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Let's Dish With Linda Lou

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

Coeur A La Creme

Coeur à la Crème is a cream cheese and whipped cream #dessert with a fruit topping that’s traditionally made in the shape of a heart. I’d compare this dessert to being a French style cheesecake. Coeur à la Crème, by it’s name alone,seems as though it would be so hard to make, it turns out is easier than a traditional cheesecake.

I saw this dessert made by Ina Garten, who I love, and knew I had to recreate this dish, but with a style of my own. At the time, I didn’t have the correct mold.  Ina Garten made this  dessert using a mesh sieve, so that’s what I used as well. Since then, I have bought a traditional Coeur à la Crème mold. Let me show you what one looks like.

Coeur A La Creme  Mold.jpg

Let me walk you through how easy this dessert is to make.

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Vanilla Sugar Jar

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Prep Time: 30 minutes
Inactive Prep Time: 24 hours
Equipment: Stand Mixer with whisk and paddle attachments
mesh sieve
heart shaped mold
large piece of cheese cloth
1 large bowl
sauce pot
large serving platter

Ingredients:
12 ounces of softened cream cheese
2 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
1 1/2 cups of confectioner sugar
zest of 1 lemon
1 vanilla bean, seeded
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 large piece of cheese cloth

Ingredients For Blueberry Sauce:
1 pint fresh blueberries
1.2 cup granulated sugar
juice of 1/2 a lemon
1/2 cup blueberry jam
1 sprig of fresh mint

Directions:
To start, add the softened cream to an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Let that mix on low speed for a couple of minutes. Next, add in the confectioner sugar and cream that together until the sugar is incorporated. A good tip is to have the mixer on very low speed while mixing in the sugar, otherwise the sugar will spray all over the place.

Next, it’s time to change to the whisk attachment before adding in all the flavorings. Add in the lemon zest, vanilla bean seeds, (tip: add the empty vanilla pod to your sugar container and you’ll have vanilla sugar for future recipes), pure vanilla extract, and heavy whipping cream. Again, start the mixer on low speed, then crank it up to high. Whisk all the ingredients together until they have the consistency of whipped cream.

Using a mesh sieve or the traditional Coeur à la Crème mold lined with cheesecloth as seen in the above pictures, transfer the flavored whipped cream to the sieve. Make sure you have a large enough piece of cheesecloth ( you can purchase cheesecloth at you local grocery store) to cover the top of the flavored cream too.  Place the sieve with the covered flavored cream mixture inside a larger bowl to allow the excess liquid to drain, as seen in the pictures above. Transfer to the refrigerator and let set up for 24 hours. Discard the liquid.

Directions For Blueberry Sauce:
Add the blueberries to a sauce pot, reserving a good handful back for garnish.  water, sugar, and fresh lemon juice.  On medium heat, stirring all the ingredients together, watching until it come to a bubble. Turn down to a simmer and let cook for about 5 to 7 minutes or until the blueberries start to burst and the juice thickened slightly.   I remove about 1/4 cup of the semi-cooked blueberries, place them into a small bowl cover with plastic wrap and transfer to the refrigerator along with the reserved fresh blueberries.

Add the cooked blueberries and blueberry jam to a food processor. Pulse until the mixture is smooth. Place into a plastic container with lid and chill overnight in the refrgerator. That’s the blueberry sauce. The semi-cooked and fresh blueberries will give our sauce a variety different textures.

The next day, remove the flavored cream from the frig.  Unfold the cheese cloth from the top of the mold. Place a large serving plate over the top and invert the whole dessert onto the plate. Carefully peel off  the rest of the cheese cloth from the cream. You’ll have a white silky dome shaped dessert with little specks of vanilla resting like a soft pillow on your serving plate.

Next, take the blueberry sauce, semi-cooked blueberries and fresh blueberries out of the frig. If the sauce it too thick, add 1 maybe 2 tablespoons of very hot water to thin out the sauce, and stir well. Using a spoon, spoon the sauce over the top the the dome shaped cream and let the sauce fall down all over the sides. Spoon over the semi-cooked blueberries on the top of the sauce and let them fall all down the sides as well. Finally take the fresh blueberries and sprinkle them all around the outside rim of the dessert. Garnish with a sprig of fresh mint.

