire rack.

3.Halve 8 to 10 strawberries lengthwise; set aside. Hull remaining strawberries, and cut each lengthwise into 4 slices. Toss slices with granulated sugar, kirsch, and lemon juice in a medium bowl; let stand at least 30 minutes (up to 2 hours), stirring occasionally.

4.Heat jam in a small saucepan until thin. Brush over top of galette. Arrange reserved strawberry halves around edge, with hulls facing out. Working inward, arrange sliced strawberries in a circular pattern, with bottoms facing out, reserving smallest slices for center. Drizzle liquid from strawberries over top. Serve immediately, or let stand up to 2 hours to allow juices to soak into cake.

From Martha Stewart Living, April 2007

Sunday, March 28, 2010

An Easter Lunch At The Lake

Image Williams Sonoma

One of the first menus I posted when I started the blog was the Easter Lunch I make every year, no matter where I am. Since most of you have never seen it, here it is, with a few additions:

To me, Easter is all about deviled eggs,baked ham, asparagus or new baby peas, strawberries and coconut cake. With that in mind, here is what I am going to make this year. The menu is for 12 people

Easter Lunch Menu

Asparagus or Petite Peas with Onion
Strawberry Salad Glace
Home Biscuits

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Sensational Shrimp Mold

I saw this recipe yesterday on the Food Channel and knew I had to try it.  It is simply yummy, although I thought it needed some tweaking here and there.  I increased the green onion from 1 chopped to 2 and also added some Old Bay Seasoning. I think you will be most pleased with the results.

You can also serve unmolded as shown above.

Yield: 6 to 8 servings


1 teaspoon salt

1 pound small or medium shrimp

1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened

1/2 cup mayonnaise

2 green onion, finely chopped, white and green parts

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

Dash hot sauce

1/2 tsp. Old Bay Seasoning

Dash black pepper


Bring 2 cups of water and 1 teaspoon salt to a boil in a medium saucepan and add the shrimp. When the water returns to the boil, turn off the heat, cover the pot, and allow the shrimp to sit for 5 minutes. Drain, peel and devein.

Place the shrimp in a food processor and pulse about 8 to 10times, until they are finely chopped but not mushy. Mix together the cream cheese, mayonnaise, green onion, mustard, hot sauce, Old Bay and pepper in a bowl until well combined; stir in the shrimp.

Line a 2-cup mold or glass bowl with plastic wrap, leaving lots of overhang. Place the shrimp mixture into the mold, packing tightly with a spatula. Cover with plastic wrap overhang and chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours or overnight.

When ready to serve, unwrap the overhang and invert the mold onto a plate. Remove the plastic wrap. Allow to come to room temperature before serving with water crackers or another favorite snack cracker.

Recipe: Paula Deen

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

College Rowing Teams Flock to Lake Lanier  

By Ken Sugiura

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

When Mike Lane became the head women's rowing coach at the University of Pennsylvania four years ago, he knew where he had to take his team to make it great. When spring break arrives at the Ivy League school, Lane points the bus to North Georgia and Lake Lanier.

The Quakers rowing team has become a springtime fixture in Gainesville, bunking down at the Holiday Inn and making the annual pilgrimage to the Monkey Barrel for pizza.

"Everyone's super friendly at the Holiday Inn," team captain Jennifer Drossner said. "It's quite a change from Philly in the way it's hospitable."

Since the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, college teams have descended upon Lake Lanier for their spring break training, lured by the chance to row Olympian waters. After a lull in recent years, the area is taking on increasing numbers of visitors. About 750 rowers representing about 15 teams have or will train out of the Lake Lanier Rowing Club for winter or spring training, up about 50 percent from last year. Earlier this month, Penn shared the boathouse with three other teams. Last week, the U.S. Naval Academy and Smith and Ithaca colleges' crews have plied Lanier's placid waters.

"The perfect location is almost impossible to find," said Lane, who worked at the club for about a year shortly after the Olympics. "This is as close to perfect as you'll find."

A variety of amenities recommend Lanier. The lake water is still, protected from wind, and teams can row for miles without having to turn around. The boathouse and docks, constructed for the Olympics and now leased to the club from the city of Gainesville and Hall County, allow teams to store their rowing shells. Access to the water is easy. The weather, compared to the Midwest and East, is mild. Wittenberg's training site was still frozen over, coach Angie Mason said.

Hotel rates in Gainesville are generally less expensive than those in Florida, where many college teams train over spring break.

