Monday, January 31, 2011

Petit Fours

Ada birthday 2011 091

Monday, January 24, 2011

Blueberry, Mascarpone, brown sugar goodness

There were a couple of different versions of the same dessert that we sampled last night. The panel of taste testers were completely divided in their likes and dis-likes and what went better with what and on and on it went - this might have also been partially due to the two (maybe three? maybe four?) bottles of champagne and wine going around. But in any case, all versions were loved and are going to be shown here since we couldn't come to any definite conclusion and I think its only fair that I share all of it with all of you.

NOTE:   I was very surprised at how quickly this dessert came together. It can also be done ahead of time and then just placed under the broiler right before you need to serve.

So.....Please bear with this posting. It's going to be a long one.


FOOD 561

1 pint of blueberries

4 ounces mascarpone - at room temperature

juice from half a lemon

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1 tablespoon sugar

about three tablespoons of brown sugar for topping


Set oven temperature to Broil - place the oven rack right in the middle.  Mix together the mascarpone, lemon juice, cinnamon and sugar then gently fold in the blueberries. Mix to coat all the berries - then divide the mixture evenly between two small tart dishes. Cover the tops with the almost three tablespoons of brown sugar
FOOD 559
At this point you can cover tightly and wrap then store in the refrigerator until dessert time. Otherwise, place under broiler and let cook until juices are bubbling and the brown sugar has caramelized (wil kind of look like creme brulee top) This only takes a few minutes so keep an eye on it.

Let sit for a few minutes to cool then serve

Now things got interesting.

I originally served the warm blueberry mixture over a scoop of French Vanilla ice cream. FOOD 571

Everyone agreed that it was lovely - but the ice cream was too heavy and over powered the flavors of the blueberry and mascarpone mixture.

Next we tried the dish with just some fresh whip cream Copy of FOOD 578

All taste testers agreed this was much better than the ice cream and could they have more?

Next, it was suggested to try with a little vanilla yogurt Copy of FOOD 575

While the yogurt did not necessarily make for the prettiest photo - it was immediately declared the favorite by HALF the group - the other half still wanted more with just whipped cream.

I'm running out of dishes at this point but still have a different sample to present so I take everything away and bring the next batch out.
FOOD 574

This version is basically a blueberry crisp (or crumble) All the same except the topping is not just brown sugar.


1/2 cup all purpose flour

1/4 cup + 1 teaspoon brown sugar

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

6 tablespoons butter cut into pieces - keep cold

1 cup chopped almonds or walnuts or both

Combine all ingredients in a food processor except the butter and nuts. Once mixed add the cold pieces of butter and pulse until it starts to get large lumps. Add the nuts then pulse again 7 or 8 times - until mixture has come together and looks like clumpy sand. Refrigerate the topping until ready to use.

NOTE:  I usually double this recipe and store the leftover in the freezer. That way I can make smaller desserts and have the topping ready to go.

Back to the blueberry sugar things - these BOTH were also served up with vanilla yogurt or fresh whipped cream and vanilla ice cream
FOOD 582
Again - the testing panel was completely divided. What we do suggest is serving with yogurt or whipped cream. The ice cream is too strong and heavy for the delicate texture of the berries - even the dish with the crisp topping.

FOOD 595

the carnage...

Saturday, January 22, 2011

another marinade for Pork Tenderloin

FOOD 541

We have pork tenderloin quite often. Stuffed, grilled, roasted - can't really go wrong unless I am not paying attention and I overcook it (Not that I have EVER done that) This time I let it marinate over night then roasted. I don't know if I can do this marinade then roast in the next hour so if anyone tries it, please let me know how it turned out.

This came out completely delicious and 'no need for a knife' tender. I have learned that if I am roasting it in the oven it must come out at 152 degrees (give or take a degree or two) This takes around 25 minutes at 350 in the oven I have. Then cover with foil and let rest for 10 minutes or so. Slice thin and serve up.


1 pork tenderloin                                                                                                                               (at my local grocery it usually comes in a little two pack - I save the other for something else)

1/4 cup soy sauce

1/4 cup worcestershire sauce

1 teaspoon garlic powder

2 cloves fresh garlic - minced


lots of black pepper (unless you like it a little less peppery)



Put all marinade ingredients into a large ziploc bag (or your favorite container) give everything a little stir then add the tenderloin. Seal the bag then kind of swish things around and rub the marinade into the meat (how's that for high-tech chef speak?)   Put in refrigerator and leave overnight. Sometime early the next day flip the bag and give everything a little rub again - just to help evenly distribute all the flavors.

When ready - preheat oven to 350. Place tenderloin in a large casserole dish. There will be quite a bit of juice so you will need a dish that keeps all the juices in and the oven clean. Into the oven it goes.

I usually set my timer for 20 minutes before checking the temperature with a meat thermometer. Then gauge how much longer it will need to be in to get to 152 (155) usually another 7 to 8 minutes.

Make sure to let the meat rest for a few minutes before slicing.


Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Osso Buco

FOOD 535
This turned out fantastic. I thought for sure it was a bit out of my skill set range but it was much easier than anticipated. 

After browning the meat then assembling vegetables and liquids it goes in the oven for a couple of hours and dinner is done. Pretty easy. One pot.

I served with orzo pilaf and artichokes and there is nothing left.

Things I will do differently next time?  1 - I did not tie the shanks. I think I will going forward. Melt in your mouth fall off the bone meat was perfect but for presentation purposes tying will be necessary. 2 - I will cut the vegetables a little bigger. After the meat is all gone there is still a little broth left in the pot and it is wonderful! Little bit of that over the orzo or rice was great. Again, completely empty pot.


4 veal shanks (these were about 3 inches thick)

1/4 cup olive oil

salt and pepper

1 carrot - sliced

1 celery stalk - sliced

1 shallot - chopped



2 cups of a basic tomato sauce (preferably homemade)

2 cups chicken stock

2 cups dry white wine (I used a Pinot Griogio I had on hand)


Preheat the oven to 375

In a Dutch Oven or another oven safe pot - heat the olive oil at medium high heat and brown the shanks - about 3 to 4 minutes per side depending on size. FOOD 519
I also did the edges to crisp up the fatty parts a bit. Remove and set aside. Reduce heat - toss in carrots, celery and shallots - stir to coat then add about a teaspoon of Thyme and a teaspoon of Oregano (more or less of whichever you prefer) Add salt and pepper. Stir and let cook till carrots are softened. Add the wine - scrape up all the little bits of meat - then add tomato sauce and chicken broth. Salt and pepper to taste. Bring everything to a boil then return the shanks to the pot. Bring all to a boil again - give it a stir - cover then move to the oven. Cook for 2 hours (maybe little longer depending on the size of the pieces)

Remove from oven and let sit about 15 minutes. 

Optional - sprinkle with toasted pine nuts and fresh parsley before serving

And don't forget the delicacy of the delicious bone marrow