Romantic

Fresh Herbed Standing Rib Roast

December 27, 2012

Fresh Herbed Standing Rib Roast

This standing rib roast looks regal and tastes even better, yet it’s practically foolproof.  There is no need to pre-sear or fuss with changing the temperatures.  Make my Red Wine Sauce ahead of time and you have a seriously “no fuss” elegant dinner.  This is a great dinner for New Year’s Eve or anytime. 

INGREDIENTS

3 Tablespoon Olive Oil

1/2 Cup Duck Fat

2 Tablespoons Kosher Salt

2 Tablespoons Freshly Ground Pepper

4 Chopped Garlic Cloves

1 Large Bunch Fresh Thyme

1 Large Bunch Fresh Sage

1 Large Bunch Fresh Rosemary

7 Pound Standing Rib Roast (Bone-In & Tied)

64 Ounces Apple Cider

Preheat your oven to 350º F.  Remove the rib roast from the fridge and let it stand at room temperature for 2 hours before cooking.  Place the rib roast onto a rack that sits in a roasting pan.  Rub the olive oil all over the roast.  Place the chopped garlic, duck fat, salt and pepper on the roast.  Take the fresh herbs and place on top of the roast inserted under the strings.  Pour the apple cider into the bottom of the roasting pan. Place in the oven and roast, uncovered, for 1 hour and 40 minutes for rare.  Make sure to occasionally baste with the apple cider & drippings.  Roast 15 minutes more if you want a medium roast and another 15 minutes for well done.  Remember that all ovens are not created equal and oven temperatures vary.  You be the judge of when you want to take your rib roast out of the oven.  Remove from the oven and allow the roast to rest for 20 minutes before carving. Remove the fresh herbs and throw them away. The roast will continue to cook when it is out of the oven.  Transfer to a warmed serving platter and serve with my Red Wine Sauce.  Serves 8

Blackberry Crumble

December 26, 2012

Blackberry Crumble

Here is an easy dessert to make during the holidays.  Whether you are having a dinner party or just want to serve a special dessert to family or friends this is so easy, but looks like you worked all day on it. 

INGREDIENTS

4 Cups Fresh Blackberries

3/4 Cup Sugar

2 Tablespoons Fresh Lemon Juice

1/2 Cup Rolled Oats

1/2 Cup Unbleached Flour

1/2 Cup Brown Sugar

1 Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon

1/2 Cup Softened Butter

Preheat your oven to 350º F.  In a large size bowl place the fresh blackberries.  Add the lemon juice and 3/4 cup sugar to the blackberries and gently toss.  Let stand for 10 minutes.  In a separate large size bowl combine the rolled oats, flour, brown sugar and ground cinnamon.  Mix well.  Add the softened butter until the flour mixture becomes crumbly.  Spoon the blackberries into four large greased ramekins.  Spoon the oats mixture over the blackberries and distribute evenly among the four ramekins.  Place the four ramekins on a baking sheet and put in the oven.  Bake for 35 minutes.  Remove from the oven let cool for 10 minutes before serving.  Serve plain or with 1 scoop of ice cream.  I served it with salty caramel gelato and it was a nice compliment to the blackberry crumble.  Serves 4

 

No Bake Cheesecake

December 22, 2012

No Bake Cheesecake

Everyone needs an easy “go to” dessert.  If you’re wondering what desserts to make for the holidays here is a great one to have on hand.  This recipe is a piece of cake.  Serve to family and friends with strawberries, raspberries or blueberries. 

INGREDIENTS

2 1/4 Cups Shortbread Cookie Crumbs

1/2 Cup Plus 2 Tablespoons Sugar Divided

6 Tablespoons Melted Butter

1 Pound Room Temperature Cream Cheese

1 1/2 Teaspoons Vanilla Extract

1 1/2 Cups Heavy Cream

1 1/2 Pints Fresh Berries

Lightly grease an 8 inch springform pan.  In a medium size bowl mix the cookie crumbs and 3 tablespoons of sugar. Mix in the melted butter and then press the crumbs into the bottom of the pan.  Place in the freezer while preparing the filling.

