Malto Mario


The Lady & Sons

1,000 Italian Recipes

Monday, April 30, 2007

I wanna be a browniebabe!

I should have gotten this post in last week, but leave it to me to forget that the due date was approaching.. "Nooo I've got plenty of time.. I'll find something else to slack off on instead.." Doh.

Lemon Mousse Brownies

And so it's here! Today! One day after the Daring Bakers' post! Sorry to shove so much chocolate down your throats! But it's Browniebabe Day! Well not really, but it's the deadline to get your submission in. ;)

I really think this is a cool lil event, because hey.. who doesn't love a brownie now and again? And again? And again? Myriam of Once Upon a Tart blog fame has decided to highlight the brownie - to give the brownie it's much deserved day in the spotlight! And what dessert better deserves to be recognized than one that's always chocolatey rich.. Sometimes cakey, sometimes fudgey, sometimes ooey-gooey or sometimes chewy. The brownie makes any nut, chip, fruit, ice cream, peanut butter, caramel, marshamallow, anti-freeze or dog feces taste better! Not that I could really vouch for the last two items, but I'm confident enough in the brownie's capabilities to say that it is, in fact, a true statement!

Lemon Mousse Brownies

I found this recipe while on the search for a mousse recipe for the last HHDD and promptly added it to my Recipezaar cookbook, knowing full well I'd be making these for the Browniebabe event. Oh yes, from the minute I laid eyes on them, I knew.

These brownies were fab. To say the very least. So chocolatey, so rich, so chewy and ooey and gooey. They had a great tang from the lemon "mousse" on top and even more rich chocolately goodness came with a third layer of swirly-swizzed chocolate ganache. The Chocolate Gods were smiling upon my kitchen that day.

I just want y'all to know... I had ONE square brownie, Hubbs had one and the rest went to work and were devoured within minutes of my arrival, barely leaving the plastic wrap and plate unharmed in the whole horrific ordeal.

Lemon Mousse Brownies

My only bitch, if you can even call it that, about this brownie is that the lemon layer is described as a mousse. It wasn't a mousse, more of a custard. Which is just as good in my opinion. But if you're lookin for mousse, keep lookin'. =)

So here I am, throwing my hat brownie into the ring to run for this month's Browniebabe! Wooo! (I sure as hell hope there is no swimsuit competition! Yikes!)

Lemon Mousse Brownies
Lemon Mousse Brownies
Courtesy of & "Just Call Me Martha"

13 oz. Semi-sweet chocolate
1/4 c. Unsalted butter
8 oz. Cream cheese
1 3/4 c. Sugar
3 Eggs
2 tsp. Vanilla
1 1/2 c. Flour
3/4 tsp. Baking powder
1/2 tsp. Salt
3 oz. cream cheese
1/3 c. Lemon juice
1/4 c. Sugar
3 Eggs
6 oz. Semi-sweet chocolate
2/3 c. Whipping cream

Melt 13 oz. semi-sweet chocolate and butter together in double boiler. Remove from heat.

In mixing bowl, mix together cream cheese, sugar and eggs. Beat until well mixed.
Add in vanilla, flour, baking powder and salt. Slowly add the melted chocolate mixture and mix until smooth. Pour into greased 9" x 12" x 2" pan.

Beat 3 oz cream cheese, lemon juice and sugar until creamy and smooth. Continue beating while adding eggs one at a time. When well blended, pour over first layer. (will be thin, more like a custard base than a thicker mousse)

Place 6 oz chocolate and cream together and melt in double boiler. Stir until chocolate melts. Drizzle over lemon layer.

Bake at 350º F for about 45-55 minutes.


Lemon Mousse Brownies

Thanks for holding a cool lil event, Myriam! Hope this is turns into a monthly thing! =)

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Sunday, April 29, 2007

To My Dearest The Martha... I laugh in the face of your saggy ass crepes!

*Recipe caused severe stress, nail biting, and mysterious stains on my kitchen and dining room walls.. therefore there will be JILLIONS of photos. Prepare for thy computer crash...*

Chocolate Crepe Cake
Do not look at my messy table!!

Two weeks ago we had some friends coming up to our neck of the woods to join us at our favorite restaurant for dinner. After dinner, the plan was to come back to our house for dessert. I had planned on making this month's Daring Bakers' challenge, and I thought it'd be nice to share it with friends.

We were to meet them at the restaurant at 6:30. At 4:30 I called and asked for an hour's extension. I knew with two more hours to go that I wasn't even close.. no fakkin way. What looked like a beautiful and reasonably simple recipe, turned out to be the recipe from hell. At 5:30 I called them back and told them I didn't need that extra hour, but there wasn't going to be any dessert. "How about drinking though? Would you like to drink?", I asked her.

Chocolate Crepe Cake

That was my first attempt at The Martha's crepes. I've never made a crepe before so I wouldn't know if the batter was "crepe like" or not. I noticed it was kind of thick, but what the hell that meant, I had no idea. Amazingly my first crepe turned out quite nice. I was happy and figured the rest would be a breeze.. oh hells no. I couldn't have been more wrong. Every single crepe thereafter tore, ripped, got stuck to itself, was thrown across my kitchen into the dining room, etc. I had even bought a cute lil French crepe pan and a special crepe spatula (sucked in, yes I know) ALL FOR NAUGHT.

Chocolate Crepe Cake

I left my house in a sour mood.. but after a few glasses of wine and fun conversation with good friends, I felt better. It was a traumatizing experience though.. so much so that I didn't even think about trying this recipe again until this weekend.. nothing like waiting until the last minute!

The good thing about waiting so long was that I got lots of tips and advice from the gals who had already made theirs. I guess I learned from their mistakes? Bless each and every one of them! *smoochies* I also had a TON of help from Helene, my baking guru. Oh how I love thee..

