Let's Dish With Linda Lou

Sharing My Recipes, My Life, And The Food Tale Of Two Cities

Eton Mess By Way Of Italy

2015-03-26 13.13.04

Eton Mess is traditionally an English dessert with fresh strawberries, whipped cream, and pieces of meringue. Now that’s sounds absolutely delicious, but I wanted to put an Italian flare to this dessert. I think it’s going to be a huge hit tonight for dessert, at the dinner I’m hosting for my friends. So I really need to get back to work on the rest of the meal. Not to worry I’ll be posting this recipe very soon.

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Lemon Ricotta Cream Filled Shortbread Cookies

2015-03-18 20.11.25

I love #shortbread cookies, but filled with a lemon Ricotta cream, that’s just taking them to the next level of awesome. One bite into these delicious cookies and you’ll #tastethelove.  This recipe is so easy that it’s no problem to whip them up whenever you want. I like to start out by making the filling. This way it’s really cold by the time the cookies have cooled and are ready to be filled.  All it takes is whole milk Ricotta, confectioner’s sugar, better known as powdered sugar, and lemon zest. Mix this all together in a bowl.  After it’s mixed really well. cover and refrigerate for 20-30 minutes. Now here’s how to make the dough for the shortbread.

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Using a mixer fitted with the paddle, cream the room temperature butter, vanilla extract, and sugar together. Sift the flour and corn starch together into a large bowl. With a whisk, whisk the flour and corn starch together until they are well combined. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the creamed butter. once the dough  comes together, turn the mixer off. If the dough seems too dry add in 1 more tablespoon of soften butter, but only if needed. Form the dough into a ball, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 20-30 minutes. Flour your surface are and roll the dough out and cut into rounds. Place them on lined baking sheets using parchment paper, and bake. Due to the size of my oven, I bake them off in batches. I just refrigerate the other trays until they’re ready to go into the oven. Let completely cool before filling them with the lemon Ricotta cream.

2015-03-18 20.11.25

Yields: 32- cookies
Inactive Prep Time: 20-30 minutes
Prep Time: 15 minutes (for rolling out the dough and cutting out the cookies)
Cook Time: 25 minutes

2 sticks of soften unsalted butter, (plus 1 tablespoon if needed)
1 cup of sugar
1 tablespoon of pure vanilla extract
2 cups of all-purpose flour
1 scant cup of corn starch (scant= almost 1 cup)
1-15 ounce container of whole milk Ricotta cheese
8 ounces or 1/2 a pound of powdered sugar
zest of a lemon

Special equipment:  a sifter, and a 3 or 4 inch fluted cookie cutter
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Line your baking sheets with parchment paper
Make the lemon Ricotta filling.. While making the filling, cream the butter, vanilla extract, and sugar together. After the filling is well mixed refrigerate. Next add the sifted dry ingredients to the mixer slowly. Once the dough has come together, and it’s not too dry where you don’t need to add that extra butter, dump it out onto a floured surface. Form into a round disk, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 20-30 minutes along with the filling. Roll the dough out onto a lightly floured surface about 1/4 inch thick, using the fluted cookie cutter. Place them onto the lined baking sheets. After the cookies have baked for 25 minutes, and cooled completely, take a generous spoonful of the filling and place in on the underside of the cookie and place the other one capturing the filling in the middle. You want the tops side of the cookies to be on the top and bottom of the cookie sandwich.

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Easter Is Upon Us!

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I’m having my friends the Theodore’s, Cheri and Scott over for dinner. They are such dear friends, and are moving soon, so I thought it would be great to have them over for a nice dinner together with an Easter theme. They have two children, Story and Jake, so I wanted the atmosphere to be kid friendly too. I thought the table centerpiece should “SCREAM” sweetness, there should always be a basket of colorful Easter eggs waiting in the wings, and the outdoors should say, “Spring time is here”. The menu will feature #Spring vegetables and a very berry dessert.

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Meatballs And Noodles


2015-03-12 16.50.37 2015-03-13 07.26.18

Same dish but with two different broths. I like mine with to have a soupier broth, so I can dunk some crusty bread into it and sop all that goodness up. Were as, Steve likes his to have a thicker consistency.  I suppose it’s a personal preference. I’m going to tell you how to make this delicious recipe. I’ll also tell you how you can thicken the broth up to be like what you would get in a chicken and dumpling recipe.

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First, I always have my veggies prepped like you see here.I also have my walnut size meatballs baking off in the oven and I’ll tell you how I made those in a minute. In a large Dutch oven, I melt some unsalted butter along with some olive oil on med heat. I start with sauteing the onions for a couple of minutes, until they start to soften. Once that’s happened, I add in the celery, carrots, and minced garlic.  I sprinkle in some Kosher salt, and black pepper, stirring all the veggies around and letting them saute for another couple of minutes. I season the veggies now because, adding salt after the mushrooms have been added to the pot will cause the mushrooms to release extra water and they won’t brown nicely. Lastly, I toss in the mushrooms with some fresh thyme leaves. stirring them in with the other veggies. I give the mushrooms some time to cook so they will release some of their water and start to get a nice brown color to them.

