Malto Mario


The Lady & Sons

1,000 Italian Recipes

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Yule Be Happy To Know I Made It!

Well I don't know if ya'll will really be happy or not, but I am.

I didn't think I would be able to participate this month. Yeah, wouldn't that have been nice? One of the co-founders has to take a powder on the month she is co-hosting! Gah.

This lil log o'mine took me 5 days to make, but it's done and I'm kinda liking it! The best part was after I streaked some melted chocolate onto the buttercream frosting, Hubbs looked over and said it looked like a log! Yay! Usually he looks over and wonders out loud what the hell I'm trying to make now. My frosting skills.. well, we all know how bad my frosting skills are. ;) And then, since it looked like a log, he came over to investigate further as I was putting my first meringue mushroom together and decided he'd like to help! HAR! That does not happen often.

So this month's Daring Baker Challenge - The Yule Log - hosted by my lovely partner Ivonne and I, was quite a trip. Between taking care of my mom, an unusually busy month at work and getting ready for Christmas, I had to do one component a night - and I missed 2 nights due to stuff I just listed! I'm happy to say that I did not have any problems with any part of the Yule log. My mushrooms came out pretty decently and the cake worked just fine.. I had a lil unsure moment or two during the buttercream. I was already nervous making it after reading all the horror stories on the DB blog about curdling and separating, but I took my time and, of course, called my Guru to walk me through the butter part. Voila! Perfect coffee buttercream was had!

I can't tell ya'll how it tastes though - it's for tomorrow night's festivities, but I went with the chocolate version of the genoise and I absolutely SLAVED over the filling. Do you have ANY IDEA what it takes to pull the lid off a carton of Cool Whip?? :P Yes, I filled the log with chocolate Cool Whip. ;) Go me!! heee!

So without further ado, here is my Yule log!

Daring Bakers Yule Log Challenge

Daring Bakers Yule Log Challenge

Many, many thanks to Ivonne - just for being you. :D And triple that thanks to Helene for pretty much taking over the reigns of this challenge for Ivonne and I when we couldn't be there for any questions or concerns.. which was the whole fakkin month. Ugh! Thank you sweetheart, I don't know what I'd do without you!xoxo

Daring Bakers Yule Log Challenge

You can find the recipe on that gorgeous and sexy Canadian Creampuff's site here. I must end this quickly as I've got the calamari sauce on the stove and Michel Richard's Faux Gras in the oven! squeeeeeeee!

Head on over to the blogroll, kids.. and be amazed at the creativity that our members used for their Yule logs - you won't be disappointed! :D

Daring Bakers Yule Log Challenge

Happy Holidays everyone!


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Saturday, December 15, 2007

Swiss Steak and an Update

Hey ya'll!

Have I told you lately that you guys are looking SPECTACULAR this holiday season? Well you do! Sexy and saucy.. How can you people stand yourselves? ;)


Quick update.. my mom is getting better and better each day, I'm happy to say! The nurse is only visiting once a week now and her physical therapy is going well. She's able to walk around her apartment without getting winded. Yay!

We've a bit of a scare to deal with as of late.. the cardiac guy has ordered an ultrasound on her carotid artery, because he thinks there might be a blockage there as well. We're hoping not, of course, but I'm pretty sure (I think??) that unblocking a carotid is a relatively simple procedure, yes? But we won't know anything until she gets her results back on Tuesday - so keep your fingers crossed, pretty please! Also.. FISH. Dear sweet Jebus, kids start eating more fish and vegetables! Put down that greasy burger!! Fakkin cholesterol is a total biatch. Sheesh.

Ugh, I just heard my cat hork up a hairball.

Just thought I'd share the visual with ya'll.

Anyhoo.. now that I've grossed yous out, let's talk Swiss Steak! Mmm mmm good!

I'm keeping this brief.. basically because I made it over a month ago so that "brand new recipe" excitement has kinda dwindled. Yanno? But it was quite excellent in both taste and tenderness, so give this a try!

And you know what?? Just how has the love of my life, the apple of my eye, the cream in my coffee, Ms. Paula Deen NOT had a myocardial infarction? Now I'm kinda hoping she only guzzles butter for the cameras but ingests only olive oil in her "real life".. Paula!! Everything in moderation, ya hear? I don't know if I could live a proper life without being able to watch new episodes of Paula's Home Cooking!

Where was I?

