Lemon Raspberry Tiramisu

30 Apr

I was dusting the other day.  I hate dusting.  It is mundane and disheartening, after all, the  dust returns immediately.  Anyway, as I was doing the aforementioned task, my mind went to its happy place……the kitchen.  I was thinking of desserts.  I often think of desserts.  Sometimes dessert is the highlight of my day.  I love dessert.  I could eat sweets every day, several times a day if I didn’t have to worry about my butt.  And a little thing called my health.  Typically I gravitate towards chocolate.  But a dessert doesn’t have to be made with chocolate to be tasty.

I found myself ranking desserts in my head.  Here are my preferences in order:  One, would be cake, with frosting.  Cannot be carrot or spiced.  Cookies and brownies and bars are tied for second.  Probably because they can be cake like in texture.  Coming in just behind in third place are homemade candies like buckeye balls (without rice krispies-I’m a purist), coconut balls and fudge.  In fourth place is pie with key lime and cherry topping that list.  Lastly is cheesecake.  I rarely eat cheesecake.  Just not something I go crazy over.  Then there is a gray area that I don’t know where to place.  This includes ice cream, tiramisu, and creme brûlée.  Love them all, just not sure how much.   Now there is a little condiment known as lemon curd that I adore.  To me this is a dessert all on its own and it’s a winner.  It is tart and sweet, not really creamy, but……simply delicious.  You could tie my hands behind my back and I’d stick my face in a bowl of lemon curd and lick it clean it’s that good.  It is wonderful atop scones or cupcakes.  You could dollop it on waffles, fill cakes with it, or just eat it plain.  That was my inspiration for this dessert.  Since raspberry’s have been especially wonderful, I added them for color, texture and to contrast the tartness of the lemon curd.  It worked beautifully.  I used Ameretto Liquor because that’s what I had at home, but it adds an unexpected almond surprise. The layers compliment one another so that each bite leaves you wanting more!  I highly recommend making this the night before you serve it.  It tasted even better the next day!

Raspberry Lemon Curd Tiramisu

Lemon Raspberry Tiramisu

Lemon Curd

1 cup sugar

3 eggs

1 cup lemon juice

3 lemons, zested

½ cup unsalted butter, melted

In a microwave safe bowl, combine sugar and eggs.  Whisk until well blended.  Stir in lemon juice, lemon zest and melted butter.  Stir until smooth and combined.  Cook in microwave in 1 minute intervals.  Stirring well after each minute.  You’ll know the lemon curd is done when it coats the back of a metal spoon.  For me, this took 4 minutes.  Cover and chill in the refrigerator.

For the filling

16 oz room temp mascarpone

1 cup whipping cream

¼ cup sugar

1 tsp vanilla

½ tsp almond extract

2 cups raspberries

2 packages (3 oz) lady fingers

½ cup Amoretto Liquor

Raspberry’s for garnish

In a chilled bowl, beat the whipping cream and two tbls of the sugar until soft peaks form.  In another bowl, beat the remaining sugar, the mascarpone and the extracts until smooth.  Fold in 1/3 of the whipping cream into the mascarpone until incorporated.  Fold in remaining cream.

To assemble:

Dip lady fingers quickly into the Amoretto and layer in a 9×13 baking dish.  You may have to cut or overlap lady fingers to fit.  Spread  half of the lemon curd over your lady fingers, sprinkle 1 cup of raspberry over lemon curd.  Layer a half of your cheese mixture over the raspberry’s.  Repeat layers  starting with lady fingers and ending with cream layer.  Garnish with more raspberry’s if you like.  Cover and chill at least 4 hours, but preferably overnight.

