Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Mango-Raspberry Baked Alaskas

Few things make my children happier than the combination of mango and raspberry. Admittedly, there is DNA involved because I love it too. Add in there the juxtaposition of hot and cold, dense and airy, sweet and tart and you have the perfect carnival for the mouth. We make a Mango-Raspberry Bombe, which is McKayla's traditional birthday "cake." This is a slight variation: flavors are the same, but textures are added. It is also done in individual serving cups which makes everything a little more fun and fancy. This is a do-ahead, except for the last step. This makes 4 servings.

1 cup raspberries (fresh* or frozen)
3 Tbsp sugar
4 store bought dry ladyfingers**
1 cup mango sorbet - we usually use Haagen Daz
2 large egg whites
pinch of salt

Put sorbet in the fridge or on the counter to soften. In a food processor, process the thawed raspberries with 1 Tbsp of sugar. *If using fresh add a little liquid to process smoothly. Using a spatula and a fine strainer, pass the puree through into a small bowl. This will result in a seedless sauce.

Half the ladyfingers and dip each piece into raspberry puree and turn to coat thoroughly. Lay 2 halves side by side in the bottom of each 3/4 cup ramekin. Spoon the remaining puree into each ramekin and let stand for 10 minutes to absorb the puree. **You can also use other dried cake, but be careful that the result isn't pure mush.

Spoon 1/4 cup of sorbet in each cup and spread over the raspberry/ladyfingers in an even layer. Cover each ramekin with plastic wrap and freeze until firm.

While freezing, beat the egg whites and salt with a mixer, in a medium chilled bowl on high speed. Sprinkle 1 Tbsp of the sugar and beat until incorporated. Repeat with the last Tbsp. Beat until the whites are firm and shiny. Remove the ramekins and take off the plastic wrap. Spoon the whites on top of the sorbet. Make decorative swirls or peaks. Freeze until firm - about 3 hours.

Preheat the broiler. Set the ramekins on a baking sheet and broil for about 5 minutes, watching carefully. The meringues should be evenly browned, but not black. Serve immediately.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Lemon Bars

I love lemon bars. We are definitely lemon lovers. This is why we like our lemon bars to be lemony. Maya has declared that they are her favorite dessert. She had her first one at the Christian's 4th of July BBQ and has been passionate about them ever since. The mere mention of them sets her heart a twitter.

There are good lemon bars and bad ones. This is a bad one:
and this is a good one. Notice that the bad one is flat. It is probably chewy. It probably has a crust equal in size to the lemon part or even more crust than lemon. A good lemon bar will have more lemon filling than crust. The crust should only be there to hold the lemon filling, to support it. The filling should not be translucent, but almost a little creamy. This is good. This is from Ina Garten's collection. That woman knows her stuff.

For the crust:

nocoupons1/2 pound unsalted butter, at room temperature

1/2 cup granulated sugar

2 cups flour

1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

For the filling:nocoupons

6 extra-large eggs at room temperature

3 cups granulated sugar

2 tablespoons grated lemon zest (4 to 6 lemons)

1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 cup flour

Confectioners' sugar, for dusting

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

For the crust, cream the butter and sugar until light in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Combine the flour and salt and, with the mixer on low, add to the butter until just mixed. Flatten the dough with floured hands and press it into a 9 by 13 by 2-inch baking sheet as evenly as possible. Chill.

Bake the crust for 15 to 20 minutes, until very lightly browned. Let cool on a wire rack. Leave the oven on.

For the filling, whisk together the eggs, sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice, and flour. Pour over the crust and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until the filling is set. Let cool to room temperature.

Cut into triangles and dust with confectioners' sugar.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Lisa's Pot 'O Corn AKA Fried Corn

Have you ever seen a show on the food network and then wanted to make it and then kept tweaking it because you didn't have the right ingredients and for some reason decided to go ahead anyway? Then the next thing you know you are adding all sorts of stuff just 'cause it sounded good? Then you serve it to others who act like you are their own personal hero for serving something that is so good? Then you tell them you got the recipe from the food network? Then you make it again and again and each time everyone loves it? Then someone on facebook asks for the recipe and you tell them sure and so in order to save the time typing it out you look it up from the food network to cut and paste and you realize that the concoction you created has nothing to do with the original recipe? So then you look all over the Internet and discover that no one calls what you made what you have been calling it?So here it is ... Lisa's Pot 'O Corn. Apparently, an original creation, even though I have been giving Paula Deen credit for years. I have only made it for big groups and this fills a large crock pot for a buffet. It will be tons too much to serve to a single family. So make your adjustments accordingly. I originally added the creamed corn because I did not have enough frozen corn. The sauce combined with the bacon tastes buttery even though there is NO added butter!

