Wednesday, July 7, 2010

A Birthday and a Few New Recipes

Lily celebrated her 22nd birthday on July 1st.  Wow, hard to believe the baby is 22!  We had a family dinner here with her favorite meal, my Special Spaghetti also known as Spaghetti with Anchovy-Caper Sauce (recipe at and an amazing Hazelnut Tiramisu I've been making for special occasions.  It's not difficult and can be made ahead, which makes it high on my list for party desserts! Five days later, Scott finished off the last of it and really, it was as good as the day it was made. The last serving:
Don't be intimidated by the 3 sections of instructions.  The Espresso Syrup can be made days in advance and refrigerated.  The Hazelnut Filling can be made a day in advance and then it can be put together the day (or the day before) you plan to serve it.  Toast the hazelnuts on a pan in a 300 degree oven for about 10-15 minutes and then place them on a kitchen towel and rub the skins off the nuts with the towel.  Some bits of skin may stay on the nuts and that's fine, just try to get the majority off. Warning: this is a RICH and CALORIC dessert.
Hazelnut Tiramisu
1/2 cup chopped hazelnuts, toasted and skins removed
1/4 cup all purpose flour
5 eggs, separated
1 1/4 cups sugar, divided
1 tsp vanilla
1 recipe Espresso Syrup
1 recipe Hazelnut Filling
2 cups heavy whipping cream
Garnish: unsweetened cocoa
Preheat oven to 375. Lightly grease a 11 3/4 x 16 3/4 x 1 inch rimmed cookie sheet with nonstick cooking spray. Line with parchment paper and spray parchment paper with nonstick spray also. In the work bowl of a food processor, combine hazelnuts and flour. Process until hazelnuts are finely ground. In a medium bowl, beat egg yolks at medium speed with an electric mixer for 1 minute. Add ground hazelnut mixture, 1/2 cup sugar and vanilla. Beat until well combined. Set aside. In a separate bowl, beat egg whites at medium high speed with an electric mixer until foamy. Gradually add 1/4 cup of sugar, beating until stiff peaks form. Fold egg white mixture into egg yolk mixture. Spread batter onto prepared sheet pan. Bake for 12 to 14 minutes of until cake springs back when lightly touched in center. Immediately loosen from sides of pan and turn out onto parchment paper. Remove parchment paper from bottom of cake. Cool cake completely. To assemble, cut 1 9x9 piece of cake. Place cake in the bottom of a 9 inch square  pan. With a pastry brush, brush cake with half of Espresso Syrup. Spread half of Hazelnut Filling on top of cake. Cut remaining cake to fit pan. Place cake on top of Hazelnut Filling, brush with remaining Espresso Syrup and spread remaining Hazelnut Filling on top of cake. In a medium bowl, beat cream at high speed with an electric mixer until soft peaks form. Gradually add remaining 1/2 cup sugar, beating until stiff peaks form. Spread whipped cream on top of Hazelnut Filling. Cover. Refrigerate for 4 hours to overnight. Garnish with cocoa dusted over top.

Espresso Syrup
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
2 Tbsp instant espresso powder
1/4 cup coffee flavored liqueur (Kahlua)

In a small saucepan over medium high heat, bring sugar, water and espresso powder to a boil. Boil for 1 minute. Remove from heat and stir in liqueur. Cool completely

Hazelnut Filling
16 oz. (2 8oz containers) mascarpone cheese, softened
1 cup confectioner's sugar
1/4 cup Nutella (chocolate hazelnut spread)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup heavy whipping cream

In a medium bowl, combine mascarpone cheese, confectioner's sugar, chocolate hazelnut spread, and vanilla. Beat at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy. Add cream, beat until smooth.

So, after THAT dessert, I needed something light, tasty and summery to get me back on track.  This is my favorite new salad.  I've made it for clients and frequently for us and it is always a hit. I love Summer Rolls and make them a few times every summer, but they are a bit of a hassle.  This salad is all the best ingredients of a Summer Roll and the Dipping Sauce for the Rolls is the dressing for the salad.  I could eat this salad 3 times a week and be a happy girl.  It comes together pretty quick and the ingredients for the salad can vary according to what you have that's abundant.

Summer Roll Salad
adapted from a recipe in Fine Cooking
For the dressing:
1/4 c. fresh lime juice
2 Tbs. rice vinegar
2 Tbs. fish sauce
1 Tbs. granulated sugar
2 tsp. minced fresh jalapeño or serrano
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp. finely minced fresh ginger
In a small bowl, mix the dressing ingredients. Taste and add more of any of the ingredients to get a tasty balance of flavors.
For the salad:
6 oz. medium-width rice noodles
3 cup shredded romaine lettuce
1/4 cup roughly chopped or small whole fresh cilantro leaves
1 cup peeled, seeded and diced cucumbers
1/3 cup coarse grated carrots (1 large)
1 cup coarse chopped sugar snap or snow peas
3 Tbs. chopped peanuts
Make the salad:
Bring a large pot of salted water to a rolling boil. Add the rice noodles and stir to disperse them. Cook until strands are opaque white and fully tender, but still resilient, 3 to 6 minutes (check the noodles often as different brands cook at different rates). Drain the noodles in a colander and rinse them under cold water until noodles are cool. Let the noodles drain in the colander for 10 minutes, fluffing every now and then to make sure they stay loose.
When ready to serve, put the rice noodles in a large bowl with the lettuce, cilantro, cucumbers, peas and carrots. Add the dressing to taste and toss well. Sprinkle with peanuts before serving.
I didn't even think to get a picture until I was halfway through eating it, but here it is.  I look at this picture and think it doesn't look half as good as it tastes!
And now a few of my favorite pics of Dear Lily.  Hope your 22nd year is full of adventures and LOVE!
This was at about 2 years old:
This is one of my favorite pics of her.  She was about 10 years old. We call it the Harry Potter picture, 'cuz she looks like she's right out of that series! 
And this last one is pretty much present day.  A lovely picture even though she looks so pensive.
Love you Lils!!!

1 comment:

Nisa said...

love every part of this post!