Chocolate Crepe Cake

So I woke up early Saturday morning to take my mom to a couple appointments (she got her neck brace off WOOO!!) with full intentions of coming straight home and immediately starting on the crepes. Here's how my day went instead:

1:00 - home to see the husband off for the night.. yes, i told him he'd better find something to do far away from our house because I was attempting that "f*ckin' cake" again.
2:00 - multiple e-mails to Helene for support and advice before I dived in
2:30 - lunch of cold spags & balls, followed by watching DVR'd shows (Boston Legal [Alan Shore *swoon*] and Divine Design [Candice Olson *swoon*])
4:00 - Sister calls.. chit chat with her for an hour
5:00 - More e-mails to Helene
6:00 - Yet another search for something I can use for a filling..
6:30 - Burned a compilation music CD for the occasion. Lots of loud, funky, disco-y, pop-y, fun to dance to while alone with no one else watching music..
7:00 - Mise en place
7:10 - First crepe.. FABULOUS! Turned out perfectly.. followed by 22 equally perfect crepes. I couldn't believe it.. total shock they all came out. All thanks to Helene's suggestion of letting them sit for close to 2 min. before flipping.
8:30(ish) - Making of the curd for the mousse filling
9:00 - Beating the egg whites and cream, then awkwardly folding them together
9:10 - Folding eggs & cream into the curd
9:13 - Watching the whole mess coagulate and separate
9:15 - Smelling something reminiscent of ass
9:17 - Daring to stick my pinky in for a taste and promptly gagging because it tasted like ass.
9:17:20 - Pouring out filling down drain.
9:19 - 10:20 - Total daze, can't remember much - think I blacked out.
10:21 - Frantic email to Helene about WHAT THE HELL AM I GOING TO DO NOW??
10:25 - Back out in the living room, pouting on the sofa
10:30 - Passed the hell out.
1:00 - Woke up and dragged my dead tired ass to bed

Chocolate Crepe Cake

Need me to define "frantic"?

To: Helene
From: Lisa

"The filling. Oh dear God I fucked up my filling. I decided to go with an orange mousse. So I dug out the key lime mousse recipe I found when searching for the perfect HHDD mousse. I followed it to a T other than I doubled the recipe and I subbed blood oranges for the key lime...

Before I knew what I was doing.. I realized that i was in the process of making curd again! ARGH!! I got very very scared. But 'lo it turned out beautifully this time. No scrambled eggs! WOO! Now here comes the part that I just don't understand.

The next step was to whip the egg whites until they formed soft peaks. And so I did.. and I thought I was doing it the correct way as I had to do it for both the chocolate AND the banana mousse last week.. nothing different with this recipe. When I stopped the kitchenaid, and lifted the whisk, I got nice soft peaks.

And then I did the cream.. whipped it until soft peaks - no problems.. added the sugar and beat it until it was stiff. No. Problem.

And then I folded my egg whites into my whipped cream like the recipe said to do.. I suck at folding, I always end up losing some fluff.. but it seemed to be going okay.. until I had to fold that into the curd. Holy hell. The first thing that struck me was that SOMETHING I don't know if it was the cream or the eggwhites, but SOMETHING separated. Or curdled. Or some other HORRIBLE thing. And then next I noticed the smell.. it did not smell like sweet oranges or sweet whipped cream.. it smelled like ass. BUT I was brave and I continued to fold and even took a small lil dip of the finger to taste... BLECH it tasted like ass too.

i dumped it down the drain.

I have no filling.


What the hell am I going to do? I only have about 1 c. of cream left, 1/2 doz. eggs, no oranges left in the house although I've got orange juice.. If I wanted to do lemon I've only got 4 lemons - they certainly aren't going to give me enough juice to make enough filling for 23 layers.

I do have a small jar of Italian lemon marmalade.. and the same size jar of Italian plum jam.. thought maybe of spreading one of those every other layer.. but I still have the dilemma of the cream layer.. what the hell am I going to do??

Someone got into the Nutella.. there isn't even a 1/2 jar left. I'm thinking maybe about making the chocolate mousse I made last week for every other layer.. but you probably wouldn't even see layers once it was cut..

And it's 10. I have not ate anything, my feet are killing me and I'm in a whiney ass mood. Is it noticeable?"

Chocolate Crepe Cake

Yeah, and I thought I had it bad a couple weeks ago when my crepes didn't turn out.

Well, bless her cotton socks, Helene wrote back with many suggestions on how to use the ingredients I had on hand to whip up a fabulousss filling. I particularly liked the idea she had for a quick mousse made with the lemon marmalade, although I only had about 1/4 of a packet of gelatin left. So as I was writing down her instructions, I remembered how badly I've always wanted to try to make Italian meringue buttercream. Yanno the stuff.. you whip egg whites and then drizzle smokin' hot sugar syrup into them at the same time? I mean, how hard could it be?? It's not like I had already managed to scramble the eggs in the first curd I tried, or severly burned my hand the last time I attempted honeycomb candy. I mean, really this is a safe recipe, right? All you have to do is drizzle the molten sugar between the edge of the bowl and the whisk attachment that's whizzin' around at 40 mph. This is EXACTLY the thing I should attempt the morning of the Daring Baker Challenge Post deadline.

Well guess what all of you nay-sayers! You non-believers! You didn't think I could do it'ers! I not only made a perfect Italian meringue buttercream, but I made it even better than the author of the recipe, Jacques Torres! And do you want to know how I made it better?

Chocolate Crepe Cake

I should keep it to myself because you didn't believe in my stellar capabilities in the kitchen.

But, what the hell? I'll tell you already! The recipe called for unsalted butter. I do not have any unsalted butter in this house, so I said "FAKK IT!!" and I used salted butter. TWO AND ONE FOURTHS CUP + 1 TABLESPOON of SALTED butter.

making of (1)

Oh. My. God. The creaminess, the thickness, the saltiness and the sweetness.. all rolled up into one heavenly light and airy buttercream. I may or may not make this frosting again and serve it in a bowl to MYSELF for dinner one night. It's THAT good. Well.. it's that good if you are into the salty/sweet combo that I absolutely *swoon* over.

making of (5)

Holy Son of a Motherless Goat this is how damn good the buttercream turned out - behold the tracks of my finger licking. If I could have shoved my head in that bowl for quicker access, I would have.

making of (4)making of (2)
making of (3)making of

The rest of the components of this cake went pretty quickly - the chocolate glaze was a snap and the decoration was quite easy as well, thanks to a fantastic recipe from one of our Daring Bakers, Ilva of Lucullian Delights. She made these Ginger Candied Orange Wedges that about made me fall out of my chair with desire. Go look at her pictures, I'll wait.

