TIRAMISU

In every restaurant in every city – I look for Tiramisu on the dessert menu.
It is my absolute favorite dessert – hands down.
The combination of rich custard, rum soaked cake,
and fresh cream is a luxurious and sexy taste experience second to none.
I’ve been known to eat a salad for my meal in order
to enjoy every bite of this luscious delicacy.
It means that much to me.

Then something happened.
I went to one of my favorite restaurants,
ordered my favorite dessert, and it was, in a word, disappointing.
“Oh no!” “What’s happening?”
I tried to accept it as an off night, until I experienced
the same upsetting taste experience
at another restaurant a few weeks later.
“This is unacceptable.”
“I need to learn how to make Tiramisu.”

The search began. I found dozens of variations
but none of them appealed to me;
especially since most of them used raw egg yokes. Yuk.
My research became frustrating until I realized
that I needed to create my own version,
with the ingredients and techniques that I loved the most;
which is exactly what I did.
Oh my goodness – It is fabulous!!!
If you love Tiramisu you must try this.
Please don’t be intimidated by its sophisticated reputation.
It really isn’t that hard and worth every second of the preparation.
My husband fell in love with me all over again after one bite!
It’s that good! ♡
Here’s how I make it.

~~~ Tiramisu
~ Mascarpone custard layered with whipped cream and coffee/rum soaked ladyfingers – decadent and delicious.

Ingredients:

6 large egg yolks
3/4 C white sugar
2/3 C milk
1 1/4 C heavy cream
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
16 ounces mascarpone cheese
3/4 C strong brewed coffee, cooled
5 Tbls. Rum
1 package ladyfinger cookies-7 ounces/24 count
1 Tbls. Unsweetened cocoa powder or
shaved dark chocolate
7 X 11 deep dish

Directions:
~In a medium saucepan, whisk together the egg yolks and sugar until well blended.

Place over medium heat and whisk in milk. Cook, stirring constantly, until mixture gently boils. Continue for about 1 minute. Remove from heat and cool slightly. Then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate 1 hour.

~ In medium bowl, beat cream with vanilla until stiff peaks
form. Be careful not to over beat. Set aside.

~ Whisk mascarpone into the chilled yolk mixture until smooth. Set aside.
~ In a small shallow bowl, combine the coffee and rum. Set aside.

Assembly:
Dip ladyfingers into coffee/rum mixture and layer on bottom of 7×11 dish.
Spread half of mascarpone mixture over cookies, then spread half of the whipped cream.

Repeat with another layer of dipped cookies, mascarpone, and whipped cream.
Cover and refrigerate 4 to 6 hours or overnight.
Sprinkle with cocoa powder or chocolate shavings right before serving.

Mangia! ☺

*A Few Tips: When dipping the cookies into the coffee/rum,
be careful to only leave them in the liquid for about 3 seconds.
Break cookies into size needed before dipping.
Also, you can make this in a 9 X 9 pan.
Before refrigerating custard, place the plastic wrap
directly over it to prevent film from forming on it.
It’s best to wait 24 hours before serving. Enjoy!!

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TIP OF THE DAY ❀

Stained Silverware . . . .

While emptying my dishwasher,
I noticed that my butter knives had small markings
all over them;
little specks of irregularities that I was not able to rub off.
Then I noticed similar markings on other serving utensils
and metal looking bowls and platters.
With Christmas around the corner,
I knew I would need most of these pieces for entertaining
so I pulled out my arsenal of cleaning products
and began rubbing.
I was shocked to see that the Soft Scrub
took away 99% of all the blemishes.
Yes! Good old Soft Scrub.
My knives look new and all my serving pieces are shining.
So is my silver toaster!
*please test it on an inconspicuous spot first.
**I did not try this on tarnished items.

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TIP OF THE DAY-GERMS

Enterovirus D8 or “EV-D68”
YIKES!! SUPER GERMS!!!

I know that we have faced some devastating
viruses over the years,
and I don’t want to sound off any alarms,
but to be honest, I am a little nervous.

