Coeur a la Creme -- Barefoot Bloggers

This is Barefoot Blogger's July bonus recipe, chosen by Becke of Columbus Foodie. I know, I know, I say this all the time, but I was really excited to try this recipe! This recipe got me more excited than most, because first of all I had never even heard of Coeur a la Creme (heart of cream) and I love trying new things, and secondly, I got to by a new kitchen 'toy' for this recipe, a traditional 'coeur a la creme' mold! I actually got two molds, a large one and a small one, for a quite a steal on

Ina Garten's Coeur a la Creme with Raspberry and Grand Marnier Sauce

  • 12 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 1/4 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 2 1/2 cups cold heavy cream
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon grated lemon zest (I left out because all I had was dried and I thought it would through off the texture)
  • Seeds scraped from 1 vanilla bean (I also left this out because I couldn't find any in time :( )
  • Raspberry and Grand Marnier Sauce, recipe follows
  • 2 half-pints fresh raspberries

Place the cream cheese and confectioners' sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat on high speed for 2 minutes. Scrape down the beater and bowl with a rubber spatula and change the beater for the whisk attachment. With the mixer on low speed, add the heavy cream, vanilla, lemon zest, and vanilla bean seeds and beat on high speed until the mixture is very thick, like whipped cream.

Line a 7-inch sieve with cheesecloth or paper towels so the ends drape over the sides and suspend it over a bowl, making sure that there is space between the bottom of the sieve and the bottom of the bowl for the liquid to drain. Pour the cream mixture into the cheesecloth, fold the ends over the top, and refrigerate overnight.

To serve, discard the liquid, unmold the cream onto a plate, and drizzle Raspberry and Grand Marnier Sauce around the base. Serve with raspberries and extra sauce.

Raspberry and Grand Marnier Sauce:

  • 1 half-pint fresh raspberries
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 cup seedless raspberry jam
  • 2 tablespoons orange-flavored liqueur --recommended: Grand Marnier -- (I skipped this, I was going to buy some especially for the recipe but we aren't big drinkers and the smallest bottle I could find was $40 and didn't want to spend that on something we would probably not use...)

Place raspberries, sugar, and 1/4 cup water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer for 4 minutes. Pour the cooked raspberries, the jam, and orange liqueur into the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade and process until smooth. Chill.

Ina's recipe was super easy and took minutes to whip together. This was probably one of the simplest things I've ever made! Better yet, it was beautiful and delicious, what a winning recipe, thanks so much for introducing me to Coeur a la Creme Ina and Becke :)

coeur a la YUM!

My family enjoyed this with raspberry sauce for dessert, rarely do we find a dessert that we all will eat more than one bite of, my husband was wary though, since it contains cream cheese and he hates cream cheese, he only could handle a couple of tastes; said it was too sweet and you could taste the cream cheese, which I totally disagree with but oh-well. He did like the raspberry sauce though, go figure!

Cinnamon Sugar Plum Galette -- Tuesdays with Dorie

Michelle from Michelle in Colorado Springs selected Summer Fruit Galette for this edition of TWD. I was very excited to try this recipe -- gee, feels like I say that at the start of every post but I really am excited about trying all of these new recipes! Anyway, this was my first ever galette, I've heard of them and had them in restaurants but never made my own. I wasn't really sure which 'summer fruit' to pick and bought "red" and "black" plums and also apricots but ended up just using the plums.

I'm not sure if I read this in Dorie's book or some other cookbook but I remember somewhere a galette being referred to as a 'free style' pie and that's exactly what my galette looked like, it was not round at all, mainly because I didn't want to handle the crust too much and figured there was no real reason to worry about the shape.

Everything came together nicely, I used some raspberry jam, and wish I hadn't. It was almost too tart, I think strawberry or maybe that ginger jam Dorie was talking about would have been better.

When I was ready to put the sugar dusting on before baking I spotted my little tub of cinnamon sugar and thought, why not? I love cinnamon sugar on just about anything, peaches, pancakes, applesauce, toast... so I sprinkled that around the crust and also some on the fruit. I wish I would have macerated the plums in sugar for a while, they were too tart and my galette was not sweet enough. Oh-well. Overall the recipe is great, just make sure your fruit is sweet or you add some extra sugar or honey...this is such a rustic dessert that I would love to try with apples and a caramel drizzle in the fall, YUM!

Oops almost forgot the custard, I was planning on trying it even though I hate eggy stuff (which you might remember if you read my chocolate pudding post) -- but in the end I just left it off. Would it have given my plums the sweetness that they were lacking? Maybe, but I just couldn't get over the part where Dorie says 'it shouldn't jiggle' sorry but that made me sick to my stomach. I really wanted to branch out and try all sorts of new things, and you know what, I plan to, but with this galette it felt like I would be ruining something I might love (fruit galette) by adding that custard, and I didn't want to take that risk. You know what I should have done is made a mini galette on the side and tried the custard in there, maybe next time!