Mason called Lanier "one of the best spring break training experiences we've had. The facilities, the water, the people, everything has been fabulous."

Club coach and executive director Jim Pickens hopes that Lake Lanier will eventually take on 60 teams and about 3,000 rowers for winter and spring training, which would boost the non-profit club's profile and revenues and turn Gainesville into something like Cancun with oars. The club charges usage fees and rents out launch boats for coaches riding alongside their rowers.

Pickens, 25, came to the club in August 2008, when the facility had been without a director for about two years. Pickens was a coach and rowing equipment salesman, living in Raleigh with his wife Lauren, two rowing devotees who met on their college team in Virginia. Club membership and morale were dropping, club president Joe Kelenfy said.

 "We had been in a sustaining mode, a survival mode," he said. Kelenfy spoke with Pickens to see if he knew of anyone with interest in the job. Said Pickens, "I said, ‘Yeah. I do.' "
Pickens wanted a new challenge and saw one in the club."I guess the thing that really made me take the job is the fact that there's just so much stuff here," he said. "To make this place a fantastic place would require a lot of work, but it would take a lot less than other places."

Membership has picked up, from about 60 at its lowest to about 100. Pickens is trying to build up the youth program and has a vision for local high schools fielding rowing teams.

"Since these two have come, this place has come alive," said Kelenfy, referring to Pickens and his wife, who also works at the club part-time. "There's a whole new energy."

The increase in visiting college teams, responding to some of the hundreds of e-mails Pickens sent to coaches, is part of the revival. Pickens also has applied to host upcoming NCAA championships and youth and masters national championship regattas. He hopes that with some updates to the facility, it can host international rowing events.

After the Olympics, the club hosted the 1998 and 2001 NCAA regattas, among other elite events, but had fallen out of the mix recently. Penn's Lane called it a "prime venue" for an NCAA championship.

For Lane, there'd be one problem about bringing so many teams to Lake Lanier.

Said Lane, "I don't want too many people to find out it."

Monday, March 22, 2010

Have You Started Your Spring Garden Yet?


Summer Squash & Peppers

Green Beans

We sure have! just started our tomatoes, beans, yellow quash and peppers! From seed, no less...not because we are frugal, they are just that much better, hardier and fun.

We grow our vegetables in tubs. The soil here is just not great, nor do we have a large enough area in the sun in which to lay out a garden.  As you have seen from our snow pictures our property is quite hilly.

Our pots waiting to be filled!

I do plan to have a whole bunch of herbs this year. Basil, parsley, oregano, mint, chives and rosemary to start with.  I'm sure these will be expanded once we go to the store! These will not be started from seed, they definitely take too long and I want to start enjoying them ASAP. My daughter and I are fighting wether to have lettuce or not.  I love frisee and can never find it, but lettuce is so hard to grow, at least in this area, or so I'm told.  Oh well, maybe I'll sneak some under a tree where she won't notice.

This morning we had snow flurries...can you believe? and yesterday was the first day of Spring.  Strange weather indeed.

Note: the germinating pans above are from Lowe's.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Chewy Butterscotch Bars

This is the original recipe from Nestle's and if you like butterscotch, this is for you.  The only suggestion I have is halve the recipe and bake in a 9 x 11 pan... that is, unless you are baking for a crowd.  Also, you may want to use walnuts, which counterbalances the sweetness of the butterscotch better than other nuts

These are great for picnics and to take on the boat when you are out on the lake!. 

Makes 4 dozen brownies 


2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup butter, softened

1 3/4 cups brown sugar, firmly packed

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

2 eggs

1 (11 ounce) package Nestle Toll House butterscotch-flavored morsels, divided

1 cup nuts, chopped


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

2. Combine flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl; set aside.

3. Beat butter, brown sugar, and vanilla extract in a large mixer bowl until creamy.

4. Beat in eggs.

5. Gradually beat in flour mixture.

6. Stir in 1 cup morsels, and nuts.

7. Spread into ungreased 13x9-inch baking pan.

8. Sprinkle with remaining morsels.

9. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes or until wooden toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

10. Cool in pan on wire rack.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Stuffed Mushrooms

It's been ages since I made these but a recent article in the New York Times prompted me to try them again.

Here’s how I make them (figure five or six ounces of medium-sized mushrooms per person). Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

 For a pound of mushrooms mince a large shallot and sweat it in olive oil with salt and chopped thyme leaves. At this point you can also add some finely diced prosciutto or speck.