Between the EV-D68 and the Ebola Virus,
We need to become extremely careful about germs.
I understand that some people believe
we are becoming germaphobes,
but if I knew that I could decrease my chances
of becoming infected with one of these viruses
by following a few cautious steps,
then I’ll be darnI AM GOING TO DO IT!
So here are a few TIPS to keep you healthy during
this upcoming winter.
Well, actually, start today.
After all, the viruses are already here.

1. NEVER touch your face while out in public.
2. Wash your hands the second you get home and
always before you eat or drink something.
3. Use those antibacterial wipes at the grocery store
and if they don’t have them, bring some with you.
4. If you know that you will be
on a crowded form of transportation,
make sure to wear a scarf
to wrap around your mouth and nose
in case the person next to you
sneezes in your direction.
5. Keep a pair of garden gloves
in your car for pumping gas.
6. Use the end of your coat, sweater, shirt,
or a tissue to open and close doors.
I always carry tissues or a folded up paper towel
in my pocket to use for doorknobs.
7. Never touch a bathroom stall or door with your hands.
Use a paper towel or toilet paper.
I just read that the doorknobs in bathrooms
have more germs than the toilet seat. (Oh God!)
8. Don’t use the hot-air hand dryer in public bathrooms.
Hot bed of germs.
Dry your hands on your own clothing if you have to.
9. Flying: wear a face cover/mask/scarf.
Try not to touch the drop down tray
or the arm rests unless you have sanitizing wipes with you.
Also, the magazines in the seat pockets
are covered in germs.
Don’t use the bathroom on the plane
unless absolutely necessary and if you do,
use something as a barrier to open and close the door,
faucet, and toilet.
Bring a pair of sox for the security checkpoints;
you don’t want to touch the floor with your bare feet.
Bring your own beverage.
The ice cubes on airplanes are covered in bacteria.
Drink an Airborne before you leave
and another when you land.
Bring extra vitamin C while away.
10. Never use lemons or limes in your drinks in restaurants.
They do not wash them
and the person who puts it in your drink
is not wearing gloves.
11. Sneeze into a tissue, your arm, or your jacket.
12. Carry your own pen for signing documents or receipts.
13. Ask for a straw in restaurants.
Try to avoid touching the glass with your lips.
14. Did I mention –
WASH YOUR HANDS EVERY CHANCE YOU GET!!
And use hand moisturizers.
When your skin is moist and smooth,
there is less chance of it cracking
or splitting which is an open door for germs.

Good Luck during this crazy flu season.
If you have any other TIPS, PLEASE
share them with ME!!!
Thank you. . . . and Wash Your Hands! ♡

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CAPRESE OPEN FACE ♨

Simple Italian perfection!
Using just a few fresh quality ingredients,
you can create a taste sensation you will not soon forget.
Along side a tossed salad, you have a delicious and
healthy meal.

Wondering if it will be enough to satisfy you?
Of course it will, darling.
Just continue eating them until they are gone!
Mangia!

CAPRESE OPEN FACE
1 loaf dense Italian bread
1-2 large ripe tomatoes
1 ball fresh mozzarella
Several basil leaves
Good quality olive oil
Salt/pepper

Prep: Preheat broiler.
Line a large cookie sheet with foil (easy clean up)
Slice the bread, tomato and mozzarella
Place the tomato slices on paper towels to absorb some of the liquid
Stack the basil leaves; roll them then slice into strips

Assembly:
Place bread slices on cookie sheet and toast one side.
Remove from oven then drizzle other side with olive oil.
Return to oven and toast slightly.
Place one slice of tomato on each piece of bread,
drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper
and place under broiler for about one minute.

Remove and place a slice of mozzarella on each tomato.
Return to oven for 1-2 minutes until the cheese melts.
Sprinkle with basil slivers.
Eat while warm.
Enjoy!

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SPICY MEAT-A-BALL ♨

These zesty balls will never make it to your table. My family and I ate them right off the cookie sheet when I pulled them out of the oven. I had to save one for the photo. We enjoyed them so much, I’m making them again tomorrow and turning them into Meat Ball Sliders. Place one on a toasted tiny bun, melt some provolone over them, and use the left over sauce for dipping. YUM!