24 Jul 08 - Kaia's crawling!

That's right, crawling! Well, by the time I got my heart out of my mouth and ran to grab the camera, she wasn't quite as energetically into it, so I didn't really get any good ones of her crawling. I got some cute ones, though!

She'd been going on hands and feet with her bum wwaaayyyy up in the air - so funny.

No, I don't feel like crawling any more right now, no matter how much you coax me!

What, mum?

 I might try a LITTLE bit more for Josh.

Now I'm just going to keep rolling onto my back.

Oh, I laughs at your pathetic attempts to get photographic evidence of me crawling!

My silly baby

Just some cute pictures of Kaia being goofy that I wanted to share.

 Cuddling with her quilt: 

 Now, you may not realize this, but not only are plants excellent conversationalists, they are also hilarious! Kaia and the house plant, an extended conversation.

Oh, so funny...

Perfection Pound Cake -- Tuesdays with Dorie Make-up Recipe

No it's not Tuesday, but here's a TWD recipe for ya! I really want to catch up with everyone who was in TWD from the start. I'm giving myself the luxury of going at my own pace and order for these make-up recipes, and decided to start with Perfection Pound Cake, from pages 222 and 223 of Baking From My Home To Yours, by Dorie Greenspan -- originally selected to be the recipe for Tuesday, January 22nd, 2008.

I love pound cake and was excited to try this recipe. I have a bit of a confession, back when I was pregnant with my first child I craved pound cake like crazy! Homemade pound cake, not any of that Sara Lee stuff. I baked at least 10 pound cakes (note the *at least*) during my pregnancy. The baby in my belly who was referred to as "mommy's little cupcake" soon became "mommy's little poundcake" thanks to my husband. I tried so many different recipes and fell in love with buttermilk pound cake, no recipe in particular, I still don't have the one pound cake recipe I will always use, but if the ingredients contain buttermilk I know I'll probably enjoy the supermoist heavy yet tender crumb with a touch of tang it tends to produce.

Anyway, back to Perfection Pound Cake, the name is kind of tough to live up to. It was delicious pound cake, can't find anything wrong with it, especially liked it with Dorie's suggestion of butter and jam, great with strawberries as well. It was not quite as moist as I prefer mine but I like mine really moist... Perfect? Not too sure, that's a stretch, at least for me, especially since I've made so many super yummy pound cakes and things taste differently when you are pregnant and something satisfies a craving, I doubt another pound cake will taste as good as those I made when pregnant with my sweet little Poundcake :)

Greek Night

The cuisine country of the week was Greece and I was very excited to try my hand at some classic Greek dishes. The bulk of my experience with Greek food comes from Greektown Detroit and the restaurants there. Going to Greektown when I was younger was always a fun day trip for my mom and me. I loved picking a restaurant out and ordering just about everything vegetarian friendly on the menu -- giving us lots of leftovers to take home and enjoy for the next few days. When I read that Greece was the country of the week I immediately started planning a menu in my head, it was quite tough because there are so many Greek dishes I'd love to try but have never made myself. I rarely cook anything Greek at home since my husband does not like Greek food :( He would go with me for birthday dinners in Greektown and barely touch whichever meal it was he ordered, but didn't complain too much, it was his wife's birthday after all!

Silly me thought maybe if I made some mild basic dishes for our dinner he would magically start enjoying Greek food, silly, silly me. My husband and daughter didn't like anything! I did give my husband a big hug because he tried it all and I know that must have been torture for him since he can't stand trying new foods. We are so opposite, I absolutely love trying new food, especially ethnic foods, I find it fascinating to think that these are the dishes that a whole country loves. Oh-well. Opposites attract.

I really wanted to make some saganaki which is something we always start our meals in Greektown with. I envisioned myself maybe making a short video of the flaming cheese to put in this post. Sad to say it didn't happen! I couldn't find the traditional saganaki cheeses anywhere :( I kept calling around and asking for halloumi or kasseri or saganaki cheese but no luck. There is a feta saganaki version on allrecipes and as wrong as that sounds to me, having grown up on Greektown saganaki which does not use feta, I would like to try it at some point, but it didn't make it to our Greek dinner this week.

Here was my little menu...

