L’s Plum Torte

September 12, 2013

For years I have waited for the late summer harvest of Italian plums ( or prune plums if you know them that way) and the annual treat that has become tradition…Plum Torte. I’m not sure where the original recipe came from ( I suspect the New York Times) but my friend  L  has been baking them up, wrapping them up and freezing them up for more years than I care to count. I remember on many  night  flights back home to Los Angeles I would be guarding one of these…frozen solid, double wrapped for travel..in my carry on duffel. Upon arrival it was conveniently thawed. I would brew up a pot of Cafe Verona, cut myself a slice ( or two ) and watch the California sunrise. I’m not sure I have even made this more than once or twice because I am always blessed from L’s September stash. But today, as I haven’t run into any choice  plums at the market I am trying it with figs as my substitute. They may lack the sweet tartness that is characteristic of the plums but with a squeeze of lemon juice I think they will fill in nicely.rpfigFbasketoffigsFtortebwlFcrpfigtort3FfgtortwoodF

For the original New York Times recipe: http://www.nytimes.com/2005/09/21/dining/216frex.html?_r=0

OK… I will admit that while this fig version is good, keep an eye out for the plums and hold out if you can. Sometimes there is really nothing better than the original.italplums5F

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Top ’em off…

August 31, 2013

with a little Zabaglione. Whatever summer fruit combination  you still can’t get enough of…peaches, blueberries, strawberries,raspberries or pluots…they can all be transformed with a blanket of this airy Italian custard. Spoon it over berries straight up or broiled over stone fruit and you’ll be amazed at what magic three ingredients can create . I’ve lightened this version up with Prosecco instead of the traditional Marsala, for the perfect simple summer dessert.

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You can find the original recipe here,http://www.chow.com/recipes/11956-broiled-pluots-with-zabaglione

 

mmmm…cake

May 7, 2013

Crazy Chocolate Cake to be more accurate. About the only crazy thing I recognize , other than there are no eggs in this cake, is the fact that I have never had a can of cocoa powder in my kitchen… ever. I have never cooked or baked with it but decided that I needed to give it a try when I saw this recipe ( and several others that were near identicle) and read the raves. In true simplequietmodern  fashion it went together quickly with a bowl and a wooden spoon…no power appliances needed. Who’s going to argue with a deep rich chocolate cake made from scratch?  The frosting? What do you think?  Something white and fluffy like a Seven Minute Frosting or more chocolate like a Sour Cream Ganache? For now I think I’ll go with a little whipped cream and some berries.crzychocDRY2FcrzychocWwetFcrzychocpourFcrzychocbkd2AFStrwbrry2AF

For the recipe go here: http://veganconnection.com/recipes/crazy.htm and if you’d like to trick it out for a special occasion go here:http://www.thehungrymouse.com/2010/04/07/mocha-layer-cake-with-sour-cream-ganache/

Stop the madness.

December 8, 2012

Well, at least the cookie madness. Where is it written that one must make dozens of variety of Christmas cookies to have a festive holiday? It’s tempting, sure, when they are pictured everywhere starting in October, luring you in with their exotic ingredients or a clever (?) twist on the classic. Well, keep it simple and keep your sanity. Limit your cookie baking to one or two recipes that you’ve made before, are familiar with and that you know your family and friends enjoy. These Hazelnut Espresso cookies from the kitchens at Everyday Food are at the top my list. And, even though I could  make them all year-long, I keep them as a special holiday treat along with a simple shortbread or Ina’s Rugelach.tstdHZLnutz4FIngrds_HzlntEsprssoFcookieDwHzlFcrop_esprssoHZLNT3f

http://www.marthastewart.com/341852/hazelnut-espresso-cookies

Red White and Blueberry

June 30, 2012

Well, that would have been a more appropriate plan for the 4th of July, but I really love blueberries and nectarines. It’s my favorite of the ” crisp” desserts. It’s simple. I love blueberries. I love nectarines.I love them together. OK, then it got a little confusing when I ran into something called a Peacharine~ 1/2 peach 1/2 nectarine. How bad could that be? As it happens, they are fantastic! They almost tasted more “peachy” than most of the peaches I’ve had in recent years with a rich vibrant flavor and as juicy as you’d love them to be. So… that was the new plan, substituting the nectarines with peacharines in my Nectarine Blueberry Crisp. This is simple, simple, simple and there will be nothing left but an empty baking dish. Add this to your 4th menu and let me know if you get any complaints other than you needed to have made two.

Nothing easier,really.

May 25, 2012

There is nothing easier for a spring or summer dessert than this. Three ingredients…count them, three…and, really no prep. A trip to the farmer’s market for the strawberries and a reach into the pantry for some brown sugar and sour cream. Plate ’em up, dip and done.

That’s Italian

April 6, 2012

I’m not Italian,but this seems like the perfect Easter dessert…Ricotta Cheesecake. Simple, light…with a touch of sweetness from golden raisins and a burst of freshness from lemon zest. This would be the perfect addition to an Easter brunch or  ending to a dinner of lamb chops and roasted asparagus. My Hungarian grandmother used to  make a cake that the flavors and textures of this recipe bring to mind. Oh yeah, she wasn’t Italian either. 

http://www.pbs.org/everydayfood/recipes/ricotta_cheesecake.html