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Now is the time I like to add my liquid for the #meatballs and noodles. I have turned up the stove from med to med high before adding in beef broth, water, and some Worcestershire sauce, for that savory flavor that I just love. I’ve also added in a little Kitchen Bouquet. Now this is a browning and seasoning sauce that’s used a lot in gravy and stews. It really just deepens the brown color of the beef broth without adding a salty flavor. You can see what a deep dark brown color the broth has in this picture. I bring this up to a bubble, then reduce it to a slow simmer. Now for those meatballs.

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I bought 2 pounds of lean ground sirloin. In a large bowl I add in some heavy cream, chopped flat leaf Italian parsley, Italian style bread crumbs, Kosher salt, black pepper, Worcestershire sauce, fresh grated garlic, ketchup, grated Parmesan cheese, eggs, and a pinch of crushed red pepper flakes. I mixed all these ingredients together before adding in the ground sirloin. I do it this way so not as to over mix the meat. This way it will ensure you will have tender meatballs. I mix the meat through gently with all the flavorings just enough to where everything is combined evenly. Next I make walnut size balls using a small ice cream scoop. Lay them all out onto parchment paper that’s been sprayed with a little non- stick cooking spray. I also spray the tops of the meatballs with the olive oil non stick cooking spray to help them brown evenly. I bake them off for around 15-20 minutes at 375 degrees or until they have browned nicely. Once they’ve browned I add them to the pot where they will continue cooking and absorb that scrumptious broth that’s been simmering. I turn the heat back up to a med to med high heat to get the temperature back up to a bubble before adding in the egg noodles. The noodles I’m using are found in the freezer section of the grocery store.

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Once the pot of meatballs are back up to a bubble I add in the frozen noodles. Following the instructions on the length of time for the noodles to cook, about 18-20 minutes. At this point the meatballs and noodles are done and ready to eat. Remember how I was saying that Steve likes his to have a thicker broth. Well, here’s what I do here. I take half of the meatballs and noodles out and transfer it to another pot. The first pot I put a lid on to keep it nice and hot. I take this second pot hat I have on med heat, I’m going to thicken the broth. I’m going to add in a slurry of corn starch and water. All that this is, is one heaping tablespoon of corn starch that I whisked into a 1/4 cup of water. Once the slurry is mixed well I add it to the second pot, stirring continually as it comes back up to a boil. Once at a boil the sauce will have thicken. Take the second pot off the heat and cover until you are ready to serve.

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You can see the difference in the consistency of the two here above. Once is more like a hearty soup, the other has style like a chicken a dumplings would have. Both are very delicious, it’s all just a personal preference.

Yields: 6-8 servings
Prep Time: 30-40 minutes ( this includes meatball and veggie prep)

Ingredients For Meatballs:
2 pounds of ground sirloin
1 tablespoon of Kosher salt
1 teaspoon of black pepper
1 teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes
6 dashes of Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup of heavy cream
1/4 cup of ketchup
1/2 cup of grated Parmesan cheese
1-1/2 cups of Italian style bread crumbs
1/4 cup of heavy cream
2 large eggs, beaten

Directions for meatballs;
Mix all the ingredients except for the ground sirloin in a large bowl. Next add in the meat. Gently mix the meat through until everything is just combined, but everything is evenly distributed through the meat. Have oven set to 375 degrees. Scoop out the meatballs onto baking sheets lined and with parchment paper that have been sprayed with olive oil non-stick cooking spray. Then spray the tops of the meatballs with the non-stick spray to coat them lightly. Bake off for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.

Ingredients For Soup:
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 tablespoon of unsalted butter
1 diced onion
2 cups of diced carrots
1 pint of creminin mushrooms that have been quartered
1 cup of diced celery
3 cloves of garlic cloves minced
1/4 cup of Kitchen Bouquet
4 dashes of Worcestershire sauce
2 quarts of low sodium beef broth
4 cups of water
1 tablespoon of Kosher salt
1 teaspoon of black pepper
1 tablespoon of fresh thyme leaves
1 package of frozen egg noodles
(Ingredients for slurry):
1 heaping tablespoon of corn starch
1/4 cup of water

Directions For Soup:
While the meatballs are baking off in the oven, have a large Dutch oven, on med heat. Melt the butter and olive oil. Toss in the onions and let saute for a minute add all the other veggies except the mushrooms. Let saute for 3-5 minutes, seasoning them with salt and pepper. Once they have begun to soften, add in the mushrooms and fresh thyme. Again let them saute stirring them in with the other veggies. After mushroom have browned nicely, and in all the liquids, beef broth, water Worcestershire sauce and Kitchen Bouquet. Tun up to med high heat and bring all this up to a boil, .By this time the meatball should be ready to come out of the oven. Add them into the pot carefully. Next add in the egg noodles and stir them through. Turn the pot down to med, place the lid on, but slightly cracked let all this simmer, letting this cook for another 20 minutes. Keep your eye on the pot to make sure it doesn’t bubble over having the lid on. Remove the lid and at this point the noodle will then have had plumped up, and the meatballs and noodles are ready. If you want a thicker broth, you can add a slurry to the pot by adding in 1 tablespoon of corn starch to a 1/4 cup of water. Whisk those together and pour into the pot. Bring everything back up to a bubble and the sauce will have thickened slightly, Turn the heat off right away, place a lid on the pot and let it rest for a couple of minutes. You will see a thicker consistency in the sauce.

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