Thursday, December 9, 2010

Drunken Tiramisu

We've been attempting to try tiramisu for awhile now.  It is one of my favorite desserts after all.  However, John has been the master of the cheesecake.  Why ruin a good thing, right?  

Throughout our dating I've been dropping blatant hints about how he should try his hand at tiramisu.  

It finally happened this week.

And it was glorious.  And really alcoholic.  I'll explain later . . .

Instead of a nice brandy, like the recipe called for, I suggested we use the Disarrono that we had in the cabinet.  It added the necessary sweetness, but also twice as much alcohol content.  A good and a bad thing. 

The evening already involved a few alcoholic drinks: Crown and Seven, Rum and Cider, Diet Dr. Rum, and beers, to name a few...

So we may of had a slight buzz by the time we tried the cake after an hour of rest in the fridge.  A 2 x 2 inch piece may have sent my faithful assistant, Morgan, and I to the ground.  (And thanks to her for taking some of these shots.)

Two days rest in the fridge helped some of the alcohol to burn off and settle into a beautifully layered dessert.  A few more days and it won't be the drunken cake anymore.

Tiramisu di Toscana:

3         egg yolks

3 tbsp  caster sugar
1 1/3c  Vinsanto or Marsalla or Brandy (Not Disarrono!)
1/4      cooled espresso
8 oz.    Marscapone cheese
1/4c     whipping cream (We doubled this and still didn't have a lot)
1         egg white
4 oz.   Savoiardi or Lady Fingers (We actually used pre-made cookie layer sheets that we found at a European mini-market.  They worked fabulously.)

Beat 3 egg yolks and sugar on top of a double boiler until they are an ivory color (this takes some time and patience).  Add 1/3 cup of liqueur to the zabaglione (what you just made) and whisk gently.  Remove once it has thickened and let cool.

Separately, stir the espresso into the marscapone.

Whip the whipping cream into heavy peaks.

Beat the egg white until it stiffens and peaks,

Fold the egg white into the zabaglione to make an airy texture.  Dip the ladyfingers into the remaining liqueur.  Some of the remaining coffee can be added to reduce the alcohol level.

Arrange lady fingers in the bottom of the dish.  Cover them with 1/2 the marscapone mixture, 1/2 the zabaglione, and 1/2 the cream.  Repeat the layers as needed.

Refrigerate for several hours before serving.

And eat responsibly!!


Monday, December 6, 2010

Have I ever shared with you...

My parent's second home, and a place where I spent a good portion of my childhood?

Of course, as a child, I did not appreciate being whisked away from all of my friends and away from society on weekends.  Away from cell phone signals.  No I did not appreciate it at all.  

Only now can I appreciate it.

In the small town of Ft. White, Florida, and even outside of those city limits, down winding dirt roads, and past several country neighbors, is the River House.  It's often called the Lake house by people who have not experienced it-- and even those who have.  But it's located on the Sante Fe River.  Ten minutes by boat from the mouth of the Ichetucknee River which flows into it.  The two conjoined rivers then flow into the Suwannee River, which then flows into the gulf.

The Sante Fe River is almost entirely spring fed, so the waters sparkle.  As a matter of fact, we have a spring right next door.  Beautifully chilly and sparkling waters bubble out of the earth.  We drink it on occasion.  How many people can say they have had water directly from the springs source?  Not bottled.  But cupped in their hands.

By boat we can access numerous springs along the river banks, and probably tons more that we don't even know exist.  With the water table so low, who knows where the next one will spring up next?

The river floor is widely varying.  It takes an experienced boat driver to navigate the river.  Rock, shoals, and channels occur throughout the river.  It is important to know where they are, lest one lose a prop.  The river floor is full or gashes where boaters have made this mistake.

One of my favorite parts of boat rides in watching the river bottom as we glide over it.  Many areas of the river it is possible to watch the fish, turtles, rocks, and snails fly past.  In others, it drops of to an unknown depth where you lose sight and wonder what actual resides down there.

The river is full of Native Florida wildlife.  So many people imagine dolphins and flamingos when they hear Florida wildlife.  But it's so much more.  This ecosystem is so underrated.  It's full of manatees, turtles, alligators, fish, crayfish, and a variety of birds and snakes.  Yes, even vultures.

The line markings on the trees indicate where the water level has been in the past.  And don't be fooled.  The water has been much higher than that.

The river is always changing.

Thursday, December 2, 2010


For all the people with Holiday Blues, this should make you feel better!!

I give you.....

cute puppy!!!!!

She was present for Thanksgiving celebrations, the newest acquisition to my cousin's family.  She was shy but so playful.

Now for the opposite end of the spectrum.  This is Tinkerbell, the cat from hell, as John calls her.  She is John's sister's cat.  One massive cat.  But we bonded and she took a liking to me.

Goodbye Thanksgiving, Hello December!!

As I listen to my Christmas playlist, I cannot believe how fast the holidays are flying by.  I remember gearing up for Halloween, only to see it go by, quickly followed by Thanksgiving.  Why can't I enjoy the holidays?  Oh right, because I work all the damn time.  Well, at least, on that front, I've almost saved up enough to pay for a good portion of my school next semester.  Minimal loans for me!  Well, I say that now...

Anyway, I was able to sneak off for a few days down to Florida to see my family for Thanksgiving.  John and I split time between our families, two days with mine in Jax, a day and a half with his sister in Gainesville.  Hectic, lots of driving, but well worth it.

Thanksgiving morning presented us with a beautifully foggy morning.  As soon as I came downstairs in my pajamas and looked out the window I gasped and ran around trying to find my camera.  I threw on some shoes and a pullover and ran outside in my pajamas snapping pictures of my neighborhood.  I'm not sure how the neighbors felt about that.

My neighborhood is in a little nook where the Arlington River flows into the St. John's.  All of the houses around us are on the river.  The fog flows in from it, then the ancient oak trees trap it in.  It's a wonderful feeling.

Once the sun came out full force, it burned most of the fog off and presented a beautifully pleasant day.  That Florida sun.  I do appreciate being able to lay out on New Years Day...