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Archive for the ‘Cheese’ Category

Every year my mom would ask me what kind of cake I wanted for my birthday and for the past 10 years or so, I have had the same request, coeur a la creme. Coeur a la creme is a smooth and silky dessert made with cream and cream cheese, a little mousse-y in texture. Traditionally it was not sweetened and served with fresh fruit. My mom always added a little chocolate too, she would use half white chocolate and half dark chocolate, and finished it with raspberry sauce and some fresh raspberries. This year, I decided I wanted to try making it myself so I spent my free time on my birthday making coeur a la creme as well as a couple of other treats.

The coeur a la creme was so simple to make. First, I melted a little bit of white chocolate and semisweet chocolate (separately,) while that was cooling I mixed the cream cheese and powdered sugar together until it was nice and fluffy, then I added a little bit of heavy cream and vanilla and mixed again.

I split the mixture into two bowls and added white chocolate to one and dark chocolate to the other.

I whipped the rest of the cream and folded it into the mixture. I spooned it into the special heart-shaped molds lined with cheesecloth and set them in the fridge to drain. (The molds are equipped with lots of little holes in the bottom.)

I took them out of the fridge (about 8 hours later), turned them out onto a plate and removed the cheesecloth. This was the interesting part, the dark chocolate mixture set up and held its form but the white did not. I am not sure why this happened, I did the exact same thing for both types. The white chocolate variation still tasted delicious so I put it in a bowl to serve.

For the other treats, I made a couple of little¬† fresh fig tarts and lemon meringue pie. I have been drooling over this recipe out of The Last Course: The Desserts of Gramercy Tavern by Claudia Fleming, it is a fresh fig tart with a cornmeal crust, yum! I ended up using a different recipe for the crust, one without egg. I love the added texture that cornmeal adds to baked goods, it is so crunchy! (The crust made 4 x 4″tart shells.) I pricked the shells and pre-baked them so they would be ready for their respective fillings.

I didn’t have quite enough figs to make the “jam” for the bottom but, I did have a jam of fig jam from Tunisia so I mixed a little of the jam with a little bit of orange zest and juice and spread it on the crust. I nestled in the quartered figs and called it done.

Lastly, I made a couple of little lemon meringue pies. These were inspired by the gigantic egg that I got in the morning. (I am working a couple of mornings a week at Radiance Dairy, hanging out with cows is a wonderful way to start the day! Francis, the owner of the farm, and i had just been talking about his chickens when he called out to me, the next thing I knew, there was an egg flying through the air. It was one of the biggest eggs I have seen, and it was still warm!) I thought a lemon meringue pie would be the perfect use for it, spotlighting both the yolk and the white.

I made a simple curd using the egg yolk, sugar, lemon juice and zest, and butter. While the curd cooled, I whipped up the egg white with a touch of cream of tartar and sugar. I smoothed the curd over the crust (cornmeal .and spooned on the meringue topping, being sure to overlap with the crust a little so that the meringue wouldn’t pull away and shrink while it baked.I baked it for about 15 minutes, until it was golden.

Out for delivery…

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Last week my friend Erika came to visit from Italy. (Erika is the maker of Traditional Balsamic Vinegar of Modena.) Her visit was centered around a Balsamic vinegar tasting that we did together at Zingerman’s Deli.

We did several food pairings with the various ages and wood types (the different woods impart different flavors.) Strawberries with 12 year cherry barrels, potatoes and tuna with 12 year juniper barrels, bruschetta with 12 year mulberry barrels, mixed greens and ricotta salad with 25 year mixed barrels, Parmigiano Reggiano with 25 year mulberry barrels, and of course vanilla gelato with 25 year cherry barrels.

Erika even brought a bottle of vinegar that came from the set of barrels that were started for her great-grandmother’s dowry in 1842. This one is so good you eat it alone! Needless to say, this was a big hit.

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My friend just moved into a new apartment, in honor of her move we made some breakfast. I found this recipe on Heidi Swanson’s blog. She always has beautiful, tasty, and inspiring recipes to share. I collected some ingredients and headed over for breakfast.

There was a lot of crumbling, grating, and mixing involved in making this crust-less Quiche. First I grated a zucchini, set it in a colander sprinkled it with salt and let it de-juice (the result came in two parts, a Quiche that was not soggy, and some vibrant green zucchini juice!)

Meanwhile, I chopped some dill and shalots and mixed them, and the zucchini, into a mixture of fresh ricotta cheese and Parmigiano Reggiano.  I added a couple of eggs and mixed it again.

I put it in an oiled cast iron skillet, and put it in the oven to bake.

After about 30 minutes, I topped it with some fresh goat cheese from Zingerman’s creamery and slid it back in the oven to finish cooking.

Note: I cut down the over all cooking time from 80 minutes to about 45-50 minutes because I used cast iron.

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