Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Lemon "tiramisu"

Looking back over my photos of Easter Sunday I captured lots of people pictures but none of our delicious eats!

Well here is one of our desserts from the day. I'm so glad I went through all of the steps to make it because it is delicious. I would definitely make it again. My kids weren't thrilled with it but I've enjoyed it every day of the Easter octave as it gets better each and every day as the ladyfingers soak up all the liquid!

I was a little too lazy to head to the store and buy a jar or two of lemon curd. And I realize that while I type that it sounds so backwards, but I was making this the night before Easter and I was cozy in my house and.... you get the picture. Homemade lemon curd it was.  I'm SO glad I didn't go to buy it. Do you know how easy it is to make lemon curd? Well, I didn't either. Ina Garten makes it sound simple because it IS simple. A few steps and I had my own lemon curd. 

A few special ingredients are needed to make this special dessert:  Savoiardi (lady fingers), Limoncello (luckily I have a father who makes his own), a good whole milk ricotta, and lemon curd. The rest of the ingredients are just run of the mill pantry items (well, to me at least).

Limoncello and Ricotta Cake
Her pictures are beautiful so do click and check it out, I simply have one photo of the remnants of this dessert (It was just sooooo good, I kept forgetting to take a picture!)

Lemon Curd:
4 lemons, room temp
1 1/2 c sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temp
4 extra large eggs, room temp
1/8 tsp salt

Ricotta Filling:
32 oz whole milk ricotta
1 1/2 cup confectioners sugar
1 1/2 Tbs lemon zest
1 1/2 Tbs limoncello

For the lady fingers:
(I only had a cup of limoncello- so I halved this recipe and only made 2 layers)
2 cups water
2 cups limoncello
1 1/2 lbs lady fingers- about 3-4 packages
4 cups lemon curd (above recipe didn't make this much, it's very sweet, it was PLENTY)

Whipped Cream topping:
2 cups heavy cream
4 Tbsp sugar (I used powdered sugar)


Make the lemon curd:
Remove the zest with a microplane from the lemons and smash it into the sugar with a fork. 
Juice the lemons to make 1/2 cup of juice and set aside.
Using a mixer, cream the butter and sugar and lemon zest. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, then add the lemon juice and salt. Mix until combined.

Pour the mixture into a 2 qt saucepan and cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until thickened, about 10 minutes. The lemon curd with thicken at 175°, or just below a simmer. Remove from heat and cool.

Make the Ricotta filling:
Mix the ricotta, confectioner's sugar, lemon zest and Limoncello. Set aside.

Make the Limoncello syrup by bringing the water and limoncello to a simmer. Continue to simmer for about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and pour into a shallow heat proof dish and let cool a little.

Assembling the "cake"

Dip the ladyfingers into the limoncello syrup and begin lining them up in a 9 x 13 dish.
You only need to dip the bottom half of each cookie and not for very long, they're little sponges, so they soak it up quickly!

Once you have a layer of ladyfingers on the bottom, spread a layer of ricotta on top. Use as much as you'd like- you may have extra.
Another layer of soaked ladyfingers goes on top of the ricotta then spread a good layer of lemon curd on top of that.

If you didn't run of limoncello syrup, I suppose you could make another ladyfinger layer... but I did. 

So, whip  your cream and sugar together and spread the whipped cream on top of the last layer.

Refrigerate until ready to serve!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Bok Choy Salad

What seems like many moons ago, I was busy with a fabulous MOPS group here in Pittsburgh. MOPS was such a blessing to our family right after I had the twins. I discovered how wonderful it was to have an army of moms bringing meals and helping us through those first insanely crazy months of having newborn twins!

One of the treasures of MOPS is the food. I know, I know- it's not about that but really, I loved coming together with other moms and learning recipes from them and trying new foods (we ate at every meeting!). Maybe not all MOPS groups are like that but ours was very much food oriented.

So here's a recipe from a cookbook that some of the moms compiled.
It has absolute NO BOK CHOY in it but regardless, my kids love this salad and for me…. that makes it a hands down winner.

They don't like cole slaw a whole bunch but this is a cousin to it. We had this salad the other night with PWs spicy pulled pork. They gobbled them both up!

Bok Choy Salad

Salad ingredients:
1 head Romaine Lettuce- if you have a three pack, I used one and a half
2 green onions- sliced
Broccoli Slaw- I used a couple handfuls, not the whole bag
1 package ramen noodles - half of it (you won't need the flavor packet)
1/2 cup or so of sliced red pepper
1/2 cup cashews
1/3 cup sliced almonds

Dressing ingredients:
3/4 c light olive oil- I used half canola and half olive oil
1/3 c apple cider vinegar
2-4 dashes sesame oil
1/2 c sugar
1 tsp salt and pepper, each

Combine dressing ingredients in a jar, shake to combine.
In a bowl, combine first four salad ingredients. Top with cashews, almonds and ramen noodles. Toss gently. Add dressing and toss again. Taste to see if it needs a little more S or P.

You'll have half a jar of dressing left to make this once more! (and you should have plenty of the above ingredients for another salad)