Saturday, December 4, 2010

Chocolate Mousse with Raspberry Coulis

I served this for a dinner party recently, in my grandmother's silver sherberts.

  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 5 oz. dark chocolate (60-70% cacao)
Melt chocolate in double boiler. Whisk sugar and egg yolks. Heat 3/4 cup cream until hot but not boiling. poour slowly into egg yolks, whisking throughout. Transfer to stove and heat over medium -low heat, stirring constantly, until custard coats spoon. Whisk into melted chocolate and cool. Whip cream, then fold a fourth of it into chocolate mixture. Then, fold chocolate mixture into remaining cream. Spoon into serving dish and chill.

Raspberry coulis
  • 1/2 pound raspberries
  • 1/4 pound sugar
Combine in saucepan over medium heat; cook until sugar is dissolved. Chill sauce.
Whipped cream
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
Whip, gradually added sugar, chill 1-3 hours.
Top each mousse cup with a spoonful of coulis, then a dollop of whipped cream. Makes 12 small or 6 larger servings.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Bacon and Herb Beef Tenderloin

I recently served this at a Christmas party and everyone loved it. I made a 7 pound roast, so needed more ingredients.
  • 1 4 lb beef tenderloin
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 4-6 springs oregano
  • 6-8 basil leaves
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • Kosher salt
  • Pepper
  • 6-8 slices bacon, cut in half
Rub roast with Worcestershire sauce. Cut garlic cloves into several slivers, cut slits in roast with knife and insert. sprinkle with pepper and salt. Turn roast over and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Lay oregano and basil on top, drape bacon slices over roast. Tie with cord and place in rack in roasting pan. Cook at 450 degrees for 10 minutes (beware, it gets smoky here) when reduce heat and continue to cook until temperature in thickest part registers 125 (for rare) or 145 (for medium). Remove, tent with foil and let rest for 10-15 minutes before slicing

Cranberry Punch

For me, there's nothing Christmasy-er than cranberries. I served this at the deacon's Christmas party for my church.
  • 64 oz cranberry juice cocktail
  • 2 cups orange juice
  • 2 cups Sprite
  • Ice ring made with cranberry and orange juices, garnished with orange and lime slices
Combine juices in punchbowl, add ice ring. Slowly pour in Sprite.


  • 1 gallon apple cider
  • 1 quart pineapple juice
  • 6 oz frozen orange juice concemtrate
  • 25-30 whole cloves
  • 8 cinnamon sticks
Combine in pot or crock pot, simmer until hot.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Chocolate and Pumpkin Cheesecake

Back in my grad school days, pre-internet, I copied a wonderful recipe for a layered pumpkin and chocolate cheesecake with chocolate ganache. I'm not sure if this is the same recipe but it's close. It makes a wonderful holiday dessert.

  • 1 1/4 cups graham cracker crusts
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
Mix crumbs, sugar and cocoa. Pour butter over all, stir to coat. Press onto bottom and sides of 9 inch springform pan. Bake for 5 minutes at 350 degrees.

Chocolate layer:
  • 2/3 cup chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup coffee
  • 12 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
Melt chocolate in double boiler. Mix in coffee, set aside. Beat cream cheese, sugar and salt together. Beat in eggs, one at a time, then mix in vanilla. Add chocolate mixture and blend. Pour over chocolate crumb crust.

Pumpkin layer:
  • 16 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup pumpkin
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/3 teaspoon cloves
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
Beat pumpkin, cream cheese, flour, and sugar together. Add eggs, one at a time. Mix in spices and vanilla. Pour into 9 inch cake pan lined with buttered parchment paper.
Bake both cheesecakes at 350 degrees for 1 hour 10 minutes. Turn off oven and let sit for 20 minutes. Refrigerate chocolate layer, cool pumpkin layer to room temperature.

  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 12 oz chocolate chips
Boil cream, butter and sugar, add chocolate and whisk until smooth. Pour one cup of ganache onto chocolate layer. Unmold pumpkin layer and place on top of chocolate layer. Freeze for 1 hour. Frost top and sides of cheesecake with remaining ganache. Keep refrigerated until time to serve.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Frozen Dinner Rolls

I made these for my first Thanksgiving dinner as a new bride, and many times since. Very convenient since you can make several weeks in advance, then freeze until the day you bake.
  • 5 1/2 to 6 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 packages yeast
  • 1 1/4 cups water
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 2 eggs
In large bowl, mix 2 cups flour, sugar, salt and yeast. Heat water, milk and butter to warm (120-130 degrees (butter will likely not melt), add to flour and beat 2 minutes with electric mixer. Add eggs and 1/2 cup more flour, beat another 2 minutes. Add 3-4 cups more flour gradually, to make a soft dough. Knead until smooth and elastic.
Cover and let rest 20 minutes, then punch down. Shape into rolls... I like to do crescents. Freeze on cookie sheets, then store in plastic or tupperware.
When ready to bake, remove, place on baking sheet and let rise until doubled, about 90 minutes. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes or until golden brown.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Squash and pear soup

A recipe from an August 96 Mom friend. Delicious and great-smelling; I may serve it for Thanksgiving. I think it would be good with nutmeg instead of thyme
  • 1 lg. butternut squash, peeled and cubed.
  • 1 lg. onion, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 pears, peeled and cubed
  • 32 oz. chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme
  • salt and pepper to taste
Heat oil in Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion and squash, cook covered for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add pears and chicken stock, heat to boiling. Reduce heat and simmer 25 minutes. Add thyme. Puree in blender, two cups at a time, then return to stove. Serve hot.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Hunger Games Cake

My daughter and I are both fans of Suzanne Collins' Hunger Games series, and are eagerly awaiting the finale, Mockingjay, on August 24th. Her 14th birthday falls the day before and she requested a Hunger Games themed cake for her party today.