Meanwhile, remove the stems from the mushrooms by pushing them one way then the other: they should pop out fairly cleanly, but if a lot is left behind you can pick it out with a finger or a little spoon. Mince these fairly fine, either with a knife or in a food processor — but do not make a puree, just tiny pieces.

Once the shallots are soft, add the chopped mushroom stems and cook over medium-low heat until much of their liquid has disappeared. Let the mushroom mixture cool, add a small handful of grated parmesan (optional) and a larger handful of dryish breadcrumbs: if yours are too fresh, you can toast them in an oiled skillet, being careful not to let them burn. At this point you can add pepper and perhaps chopped parsley or a little more thyme. Check for salt.

Put olive oil into a baking dish and roll the mushroom caps in it to grease them. Using a teaspoon, fill the caps with stuffing, not too tightly. The amazing thing is that there will always be just the right amount, with maybe half a teaspoonful left over for the cook. Sometimes, I make a small (1/8-inch) dice of good bread and sauté it in olive oil until crisp, then top each filled mushroom with a few of these, for crunch.

Bake for 30 minutes or so, and serve tepid.

Adapted from The New York Times

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Lake Lanier Fishing Has Taken A Turn For The Better!"

By Eric Aldrich
For The Times
POSTED March 11, 2010 7:43 p.m.

Lake Lanier is slightly below full pool at around 1,070.5 feet (full pool is 1,071 feet).

Lake temperatures are in the mid 40’s and the main lake is stained. The rivers and creeks are also stained to muddy from the recent rains.

The Chattahoochee River is clear to stain. Check generation schedules before heading out to the river at 770-945-1466.

Bass fishing has taken a turn for the better as we had a recent warm spell.

The spotted and largemouth bass will hit jerk baits like a SPRO McStick and rattle traps or Aruku Shads on warmer days worked around main lake points and pockets.

You will need to locate the warmest water possible and target areas where baitfish and bass appear on your electronics.

Skipping docks located in the mouths of spawning pockets with jigs and finesse worms is starting to work but this method will continue to get much better as spring approaches.

These bass are fat and healthy because there has been a huge amount of shad available.

Better fishing is very close to occurring so test different methods and try to find other patterns that will work for you.

Check in with Hammond’s Fishing Center for up-to-date reports on all species of fish

This week’s striper report comes from Shane Watson and Hammond’s Fishing Center.

Watson reports that since my last report, the surface temps have begun to rise on Lake Lanier and the bigger stripers are moving up shallow.

We have been catching 15- to 25-pound stripers, up in 5- to 10-feet of water on big free-lined bluebacks and on jigs.

We have also hooked a couple of really big fish this week for our customers, one we never stopped and one that pulled out about 150 yards of line, got up under a dock and we could not get it out of a Christmas tree.

I could see this fish well and it was at least 40 pounds. We tried to pull up the tree and get the fish, but it broke off and swam away. It always amazes me how far a 40-pound-plus fish can run.

There are fish in the rear of most creeks with stained water and up both rivers.

Over the next six weeks or so, more and more big stripers will be moving up shallow. This report is brought to you by Shane Watson Guide Service and Hammond’s Fishing Center.

Crappie fishing has been good and the slabs continue to bite jigs shot under docks and trolled out around areas that have brush and stumps around flats that have warmer stained water.

Keith Pace continues to shoot micro spoons up around docks and also has been doing well long-line trolling in the same areas mentioned above.

Trout are biting in the rivers and up in the mountain creeks.

When the water gets muddy the action will slow but they have been biting well in the clear water.

Live red wigglers are producing trout because the recent rains have washed a lot of worms into the creeks and rivers.

Check local regulations and use Rooster Tails and Rapalas instead in the areas designated artificial only.

Eric Aldrich is a part-time outdoors writer, bass fisherman and a member of Humminbird’s, SPRO, Gamakatsu, Hammond’s Fishing Center and Denali Pro Staff. Reports are based on personal experience and permission from a close network of friends. If you would like to email him please do so at Remember to take a kid fishing.

Contents of this site are from The Times, Gainesville, GA.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Almost Flourless Chocolate Almond Cake With An Almond Cherry Caramel Glace

This chocolate cake concludes any meal on a rich note. Dried cherries and toasted almonds are folded into a caramel topping and then drizzled over the cake, giving it a crisp (think peanut brittle) topping. For Passover, you can use margarine to ensure that this cake keeps with kosher rules. Also, matzo cake meal can be substituted for flour.

Serves twelve.


