Tiramisù

As requested by my brother as his birthday cake. I think next time I’ll swap the rum for some coffee liquor, but otherwise this a creamy not too sweet nearly perfect version of the classic Italian cake.

Ingredients:
For the syrup
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 freshly brewed espresso
1/3 cup rum
1/3 cup water

For the cake
1/3 cup sugar
6 egg yolks
3/4 cup heavy cream
450g mascarpone cheese
1 1/2 tea spoon vanilla extract.
45 ladyfingers (approx)
1-2 table spoon unsweetened cocoa powder
ingredients

***

1. In a small saucepan, combine the sugar and water for the syrup. Bring to a boil to dissolve the sugar.
syrup1

2. While the sugar is melting, brew the coffee.
syrup2

3. Pour the coffee into the sugar syrup and set aside to cool to room temperature.
syrup3

4. In a heat proof bowl combine the sugar and egg yolks for the filling.
filling1

5. Whisk together until the sugar is fully dissolved and the color lightens (2 minutes or so).
filling2

6. Pour about 2 inches of water in a saucepan and bring to a simmer. Put the bowl over the saucepan (making sure the bottom doesn’t touch the water) and heat the egg yolks while whisking continually until tripled in volume and thick (8-10 minutes).
filling3

7. Remove the eggs from the heat and allow to cool to room temperature. Keep an eye on them and stir often as they cool.
Add the rum to the coffee syrup.
syrup4

8. While the eggs are cooling whip the heavy cream.
filling4

9. In the bowl of a mixer, combine the mascarpone cheese and the vanilla extract. Whisk together until fluffy.
filling5

10. The eggs should be cool by now. The picture isn’t clear, but they will have continued to thicken as they cool, turning into a nice ribbon texture.
filling6

11. Add the eggs to the mascarpone.
filling7

12. Beat until well combined and smooth.
filling8

13. Remove from the mixer and fold in the whipped cream with a spatula.
filling9

14. Assembly time!
Pour the coffee syrup in a large shallow plate (here, I’m using a pie plate).
assemble1

15. Soak lady fingers one or two at a time and line the bottom of an 8×8 pyrex baking dish.
Note : 9×9 would probably yield a cleaner result, but 8×8 is what I have so meh.
assemble2

16. Spread 1/3 of the filling over the ladyfingers.
assemble3

17. Repeat with more cookies.
assemble4

18. Spread over 1/2 of the remaining filling.
assemble5

19. Last layer of cookies.
assemble6

20. Bang the dish a bit on the counter to make everything settle then add as much of the filling as will fit (here is the reason for the note about the dish’s size).
Wipe anything that spilled over, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 6 hours and preferably overnight.
assemble7

21. When ready to serve, remove the plastic wrap and dust cocoa over the surface.
serve1

22. Spoon out into portions and enjoy!
serve2

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Sausage and Spinach Risotto

Ok, so I totally took this recipe from my friend’s husband (the same who does the amazing drinks). Easy recipe, easy to scale if you’re having people over. Satisfying and filling. And for those who know me, it has *gasps* mushrooms! And I eat it willingly, it’s that good.

Ingredients
14g dried mushroom
6-8 cups water
2 table spoon butter
1 onion
2 italian sausage
1 1/2 cup arborio rice
1 block frozen spinach
Parmesan, to taste
ingredients

***

1. Pour the water in a pot and add the dried mushrooms. Bring to a simmer and allow to sit for 10-15 minutes.
mushrooms1

2. After 10-15 minutes the mushrooms will have reconstituted and you’ll have flavorful stock to use. Keep it warm but not boiling.
mushrooms2

3. In a different, larger pot, melt the butter. Dice the onions and stir into the butter. Cook for a few minutes until translucent.
onions

4. Remove the casing from the sage and add to the pot. Break any lumps as it cooks.
sausage1

5. When the sausage is cooked, add the rice. Stir well to coat. If you have white wine (or vermouth) add about 1/2 cup here and stir until fully absorbed.
rice1

