Tag Archives: mascarpone cheese

Gorgonzola & Mascarpone Torte

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Is it cheese?  Is it a cake? Is it cheesecake? Yes, sort of and sort of again.  If you love gorgonzola or any other type of blue cheese, this is the appetizer for you.  I do love gorgonzola but often find that a little goes a long way.  This recipe, courtesy of Janet Fletcher’s The Cheese Course combines pungent gorgonzola with a mild and creamy mascarpone. The result the best of both cheese worlds.  In addition to tasting amazing, this appetizer makes for an impressive presentation. Yes, it looks like a layer cake and on more than one occasion I’ve witnessed guests peering at the plate before inquiring as to what it was.  Cheese?  Cake?  A Cheesecake?  Yes, yes, and yes.

GORGONZOLA & MASCARPONE TORTE

1 large wedge of gorgonzola or other blue cheese, chilled

1 cup mascarpone, at room temperature

1/2 cup slivered almonds

  • Place the gorgonzola wedge on a cutting board and using a sharp knife or piece of unflavored dental floss, slice the wedge in half as though you are splitting a layer cake.
  • Place the bottom piece of the cheese on a serving tray and spread a thin layer of mascarpone over the top as though you are filling a cake.
  • Layer the remaining piece of gorgonzola on top of the mascarpone.
  • Spread the mascarpone over the top and sides of the gorgonzola to resemble a piece of layer cake.
  • Pat the sliced almonds along the outer edge of the cake.
  • Wrap tightly with plastic wrap and chill for several hours or up to overnight.  Remove from the refrigerator and allow to come to room temperature before serving.
  • Serve with crackers, bread slices, or ripe pear slices.  This appetizer is perfect when accompanied by a nice glass of port or other sweet red wine.

Tiramisu Bread

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Here’s an creative twist on one of my family’s favorite desserts. Yes I’m bragging when I say I make a mean tiramisu but because it is my most requested dessert I dare say it is really that good. So you can imagine my excitement when I came across a recipe for tiramisu bread courtesy of the always awesome Yankee Kitchen Ninja website. Yes, tiramisu bread. It has all of the goodness of the traditional dessert–mascarpone cheese, chocolate, and coffee–baked into a loaf of dessert bread. This is so good that it is sure to become another family favorite.

I made some adaptions from the original recipe. Instead of sour milk I used fresh buttermilk (honestly, because for some reason I had a lot on hand). The Ninj drizzled marsala wine over the top of her bread whereas I used Frangelico liqueur again because it was what I had available. (For those who don’t know, Frangelico is a hazelnut liqueur which is quite tasty on its own over ice or mixed into hot cocoa). Feel free to use whatever liqueur you think would pair well with coffee and cocoa; you can’t go wrong.

TIRAMISU BREAD

1 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
2 teaspoons instant coffee granules
1 tablespoon water
1 8-ounce package mascarpone cheese
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 1/2 ounces Frangelico liqueur

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease loaf pan with non-stick cooking spray and set aside.
  • In a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
  • In another small bowl, whisk together the cocoa, coffee granules and water until well combined. Set both bowls aside.
  • With a mixer, cream together the mascarpone and sugar until fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing after each, then beat in the vanilla.
  • Alternately beat in the flour mixture and the buttermilk, starting and ending with the flour, until just combined.
  • Remove half the batter and place it in a separate bowl. Add the cocoa mixture to it and stir until thoroughly combined.
  • Into a prepared loaf pan, alternately place half of the vanilla mixture then half of the chocolate mixture on the bottom of the pan. Repeat with the remaining vanilla and chocolate mixtures placing the vanilla on top of the chocolate and the chocolate on top of the vanilla.
  • Swirl a butter knife through the alternating section to create the marbling effect.
  • Bake for about 50 minutes or until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean.
  • Using a skewer, poke a bunch of holes into the top of the bread and pour the Frangelico liqueur all over the top. It will be completely absorbed within a few minutes.
  • Cool the bread in the pan for 15 minutes, then unmold it and cool it completely on a wire rack.