For the cake:

1 cup unsalted butter, softened, more for the pan
8 oz. bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
3/4 cup slivered almonds, toasted
1 cup granulated sugar
1/8 tsp. table salt
6 large eggs, separated
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup flour

For the glaze:

1/3 cup dried cherries
1/4 cup Kirschwasser or other cherry liqueur
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup slivered almonds, toasted and coarsely chopped


Make the cake:

Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 350°F. Line the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan with parchment paper, then grease the paper and sides of the pan. Melt the chocolate in a medium bowl set in a small skillet of hot, barely simmering water. Remove the chocolate from the heat and let cool for a couple of minutes.

Meanwhile, process the almonds in a food processor until finely ground and set aside. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or with an electric hand mixer), beat the butter with 3/4 cup of the sugar and the salt on medium speed until soft and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the egg yolks and vanilla and mix on medium-low speed until smooth. Gently fold in the chocolate, ground almonds, and flour.

In another large bowl, using the whisk attachment or clean beaters, beat the egg whites on high speed until they form soft peaks, about 3 minutes. Add the remaining 1/4 cup sugar and beat until the egg whites form stiff peaks, about 1 minute more.

In three batches, use a rubber spatula to gently fold the egg whites into the chocolate mixture. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan, spread evenly, and bake until the top starts to brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with just some moist crumbs attached, 35 to 40 minutes.

While the cake is baking, soak the cherries in the liqueur in a small bowl. Let the cake cool in the pan on a rack for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the glaze:

In a heavy-based medium saucepan, stir the sugar and 1/2 cup water together over medium heat until the sugar dissolves. Raise the heat to medium high and cook, swirling occasionally and brushing down the sides of a pan with a wet pastry brush to wash down any sugar crystals, until the caramel turns a deep, amber brown, about 6 minutes. Carefully add 1/4 cup water (it will bubble up), and whisk together until the mixture acquires an even, syrupy consistency. Drain the cherries and then stir them into the caramel, along with the chopped almonds.

Remove the sides of the springform pan and set the cake on a large rimmed baking sheet. Pour the caramel mixture evenly over the cake (it's fine if it spills over the sides). Let the cake cool completely to room temperature before transferring to a cake stand and serving.

The cake will keep, covered and refrigerated, for up to 3 days.

photo: Eddie Berman
From Fine Cooking 92, pp.
March 12, 2008

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Daniel Boulud's Croque Monsieur/Madame

A few months back, I published a recipe for Croque Monsieur on Lindaraxa's Garden. This is a variation of the original and is called a Croque Madame, because it is served with a fried egg on top.  It is quite simple to make, especially if you have some leftover bechamel.  Just save it in the refrigerator, add a little milk before you warm it up and stir until it almost comes to a boil again. You can buy French ham in the deli of many grocery stores today.  Just ask them to slice it very thin.


Béchamel Sauce

• 3 T unsalted butter

• ¼ cup all-purpose flour

• 3 cups whole milk

• Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg

• Salt and freshly ground white pepper


• 8 slices high-quality Pullman loaf bread, sliced ⅓- to ½-inch thick

• 12 oz. thinly sliced jambon de Paris (high-quality wet-cured ham)

• 10 oz. Gruyère cheese, coarsely grated

• 4 whole eggs (for the madame)


In a small saucepan over low heat, melt butter and whisk in the flour until blended but not colored. Gradually whisk in the milk and cook, stirring constantly, until thickened, about 10 minutes. Season to taste with nutmeg, salt, and pepper. Set aside. (This may be made up to 24 hours ahead and refrigerated with a layer of plastic wrap placed directly on the surface; gently reheat before serving.)

Preheat oven to 400°F. Place bread slices in a single layer and spread each evenly to the edges with béchamel (all the béchamel may not be needed). Divide ham among four of the slices, trimming if necessary so it is within ¼ inch of the edges. Top all eight slices with equal amounts of grated cheese, spreading evenly to within ¼ inch of the edges.

Place the four bread slices with béchamel and Gruyère, cheese side up, on top of slices layered with ham. Transfer sandwiches to a sheet pan lined with parchment paper. Bake until cheese topping is melted and golden brown, 10 to 15 minutes.

To make a croque-madame, fry eggs sunny-side up and place one on top of each finished sandwich. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and serve immediately. Serves 4.

Photo Credit: Kate Sears/Sublime Management

Monday, March 8, 2010

At long last...A hint of Spring on the lake!!

