Sunday, January 27, 2008


Last night we had a little finger food party. It was a lot of hard work. The first thing I made yesterday was the dessert of course. Tiramisu. I made it for the dessert party, and it was a little soupy. I altered the recipe and this time it turned out great. Everybody liked the tiramisu, and I think it might have been the easiest thing I made yesterday. I did have a problem with the cream. Two tries and it didn't whip. I was baffled. That has never happened to me before. I chilled everything in the freezer, but twice it just sat there, getting slightly bubbly. Ross ran out for another carton of cream and it whipped up in seconds. Strange. So here's the recipe for a firmer tiramisu.


3 egg yolks
3/4 c. sugar
8 oz. mascarpone cheese
1/2 c. heavy cream
1 c. espresso, cooled to room temperature
1 c. water
4 Tbl. sweet Marsala wine
3-4 squares of Ghiradelli chocolate, grated

1. Beat together yolks and 1/2 c. sugar in a large bowl until thick and pale.
2. Beat in mascarpone just until blended.
3. Beat cream in bowl until soft peaks form. Sprinkle in remaining 1/4 c. sugar and beat cream to stiff peaks. Fold the whipped cream into the mascarpone mixture.
4. Stir together espresso, water, and Marsala in a shallow dish. --Before I had the espresso maker I went to Starbucks and got a venti coffee with three extra shots.
5. Dip the ladyfingers one at a time in the espresso mix--about 2 seconds each side--and arrange on the bottom of a dish.
6. Spread half the mascarpone mixture over the layer of ladyfingers.
7. Sprinkle half of the grated chocolate over the marscapone.
8. Arrange another layer of ladyfingers over the marsala and chocolate.
9. Spread the remaining mascarpone mixture over the ladyfingers.
10. Top with remaining chocolate.
11. Cover and chill tiramisu at least 6 hours.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Breville Die Cast 800ESXL

When we were in Italy Ross had cappuccinos in the mornings. He enjoyed them so much that we decided to get an espresso maker so we could make them at home. He was really excited about the prospect of steaming milk for hot chocolate. I found a model that had good reviews and we went to the store to check it out (I was planning on buying it on ebay.) At the store the machine looked nice, but the upgraded model was so much nicer. It took me a while to find a good deal on ebay, but I'm so glad we got the higher end model. We've had hot chocolate, cafe latte, cappuccino, and hot tea. I really don't have much idea of what I'm doing, but the results so far have been pretty tasty. Oh, thanks to Tejal for providing the Illy coffee. She gave us a whole case, so we won't be buying coffee for a while!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Ribollita Photo

Here's the photo of the ribollita. I finally got the one off of the camera from the first time I made it. I made it again last week, but the photos make it look kinda gross. Last week I put in a lot of purple cabbage and the white beans turned purple. Tastes good. Looks odd.

Monday, January 14, 2008


Last week I lost something. Something strange. My appetite. I was lost without it. All I think about is food. I am always hungry. It never turns off. When I'm eating I'm thinking about what I'm going to eat next. It's amazing I'm not 300 pounds. So it was like losing my shadow, or reflection or something. The food tasted good, I just didn't want it. How could I not want to eat?!? It was very strange, and lasted for 3 days. I think my appetite is back, but its not what it was before. I'm sure it will be back with a vengeance soon enough and I'll wonder why I ever missed it.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Texas Weather

Gotta love it. Its 40, then 70+. And it's January! I've used the A/C in the car in the last couple of days. Now it's in the 50s and very windy. I'm finding it hard to remember that it is "winter." Just gotta love it. It's Texas.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Sock Exchange

I knew that Lisa Diane was knitting me a pair of socks. Of course they were brown (my favorite color!). Anyways, I decided that I would knit her a pair of socks and give them to her when we went down to Austin for the party. As soon as we got there we exchanged socks. She didn't know that I had knit her a pair.
This was the first pair of socks I ever knitted and I also decided to do a cable pattern. I think they turned out pretty nicely for my first pair. It was a pretty simple pattern and I used some cashmerino yarn. I think the socks that Lisa Diane knitted me will match the boxer shorts that I just started knitting. Hopefully I will finish the shorts before the Summer so I can lounge around the house in them when it's hot.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Panna Cotta

This is a really easy dessert, that turns out differently every time I make it (due to my habit of not measuring everything). Everyone seems to like it and it as also goes by the names milk jello and white stuff. I made this for the New Year's party and I think it turned out really well because I whisked things together instead of just stirring with a spoon or using the mixer (which can deflate it).

Panna Cotta

1 c. half and half
1/2 c. sugar
1 tsp. nutmeg
1 packet unflavored gelatin
4 Tbl. water
1 c. cream

1. Sprinkle gelatin over water in shallow dish to soften. Let sit at least 3 minutes.
2. In a heavy saucepan over low heat dissolve sugar in half and half. Do not boil.
3. Remove saucepan from heat and whisk in gelatin and nutmeg.
4. Place saucepan in refrigerator to cool.
5. Whip the cream to stiff peaks.
6. Fold or whisk to cream into the cooled (but not set) gelatin mixture.
7. Pour panna cotta into molds and refrigerate at least 3 hours.

If your gelatin set while you were whipping the cream (it happens) then whisk it really well and you can use a mixer to combine everything and get the lumps out.

To release the molds I use very hot water in a bowl. I dip and swirl the mold while trying not to burn my fingers or get water in the mold. The trick is then to hold the mold and give it a snapping, twisting wrist motion before slamming it down onto the plate. At least that's what works with my individual molds. I then put them back into the fridge until it's time to serve them. If you release them right before serving there will be a thin melted layer on top.

This is one of the only recipes that I don't really feel the need to alter. I don't add vanilla! I lie, I did actually change this recipe up a bit. It can be made with 2 cups of cream instead of one cup 1/2 and 1/2 and once cup cream. Its really rich that way. I actually like it better with 1/2 and 1/2. Once upon a time I'd also top it with caramel, but really, I find it to be too much trouble, and I like the full nutmeg flavor.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

New Year's Day

We went to Austin for New Year's again this year. We went a little early, so Ross helped with baseboard installation and I helped clean the grout off the new tile floors. Joey and Lisa Diane installed wood floors in the living room and library and laid tile in the hallway and bathroom. They also painted all those areas. It looks really awesome. I had a little too much to drink on the 30th, but didn't really drink on New Year's Eve or New Year's Day. There was a meeting of the George T. Stagg club, but I was really sad that Robert Walker wasn't there. I'm going to have to change the Stagg club to glasses instead of shots. It's just really silly shooting whiskey that tastes that good. Ross had some trouble setting up the wii, but he finally got it done, and people really had fun trying it out. I was really glad to be able to see everyone, especially Kay. She's about 6 months pregnant and seems so happy. I made panna cotta for the party. It really tickled me to see the faces of the guests when they tried it. I'll post the recipe later today or tomorrow. Lisa Diane and I also exchanged socks. I'll post photos of them soon. On the way home we stopped at Rachel and Deborah's to see their new baby, Chiara. She had just woken up and was very alert. Here's a bunch of photos. Enjoy.
Ross and Troy wii boxing. Notice the new wood floors. The blue paint is also new.

Aaron Camp tries the wii with Ross

Even Kay and Christine were excited about the wii.
Lisa Diane holding Chiara.

Me holding Chiara.