Friday, May 16, 2008

Mushroom Lasagne

Wild Mushroom Lasagne
For mushroom filling:
3 cups water
2 ounces dried porcini mushrooms (about 1 cup)
2 pounds fresh white mushrooms
2 large zucchini (about 1 pound)
1 large onion
3 garlic cloves
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
6 tablespoons sherry
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme leaves
2 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

For sauce:
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
5 cups whole milk
4 1/2 ounces freshly grated Parmesan (about 1 1/2 cups), plus 1 1/2 ounces freshly grated Parmesan (about 1/2 cup)
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
18 (7 by 3 1/2-inch) sheets dry no-boil lasagne (about 1 pound)
1/2 pound freshly grated mozzarella (about 2 cups)

Make filling: In a small saucepan bring water to a boil and remove pan from heat. Stir in the porcini. Soak the porcini 20 minutes. Lift out the porcini, squeezing out excess liquid, and reserve soaking liquid. In a sieve, rinse the porcini to remove any grit and pat dry. Chop the porcini and transfer to a large bowl. Simmer reserved soaking liquid until reduced to about 1/4 cup. Pour liquid through a sieve lined with a dampened paper towel into bowl with the porcini. Quarter white mushrooms and in a food processor pulse in 3 batches until finely chopped. Cut zucchini into 1/4-inch dice. Chop onion and mince garlic. In a 12-inch heavy skillet heat 1 tablespoon butter over moderate heat until foam subsides and cook 1/3 white mushrooms with 2 tablespoons sherry, stirring, until liquid mushrooms give off is evaporated and they begin to brown. Add mushroom mixture to the porcini. Cook remaining mushrooms in 2 batches in butter with remaining sherry in same manner and add to the porcini mixture. In skillet cook zucchini in 1 tablespoon butter until tender and stir into the porcini mixture. In skillet cook onion in remaining tablespoon butter, stirring, until softened. Stir in garlic, thyme, salt, and pepper and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir onion into mushroom mixture until combined. Filling may be made 1 day ahead and chilled, covered.

Make sauce: In a 3-quart heavy saucepan melt butter over moderately low heat and whisk in flour. Cook roux, whisking, 3 minutes and whisk in milk. Bring sauce to a boil, whisking constantly, and simmer, whisking occasionally, 3 minutes. Stir in Parmesan, mustard, and salt. Remove pan from heat and cover surface of sauce with waxed paper. Sauce may be made 1 day ahead and chilled, covered. Bring sauce to room temperature before proceeding.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. and butter a 13 by 9-inch (3-quart) baking dish.
Assemble lasagne: Spread 1 1/4 cups sauce in baking dish and cover with 3 pasta sheets, making sure they don't touch each other. Spread one third filling over pasta sheets in dish and top with 3 more pasta sheets, gently pressing down layers to remove air pockets. Top pasta sheets with 1/3 mozzarella. Continue layering in same manner with sauce, pasta sheets, filling, and mozzarella, ending with mozzarella (dish will be filled to rim). Spread remaining sauce over top and sprinkle with Parmesan. On a foil-lined large baking sheet, bake lasagne in middle of oven until bubbling and golden, about 45 minutes. Let lasagne stand 20 minutes. Lasagne may be made 1 day ahead and chilled, covered. Bring lasagne to room temperature and reheat before serving.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Taking Requests

Okay well as I have been mulling things over I have decided that I need to start taking requests, questions, and anything I can do to help for cooking. If you have something that you are looking for specifically then I will try and find it, or if you are wanting a general topic like dessert or something send it on by. I will also do a recipe of the week were I will be posting a tried and true recipe.....with all the ingredients because usually I don't always do that. So start asking and I will start doing what I can.

And Happy Cooking Adventures!!!!

Friday, May 2, 2008

Pumpkin Cake Roll

This is one of my all time favorite dessert classics for Thanksgiving! For about the past 4 years I have made this dessert as the one main dish. In my opinion this replaces the pumpkin pie for me. It has that more elegant feel when you place it and the presentation is great!


Cake Ingredients
3 eggs
1 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup pumpkin
1 teaspoon lemon juice
3/4 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
Powdered sugar for sprinkling
1 cup fine chopped walnuts (optional)

Frosting Ingredients
1 cup powdered sugar
6 oz cream cheese
4 tablespoons butter at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

For cake: Beat eggs on high speed for 5 minutes, gradually beat in sugar. Mix in pumpkin and lemon juice. Combine well. In seperate bowl combine flour, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and salt. Gradually fold the dry ingredients into the pumpkin mixture until well combined. Spread in a greased and floured 17x10x1 jelly roll pan (I put wax paper on the bottom before greasing and flouring for easier release. Top with the chopped nuts and pat them down into the cake with your fingers lightly. Bake at 375 degrees for 15 minutes. Turn out onto the already dusted towel with powdered sugar (towel at least 2" bigger than pan). Starting at narrow end while cake is hot roll up towel and cake together. Clothes pins help keep the towel rolled up.
Combine ingredients for frosting until smooth. Unroll the cake and spread this evenly over the entire surface of the cake. Re-roll and chill until serving.

Lavender-Blueberry Ice Cream

I have never had such an amazing ice cream like this! I love how it brings the feel that you are actually tasting spring and summer. Elegant and simple goes well with pies, cakes, or alone.