Fell out of your damn chairs didn't you??? Mmm hmmm.. so I knew that when I decided to go with an orange flavored filling (I added Grand Marnier to the buttercream, forgot to mention that!) I had to make these candied oranges for my decoration. Slight problem though. I made 10 wedges. Only 6 made it to the cake. Whoops! Wonder where those other 4 disappeared to?? Hmm..

Chocolate Crepe Cake

Moving right along.. it was time to taste this monstrosity! I carefully sliced a relatively small slice - for photo purposes - and took many upon many photographs. Course I needed a photo of a bite taken out of the cake, it's only reasonable. WOW. I was expecting a "eh?" kind of reaction.. the live with it / live without it, not very impressive kind of reaction. Well since this cake is mostly that fantabulous buttercream (did I mention the super hazardous and deadly making of the Italian meringue buttercream that I not only attempted but KICKED ASS at?) the cake was amazing. I kinda think the crepes are more for the show-stopping appearance than any real added taste to the overall cake. I was happy to find out that they were not rubbery, which is what I really expected. And the bittersweet chocolate glaze was perfect with the sweeter buttercream.

Chocolate Crepe Cake

All in all - an amazing cake.

Will I ever make this cake again? NO. NO. AND NO. Not worth the 3 weeks of stressing over it. But I will cover anything and everything with that buttercream from now on. ;)

Chocolate Crepe Cake

Okay I'm done.. FINALLY. Dear God will she ever learn how to write short posts?? Now.. go click on the other Daring Bakers' blogs --> over there in my sidebar. Prepared to be awwed and amazed and I suggest a plastic sheathing for your keyboard, what with all the drooling that will ensue.

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Wednesday, April 25, 2007

I Made Him Think? Huh.

I've been given an award. How the hell do you like that? And it's one of the nicest awards to be given.. I'm quite flattered and more than a lil shocked! heee!


This award.. it's a "thinking" award.. It means someone has been readin' this lil blog o'mine and it's made him think! Well terrific! I think that's great! Not that he needs to think about my blog filler so much, as he has no problems coming up with his own fabulous food creations just fine on his own!
But Thank! You! Jerry! for such a nice surprise =))

Okay well, a small task comes with receiving this award and that is, I need to list five other bloggers who make me think! Well the only thing I think about that is, it SUCKS! Just five?? Holy cow, that hurts my brain.

After much debate and over a week of going through my VERY LONG list, I have decided on 5 other bloggers to give this award to. And by decide, I mean I made a list on notebook paper, taped it to a wall and flung little glue tabs at it. Whatever blog they landed on is the lucky recipient of this very sweet award AND now has the job of trying to figure out five of their favorite bloggers to pass it on to next. MUAHAHA!

Okay here is my list, in the order upon which my lil glue flingy was flung:

Ilva of Lucullian Delights - When I first started reading her blog well over a year ago, the food she wrote about was foreign to me. This is not how most people I know eat. But the more I read, the more I realized.. why the hell aren't we eating this kind of food?? It looks delicious, it sounds delicious and it's healthy food! It's not drowning in marinara sauce! There are not 3 inches of cheese on top! Just healthy grains, vegetables and fruits! I aspire to cook like Ilva one day, it's hard to break my butter / mayo / sour cream addictions but by learning more and more how she cooks, makes it all that much easier for me to start incorporating her ways into my own cooking. Ohh... and, by chance, have you noticed her photography?? *swoon*

Callipygia of FOODchair - If you've read her blog, then you can skip this explanation of why she makes me think. You already know. Callipygia's writing sucks you in and won't let you go even after you've read the last word. Her descriptions are so vivid that if you were to close your eyes, you'd clearly see what she's talking about. She has a great sense of humor as well and I am always guaranteed a chuckle at some point through her post. She'll write about a particular food that I either am not familiar with or would normally turn my nose up at. But after she's told me about her experience with it, not only do I want to try it - but I want to try it RIGHT NOW. Take, for instance, yummy cheese balls... and I do mean yummy...

Kirsten of Kirsten's Home Cooking Adventures - Now this gal just makes me think about how I can incorporate her mouthwatering foods into my repertoire! I love the way she cooks and have asked her REPEATEDLY if she'd just ADOPT me (I might have even asked her to marry me).. but I've seen no papers come across my desk yet. *sigh* So what's so great about her blog? It's the simple fact that she somehow knows exactly what I've been craving and then goes and makes it - to taunt me with! I don't think I've come across one entry of her's that did not make me say to myself, "I am SO going to make that!"

Laura Rebecca of Laura Rebecca's Kitchen - Laura's is one of the first blogs I had ever read and she's one of the first friends I'd ever "met". Her blog is about real food being eaten by a real family with all their different likes and dislikes. About how a very busy mom, wife and teacher still has time to cook fabulous dinners and treats for her family. But, aside from how she makes me drool and uhh, react when I read her posts or try her recipes, I know I can count on her to let me know when something important is happening in the food world. Her accounts about organic farming, the e coli outbreak, mad cow disease, how the big wig bastards are trying to f*ck with our chocolate, net neutrality and this atrocity get me thinking about things that I normally like to pretend just aren't there. I'm grateful that she's not afraid to let her readers know her opinions and how she provides even more information to whichever it is she's writing about.

And last but certainly not least -

Sara of i like to cook - Sara likes to try new things. She doesn't seem to be scared of what the outcome could possibly be, she's more into it to see if she can discover something new. I've never gotten the impression that Sara's recipes come from a list of tried and true's, yanno? I know some are, but mostly she's willing to go beyond what might be normal fare (rice burgers! Yum!) for herself and her husband. Therefore, when she tries something new, regardless if I'm brave and try it myself or not, she makes me think outside my normal comfort zone. Most recently, the subject of tofu came up. Seriously kids, there is just no way, up until the point of reading her posts, that I would even entertain the thought of eating tofu. I'm sorry it just squicks me out. But she taught me to think differently about the stuff - to use it in recipes where you really don't know it's there, that it's so much better for your body than the stuff I've been shoveling in. I want to get healthy and she's given me one option.

Okay gals.. here's what you are suppose to do:

  • If, and only if, you get tagged, write a post with links to 5 blogs that make you think,

  • Link to this post so that people can easily find the exact origin of the meme,

  • Optional: Proudly display the ‘Thinking Blogger Award’ with a link to the post that you wrote.

So there you have it kids.. five of the many blogs that make me think on a daily basis. Thank you again, Jerry!


