Want to really elevate your lasagne? Adding an additional layer of Béchamel Sauce will make this dinner favorite much creamier, richer and so very satisfying. It’s simply a melt in your mouth meal! If you make it with my Momma’s meat sauce, you are guaranteed to serve the best-tasting lasagne ever. Might I suggest you make two? One for now and one to freeze for later. You’ll thank me!
When I first started to teach cooking classes a year and a half ago at Sweet Basil Culinary Center, I was introduced to a new cooking vessel that would change everything for me. It’s called a stove-top smoker and it works perfectly on the cook top, on the BBQ or in the oven. It’s fantastic for fish, vegetables and chicken, but it really shines when you throw a rack of ribs in, close it up, and 90 minutes later you have a succulent stack of ribs mopped with your favorite BBQ sauce! This recipe for Chili Rubbed Baby Backs with Espresso BBQ Sauce is one of my new favorites, given to me by a co-worker who knows I’m a rib fanatic. Even if you don’t have a stove-top smoker, these ribs and sauce will be a hit no matter how you prepare them! The dark beer (it really should be a Guinness!) and espresso powder combine to give the ribs a deep and rich flavor that melt together to create the umami you want in a rack of ribs! The recipe calls for a bottle of your favorite BBQ sauce or if you have a homemade version, use that! (A few years ago we did a taste test of the country’s most popular store-bought BBQ sauces. Topping the list of brands were Stubbs, Rufus Teague, Sweet Baby Ray’s and Bone Suckin’ Sauce.)
It’s kind of like the cowboy who swaps out his black hat worn in fall and winter for a lighter color or straw hat for warmer seasons. So it is with desserts. As we approach summer we tend to move away from heavier, chocolaty desserts to lighter, brighter treats, and lemon is right there on top of the list. Recipes for Lemon Meringue Pie, Lemon Chiffon Cake, Lemon Squares, Lemon Tarts, Lemon Mousse and Lemon Cookies seem to come out of hibernation this time of year and appear regularly at Easter buffets, picnics and pool parties. Then there’s the luscious Lemon Angel Dessert with alternating layers of homemade lemon custard, angel food cake pieces and whipped cream. Light yet rich, it’s the perfect make-ahead dessert that can sit in the refrigerator for several days and it just gets better as it sits. There are tons of old-timey recipes for Lemon Angel Dessert where the egg yolks are cooked and the raw egg whites are folded in, which is a concern to many people. So, I was delighted to find this recipe for Lemon Angel Dessert that replaces the eggs whites with whipping cream. (The egg yolks are cooked with sugar and lemon juice.) By itself, the flavor and texture of angel food cake is unmistakable, but when layered and soaked with lemon custard and whipping cream, Lemon Angel Dessert is just pure heaven!
Celebrations like Cinco de Mayo come and go, but certain specialties that make up a delicious fiesta could…and should be enjoyed all year long. A perfect example; chocolate pecan “cigars.” They are so simple to make and just the right little “something something” when you’re having a chocolate craving or you want to surprise you dinner guests with a unique twist on dessert! With southwestern grocery stores so plentiful in Arizona, it’s easy to pick up the most important ingredient, corn husks. The next things you’ll need are delicious, decadent white and dark chocolate and some pecans. You’ll caramelize the pecans, chop them up, stir them into the melted chocolates and then spoon the chocolate into the corn husks. Then you wrap them up like little edible gifts and tie a corn husk bow around them. I originally made these for special occasions, but now I keep a container of them in my frig to satisfy my sweet tooth. Some southwestern traditions are just too good to make only once a year!
It’s a scrumptious sight to behold! This week I’m sharing with you a Christmas cake bedecked on the outside and hiding a swirl of surprise color inside! It looks like you’ve slaved over it for hours, but really, all you need to make it happen is one box of cake mix, some white icing, food coloring and sprinkles! This is what I call a gorgeous plate of holiday happiness, and it couldn’t be easier to create! Treat your family and friends to this wonderful bit of holiday cheer with a nice spot of tea or a luscious cup of cappuccino!
Watch my How to video for The Christmas Cake here!
This weekend a host of local broadcasters came together for our annual Christmas Concert to raise money for The House of Broadcasting. One year our fundraising efforts helped to create the House of Broadcasting Celebrity Media Cookbook. It’s a treasure trove of great heirloom dishes by your local television and radio personalities. One of the most delicious recipes in the book is an award winning chili recipe from Jack Clifford, the man who created the iconic Food Network. (More than 20 years later, about 90 million people agree that Jack’s idea was a brilliant one and changed forever the way we view food.) Jack’s scrumptious chili has won dozens of chili cook off awards. It kicks you with five different spices and yet has a smooth-as-silk finish on your palate. This chili’s base is a combination of beef chunks, ground beef and pork with plenty of onions and garlic! So, grab a big pot and get cooking, just in time for “chili” evenings!
If you’d like a copy of the House of Broadcasting Cookbook, visit www.houseofbroadcasting.com.
By the way, Jack used to say that the Department of Homeland Security had identified his chili as a WMID (Weapon of Mass Indigestion). But I say Clifford’s Chili it’s so good, it’s what the cowboys call MGS–Mighty Good Sop!
Watch my Video for Clifford’s Chili here!