You could the berry for the topping. Raspberries would be delicious.

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Farro Breakfast Bowl

Farro Breakfast Bowl (3)

Farro is an ancient grain from Rome. Its delicious nutty flavor and slightly chewy texture remind me a lot of barley. Farro has been a long time coming. You just couldn’t get your hands on it anywhere! Now, it’s readily available in your local grocery store.

I’m showing two pictures of my Farro Breakfast Bowls, one that’s topped with an egg, and one below without. That’s where Steve and I have a strong difference of opinion. I’m not even sure if “opinion” is even the right word. I’m no fan of the fried egg.  To be fair though, eggs are a big part of any breakfast and Steve loves them, that’s the reason for two pictures.

Anyway, this Farro Breakfast Bowl is easy to make while combining great flavor, color, and texture. Here’s how this dish comes together.

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Let’s talk about Farro

 

I took a screenshot of this brand because it’s the one I’ve used for this dish. You know I love to take help from the grocery store, this cooks up in about 25 minutes and includes some Porcini mushrooms. I’m SOLD!

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Yields: 4 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Equipment: 12-inch sautèpan, saucepan with tight-fitting lid.

Ingredients:
1 package of cooked Alessi Farro with Porcini mushrooms, 7-ounce package
1 pound, cooked bulk Italian chicken sausage (casings removed) (substitute pork or turkey Italian sausage)
1 small can white shoepeg corn (rinsed and drained)
1 cup of 1-inch diced red bell pepper (1 medium-size pepper)
1 cup of 1-inch diced yellow bell pepper (1 medium-size pepper)
1 cup yellow onion,  1-inch diced
1/2 cup carrots, 1-inch dice
1 tablespoon garlic, minced (3 cloves)
1 tablespoon Kosher salt
1 teaspoon of freshly cracked black pepper
1/4 cup Pistachios (optional)
7-ounces Feta cheese, cubed
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese,  shredded or grated
2 tablespoons of fresh basil, chopped
2 tablespoons of fresh chives, minced
2 tablespoons of fresh mint, chopped
1 fried egg (optional, cooked to the temperature of your choosing)

Directions For Farro:
Cooking Time: 25 minutes
Follow the instructions on the back of the package. Feel free to use either water or unsalted chicken stock for cooking the Farro. In place of the butter on the package, I substitute olive oil.

Tip: Cook the sausage while the Farro is cooking.

Directions:
Start by cooking the Farro. Next, in a large sautèpan on medium heat, add 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Using a wooden spoon start by breaking up the sausage. Turn and toss the sausage allowing it to brown on all sides or until the sausage is complete brown with no pink spots, around 10 minutes.

Add the onion, garlic, diced peppers and carrots to the pan. Season with Kosher salt and black pepper. Stir and continue cooking until vegetables become tender another 7-10 minutes.

Don’t worry about the sausage bits sticking to the bottom of the pan because once the vegetables are added, they’ll release their water allowing those bits to be released.

Using the back of a wooden spoon, scrape as much of those brown bits off the bottom of the pan, that’s all flavor!

Transfer the cooked Farro and shoepeg corn to a large mixing bowl. Using a slotted spoon, add the cooked sausage and vegetable mixture to the bowl. Next, add the pistachios (optional), Parmesan cheese, cubed feta, and fresh herbs, then toss together.

Ladle the Farro mixture into a serving bowl and top with a fried egg (optional). Serve hot!

 

 

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Vanilla, Cream Cheese Pound Cake With A Sweet Whipped Ricotta Cheese Topping

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This is a dessert that anyone can make from scratch without feeling intimidated by the process.

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Prep Time: 5 minutes ( mixing batter)
Cook Time 1 hour to 1 hour 10 minutes
Inactive Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time:  2 hours 15 minutes
Equipment: two-8 1/2 x 4 1/2 x 2 1/2- inch loaf pans
Electric mixer

Ingredients:
Non-stick baking spray
4 tablespoons of Turbinado sugar (sugar in the raw)
3 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
8 ounce cream cheese, room temperature
2 1/2 cups granulated sugar
6 large eggs, room temperature
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
seeds scraped from 1 vanilla bean
3 cups of sifted cake flour (measured after sifted)
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1 1/2 cups of Ricotta cheese
zest of 1 lemon
1/4 cup powdered sugar
fresh mint for garnish

Directions:
Preheat oven to 325  degrees F. Spray two non-stick metal loaf pans with non- stick spray. Sprinkle the insides of the pans with the Turbinado sugar, tilting the pans to cover evenly.

