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Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Whitney's all time favorite Dessert!!

I sampled my mom's dessert choice: Rasberry Almond Torte, on my birthday last year at Market Street Grill. It was so incredibly delicious and so I tried and tried to find a recipe even remotely similar on the internet. For a long time my efforts were unrewarded, until one day I stumbled upon Market street's own website where they had this listed in their recipe section! Horray!!! I've made it once and plan to make it again and again! The recipe looks daunting but it really isn't as bad as it seems. I was extremely pleased with my results! But I forgot to take pictures.

Market Street Grill's Raspberry Almond Tort*****

Sponge Layer
5 egg whites
2 tablespoons sugar
½ teaspoon cream of tartar
pinch of salt

Beat egg whites with cream of tartar and salt until thick. Continue beating while slowly adding sugar and beat until stiff and shiny but not dry. Set aside.

5 egg yolks
2 tablespoons sugar
pinch of salt
2 teaspoons cornstarch
¼ cup melted cooled butter
½ cup finely chopped, lightly toasted slivered almonds

Beat yolks, sugar and salt together until thick and creamy (at least 10 minutes). Add cornstarch and mix until well combined. Fold in melted butter and chopped almonds. Fold this mixture into egg white mixture. Divide batter between two 9" cake pans that have been lined with parchment and sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 20 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool in the pan.

Pastry Cream
3 cups milk
1 cup sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons unflavored gelatin
6 egg yolks
2 tablespoons flour
3 tablespoons cornstarch
½ cup milk (additional)
4 tablespoons butter
2 teaspoons vanilla
½ teaspoon almond extract
4 egg whites
¼ cup sugar (additional)
1 pint container of fresh raspberries

Place 3 cups milk in a saucepan and sprinkle unflavored gelatin over top. Let it set for 5 minutes for gelatin to soften. Add sugar and salt, place over medium high heat and stirring constantly, bring to a simmer. In a separate bowl, combine egg yolks, flour, cornstarch and ½ cup milk. Whisk until well combined. Whisk some of the hot milk mixture into the yolk mixture, and then return all to the saucepan. Whisking constantly, bring to a simmer and remove from heat. Add butter and extracts. Beat egg whites and ¼ cup sugar until will hold soft peaks. Fold hot mixture into egg whites until well combined and let cool.To

Place one of the sponge layers on a serving plate. Spread a ½ inch thick layer of pastry cream over top, to within ½ inch of edge of layer. Place a ring of raspberries around edge of pastry cream and sprinkle remaining raspberries equally in the center. Add another layer of pastry cream over raspberries, spreading evenly. Place second layer, top-side up, over pastry cream and press gently. Sift powdered sugar over top, serve and enjoy!

Fruit Crostata

Fruit Crostata

For the pastry
(makes 2 crostatas)
2 cups flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 pound (2 sticks) very cold unsalted butter, diced
6 tablespoons (3 ounces) ice water

For the filling

(makes 2 crostatas)
1 pound frozen or fresh sweet peaches, peeled
1 pound frozen or fresh ripe blackberries
2 tablespoons plus 1/4 cup flour, divided
2 tablespoons plus 1/4 cup granulated sugar, divided
1/4 teaspoon grated orange zest
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) cold unsalted butter, diced

For the pastry: Place the flour, sugar, and salt in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Pulse a few times to combine. Add the butter and toss quickly (and carefully!) with your fingers to coat each cube of butter with the flour. Pulse 12 to 15 times, or until the butter is the size of peas. With the motor running, add the ice water all at once through the feed tube. Keep hitting the pulse button to combine, but stop the machine just before the dough comes together. Turn the dough out onto a well-floured board, roll it into a ball, cut in half, and form into 2 flat disks. Wrap the disks in plastic and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. If you only need 1 disk of dough The other disk of dough can be frozen.
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Roll the pastry into an 11-inch circle on a lightly floured surface. Transfer it to the baking sheet covered with parchment paper.