Here’s how I make them.

SPICEY MEAT-A-BALLS

1 lb ground sirloin
1/2 lb hot loose sausage (or sweet)
1 large egg or 2 small
small bunch of parsley chopped
1/3 C plain breadcrumbs
2 tbsp. milk or cream
1/2 C grated romano or parmesan cheese
lrg pinch salt/pepper
dash Worshester Sauce
pinch of hot pepper flakes

Heat oven to 350°. Spray large cookie sheet with cooking spray.
In medium bowl, combine all ingredients.

Be carefully not to smash the meat too aggressively.
Using a lighter touch will keep the balls from becoming too dense.
Using the same light hand, make into balls.

I made 12 larger meatballs with this recipe
but you could probably make 16 smaller ones.
Bake for 35 minutes.

Remove from oven and eat immediately.
HA-HA! Just kidding!
You can wait 2 minutes if you like!

Mangia

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TIP OF THE DAY ❀

CHANGING THE FURNACE FILTER ❀

YIKES!!

Run, don’t walk, and change that filter! Yuk!!!
I know I should remember to change it every 3-6 months,
but sometimes I forget.
Fortunately for me, I have a crazy sense of smell
and an insane intolerance to dust!
Therefore, my gauge to the timing of the filter change
is the day I (and Guido) find myself sneezing for no reason
and walking around with a dust rag
even though I just dusted yesterday.
Another sure sign is the on and off gauge
of my air conditioner (or furnace in the winter months).
If it continues to run, I know its working overtime
to maintain a comfortable temperature.
That means higher heating bills and more wear and tear on my unit.
Yes-sirree! Time to change the filter.
Remember to pay attention to the direction of the
air flow so you can replace the new filter
in the correct placement.

Now, please don’t get too grossed out by my photo.
That is actually only 2 months old.
NO! My home is not dirty.
I just wanted to show you how incredibly efficient
these filters are at blocking dust and airborne contaminants.
A clean filter will allow the air to flow freely,
offering a cleaner environment for you, your family, and pets.
Less dusting and sneezing! I like that!

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FABULOUS FLANK ♨

Flank steak is my favorite go-to cuts of meat.
I marinade it in this super easy concoction
for a couple hours and boom!
It is picture ready for family and last minute company.
I also slice it very thinly with some
melted cheese, arugula, and sliced tomato
on a hearty hoagie bun to make a delicious sandwich.
Throw on a few fries and you have yourself an
obnoxious mountain of MAN-FOOD!
Perfect for a football game crowd.
* this marinade recipe works terrifically with pork tenderloin too. ☺
Here’s how I make it.

FABULOUS FLANK

2-3 lb. piece of Flank Steak
3 Tbsp. soy sauce
2 Tbsp. brown sugar
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 clove garlic chopped
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
2 Tbsp. oil
Salt/Pepper

✑ Combine everything, except the Flank, in a small bowl.
Using a whisk, whip together until fully incorporated.
Place Flank in a zip-lock gallon size baggie.
Pour marinade into bag.
Close tightly and massage meat until the entire piece
is completely coated with marinade.
Place on large plate and refrigerate for a couple hours.

You can leave it over night
but I have found the flavor becomes too strong.
Two to Three hours is perfect.

You can grill or roast the Flank.
Either way, drain off excess marinade,
place on greased foil or pan and cook on medium heat
for about 30-45 minutes until the inside temperate is 50°.
(40˚ if you like your meat pink)
Remove from heat, tent with foil
and let sit for about 10 minutes before slicing.

Be sure to slice thinly on an angle.
Mangia

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SUMMER PASTA ♨

I have a crazy food crush on tiny tomatoes.
I try to find a way to eat them almost every single day.
Recently, I came across a recipe that incorporates
these little sweeties with pasta. (Ina Garten) Wow!!
I altered it, just a little, and served it to my
lunch guests yesterday. Delish!!
I’m sure you could cut up some fresh garden tomatoes
for a similar effect, but these tiny tomatoes are perfect.
