Thursday, September 18, 2008

Frozen Lemon Mousse

I had been looking for a dessert. Something special. Something that made you say ooohhh. When I saw this a few months ago, I immediately bookmarked it knowing that it would not remain in bookmark heaven for long. After tasting this, well, it is a fluff of lemon, light and so very lovely. Something angels would eat while sitting on a cloud.

Though chocolate is by far my hands down favorite, lemon is like something that belongs only to royalty. The scent of the flowers as you walk past a tree in bloom, and how fresh and clean the juices smell when you cut one open, the color of the sun on a bright spring day. Lemons make luscious sauces and wonderful desserts. The flavor brightens so many foods that would remain more mundane without the squeeze of fresh lemon juice. And let us not forget the 'lemon drop martini'. All hail the lemon drop, a total girl drink and we are quite happy to keep it that way.

This recipe is from Sarah at Food and Paper and originally from Martha Stewart, although I rewrote it because this is just much easier for me to follow after making it. I think the creme fraiche is wonderful but not vital to the dessert.

serves 4-6

4-5 lemons, juiced and zest removed in large strips
1 cup sugar
4 large egg yolks
1 large whole egg
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into pieces

3/4 cup, plus 1 tablespoon heavy cream, chilled

Candied Lemon Zest (recipe follows)

4 oz. creme fraiche
To make the candied zest
zest of the lemons
Barely cover with boiling water 10 minutes.

1 c sugar
1/2 c cool water

On med to med-high in sauce pan cover & bring to boil.
When sugar is dissolved add zest.
Reduce heat to med-low.
Simmer uncovered 10 minuted.
Rest 6 hours covered in fridge.

To make the lemon curd
Fill a large bowl with ice and water, set aside.
Place 1/2 cup lemon juice, sugar, egg yolks, whole egg, and butter in a saucepan
whisk to combine.
Cook over medium heat, whisking constantly until mixture begins to boil, about 10 minutes.
Strain the curd through a fine sieve into a bowl set in the ice bath.
Stir periodically until cool.
Remove bowl of curd from the ice bath.
Cover it with plastic wrap, pressing it directly onto the surface of the curd to keep a
skin from forming.
Refrigerate at least 1 hour and up to 3 days.
Reserve 1/3 cup of the lemon curd for the sauce.

To make the lemon mousse
Place 3/4 cup chilled heavy cream in a large mixing bowl.
Whip until soft peaks form.
Minus the (reserved 1/3 cup of the lemon curd for the sauce) fold the remaining curd into the whipped cream until combined.
(I suggest serve 6 and use a smaller mold) 4 ring molds, 3 inches in diameter on a baking sheet lined with parchment.
Divide the mousse among the molds.
Place in freezer on the baking sheet until firm, at least 4 hours.

To make the lemon sauce
Drain the candied lemon zest, reserve the syrup.
Whisk 1/3 cup syrup and the reserved 1/3 cup curd and reserved juice of 1 lemon in a small bowl.

To make the creme fraiche topping
Meanwhile, whisk the creme fraiche and the remaining 1 tablespoon cream in a medium bowl.

To serve
Place the frozen mousse on plates, let rest 4-5 minutes before removing the molds.

Spoon the lemon sauce around the mousse, and top with the creme fraiche mixture. Garnish with candied zest.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Chevre Stuffed Mushrooms

A good stuffed mushroom is a little oozy, a little rich and a little bite or two. They are great for appetizers since they can be prepared in the morning and popped into the oven 30 minutes before you serve them, leaving you plenty of time to take a long hot bath and pretty yourself up before your guests arrive.

I have had a lot of different stuffed mushrooms and have enjoyed almost all of them, but this is my own. I have also made these in small portabellas for dinner with a salad. The bacon is optional if you prefer a vegetarian version and if you are vegan, well I can't help you because I totally love dairy.

Preheat 400 degrees

30 large, 2 inch, button mushrooms, cleaned and stems removed

1/4 - 1/2 pound bacon, cooked crisp and crumbled

1 stick butter
1 yellow onion, diced fine
5 large cloves garlic, minced
1/2 c sherry
1/4 c heavy cream
4 oz chevre
4 oz cream cheese
1/2 t fresh ground pepper
1 t kosher salt
1/2 bunch parsley, minced
1/4 c fresh sage, minced
1 lemon, zest and juice
2 c fresh bread crumbs, lightly toasted, set 1/2 cup aside

Melt butter in medium sauce pan.
Add onion and garlic and saute on med- med low for 5- 10 minutes until soft.
Add sherry, cream, chevre & cream cheese and simmer until blended.
Remove from heat.
Add pepper, salt, parsley, sage, lemon zest and juice and 1 1/2 cups bread crumbs.
Fill mushrooms using a spoon to round the tops.
Sprinkle the rest of the bread crumbs on top.
Bake 30 minutes.

Leslie at the Hungry Housewife is having a giveaway. But, but, then have to pay it forward to someone. Go check it out, if you are a guy check her out (but she is happily married so keep it on the down low), and leave a comment about your favorite food if you'd like to enter. And the girl is spoiled like every girl should be, she has the bestest and shiniest crock pot ever. Your cup will runneth over with envy.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Grilled Peaches and Balsamic Syrup

I think we all love balsamic. Love it, love it, love it. Especially when it is reduced to a syrup. I swear I could lick the plate and moan when I eat this stuff, even in public, but I restrain myself because I am after all, a lady. Most of the time anyway.