For the filling: Put the peaches and blackberries in a bowl, toss them with 2 tablespoons of the flour, 2 tablespoons of the sugar, the orange zest, and the orange juice. Place the mixed fruit on the dough circle, leaving a 1 1/2-inch border.
Combine the 1/4 cup flour, 1/4 cup sugar, and the salt in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture is crumbly. Pour into a bowl and rub it with your fingers until it starts to hold together. Sprinkle evenly over the fruit. Gently fold the border of the pastry over the fruit, pleating it to make an edge.
Bake the crostata for 20 to 25 minutes, until the crust is golden and the fruit is tender. Let the crostata cool for 5 minutes, then use 2 large spatulas to transfer it to a wire rack. Serve warm or at room temperature. Very tasty when served warm with vanilla Ice cream.

Johnny Mazetti Casserole

My mom cooks this all the time. For me this is easily a replacement for the classic tater-tot casserole....


1 lb. ground beef

1/2 cup chopped green pepper
1/4 cup minced onion
1 10ish oz can tomato sauce
1 can cream of Mushroom or cream of chicken soup (this recipe isn't picky)
Salt/Pepper to taste
Optional 1 tsp Dash of Tabasco sauce
3/4 pkg of (8 oz.) noodles, cooked and drained (I like egg noodles but any form of pasta will do)
1-1 1/2 cup Shredded Cheddar cheese

Cook first 3 ingredients, until hamburger is fully cooked and vegtables are done. Drain off the excess fat. Add the tomato sauce, cream of mushroom/chicken soup, salt, pepper and optional dash of Tabasco sauce heat till bubbly. Mix cooked, drained noodles into hamburger mixture.
Pour into a casserole dish. Bake at 350 degree oven until bubbly. Top with grated cheese and bake an additional 3-5 minutes.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Baby Back Ribs

Baby Back Ribs
(adapted from Alton Brown’s recipe)

2 whole slabs pork baby back ribs

  • Dry Rub:
8 tablespoons light brown sugar, tightly packed
3 tablespoons kosher salt
1 tablespoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon jalapeno seasoning
1/2 teaspoon Montreal steak Seasoning
1/2 teaspoon rubbed thyme
1/2 teaspoon onion powder

  • Braising Liquid:
1 cup white grape juice
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons honey
2 cloves fresh garlic, chopped
2 Tbsp additional brown sugar

  • In a bowl, combine all dry ingredients and mix well. Place each slab of baby back ribs on a piece of heavy-duty aluminum foil, shiny side down. Sprinkle each side generously with the dry rub. Pat the dry rub into the meat. Refrigerate the ribs for a minimum of 1 hour( the longer the better. Heat oven to 250 degrees. In a blender, combine all ingredients for the braising liquid, blend until well combined.

  • Place the ribs on a baking sheet. Open one end of the foil on each slab and pour half of the braising liquid into each foil packet. Tilt the baking sheet in order to equally distribute the braising liquid. Braise the ribs in the oven for 2 1/2 hours.

  • Transfer the braising liquid into a medium saucepot. Bring the liquid to a simmer and reduce by half or until of a thick syrup consistency. Brush the glaze onto the ribs. Place under the broiler or on the grill just until the glaze caramelizes lightly. Slice each slab into 2 rib bone portions. Place the remaining hot glaze into a bowl add 2 Tbsp brown sugar and toss the rib portions in the glaze. ENJOY!!!
*This recipe makes several batches of dry rub. If more rub is needed, it can be extended by any amount, as long as the ratio of 8:3:1:1 remains the same.

Healthy-ish Chewy Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

Healthy-ish Chewy Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies
2 1/4 cups Whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking soda
6 tbsp butter
2 tbsp low-fat cream cheese or nufatchel cheese
1 cup brown sugar or brown splenda
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup quick oats or whole oats (whole oats make a drier cookie)
1-2 cups choc chips
Optional ½ cup chopped nuts
Heat oven to 350*
Whisk the flour and baking soda in a small bowl. Set aside.
In the mixer cream butter, cream cheese and sugar. Add eggs in one at a time and then add vanilla.
On a very low speed beat in the flour mixture until just incorporated, do not over mix.
Stir in oats and chocolate chips and optional nuts.
Chill for 15-30 mins
Bake on cookie sheet lined with parchment paper for 10 minutes. Do not over-bake.