Lighthouse cocktails

February 25, 2008

Staviken lighthouse

To the Lighthouse!

I think Sam and Harry would enjoy honeymooning in one of several authentic lighthouse inns, including The Stavik Lighthouse (Stavikens Fyr, photo at left), a romantically-bleak lighthouse in Sweden that would be my personal favorite, and might have been Virginia Woolf’s favorite too, but it’s no doubt colder than a polar bear’s behind at this time of year. 

In February, they may prefer someplace warm like Cape Otway Lightstation (photo, below), the oldest lighthouse in Australia.   And since the Cape Otway cafe already has a nice salmon quiche on their menu, all that’s left is to mix Sam and Harry a couple of “Lighthouses” to go with it.  Of course!!Almostgotit   

Lighthouse recipeCape Otway Lightstation

 For each serving:
1/3 oz Kahlua® coffee liqueur
1/3 oz Bailey’s® Irish cream
1/3 oz 151-proof rum

Pour kahlua into a shot glass. With a spoon, slowly pour irish cream into the shot glass on top of the kahlua. Pour the 151 rum, again with the spoon, slowly on top of the irish cream and light on fire. Blow flame out before drinking.


Baked Bananas with Rum Sauce

February 24, 2008
Aruba
Aruba (Image: Manchebo Beach Resort & Spa)

I feel guilty.  Who am I to deny Harry and Sam a simple, straightforward honeymoon in a tropical paradise?  So today I’m sending them to Aruba, and I’ve invented a new recipe for them so they can enjoy a typical Aruba treat (baked bananas) made extra celebratory with a wonderfully-Caribbean rum sauce to go on top.  Enjoy! – Almostgotit 

Baked Bananas with brown sugar rum sauce

6 firm, but ripe bananas
3 Tablespoons butter
3 Tablespoons lemon juice
3 Tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
 
Sauce
1 cup brown sugar, packed
2 tablespoons dark corn syrup
2 tablespoons rum
2 tablespoons butter
1/3 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Put butter and lemon juice in 9” x 13” baking dish, and place in oven just until butter is melted.  Stir lemon juice into the melted butter until mixed. Split bananas in half lengthwise and arrange bananas in baking dish, rolling in the butter mixture first to coat. In small bowl stir together brown sugar and cinnamon. Sprinkle sugar mixture on top of bananas. Bake 20 minutes or just until bananas are heated through and butter begins to bubble. Don’t overcook.

Meanwhile, stir all sauce ingredients together in a medium saucepan, and bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer for 2 minutes. The mixture will foam, so watch that it doesn’t boil over.  Cool sauce to room temperature.

To serve, spoon sauce over bananas; garnish with a sprinkle of lemon or orange zest and/or some shredded coconut.

Wouldn’t these be good cut up and served over vanilla ice cream, or stuffed into crêpes?


A treehouse, a free house, a special you and me house

February 23, 2008

What a place to spend a honeymoon!  Every couple in love needs their own castle-in-the-sky.  Happy Weekend to the Newlyweds from Almostgotit!


Chocolate Raspberry Napoleons With Raspberry Mascarpone Cream

February 22, 2008


The Viking Dinner Yurt in Park City, Utah

Yurts are portable, tent-like structures used for centuries by Mongolian nomads in the steppes of Central Asia. Yurts are also a God-send for cross-country skiers in the mountainous American West, providing trail-side lodging (and some include full catering!) for hikers or — in winter– cross country skiers. In most cases, this means one only has to carry one’s clothing from yurt to yurt, and sometimes even this service can be provided. 

There is beautiful skiing this time of year in the Minnesota Boundary Waters, if Sam and Harry don’t mind doing some of the cooking.  Après ski, Sam would be fully justified in using as much butter as she’d like!  For a considerable step up in luxury, the Blue Moon Yurt in McCall, Idaho offers a 5-course gourmet dinner, while at the Viking Dinner Yurt in Utah (elevation: 8000 feet!), Sam and Harry could feast on an elegant, Scandanavian-style dinner.  The Viking’s award-winning menu often features a scrumptious soft-berry dessert, and the whole deal (including the chef) arrives via snowmobile! – Almostgotit

INGREDIENTS

Chocolate Layers:
8 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped

Raspberry Mascarpone Cream:
1 – 8 ounce container mascarpone cheese* or 8 ounce package cream cheese (room temp)
¼ cup sugar
2 Tablespoons Framboise (or other raspberry liqueur)
1 cup chilled heavy whipping cream

Red Raspberry Puree:
2 cups whole frozen raspberries (about 8 ounces) thawed
2 Tablespoons Framboise (or other raspberry liqueur), may add more to taste
3 Tablespoons sugar
1 Tablespoon cornstarch

DIRECTIONS

For Chocolate Layers: 
Cover the bottom of a cookie sheet or jelly roll pan with foil, tucking ends under, making sure foil is tight.  Mark 15 x 9-inch rectangle on foil.  In top of double boiler set over barely simmering water, melt chocolate (do not allow bottom of pan to touch water) stirring until smooth, approximately 5-7 minutes.  Pour onto foil and spread quickly and evenly to the same thickness to cover rectangle; a pastry chef’s knife works best.  Chill in refrigerator until set but not hard, about 7 minutes.  With a sharp knife, cut chocolate rectangle lengthwise into three equal strips, each about three inches wide.  Cut each strip into six equal pieces, each about two and one-half inches wide.  Chill one hour.  (Can be made one week ahead.  Cover; keep refrigerated).

