Desserts · Family Favorites · Italian Dishes

Tiramisu

Tiramisu is one of my favorite desserts and this recipe is heavenly.  I followed Chef Lucas during the COVID lockdown.  When I saw his Facebook Live featured Tiramisu, I was in!  I have found that Ladyfingers from Cost Plus World  Market are best, and appropriately crunchy. The ladyfingers from my local grocery store are soft, so I crisp them up in the oven before dipping into the water/Amaretto mixture.

I’d highly recommend a food scale to get the ingredients right, but I have adapted to U.S. measurements below. 

TIRASMISU

INGREDIENTS:
  • 3 eggs
  • 130g sugar (4.58 ounces or .5725 cup)
  • 500g mascarpone (17.637 oz. or 2.205 cup)
  • 125g whipping cream (4.40925 oz. or .55116 cup)
  • 100g amaretti cookies (3.5274 oz. or .44 cup)
  • 30g cocoa powder (1.058 oz. or .1323 cup)
  • 1 package lady fingers
  • 1/2 cup amaretto liquor
  • 1/2 cup caffè (coffee) or water
DIRECTIONS:
  1. Using a tumbler, fill about 3/4 full with 50% Amaretto (or coffee) and 50% water.
  2. Quickly dip each ladyfinger in the glass; flip to get both sides. Place in 9×13″ glass dish.  There should be about 15 ladyfingers per layer.
  3. Crush the Amaretto cookies. Set aside.
  4. Separate the eggs.
  5. Add sugar to the egg yolks.  Mix well.  Add Mascarpone to the egg mixture. Folding in gently.
  6. Add a dash of water to the egg whites.  Beat until stiff peaks.
  7. Fold the egg white mixture into the yolk mixture.
  8. Add Amaretto cookies, crumbled, to the mixture.
  9. Whip the cream until stiff peaks form.
  10. Fold whipping cream into egg mixture.
  11. Spread 1/2 of the cream mixture over the first layer of lady fingers.
  12. Put cocoa powder in a sieve and sprinkle over the cream mixture.
  13. Repeat the dipping of lady fingers in Amaretto and water and place 2nd layer into the pan.
  14. Spread remaining cream on top of the lady fingers.
  15. Chill the Tiramisu.
  16. When ready to service, sift cocoa powder over the top.
  17. Cut into squares and serve.

Recipe from Chef Lucas Migliorelli

Cookies and Bars · Family · Family Favorites

Dan’s Oatmeal Cookies

Dan sent the recipe for these delicious cookies to daughter, Megan, and we loved them! They are chewy and ‘healthy’ or so we told ourselves. It’s wonderful to share our recipes with family and friends! Thanks, Dan!

Dan’s Oatmeal Cookies

INGREDIENTS:
  • 1 pound margarine
  • 2 cups brown sugar (packed)
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 3 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 6 cups uncooked oatmeal
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 8 oz. walnuts (optional)
  • 6 oz. dried cranberries or cherries (optional)
DIRECTIONS:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Cream margarine and sugar. Add eggs and vanilla. Beat well.
  3. Combine all dry ingredients. Add dry ingredients to wet mixture.
  4. Drop cookies onto cookie sheets and bake until golden brown.

Recipe shared by Dan Stout, a family favorite

Family · Family Favorites · Garden · Home · Soups and Stews · Vegetarian

Roasted Tomato Soup

Campbell’s Tomato Soup and grilled cheese were common in our house when the girls were growing up. Now that I’ve discovered homemade tomato soup, the canned stuff is out the door. I roast tomatoes all summer and freeze them for soup and sauces in the winter. The tomatoes I had frozen did not have garlic and onion in them, so I sautéed the onion in a little olive oil and added the garlic when the onions were brown. The end result was delicious. The soup was a little thick, so I added water to gain the consistency I like.

The perfect lunch or dinner for a snowy winter day!

