Monthly Archives: March 2010

Tiramisu Experimentation

I am not a huge dessert person but there are a few desserts that hold a special place in my heart and in my stomach. One of them is Tiramisu. I had it for the first time when I was really young, at my grandmother’s birthday. It actually didn’t make a huge impression on me at that point and it wasn’t until I tasted the homemade version at our local Italian restaurant, La Rustica, that I fell head over heals for the coffee flavored, boozy, creamy, chocolatey concoction. This isn’t your freezer aisle Tiramisu. The Mascarpone is whipped to perfection with the egg yolks and the lady fingers have that hint of espresso and brandy and the chocolate is the Pièce de résistance that puts it over the top. I haven’t been able to get the recipe from them but I have concocted my own version by experimenting with various methods and ingredients that, I think, any Italian grandma would approve of. Here are a few things I learned:

1. To make the mascarpone fluffy and light, fold in whipped cream. It is about a one to one ratio by volume once both ingredients are whipped up separately.

2. NEVER use brewed coffee when you have espresso available! I don’t have an espresso maker but it is worth it to go to the coffee shop and order 7 shots of espresso. The flavor is so much richer and complex.

3. Don’t submerge the lady fingers in your espresso, brandy mixture. Dip one side quickly in the liquid and that’s it. It may seem like not enough but, believe me, lady fingers are more absorbent than you think and with the whipped cream/ mascarpone mixture sitting on top of them for the hour or so you should refrigerate before serving, they will be plenty soft.

4. I do a two layer Tiramisu. One layer of lady fingers, topped with mascarpone, dusted with dark chocolate powder which has been run through a sifter, another layer of lady fingers, mascarpone and a dusting of chocolate powder. Finally I top it with chocolate shavings which gives it a different and interesting texture.

Below are a few links you might find interesting. Some recipes that I worked off of but tweaked to make them my own. These call for rum but I think that the flavor of the brandy goes much better with the coffee and chocolate flavors.

Some Tiramisu Recipes:

La Rustica – The best Italian in the city in my opinion:

Salmon Disastor

Cooked Salmon on a cedar plank last night with lemon risotto and brocolli…well “cooked” is used loosely here. A breakdown of what went wrong:

1. Started cooking at 10:00 PM after my screening of THE BOUNTY HUNTER

2. Started the risotto way too early so ended up being dry instead of creamy when the ordeal was over

3. Cooked the salmon over INDIRECT HEAT so the plank didn’t smoke enough and the fish took FOREVER to cook

4. Didn’t check to see if the grill had enough PROPANE so we ran out and had lukewarm fish.

5. Finished the salmon in our convection oven because it heats up more quickly so it ended up overcooked in some places and undercooked in others.

Sigh…clearly I need more practice with fish.

Trying to be more healthy…

Blueberry and banana smoothie for breakfast

Leftover Enchiladas Suizas for lunch

Curry for dinner

I am trying to eat more healthfully, which includes not skipping breakfast and making sure that I have a snack in the afternoon so I don’t gorge myself on chips when I get home. I am also going to try to drink less.

We will see how this goes…

Tomorrow: Salmon and lemon risotto with brocoli!

Portland Eating and Drinking

We went down to Portland a few weekends ago. Andy drove down to Mount Hood to catch some EPIC POW and I took the train down to meet time. We ate, we drank and we discovered the BEST breakfast sandwich in the UNIVERSE. Check it out. Pine State Biscuit is awesome!

Moving Sucks!

For the past, oh, three weeks or so we have been trying to move. Not to a different house or condo but just downstairs. It might as well be accross the country though. Inspired by a new chair and couch that we bought for the living rooms and had to have hoisted up through the balcony by movers, we decided that while thet were here, we would move our bedroom downstairs and the office upstairs. It isn’t a big deal, we thought to ourselves, once we get all the big pieces moved, we will just have to move our clothes downstairs and teh computers upstairs and voila!

How wrong we were.

First, the bookshelf downstairs had to be dismantled which meant all the crap that was in it, that we had forgotten about had to be moved as well. And the walk in closet where our clothes would eventually go had to be organized just so we could move everything. I won’t bore you with the details but two trips to Goodwill and one trip to the junkyard and three weeks later most everything is moved but our foyer is filled with old computer detritus and the bedroom floor is still littered with Goodwill bound crap. Sigh…

On a brighter note, I made Entrecote Beaujolaise Paul Blanc and Gratin Dauphinois last night and it was delish! Nothing reduces the stress of moving like steak covered in red wine pan sauce and potatoes cooked in butter!