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More banana goodness!

My good friend and mother of Phoebe (who I have a HUGE crush on), Marce over at Pip in the City posted about this "ice cream" a couple weeks ago and the very second I read the recipe, I knew I had to make it.

Holy Mother Of All That Is Tasty is this banana ice cream excellent! And it has no added sugar and no preservatives. It's all natural. COMPLETELY natural!


I chose to have mine with a drizzle of fat-free caramel ice cream topping over it and Hubbs went plain jane. Although mine was quite tasty, let's just say that indulging in this stuff without any added toppings is blissfully delightful as well.

THIS is a dieting gal's dream come true. Without truly measuring anything, I'm guessing that 1/2 cup of the "ice cream" is probably one whole banana, and in WW terms, I think that's 1.5 - 2 points. Not too shabby for an "ice cream" that doesn't give you that grainy texture and icky fake sugar after taste. This banana ice cream is velvety with no after taste. This would also be a healthful treat for kids - they'd never know they were eating frozen bananas and not real banana ice cream!

Here are the ingredients:

Frozen banana slices

Sliced bananas on wax paper fully frozen (about 6-8 hrs in the freezer, although I left mine in for about a day).



A food processor!

That's it.. process until creamy. At first they didn't look like they were going to get creamy, they turned into a gravel like consistency and I thought for sure I somehow screwed up. It's totally in the realm, people. I COULD screw up a dessert that only had ONE ingredient. But I just kept processing and eventually it turned into thick and creamy "ice cream". =)


Marce suggested in her recipe to freeze the "ice cream" for 15 minutes after processing it.. but I couldn't wait (plus I prefer "soft serve" over "hard pack" anyway) and it was just delish! She also said that you probably shouldn't eat this after 3 days in the freezer because it has no preservatives, but uhh.. it didn't make it past 2 days in my freezer. heee!

I used 4 bananas and got about 3 - 3.5 cups of "ice cream"

Banana lovers - try it!

Thanks Marce.. I am forever in your debt. =)



Hi! So I'm TOTALLY goofing off at work.. and as I'm looking for a completely different and NONfoodie article in our local paper, I COINCIDENTALLY came across this and thought I HAVE TO SHARE!! hehe

Banana & Coconut Ice Cream
Makes 4 servings (about 2 cups)

¼ to ½ cup shredded sweetened coconut
2 very ripe large bananas
½ cup unsweetened coconut milk, chilled
1 tablespoon superfine sugar, or to taste
Squeeze of fresh lime juice
A few drops of dark rum, if de sired

Preliminaries: Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place the coco nut on a sheet pan and bake, tossing occasionally, until it is golden, about 4 minutes. Watch carefully so it does not burn. Set aside to cool.

Preparation: Peel the bananas. Slice into ½-inch slices and place them on a cookie sheet. Freeze until solid, at least 1 hour.
Blend the frozen banana slices in a food processor until roughly chopped. Add the coconut milk, sugar, lime juice and rum, if desired, and continue processing, scraping the sides down occasionally until it is the consistency of ice cream, 1 to 2 minutes. (Although at first the mixture will seem granular, as the bananas thaw slightly, it will become very creamy.)

Presentation: Serve at once or freeze up to ½ hour before serving. Scatter toasted coconut over each serving.

A lil more work.. a few more ingredients.. but way yummy sounding! :D

Okay.. get back to work!! Lazy ass.


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Saturday, April 21, 2007

Dudes! I'm late for Donna again!

Jeez.. I hope this pattern of tardy entries to HHDD doesn't continue any longer! I apologize for being late, Helene my love!

So yes, it's that time again and this is my second submission for a Hay Hay It's Donna Day event! This month's host is one of my closest and dearest friends, Helene of Tartelette - she is the incredibly talented winner of last month's HHDD with her dreamy Pillow Cheesecake with Salted Butter Caramel Sauce. *swoon*

This month it's her turn to host this popular event and she's chosen mousse as the theme. I am especially happy over this because I heart mousse but have never made it before. What a simple dessert to make that yields such creamy, rich rewards. But you'd never know just how easy making mousse is if you were to have witnessed me trying to decide which flavor to make this past month! Ohhh and then when I decided exactly what I wanted (Thursday NIGHT)? I didn't have the damn ingredients! I ended up writing Helene and begging her to allow me to slip my entry in a day late.. why do I stress over things like this so much? Is it my extreme dorkiness? Is it the pressure to live up to what Donna would approve of? After all she is the Australian equivalent to The Martha and we all know how I love The Martha. Shhhh you haters! :)

I don't know what the reason is, but I am quite relieved now that my mousse has been decided upon, shopped for and finally made. WOOO! And I gotsta say.. I'm quite delighted with the results.. and it's too bad that Hubbs went on a overnighter with his brother this evening, because it's highly doubtful there will be any left come tomorrow evening when he returns. So much for behaving for my diet*! I am weak.. especially when it comes to the most amazing tasting caramelized banana mousse covered in the most decadent dark chocolate mousse I've ever had..

Deep dark chocolate covered caramelized banana mousse

Let's start from the bottom, shall we? Caramelized Banana Mousse - ripe bananas sliced and bathed in a hot buttery caramel sauce until they are warmed through and soft, the caramel is so silky and the bananas melt in your mouth. It's a miracle that there were enough caramelized bananas left for the mousse as I had an extremely hard time walking away from taste testing - you know, for quality control? Mmm hmm..

After that luscious component of my double layered dessert was finished and tucked away into my fridge to set, I began preparing the Deep Dark Chocolate Mousse. Not your ordinary chocolate mousse, kids.. No, this mousse uses 12 ounces of fine semi-sweet chocolate. TWELVE. It is without a doubt and unarguably the deepest, darkest, richest chocolate mousse I have ever had. This mousse will stop you in your tracks. Most definitely THE chocolate lovers answer to a quick and easy way to get your fix.

Two equally decadent mousses paired together for one phenomenally creamy, rich and luscious dessert.

Deep dark chocolate covered caramelized banana mousse
Deep Dark Chocolate Covered Caramelized Banana Mousse

Both recipes found on a new recipe collection site I've found called Food Down Under

Caramelized Banana Mousse
2 TBS. butter
1/2 c. brown sugar
2 c. sliced bananas
1/2 c. plain yogurt
2 egg yolks
1/3 c. sugar
1 pkt. unflavored gelatin
4 oz. orange juice
3 c. whipping cream
3 TBS. sugar
2 egg whites

Melt butter in nonstick frying pan. Add brown sugar and bananas. Saute bananas until they are well coated and soft. Remove from heat and let cool a few minutes.

