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Tell me this doesn't make your taste buds yearn.

Tell me this doesn’t make your taste buds yearn.

How this amazing breakfast/dessert item has eluded  me all of these years is beyond my comprehension.  Apparently the Dutch Baby has been pleasing the breakfast enthusiast for a long time.  I know its been a while since I have posted a recipe up here due my own personal laziness, but I promise my friends it was well worth the wait.  About a month ago Heather told me about this giant oversize pancake she used to eat when she lived in Portland called a Dutch Baby.  After doing some research on the subject I just had to have one.  This past Sunday was the day.

I woke up and was craving a Dutch Baby.  I was lacking a medium size cast iron pan.  Immediately I went on thrift store lurk.  Two thrift shops later and a debate on whether this some what fly pair of chocolate loafers looked good on me and was worth $10 (it wasn’t), I found my pot and was ready to go.  This thing blew my mind and I am sure it will yours as well.  Cook it up for your peers and they will no doubt be giving you praise.  The best part is it is fairly easy and cheap to make too.

Total Cost: $9
Feeds 2-4 people

Ingredient List:

  • Butter – 3 Table Spoons
  • Eggs – 3 (large)
  • Milk – 3/4 Cup (Whole)
  • Flour – 1/2 Cup (All Purpose)
  • Sugar – 1/3 Cup
  • Vanilla Extract – 1 Tea Spoon
  • Cinnamon – pinch
  • Salt – pinch
  • Pepper – 1/2 Tea Spoon
  • Confectionery Sugar – Table Spoon
  • Lemon Juice – Table Spoon
  • Medium Size Cast Iron Skillet (8-10 inch)

Step 1: Preheat Oven –  Preheat Oven to 425 Degrees F and at the same time on a medium flame melt 2 table spoons of butter in a medium size cast iron skillet (8-10 inch) If you do not have a cast iron skillet you can use an 8-10 inch baking pan or sautoir pan.  If you use the sautoir pan be sure to make sure it does not have a plastic handle or it will melt in the oven.

The pan with 2tbs of melted butter

The pan with 2tbs of melted butter

Step 2: Make the Batter – Combine milk, eggs, flour, sugar, cinnamon, salt, pepper, and vanilla extract in a large bowl preferably with an electric mixer.  Beat till foamy.  Pour finished batter into skillet with the melted butter and place into  preheated oven (425F) for around 20 minutes or until Dutch Baby has risen to it’s maximum height and has browned up.

Your batter should be rather runny looking

Your batter should be rather runny looking

Notice the layer of foam settling at the top of the finished batter.

Notice the layer of foam settling at the top of the finished batter.

Step 3: Serve After 20 minutes or so pull out your finished Dutch Baby.  It should have risen rather high and the peaks should have a brown caramelized appearance.  The Baby will fall rather quickly so don’t be alarmed.  Slice up the remaining table spoon of butter and spread it over the top.  Squeeze some lemon juice over the top.  Cover with confectionery sugar.  Fruit topping is optional, add to your own taste.

Your finished Dutch Baby fresh out of the oven sans topping.

Your finished Dutch Baby fresh out of the oven sans topping.

Your final product ready to eat...YUM

Your final product ready to eat…YUM

 

 

 

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Citrus Torte finished with Marsala Cream...Yum!!!!

Citrus Almond Torte

Yep as you can see I am cooking for pleasure again, well wait I think I need to rephrase that.  I am always cooking for pleasure.  Most days of the week I can’t believe I get paid to cook in the environment I do.  Getting into the food service profession as a career finally has been the best decision I have ever made in my life.  Back to what I mean by cooking for pleasure.  At Westmont I do my best to be as creative and stickler for quality as possible, but given the size of the portioning and ingredients given to work with, plus the time allotted I at times find myself producing a product I am less then proud of.  Still I do the best I can.  

