Monday, August 30, 2010

Licking my Ladyfingers...

There is a long running Tiramisu joke in my family. After a snooty waiter once described the dessert with his nose in the air as "ladyfingers dipped in espresso" our family has regularly repeated the statement in our best pitchy British accent when we find it on a menu. But me? Make my own ladyfingers dipped in espresso? Absurd!

But not so much! Good ol' Giada takes all the snootiness away and leaves you with a decadent but simple dessert. While brewing my espresso, I whipped my heavy whipping cream with a little added sugar. A whole container of Mascarpone cheese gets folded into the whip cream - but not over stirred. This direction always shakes me to the core. It's almost a threat - "stir - but don't over-stir!" Lord, what would happen?! And when have I reached over-stirring status? I mean give me a number of stirs or appropriate turning pressure or some gauge! I'm stirring blindly over here!

But moving on...

Giada says to next add Zabaglione to the whipped mixture. Now last time I made Zabaglione in my little Connecticut kitchen (see Indulgences post from January), it was OK but a lot of work for basically melted creamy chocolate. So rather than go through the messy process of Zabaglione again, instead I melted some chocolate chips and stirred in a bit of cream and voila- lazy woman's Zabaglione!

So the "Zabaglione" gets added to the whipped cream and Mascarpone and chills in the fridge. Meanwhile, you line a loaf pan with plastic wrap so the edges hang over. Giada says to then dip the ladyfinger cookies into the espresso but my cookies fell apart instantly in the hot cupful so instead I lined the cookies into the loaf pan and drizzled the espresso on top of them. A third of the whipped mouse mixture spreads over the cookies before you add another layer of ladyfingers. Then more mouse and more ladyfingers to top.

Next you test your patience by letting it set in the fridge for two hours! The cool dessert smells absolutely divine. By lifting the edges of the plastic wrap the Tiramisu gets flipped onto a plate, topped with a dusting of cocoa powder and served. My presentation might not have been as lovely as those fancy restaurant Tiramisu but my God does it taste just as good.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Go Big or Go Home...

As you can see, August has been a slow cooking month. I've been totally consumed with our September cruise and all the preparation leading up to it- swimsuit shopping, boot camp fitness classes to make sure I can fit in the swimsuit, etc. I figured if I was only going to cook one GDL meal this month I better go balls to the walls and tackle a challenging one.

When I hear Spinach and Mushroom Ravioli I think Buitoni in boiling water for 8 minutes, sauce from a jar, voila! But Giada has a different plan. The idea of making my own ravioli from scratch sounded like a daunting task but GDL says it's easy when you use frozen spinach, pre-sliced mushrooms and egg roll wrappers as your pasta noodles. Sure! No sweat!

The mushrooms get sautéed in olive oil until the liquid has evaporated. The thawed and dried frozen spinach gets added to the pan and heated through. This smells delicious and I had high hopes especially after the mushrooms and spinach get chopped in the food processor and combined with mascarpone and Parmesan cheese. But then my egg roll wrappers started curling up on me and refused to stick together with my egg wash mixture. And maybe I should have looked harder for egg roll wrappers rather than spring roll wrappers because the see-through factor kinda through me for a loop.

I warned Jared we might be eating mushroom spinach slop with floating spring roll pieces, said a quick prayer to the pasta gods, and threw about 12 "ravioli" in my big pot of boiling water. The result? Basically mushroom spinach slop with floating spring roll pieces. The ones that did stay together had a slimy texture that I could not stomach. Not sure if it was Jared's unwavering love for me or if the man truly will eat anything but he managed to devour not only his bowl but my practically untouched bowl as well. God bless him.

So while Jared seemed satisfied, I was truly disappointed. This recipe was a lot of work, a lot of dirty pots, pans and utensils, an unpleasant presentation and in my opinion overall kinda nasty. But I plan to redeem myself and attack the most impressive GDL dessert - homemade Tiramisu.