Roasted Tomato Soup

INGREDIENTS:
  • 3 lb. Roma Tomatoes (I used a variety of tomatoes from my garden)
  • Olive Oil
  • 1/2 small onion
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 cup milk or cream (I used Half and Half)
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 3 tablespoons fresh basil (I used pureed frozen basil)
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Water or milk to thin the soup to your liking
DIRECTIONS:
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Line cookie sheet with parchment paper. Cut tomatoes in half, drizzle with oil. Add onions, garlic, salt and pepper.
  3. Roast for 40-50 minutes, until the tomatoes start to brown. (At this point you can freeze the tomato mixture for later or proceed with the recipe.)
  4. Scrape the tomato mixture into the blender and add the milk or cream, Parmesan cheese, basil, tomato paste, and sugar. Puree until completely smooth and adjust seasonings to taste.
  5. Serve immediately with grilled cheese for dunking. Yum!

Recipe adapted from thereciperebel.com

https://www.thereciperebel.com/easy-roasted-tomato-soup-and-a-giveaway/

Desserts · Family · Family Favorites · Holidays

Chocolate Mousse by Megan

Megan is the dessert queen of our family.  She whipped up this decadent dessert and served it in an antique compote dish of my Mother’s.  It was rich, velvety and so wonderful.  Perfect for your Valentine’s Day dinner…or anytime you want to spoil your family and friends.

CHOCOLATE MOUSSE

6 ounces (170 g) semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
6 tablespoons (89 g) unsalted butter, cubed
4 large egg yolks
1/4 cup (50 g) granulated sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup (240 ml) heavy cream
Sweetened whipped cream, chocolate shavings, and fresh strawberries for garnish, optional

  • In a small heatproof bow, combine the chocolate and butter. Set the bowl over a pot of barely simmering water. Stir constantly until chocolate is melted and smooth. Remove from heat but leave the pot of simmering water on the burner.
  • In a medium heatproof bowl, whisk the egg yolks and sugar together until well combined. Set the bowl over the pot of barely simmering water and whisk for about 5 minutes, until the mixture turns pale and becomes slightly stiff. Remove from heat.
  • Stir in the vanilla followed by the chocolate mixture. Stir for a few more minutes to allow the mixture to cool then set aside until it cools to room temperature.
  • In a large bowl, whip the cream to soft peaks. Whisk 1/4 of the whipped cream into the cooled chocolate mixture. Use a silicone spatula to gently fold in the remaining whipped cream until fully mixed in.
  • Divide the mousse among four 6-ounce ramekins and refrigerate until set, about 1 hours.
  • Garnish with whipped cream, chocolate shavings, raspberries, or strawberries if desired.

HOMEMADE WHIPPED CREAM

1 cup (240 ml) heavy whipping cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar

  • In a medium bowl, whip cream with an electric mixer on medium-low speed just until soft peaks form.
  • Add vanilla extract and sugar. Continue to whip until the cream forms stiff peaks. Make sure not to over beat, the cream will become lumpy and butter-like.

Recipe from bakedbyanintrovert.com

Appetizers · Family · Family Favorites · Holidays

January 19 – National Popcorn Day

Who knew there was a National Holiday for Popcorn? I am a popcorn fan from way back. I generally take mine with real butter and salt along with a great movie. Although, I would never turn down a bag of kettle corn at the farmer’s market!  I’ve been known to make myself a popcorn birthday cake, too!

Whenever I travel back to Iowa, you can always find a bag or two of local popcorn in my luggage for the trip home.

Researching the history of popcorn, I found popcorn.org to be a great resource of the history and recipes:

Popcorn Dates Back Thousands of Years

Biblical accounts of “corn” stored in the pyramids of Egypt are misunderstood. The “corn” from the bible was probably barley. The mistake comes from a changed use of the word “corn,” which used to signify the most-used grain of a specific place. In England, “corn” was wheat, and in Scotland and Ireland the word referred to oats. Since maize was the common American “corn,” it took that name – and keeps it today.

