Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Coffee Gelato

One of the first stops while visiting Italy is locating a Gelateria...Can you believe how many there are and the hundreds of varieties? Which flavor makes your mouth start to water? Do you ever have the urge to want to stick your finger in one of the containers and sample to your hearts content?

How about a porcini mushroom flavor? "None for me thank you, I'll pass and have a simple coffee flavored one, if you don't mind"........Where is my sense of adventurism here? I draw the line at a few gelatos~ What is your favorite flavor and where have you tasted it? Could be right here the States............

This is really a fun and simple gelato you can whip up~ it requires so little time. Most of the ingredients, you probably have on hand. Just one bit of caution: The cooking process can be a delicate one, as you do not want the egg mixture to boil.......Other than this, it is delightful and...... you don't have to leave your house to get your gelato!
Coffee Gelato
2 Cups of milk
5 egg yolks
1/2 cup of sugar
1 Teaspoon of vanilla
2 Tablespoon of heavy cream
1/2 cup of espresso
1 Tablespoon of a coffee liquor-I used Starbucks
Combine the eggs, sugar and beat with a whisk until creamy. Heat the milk and coffeee in a saucepan until the mixture boils. Pour the heated milk over the egg mixture and continue to whisk . Pour this mixture back into the saucepan and heat just until it starts to boli. Do not let it boil- it will separate. Continue to stir until it coats the back of your spoon. Strain the custard and cool in a bowl over ice. Stir in the coffee liquor.
Now the fun part-Place in your ice-cream maker........follow the instructions that came with your machine! This will make enough for 6 servings.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Petit Almond Cakes

There was a time when I would worry about having something wonderfully sweet tucked away in my freezer if someone stopped by..... for an unannounced visit-well, here is my sweet little standby. I just bake the cakes and pop them in a plastic bag ......when I need them, I whip up the easy frosting to drizzle over the cakes while they are thawing. These dainty little morsels remain moist and fit perfectly perched up against a cup of coffee.........

For the Cakes~

6 ounces of melted butter
6 egg whites
1 cup of ground almond meal
1/2 cup of flour
1/2 teaspoon of almond flavoring
1 1/2 cups of powdered sugar
2 teaspoons of finely grated fresh lime rind
2 teaspoons of finely grated fresh orange rind

For Icing~
2 teaspoons of softened butter
1 cup of powdered sugar
1 large tablespoon of orange juice
1 large tablespoon of fresh lime juice

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Prepare/grease cupcake pans. This recipe will make around 12 cupcakes. Whisk the egg whites gently by hand until they are slightly frothy. Add the sugar, almond meal, flour, butter, flavoring and grated fruit rinds. Whisk again until all ingredients are blended. Pour the mixture evenly into cupcake pans. Bake for 15 minutes or until the edges start to brown. Coool on wire racks.
Make a paste by gradually adding the orange juice, half of the butter and powdered sugar. Mix well until the icing has a spreading consistency. (You may need to add a tad more of liquid.) Spread on cakes. Now, repeat the process using the lime juice, remaining powdered sugar and the remaining butter. Ice again........it is a two step process, but the effect is worth it!

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Elegant Grocery Store

Tucked away in a corner behind Place de la Madeleine is the famous Fauchon. This fine establishment is located in the 8th Arrondissement, epitomizing refinement and glamour around every corner. Here one can shop for fruits, cheeses, wines, spices, meats, coffees- anything your heart desires for the perfect meal or gift. If it is exotic, it will probably be here............This is one of the dozens of specialty shops that caters to the Parisians. I didn't get all the photographs I would have liked, as they are really on the watch for people snapping pictures all the time-I do a great deal of shooting through the elegantly bedecked windows. Just another look at what Paris has to offer~

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

A Special Treat Tonight!

Tonight Motorcycle Al is on the road......I am celebrating the moment of not having to prepare a dinner for us this evening.... Hooray! I do enjoy a break now and then. As you can see, for me it is light and sweet! It is simple and easy to prepare, but the ingredients must be of optimum quality.....Fresh cheese, tomatoes, spinach, a few slices of prosciutto and I am a happy camper. Our Florida mellons are in season now, so what better time to enjoy one-dolce mellon. All I need to complete this simple feast is a splash or two of my sisters favorite balsamic vinegar. She travels to Italy several times a year to stock up....and she is well stocked! This product comes from the Chianti region, south of Florence. It is produced by a small family in business for many years . If anyone is interested in trying a bottle, email me. I will get her to mail you a bottle.
Also, I have changed my format, thanks to Madeline.....she can be found on my side bar.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Weekend Pick-Me Upper!