  For a long time I had no one to cook for but myself leaving me severely unmotivated.  Given the clean up and effort I just could not bring myself to do it.  It is for that reason I started having weekly dinner parties here at the Lisanti Palace.  For starters it brings back the grandiose family sit down dinners I grew up accustomed to as a youngster and second it allows me to try out possible recipes for my my restaurant I hope to open someday.  Look for a blog on that really soon.  

These dinners have allowed me to try out all sorts of items, from entree’s to appetizers to sides to even dessert.  Some of the recipes are family secrets and I wont give them here.   Others I have taken from different sources and tweaked them to my liking.  Those are the ones I will post here on SurfingRuinedMyLife.net.  Please don’t feel disgruntled and instead respect the integrity of recipes passed down through my family from Naples, Italy for generations for as long as anyone in my family can remember. 

I know the last five recipes or so have been desserts, but that is an area that has always been weak for me and one I am slowly getting a handle on.  Also the dessert category of Recipe D’Jour was lacking and I wanted to beef it up before the eventual redesign I am working on for this entire blog (that too is another blog for another day).  This Citrus Almond Torte is one that is rather simple to create, wont break your bank and can be made in a reasonable amount of time.  Did I mention it is rather tasty as well. 

Serving Size: 8-10
Total Cost: $11.50
Prep Time: 35mins
Cook Time: 45mins
Cool Time: 1hr 30mins

Ingredient List:

  • Torte
    • Butter – 4oz (room temperature)
    • Sugar – 3/4 Cup
    • Large Egg – 1
    • Egg Yolk – 2
    • Almonds – 1 cup (toasted, ground)
    • All Purpose Flour – 1/2 Cup
    • Orange Juice – 2 Table Spoons
    • Lemon Juice – 2 Table Spoons
    • Orange Zest – 1 Table Spoon
    • Lemon Zest – 1 Table Spoon
    • Coriander – 1 Tea Spoon
    • Salt – Pinch
    • Egg Whites – 2
  • Marsala Cream
    • Chilled Whipping Cream – 1 Cup
    • Confectionery Sugar – 2 Table Spoons
    • Marsala Wine – 2 Table Spoons
  • Orange Sauce
    • Orange Juice – 1 Cup
    • Corn Starch – 1 1/2 Table Spoons
    • Sugar – 1/4 Cup
    • Orange Zest – 1 Table Spoon

Step 1: Get Your Ingredients for the Torte Together – Take two eggs and separate the yolks from the whites, you will need both parts at different times so do not throw away either.  Zest both your lemon and orange.  Use actual fruit for your juices needed.   Whip egg whites till stiff but not dry, make sure if your using an electric mixer beater is clean.  Preheat oven to 375 F.  Butter and lightly dust with flour an 8inch springform pan.

Step 2: Mix Ingredients – Beat butter in a large bowl until fluffy.  Cut the butter into small manageable pieces to make process easier.  Gradually add sugar till blended. Add the whole egg, then the yolks one at a time beating well after each addition.  At low speed beat in almonds, flour, orange juice, lemon juice, lemon zest, orange zest, coriander and salt.  Be sure to scrape down bowl as many times as necessary in order to have a conform mixture.  Fold egg whites into batter in two equal parts.

The finished batter.

Step 3: Bake in Oven – Pour batter into your springform pan, place in oven preheated to 375F for 40 minutes or until you can put a tooth pick inside its center and it comes out clean.  Cool at room temperature for an hour and a half.

Torte after coming out of the oven.

Step 4: Make Marsala Cream – Beat whipping cream and confectionery sugar till soft peaks form.  Mix in Marsala. Refrigerate if holding

Step 5: Make Orange Sauce – Whisk orange juice and cornstarch in bowl till cornstarch is completely dissolved.  Melt butter in heavy sauce pan over medium flame.  Whisk in sugar, orange zest and orange juice cornstarch mixture.  Whisk until sauce boils and thickens, should take around five minutes.  Remove from flame and cool.  Refrigerate if holding more then a few hours.

