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Archive for March, 2008

TiramisuI have been wanting to make tiramisu for over a year.  Every once in a while I would browse the cookie ilse at the grocery store looking for ladyfingers, but could never seem to find them.  Then, a few weeks ago I was at Trader Joe’s and the ladyfingers practically jumped in my cart.  I was looking for edamame in the frozen food section, looked up, and they there were on the self directly in front of me.  I took that as a sign that it was time to finally make tiramisu.  Even better, Easter was only a few weeks away, so I ever had a special family get together as a reason to make a nice dessert. 

  • 6 egg yolks
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 1 1/4 cups heavy cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 pound mascarpone cheese
  • 1/2 cup strong brewed coffee, room temperature
  • 1/8 cup Kahlua, rum or other coffee liquor
  • 2 (3 ounce) packages ladyfinger cookies – I prefer the soft kind
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder

Directions

  1. In a medium saucepan, whisk together egg yolks and sugar until well blended. Whisk in milk and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture boils. Boil gently for 1 minute, remove from heat and allow to cool slightly. Cover tightly and chill in refrigerator 1 hour.
  2. In a medium bowl, beat cream with vanilla until stiff peaks form.
  3. Whisk mascarpone into yolk mixture until smooth.
  4. In a small bowl, combine coffee and rum. Split ladyfingers in half lengthwise and drizzle with coffee mixture.
  5. Arrange half of soaked ladyfingers in bottom of a springform pan. Spread half of mascarpone mixture over ladyfingers, then half of whipped cream over that. Repeat layers and sprinkle with cocoa. Cover and refrigerate 24 – 48 hours, until set.  the flavors are at their peak at about 48 hours.
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Chocolate Chip CookiesThese chocolate chip cookies truly are the best that I have ever had the pleasure to eat.  I am not alone in this claim!  My friends and family loves them, too.  In fact, some friends and family members get very disappointed when I fail to bring these cookies to family gatherings:-)  Now, I’m sharing the recipe, so that you all can make these cookies whenever you have a craving.

 

  • 1 cup butter flavored shortening (I prefer Crisco sticks)
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract (Mexican vanilla tastes great)
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups milk chocolate chips (dark chocolate chunks are my favorite)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease cookie sheets.  
  2. In a large bowl, cream together the butter flavored shortening, brown sugar and white sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well with each addition, then stir in the vanilla. 
  3. Combine the flour, baking soda and salt; gradually stir into the creamed mixture.
  4. Fold in the chocolate chips.
  5. Drop by rounded spoonfuls onto the prepared cookie sheets.
  6. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven, until light brown.
  7. Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.

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Bodum Columbia Thermal Coffee PressI did not even like coffee all that much until about two years ago when I discovered that it really did help keep me awake at work.  I worked in marketing for a bank downtown and was against spending $2.00 a day for a cup of coffee.  My co-workers would go just about every morning to get their java fix.  I would join them every once in a while for a cup of tea or hot chocolate.  Then, one day I decided to try a cup of coffee.  For someone who did not drink coffee, the caffeine really kicked in to the point where I was so alert that my hands were trembling.  But, I loved the fact that I was awake, motivated, and could concentrate on my work!  So, it all began…I was sold on the caffeine and I acquired the taste for coffee within a couple weeks. 

So, now that I like coffee, I was still against paying for it everyday, so I decided that coffee would be my treat.  I would only spurge on it a few days a week.  Then, I quit my job downtown to work for myself from home.  No more paying for coffee, but our coffee maker at home was a crappy hand-me-down from my parents that made coffee that tasted not much better than brown water.

One day, I was at the “office” with my new co-workers.  One of whom had a french press and made a pot of coffee in it.  I was pleasantly suprised with my first sip, it was like experiencing coffee again for the first time, but in a whole new way…a way that tasted great and did not require a couple weeks to acquire a taste.  The flavor was so smooth and comforting.  I had to get one of these french presses for myself.  So, I did.

 The first french press I purchased was a Bodum Chambord Coffee Press from Crate & Barrel.  It was a great press and made delicious coffee.  However, it had a flaw in design…glass.  Yep, glass, which I broke twice.  The first time, we ordered a new glass piece for about $20.  Then, about a month later it broke again.  That was it, I can’t be replacing the glass for $20 every month.  So, I went on a search for a better press.

My search led me to www.wholelattelove.com.  This site has crazy amounts of coffee making products.  Very interesting to just browse through and see what kind of expresso maker $2,000 buys you these days.  I found the perfect coffee press called the Bodum Columbia Thermal Coffee Press.   I purchased the 8-cup version for $49.99 from wholelattelove.com, with free shipping and no sales tax!  I even got 5% from a promotion they had running on the site at the time of purchase.

The Bodum Columbia Thermal Coffee Press is great for multiple reasons. 

  • First and foremost, it is not made of glass!  No more broken glass. 
  • It is dishwasher safe. 
  • The plunger has a suction to the sides making is nearly impossible for any coffee granules to sneak through into your coffee.
  • Since is double-walled stainless steel it keeps your coffee warm longer than a glass press.

Joe and I are so happy with our new coffee press.  It makes great coffee, won’t break and looks great, too!

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Chicken pot pieChicken pot pie is one of my favorite one dish meals to make in the fall and winter months.  I opt for the ready-to-use pie crust, which cuts down on cooking and assembly time. It’s also a great way to use up leftovers after roasting a whole chicken. I cut-up the leftover chicken and freeze it in pot pie servings, so it is ready to go when I have a craving for chicken pot pie!

1/3 cup stick butter
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 small onion chopped (about 1/3 cup)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1-3/4 cup chicken broth or stock (I use my own homemade stock)
2/3 cup milk
1/2 cup frozen peas
1/2 cup frozen corn
2 fresh carrots peeled and sliced
2-1/2 cups cooked cut-up chicken (I prefer a mix of dark and white meat)
Ready-to-use 9 inch two crust pie (Pillsbury works great)

Directions 

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Melt butter in large pan over medium heat. Stir in flour, onion, salt and pepper. Cook, stirring constantly, until mixture is bubbly. Remove from heat. Stir in chicken broth and milk. Heat to boiling, stiring constantly. Boil and stir 1 minute. Stir in chicken, peas, corn and carrots. Remove from heat.
  3. Line a 9 inch pie pan with a layer of ready-to-use pastry crust.  Pour chicken mixture into the pastry-lined pie pan.  Place top layer of ready-to-use pastry crust over chicken mixture and seal edges by squeezing together top and bottom crust.  Cut a few 2 inch long slits in the top layer of pastry for ventilation.  Or, you can arrange a lattice work type top (as seen in my picture) by cutting the pastry into long sections and laying them on top of the chicken mixture in a lattice work pattern.
  4. Bake about 35 minutes or until golden brown.
  5. Let sit for at least a half hour before cutting, so that the liquid/gravy in the pie has time to cool and thicken.  Otherwise it will run all over when you try to cut a piece out of the pie. 
  6. Enjoy!

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