It is believed that the first use of wild and early cultivated corn was popping. The oldest ears of popcorn ever found were discovered in the Bat Cave of west central New Mexico in 1948 and 1950. Ranging from smaller than a penny to about 2 inches, the oldest Bat Cave ears are about 4,000 years old.

Popcorn in the New World

Popcorn was integral to early 16th century Aztec Indian ceremonies. Bernardino de Sahagun writes: “And also a number of young women danced, having so vowed, a popcorn dance. As thick as tassels of maize were their popcorn garlands. And these they placed upon (the girls’) heads.” In 1519, Cortes got his first sight of popcorn when he invaded Mexico and came into contact with the Aztecs. Popcorn was an important food for the Aztec Indians, who also used popcorn as decoration for ceremonial headdresses, necklaces and ornaments on statues of their gods, including Tlaloc, the god of rain and fertility.

An early Spanish account of a ceremony honoring the Aztec gods who watched over fishermen reads: “They scattered before him parched corn, called momochitl, a kind of corn which bursts when parched and discloses its contents and makes itself look like a very white flower; they said these were hailstones given to the god of water.”

Writing of Peruvian Indians in 1650, the Spaniard Cobo says, “They toast a certain kind of corn until it bursts. They call it pisancalla, and they use it as a confection.”

In South America, kernels of popcorn found in burial grounds in the coastal deserts of North Chile were so well preserved they would still pop even though they were 1,000 years old.

Recent History

The use of the moldboard plow became commonplace in the mid-1800s and led to the widespread planting of maize in the United States.

Breakfast Food

Although popcorn is typically thought of as a snack food today, popcorn was once a popular breakfast food. Ahead of its time and very likely a role model for breakfast cereals to come, during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, popcorn was eaten just as we eat cereal today.

Long before the advent of the corn flake, Ella Kellogg enjoyed her popcorn ground with milk or cream. Although she discouraged in-between meal snacking, she urged others to eat popcorn at meals as popcorn was “an excellent food.” Ella understood, as her husband did, that popcorn was a whole grain. John Harvey Kellogg praised popcorn as being “easily digestible and to the highest degree wholesome, presenting the grain in its entirety, and hence superior to many denatured breakfast foods which are found in the market.”

The Great Depression

Popcorn was very popular from the 1890s until the Great Depression. Street vendors used to follow crowds around, pushing steam or gas-powered poppers through fairs, parks and expositions.

During the Depression, popcorn at 5 or 10 cents a bag was one of the few luxuries down-and-out families could afford. While other businesses failed, the popcorn business thrived. An Oklahoma banker who went broke when his bank failed bought a popcorn machine and started a business in a small store near a theater. After a couple years, his popcorn business made enough money to buy back three of the farms he’d lost.

Popcorn and the Movies

Unlike other confections, popcorn sales increased throughout the Depression. A major reason for this increase was the introduction of popcorn into movie theaters and its low cost for both patron and owner. One theater owner actually lowered the price of his theater tickets and added a popcorn machine. He soon saw huge profits.

The “talking picture” solidified the presence of movie theaters in the U.S. in the late 1920’s. Many theater owners refused to sell popcorn in their theaters because they felt it was too messy. Industrious vendors set up popcorn poppers or rented storefront space next to theaters and sold popcorn to patrons on their way into the theater. Eventually, theater owners began installing popcorn poppers inside their theaters; those who refused to sell popcorn quickly went out of business.

Popcorn sales increase throughout the Depression. A major reason for this increase was the introduction of popcorn into movie theatres.

World War II

During World War II, sugar was sent overseas for U.S. troops, which meant there wasn’t much sugar left in the United States to make candy. Thanks to this unusual situation, Americans ate three times as much popcorn as usual.

Slump and Bump

Popcorn went into a slump during the early 1950s, when television became popular. Attendance at movie theaters dropped and with it, popcorn consumption. When the public began eating popcorn at home, the new relationship between television and popcorn led to a resurgence in popularity.