In a large size bowl beat the cream cheese and the remaining 1/2 cup sugar with an electric mixer until the consistency is very soft and smooth.  Beat in the vanilla.  In a separate large size bowl beat in the heavy cream until stiff peaks form.  Fold 1/3 of the cream cheese mixture.  And then fold in the remaining whipped cream until smooth and combined.  Pour the cream cheese mixture onto the cookie crumbs and smooth out to the edges.  Refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight.  You will want the consistency to be very well set.  Remove from the fridge when you are ready to serve and garnish with berries. Serves 12

Mary Todd Lincoln Cake

November 6, 2012

Mary Todd Lincon Cake

Mary Ann Todd Lincoln (December 13, 1818 to July 16, 1882) was born to a large wealthy Kentucky family.  Born in Lexington, Kentucky as the fourth of seven children, Mary was raised in comfort and refinement as well as well educated. Mary was sent at an early age to attend a finishing school owned by Madame Mantelle, where the curriculum concentrated on French and literature.  She learned to speak French fluently, studied dance, drama, music and social graces.  By the age of 20 she was regarded as witty and gregarious, with an interest in politics. Mrs. Lincoln suffered from migraine headaches and may have actually had bipolar disorder.  She supported her husband throughout his presidency and was next to him when he was fatally shot. 

Here is the famous Lincoln cake recip.  Mrs. Lincoln apparently made this vanilla almond cake for him while they were courting and during their time in the White House. 

INGREDIENTS

1 Cup Almonds

1 Cup Butter

1 1/2 Cups Sugar

2 1/4 Cups Unbleached Flour

1 Tablespoon Baking Powder

1 1/3 Cups Milk

6 Egg Whites

Pinch of Salt

1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract

Powdered Sugar

 

Preheat your oven to 375° F.  Grease and flour two 9 inch round layer cake pans or one Bundt cake pan.  Grind the almonds into course flour in a food processor.  Cream the butter and sugar in a medium size bowl until fluffy.  Sift the flour and baking powder to mix them together in a separate bowl.  Fold the dry flour mix into the creamed butter mix. Alternate with the milk until well blended.  Stir in the almond powder and mix thoroughly.  In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites until they form stiff peaks.  Add a pinch of salt.  Add the vanilla and gently fold the egg whites into the batter with a rubber spatula.  Pour the batter into the pans or the Bundt pan and bake for 30 minutes.  Remove from the oven and cool for 20 minutes before turning the cakes out of their pans.  Allow to completely cook before serving.  If you are making layer cake then use jam for the filling.  Sift powdered sugar on top.  Serves 12

Lady Bird Johnson’s Famous Lemon Cake

November 4, 2012

Lady Bird Johnson’s Famous Lemon Cake

Lady Bird Johnson was born Claudia Alta Taylor (December 22, 1912 to July 11, 2007) in Karnack, Texas. She was named for her mother’s brother Claud, but while a baby her nurse commented that she was “purty as a ladybird.”  A ladybird is a brightly colored beetle.  This nickname replaced her actual first name for her entire life.  Her family called her Lady and her husband called her Bird, which was the name she used on her marriage license.  Lady Bird Johnson was a lifelong advocate for beautifying the nation’s cities and highways.  She is responsible for the Highway Beautification Act and is quoted as saying, “Where flowers bloom, so does hope.”  Here is Mrs. Johnson’s recipe for her Famous Lemon Cake

INGREDIENTS

3/4 Cup Softened Butter

1 1/4 Cups Sugar

8 Egg Yolks

2 1/2 Cups Flour

3 Teaspoons Baking Powder

1/4 Teaspoon Salt

3/4 Cup Milk

1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract

1 Teaspoon Grated Lemon Rind

1 Teaspoon Lemon Juice

Preheat your oven to 325° F.  Cream the butter and sugar until fluffy.  In a separate bowl, beat the egg yolks until light and lemon colored.  Blend into the creamed mixture.  Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt.  Resift 3 times.  Add the sifted ingredients to the creamed mixture in thirds, alternating with the milk.  Beat the batter thoroughly after each addition.  Add the vanilla extract, lemon rind and lemon juice.  Beat for 2 minutes.  Bake in a greased Bundt pan in the oven for 1 hour or until the cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean.  Remove from the oven and cool completely before frosting.  Serves 6

Lemon Icing

2 Cups Confectioners’ Sugar

1/4 Cup Softened Butter

Grated Rind Of 1 Lemon

2 Teaspoons Cream (Or More For Spreading Consistency)

Combine the confectioners’ sugar, butter and grated lemon rinds and beat.  Add the cream until desired consistency. 