Step 6: Serving Options – When serving this Citrus Torte you have several options.  First and the simplest way is to cover the top of the torte with powdered sugar and then if desired serve either the Marsala Cream or Orange Sauce or both on the side.  Second you can use the Orange Sauce as the topping of the Torte.  To do this just drizzle entire Torte in Sauce till you get the desired covering (pictured below).  Finally you can use the Marsala Cream to actually Ice the Torte as shown in the opening picture and then serve the orange sauce on the side or if you are plating it by the slice I like to drizzle the sauce over the middle of the slice after it has been placed on its side.

Torte Served with just the Orange Sauce.

 

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Cheese Cake slice with orange slice roses

Hows that for a fatty slice of goodness? Yum!

American Style Cheese Cake

This is sort of a family recipe although not in the same respect as my grandmother’s Italian recipes that have been passed down orally through my family for generations.  I believe my father,who actually makes some of the best cheese cakes despite an overall average at best culinary proficiency,  picked this recipe up from a cook book years and years ago and has perfected it.  We have an actual family recipe for an Italian cheese cake, but that will have to wait for another installment of Recipe D’Jour .

In an effort to allow me to cook fine meals (I love the work I do at Westmont, but considering the quality of ingredients purchased, amount of time and help allotted and immense size of portioning there is only so much I can do in terms of emanation) and try out potential menu items for my at the moment fictional restaurant I am playing around with the idea of opening  by the time I am 35.  Currently it is moving from the dream to the planning/feasibility stage, but that is another blog for certainly another day.  I began having dinner parties with a wide array of invitees.  These parties usually feature an entree and dessert.

Most times I have my guests bring the dessert.  This week I had this woman coming who’s parents have a winery in Paso Robles and promised to bring their best vintage of syrah.  She mentioned at a previous dinner event that she had a soft spot for cheese cake.  I think we all know how much I appreciate good wine and I have been looking to make this cheese cake for sometime.  Thus my motivation is your gain with a new recipe here on surfingruinedmylife.net.

Serving Size: 8-12
Total Cost: $17.50

Prep Time: 30mins
Cook Time: 1hr
Cool Time: 6hrs

Ingredient List:

    • Crust
      •  Graham Cracker Crumbs – 2 Cups
      • Butter – 8 Tablespoons
      • Cinnamon – 1 Teaspoon
    • Filling
      • Cream Cheese – 24 oz (Block)
      • Sour Cream- 16 oz
      • Heavy Cream 8 oz
      • Eggs – 4 (large)
      • Sugar – 1 1/2 Cups

Step 1: Combine all ingredients for the filling –  Using an electric mixer combine all ingredients for the filling making sure your end product is a uniform thick cream.

The filling ingredients before mixing.

The filling after being well blended.

Step 3: Make the crust – Cut butter up into small chunks and combine with the graham cracker crumbs till you have a uniform consistency through out.  Crust should feel greasy and not be crumby.  Take crust and flatten it into the bottom of a round 10″ springform pan.

The crust flattened into the springform pan.

Step 3: Pour filling into springform pan – Slowly pour cheese cake filling made in step 1 into the spring form pan on top of the crust.

Step 4: Bake cheese cake  – Preheat oven to 350 F and place springform pan into it.  Bake for around 55 minutes to an hour or until top is  golden brown in color.

Step 5: Cool – Cooling is an arduous task for this particular dessert.  If it is cooled too fast the cake will fall and crack.  After cake is fully cooked turn off oven and let the cake sit in the cooling oven for around an hour.  Remove cake from oven and allow to cool at room temperature for another hour.   Cover cake with plastic wrap.  Be sure to make a hole to allow for heat to escape and place into the refrigerator.  refrigerate for around four to six hours before serving.

Step 6: Serve and Enjoy! – Remove the side of the springform pan and enjoy.

Cheese Cake,

Yummy, yeah I cracked mine, cooled it a little too fast, but I needed it for a dinner party that was happening less then six hours from when I finished the cake. I would recommend cooking it the night before. Cracked or not it still tasted amazing.