Today

Whether stovetop popped, fresh from the microwave or ready to eat, Americans love popcorn. In fact, Americans today consume 15 billion quarts of popped popcorn each year. That averages to about 47 quarts per person.

Americans today consume 15 billion quarts of popped popcorn each year.

 

 

Casseroles · Family · Family Favorites · Gluten Free · Vegetables · Vegetarian

Irish Potato Casserole

Irish Potato Casserole is a favorite recipe shared with me by my sister-in-law, Betty, many years ago. I have served it often as a side with Prime Rib or with Baked Ham with many compliments. This is a wonderful potato dish that you can prepare the day before and have ready for the oven before your guests arrive. Over the years, I’ve substituted low-fat cream cheese and sour cream with equally good results. It’s a winner, winner chicken dinner kind of recipe!

I’ve shared a photo of the casserole before baking.  Every time I make this, I am in such a hurry to serve the meal, that I forget to take a picture after.  The after picture would be very similar but with a browned top….never said I was a professional blogger!

This Christmas we will again, have the Irish Potato Casserole with Prime Rib and other family favorites!

IRISH POTATO CASSEROLE

8 to 10 medium potatoes, peeled
8 ounces cream cheese
8 ounces sour cream
1/2 cup melted butter
1/4 cup chopped chives
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon salt paprika

  • Cook potatoes in boiling water until tender. Drain and mash.
  • Beat cream cheese until smooth. Add potatoes and all other ingredients (except paprika) and beat until well combined.
  • Spoon into lightly buttered casserole and sprinkle with paprika.
  • Cover and refrigerate overnight. Remove from refrigerator 1 hour before baking. Uncover and bake at 350 degrees for 35-45 minutes or until thoroughly heated.
Desserts · Family Favorites · Holidays · Italian Dishes · New Favorite · New Traditions

Pears in Red Wine Sauce

During the Pandemic lockdown, the girls and I joined our local winery, InVINtions, for their Zoom Italian Cooking classes with Chef Lucas.  We made many wonderful dishes with Chef Lucas, and Pears in Red Wine Sauce was a delicious surprise.  We didn’t have great expectations for this recipe, but trust me, it was one of many fantastic dishes!

When the holidays are upon us and we are tired of dishes that are too sweet or too rich, this is the perfect answer.  It is a beautiful dish to serve your guests or to enjoy all by yourself!

PEARS IN RED WINE SAUCE

6-8 Pears
1 Bottle Red Wine
8 Ounces (1 cup) of Sugar
3 Cinnamon Sticks
6 Cloves

  • In a pan, combine all the ingredients.
  • Cook over low heat for about 1 hour.
  • If you desire a thicker sauce, remove the pears after
    cooked and mix one teaspoon of corn starch with a 1/4
    cup water and mix with the wine.
  • Serve hot or cold. They are delicious warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream! You can store in the fridge for about a month.

Recipe from Lucas Migliorelli

Family Favorites · New Favorite · Salads · Vegetarian

Lemon Garlic Kale Salad

Lemon Garlic Kale Salad is a favorite salad, especially when I had fresh kale from my garden but it is wonderful with kale from the grocery store, as well. My good friend, Maribeth, introduced this recipe to me a few years ago and it continues to be a favorite.

Lemon Garlic Kale Salad

INGREDIENTS:
  • 2 cups almond slices, toasted
  • 1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon Juice (2-4 lemons)
  • Kosher Salt
  • 1 1/2 cups extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed with the flat side of a knife, peeled and left whole
  • 10 to 12 ounces washed and dried kale leaves, thick stems removed
  • 1 1/2 cups freshly grated Parmesan
DIRECTIONS:
  1. In a toaster oven or oven, toast almonds until golden brown and fragrant. Set aside to cool.
  2. In a bowl, combine lemon juice and 1 heaping teaspoon salt.
  3. Slowly whisk in olive oil.
  4. Add garlic cloves and set aside to steep.
  5. Working in batches, cut the kale into thin ribbons: gather a large handful of leaves, bunch together tightly, and use the other hand to slice into 1/4 inch thick pieces. This need not be done very precisely or neatly; the idea is to end up with a kind of slaw. (Recipe can be made up to this point 1 day ahead. Keep kale and dressing refrigerated separately.)
  6. Place chopped kale in a very large bowl. Sprinkle with almonds and then cheese.
  7. Remove and discard garlic cloves from dressing. Pour half the dressing over the salad and toss. Taste for dressin and salt and add more as needed, tossing to coat thoroughly. Serve within 1 hour.

