Monday, August 17, 2009


My friend Rosemary (Hi Rosemary) and I went to see Julie&Julia opening weekend. Other than the very rude older lady that stole my seat, which had my purse in it when I went to the restroom, it was great.

The movie was very good. For me the parts about Julia Child were the most interesting and I wish there had been more of them.

Anyway, after the show we dined at the Olive Garden. For dessert I had the zabaglione with fresh berries and mixed berry sorbet. It was delicious, very light and refreshing. I knew I had to recreate this at home.

Well that was easier said than done. While I did make a good zabaglione, it didn't quite taste like the Olive Gardens. I don't know if the Olive Gardens was made with alcohol or not. Zabaglione is an easy recipe, basically a ratio 1:1:2 of egg yolks, sugar and Marsala wine. There are variations with cream, vanilla and a few other things out there, but the basic recipe is just, egg, sugar and Marsala. It can be eaten warm as a custard, topped with some berries or cold as a topping for berries.

The zabaglione came together very easy and turned out great. I did have a problem with the taste but it was due to my personal dislikes. I don't like the taste of alcohol. I have cooked with Marsala before and haven't had a problem with it, but since this really doesn't come to a boil or even a simmer, there was a greater alcohol taste that I liked. I ended up whipping 3/4 cup of cream and folding it in. That diluted the taste and once eaten with the berries, it was just fine.

This was a great dessert that I'll be whipping up again.

Check out more great recipes for Tempt my Tummy Tuesday at Blessed with Grace.



4 egg yolks
4 tbls. sugar
8 tbls. sweet marsala wine

Place all ingredients in a heat proof bowl and whisk together. Place bowl over a pan with about 3" of water in the bottom, the water should not be touching the bottom of the bowl. Bring water to a heavy simmer while whisking the egg mixture. Whisk egg mixture until it thickens and becomes lighter in color and about triples in size.

When done remove from heat and either pour in bowls and top with a few berries or chill and use as a topping for berries.

If you would like a more mousse like consistency, whip 3/4 to 1 cup cream until it will hold a stiff peak and fold into chilled zabaglione. If you just want to lighten the taste of the zabaglione but don't want it mousse-like, just beat the cream to a soft-medium peak.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Sloppy Joes

Yikes, I didn't do a very good job in chopping the celery and onion. I usually like a small dice for this, but last night I hacked stuff up and threw it in.

There are a ton of different Sloppy Joe recipes out there ranging from very tomatoey (is there a recognized spelling for tomatoey) to very sweet. This recipe falls somewhere in the middle. You can adjust the sugar to your own taste, but you do need some to offset the Worcestershire and A1 sauces which give this a great depth of flavor.


Sloppy Joes

2 pounds ground beef
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 celery rib with leaves, chopped
1/4 cup chopped green pepper
1-2/3 cups canned crushed tomatoes
1/4 cup ketchup
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon steak sauce
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
1/4 teaspoon ground mustard
1/4 teaspoon paprika

Cook beef, onion, celery and green pepper until the meat is no longer pink and the vegetables are tender; drain. Add the rest of the ingredients; mix well. Simmer, uncovered, for 35-40 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Chicken With Broccoli

Chinese again tonight. I love, love, love Chinese. Have I said that before? Probably.

A few years ago I took a cooking class with
Helen Chen and I learned a few things that really make my Chinese food taste more authentic.

1. Slice the meat and then stir in cornstarch and a little sherry. This light coating of cornstarch really makes a difference when you stir-fry the meat. If you've ever went to fry your meat and too much moisture comes out and it ends up stewing instead of frying, this will take care of that. I use cream sherry and it adds just a bit of sweetness.

2. Adding the ginger to the oil with the garlic at the beginning and stir-frying for just a minute or two before adding the meat, really adds a lot more flavor than just adding the ginger during cooking.

3. If at all possible use authentic Chinese ingredients. I'm lucky that I live not too far from a college town with a huge Asian population, so there are several Asian markets. Things are so much cheaper there I get 2-3 times as much for half the price of some items. If there isn't an Asian store near you there are several online sources.

I like this recipe because it is fast and easily adaptable when it comes to quantity.

Chicken with Broccoli

1 head broccoli
1 1/2 lb chicken breast - sliced 1/4" thick
4 cloves garlic - sliced thin
3 tbls soy sauce
1 tbls cornstarch
1 tbls cream sherry
2 quarter size pcs of ginger 1/4" thick
1 tsp sugar

Mix chicken, cornstarch, sherry and sugar and set aside. Separate broccoli into florets. Put a few inches water in the bottom of the wok and add broccoli. Cook broccoli a few minutes until crisp tender, remove from wok and empty water out of wok.

Heat wok on high heat until hot. Add enough canola oil to pan to lightly coat. Add half of garlic and 1 pc ginger to the wok, stirring constantly, when garlic and ginger start to perfume add 1/2 of chicken and cook until just done. Repeat with remaining garlic, ginger and chicken. When the second batch of chicken is done add the chicken and broccoli back to the wok. Add soy sauce and stir to coat and bring back to temperature. If you would like to have a little more sauce you can mix 1 tbls cornstarch with 1/2 cup cold water and add to the wok.

Serve with rice.

Check out more great recipes at The Grocery Cart Challenge.


Monday, August 3, 2009

General Tso's Chicken Revisited

If I had to pick a favorite cuisine, it would be hard. Mostly because I'm decision making challenged when it comes to things like this, but Chinese would be battling for 1st.

A few months ago I ran across a recipe for a lighter General Tso's Chicken at Everyday Food. It turned out very well, had a great taste and I loved the lighter breading on the chicken. But I didn't like that it only had pea pods. I needed more veggies.

This time I added broccoli, red pepper and some pineapple. It turned out great, I will be making this again and again.

Check out more great recipes for Tempt my Tummy Tuesdays at Blessed with Grace.


General Tso's Chicken
adapted from Everyday Food

1/4 cup cornstarch
4 garlic cloves, sliced
1 or 2 crowns of broccoli, depending on size
1/2 red pepper, cut into strips
8 oz can chunk pineapple, drained but save juice
2 teaspoons fresh ginger, grated and peeled
3 tablespoons light-brown sugar
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon red-pepper flakes
2 large egg whites
salt and ground pepper
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 tablespoons canola oil

In a large bowl, stir together 1 tablespoon cornstarch and 1/2 cup cold water until smooth. Add garlic, ginger, sugar, soy sauce, pineapple and red-pepper flakes; toss to combine, and set aside.

In another bowl, whisk together egg whites, remaining 3 tablespoons cornstarch, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Add chicken, and toss to coat.

Slice red pepper and separate broccoli into florets, set aside.

In a large nonstick skillet, heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium-high. Lift half the chicken from egg-white mixture (shaking off excess), and add to skillet. Cook, turning occasionally, until golden, 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer to a plate; repeat with remaining oil and chicken, and set aside (reserve skillet).

Add soy mixture to skillet, add broccoli and red pepper and any of the pineapple juice to taste if desired. Cover; cook until broccoli is tender crisp and sauce has thickened, 3 to 5 minutes. Return chicken to skillet (with any juices); toss to coat. Serve with rice.

This recipe is easy to double.