Ahhh yes.. Swiss Steak. As per usual I found the recipe on Recipezaar and as per usual I tweaked it to our liking. Hubbs helped me with this recipe and I think he got a lil too much enjoyment out of it..

Swiss Steak
My man.. pounding his meat. :D

Here's the recipe, with my changes:

Swiss Steak
Swiss Steak
Courtesy of Karen from Colorado and Recipezaar
Original recipe here

Makes 6 Servings

1 1/2 lbs. beef round steak, cut 3/4 inch thick
2 TBS. flour
1 tsp. Kosher salt
1 tsp. dry mustard
1/4 tsp. pepper
3 tsp. garlic powder
2 tsp. olive oil
1 (16 oz.) can fire roasted diced tomatoes, with juice
1 small Spanish onion, sliced
3 stalks celery, sliced
2 medium carrots, sliced
4 Portabella mushroom caps, sliced
1 TBS. Worcestershire sauce
1/4 c. red wine - (I used Pino Noir)
1/4 to 1/2 c. hot beef stock
1 to 2 TBS. cornstarch
Hot cooked noodles, mashed potatoes or hot cooked rice - (I omitted all of it and just served it by itself with garlic bread and salad.)

Cut meat into 6 serving pieces.

Combine flour, salt, mustard, pepper, and garlic powder.

Swiss Steak

Pound 2 T. of the flour mixture into the meat. Brown the meat in the olive oil on both sides. Drain off excess fat.

Swiss Steak

Add undrained tomatoes, onion, celery, carrots, Worcestershire sauce and red wine. Cover and simmer for 45 minutes then add the portabello mushrooms and continue to simmer for another 30 minutes or until meat is tender.

Swiss Steak

Remove meat to a serving platter and keep warm. Combine 1/4 to 1/2 c. (depending on how much juice you already have in the skillet) hot beef stock and the 1 to 2 TBS. cornstarch, whisking until there are no lumps. (The original recipe calls for 3 TBS. of flour - using the last TBS. to thicken the sauce with water, not beef stock. I have never ever had luck thickening sauces with flour, so I always use cornstarch.. and I figured why use water when I can add stock to give it more depth, yanno? If you do go my way, heat the stock as it makes it easier to get the lumps out of the cornstarch when mixing.) Stir into tomato mixture until thick and bubbly. Place the meat back in with tomato mixture.

Serve meat and sauce with hot cooked noodles or rice. Or by itself. ;)

Crock pot directions:
Prepare swiss steak as above except cut meat to fit your crock pot.

After browning meat, transfer to crock pot. Stir remaining flour into pan drippings in the skillet. Stir in the remaining ingredients and cook until thick and bubbly.
Pour over meat in the crock pot. Cook on low for 8 to 10 hours. Serve with hot cooked noodles or rice.

Oven directions:
Place meat in a baking dish. Cover with thickened drippings and veggies as above.
Bake, uncovered, in a 350ยบ F. oven for 1 hour and 20 minutes. Serve with hot noodles or rice.

Swiss Steak


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Monday, December 03, 2007

Tiramisu - Creampuff Style :)

Hello! It's been a week again.. I promised to post more often and I put nothing up for a week. Go me. *sigh*

I just finished up the week from hell. Seriously. I couldn't have posted if I wanted to as I was no where near my PC for most of that time. Instead, I was following ambulances to the hospital. Now that's a lot of fun.. they ask you to not follow close behind, so you make a conscious effort to stay back yet you are soiling your shorts because you want to get there the second the ambulance does. I mean, how the hell would the ER docs know what to do if I weren't there?? Yeah, I'm one of those people.. I gotta know everything that's going on and I gotta be there for it all. How freakin annoying am I?

I actually just got done writing out the whole fakkin story about my mom and her 3 trips, 2 of which were via ambulance, to the ER (the first of those trips happened 1.5 hours after we brought her home from her first 4 day stay in the hospital.. the 2nd ambulance ride was after she was home for roughly 15 hours.) and realized that ya'll don't wanna sit at your PCs/lap tops for HOURS reading about my grief.

Suffice to say.. after 2 unblocked arteries and stent placements, severe lower back spasms and COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) with a dash of pneumonia, she's home now. She is back on oxygen 24/7, but that's okay. Now we wait a month. Why? Because if all of that just wasn't enough to deal with all at once, they also found a "nodule" on her left lung. A biopsy was scheduled for last Friday, but it was found that the "nodule" is to small for even a needle biopsy. Therefore we wait a month for a new CAT scan to see if it's grown and then either a possible PET scan and/or biopsy.