A small array and combination of wonderful fresh tidbits may be all you need to celebrate this weekend........a group of close friends, a glass or bottle of your favorite chilled wine, fresh golden, crusty bread, maybe some feta cheese and plump olives.......sounds like a perfect celebration fare! A variety of goodies, so that all can enjoy in the celebration.........have a great one!

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Summer Tart with Roasted Vegetables

This is a wonderful light meal that you can whip up at a moments notice-which I did-took it to a party today in hope that it would be a crowd pleaser..... I think it was! Look in the veggie drawer and pull out anything you may have that is fresh. I mention using certain vegetables in this recipe, however, use what is in season or just the vegetables that you enjoy eating. This tart is also substantial to eat on it's own-maybe a smalll green salad on the side!


Puff pastry, found in frozen food section.

4 eggs, whisked very well.

3 large Tbsp. sour cream.

1 small red onion, diced.

1 large zucchini, diced.

4-5 small red potatoes, diced.

salt and pepper, to taste.

3 tomatoes, sliced thin.

2 Tbsp. of extra virgin olive oil.

Chopped parsely,basil and oregano, sprinked on top.

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare and roll out the pastry to fit a medium size removable bottom flan tin . Grease well. Wash and scrub vegetables. Gather up all the diced vegetables, place in plastic bag, add olive oil and shake in bag, coating veggies well. Season with salt and pepper. Remove veggies from bag and place on baking sheet. Bake veggies in oven for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and cool. Place cooled veggies in the tart shell. Pour the eggs with the sour cream over the veggies. Now arrange the slices of tomatoes on top and sprinlke with the herbs. Bake for 35 minutes or until puffy and golden. Serves 8. Serve warm.

Monday, May 14, 2007

A cup of sweetness- Rice Pudding

This little coffee cup thought she was plain, but all it took was a bit of rice pudding to make her feel special once again............and special she was! I found this recipe tucked into a drawer in my kitchen in NZ. Wanted to share it with you-so sweet, so quick and so delicious.
Rice Pudding with Vanilla
4 cups of milk
1 cup of Arborio rice
1 cup of whipping cream
1/2 cup of sugar
ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon of vanilla
marsala syrup
1/4 cup of marsala
1/2 cup brown sugar
Combine the rice, milk, sugar and cream in saucepan and cook over high heat. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and add the vanilla. Simmer on low heat and stir to prevent the rice mixture from burning. This may take 35-40 minute of continued cooking or until the rice is "al dente". Sprinkle with nutmeg for serving.
For the syrup, place both ingredients in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for a few more minutes until the liquid becomes thick. Pour over pudding and sprinkle with nutmeg. Serve pudding slightly warm.....serve some fresh dates as an added treat.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Olive Picking in New Zealand

A newly emerging olive growing business is proving ideal for many growers on the the North Island of New Zealand. Centered around the area of Mangonui, the growers have recently harvested their crop . These photos were taken on a very windy day, one that we anxiously waited for -days of rain delayed the picking experience and I feared I might miss out. but all went well......My friends, Colin and Lynette Wilson, from the "Hihi Olive Estate" provided all the fun and olives from their wonderful "Tuscan" looking groves.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

C 'est Fromage

Passionate cheese fans will delight in knowing that Australia Artisan Cheesemaking continues to boom. According to the Australian Cheesemakers Association, there are at least 100 different varieties of cheeses being produced and more on the rise. I had a challenge while visiting Melbourne......where would I satisfy this cheese urge of mine? Hence, the Richmond Hill Cafe & Larder, located in the Richmond Hill District. The cheese" maturing "room couples with their popular cafe, hosted by Stephanie Alexander.
Once inside this well managed cheese room, I was greeted by countless selections of local and imported cheeses coming from Spain, France, Italy, all tenderly displayed on open shelving and countertops. More than likely you will recognize a few of your favorites from the photos. If your travels steer you towards this wonderful city, Melbourne, this would be the perfect spot for lunch and to visit the cheese room, guaranteed to to have a powerful effect on your olfactory glands and taste buds! It will just be a matter of time until we have more cheese rooms opening in restaurants across the U.S. ........I can hardly wait!