NOTE: I typically make a much smaller salad. The dressing keeps well in the refrigerator. I have also minced the garlic and added to the dressing.

New York Times Lemon Garlic Kale Salad

Family Favorites · New Favorite · Pastas

Pumpkin Pasta with Sausage and Goat Cheese

Pumpkin Pasta with Sausage and Goat Cheese is such a treat.  My daughter, Megan, suggested I make it when I asked what I could make with leftover canned pumpkin.

The recipe is so easy and is plate of fall goodness complimented by a great salad and bread.  Easy peasy dinner that will please a family or guest!

Pumpkin Pasta Dinner with sausage and goat cheese

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
15-ounce can pumpkin puree or a scant 2 cups of pumpkin puree
A few fresh sage leaves and a few sprigs fresh thyme, finely chopped
1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
A good pinch of ground nutmeg
1 1/2–2 cups chicken stock
Salt and pepper to taste

Serve with 1 pound al dente linguini pasta, or any cooked pasta you like.

Top with:
Well-browned ground Italian sausage
Goat cheese crumbles
Toasted pine nuts
Parsley
Red pepper flakes

  • To make the sauce, in a medium saucepan heat olive oil over medium-low heat. Add the garlic and cook gently until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the pumpkin puree and chopped herbs.
  • Increase heat to medium and add all of the spices. Stir in 1 1/2 cups chicken stock and allow to simmer for 10 minutes until thickened to your desired sauce consistency. Add more stock as you see fit. Taste and season with salt and pepper (and even more spices) to your taste.
  • Toss boiled pasta in the warm sauce. To serve, top with sausage or sausage alternative, goat cheese crumbled (or parmesan), toasted pine nuts (or any kind of crunch) and chopped parsley.
Family Favorites · New Favorite · Soups and Stews

Cheeseburger Soup

Cheeseburger Soup on a cold, Colorado day, hit the spot.  I love soups and I love cheeseburgers…so what’s not to like?

I modified the recipe a bit and added green beans so there was something green in the soup.  After eating it, I decided I will add broccoli next time for a Cheeseburger Broccoli Soup, combining another favorite.  

CHEESEBURGER SOUP

4 tablespoons butter, divided
3/4 cup chopped onion
3/4 cup shredded carrots
3/4 cup diced celery
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried parsley flakes
1-3/4 pounds (about 4 cups) cubed peeled potatoes
4 cups chicken broth (and I added 2 additional cups of water)
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 to 4 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1-1/2 cups whole milk
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup sour cream
Optional:  Add frozen green beans or fresh broccoli when you add the potatoes

  • In a large soup pot,  over medium heat, cook and crumble beef until no longer pink; drain and set aside.
  • In same saucepan, melt 1 tablespoon butter over medium heat. Saute onion, carrots, celery, basil and parsley until vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes. Add broth, potatoes, ground beef, and optional green beans or broccoli; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, covered, until potatoes are tender, 10-12 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, in a small skillet, melt remaining butter. Add flour; cook and stir until bubbly, 3-5 minutes. Add milk, slowly, to make a white sauce.
  • Add sauce to soup; bring to a boil. Cook and stir 2 minutes.
  • Reduce heat to low. Stir in cheese, salt and pepper; cook until cheese melts. Remove from heat; blend in sour cream.

Recipe adapted from tasteofhome.com