Hurricane Fudge

October 29, 2012

Hurricane Fudge

Today is the perfect day to make fudge that is if you still have power.  Since most of us are stuck inside these next couple of days while Hurricane Sandy makes her way through our communities why not try out this easy fudge recipe.  Hunker down and eat fudge!

INGREDIENTS

2 Cups Sugar

2/3 Cup Evaporated Milk

12 Regular Size Marshmallows

1/2 Cup Unsalted Butter

1/8 Teaspoon Kosher Salt

8 Ounces Semisweet Chocolate Chips

1 Cup Chopped Nuts – Optional

1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract

Prepare an 8×8 inch pan by greasing with butter.  Set aside.  In a large size saucepan combine the sugar, evaporated milk, marshmallows, butter and salt.  Cook over a medium heat and stir constantly until the mixture is bubbly.  Boil and stir for 6 minutes.  Remove from the heat and stir in the chocolate chips.  Stir until completely melted.  Add the chopped nuts, if you are using nuts, and the vanilla.  Spread into the greased pan and place in the fridge for 5 hours.  Remove from the fridge and cut into squares.  Makes about 2 dozen pieces of fudge. 

Chocolate Cupcakes

October 27, 2012

Chocolate Cupcakes

If you’re going to a Halloween party this weekend and need to bring a dessert here is a great portable dessert that everyone will love.  Even after Halloween these cupcakes are an excellent “go to” dessert for home or potlucks.

INGREDIENTS

2 Cups Unbleached Flour

2 Teaspoons Baking Powder

2 Teaspoons Baking Soda

1 Teaspoon Kosher Salt

2 Cups Sugar

2 Cups Water

8 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter

4 Ounces Chopped Unsweetened Chocolate

1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract

2 Large Eggs

Frosting

Preheat your oven to 350° F.  In a large size bowl combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda and kosher salt.  Set aside.  In a medium size saucepan combine the sugar and water and cook over a medium high heat until the sugar and water are dissolved.  Add the chocolate and butter to the sugar mixture.  As soon as the chocolate melts add the vanilla and turn off the heat.  Pour the mixture into a large bowl and beat on medium with a mixer for 3 minutes.  Add the eggs one at a time to the mixture and beat for 30 seconds after each egg.  Add the flour mixture to the chocolate mixture 1/2 cup at a time making sure to thoroughly combine.  Line your cupcake pan with cupcake liners of your choice.  If it is Halloween use Halloween themed liners.  Pour the batter 3/4 of the way into the cupcake liners. Place the cupcake pan on the middle rack of your oven and bake for 14 minutes.  Make sure not to overcook the cupcakes.  Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes before removing the cupcakes from the pan.  Remove the cupcakes and cool completely before frosting. Frost and decorate if you like. Makes 12

 

Frosting

INGREDIENTS

1/2 Cup Shortening

1/2 Cup Softened Unsalted Butter

1/2 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract

5 Cups Powdered Sugar

4 Tablespoons Half & Half or Whole Milk

In a large size bowl place the shortening and butter.  Beat on medium for 1 minute with a mixer.  Add the vanilla and continue to mix.  Add the powdered sugar one cup at a time while beating on low.  After adding the cups of sugar drizzle a bit of the half & half or whole milk.  Continue alternating the powdered sugar and half & half until the texture becomes fluffy.  You may not need all of the powdered sugar. Frost your cupcakes and refrigerate any leftover frosting. 

Lemon Cake With Nutella Cream Cheese Frosting

October 20, 2012

Lemon Cake With Nutella Cream Cheese Frosting

What can I say?  This cake is delicious!

INGREDIENTS

2 Cups Unbleached Flour

1 Tablespoon Baking Powder

1 Teaspoon Kosher Salt

1/2 Cup Butter

1 1/4 Cups Sugar

3 Eggs

3/4 Cup Milk

1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract

2 Teaspoons Lemon Extract

Preheat your oven to 350° F.  Grease and flour a Bundt cake pan and set aside.  In a large size bowl, combine the flour, salt, sugar and baking powder.  Add the milk, butter, eggs and vanilla and lemon extract.  Beat on a low speed with an electric mixer until combined.  Beat for another minute on medium speed, but don’t over beat.  Place in the oven and bake for 35 minutes until done.  When you insert a wooden toothpick near the center is should come out clean.  When done remove from the oven and cool in the pan, on a wire rack, for 20 minutes.   Loosen the sides of the cake and invert onto a cake plate.  Cool for 20 to 30 minutes. Frost with Nutella Cream Cheese Frosting. Serves 8