Place the butter, cream cheese, and granulated sugar in the bow of and electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat on medium speed for 2 1/2 to 3 minutes, until light and creamy. Scrape down the bowl with a rubber spatula to make sure ingredients are well mixed. With the mixer on low, add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well and scraping down the bowl before adding the next egg. Mix in the vanilla extract and vanilla seeds.

Combine the cake flour and salt in a large bowl. With the mixer on low, slowly add the flour mixture to the butter mixture, scraping down the bowl and the beater with a rubber spatula. Mix the batter with the spatula to be sure everything is well mixed.

Divide the batter evenly between the two loaf pans, smooth the tops, and bake in the  center rack of the oven for 1 hour to 1 hour 10 minutes. Cake is done when tooth pick or cake tester gadget, inserted into center of the cake come out clean.

Allow the cakes to cool in the pans for 30 minutes, then carefully turn them out onto a baking rack and cook for another 30 minutes

To serve, slice and add a dollop of the sweet Ricotta cream to the top and garnish with fresh mint.

 

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Honeydew Cucumber Soup

Soup’s Chillin’!
Let's DishHoney Dew Melon And Cucumber Soup

Honey Dew Melon And Cucumber Soup (2)

I love all the little toppings that go on top of a delicious soup as a garnish.  I also like to use certain garnishes to let you know what’s in a particular soup. Today I’m making a cold  Honeydew Cucumber Soup With Fresh Mint. I am displaying a variety of garnishes just to give you some ideas of what would really be delicious and pair well with this soup. You could use all or any combination of these toppings you like.

I think cold soups are underrated and not used nearly enough. They are really refreshing, and super healthy too!  You can use this as an appetizer, served in shot glasses, or as a first course.

I’m going to be using fresh mint from my garden for this recipe today.

 

First, I want to set aside the ingredients that will give my soup lots of texture, and also can be used as toppings or garnish.   Using my food Mandolin that you see in the picture above will make the perfect tool for thinly sliced cucumbers. I have some other goodies up my sleeve too!

 

To contrast the sweetness of the soup, I’ve crisped up some Pancetta. Pancetta is Italian bacon. It’s cured but not smoked and filled with peppercorns, and sometimes pistachios, delicious!

 

 

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Inactive Prep Time: chill for 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Equipment: Blender or food processor, food mandolin, Melon Baller
Yields: 4 servings

Ingredients:
1 to 2 melons (not over ripe) yielding 8 cups of  large dice honeydew melon, 1 heaping cup of melon balls for garnish
1 English (hothouse) cucumber peeled and diced, 1/2 cup small dice, reserved for garnish, 12 very thin slices ( using food Mandolin) of cucumber reserved for garnish
1/4 cup of fresh mint leaves plus 4 small sprigs for garnish
12 slices of crisped Pancetta
4 tablespoons of Greek yogurt (keep refrigerated until ready to serve)
1/2 cup of pistachios
2 tablespoons of Agave nectar
1/4 cup of water
1 lime juiced
1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon Kosher salt

Directions: First, is to get the ingredients you’ll be using for the garnish and toppings prepared. The pistachios,  small diced cucumber, melon balls, and crisped Pancetta.

Directions For Pancetta:
Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Place the pancetta slices, evenly spread out, on a baking sheet, lined with parchment paper. Bake for 8-10 minutes and let cool. Set on a plate lined with paper towel, set aside.

If needed, do this step in batches. In a food processor, add mint, lime juice, diced melon, diced cucumber, Agave nectar, water, cayenne pepper, Kosher salt. Pulse all the ingredients together, until a smooth consistency. Refrigerate for a few hours.

To serve,  divide equally among 4 bowls. To each of the bowls, I like to add 1 tablespoon of Greek yogurt, small diced cucumber, and melon balls.  Finally, garnish with cucumber slices and a sprig of mint.  Crispy pancetta and pistachios are optional. They will give that sweet and salty flavor combination, delicious!!!

 

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