I refuse to get frazzled/panicked over this. It could be one of a 1,000 things. It's on the very lower tip of her left lung, suggesting this could be a case of collapsed lung. It could also be a bruise brought on by the pneumonia - or even from her fall back in February. So ya'll keep your fingers and toes crossed.. and a few prayers couldn't hurt either, right? =)

Now enough. Let's move on to something so much more happier, shall we?

About a month ago, I got it into my head that I needed to make Tiramisu. I've never made it before, because I'm not a huge fan. I've only ever had it from a bakery and once at a restaurant and never did it thrill me. Go figure. But I saw these adorable Lady Fingers at the Trader Joe's while last minute shopping while Helene was still here and just had to buy them.

I mentioned to my sweet Ivonne that I wanted to make it and her response was to send me her family's recipe for it. How damn lucky am I?? :D Talk about having the perfect recipe for my first go at it!

Once I had all my ingredients out and at room temp, I started the recipe.. which was to mix the sugar and eggs together until they were pale and thick. No problem (I love you, my sexy KitchenAid!).. next, add the mascarpone & cream all at once and beat until smooth and thick.

Tiramisu Almost-disaster

Uhhh.. she's not smooth. And she ain't thick neither. Uhhh.. *panic*

"Yes, operator? Get me the Creampuff in Canada STAT" ring ring ring.. ring ring ringgggggggg "Hi! You've reached the Creampuff! I'm not home! So sorry about your luck and your coagulated eggs & cheese!! MUAHAHAHAA!"


Tiramisu Almost-disaster

"Yes, operator? Get me my Guru in S. Carolina STAT STAT!" ring ring ring.. ring ring ringgggggggg "Hi, You've reached your Guru! I'm not home! So sorry about your luck and your icky eggie cheesy disaster! MUAHAHAHAHAAA!"


So I uncracked the bottle of Jack and had myself a couple fingers worth. ;)

By that time my phone rings and HALLEY-LOO-YA it was my Guru, bless her cotton socks! She advised me that I should keep beating it until it starts to smooth out and then put it through a fine sieve and I should be fine. It wouldn't end up completely smooth, but it also wouldn't have the consistency of spoiled milk. *buuickkk*

And so I did, although I did change from the paddle to the whisk attachment, and sure enough, after 10 min. or so, it did start to come together and by the time I pushed it through the sieve, I had a semi-smooth mascarpone mixture. Phew! Disaster avoided once again thanks to my Guru. :D

After that, it was a cinch to put together, pretty much.. I did read the instructions wrong (surprise!) and only used 2 c. of espresso (recipe called for 4) to 1 TBS. sugar and 2 TBS. of Marsala - so my lil lady fingers were ROCKIN' if'n ya'll know what I mean? Zinggggg!


Now for the life of me I can not remember why I did not take any photos of the whole thing, quite possibly they came out all blurry? I dunno.. but anyhoo, it was gorgeous. Of course I had to make it even more sinfully delicious by adding 2 GENEROUS layers of grated dark chocolate. ;)

Where the photos make it look like it was grainy, it wasn't. It was very smooth and silky. This tiramisu wasn't too sweet, so the added chocolate was a match made in heaven. And the espresso/booze soaked cookies were good enough to eat by themselves. Which I might have done with the 5 left over cookies.. maybe. *blush*

The true test would be 2 nights later when I had some friends over for my 40th (gag) birthday party. One of my guests is a Tiramisu connoisseur and he promised to tell me the truth. He took a bite, his eyes rolled back into his head and I swear he started pulsating. Orgasmically like.. I shite you not. Yep! This Tiramisu made him a very happy camper. Yay!


Thank you SO MUCH, Ivonne! Not only have I learned what to do when my eggs and mascarpone curdle, but I am now a huge lover of Tiramisu. I've already got my mascarpone in the fridge and can not wait to get my hands on those lady fingers again.. soon.. oh yesss... soon. I think the Tiramisu would look lovely sitting next to Gracie's Croissant Bread Pudding on our Christmas dessert table, don't you? squeeeeee!!!

This is a Creampuff recipe and not mine to share. So I guess ya'll are going to have to come to my house this Xmas for a slice, yes? =)

Tiramisu & pretty napkins :)
Not only did My Sweet Creampuff give me this awesome recipe, but she also sent me the gorgeous napkins you see in the photo as part of my birthday present. =)


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