 

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Chocolate Strawberry Tart

 mmm…Chocolate and even better Strawberries!!!  I know I have for years put my nose up to baking, but these days I find when I am really stressed out I bake. For whatever reason baking relaxes me.  I think it is because of how much focus it takes to get the recipe correct.  When you cook you can throw a little bit of this and that and save the dish, but when you bake it has to be exact to the umpteenth degree and if you mess up there is no saving it.  It is that level of focus that allows me to take my mind off of whatever problems I am having at that time.

I made this dessert back in mid July to impress a date.  Dinner ended up being so filling, Egg Plant Rollatini with Angel Hair Pasta in my families age old Marinara Sauce with Garlic Bread, that we never made it to dessert, instead moving right on to a nice bottle of Prosecco on the beach while basking in the beautiful lighting of a full moon.  It was quite the spread, although I would later find out from that unappreciative bitch that as she put it “my cooking was trash”.  Whatever (see yesterdays blog The State of Lisanti Land Address all about Whatever).

Anyway this Tart is bound to impress any female you decide to bake it for.  I mean it has a splendid strawberry walnut crust filled with a rich chocolate strawberry filling topped with fresh strawberries.  It’s a girls best friend.  Pair it with a bottle of Moscato D’Asti or a Champagne or Prosecco and you are bound to have a good night.  Maybe that is where I blew it, not taking the tart with me to the beach.  In hindsight I am glad I did not cause that chick was definitely not worth it.  Its rather tasty and somewhat simple to make although a bit time consuming.

Serving Size: 8
Total Cost: $13.75
Prep Time: 1 hr
Bake Time 25 mins
Rest Time: 2 hrs

Ingredient List:

  • Crust
    • All Purpose Flour – 1 cup
    • Sugar – 3 table spoons
    • Salt – ¼ tea spoon
    • Walnuts – 1 ½ oz
    • Unsalted Butter – ½ cup (chilled)
    • Egg Yolk – 2 yolks
    • Strawberry Jam – 1/3 cup
  • Filling
    • Whipping Cream – ¾ cup plus 2 table spoons
    • Semisweet Chocolate – 6 oz (chopped)
    • Strawberry Jam – 1/3 cup
    • Strawberries – 2x 1 pt basket (hulled and halfed)

 Step 1: Mix ingredients for your crust: In a food processor mince walnuts till they are a sand like composure.  In a large mixing bowl combine flour, sugar, salt and processed walnuts.  Add in butter.  Make sure to break the butter up into tiny pieces before addition to the mixture.  Mix by hand or with an electric mixer (I used an electric mixer) till it resembles a coarse meal.  Add Yolks and Strawberry Jam and mix until moist clumps form. Gather dough into a ball and flatten into a disk.  Wrap in plastic wrap and chill in refrigerator for 30 minutes.

Your meal like conformity of dry ingredients and butter.

Your rough dough after adding jam and egg yolks

Your dough disk pre-cooling

Step 2: Form Crust: Preheat Oven to 375 degrees F.  Butter a 9” diameter pan with removable bottom if possible, you can use a fixed bottom pan if it is all you have, I did.  Roll out your chilled dough between two sheets of wax paper to around an 11” diameter.  Remove top sheet of wax paper. Turn you dough upside down so that the wax paper on the bottom is now on the top and firmly press it inside the pan till it fits snug.  Remove paper and trim the edges of your crust so that it just comes over the pan.  Fold edges  just over the top of pan.  Freeze crust for 15 minutes.  Bake 25 minutes or till golden brown.  Spread another 1/3 cup of Jam over the crust and bake another 4 minutes till jam sets. Remove from oven and allow to cool at room temperature.

Crust pre-baking

Step 3: Make Filling: Heat cream in heavy small saucepan on a medium flame until bubbles appear around edge of pot.  Remove from flame and add chocolate.  Stir till completely melted and blended with cream.  Cool until mixture is beginning to thicken, stirring occasionally.  It should still be pourable, probably around 40 to 50 minutes.  Pour Chocolate filling into crust. Refrigerate for at least two hours till filling solidifies.