Unlike Peeta, I am a decidedly amateur cake decorator, so I knew I wasn't up to assembling a Mockingjay. I settled for one of Katniss's arrows. I had also, with the help of a friend whose sister works at Borders, snagged a real Mockingjay pin as a surprise gift, so I decided to clip it to some wax paper and adapt as a cake topper; that's it on the arrowhead, though it's hard to see in the picture.

To make the arrow: bake a 9 by 13 inch cake. Freeze, then cut lengthways into 3 horizontal strips. The two from the edges will be placed end to end for the arrow shaft. From the middle strip, cut one right triangle from one side, and another from the opposite end, leaving a parallelogram-shaped wedge in the center. Slice this longways down the middle, so you get two smaller, thinner parallelograms. Turn one triangle and one parallelogram upside down. You can now place the two triangles back to back to make the arrowhead, and the parallelograms on the other for the tail feathers. Frost with your favorite icing, pipe birthday greetings or a favorite line onto the shaft and score the frosting on the feather with fork tines. Add Mockingjay pin, if available.

Note: this is a long cake, almost three feet. I used a foam board covered in plastic wrap for a tray.

May the odds be ever in your favor.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Chilled cucumber soup

I don't really like cucumbers. But, all my friends with gardens have raised bumper crops this year and given me lots. Since I had a cucumber gazpacho in Spain a view years ago that was pretty good, I decided to try a chilled soup. It is good, and unlike most where you just grind up the cukes, cooking them cuts the cucumber-y taste. It's almost like a potato soup.
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 5 cucumbers, peeled, seeded and chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • several sprigs flat leaf parsley
  • several sprigs fresh dill
  • 5 cups chicken broth, hot (I used turkey broth from a recent breast I roasted... it worked great!)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup skim milk
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
Melt butter in skillet, saute onions and cucumbers with pepper until tender and onions are translucent. Sprinkle with flour and cook for 1 minute. Transfer to soup pan and add broth, salt and spices. Heat until boiling, then cover, reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes.

Cool in pan, then puree in blender with sour cream, lemon juice and milk. Chill several hours.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Green Tomato Pasta with Bacon

I made this for dinner tonight; a nice change from regular spaghetti. You have to love the split-personality nature of a recipe that has you frying things in a combination of olive oil and bacon grease.
  • 6 slices thick cut bacon
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 cloves pressed garlic
  • 3-4 medium green tomatoes, diced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1/2 yellow sweet pepper, chopped
  • 2/3 cup grated cheese (Romano, parmesan or mozzarella)
  • 1/2 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 1/2 pound spaghetti
Fry bacon in skillet. Remove and drain on paper towels. Pour off all but 1 tablespoon bacon grease, mix in olive olive. Saute garlic for 1 minute, then add tomatoes, salt, and pepper. Cook for 7-10 minutes. Add wine and chopped peppers. Cook for about 10 minutes, until sauce thickens. Add parsley and crumbled bacon; stir in just before removing from heat.

While sauce thickens, cook pasta to al dente stage. Drain, reserving some of the hot pasta water. Add cheese and sauce to pasta along with 1/2-1 cup of the water. Stir thoroughly and serve. Serves 3-4.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Murderous Strawberry Shortcake

With my fondness for both books and dessert recipes, it was only a matter of time before I got hooked on this series. It's about a young woman from fictional Lake Eden, MN* who owns a bakery and spends her spare time solving murders, the victims of which always manage to expire while consuming one of her confections.

In any case, strawberries have been cheap and plentiful here lately, so when I had to fix a church supper recently, I quadrupled the title recipe from the second book of the series "The Strawberry Shortcake Murder" and fed about 80 with it. It was wonderful.

  • 3 sticks butter
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 cups cake flour


  • 3 pints sliced strawberries (or other fruit)
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • ½ cup white sugar
  • ½ cup sour cream

Butter and flour 2 9 inch pans. Cream butter and sugar, add eggs and beat until fluffy. Mix in sour cream, baking powder and vanilla. Add flour, one cup at a time. Spoon into pans and bake at 325 degrees for 45-50 minutes

Cool, wrap in plastic and foil and store in refrigerator for 48 hours. Remove an hour before serving. Beat cream with sugar, then fold in sour cream Serve with sliced berries, a dollop of cream mixture and garnish with whole berries. Hannah says this makes 12 pieces; for me it's rich enough to serve more like 20.

*where, judging from the amount of time the characters spend eating scrumptious-sounding desserts, the average weight must be around 500 lbs.