Did I mention how incredibly easy it is to make?
Super Easy!!
Enjoy!

SUMMER PASTA

2 Pints Baby Tomatoes/halved
1/4 C Olive Oil &
1/3 C Olive Oil
3 Whole Cloves Garlic
pinch hot pepper flakes
15 Basil leaves, chopped
1 lb. Thin Whole Grain Pasta
1 C grated Parmesan Or Romano Cheese

Combine tomato halves, 1/4 C olive oil, 2 garlic, and basil
in a small glass bowl.
Toss until olive oil is incorporated through all the tomatoes.
Cover with plastic wrap and set aside for at least 3 hours.

While waiting for water to boil,
pour 1/3 C olive oil into a small pot.
Turn heat on very low.
Add pinch of hot pepper and 1 clove garlic.
Warm oil until garlic begins to sizzle
then turn heat off. Set aside.

Cook pasta in a large pot of salted water.
Set aside ½ cup of the pasta water then drain
and return pasta to pot.

Pour tomato mixture over pasta – toss.
Then add the cheese.
Toss to combine and sprinkle a large pinch of chopped basil
before serving.

* If pasta looks dry, add one tablespoon at a time
of the reserved pasta water.
Mine was perfect, but it’s nice to have it if you need it.

Mangia!

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SMOOSHED POTATOES ♨

My new favorite way to make potatoes!! I know that I say ‘this is my favorite’ far too many times, but these little babies are fabulous! There are only a few steps with absolutely no measuring and I promise, your family will LOVE them!! I served them with sautéed green beans and a filet, but they will go with anything! Now run to the store and buy a dozen little white potatoes so you can make these little gems!
Mangia!

SMOOSHED POTATOES ♨

Small white potatoes
Olive oil
Kosher salt
Fresh ground pepper
Butter
Fresh parsley

Preheat oven to 375˚.
Scrub potatoes then let completely dry.
Place potatoes on foiled cookie sheet
and rub with olive oil
and sprinkle a small pinch of salt and pepper.

Bake for 40 minutes.
Remove from oven.
Using the tip of a sharp knife,
slice a cross through the skin
on the topside of the potato.
With a potato masher, push down
on potato until the center starts to
smoosh up through the skin.

Place a pat of butter, sprinkle of chopped parsley,
and another small pinch of salt and pepper on each potato.

Return to the oven for another 5-7 minutes.
WaLa!!!

Mangia ♡

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HOUSEHOLD TIPS ❀

Every 3 to 4 months, there are a few chores around my home
I perform to maintain cleanliness and efficiency.
Some of them may seem silly or wasteful,
but I have found each step keeps my life running smoothly.
I would much rather prevent a problem than fix it.
Today is that day for me.
Here are a few things I REPLACE:

1. Shower loofah
2. Mascara
3. Toothbrush
4. Scented room plug-ins
5. Coffee Pot filter
6. My contact lens case
7. Vacuum bag

Here are a few things I DO:

1. Run my washer through a cleaning cycle.
(I use a specific washer-cleaning disc.)
2. Clean out my pantry.
(Check for expiration dates and throw away
anything I haven’t used recently.)
3. Go through my freezer and discard anything I don’t recognize.
(I do this on garbage day so it leaves my house immediately.)
4. Vacuum under furniture/bed
5. Clean out hair brush drawer
6. Fill my bathroom sinks with super hot tap water,
then let the water flush the drain.
(Trick from my plumber.)
7. Go through magazines, bills, and paper stacks and
discard any unnecessary clutter.
8. Take the bag of old clothes I have been collecting
to a donation center.
(It’s time – I’ll never wear them again.)
9. Inventory paper products and stock up.
10. Go through medicine cabinet and discard expired meds/vitamins.
11. Wash make-up brushes/I use a drop of shampoo and warm water. Good as new!

It’s a funny thing about doing these mindless chores;
I feel so much better after. . . .
and honestly, they give me peace of mind knowing that
everything is as it should be – neat, clean, and organized! ☺

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