6. Start ladling in the stock, I add it a bit at the time, stirring a lot until absorbed, to coax the starch out of the rice.
rice2

7. When the rice is just shy of done add the spinach. Fish the mushrooms out of any remaining stock and add to the pot as well.
spinach

8. Grate in cheese (to taste). I don’t use all that much.
Taste and adjust seasoning.
cheese

9. Rest for a minute or so then serve.
Enjoy!
serve

French onion soup with beer

I had a bag full of onion and nothing to do this afternoon. I’ve also been having a craving for a good french onion soup. It was a perfect situation. Except for the cheese. I only had pre-grated Italian mix cheese. It worked but, really, you want emmental or gruyère for this.

Ingredients:
2 1/2 lb onions (about 7)
4 table spoon butter
1 table spoon white balsamic vinegar
3 french shallots
2 garlic cloves
1 bottle of dark beer
1 liter of beef broth
1/2 tea spoon dried thyme
1-2 bay leaf
baguette, cut into croutons
cheese, to taste
salt and pepper

ingredients

***

1. Peel and half all your onions.
onion1

2. Melt the butter in a large soup pot. Thinly slice the onions and throw into the pot. Stir to coat with the butter and add a generous pinch of salt.
onion2

3. Cook on medium low-heat for as long as they need to start getting some golden color. If it starts looking dry, add a bit of water and scrape the sugars from the bottom of the pot to recoat the onions.
onion3

4. When they are near the color your want (this was after a bit more than 1 hour) add the white balsamic vinegar.
onion4

5. Keep an eye on them, the extra sugar will finish caramelizing the onions very fast.
onion5

6. Add the diced shallots and the minced garlic. Cook until the garlic is fragrant.
aromates

7. Pour in the beer and make sure to scrape up all the sugary fond at the bottom of the pot.
beer

8. Add the beef broth. Simmer for 25 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning.
broth

9. When the soup is nearly ready slice the bread into croutons.
bread1

10. Put in the oven under the broiler to toast.
bread22

11. Ladle the soup into heat resistant bowl. Add toasted croutons and cover with cheese, to taste.
cheese1

12. Put in oven under broiler until cheese is melted and started to turn golden. Serve immediately.
cheese2

Potage Crécy avec croutons à la croque-monsieur

That is, carrot soup with ham and cheese croutons.
Simple French food but good for the soul. The perfect thing to answer the recent weather.

Ingredients
2 table spoon butter (plus some for the croutons but that is optional)
2 small onions
1/4 cup basmati rice
4 cups carrots (two generous handful)
2 boxes chicken stock
1/2 tea spoon thyme
1 french baguette
Ham (about 10-12 slices)
Emmental cheese (to taste)
Salt and pepper
ingredients

***

1. Melt the butter in a large soup pot.
Only insisting on this because this is one of the few recipes where I wouldn’t swap it for olive oil. Really go for butter.
butter

2. Roughly chop the onions and toss them into the butter. Allow to sweat over medium-low heat for a few minutes. You want to avoid coloring them.
sweat-onions

3. In that time, clean (peel if your carrots require it) the carrots and slice into rounds about 1/2″ thick.
carrots1

4. Rinse the basmati rice until the water runs clear. Add to the pot with the onions and stir to coat.
rice

5. Add the carrots to the pot and stir to combine.
carrots2

6. Add the chicken stock (about 1 1/2 box). Save the remaining 1/2 box chicken stock for later.
Add the thyme, season with salt and pepper.
Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer for 20-25 minutes.
broth

7. When it’s about done, slice the bread.
Line your baguette slices on a cookie sheet line with aluminum (or parchment paper)

Mine was a day old and a bit dried so I brushed it with melted butter, but that is optional.
slice1

8. Add ham (1/2 slice per crouton) on each piece of bread.
slice2

9.Grate the emmental and add on top of the ham.
slice3

10. The soup should be ready by now, so take it off the heat. The rice should be falling apart and the carrots very soft.
Put the croutons in the oven on broil while you blend down the soup.
soup

11. By the time the soup is blended the cheese should be melted and just, just, starting to get some color. Take the croutons out of the oven.
slices4

12. Adjust seasoning on the soup. If it’s too thick add more chicken stock.
You can add cream, sour cream or crème fraîche at this point if you want, but I usually don’t bother.