Chocolate filling poured into my very sad looking crust. I suck at crusts still, but they are getting better.

Step 4: Arrange Strawberries: Cut the tops off of all berries and then half them.  This can be down while you wait for step three to finish.  Arrange on top of tart as shown in the picture or whatever way your little heart desires.  Enjoy.

Now Tell me that does not look to die for. Still think this wont get you laid?

Just in case you were wondering what the Lisanti Land kitchen where all of these master pieces get cooked up in looked like here it is. Pretty gnarly huh?

 

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The taste of summer pronounced.

Asparagus Anise Papaya Salad

 The second installment in my summer Recipe D’Jour series is a great dish for picnics, light meals or as an appetizer.  This salad is rather easy to make and I feel it really brings out the tastes and smell of summer.  I served this up for an out door lunch about a week ago and it was most splendid.  The weather was gorgeous; clear sunny skys, 80 degrees F with a light breeze, who could ask for anything more?  With this Asparagus Anise Papaya Salad added to the mix it was pure dining perfection out on a raised veranda looking onto a charming courtyard with the relaxing sounds of a quaint little fountain at its center.  This fare was created to be served in the pulchritudinous of the outdoors.

 

Serving Size: 4
Total Cost: $14.00
Prep Time: 30-45 minutes

 

Ingredient List:

  • Dressing
    • Papaya Nectar – 1 cup
    • Vegetable Oil – 1/3 cup
    • Shallot – 2 tablespoons (minced)
    • Lime Juice – 1 ½ tablespoons
    • Macadamia Nuts – ½ cup (Chopped)
  • Salad
    • Olive Oil – 2 tablespoons
    • Garlic – 1 clove (minced)
    • Asparagus – 1 ½ lbs
    • Anise Bulbs – 2 (quartered)
    • Hawaiian Papaya – 2 (peeled, seeded, sliced)
    • Avocado – 4 (peeled, pitted, sliced)
    • Mixed Salad Greens – 1lb

 

Step 1: Make DressingPeel the papayas and cut in half.  Scoop out all seeds. After which scoop out remaining insides with a spoon and put into a bowl.  Mash up the inside with a bean masher.  Put into a small saucepan and add oil and shallots. Bring to boil. Then let simmer and reduce for around 6 minutes, while stirring constantly.  Simmer until you have a semi thick liquid, be sure not to over cook papaya nectar or your dressing will have a burnt taste to it.  Remove from heat and whisk in macadamia nuts, limejuice, salt and pepper to taste.

What your nectar reduction should look like

The finished dressing

 

 

Step 2: Grill Anise Bulbs and Asparagus – Fire up the BBQ.  Cut the anise bulbs into quarters, cut about a ¼ off the stems of the asparagus.  Dry rub in salt and pepper. Grill till both are adequately soft and slightly charred.

 

Your grilled vegetables

Step 3: Arrange the SaladCut the remaining papayas either into chunks or strips. I would recommend strips if you are making the plates, but chunks if you’re making the salad family style.  Peel and pit the avocados, then slice long ways.  Spread the salad greens equally around the base of the plate.  Next arrange the papaya, asparagus and avocado pieces in an alternating pattern.  Finally plate out two anise bulb quarters to each salad.  Drizzle dressing over it.

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Berry Apricot Tart

Well we have not had a fresh recipe up here in quite some time.  All I can say is that writing, cooking and photographing the recipes is very time consuming.  Not to mention that sometimes I cook them anywhere from two to ten times.  I don’t post anything that I am not 100% confident on making myself.   To make up for it here is a recipe for a scrumptious dessert I just recently made on Monday.  Its very seasonal correct (Alice Waters would be proud).   After all what could be more summer like then an Apricot Berry Tart?