Carmelized bananas

Add yogurt and puree with bananas in blender.

Beat egg yolks and 1/3 cup sugar in stainless steel bowl over hot water bath or top half of double boiler until mixture lightens in color and becomes fluffy (about 2 minutes). Add gelatin that has been softened in orange juice to egg mixture and continue beating for another 2 minutes. Remove mixture from heat and combine with banana puree, mixing thoroughly. Refrigerate for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, whip cream and 3 TBS. sugar into soft peaks. Beat egg whites until they form firm peaks (make sure you don't whip them until they are dry. You want firm peaks but still slightly wet). Fold 2/3 of the whipped cream (reserving 1/3 for garnish - Or if you are going to do the double layer mousse, I used the remaining whipped cream in the chocolate mousse.) into the chilled banana puree. Fold in egg whites. Chill for 4-6 hours.

Serves 6-8.

Deep Dark Chocolate Mousse

12 oz. top-quality semi-sweet chocolate
1 c. whipping cream
1/4 c. hot coffee
1/4 c. hot water
3 egg yolks, beaten
1 tsp. vanilla
5 egg whites
1/3 c. sugar

Melt the chocolate in a double boiler over low heat. Keep an eye on it, stirring often, to make sure chocolate does not burn or seize, then take it off the heat immediately.

Whip the cream and set aside.

Pour the hot coffee and hot water slowly into a bowl with the egg yolks, whisking briskly as you go until completely mixed. Add the vanilla to the egg yolks.

Whisk in the melted chocolate. Keep whisking even after the mixture is completely combined, this will help to cool the chocolate. Whip the egg whites and the sugar until peaking but not dry.

Fold the egg-white meringue into the chocolate mixture carefully with a wooden spoon.

Fold in the whipped cream. The key to a great chocolate mousse is that you can't incorporate hot melted chocolate into whipped cream. The chocolate mixture must be cool to the touch or the cream will break. Lightly blend the two mixtures until uniform.

Chill for 4-6 hours.

Once both mousses are set, simply layer them, banana first - chocolate on top, into decorative bowl or glass / cup.

Serves 4-6.

Deep dark chocolate covered caramelized banana mousse

As always, I'd like to thank the beautiful host of this month's HHDD - Helene! Also I'd also like to give a shout out to Barbara of Winos and Foodies for she is the creative genius behind the Hay Hay it's Donna Day! event, started wayyyy back in October of 2005. Thanks Barbara!

And before I get into my notes on the recipes, I'd also like to make mention for anyone who is not aware of Barbara's LIVESTRONG Day event:

"A TASTE OF YELLOW is your chance to participate in LIVESTRONG Day by doing what food bloggers do best - bake.

LIVESTRONG Day is the Lance Armstrong Foundation's (LAF) grassroots advocacy initiative to unify people affected by cancer and to raise awareness about cancer survivorship issues on a national level and in local communities across the country. LIVESTRONG Day 2007 will occur on Wednesday, May 16."

What say we all participate in this event to show our support of such a worthy cause!

*I should have made this tomorrow - the very last day of submissions, so I could take the bulk of it to work the next day. As it is right now, my fridge is calling me in this sing-songy voice that is totally mesmerizing and completely obliterating my will-power to stay away from the bad (no, the OH SO GOOD) food.. to succumb to the overwhelming desire to sit on the floor in front of the fridge with a spoon in one hand and a bowl of mousse in the other, until all evidence of such debauchery has been eliminated.

My. God.

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Wednesday, April 18, 2007

When You Can't Have Risotto

After a marathon session of catching up with my favorite bloggers yesterday, what I noticed was that there were quite a few risotto recipes being posted. Of course, when I finally got home for dinner that's all I wanted - go figure.

I couldn't even decide which recipe to use, they all looked so fakkin phenomenal! So my project would first be to make my list of these recipes and then decide which one I could make depending on what I had on hand.. I had narrowed it down to two but I was unsure if I had radicchio or a reasonable facsimilie thereof - so my choice would depend on that one factor.

Off I went to the kitchen to see which risotto recipe I'd be making and guess what?? I had spinach, I could use that in lieu of the radicchio! But then guess what else??


Guess I'm going shopping today because I just couldn't bring myself to leaving the house again after my 8 in the dungeon last night. *sigh* So yeah, no risotto was had - but what's the next best thing? Pasta in a creamy sauce, that's what!! More specifically Campanelle in a Creamy Garlic Sauce with Baked Garlic/Herb Shrimp! WOOOO!! I found this sauce recipe on Recipezaar and it called for Penne, which I have but I was in a flowery mood, so I chose Campanelle (lillies) to use instead. I followed Karen's sauce recipe to the T except I used skim milk. This sauce came together quickly and my kitchen smelled absolutely divine. Hubbs kept walking in and out proclaiming "I love the smell of garlic" "I love the smell of garlic" (yeah it kinda got on my nerves after the 10th time).

Campanelle & shrimp in creamy garlic sauce

This was a very quick and easy dinner to put together, it was delish and we were both sorry to see that I had actually only made enough for 2 portions. ha! Figures.

You can do the shrimp two ways here.. I've always got shrimp in the shell on hand in my freezer - so I simply butterflied these and brushed on a melted butter/crushed garlic mixture and sprinkled some parsley on top, then baked until the shrimp was opaque and the shells were red (about 5 minutes in a 375º oven) OR you can take a helping hand and if you are ever at Trader Joe's pick up a box of their Colossal Shrimp in Garlic and Herbs. They are wonderful - just as good as making them yourself.. and they were the inspiration for making my own last night.

Campanelle & shrimp in creamy garlic sauce
Campanelle in Creamy Garlic Sauce with Baked Garlic-Herb Shrimp

The following recipe is as I found it on Recipezaar - Serves 6-8
1 (1 lb) box penne or penne rigate, cooked as directed, drained and kept hot
2 TBS. butter or margarine
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 TBS. flour
3/4 c. chicken broth or beef broth
3/4 c. milk
2 tsp. parsley flakes
Salt and pepper, to taste
1/3 c. grated parmesan cheese

Melt butter and add garlic in a medium sauce pan. Cook over medium for 1 minute.
Add flour and cook 1 minute, stirring contantly. Stir in broth and milk and cook, stirring frequently, until sauce boils and thickens.

