Thursday, December 29, 2011

Dessert: Elegant Canoli on Glass

  • 2 cups whole milk ricotta cheese
  • 2 tablespoons light cream (also called table cream - I like Nestle)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup confectioner's sugar
  • 1 Ghirardelli chocolate bar (I used semi-sweet but bitter sweet and milk chocolate can also be used)
  • 10 sheets Athens Phyllo (fillo) dough - Buy it frozen and let it thaw for 2 hours in room temperature.  
  • 2 Tbsps unsalted butter 
  1. In a large bowl thoroughly mix the ricotta, vanilla extract, light cream, and confectioner's sugar with a spoon
  2. Cover with plastic and let it settle in the fridge while preparing the phyllo dough
  3. Carefully remove the thawed phyllo sheets from the box.  Phyllo is extremely sensitive so be careful not to break it apart
  4. Melt the butter and grab a brush
  5. Open a single sheet of Phyllo on a clean hard surface and coming in from the edges spread the melted butter all over using your brush
  6. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees
  7. Stack another sheet of Phyllo on top and do the same with the butter
  8. Stack a total of ten Phyllo sheets
  9. Using a sharp knife cut the buttered Phyllo dough into four pieces
  10. Set each rectangle piece onto a cookie sheet. Don't grease it! There's already enough butter to go around
  11. Bake at 375 degrees for 5-7 minutes then turn and bake for another 5 minutes.  The goal is to get the Phyllo dough to a pretty golden crust
  12. Grate a couple of the chocolate squares. (Save it in a small zip lock bag
  13. Remove the dough and place each rectangle into a large zipper lock bag and zip it up
  14. Using a rolling pin or your hands start crumbling the dough into small pieces that can be spooned up into a glass
  15. Pour about a Tbsp of the dough into a martini or margarita glass
  16. Spoon some of the grated chocolate on top
  17. Pour two Tbsps of the ricotta mixture on top 
  18. Finish with some more chocolate and dough if you'd like
  19. Place a chocolate square on top as garnish

I wanted to make a special dessert for Christmas!  I had some Phyllo dough in the freezer that my friend Magali Lopez gave me a couple of months ago.  I found this video on youtube and decided to make it!  It is VERY GOOD!  It's also very light!  It's not too sweet and you feel good after eating it!  If you want to impress your guests and your family definitely make this dessert!  The grated chocolate and crumbled Phyllo dough will last for days inside the zip lock bags.  Just don't refrigerate it!  Keep everything room temperature :)  

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Red Velvet Cake Layered with Raspberry Sauce

Ingredients (cake or 24 cupcakes)
  • 2 1/2 cups of cake flour or all purpose flour 
  • 2 tsps cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Red coloring (I used 3 tsps liquid. Use your best judgement on how red you want it)
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 2 tsps vinegar
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
Ingredients (frosting)
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter (room temperature)
  • 16oz cream cheese (room temperature)
  • 4 cups confectioner's sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
Ingredients (raspberry sauce)
  • 1 1/2 to 2 cups fresh or frozen raspberries
  • 2 Tbsps orange juice
Preparation (cake and cupcakes)
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. In a large bowl sift the flour, add salt and cocoa, and whisk everything well
  3. In a separate large bowl using an electric hand mixer beat the oil with the sugar on low until well combined
  4. Add the eggs, vanilla extract, red coloring and beat on low until well combined
  5. Pour 1/3 of the dry mix into wet mix to start your batter.  Mix until well combined
  6. Add half the buttermilk and mix
  7. Add another 1/3 of the dry mix into the batter and mix well until combined
  8. Add the rest of the buttermilk and mix
  9. Add the rest of the dry mix and make sure everything is well combined
  10. On a small bowl mix the vinegar and the baking soda with a spoon.  It'll fizzle.  Add it to the batter and mix everything one final time
  11. If making a cake pour the batter into a cake pan and bake it on 350 for about 30 minutes or until stick comes out dry. I used a 3" deep 8" round cake pan
  12. If making cupcakes line your paper cups on a cupcake or muffin baking pan.  Pour the batter into a jar and fill each cup to about 3/4 full.  Using a spoon to do this is not efficient.  I use a juice jar and it's really fast!  Bake on 350 for about 20 minutes or until stick comes out dry
Preparation (frosting)
  1. In a large bowl sift the confectioner's sugar
  2. Add the butter sticks, cream cheese, and vanilla extract
  3. Using an electric hand mixer beat everything on low until frosting consistency is achieved.  It'll take about 2 minutes.  Don't freak out if at first it seems too dry and powdery.  It'll smooth out eventually
Preparation (raspberry sauce)
  1. Add the raspberries and orange juice to a small sauce pan 
  2. Heat on medium allowing the raspberries to dissolve.  It should have a thick consistency.  Not completely liquid
  3. Place it in the refrigerator and allow it to get cold
This was the first time I made a cake with this recipe.  I cut it in three layers and layered some frosting and raspberry sauce.  The result was a moist and tasty cake!  My daughter loves red velvet and I've gotten great compliments from other kids who don't usually eat frosting but love this frosting.  I basically combined a few recipes I saw online and tried a few variations on some of the ingredients.  I like moist cakes so I decided to play around with the raspberry idea.  I'm not sure if the orange juice is necessary or not but that's how I've always done it.  Acidity I guess lol!   I hope you make this cake or cupcakes soon!  Oh, if making cupcakes you can spoon the frosting on top and spoon a little bit of the raspberry sauce on top of that! It's delicious!   


