19 April 2014

Three-Cheese Chocolate Truffles

Three-Cheese Chocolate Truffles
Chocolate cheese has been available for many years in Wisconsin, but it's not something I consume more than once every five years. It's pricey, for one thing, and certainly not in league with spinach, tomatoes and blueberries as a desirable food for gorging.

But it's soooo delicious.

After making and enjoying these truffles last month, it seemed like a great idea to make more for Easter. But life intervened, as it always does, and the carton of Mascarpone has been sitting in my cheese drawer waiting to be opened and savored. Its time had come.

I also had goat cheese and a bit of Brie. Here's how it all worked out:

Easy Three-Cheese Chocolate Easter Truffles
  • 8 ounces coffee-flavored Mascarpone cheese, softened
  • 4 ounces unripened goat cheese, softened
  • 2 teaspoons Brie, softened
  • 1/4 cup cocoa, sifted
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1/8 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • finely-ground almonds
Allow the cheeses to soften to room temperature. Blend in mixing bowl, using a fork. Sift in sugars and cocoa and add extracts. Store covered in refrigerator until slightly chilled. Texture must be cool but rollable. Using hands, form mixture into balls about the size of a large marble.

Immediately coat the truffle with finely ground almonds, in a bowl or a low baking dish. It's best to place the truffle in a mini-cupcake baking cup. Chill covered. The truffles will remain fresh for up to three days but must be kept refrigerated.

I wish you all a joyous and peaceful Easter and Passover season.

18 April 2014

Carrot-Raisin Slaw with Cashews

Carrot Slaw with Dressing
Asparagus may be the vegetable we most associate with spring, but in popular culture, the carrot reigns supreme as an edible icon. I love carrots: their color, flavor, association with rabbits, nutrients and lore. Remember your mother telling you that eating carrots was good for your eyes?

A few years ago, multi colored carrots began appearing at area farm markets. I love them for the gentle variations in flavor and the way they look when prepared together.

Carrots pair well with lamb or ham, and looks good when sharing table space with a green vegetable.

Although our plans are to dine out on Sunday, I couldn't let the weekend pass without making at least one carrot dish, one that complements a formal meal as well as a sandwich: Carrot-Raisin Slaw.

For the dressing:
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon fruity balsamic vinegar (I used pomegranate)
  • 2 teaspoons brown sugar
  • generous dash cinnamon
  • dash dried thyme leaves
  • dash sea salt
For the salad:
  • 2 cups grated or julienned carrots (about three large carrots)
  • 1/4 cup raisins 
  • 1/4 cup peanuts or cashews, coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 cup sweet onion, minced (optional)

Make the dressing first, blending the ingredients well and setting aside so the flavors marry.

Grate or julienne the carrots; I used a julienne tool similar to this one. Add the raisins, onion and nuts. Chill. Add the dressing before serving as the color in the carrots will turn the dressing pink if the dressing is added too soon.

I used purple carrots, which are loaded with beta carotene.

This lovely little slaw would be elegant on the dinner table yet perfect with leftovers. It's a bit like wearing jeans with a dressy shirt and pearls.

Why not?

17 April 2014

Easter Brunch Ideas

Apricot Bread for bread pudding

It doesn't feel much like April in Wisconsin today. But it sounds like it: The birds might be confused by the snow, but they have begun their spring songs, marking their turf and jockeying for nesting space.

I love spring. I'd to see some green grass instead of newly-fallen snow.

But I'm going to brunch on Easter Sunday and looking forward to a spring salad luncheon at my neighborhood church. These are seasonal culinary rituals I cherish.

Planning a brunch or luncheon yourself? Hear are some recipes to get you started:

Basic Cold Broccoli Salad (with Blue Cheese, Bacon, Cranberries and Cashews)

Cold Broccoli Salad with Blue Cheese, Bacon, Cranberries and Cashews
About twice a week I stock up on several bunches of fresh broccoli. It is a lot like chicken: A basic food that can be prepared in a variety of ways, all equally delicious.

A few weeks ago, I posted my recipe for Basic Warm Broccoli Salad. I probably prepare this at least twice a month, in a variety of ways. The same goes for Basic Cold Broccoli Salad.

16 April 2014

Cole Slaw Ham Salad with Grilled Gouda-Cheddar Sandwiches

Cole Slaw Ham Salad with a Grilled Gouda-Cheddar Sandwich
Recipes and recipes clippings are truly a primary source for amateur genealogists, but I wonder how many overlook them as clues to a family's past?

15 April 2014

Breakfast Casserole with Ham, Brie and Lingonberries - and Swedish Rye Bread

Transparency is always the best policy when blogging. If you try to assume a role, or pretend to be what you are not, readers will catch on sooner or later.

So let me be perfectly transparent: This dish started out as a grilled sandwich. Visually seduced by all the grilled cheese sandwiches other bloggers have posted lately, especially those oozing with Brie, I visualized what I was going to call a Door County Swedish Grilled Sandwich, on Swedish rye with lingonberries and ham.

14 April 2014

Sweet Italian Sausage with Peppers and Olives

Sweet Italian Sausage with Peppers and Olives

Can it be that eight years after starting this blog I've finally found its voice? It is something I have struggled with, especially the past two years, even though I blogged rather sporadically until recently.