We have new boats on the cove

I can't wait to start complaining about the's been such a miserable Fall and Winter here at the lake that any hint of Spring will be met with joyous abandon! I haven't seen this much rain and flodding since , well, The Flood. Granted, the two snow days we had were a gift, as you have seen in previous posts, but most of February has been frigid for this part of the country with 20's 30's and occasional 40's, if only for a couple of hours.  All the excitement about wearing cashmere again and lighting a fireplace has worn off and all I look forward to now is T-shirts and shorts and my beloved Mexican dresses!.

Look at this photo and the one in the header, same spot!

Kayak is ready to go...and so is Lucy

Last Saturday was glorious and I went out on the lake with our next door neighbors who have a boat.  I took the most spectacular photos of the lake, the islands, Cocktail Cove, my feet, their feet you name it, except..there was no card inside the camera.  yep, you heard it & I cant find anything about an internal memory although with the price tag of this camera it should have a think tank attached! So, until I'm invited again, or we have another glorious day, you'll have to make do with today's pictures when the mercury reached 70 degrees.  Welcome Spring!

Gotta go...Here comes my ride!!!!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

German Chocolate Cupcakes

These cupcakes are a bit  more restrained in the height department than most, a bit sophisticated, with the sweetness kept in check. Hence their popularity.  Don't use a high-percentage, fancy chocolate; so find one that has less than 60% cocoa solids. (Nowadays most packages give that information.) Also note that the original recipe uses natural cocoa. Since it's a relatively small amount, I would imagine that you could give it a try with Dutch-process cocoa powder, although the natural cocoa gives it a slightly devilish red color.

Makes 12

For the cupcakes

2 ounces (60 g) bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped

1/4 cup (60 ml) boiling water or coffee

8 tablespoons (4 ounces, 115 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature

3/4 cup (150 g) sugar

2 large eggs, at room temperature, separated

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup plus 1 tablespoon (150 g) cake flour (not self-rising)

1 tablespoon unsweetened natural cocoa powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup (125 ml) buttermilk (see Note), at room temperature


1. Preheat the open to 350ºF (180ºC). Line a muffin tin with 12 cupcake liners.

2. Pour the boiling water or coffee over the chocolate, and stir until melted. Set aside.

3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, or by hand, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.

4. Add the egg yolks and mix until thoroughly incorporated. Then mix in the vanilla and the melted chocolate.

5. Whisk together the cake flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. Stir in half of the dry ingredients, then add the buttermilk or sour cream, then the remaining dry ingredients, mixing just until blended.

6. In a clean, dry bowl, whip the two egg whites until stiff, then fold one-third of them in to the chocolate batter, then the rest. Fold just into there are no streaks of white remaining, but don't overfold.

7. Divide the batter between the muffin cups and bake for about 25 minutes, until the batter feels just set in the center. Remove from the oven, then let cool for a few minutes.

Once cool enough to handle, remove the cupcakes from the muffin tin and let cool on a wire rack completely before frosting.

For the German chocolate frosting

3/4 cup (180 ml) evaporated milk (whole milk)

1/4 cup (60 g) packed light brown sugar

2 large egg yolks

pinch of salt

2 tablespoons (30 g) butter, salted or unsalted, at room temperature

2 ounces (55 g) bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped

1 1/2 cups (110 g) sweetened or unsweetened coconut flakes, lightly toasted

1 cup (125 g) chopped, toasted pecans

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Optional: Additional toasted coconut, for a garnish


1. Whisk together the evaporated milk, brown sugar, egg yolks, and salt in a medium saucepan.

2. Add the butter, then cook the mixture, stirring constantly with a heatproof spatula over medium heat, like a custard, until the mixture begins to thicken and coats the spatula. Do not let boil.

3. Remove from heat and immediately whisk in the chocolate, stirring gently until melted. Then stir in the coconut, pecans, and vanilla. (If using unsweetened coconut, you can add an additional teaspoon of brown sugar if it's not sweet enough, to your taste.)

4. Let cool to room temperature, then use the frosting to ice the cupcakes, topping the cupcakes with a bit of toasted coconut as a garnish after you ice them, if you wish.

Note: For those of you who can't get buttermilk, you can use a similar quantity of whole milk plain yogurt or sour cream, Or mix 1 1/2 teaspoons of vinegar or lemon juice with 1/2 cup (125 ml) whole milk and let it sit 10 minutes.