4 fresh or dried lavender flowers
1 cup milk
1/2 cup sugar
6 large egg yolks, lightly beaten
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup cold creme fraiche
1 cup bluberries, pureed in a blender and pressed through a sieve
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Place lavender and milk in a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer, remove from heat and allow to rest for 30 minutes.
Whisk sugar and egg yolks together in a heavy saucepan or the top of a double broiler. Whisk in the lavender-infused milk and the cream. Cook, stirring constantly, over medium heat, or over water in a double broiler, about 5 minutes, until thickeneed enough to coat the back of a spoon. Take care not to let simmer or eggs will curdle. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature.
Transfer to a metal bowl, cover with a piece of plastic wrap placed on the surface, and refrigerate until cold. strain to remove lavender. Fold in the creme fraiche, blueberry puree and vanilla. Place in an ice cream maker and churn according to the manufacturer's directions. Serve at once or place in container and freeze until firm. Use within 2 days.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Death by Chocolate Cake

Butter, for greasing the pans
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pans
2 cups sugar
3/4 cups good cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder 1
teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup buttermilk, shaken
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup freshly brewed hot coffee
Chocolate Satin Frosting recipe follows

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter 2 (8-inch) round cake pans. Line with parchment paper, then butter and flour the pans.
Sift the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and mix on low speed until combined. In another bowl, combine the buttermilk, oil, eggs, and vanilla. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry. With mixer still on low, add the coffee and stir just to combine, scraping the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Pour the batter into the prepared pans and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool in the pans for 30 minutes, then turn them out onto a cooling rack and cool completely.
Place 1 layer, flat side up, on a flat plate or cake pedestal. With a knife or offset spatula, spread the top with frosting. Place the second layer on top, rounded side up, and spread the frosting evenly on the top and sides of the cake.

Chocolate Satin Frosting
9 ounces unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled
13 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
4 3/4 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
Large pinch of salt
1 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons sour cream
2 tablespoons heavy cream
2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Place the melted chocolate and melted butter in the bowl of a heavy-duty freestanding electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beact on low speed to mix unitl smooth. Blend in half of the confectioners' sugar and the salt. Beat on low speed for 1 minute. Add the remaining confectionser' sugar and beat to combine. Add the sour cream and vanilla extract. Beat on low speed for 1 minute. Increase the speed to moderately low and beat for 2 minutes. Add the heavy cream. Increase the speed to moderately high and beat until shiny and very creamy, about 8 minutes longer.
Cover the frosting and refrigerate for 1 hour or until firm enough to spread. Rebeat the frosting for 1 to 2 minutes on moderately high spped just before using. If the frosting seem slack, or in a hot kitchen, beat in up to 2/3 cup confectioners' sugar, 2 tablespoons at a time.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

21 the movie review

21 was a great thrilling suspense and action movie. You first start with the average student citizen trying to get through college and the strains of getting funds to be able to attend. You then meet what appears to be a willing teacher and aid in a college professor who offers the world to him through counting cards and taking on the casino's.
You go through the fast paced world of learning signs, signals, code words, and the dangerous life of a card counter. Here is where the supposed villian appears as a sercurity manager trying to save his job which is quickly being replaced by technology.
After experiencing another life, our main character learns the harsh reality of losing, which he has not really learned. Then after losing a large amount of money which belonged to his mentor and disobeying the rules the mentor turns on him and steals all he had won over the few months that they had been playing the system. Our main character then turns to the members of his club and tries to mend the fences with his mentor saying that they will go one more time and take the casino's for all they are worth. Then the chase leads while the security manager attempts to capture them.
Then our twist in the story comes, and after explaining everything, we focus again on our main character where he is being interviewed for a scholorship where he tells of his life expereince which is supposed to 'jump off the page."
Overall it was a good movie and fast paced, which is good and sets the mood of the story. Some of the plot lacks a little in respect to his Vegas life, its mainly casino's, and living the high life. The music selected was great. The fake people they portray at casino's were really transparent and you wonder why they were never caught before now. The refernces to history in the mentors class about stealing and betrayl were really interesting as they showed that history can be repeated and learned from. On a rating out of 10 I would give this movie an 8. Not really a family movie but a good date or group watch.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Cherry Chocolate Cookies

Going off the assumption that there will be chocolate in Heaven, or at least mine, this other chocolate recipe was born. After moving here I found that one of my friends in the ward was giving up chocolate for a year, and lets just say that I would never do that. I made this cookie recipe for him just to tempt him to give up that crazy goal. I mean this recipe would tempt me!

Cherry Chocolate Cookies

1 cup blanched slivered almonds
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate
(Recommended brand: Lindt, Godiva Dark)
4 ounces milk chocolate chips
1 cup dried tart cherries
12 ounces semisweet chocolate chips
2 cups rolled oats
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
½ pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1½ teaspoons vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter two cookie sheets. In a nonstick pan, toast the almonds over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, for about 5 to 10 minutes, until they have just begun to turn brown and emit a nutty aroma. Turn out onto a plate to cool. Chop the chocolate bars into small chunks, no larger than large chocolate chips, set aside. In a large bowl, combine the cherries, chocolate chips, and oats and set aside. Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt, and set aside. In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter until creamy. Add the sugars and beat until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time and vanilla. Beat the mixture until well combined, about a minute. Add the dry ingredients to the mixture and beat at low speed until well combined, less than a minute. Add chocolate chips, chopped chocolate, cherries, and nuts. Using a sturdy wooden spoon, mix well by hand, until all the ingredients are thoroughly incorporated. Using a 1-tablespoon scoop, measure out cookies onto sheets, leaving about two inches between cookies (about a dozen per sheet). Bake 12 to 14 minutes, or until the cookies are set and are slightly flattened and light brown. Cool on sheets for 2 minutes, then transfer to racks to cool completely.

Makes 6 dozen cookies