Creamy garlic sauce

Add parsley, salt, pepper and cheese. Stir until cheese is melted. Toss hot pasta with sauce and serve immediately.

Campanelle & shrimp in creamy garlic sauce

Hey! It's pasta! Therefore it's my submission to this week's Presto Pasta Nights over at Ruth's Once Upon a Feast!

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Friday, April 13, 2007

What are my goals - in meme form!

I've discovered another fantastic blog to which I am addicted to. Kellementology is written by Kellypea who has a terrific sense of humor and a great way of writing that pretty much leaves me wanting more after reading her posts. Thank God she left a nice comment on this lil blog a couple weeks ago, or I probably would never have discovered her. Thanks, Kelly!

Well one day I got an e-mail from her, she was letting me know that she had tagged me for a meme. I IMMEDIATELY got soooooooo excited, as I love those meme things with a burning passion! They are usually in list form, and being the Queen of Dorkdom, I am all about the list. So I opened up my browser, clicked on my favorites and took a look at her blog. The post was titled Setting Goals: Tag, You're It. The title alone should have been my first clue that this wasn't your everyday meme and soon after sinking into her post, I realized that this meme was not going to be easy to write about.

This meme is asking you what your top goals are to achieve your wildest dreams.. ohh lordie.. some of my wildest dreams really can't be shared on a foodie blog - even the ones that include Gordon and Tyler! Hell, especially the ones including Gordon and Tyler. *dreamy sigh* Is it getting warm in here?

Moving along! After removing my mind from that luscious, luscious gutter, I realized those weren't the wildest dreams Kelly was referring to. No, what she was asking me was to share with you those goals that I want to achieve to really maximize the enjoyment and fulfillment of my life. As flattered as I was that she picked me to tag, I was also more than a bit squeamish to actually follow through with this post. You see, this meme forces you to take a look at your life - where you are at now, where you've been and where you want to go.

I am not a big goal setter.. quite possibly because I've never really learned how to set a goal - a realistic one anyway. I'm more of the mind-set that you just have to deal with what life throws at you moreso than the mind-set of life needs to deal with what you throw at it. Yanno? I'm also a creature of habit.. and although I can't speak for anyone else, I know that in my case a creature of habit doesn't set goals because that would mean leaving your comfort zone behind - and often. Sure I enjoy a challenge - as long as that challenge stays within the perimeters of my comfort zone. Kinda pathetic, isn't it?

Well after much thought, I decided to go ahead and try to write this post.. to try to venture out past my comfort zone of writing about the foods I make and the dork that I am. And the reason for that is, eventually this blog - if I intend to stay with this - is going to have to change.. I'm hoping for the better - we'll see. ;)

What I came to realize is that many goals are definitely not for me. If I am to be true to myself AT LEAST ONCE in my life, there is really only one goal that needs to be set and met- and then after that, the biggest hurdle of my life, has been accomplished then any other goal would be a cake walk.

I need to get healthy. It's that simple, yet so complicated. I need to lose a boatload of weight. I need to get my sugar under control. I need to quit smoking. I need to start taking care of myself in ways I've never bothered with in all of my close to 40 fakkin years. I need to retrain myself, I guess. Not an easy task. Especially for a creature of habit.

So far, I've been more than lucky that my sugar hasn't caused many problems. But I know if I continue to half-ass it, one day I'm going to start having problems with my feet or my eyes or God forbid my kidneys. My father had diabetes and took 2 insulin shots a day for 10 years. He lost a boatload of weight and was taken off the insulin, as if he'd never had the disease. Unfortunately, who knew how long he had it before he was finally diagnosed (and that was a fluke!) because ultimately, it was complications of diabetes that started his kidneys to fail. He was on dialysis for the last 3 years of his life.

I don't want to go through that.

And so, I firmly believe in my heart of hearts, if I can get my weight and all around health under control, any other hurdle in my life will not be any where near as difficult or scary. I will gain self confidence and the true worth of accomplishing something difficult.

So that's it - that's my goal to make my life worth living. Wish me luck. ;)

You're not getting off that easily, kids..

I'm tagging:


Nahh.. there's no way I can be THAT serious on this lil blog o'mine! Kelly did another meme that looked fun to do, and although she didn't tag me for that one, I'm stealing it because I haven't seen this one yet. hee!

Three Things

Three things that scare me

1- Heights and falling from them.
2- Bugs!!!
3- Something bad happening to one of my fur babies

Three people who make me laugh
1- Denis Leary
2- Lewis Black
3- Mike Rowe (and drool)

Three things I love
1- My dogs
2- The wee hours of the morning before anyone else is awake
3- 80's rock

Three things I hate
1- My dead-end, boring, life sucking job
2- Braggarts
3- Having to pee when there is no bathroom close by

Three things I don’t understand
1- George Dubya
2- Why we are "helping" a country that hates us
3- What the fuck is up with America and the voting on AI this season??

Three things on my desk
1- Pictures of the dogs & assorted dorky friends
2- Shite loads of DVD movies
3- A coffee mug

Three things I want to do before I die
1- Visit and/or move to Italy
2- Visit Ireland
3- Go on a no-limit shopping spree that someone else pays for

Three things I can do
1- Take care of my family
2- Make my friends laugh
3- Bring home the bacon and fry it up in a pan

Three things I can’t do
1- Perform brain surgery
2- Flip crepes (Gah)
3- Shoot lightning bolts from my finger tips

Three things I think you should listen to
1- Your heart
2- A hellacious thunder storm
3- The sounds of silence

Three things you should never listen to
1- Sanjaya Malakar
2- Someone belittling you
3- Any unsolicited advice I might throw your way

Three things I’d like to learn (but won’t)
1- Forensic science
2- How to do that Riverdance dancing.. what's it called?
3- Curling

Three shows I watched as a kid
1- The Brady Bunch!! WOOO!! Go Brady's!!
2- Gilligan's Island
3- Looney Tunes (actually, I still watch all these shows)

And YES I am going to tag a few more people...



