Thursday, July 29, 2010

Peach Triffle with Lemon Mousse

This dessert is featured on the last page of the Martha Stewart Living magazine for August 2010. I usually don't like the way triffles look - usually messy and unappetizing but the photo of this triffle looked so good! And because I love lemon curd and whipped cream, the two together with warm peaches sounded perfect!
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
4 large egg yolks
1/4 cup dry white wine
2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest, plust 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (2 lemons)
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature, cut into small pieces
3 1/2 pounds stone fruit, such as peaches, nectarines or plums (about 8), halved, pitted, and cut into 1/2-inch wedges - I used white peaches. I peeled most of the skin off because I don't like fuzzy peach skin.
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 loaf homemade or store bought pound or sponge cake, sliced 1/2 inch thick - I used a bakery-bought shortcake

Whisk together 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar, the yolks, wine, lemon juice, and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Simmer, stirring until thick, 3-5 minutes.

Strain through a fine sieve into a bowl (I did not do this because I don't have a sieve but it really is needed). Stir in grated zest. Gradually whisk in butter until smooth. Press plastic wrap directly onto surface of curd. Refrigerate until set, about 1 hour or up to 2 days.

Preheat overn to 425 degrees. Toss fruit with remaining 1/4 cup sugar. Roast fruit on a rimmed baking sheet (may need 2 sheets), rotating their positions halfway through, until caramelized and juicy, 15-17 minutes. Transfer to a bowl, with juices. Let cool slightly.

Whisk (I used an electric hand mixer) cream until soft peaks form. Whisk curd to loosen. Working in 3 additions, fold whipped cream into curd.
Layer a third of the cake in the bottom of a 12-cup bowl, or a footed triffle bowl. Cover with a third of the lemon mousse. Spoon a third of the roasted fruit over lemon mousse. Repeat twice. Refrigerate for 2 hours or up to 1 day.

I did not assemble the entire dessert. I just made two individual servings and then saved the rest to assemble single servings later. This works well too if you're not feeding a crowd!

I used shortcake from the PA Bakery. I am having some cake by itself right now for breakfast and it's very tasty alone!


Monday, July 26, 2010

Best and Most Chocolately Brownies Ever

This is the second time I've made these. They are perfectly good and I need to make them more often! I need to learn to always keep a stash of chocolate in my pantry!

This recipe is from Cooks Illustrated:

5 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
2 ounce unsweetened chocolate, chopped
1 stick unsalted butter
3 tablespoons cocoa powder
3 large eggs
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup all-purpose flour

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray an 8-inch square baking pan with nonstick cooking spray.

In a medium heatproof bowl set over a pan of almost-simmering water, melt chocolates and butter, stirring occasionally until mixture is smooth. Whisk in cocoa until smooth. Set aside to cool slightly.

Whisk together eggs, sugar, vanilla and salt in medium bowl until combined, about 15 seconds. Whisk warm chocolate mixture into egg mixture; then stir in flour with a wooden spoon until just combined. Pour mixture into prepared pan, spread into corners, and level surface with rubber spatula. Bake until slightly puffed and toothpick inserted in center comes out with a small amount of sticky crumbs clinging to it, about 32 minutes. Cool pan on wire rack.

I baked the brownies in my new white enamelware pan with royal blue edging. I got it at an auction - with 2 other pans - and love them! They remind me of the French blue and white kitchen I hope to have someday.

Here are the other two pans. The top one is also in good condition but the larger on the bottom has to large chips in it so it can't be used for too many food-related projects. But I really love the vintage feel of them!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

A day of relaxation

On Monday, three friends met at the Hotel Hershey for a day at the Spa.

I was one of those friends. Bride-to-be-in-16-days Rebecca was one. And our friend Miriam was the other.
Here we are in our robes, with swimsuits underneath, heading for the outdoor pool before our treatments.
Along with all the other kids, Miriam and I enjoyed the waterslides at the pool.

We ate lunch at Oasis, the Spa restaurant. Cannelini bean salad, fruit salad, green salad, rock crab claws, seafood wraps, pork loin with black beans, olive bread, chocolate bread, chocolate pie, berry tarts... We enjoyed everything!

Here we are after our pool time, lunch, traditional massages, and refresher facials.

It was a relaxing (and delicious!) day with friends. I say we do this much more often!
Rebecca took the pictures, of course!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Bacon & Ranch Turkey Burger

I was looking through the Rachel Ray Express Lane Meals cookbook and the "Bacon and Creamy Ranch Chicken Burgers" sounded intruiging to me and thought Adam would like them for lunch. Rachel's recipe calls for ground chicken breast and dill havarti cheese but neither ingredients were at the store I went to so I substituted the ground chicken with ground turkey and the dill havarti with farmer cheese. I also reduced the seasoning it calls for.
The cheese is actually incorporated into the burger - a concept I love!

You can grill them outside - what I did - or in a skillet.

This is my version:

8 bacon slices, cooked
1 package (approx. 1.25 pounds) ground turkey
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1/2 small onion, grated
1/4 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
1/4 pound farmers' cheese, cut into 1/4-inch dice (but I think your favorite cheese would work too!)
1 teaspoon poultry season
the zest and juice of 1/2 lemon
4 English muffins (I accidently bought Honey Wheat muffins and they actually tasted good!)
Ranch dressing
8 slices beefsteak tomato (optional - I didn't use)

In a large bowl mix together the ground turkey, garlic, onion, parsley, cheese chunks, poultry seasoning, the lemon zest & juice, salt and pepper. Divide the mixture into 4 equal mounds, then form the meat into large, thin patties, about 1 inch thick. Drizzle them with vegetable oil to coat.