Gorgonzola Stuffed Strip Steaks

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It is Fast Friday again and time for another fast and fabulous dinner suggestion. If you are anything like me, by the time Friday rolls around the last thing you want to do to cook a big meal yet we all still have to eat. The dishes featured in this series aren’t necessarily fancy but they bring together simple ingredients most people already have in their pantries or have easy access to and allow you to put a real meal on the table in between 30 and 45 minutes. Enjoy and if you have your own fast recipes you want to share, please send them my way and I will in turn share them with all of my readers.

Here in Albania cuts of meat rarely resemble those we are used to in the United States.  Some restaurant menus claim to serve rib eyes or strip steaks but they are often unrecognizable as such.  The cuts of beef here also tend to be much leaner meaning they are missing the rich marbling that makes a steak a steak.  When real beef cravings hit we dip into our stash of American cuts of beef that we imported from the Navy commissary in Naples, Italy.  These steaks are little pieces of home and we savor every bite.

These gorgonzola stuffed steaks only appear complicated.  In reality they can be put together in minutes so you can have dinner on the table in minutes.  They are just as good for a quick Friday night meal as they are for a more formal dinner.  If you want to get really fancy and mimic a real American steak house,  you can top them with sautéed mushrooms.  I like to serve these with baked potatoes and a green veggie.  Yum!

GORGONZOLA STUFFED STRIP STEAKS

4 New York Strip Steaks, trimmed

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 medium red onion, minced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 cup mascarpone cheese

1/3 cup crumbled gorgonzola cheese

1/4 teaspoon Tabasco sauce

Salt & pepper to taste

  • Preheat a grill to high heat.
  • Carefully cut a large slit in the side of each steak to form a pocket.  Be careful to not cut all the way through the steaks.  Set aside.
  • Heat the olive oil in a small sauce pan set over medium-high heat.  Add the onion and garlic and stirring occasionally, saute until soft and translucent.
  • When then onions are soft, stir in the mascarpone and gorgonzola cheeses and the Tabasco sauce.  Heat until melted.
  • Sprinkle both sides of the steaks with salt and pepper.  Carefully spoon the cheese mixture into the pocket of each steak.  Do not overfill.  You may have extra cheese sauce.
  • Secure each pocket with two or three toothpicks to help prevent the cheese from seeping out.  (Some will melt out while cooking but that is OK).
  • Carefully place the steaks on the preheated grill and cook 7-8 minutes per side or until done to your liking.
  • Remove from the grill and allow to sit for 2-3 minutes.  Remove the toothpicks before serving.

Yield:  4 servings

Grilled Figs w/ Honey & Mascarpone

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If you love figs this is the dish for you.  Combining the classic Mediterranean ingredients of figs, honey, and mascaropne cheese, this dish is so simple to make.   As a bonus, it can be served as an appetizer on a buffet table or as a light dessert or even as snack.   Because there are only three ingredients make sure that you use the best quality ingredients you can find.  If you don’t have a grill the figs can be cooked under the broiler.

GRILLED FIGS w/ HONEY & MASCARPONE 

8 ripe figs

1/4 cup mascarpone cheese, at room temperature

2 tablespoons honey

  • Lightly oil the grill rack or broiler pan with non-stick cooking spray.
  • Preheat a gas grill or broiler to high.
  • Slice the figs in half lengthwise.
  • Place a small dollop of mascarpone cheese onto the top of each fig.  Drizzle with the honey.
  • When the grill is hot, reduce the temperature to medium-high.  Place the figs directly onto the grill and close the lid.  Cook for 2-3 minute until the cheese melts and the outer skins of the figs just begin to char and turn crisp.  Serve immediately.

Serves: 4

I Scream, You Scream, We All Scream, For Ice Cream!