For Raspberry Mascarpone Cream: 
Beat mascarpone cheese, sugar and Framboise together in a medium bowl with an electric mixer.  Add half the cream and beat until soft peaks form.  Add the rest of the cream and beat until thick and stiff.  Cover and chill for one hour.

For Raspberry Puree: 
Place thawed raspberries in food processor or blender.  Strain through a fine sieve to remove seeds and place in small saucepan.  Stir sugar and cornstarch together and add to puree, along with the Framboise.  Heat, stirring until thickened and glossy.  Refrigerate until ready to use.  (Note: if puree is too cold it may be too thick to create decorative hearts—microwave for 30-40 seconds before use).

To Assemble Napoleons: 
Place one chocolate square on each of the six plates.  Spread with three tablespoons of the raspberry mascarpone cream mixture. Use a toothpick to dot edges of mascarpone cream with the raspberry puree.  Draw the toothpick through the center of each dot to slightly below center, to create a heart shape.  Top with another chocolate piece, spread mascarpone over, repeat with raspberry puree dots/hearts.  Top with last chocolate piece and finish with a dollop of mascarpone cream and garnish with fresh raspberries and/or puree and shaved chocolate.

May be plated with a pool of additional raspberry puree.  Approximate preparation time: 40 minutes plus chilling time .  SERVES 6

Italian mascarpone cheese is available at Italian markets and many supermarkets.

Recipe provided by the Oregon Raspberry & Blackberry Commission


Chocolate Milk

September 23, 2007

Remember chocolate milk in those little waxed-paper cartons at school? Well, that treat, tasty though it might have been at the time, was nothing like this fabulous Chocolate Milk. This is basically a design-your-own chocolate drink. Add whatever syrups and flavorings you fancy. If you’re making it for children or don’t want alcohol, substitute flavored syrups like raspberry or caramel for the liqueur and extract. You can serve it cold or hot, with whipped cream or marshmallows. But however you serve it … Enjoy! SAM

8 ounces milk
1 tablespoon chocolate syrup
1 tablespoon liqueur: hazelnut, almond, orange, etc.
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)

In a tall glass, combine the milk, chocolate syrup, liqueur, and extract, stirring until smooth. Serve cold or hot.
Makes 1 glass.


Chocolate Truffles

September 20, 2007

rrchocolatepowdercan.jpg

While you’re in a candy-making mood … SAM

1 (12-ounce) package semisweet chocolate morsels
8 tablespoons butter (1 stick)
2 egg yolks
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup amaretto liqueur
1/2 cup cocoa powder

In the top of a double boiler over simmering water, melt the chocolate. Remove from the heat and add the butter, 1 tablespoon at a time, stirring until melted. With an electric mixer on high speed, beat the egg yolks until lemon colored. Gradually beat in 1/4 of the chocolate mixture. Add the egg mixture to the remaining chocolate mixture by hand, stirring constantly. Stir in the cream and amaretto. Pour the batter into the top of the double boiler and cook over simmering water for 1 minute or until thickened and smooth, stirring constantly. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Form into 1-inch balls and roll in cocoa powder. Store in the refrigerator.
Makes about 4 dozen truffles.


Curried Red Dal

September 5, 2007

rrnewpotatored.jpg

Like New Orleans red beans and rice, this hot, spicy lentil stew is the ultimate in comfort food. It’s great in winter made with canned tomatoes, but fresh summer tomatoes take it to new heights. Serve it with Pickled Slaw and Raita, that cooling combination of yogurt and cucumber

, and bask in the compliments. SAM

2 medium sweet onions, thinly sliced and divided
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
3/4 pound new potatoes
3 cups water, divided
1 cup red lentils
3 cloves garlic, pressed
1 bay leaf
1 to 2 teaspoons hot curry powder
1/2 teaspoon roasted, ground cumin
1/3 cup marsala wine or dry sherry
1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained
4 cups fresh peeled, chopped tomatoes or 1 (28-ounce) can tomatoes in juice
Sea salt to taste

Set aside one slice of onion. In a large chef’s pan sweat the remaining onions in 1 tablespoon oil until translucent, stirring occasionally, about 30 minutes. In a small saucepan, cover the potatoes with cold water. Simmer, covered, until tender, about 25 minutes. Drain and chop roughly. Rinse the lentils and place in a medium chef’s pan with 3 cups water and the reserved slice of onion. Simmer, covered, until soft and flaky, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat. Add the garlic and bay leaf. When the onions are sweated, raise the heat to medium high and add the curry powder and cumin. Stir until aromatic, about 3 minutes. Add the wine and stir until reduced, about 2 minutes. Add the lentil mixture, potatoes, black beans, and tomatoes and salt to taste. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, uncovered, stirring frequently, until creamy, about 30 minutes. Serve over basmati rice or couscous with Pickled Slaw and Raita, or thin with yogurt, cream, or water for soup.
Makes 3 quarts.