Let's Dish With Linda Lou

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

Eton Mess By Way Of Italy

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This dessert is my favorite to serve when I have guests over. I think it’s the “WOW” factor of Eton MessBy Way Of Italy.

My mom who was born in London, England,  and then on my dad’s side of the family was from Sicily. This combination, from my background, definitely allows for awesome fusions dishes and desserts.

Eton Mess is a traditional English dessert consisting of a mixture of strawberries, broken meringue, and double cream. As a young girl, who lived in London in the early ’70s, with my sister and mother, I was exposed to a whole new style of food. Eton Mess was a dessert we’d have after Sunday supper. I remember my mom always let me help, telling me that I could be as creative as I wanted to be when assembling this dessert.

I thought I would update this recipe by taking a slight detour through Italy. Bringing my Italian influences onto the scene.

I’m using a mix of fresh berries, Mascarpone  (Italian cream cheese) mixed with lemon zest, and broken turtle pecan Biscotti cookies. Topped off with a sprig of fresh mint and a dusting of powdered sugar.

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Yields: 6 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Equipment: 1 rimmed baking sheet pan, 6 parfait glasses

1 box of turtle pecan Biscotti cookies
2 8-ounce containers of Mascarpone, room temperature
Zest of 1 lemon
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract
1/2 pint blackberries
1/2 pint blueberries
1/2 pint raspberries
10 large strawberries, hulled and quartered
6 small sprigs of fresh mint for garnish
powdered sugar, for dusting the tops

Start by setting up 6 parfait glasses on a rimmed baking sheet pan. Using a small mallet, break up the Biscotti in their package. In a large bowl, add all the berries (reserving a variety of fresh berries for the top).

To the berries, add the granulated sugar, stir to coat all the berries. Let the berries macerate in the sugar for a few minutes. While the berries are macerating, in another bowl, add the Mascarpone, powdered sugar, vanilla extract, and lemon zest, mix until smooth.

Now it’s just a matter of assembling this dessert. Start with a spoonful of the crumbled Biscotti, next, a spoonful of the Mascarpone mixture. Then a spoonful of the berries. Repeat this process ending with a few of the reserved fresh berries and the crumbled Biscotti on the top. Garnish each Eton Mess By Way Of Italy with a sprig of fresh mint and a dusting of powdered sugar.

This dessert is served best chilled for a least 15 minutes.

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Autumn Squash Soup

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This soup is so delicious and is a great way to ring in the fall season. I serve it with a drizzle of E.V.O.O,  homemade Ciabatta croutons, fresh chives, and roasted Pepitas, Mexican pumpkin seeds. I also make a few grilled Mozzarella cheese sandwiches for dunking. I’ts a nice way to let your family and guests customize their soup. There are a few steps in making this soup, but they are all really easy.

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The first step is to roast off the butternut squash. I have two squash because I need 6 heaping cups of diced squash. I peel the squash, clean out the seeds and cut them all into about 1-1/2 inch cubes, so they’ll roast evenly. I spread them out on sheet pans in 1 layer, drizzle olive oil, Kosher salt and black pepper on them. I toss them with my hands so they all get well coated. I place them into a preheated 425 degree oven for about 15-20 minutes. They just need to  caramelize and be fork tender.

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So while the butternut squash is in the oven I start on the base for my soup. I add garlic and a sweet onion that I’ve diced up into a food processor. I pulse those until they are pureed. Transfer the pureed onion and garlic to a bowl and get my soup pot ready. To the pot, on med heat, I add 2 tablespoons of olive oil along with ground cumin and ground chipotle powder. Once the oil becomes fragrant, I add the pureed onion mixture to the pot. I stir all this together so the onion mixture get nicely coated with the spices. While this sautes for a couple of minutes, I add in Kosher salt and brown sugar. I mix those spices to combine. At this point, I turn the heat down to warm while I take the squash out of the oven.

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You can see how the butternut squash has become nice and caramelized. In batches, I add the roasted squash to the food processor, then transfer it all to a bowl. Once it’s all been processed, I turn the heat, on the pot, back up to med and add the pureed butternut squash to the pot. I mix that through with the sauteed onions. Next, I add in pumpkin puree and stir that through.

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Now for the liquid, I add over a quart of low sodium chicken broth to the pot and stir this through. I bring the soup up to a very low boil, stirring continuously. Then turn the heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes. Next, I add in a couple of tablespoons of heavy cream for some richness. I give that a big stir, then turn the heat off and cover to keep warm. Soup’s ready. While it’s staying nice and warm, I toast off some Pepitas on a sheet pan. I just spread them out evenly and place them into a preheated 350 degree oven for 5-7 minutes or until you can smell them. I also have some fresh chives that I finely minced and Ciabatta croutons. Recipe for croutons at http://lindalou

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Yields: 4-6 servings
Total Cook Time: 35-40 minutes
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Equipment: Food Processor, sheet pans, 6 qt soup pot

6 heaping cups of diced roasted butternut squash
1 cup of pureed onions (1-1/2 large diced onions)
2 cloves of pureed garlic
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground chipotle powder ( add more if you like more heat)
1 tablespoon light brown sugar
1 tablespoon Kosher salt
1-15 ounce can pumpkin puree
6 cups of low sodium chicken broth
2 tablespoons of heavy cream
chives for garnish
roasted Pepitas for garnish
Ciabatta croutons (optional)
Mozzarella grilled cheese sandwiches (optional)

First, clean and dice the butternut squash. Spread 3 cups of dice squash per sheet pan.  Season 1 tablespoon Kosher salt, 1 teaspoon of black pepper and drizzle with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, per sheet pan. Toss everything together and roast off. in a preheated 425 degree oven, for 15-20 minutes or until fork tender and caramelized. While that’s roasting puree the diced onion and garlic. Next, pull the squash out of the oven and add to food processor in batches. Transfer the squash puree to a bowl. Have soup pot ready on med heat. Add the spices to the olive oil and and stir them through until fragrant. To the oil, add in the pureed onions and Kosher salt. Stir through until the onions pick up the flavor of the spices, a couple of minutes or so. Then add in the Kosher salt and brown sugar. Stir to combine. To that, add in the butternut squash puree. Combine the squash with the onions and then to that add the pumpkin puree and stir. Still on med heat, add the low sodium chicken broth stirring that through. Bring the soup up to a low boil then reduce the heat to low. Let simmer for 15 minutes.  Next, add in the heavy cream. Once more stir the cream to combine, turn the heat off, and cover to stay warm. Finally prepare the Pepitas and chopped chives. The soup, by itself, is gluten free.

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Ginto Izakaya Japonaise/ Japanese Eatery San Francisco

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Located at 658 Market St. San Francisco, CA. 94104. in the financial district. Check out their Facebook page at  If you love Japanese cuisine, and live or are visiting the Bay area, this is a must stop. My daughter Melissa says it’s fantastic.

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