Serving Size: 6
Total Cost: $12.50
Prep Time: 45 minutes
Bake Time: 1hr 
 

Ingredient List:

  • Crust
    • Flour – 1 ½ cups
    • Sugar – ¼ tea spoon
    • Salt – pinch
    • Butter – 6 table spoons (3/4 stick)
    • Ice Water – 2 ½ table Spoons
  • Filling
    • Flour – 2 table spoons
    • Sugar – 4 table spoons
    • Apricots – 8 (Halved & Pitted)
    • Raspberries – 1 cup
    • Strawberries – 8 (Quartered)
    • Butter – 2 table spoons
    • Almonds – 2 table spoons (crumbed)

Step 1: Make The Dough for your crust – Combine the flour, salt and sugar, whisk together.  Add in the butter making sure you break it into little chunks and then work it into the flour mixture till you have little balls.  Pour in the ice water, adding it as needed to get desired conformity of the dough.  Remember it is better to slowly add the water because you cant take it out once it goes in.  If you do end up using too much water, just add a bit more flour.  Kneed dough with hands till you have a nice ball. Cover in plastic wrap and put in refrigerator anywhere from one hour and no more then 24.

This is what your crust dough should look like prior to rolling.

Step 2: Prep The FillingHalve and pit the apricots and quarter the strawberries.  Preheat oven to 400 F.  In a bowl mix flour and 2 tablespoons of sugar

Your prepped fruit for the filling.

Step 3: Make the TartRoll out dough in a circle about 11” in diameter.  Put flour/sugar mixture from step 2 in center and spread out over dough leaving about an inch all around the perimeter. Arrange the apricot halves, cut side down.  Add the strawberries, cut side down.  Add the raspberries.  Pour three tablespoons of sugar over filling.  Fold crust around fruit.  Put in baking pan lined with parchment paper and bake in oven for total cooking time of 1 hour.  After the first ten minutes, melt 2 tablespoons of butter, pull out tart from oven and brush the melted butter around the crust.  Sprinkle sugar on crust, add crushed almonds on top and put back in oven for fifty minutes or until crust starts to brown.

Filling before folding up crust.

Ready go bake.

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mmmm...waffles

mmmmmmm....waffles....Almond Flour Waffles!!!!

I love waffles, I mean who doesnt?  I will tell you who, my old roommate Brennan didn’t.  Apparently he was eating waffles when he found out his grandmother died as a little kid and has not eaten them since.  Talk about bad associations. I feel the same way about pecan pie.  On a family vacation to Virginia Beach on our last night my parents got this pecan pie from Denny’s. Now, I love Denny’s as far as cheap eats go and a nostalgic Jersey dinner feel you cant go wrong.  I dont know what happen with this particular pie, but all I know is the whole drive back to NJ I was vomiting and spitting out my asshole.

I dont know if you can blame the pie since no one else in my family got sick, quite frankly I most likely ate too much of the damn thing.  Anyway enough with bad food experiences and on to good ones.  Isnt this a great way to start out a blog for a recipe to cook?  These Almond Flour Waffles are absolutely scrumptious and they are gluten free.  These days gluten has become the enemy of human existence  even though we have been eating for over 300 years. They are tasty, fun and easy to make.

Total Cost: $9.75
Feeds About three people, two waffles per person

Ingredient List:

  • Almond Flour – 2 cups
  • Eggs – 6
  • Salt – 1/2 teaspoon
  • Cinnamon – 3/4 teaspoon
  • Baking Soda – 1/2 teaspoon
  • Vanilla – 1 1/2 teaspoons
  • Honey – 3 tablespoons

Step 1: Mix IngredientsIn a large bowl whisk together all ingredients.  It helps to do all the wet ingredients first and then add the dry ones.  Whisk till you have a nice batter

Ingredients pre-mixing.

Your finished batter

Step 2: Add Batter to Waffle IronPreheat waffle iron till it is hot.  Pour enough batter into iron to make one waffle, I would say fill the tray about 3/4 of the way.  These waffles grow well.

Step 3: Add ToppingsUse syrup, fruit, powdered sugar, butter, chopped almonds or whatever floats your boat and enjoy.

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