 

Nutella Cream Cheese Frosting

INGREDIENTS

1 Cup Nutella Spread

8 Ounces Cream Cheese

1/2 Cup Butter

1/2 Cup Powdered Sugar

Let the cream cheese, Nutella and butter sit in a bowl at room temperature for about an hour or until softened.  Beat with a mixer.  Add the vanilla extract.  Beat until fluffy.  Slowly add the powdered sugar.  Keep on beating until you get a very smooth texture.  Frost your cooled cake. 

 

Cacio e Pepe

October 19, 2012

Cacio e Pepe

Roman food certainly is comfort food and this pasta dish, made with pasta, cheese & black pepper, is the mac & cheese of Rome.  Cacio e Pepe is Italian for cheese and pepper.  The ingredients are very simple and are either made with spaghetti, tonnarelli or vermicelli.  I like to make mine with good old reliable spaghetti. 

INGREDIENTS

4 Tablespoons Kosher Salt

1/4 Cup Coarsely Ground Black Pepper

1/2 Cup Toasted Sesame Seeds

4 Tablespoons Olive Oil

8 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter

1 Pound Dried Spaghetti

3/4 Cup Pasta Water

1 Cup Freshly Grated Pecorino Romano

Fill a large size pot with 8 quarts of water and 4 tablespoons kosher salt.  Bring to a boil and add the spaghetti.  Cook until al dente.  Drain and reserve 1 cup of the pasta water.  While the spaghetti is cooking you will need to toast the sesame seeds.  Take an extra large sauté pan and turn the heat to medium high.  You will not need to add oil.  Just pour the dry sesame seeds into the heated sauté pan and toast for 1 minute.  Stir constantly and make sure not to burn the sesame seeds.  Remove the sesame seeds from the heat and place in a bowl.  Set aside.  Add the pepper to the same pan and toast for 1 minute and continue to stir.  The pepper should be nice and fragrant.  Add the olive oil and butter to the toasted pepper and cook until the butter has melted.  Remove from the heat.  Add 3/4 cup of the pasta water (this is the water that the spaghetti cooked in) to the pepper mixture.  Add the toasted sesame seeds and then add the pasta.  Stir and toss over a medium heat.  You will want the past to be well coated.  Stir in the grated Pecorino Romano cheese.  If you need more pasta water to loosen the sauce then add a bit more of the pasta water.  Toss once again and then transfer to a serving bowl.  Serve immediately.  Serves 6

Spinach Soup

August 27, 2012

Spinach Soup

Many times spinach can get lost in soups, but not this soup as it contains 12 cups of spinach. A touch of lemon adds a little something to complete the flavor of this beautiful soup.  Garnish with either croutons or bacon bits. 

INGREDIENTS

1 Cup Diced Onion

4 Tablespoons Olive Oil

4 Cloves Minced Garlic

1/3 Cup Unbleached Flour

3 Cups Half & Half

2 Cups Chicken or Vegetable Broth

12 Cups Baby Spinach

1 Tablespoon Lemon Zest

2 Tablespoons Fresh Lemon Juice

1/2 Teaspoon Kosher Salt

1/2 Teaspoon Freshly Ground Pepper

Croutons – Optional

Bacon Bits – Optional

In a large stock pot heat the olive oil over a medium high heat and sauté the onion for 4 minutes.  Add the garlic and sauté for 1 minute.  Stir in the flour and cook for 3 minutes.  Slowly pour in the half & half and either chicken or vegetable broth.  Stir and bring the soup to a simmer over a medium heat.  Add the 8 cups of spinach and cook for 6 minutes.  Reduce to a low heat.  Cook for another 5 minutes.  You can use one of these devices to puree: a handheld blender, a food processor or a blender.  Puree all of the soup in batches, if needed, and return to the soup pot.  If you are using a handheld blender then you may puree right in the pot.  Stir in the remaining 4 cups of spinach.  Add the lemon zest, lemon juice, salt and pepper.  Cook for 1 minute more.  Ladle the soup into soup bowls.  Garnish with croutons or bacon bits.  Serves 8

*If you want to lower the fat content then use fat-free half & half. 

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