Cook on a medium-high heat grill until done. Or in a skillet on medium-high heat for 5-6 minutes per side.

Toast English muffins and spread Ranch dressing on both sides. Arrange the burger on the muffin bottoms, top each burger with 2 slices of bacon, 2 slices of tomatoes, if using, and finish with English muffin tops.

We ate our burgers with sweet potato fries! Yum!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Chef Tim's Sweet Balsamic Vinaigrette

My Aunt Donna gave us a bottle of Chef Tim's sweet balsamic vinaigrette because this particular dressing is a good marinade for venison. Knowing we eat a lot of venison, she thought we'd enjoy it. And we do!

On Friday morning I put venison tenderloin slices in a gallon zip lock bag, added this vinaigrette and put the bag in the fridge to allow the meat marinade for the entire day. At the end of the day, I skewered the meat and put them on the hot grill. You could really taste the sweet, herby flavor.

I think this dressing would be a good marinade for chicken, beef and even pork.

Aunt Donna got this vinaigrette at a food and wine festival but I just saw it the other day at Karns. You can go here to see where else to buy it.

Thanks again, Aunt Donna!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Oven Fries

Ok, I totally failed on my photography skills here. This photo may not look super pretty but these oven fries are super tasty!
This recipe is from the July 2010 Food & Wine magazine. Plan on making more than you think you'll need because they will be gobbled up quickly!
2 large baking potatoes, cut into 4-by-1/2-inch sticks
1/4 cup olive oil
1 large clove garlic, minced (garlic powder can be used as a substitute)
1 teaspoon each fresh rosemary, minced & fresh sage, minced (I used only rosemary)
1/4 cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese
salt & pepper
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In a large bowl, toss the potato sticks with the olive oil until evenly coated. Spread the potato sticks evenly on a rimmed baking sheet in a single layer and bake in upper third of the oven, turning once or twice with a spatula, until they are golden and crispy, about 30 minutes.
Sprinkle the minced garlic and herbs over the fries and toss well. Roast for about 5 minutes longer, until the herbs are fragrant and the garlic is lightly browned. Transfer the fries to a large bowl and toss with the grated Pecorino Romano. Season with salt and pepper.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Blueberry Cobbler

I have been on a blueberry kick lately and mostly because they were on special at Karns for $1 a pint which is amazing! I am sure the sale is over now so I'm regretting that I didn't fill my cart with them. They were delicious! I made a blueberry cobbler to take to my friend's house on Saturday and was craving even more yesterday so I used a new recipe from The Pioneer Woman (thank you, Rebecca for the cookbook!). I liked it better than the one I made a few days ago. This recipe is more like a gooey cake with a sugary, crispy top.

The recipe is originally for a blackberry cobbler but I just used blueberries instead. And the original recipe called for self rising flour but I changed it because I only had all purpose. But if you have self rising, use it and omit the baking powder and salt.

1 stick butter
1 cup plus 4 tablespoons sugar
1 cup all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
2 cups blueberries (1 pint - a little more wouldn't hurt either!)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Melt butter in a microwavable dish. In a medium bowl, mix together 1 cup sugar, baking powder and salt. Whisk in the milk. Pour in the melted butter and continue to whisk until combined.

Butter a 2 or 3 quart baking dish.

Pour batter into baking dish. Rinse and pat dry the blueberries. Sprinkle the blueberries evenly over top of the batter. Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons of sugar.

Bake for 50 minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle with 2 more tablespoons of sugar (it can be less if you want). Return to oven and bake for 10 more minutes.

Serve with ice cream or whipped cream. I had neither so I ate mine plain.

This is a different take on a cobbler but I really liked the gooey and crispy textures!

Friday, July 2, 2010

The Soup Spot, Harrisburg, PA

I wanted to do a quick post about one of my favorite lunch places in Harrisburg. I don't eat here as much as I'd like but that was before I found out they delivered, very quickly at that, so I'll be calling to The Soup Spot more often. The Soup Spot is unique in that it makes a wide variety of homemade soups everyday! They usually have 1 premium soup and 4 or 5 homestyle soups. They post their soups on their website daily.

I've had quite a few soups - all amazingly flavorful - but remember that I loved their baked potato soup. This last time I had an incredible treat - chocolate soup served cold. It was rich and creamy like a pudding but the chocolate taste was so deep and intense - a very high quality soup. I loved it!

I also enjoy their salads and sandwiches. Their champagne vinaigrette is very good on their fresh greens. The Rajin Cajun - chicken, pepper jack cheese and cajun mayo on a ciabatta roll - and the Smoked Turkey and Bacon with smoked cheddar on a pretzel roll are my favorite sandwiches so far. The sandwiches are huge and full of fresh ingredients.

Here is the turkey and bacon sandwich:

Here is a small chicken corn soup and the Rajin Cajun:

The prices are average - I usually get a small homestyle soup which is $2.95.
Everyone who works at The Soup Spot are very friendly. And remember it's take out only. Check them out soon at 912 N. 3rd Street (or call for delivery). You won't regret it!