Adapted from Luscious Coconut Desserts (Chronicle) by Lori Longbotham

Photo David Leibowitz

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Nick And Toni's Penne alla Vecchia Bettola

Nick and Toni's is a well known restaurant in the Hamptons with a sister site on NYC's Upper West Side.  I saw this recipe today on the Barefoot Contessa and thought it would be a nice addition to the blog, especially for Friday night dinner.  It is pretty close to my Penne alla Vodka except this one spends some time in the oven.  

Yield: 6 to 8 servings


1/4 cup good olive oil

1/2 large Spanish onion, diced

2 cloves garlic, diced

1/4 tablespoon crushed red pepper flakes

1 tablespoons dried oregano

3/4 cup vodka

1 (28-ounce) cans peeled plum tomatoes (use Cento San Marzano)

Kosher salt

3/4 pound penne pasta

1 cups heavy cream

2 tablespoons fresh oregano, chopped

Grated Parmesan cheese


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Heat the olive oil in a large saute pan over medium heat, add the onions and garlic and cook for about 10 minutes until translucent. Add the red pepper flakes, dried oregano and vodka, and continue cooking until the mixture is reduced by half.

Meanwhile, drain the tomatoes through a sieve, crush them with your hands, and place them in a 5 quart ovenproof pot or Dutch oven. Add the onions to the tomatoes and cover with a tight lid. Place the pot in the oven and cook for 1 1/2 hours. Remove the pot from the oven and let cool for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the pasta according to package directions. Set aside.

Place the tomato mixture in a blender and puree in batches until the sauce is a smooth consistency, and return to the pot.

Reheat the tomato sauce and add the heavy cream, fresh oregano and salt, to taste, and simmer for 5 minutes. Toss the sauce with the pasta and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese, to taste. Serve

Monday, March 1, 2010

Savoiardi...Le Cordon Bleu Ladyfinger Recipe

Savoiardi are a sponge-like cookie originally from the Aosta Valley of Italy in the Alps, once known as the Duchy of Savoy (whence its name is derived). This Piemontese biscotti resembles lady fingers, though they're about twice as thick. Savoiardi also figure prominently in several desserts, including puddings, charlottes and tiramisu, as they absorb liquids excellently. The French call them biscuits à la cuillère and are a common ingredient also in many French desserts.

I have a hard time finding ladyfingers, particularly here at the lake.  I can never rely on the ones I occasionally find at the stores for their shelf life is limited and they often taste stale.  Making them from scratch is an option as they are fairly easy to make and will last in an airtight container 2-3 weeks.

The recipe below is from The Cordon Bleu At Home and makes a delicate and perfect accompaniment to your coffee or tea. They are light (but not too fragile), crispy and slightly sweet.

By the way, I also make my own amaretti cookies for the same reason. You can get the recipe in Lindaraxa's Garden by clicking here.

Makes 24-34 ladyfingers, depending on size


Eggs, 3 separated

Granulated Sugar, 6 tbs

Cake Flour, sifted, 3/4 c

Confectioner's Sugar, 6 tbs


1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, then brush 2 baking sheets with softened butter and line with parchment paper.

2. Beat the egg whites with a whisk or electric mixer until stiff peaks form.

3. Gradually beat in the granulated sugar and continue beating until stiff peaks form again; the meringue will be glossy and smooth..

4. Lightly beat the egg yolks with a fork, and fold into the meringue with a wooden spoon.  Don't overfold or the batter will deflate and lose volume resulting in ladyfingers which are flat and not spongy.

5. Sift the flour over the mixture and fold in gently.

6. Pipe the ladyfingers: Fit the pastry bag with the large plain tip and fill with the ladyfinger batter.

7. Pipe strips of batter 5 in. long and 3/4 in. wide diagonally onto the baking sheets, leaving 1 to 2 in. between each strip.

8. Sprinkle half the confectioner's sugar over the ladyfingers; wait 5 minutes and sprinkle with the remaining sugar. Sprinkle half the confectioner's sugar over the ladyfingers and wait for 5 minutes. The sugar will pearl or look wet and glisten. Now sprinkle the remaining sugar. This helps to give the ladyfingers their characteristic crispness.

9. Holding the parchment paper in place with your thumb, lift one side of the baking sheet and gently tap it on the work surface to remove excess confectioner's sugar.

10. Bake without opening the oven door for 10 min.

11. Then, rotate the baking sheet so the ladyfingers color evenly.

12. Cook until lightly golden, about 5 more minutes.

13. Remove the ladyfingers from the baking sheet with a metal spatula while still hot, and let cool on a rack.

Photo Credit La Tartine Gourmande


Related Posts with Thumbnails