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Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Monthly Mingle No. 9 - Arabian Nights


So life was a bit chaotic during Meeta's MM No. 8 and I didn't get a chance to participate.. but not this month - nothing was going to keep me from joining in on the fun! Not even having absolutely, positively no farkin' idea what to make. None. Nada. The big goose egg. Zilch.

This gal doesn't venture much past the Italian, Mexican, Asian, Southern regions of cuisine very often and hoooo baby! did it ever become blatantly apparent when Meeta announced the theme!

So.. well.. my offerings aren't very creative - actually she suggested both in her write up. And although I've made many versions of the one recipe, the other was very new to us and even after being more than a little apprehensive as to how it'd taste, we both really enjoyed it! So Yay! to trying something new and crawling a lil ways from our comfort zone. We rock. We are so worldly now. heeee!

And so without further ado.. I present to you -

Baba Ghanoush
Baba Ghanoush!!

And yeah, the ONLY reason I made it was not my love of eggplant.. it was only because I love saying it! Baba ghanoush!! Baba ghanoush!! It's hella cool!

Okay since I've never had this before I can't vouche if the recipe I found was authentic, but it sounded really good and ended up tasting really good too.. you be the judge:

1 large eggplant
1/4 c. tahini, plus more as needed
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 c. fresh lemon juice, plus more as needed
1 pinch ground cumin
Salt, to taste
1 TBS. extra-virgin olive oil
1 TBS. chopped, fresh, flat-leaf parsley
1/4 c. brine-cured black olives, such as kalamata

Prepare a medium-hot fire in a charcoal grill.*

Preheat an oven to 375°F.

Prick the eggplant with a fork in several places and place on the grill rack 4 to 5 inches from the fire. Grill, turning frequently, until the skin blackens and blisters and the flesh just begins to feel soft, 10 to 15 minutes.

Transfer the eggplant to a baking sheet and bake until very soft, 15 to 20 minutes.

Remove from the oven, let cool slightly, and peel off and discard the skin.

Place the eggplant flesh in a bowl. Using a fork, mash the eggplant to a paste.
Add the 1/4 cup tahini, the garlic, the 1/4 cup lemon juice and the cumin and mix well.

Season with salt, then taste and add more tahini and/or lemon juice, if needed.

Transfer the mixture to a serving bowl and spread with the back of a spoon to form a shallow well. Drizzle the olive oil over the top and sprinkle with the parsley. Place the olives around the sides. Serve at room temperature.

*My Notes: Okay so THAT's the way Mimi Bobeck prepares her Baba Ghanoush. Lisa, dead tired from her 8 in the dungeon prepares it this way:

Baba Ghanoush

Preheat oven to 375º F.

Peel the eggplant (although next time I'm going to skip this step as well) and cut into 1/2 inch disks. Place them, single layer, on a cookie sheet and salt them, then drizzle a lil olive oil over them. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until they are golden brown and soft.

While the eggplant is roasting in the oven, get out your trusty food processor and toss in all the rest of the ingredients (I cut the tahini down to 1/8 c. at first because a few of the reviews said it overpowered the eggplant, but I used a 1/4 c. in the end), including the kalamatas but excluding the olive oil. Once your eggplant is roasted, toss the disks right in with the rest and process until it all looks good and mashy.

Transfer to a pretty bowl and drizzle the olive oil over it. Serve with freshly baked pita chips. Ohhh and awwww over what you've been missing all these years. ;)

Secondly, I made kebabs! Partly because Meeta said they legally met all the requirements for this month's Mingle, but mostly because my friend, Laurie, of Laurie's Kitchen made these recently and they looked amazingly good (much better than mine looked!). Although I used a different marinade - and only because I had so much of it left from my Easter ham and I wanted to get rid of it.

Pork Tenderloin Kebab (or ham!) marinade/sauce/glaze

1 c. packed brown sugar
5 TBS. balsamic vinegar
1 TBS. dijon style mustard

Mix well and pour over your intended meat for a quick 30 min. marinade (can use the marinade for glazing after you remove the meat) or just as a super yummy glaze.

Thanks for a cool theme this month, Meeta!! I look forward to checking out the round-up - and ya'll should too! :D


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Sunday, April 08, 2007

WCC No. 15 - Easter/Spring Time Food

When I first saw the theme for this month's Weekend Cookbook Challenge, I knew right away what I was going to make - my family's Easter Ricotta & Rice Pie. It actually turned out very good this year, better than last. Yep it shore did. Uhh huh.

Okay then.. well when one loses her mind and actually FORGETS to take pictures? One moves on and figures out what else she can make. *sigh*

It didn't take me long to figure out something else to make, especially when I made a boat load of rice for the pie and only needed like a raft load. So with all this extra rice I went in search of a good rice pudding. I've only made it once before and that recipe had some weird ingredient in it like mustard or something (No, not really - but something as equally weird that I can't remember) and it tasted awful. This time I was bound and determined to skip over all weird ingredient list recipes and find something that was much more suitable to dessert, which I think we can all agree.. mustard containing puddings are not dessert fare. (again there really was no mustard)

I stumbled upon a celebrity chef's recipe and figured it had to be good. I mean, anything he makes has to be good because he so fakkin hot. And when you think of fakkin hot celebrity chefs, who do you think of?? Yes, Gordon Ramsay!!

But no, not this time..

This time it was the incredibly sexy, ultimate recipe creating, McCheffy of the foodie world - Tyler Florence - whose recipe I chose. Dudes.. how can he be so hot?? So not fair. SO! NOT! FAIR!


And so happily I stood over a hot pot stirring a simmering, creamy concoction of rice, heavy cream, raisins, sugar and butter for 25 minutes, daydreaming about Tyler making this exact recipe in his own kitchen wearing nothing but a green and white striped apron and tube socks.. his hair falling into his eyes.. those dimples.. those lips.. quite possibly clenching his rock hard chee.. Oh! Hi! How are yas? Would you like to try my rice pudding? It's good!

Here.. try!

Rice Pudding
Tyler McCheffy Florence's Rockin' Rice Pudding

3 c. white rice, cooked (I went with short rice for it's creaminess)
3 cups milk
2/3 cup sugar
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup raisins
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Zest of 1 lemon, grated
1 teaspoon cinnamon, divided

Rice Pudding

Combine cooked rice, milk, sugar and butter in a medium saucepan. Add raisins and vanilla. Cook for 25 minutes until most of the liquid is absorbed. Mix in lemon zest and 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon. Spoon pudding into a serving dish and lust dust with remaining cinnamon. May serve chilled or at room temperature.

