Monday, January 28, 2008


I had the pleasure of attending a lunch meeting at Ruth's Chris Steakhouse last week with a group of fellow law librarians. Although my meal was delicious it's the dessert I want to talk about now. We were given a choice of either chocolate sin cake or berries and cream. Assuming that the "cream" meant whipped cream I opted for the chocolate cake. Ok, who am I trying to kid; I'm a chocoholic. Anyway, several others at my table, who were able to pass on the chocolate, got the berries and cream. I think we were all pleasantly surprised to find that the "cream" in question was actually zabaglione.
Zabaglione (pronounced zah-bahl-Yoh-nay) is an Italian custard made with egg yolks and flavored with a sweet wine, usually Marsala. It's typically topped with berries or other fruit and served either warm or cold.
As promised here's the recipe I use to make Zabaglione at home.
adapted from Lidia's Italian American Cookbook; by, Lidia Bastianich
6 Egg yolks 1/4 cup dry Marsala wine 1/4 cup granulated sugar
In a medium-size heatproof bowl, whisk the egg yolks, Marsala, and sugar together until smooth. Place over, not in, barely simmering water and continue beating (switching to a hand-held electric mixer at medium speed, if you like) until the mixture is pale yellow and frothy and falls back on itself in thick ribbons when the whisk or beaters are lifted, about 8 minutes, or the egg yolks will cook and the mixture will appear curdled. Remove the sauce from the heat and spoon into individual cups over fresh fruit or berries. Chocolate Zabaglione: In a small, heatproof bowl set over a pan of gently simmering water, melt 3 ounces chopped semisweet chocolate, stirring often so the chocolate melts evenly. Remove the pan from the heat but leave the bowl of chocolate over the water to keep it warm. Prepare the zabaglione according to the directions above. Remove from heat and fold in the warm, melted chocolate.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

My Lastest Kitchen Gadget

Several years back I purchased my first Kitchen Aid stand alone mixer; the Pro 600. Since then I've purchased the pasta maker attachment, the shredder/slicer and now the combi whip and bowl set.
I love my Kitchen Aid and use it for everything from mixing a bread dough to making whipped cream. But let's face it for a family of two sometimes a 6 quart bowl is way too big. Kitchen Aid has bridged that gap with the new combi whip and bowl. The "combi" includes a 3 quart bowl that's compatible with the Pro 600, among others, and a combination whisk/flat beater. The 3 quart bowl is perfect for small batches of cookies or small servings of cake. (see the chocolate almond molten cake recipe below) The combination whisk/beater allows you to make both cake batters and meringues without changing your beater. This is one of the most particle attachments I've purchased so far. It's even good just to have as a second bowl when making batters that require you to separate your dry and wet ingredients.
Currently only William Sonoma is selling the Kitchen Aid "combi". Chocolate Almond Molten Cake serves six; can be easily halved adapted from 6 ounces semisweet chocolate chips 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter 3 large eggs 3 large egg yolks 1/3 cup sugar 1/4 cup all purpose flour 1 1/4 teaspoons almond extract 1/4 teaspoon salt Preheat oven to 375°F. Lightly butter six 3/4-cup ramekins. Melt chocolate and butter together in the microwave until melted and smooth. Using electric mixer, beat eggs, egg yolks, and 1/3 cup sugar in large bowl until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Add all purpose flour and beat until blended. Add chocolate mixture, almond extract, and salt; beat just until incorporated. Divide chocolate mixture among prepared ramekins. Place ramekins on baking sheet. (Can be prepared 1 hour ahead. Let stand at room temperature.) Bake cakes until edges are set but centers look shiny and still move slightly when ramekins are gently shaken, about 10 minutes. Remove cakes from oven; run small knife around each cake to loosen. Place small plate atop 1 ramekin. Hold plate and ramekin firmly together and invert, allowing cake to settle onto plate. Repeat with remaining cakes.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008


I forgot to add the butter sage sauce recipe in my previous post. Here it goes: Butter-Sage Sauce Melt 1 stick unsalted butter in a large skillet over low heat. Add 10 whole sage leaves and remove the skillet from the heat. Ladle out about 1 cup of the pasta cooking water before you drain them. Add the pasta to the skillet, add enough of the cooking liquid to make a sufficient amount of creamy sauce to generously coat the pasta. Bring to a quick boil, then remove from the heat. Stir in 1/2 cup of grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, salt and freshly ground pepper to taste. Serve immediately.

Monday, January 7, 2008

How Far Would You Go For Love?

My husband and I hosted several dinners during the holiday season for friends and family; but one night in particular stands out in my mind. There were 8 of us that night; a few friends, my neighbor and her date (we'll call him Jim). We started our meal with a winter caprese salad and some nice Italian wine. Having only been on two dates with my neighbor Jim was new to our group. He seemed nice enough but I did notice that he didn't eat his mozzarella. I didn't say anything (so unlike me) but I thought to myself "who doesn't eat mozzarella?" The main coarse was Scottiglia, a Tuscan meat stew, (recipe below) with a side of butter sage gnocchi (recipe below) and Sicilian spinach. We told everyone the menu and then plated each meal. (There was ample time to protest) Without a word Jim devoured everything on his plate. Seeing this I thought to myself "So what if he doesn't eat mozzarella" The evening turned out to be a successful mixture of good friends and good food. Two days later my neighbor sent an email to tell me what a nice time her and Jim had. She also told me that she had no idea but Jim is/was a vegetarian and hadn't eaten meat in over 25 years. He didn't seem to have a problem that night. Why didn't he say something? There were plenty of opportunities. He wanted to make a good impression is what he told his date. I guess it's true when they say: "Love will make you do all kinds of crazy things" Scottiglia Adapted from Tuscany the Beautiful Cookbook Serves 6 4 lbs mixed meat (we used lamb, veal, beef, pork, and Cornish hens) 2 garlic cloves 1/4 cup Olive oil 1 small carrot, peeled and chopped 1/2 yellow onion, chopped 1/2 celery stalk, chopped 1 1/4 lbs plum tomatoes, pureed (we used Cento canned tomatoes) 1/2 cup light meat stock (we used chicken stock) 6 slices of country bread 1 Tbs chopped parsley 1 Tbs chopped fresh basil *Chop all the meats into medium sized pieces and set aside *Chop 1 garlic clove. In a heavy pot over low heat, warm the olive oil. Add the chopped garlic, carrot, celery and onion and fry gently until translucent, about 5 minutes. *Raise the heat to moderate and add the meats. Brown well on all sides. Add tomatoes and lower the heat. Cover and cook for about 10 minutes. *Pour the stock into the pot, stir to mix and season to taste with salt and pepper. Cook stirring occasionally, until the sauce is thick, about 1 hour. If necessary, add a little water to keep the meats moist. *Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350. Toast the bread slices in the oven until golden. Rub one side of each slice of toast with the remaining garlic clove and place the slices on individual serving plates, garlic side up. *Divide the meats and sauce among the 6 slices of toast. Sprinkle with the parsley and basil and serve very hot.