Thursday, June 30, 2011


I have tried to make tiramisu countless times.  With limited success.  The first time I tried to make it, we took the pan to our bible study where it promptly spilled all over the host's freezer.  Turns out that all of the creamy alcohol deadening flavor leaked out and we were left with rum-ma-misu.  It was awful. 

I've always used cream cheese.  When I made the disappointing tiramisu cupcakes, I discovered the fabulous decadence of mascarpone. 

Mascarpone is "a soft and delightful Italian sweet cream cheese" (courtesy of Bel Gioso).  It's also delightfully expensive.  Or not.  I actually just found out that our wholesale club sells three 8oz containers for $7.29 - compare that with the Giant price of $4.49 for one 8oz container.  So I ended up with three containers. 

The mascarpone makes all of the difference. 

I simply followed the recipe on the container.  This was so easy.  I literally had the dish assembled in less than 10 minutes.  And it was some of the best tiramisu I've ever tasted. 

Tiramisu (courtesy of Bel Gioso)
3 large eggs
1 cup espresso
1/2 cup sugar
2 T brandy
8 oz mascarpone
2 T cocoa powder
10 ladyfingers (I used 24)

1.  combine 3 egg yolks, 1 T espresso, sugar, and brandy.  beat for 3 minutes.  add mascarpone and beat for an additional 3-5 minutes, until smooth.

2.  in another bowl, combine 3 egg whites with a pinch of sugar.  beat until stiff peaks form.  gently fold into mascarpone mixture.

3.  quickly dip each ladyfinger in remaining espresso and layer on bottom of small serving dish (I used a loaf pan).  spread mascarpone mixture and sprinkle with cocoa.  repeat with soaked ladyfingers and cream mixture.  sprinkle with cocoa. 

4.  refrigerate at least three hours before serving. 

Isn't it Bromantic?

Last weekend, Rob and his brother husbands took their kids up to the cabin.  What are brother husbands, you ask?  Don't worry, Emma was confused by this terminology, too.  Rob has always been someone who cultivates friendships.  He loves social interaction.  Basically, the term, "brother husbands" is a riff on the TLC show about polygamy called "sister wives".  Get it? 

Rob took my good camera and captured some of their fun. It looks like they had a great time, but do you know how hard it is to sort through 339 pictures, when 275 of them are people shooting guns?

From what I've heard - there was some kayaking, some great food, relaxing by the campfire, fishing, and lots of fun hanging out!

Here are some of the pictures that came home - I'll add my own commentary when necessary!

what Rob calls, "the money shot"


crayfish caught while kayaking - about to meet their doom

boiling up some crayfish - a little butter sauce on the side

shredded beef for dinner

poor little crayfish

Rob's brother husbands - serving up some crayfish

a brother-husband specialty, preserved hot pepper hors d'oeuvre

preserved hot peppers - cabot seriously sharp, and club crackers

can you see the excitement - apparently the picture taking started a mile away, at the gas station

getting ready to head out

campfire relaxation

future brother husbands

the expert giving some tips on firearm safety and stance

a little more advice

the lone girl - willing to brave all the testosterone - pretty awesome if you ask me!

It seems like the weekend was a success.  I received some very tired boys who were wearing big smiles.  A mental health weekend of fun was just what the doctor ordered for them!  A little old-fashioned "bromance". 

Black Raspberries

Last week I had the opportunity to pick black raspberries at a friends farm.  Her husband is working hard to plant fruits and vegetables in order for them to be self-sustaining.  The only problem is that he just bought 50 more raspberry bushes.  One woman, two kids under seven, and 75 raspberry bushes.  Even though I still feel like she was doing me the favor, it seemed she was pretty glad to see these berries go to a good home.  Thanks, Danielle!

Since then we've been enjoying the raspberries on ice cream, on yogurt, and our favorite - with vanilla pudding and whipped cream. 