1 lbs of bacon, fried, drained (keep the drippings) and crumbled

1 onion, chopped fine
4 cans of creamed corn
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
4 lbs frozen corn (I like a variety of white and yellow and fresh)
salt and pepper to taste

In a frying pan, add a Tbsp of the bacon drippings. Heat and add the chopped onion and cook until soft and golden. Put into the crock pot. Add the creamed corn, crumbled bacon, and Parmesan cheese, stir.

Add another Tbsp of bacon drippings, heat. Add 1 lbs of corn. Let cook until you can hear it kind of popping. Stir and continue cooking and stirring until you can see the corn is starting to develop a fried look - it should be brown, but not over cooked. Add that to the crock pot and stir.

Repeat with the Tbsp of bacon drippings and another pound of frozen corn. Repeat with the third and fourth bags of corn, stirring after each addition. (this has to be done in small batches so all the corn get an opportunity to have the fried texture.

Add pepper to taste. Don't over-salt because the bacon and drippings and cheese are salty foods. I usually don't add any additional salt.

Serve in the crock pot, on warm.

Trail Mix Granola

This is a picture from the original recipe from Paula Deen. I had to make some changes. On the positive side, I loved the texture of the granola. I love the addition of banana chips. However, it was a bit too tangy for me with the dried cherries and apricots. So I took out those and added m&ms. Now it is true "Trail Mix" granola (with banana chips.)

2 cups granola (recommended: Hudson Valley Dessert Company)
3/4 cups coarsely chopped pecans
3/4 cups coarsely chopped walnuts
1 (3 1/2-ounce) can flaked coconut (1 1/2 cups)
1/2 cup sunflower seeds (meat only)
1/2 cup wheat germ
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1/4 cups vegetable oil
1 cup banana chips
1/2 cup dark raisins
1/2 cup golden raisins
1 cup m&ms

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.

In large mixing bowl, combine all ingredients except banana chips and raisins, and m&ms. Mix well. Spread evenly in an aluminum foil-lined baking sheet. Bake 55 to 60 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes. Remove from oven; stir in banana chips, raisins, m&ms. Cool thoroughly. Store tightly covered at room temperature.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Tiropetes from the Goddess of the Hunt

This recipe is literally from the goddess of the hunt - Diana. I love this women. She is a teacher at my girls' elementary school and even though we have not been privileged to have her (yet - I still have hope -there are two more chances) I have worked with her on projects and the PTO Board. I love to see her interact with the students: she loves them like they are her own. She is incredible. Not only is she an amazing teacher and person, but she is such a great mom. She has two daughters who are everything you would want daughters to be. Trust me, I know. She gives so much to everyone. She gave me this recipe. That action alone is enough to make her one of my favorite people. This is a spin-off of spanikopita, a much more famous version that includes spinach. I love spinach. Some people do not. This is a perfect option for them. However, even us spinach lovers can appreciate this. It is hard to describe, but so yummy and rich. You will not want to share, but it is pretty rich ... beep ... beep ... beep ... this an an official test of the emergency broadcast system ... beep ... beep ... there is a lot of butter in this dish ... and cheese ... beep ... beep ... beep. Anyway, consider yourself warned.

This is also TONS easier than wrapping everything up like flag-folding in individualized appetizer portions. It is just all made in a casserole dish (the instructions for the fancy way is still in here) but boy, oh boy, it is SO much easier and faster and tastes just as good, if not better because I think you get a little more cheese than you would in the little triangles.

And by the way, my goddess of the hunt truly is Greek.


1 cup Basic White Sauce

1 pound feta cheese, crumbled

1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

3 eggs, lightly beaten

2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley

3 tablespoons butter

about 1 cup butter, melted and cooled

1 pound filo dough, thawed

Basic White Sauce

2 cups milk

1/4 cup butter

3 tablespoons flour

salt and pepper to taste

Bring milk to a boil and remove from heat. In a second pan melt butter, add flour and cook, stirring until well blended and bubbly - do not allow it to color. Reduce heat to med low and gradually add hot milk, stirring constantly. Season with salt and pepper. Keep stirring until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. (a thick gravy) This freezes well, so I always make double and freeze for the next time I need it.

Traditionally as appetizers you cut the filo dough into 2 inch long strips. Brush with butter and add a rounded teaspoon of filling to one end and fold back and forth into a triangle. (like a flag) Brushing top with butter when you put it on cookie sheet. They freeze very well. You just freeze on cookie sheets and then stick in a freezer bag until you need them. You cook them frozen.

When I make tiropete as a side dish I use a 9X12 pan. Lightly brush bottom of pan with melted butter. I add 7-10 layers of filo dough - each lightly brushed with butter. Add filling and cover with 7-10 layers of filo dough, each lightly brushed with butter. One recipe makes almost two pans, depending on how thick you want the filling to be.

Bake at 375ยบ until golden brown - about 20-25 minutes. The triangles cook a little faster about 15-20 minutes.