"Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?" ~ Mary Oliver

Tag: hazelnuts

tiramisu! . . . !!!

tiramisuI have to confess that I usually steered clear of tiramisu mainly, I will admit sheepishly, because I didn’t really “get it.” Was it a cake? a Napoleon? a custard pudding? But that all changed when about a month ago, my daughter and I shared a slice of tiramisu in an Italian coffee stand in NYC that was to die for. It was so flavorful and creamy, I could have shared a second piece. It was especially good with our cappuccino that had some enhanced cocoa flavor too.

Instead of making the dessert in a footed glass bowl that was too high to put in the refrigerator,  I made a tiramisu in a fluted white porcelain deep baking dish which was pretty and easier to handle. I then did some scouting online for various recipes. The main ingredients that didn’t change were:

lady fingers – a French sponge-cake like cookie

whipped cream and marscapone




rum or liqueur


My approach was to make a smaller size tiramisu to fit into my four inch high fluted serving dish. My coffee would be made from instant Medaglia do’Oro espresso coffee. The cocoa, Ghiardhelli. The liqueur was Kahlua.  I’ll make it a day ahead of time with a dusting of cocoa on top, covered with plastic wrap.

Here’s the recipe I followed, which made enough for two cakes, the tall one and a smaller one that I sent up with family to a party today.

It was rich tasting but light and the flavors were subtle, smooth and delicious. I think I might even make it again!

Tips: I used an electric beater in the double-boiler set up to make the zabaglione (egg yolks, sugar, marsala.) Let it COOL a little before you stir in the marscapone. Whip the heavy cream until it’s stiff – otherwise it won’t keep its shape in the tiramisu once it sets. Fold the marscapone mixture a little at a time folding it gently into the whipped cream.

Good luck! and my daughter and I both agreed this homemade tiramisu was even more delectable than the slice we shared together in NYC a month ago.






a winter supper . . .

flowers and candlesGjelina, a restaurant in Venice Beach, California, serves simple vegetable dishes and has recently come out with a cookbook. It arrived on Sunday and the dishes looked appetizing, promising flavors that might be more complex than usual.

Since we are wanting to pare down on all the things that we should be eating less of (red meat, potatoes, sugar and bread) I thought we’d try changing our mindset so that we would share a vegetable dish as our our dinner, rather than as a side dish to add to a heavier meal.

Michael Pollan, in his little paperback called “Food Rules” says basically that we should eat primarily what grows above the ground (greens) and eat less, stopping when we feel 70% full. Thus, I thought it might be a novel idea to shift our expectations and cut down by sharing a vegetable side dish that preserved flavor and that also retained foodie cooking flair that I would miss terribly if all we ate was steamed green vegetables! I took macrobiotic cooking lessons years ago and while it might be healthy, it wasn’t long on flavor or culinary interest, at least not to me.

So tonight, I roasted orange beets, marinated them in a sherry vinegar, orange juice, olive oil dressing to which I added avocado and fresh segments of mineola oranges, topped with toasted, crushed hazelnuts. It was satisfying and tasty too. Next time, we thought we’d put this dish on a bed of arugula and watercress greens.

vegetable dinner

Other dishes in the line-up for supper this week are cooked coarse corn grits (polenta) topped with a fresh mushroom melange and a poached egg on top; roasted acorn squash with brown butter and fresh rosemary and caramelized Japanese sweet potato wedges served with yogurt and fresh lime sprinkled with sliced scallions. A bountiful green salad of arugula, baby spinach, watercress with a sharp soy-ginger-lime vinaigrette might be tasty alongside. Or add some garlicky shrimp scampi to the aforementioned green salad.

To break the monotony, I did come home with a Bell & Evans organic chicken that I’ll brine on Wednesday and roast with potatoes for dinner with an old friend on Thursday night. AND, since fresh crabmeat from Maine is still available, I might make a crabmeat quiche as a treat for the weekend!

And so it goes.