Sunday, December 18, 2011

Lemon Merengue Pie

  1. 1 Ready Crust Shortbread or Graham Cracker.  I like shortbread more
  2. 1/4 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
  3. 1 egg yoke
  4. 4 egg whites
  5. 1 can condensed milk 
  1. Preheat the oven at 350
  2. In a blender blend the lemon juice, the egg yoke, and the condensed milk.  Blend it enough to combine all the ingredients. 
  3. Pour the blended ingredients into the ready crust
  4. With an electric hand mixer beat the four egg whites in a bowl until the egg whites foam up and stick to the bowl
  5. Add 2 Tbsps of sugar and mix with a spoon making a merengue
  6. Place the merengue on top of the blended mix making sure to cover the whole top.  Make some peaks and valleys with a fork for aesthetics
  7. Place in the oven to brown the top.  About 5 to 10 minutes
  8. Cover the pie with the plastic cover the ready crust comes with and place it in the refrigerator to settle before eating it


I believe it was our friend Cleide Capelozza who gave this recipe to my mom over 15 years ago.   She is a master in the kitchen and I don't think she uses ready crust.  She makes her own!  She also makes her own fresh pasta for lasagna! We have all enjoyed this pie over the years and will be making it forever!  It's that simple and it's THAT good!!!  Enjoy it and make it this holiday season! 

Creamy Garlic Shrimp Pasta

  • 1 lb large raw clean and deveined shrimp with tail on
  • 1 stick of unsalted butter
  • 3 tsps all purpose flour
  • 5 large garlic cloves minced (I like garlic so you can add more or use less depending on taste)
  • 1 cup of spinach leaves
  • 1 cup of white wine
  • 1/2 cup of heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup fresh Romano or Parmesan cheese
  • Parsley finely chopped handful 
  • Salt and fresh ground black pepper
  • Red pepper flakes
  • Nutmeg (a pinch or two)
  • 1 box of angel hair pasta (penne, linguini, spaghetti, and fettucini also work well
  1. Boil water and cook your pasta au dente.  Set it aside
  2. On a large hot pan melt the butter and cook the garlic till translucent.  Don't brown it
  3. Remove the pan from the heat and while stirring add the flour creating a rue 
  4. Return the pan to the heat and add the white wine.  Let it reduce.  About 2 minutes.  The sauce will look thick but it will thin out later
  5. Season the shrimps with salt then add them to the sauce along with the spinach
  6. Season the sauce with more salt, black pepper, and red pepper flakes.  I like my food with a kick so be careful not to add too much if you like it mild.  Cook for about 3 minutes or until the shrimp starts to turn pink
  7. Reduce heat to medium and add the heavy cream and the cheese.  The sauce's consistency and color should change.  
  8. Cook for another 2 minutes mixing and tasting for seasoning.  Add a couple of pinches of nutmeg for a special kick and about a handful of the chopped parsley
  9. Add pasta to the pan and mix with the sauce.  Sometimes I leave the sauce on the side and ladle it on each individual plate of pasta.  For this meal I mixed it all together

We arrived home really hungry this Sunday morning.  We had planned on not eating out so I knew I had to cook fast.  This dish is extremely easy and quite fast to prepare.  I took 30 minutes to prepare it including cleaning the shrimp.  Don't be afraid to season everything.  Cream sauces need garlic and salt! I might have put too much fresh black pepper and will reduce it next time.  Otherwise I couldn't have enough of it!  Two huge plates!  If you like you pasta more on the wet soupy sauce side then use this amount for about 3/4 of the box.  If you like it just right then the amount of sauce is perfect!  I want to try it with penne next time.  Enjoy it and make it today for your family!  Thank you for sharing my blog with your online friends! 

NOTE:  You can make this with chicken breasts also!  Just sear the breasts first and set them on the side.  Chop them up and return them to the pan before step 7!