Its National Ice Cream day and nothing tastes better than the homemade version. So pick your favorite ingredients and whip up a batch today:

 

A non-dairy option:

 

Technically not ice cream but cold and tasty just the same:

 

Grilled Figs w/ Honey & Mascarpone

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If you love figs this is the dish for you.  Combining the classic Mediterranean ingredients of figs, honey, and mascaropne cheese, this dish is so simple to make.   As a bonus, it can be served as an appetizer on a buffet table or as a light dessert or even as snack.   Because there are only three ingredients make sure that you use the best quality ingredients you can find.  If you don’t have a grill the figs can be cooked under the broiler.

GRILLED FIGS w/ HONEY & MASCARPONE 

8 ripe figs

1/4 cup mascarpone cheese, at room temperature

2 tablespoons honey

  • Lightly oil the grill rack or broiler pan with non-stick cooking spray.
  • Preheat a gas grill or broiler to high.
  • Slice the figs in half lengthwise.
  • Place a small dollop of mascarpone cheese onto the top of each fig.  Drizzle with the honey.
  • When the grill is hot, reduce the temperature to medium-high.  Place the figs directly onto the grill and close the lid.  Cook for 2-3 minute until the cheese melts and the outer skins of the figs just begin to char and turn crisp.  Serve immediately.

Serves: 4

 

Mascarpone Risotto w/ Garlicky Shrimp & Snow Peas

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It’s Fast Friday again and time for another fast and fabulous dinner suggestion. If you are anything like me, by the time Friday rolls around the last thing I want to do is cook a big meal yet we all still have to eat. The dishes featured in this series aren’t necessarily fancy but they bring together simple ingredients most people already have in their pantries or have easy access to and allow you to put a real meal on the table in between 30 and 45 minutes. Enjoy and if you have your own fast recipes you want to share, please send them my way and I will in turn share them with all of my readers.

Followers of this blog know that I love risotto. Whether I serve it as a side dish or as a meal unto itself it is probably my single favorite dish. While I love to mix delicious ingredients into my risotto, sometimes they taste even better when they are served on top of the rice. Case in point is this dish. Thanks to the addition of rich mascarpone cheese, this risotto is mild and extra creamy. Garlicky shrimp and crisp snow peas complete the dish by adding flavor and texture to the meal. And if you really love garlic, go ahead and add more to the shrimp; the dish will have an extra kick without being over powering.

MASCARPONE RISOTTO w/ GARLICKY SHRIMP & SNOW PEAS

For the risotto:

4 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 shallot, minced

1/2 cup dry white wine

4 cups low sodium chicken broth

1 1/2 cups arborio rice

1/3 cup mascarpone cheese

  • Heat the broth in a medium sized saucepan set over medium-high heat. Once it simmers, reduce the heat to keep it hot without boiling.
  • Melt the butter in a large heavy stock pot set over medium heat.
  • Add the shallot and stirring occasionally, cook until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes.
  • Add the rice and stir well until all of the grains are coated with the melted butter.
  • Pour in the wine and stir until it is almost completely evaporated.
  • Begin adding the broth, by the ladle full, stirring gently with each addition and cooking until most of the liquid has been absorbed by the rice before adding more. Do not let the rice dry out.
  • Continue adding the broth and cooking until the rice is creamy and tender but the grains are still firm. This should take about 15 to 20 minutes. You may not need to use all of the broth.
  • Off the heat and beat in the mascarpone cheese until blended.

For the shrimp & pea pods

1 teaspoon vegetable oil

6 garlic cloves, minced

1/2 pound medium shrimp, deveined and tails removed

2 cups snow peas

  • After the risotto has been cooking for about 10 minutes, heat the oil in a large wok set over high heat.
  • When the oil shimmers, add the garlic and toss for 30 seconds.
  • Add the shrimp and tossing regularly with bamboo tongs, cook until the shrimp is no longer pink, about 2-3 minutes.
  • Add in the peas and cook for an additional minute.
  • Serve immediately over the risotto.

Serves 4

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