Rice Pudding

I would like to thank Marta of An Italian in the US for taking on the challenge and hosting this month's round up! And, of course, the incredibly sweet Sara of i like to cook for creating the event way back when.. hehehe

Rice Pudding

Happy Easter everyone!


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Friday, April 06, 2007

Ruth's Presto Pasta Night No. 6

The very sweet Ruth, of Once Upon a Feast holds a little round up each Friday with the theme of pasta.. one of my favorite subjects! Thanks Ruth! =)

I actually made this dish a couple weeks ago with every intention of getting it to Ruth back then.. and somehow I lost track somewhere and so the pictures sat on my Flickr account and the post was never written.. until now.

Quite possibly one of the easiest and quickest pasta dishes I've ever made. My tummy was grumblin for mac & cheese that night - but the Mr. whined that he wanted something more substantial. Go figger. And so with a quick check into my many freezers and many pantries *blush* I decided to add some ground round and a lil salsa.. give basic mac & cheese a Mexican kick if you will.

Mexi-Mac & Cheese

Truly this one isn't rocket science in the least. Take your favorite mac & cheese recipe, brown some ground with a lil onion and a lil garlic, toss in your favorite salsa and you've got yourself dinner - in less than 30 minutes! Take THAT Rachael Ray! :P

This quick dish was quite tasty - and there are practically a ZILLION ways you could change it up to make it your own. I think the addition of some corn kernels would have been nice, as well as some sliced black olives. He added jalapeno slices to his PLUS a few dashes of his favorite hot sauce. Instead of using cheddar cheese on top, Manchego probably would have been divine. Now that I'm thinking about it.. instead of the ground round, maybe use some Serrano ham, cut into strips - THAT sounds really good! I should probably remember that next time, eh? =) Or hey, keep it vegetarian and use black beans in lieu of the meat? The Italians use beans and pasta together for a variety of tasty dishes (bless their carb loving hearts).. why not in a Mexican type dish?

Mexi-Mac & Cheese

The only thing I regret about this dish is that I had no fresh cilantro in the house that night. The zing cilantro lends would have been just the perfect touch.

If you don't have a favorite mac & cheese recipe, here's the one that I used - it's pretty basic and the cheese can be changed out for whichever kind you like, but try to use cheese that melts well - you don't want grainy cheese sauce.

2 TBS. flour
1 1/2 c. milk
1/2 c. grated sharp Cheddar cheese
1/2 c. grated Fontina cheese

In a medium saucepan over medium-low heat, whisk together the flour and milk until it comes to a boil. Continue cooking a minute longer. Add cheeses and remove from heat, stirring until cheese has melted.

Mexi-Mac & Cheese

After I browned the meat, garlic and onions I added 1/2 a bottle of salsa, and combined it well. Then I poured the cheese sauce over the beef mixture and stirred until it was just combined. I combined this with my pasta which was cooked al dente and threw it all (not literally) into a greased 9" x 13" glass baking dish. Sprinkled a 4 cheese Mexican blend on top and baked for 20 minutes in a 350º F. oven.

This dish is complimented perfectly with a garden salad dressed simply in olive oil & balsamic vinegar.

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Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Author Tells Shocking Secrets!!

I'm going to be candid in this post. I'm going to admit a few things, that I don't know if you are ready to hear, kids. But for the sake of keeping you fine people entertained, I am willing to bare my soul. For you.

I am a closet (guess no longer, eh?) The Girls Next Door addict. I can not explain my infatuation with 3 busty blondes and one 81 year old pervert. I'm at a loss. But I can't stop DVR'ing it!! And if that wasn't enough.. my favorite girl? Kendra.


She is the epitamy of every and all blonde jokes EVER. And she whinessss ohh lord how she whines.. but her laugh? I crack up every time I hear it. And she can't pass a mirror without shaking her heiney and looking at it. har! I heart her so.

And then there's Bridget - She's sunshine wrapped up in cotton candy. I want to be her best friend. But only if I don't have to hang out with her a lot or listen to her baby talk. Did you know she's got a master of arts degree in communication??

Finally, Holly.. I haven't made up my mind about her (3 seasons into it) yet.. sometimes I like her a lot.. other times I see her as a conniving bitch and I want her to go away.

So anyway back to my girlfriend, Kendra. Did you know her favorite restaurant is the Olive Garden?? She lives in a mansion with a billionaire.. but she prefers the Olive Garden. You just have to love that.

And so.. my 2nd soul baring secret - Now, keep in mind, this is comin from a gal who worked 11 years in her family's ITALIAN restaurant... best food in all of Ohio, too!

But I also love the Olive Garden. *gasp* *blink* *blink*

Yes it's true. So true, that I have tried to recreate the last meal I had there.. it was a plate of fettucini covered in alfredo sauce with medallions of beef tenderloin laying on top. It was fab.

Beef tenderloin over mushroom alfredo tagliatelle

So I don't make alfredo often.. he doesn't like it much and I find it to be a lil rich, even for me, if I eat it much. Therefore I don't have a good recipe for it, so I checked out my usual haunts and I think I pretty much just picked a 5 star from I know I read quite a few of them, and they were pretty much all the same.. melt an obscene amount of butter in a saucepan, add garlic and heavy cream.. then add your cheeses and stir until the cheese melts and the sauce gets thick. I used Fontina and Parmigiano. It was a decent alfredo, although slightly grainy.. which is how all of my alfredo sauces turn out when I make them at home - regardless of the recipe or the cheese I use. Why is that?

I had also just been to my favorite Italian market, where I purchase some fresh Tagliatelle, so I used that in lieu of Fettucini.. and to make it my own, I sauteed crimini mushrooms in some butter and garlic until they were nicely carmelized and added that to the sauce.. grilled my tenderloin, sliced her up and voila! I had a reasonable facsimile of the Olive Garden's whatevertheycalledit.

Will I make it again? Doubtful.. well, at least not very often.. he liked it (which shocked the hell outta me) so I might make it again on a special occasion. Mebbe. =)

Beef tenderloin over mushroom alfredo tagliatelle

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