Vanilla Pudding (adapted from the New Betty Crocker Cookbook)
1/3 cup sugar
2 T cornstarch
1/8 tsp salt
2 cups milk
2 tsp vanilla

1.  mix sugar, cornstarch, and salt in saucepan.  Gradually stir in milk. 
2.  cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens and boils.  Boil for one minute.
3.  remove from heat.  stir in vanilla. 
4.  chill and serve with fresh berries and freshly whipped cream.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Dessert Buffet

Long summer nights with nothing to do?  Look how bored we all are......

Pretend you're Ina Garten - organize a dessert buffet, whip up a few sides, invite some friends or family.  Cube up some pound cake, make hot fudge saucelemon curd, whip up some cream, toast some coconut, and set out the ice cream!  Grab some long-stemmed wineglasses and iced-tea spoons and enjoy a dessert buffet.  You may not live on the beach in the Hamptons like Ina, but you can entertain just like her - with little fuss. 

Look how happy everyone will be!

We weren't really bored - we were celebrating my mom's birthday.  But we were all happy.  Everyone put all of the toppings on their desserts - have you ever mixed lemon with chocolate?

Saturday, June 25, 2011

What's Growing Today

Red raspberries, sugar peas, and green beans

Friday, June 24, 2011

Smoky Mountain Chicken

This is a copy of the Ruby Tuesday's smoky mountain chicken. I remember this from the menu when I was a server for approximately 40 days [at least 14 years ago].  I don't know if it's still on their menu - but it's very easy to make at home!

Step 1: top boneless, skinless chicken breasts with barbeque sauce, sliced onions, mushrooms and deli ham. 

Step 2: add shredded cheddar and bake at 375 degrees for 40 minutes

Step 3: top with crumbled crispy bacon and serve

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Fage Yogurt

When I first discovered Fage yogurt, I bought it for 33 cents each.  Even though I now pay $1.70 for each single serving, some things are totally worth a little splurge.  My favorite is the whole milk variety with sour cherry topping.  Unfortunately, my Giant store does not carry this delightful concoction. 

So, I decided to whip up my own little concoction.  Lemon curd, toasted coconut, and blueberries.

Tart, creamy, crunchy, and fruity.  You could totally serve this for dessert.  Or eat it for breakfast.  It reminds me of panna cotta or cheesecake. 

I would definitely describe Fage yogurt as a splurge.  If you don't want to start a habit you can't break - don't try it. 

Lemon Curd (makes 2 cups) courtesy of the New Betty Crocker Cookbook
1 cup sugar
1 T lemon zest
1 cup lemon juice
3 T butter
3 eggs, slightly beaten

1.  mix sugar, lemon peel, and lemon juice in a saucepan with wire whisk.
2.  stir in butter and eggs.  cook over medium heat about 8 minutes, stirring constantly until mixture thickens and coats the back of a spoon.  (do not boil)
3.  pour into jar and refrigerate up to 2 months. 

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Cabin Pics

We spent some time at our cabin this weekend.  On Saturday we were joined by my parents and sister.  On Sunday, we were joined by almost all of Rob's family.  It was a great weekend of relaxing, laughing, eating, and lots of fun.  I thought I'd share a few pics with you!

my sister, Dad, Kate and I

lush summer foliage

my sister - isn't she pretty? 

my dad - reading his Father's Day card

me in my new favorite shades

Kate and Kara enjoying the new deck

"guess who" and peanuts in the shell

our little rag-tag band of four-wheelers and dirtbikes

getting ready for some target practice

me and my almost-thirteen year old

large-mouth bass

our little Emmy

I love this guy - that's a punk stick to keep the bugs away - it worked!

it's not really relaxing for Rob to take the kids fishing!




the kids caught lots of crayfish - we returned them to the creek later

Natalie playing in the sand mound

cousins at dinner - it was loud, hectic, and very fun

family dinner on the new deck

Wesley loves peas!