Another item I recieved in my "Paying It Forward" gift from Dana at Vanilla Basil was Blaze Balsamic Syrup. I am still licking the stickiness off my lips as I write this. Just look at that photo above, thick, luscious, yummy, wonderful syrup. Mmm. I had ideas for it but decided to go online and see what was suggested. I am a genius. I wanted peaches. They suggested peaches. I wanted ice cream. They didn't mention it. Fools.

Peaches are just about done for the summer. Augh. Apples and pears and bananas are winter. I hate winter. I want strawberries in winter, and watermelon. And sunshine. And no clothes. Oh sorry, that is a different blog.

Back to peaches. I decided on vanilla ice cream to go with it, even though I hate vanilla anything unless it has a reason for existence, like chocolate and rasberry and coconut sundae or blackberry pie. Oh and Dana at Vanilla Basil I like her.

Per person

1/2 ripe peach
1 small scoop vanilla ice cream
1-2 T balsamic syrup (I actually went for 3)

Grill the peaches until carmelized.
1 scoop on top.
Drizzle, drizzle, drizzle.
Lick plate when done.

Also, Leslie at The Hungry Housewife won the Paying It Forward prize and will be passing it on. Check her blog out and watch for it, perhaps you will be next.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Grilled Linguica

There is a large Portuguese community where I live. Though most have come from the Azores, the islands of Portugual, they are not fishermen by trade which is good because we are 2 hours from the Pacific ocean. Many have large dairies instead. They are fun, lively and traditional. I love being in an area where other cultures thrive. Life is more interesting. One thing I have learned is that people are basically the same, we love our babies, we want peace, men drink, women complain and a good friend is a treasure. There is an old Randy Travis song that says "As long as old men sit & talk about the weather. As long as old women sit & talk about old men". We are all just people. It has been fun getting to know the local Portuguese people over the years. Around here Silva's makes some of the best Linguica available in the states. Linguica is a Portuguese sausage, spicy and made of pork, remember the cows here are for milk. It is great instead of a hot dog and in what we call 'Portagee Beans'. I wanted to try for a Tapa's type of appetizer, simple, earthy and robust.


1 Silva's linguica about 10" long
1 red bell pepper
10 fresh sage leaves

Roast red bell pepper under broiler or over flame or on BBQ till skin begins to blacken.
Place in paper bag, close and let steam for 10 minutes.
Peel off skin, clean seeds out and cut into 10 pieces, set aside.
Slice linguica on angle into 10 slices.
In a grill pan, cook on medium to medium-low until linguica begins to carmelize.
Place pepper on top, then sage, and secure with a toothpick.


I celebrate September 11th every year.
For many it was a tragedy.
But for me, it is the day in 1987 that an angel was born. Today Bethany turns 21. I simply can not believe how time flew. I savored every possible moment and would do it all over again in a heartbeat. Bethany was sweet and shy and bright and beautiful. She spoke better at 2 and 3 than almost any child I have seen, clearly, with complete sentences, making absolute sense. Yep, she just kept talking and talking right into high school where teachers knew her for her talking. She always loved the boys. I think it started in kindergarten when Travis would open the classroom door for her everyday because she was little and he was a gentleman. She has danced, been a competitive gymnast, played soccer, basketball, karate, swimming, track, and volleyball. She speaks spanish with the best of them. She played flute and faked the trombone. She was the microphone nazi in drama. Her heart is so deep it amazes me. Today is to celebrate the wonderful young woman she has become. Absolutely beautiful. Smarter than she realizes. A rock when I needed one. With abilities in her that are just waiting for the moment she touches them to open up like a butterfly. The world and all its wonder are watching her and welcoming her to live her life with magic and beauty.
Happy Birthday Bethany!
I love you more...

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Devil Cat

I love dogs. Dogs adore you. Dogs want to please you. Dogs are appreciative.

Cats are snobs.

And my cat has a goal to kill every bird that ever lived.
She has tortured and killed every sweet little baby dove in a three county area this summer.
3 days ago I hear this fuss in the back yard and I see a bird fly away.
Tegan the devil cat has a huge blue jay in her mouth. It is huge and the other one got away. When I yelled at her and started towards her she opened her mouth and it flew away as fast as possible. I have thrown so many large glasses of water on her that the water police would have a fit. 2 weeks ago I had my back door open in the morning and I am on the phone and I hear flapping. A bird is in my house. The poor thing is probably thinking 'Oh my gosh. Oh my gosh. Cat house. Get out. Get out now. Cat. Mean cat.' Sophia thinks it is a fun thing to play with but she doesn't understand how delicate they are. It finally flew away when I opened all the doors. Of course it pooped first.
Sophia is very motherly. She will protect Tegan if there is another cat in the back yard. But Sophia will also protect the birds if Tegan gets one. So yesterday about 5 Sophia starts having a fit. I let her out to see what it is. Oh and of course devil cat has a new victim in some weeds. Yes I have lots of weeds. I yell. She runs. Sophia to the rescue. Tegan has someones pet bird! OMG! This little thing is about to be a long slow dinner. A PET! I hate my cat.

Sweet innocent little scared bird.

I borrowed a cage from the pet store. I have bird feeders outside for all the birds and I hate putting anything in a cage but this little guy wouldn't last an hour outside of one between hunger and safety.

So today I am off to make copies of found bird notices and buy lots and lots and lots of bells for Tegans collar, lots of bells.

I hate my cat.