Serve warm with the hot melty cheese croque-monsieur.
The soup should be filling but light and bright and the cheese and ham savory and satisfying.
serve

Baked Spaghetti Squash

Because sometimes anything more then 3 ingredients would be too much and you still want to eat your vegetables.

Ingredients:
1 small or medium spaghetti squash
1 container of spaghetti sauce
Cheese, to taste.
ingredients

***

1. Pre-heat the oven to 350F.
Slice the squash in half.
slice

2. Scoop out the mushy filaments and the seeds.
scoop

3. Put face down on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake for 45-50 minutes (less if it’s smaller).
bake

4. Once baked, allow to cool until you can manipulate them then flip over and pull some of the flesh towards the center.
shred

5. Scoop spaghetti sauce into the cavity.
sauce

6. Add grated cheese to taste.
cheese

7. Return to the oven, face up, and broil until the cheese is melted and a bit golden.
broiled

8. Serve immediately, pull the flesh from the side as you eat, mixing it with the cheese and sauce.
abked

Légumes au Gratin

A nice side dish that goes with pretty much anything. And any vegetable is good, so use what you have on hand.

Ingredients
1 head of broccoli
1 head of cauliflower
3-4 carrots
2 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoon flour
2 cups milk
1/2 tea spoon dry mustard
nutmeg, salt, pepper, cayenne : to taste
a few handful of grated cheese
ingredients

***

1. Pre-heat the oven to 350F.
Cut the vegetables into bite size and steam until mostly done.
steam

2. Meanwhile, in a medium pot, melt the butter.
butter

3. Add the flour and cook until lightly colored.
flour

4. Slowly add the milk, stirring at the same time to avoid lumps. Season with the dry mustard, cayenne, nutmeg, salt and pepper.
milk

5. Transfer the steamed vegetables to a small casserole dish.
transfert

6. Pour the bechamel over the vegetables. Add the cheese on top.
sauce

7. Bake for a few minutes, until the vegetables are done. Turn the oven on broil to make the cheese golden. Serve warm.
done

White beans and sausage

Almost a mock cassoulet, simpler, cheaper and with less meats involved. But warm and plentiful and filling.

Ingredients
3 spicy Italian sausages
1-2 table spoon olive oil
2 large yellow onions, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 table spoon fresh thyme, chopped
1 cup chicken stock
1 1/2 table spoon tomato paste
2 cans of white kidney beans
1/4 cup breadcrumbs.
1/8 cup parmesan cheese
black pepper.
ingredients

***

1. Pre-heat the oven to 375F.
In a large cast iron pot sear the sausages until colored on all sides. Remove from pot and set aside.
sausage

2. Add the olive oil and onions. Sweat until translucent.
onions

3. Add the garlic and thyme, sweat until fragrant.
herbs

4. Deglaze with the chicken stock.
stock

5. Add the tomato paste and mix well to incorporate.
tomato

6. Add the beans, with the liquid. Season with black pepper. Bring to a simmer.
beans

7. In a separate bowl mix the bread crumbs and parmesan cheese.
topping

8. Once the liquid is simmering and has started to thicken a bit, return the sausages to the pot. Cut the sausages into segments at this point.
add-sausages2

9. Sprinkle the bread crumbs on top.
add-topping2

10. Transfer to the oven and bake for 20 minutes, until the topping has turned golden.
baked2

11. Serve warm.
serve2