Mediterranean Dip

26 Apr

Two to Three nights a year, my family enjoys snack night for dinner.   These special occasions include Christmas Eve, New Years Eve and Super Bowl Sunday.  It is pure gluttony.  We eat with total abandon!  We all really look forward to these nights because anything goes.  However, there are a few must haves on the menu.  These include my guacamole (my 8 year old is an avocado fiend) and something with Velveeta.  We all know it isn’t a party without Velveeta.  I usually make an assortment of cold dips and hot dips.  Our proteins are usually Little Smokies and chicken wings.  But that’s not all my friends.  I have a chocolate popcorn recipe reserved just for these events.  And you know we have to have nachos.  Because I am a mom, I cut up peppers and fruit to balance out the fat.  But these go largely untouched.  And I don’t care.  This is one night were we all break the rules.  I mean we get to eat with our hands!  Plates are strictly optional.  Everyone is two -fisting it, with one fist holding dessert!  A kids dream, to eat dessert and dinner at the same time!!!!!  No one sits because we have to rotate around the table to sample everything.  Bowls, hot plates, dip bowls, chip bags and sweets litter the table to the fullest.  These are nights I never have to get after any one to eat or to stop talking.  In fact there isn’t any talking because all our mouths are crammed with deliciousness!  Alas, this doesn’t last long.  We fill up quickly.  Party comes to a halt.  We find ourselves feeling a bit down.  Partly because we are literally weighed down by all the cholesterol laden, high fat food.  And partly because this meal held such anticipation.  Come on, this is snack night after all.  We’ve cheated the norm!   Everyone backs away from the table in horror.  No one can look at whats left because then you have to face the reality of what’s been consumed.  My dog will get a few Smokies.  I keep what’s salvageable.  Somethings I cannot look at again without vomiting, therefore must be disposed of immediately.  The word Velveeta must not be ushered for another year!  Yes, we move heavily to our next activity, which hopefully involves sitting.  Rolaids is now our friend.

This year, I’ll be adding Mediterranean Dip to the rotation.  It is has a rich taste without the guilt.  Unless of course I eat it all by myself, which is certainly not out of the question.

Mediterranean Dip

8 oz package softened cream cheese

6 oz Greek style yogurt

3 cloves garlic minced

1 tsp Greek seasoning

Hummus (10oz)

4 oz crumbled feta cheese

1 cup chopped kalamata olives

1 small  cucumber diced

2 roma tomatoes diced

chopped parsly

In a bowl combine the softened cream cheese and the Greek yogurt until combined and spreadable.  Add in the garlic and the seasoning.  Spread  onto a serving plate.  Top with Hummus.  I used a traditional flavor, but you could use whatever flavor you like.  Top hummus with diced cucumber, diced tomatoes, olives and feta.  Garnish with parsley.  Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Busy Night Pasta Jambalaya

23 Apr

I thought this past weekend was going to be incredibly busy.  Between a zoo field trip, two baseball games, two gymnastics classes, a birthday party, movies with friends, I assumed we’d have no time to breath.  Well a lucky thing happened.  It rained.  Baseball was cancelled!!!  I shouldn’t feel elated when that happens, after all, the season just started, but I was!  A busy weekend instantly turned into a free weekend.  I capitalized on that immediately!  I read!  I don’t  normally get to read during the day, but I found myself on the couch with The Hunger Games Trilogy.  I finished books two and three over the weekend!  Holy Cow!  Why did I wait so long to read these!  They are wonderfully written.  So many twists and turns.  I couldn’t put them down!  Which meant my family was going to suffer when it came to dinner.  I simply didn’t have time to whip up my usual gourmet meals (you can totally hear the sarcasm in that statement can’t you??).  I had to rely on a quick stand by and a family favorite: Pasta Jambalaya.  I always have these ingredients in my house, you probably do too or can adapt the recipe to fit what you do have in your home.  It’s quick, it’s tasty, it’s perfect for a busy night.

Pasta Jambalaya

Serves 4

1 lb  angel hair pasta

1 tbs olive oil

2 cloves of garlic, minced

1/2 cup diced onion

1 15 oz can black beans, rinsed and drained

1 15 oz can diced tomatoes

1 teaspoon cajun seasoning

1 lb Kielbasa or smoked sausage,sliced

Cook pasta according to package directions.  Meanwhile, in  a large skillet,  cook onions in olive oil until soft and translucent.  Add garlic and cook for one minute.  Add drained black beans and cajun seasoning.  Cook for about two minutes until black beans just begin to soften.  Add in canned tomatoes, juice and all.  Let mixture come to a boil and add sliced sausage.  Let simmer on low for 10 minutes.  Serve over cooked angel hair.  Top with cheese or hot sauce.

recipe adapted from Cooking Light

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