Dolmades to start
Spanakopita as the main
Greek Potatoes as a side
Baklava for dessert

The dolmades filling

dolmades all done

I've always wanted to try stuffed grape leaves but never have because whenever they are available they have meat in the filling. I called around and found a grocery store that had grape leaves for stuffing in their international foods section, yay! I looked at tons of recipes and loosely went with Tyler's recipe here Dolmades (Stuffed Grape Leaves) -- I added cinnamon and raisins (not trying to make a sweet dish, but I noticed these in lots of other savory dolmas recipes and was intrigued) and left out the onion and fennel, and of course subbed vegetable broth for the chicken.

The spanakopita I made up just adding this and judging portions myself after reading a few different recipes. It ended up being amazing, probably the best spanakopita I've ever had and I've tried it at restaurants quite a few times. I'm sure it's nothing compared to a Greek grandma's recipe but I loved it! It was a thinner version, which I did on purpose because I didn't want a huge ammount of green spinach filling to scare away my husband or kids, and to honest I've had it where it is 95% spinach and only 5% phyllo and I prefer more even rations.

Here is the recipe I used for the potatoes Greek Style Potatoes - Allrecipes. I pretty much followed everything except for broiling them the last few minutes to try to crisp them up a touch. I loved them and but my husband, who I thought would eat these if he ate anything of our Greek dinner since he loves potatoes, didn't like them! I think that is the first time I've made potatoes that he didn't like :( we attributed his dislike to the lemon juice and spices, poor boring taste buds just couldn't handle these mild taters.

baklava before baking

I tried to cut them into diamonds, I need some practice :)

Baklava is something I've never made at home either, I enjoy it in restaurants and from bakeries but rarely get it unless we are out in Greektown. I tried this recipe, Easy Baklava - Allrecipes, and it sure was easy, and delicious! I made a half batch and followed the reviews saying to have a thicker phyllo layer on the bottom. I was so impressed with this recipe, not only was it super easy, it was probably one of the tastiest baklavas I've ever had! I love the honey flavor with the almonds and phyllo and it was not completely soaked and saturated like I've seen baklava sometimes.

All in all this was an amazing dinner and I loved trying all of the recipes for Greek favorites at home. It has really piqued my interest and I think we will be trying more Greek recipes since I saw so many I wanted to try while picking dishes for this dinner. I just wish my husband would have enjoyed it :( at least he gave the food a try though.

Creamy Corn Spread -- Barefoot Bloggers

This is my second week of Barefoot Bloggers! The recipe was Ina's Smoked Salmon Spread chosen by Ashley of The Spicy Skillet -- I changed it up just a bit to make it vegetarian, and the best part was I really only swapped out one ingredient, the salmon, switched it to corn, and added cheese, that's it! I kept everything else in the recipe the same. I was so happy to be able to minimally adjust this recipe and participate this week!

Here is the original recipe from

8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoon minced fresh dill (I used 1 teaspoon of dried)
1 teaspoon prepared horseradish, drained
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 pound (4 ounces) smoked salmon, minced (I used 1/2 cup sweet corn instead of the salmon)

Cream the cheese in an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment until just smooth. Add the sour cream, lemon juice, dill, horseradish, salt, and pepper, and mix. Add the smoked salmon and mix well. Chill and serve with crudites or crackers.

Along with the corn I added 1/2 cup of shredded Tabasco Jack cheese the the spread, then put it into a glass pie plate, and topped with an aditional 1/2ish cup of shredded Tabasco Jack. I baked it in a 375 degree oven for 25 minutes since I like hot dips and spreads better :)

I was excited to try this recipe because of the dill, which I love, and the horseradish, which I had never tried before but did have in the fridge since dh likes it. It's not that I didn't want to try it, I just never knew what to put it on or in.

This dip was great with tortilla chips and Ritz crackers, my mom had some and really ejoyed it, the kids did try it but thought it was too spicy, and my husband who was very hesitant to try it since he hates sour cream and cream cheese (yes, he is crazy) did try it after much persuasion "please honey, just taste it, it has horseradish and corn, you love those" he had TWO bites, amazing! He said it was pretty good! Success!

Cherry Rhubarb Cobbler -- Tuesdays with Dorie

I was so excited to try this recipe, chosen by Amanda from Like Sprinkles on a Cupcake . I absolutely love fruit desserts and hadn't had rhubarb in years and never cooked with it myself so this was something fun and new to try. The cobbler came together very easily, preparing the cherries - which we got a a roadside fruit stand, and the rhubarb - which we found at Meijer, was the most time consuming part. I was excited to try my new 14 cup food processor that arrived a few days ago out with this recipe. I'd like to thank Dorie for giving me an excuse to buy a second food processor, I wanted a bigger one already, and since so many recipes include using one I thought why not? Now I know you don't ever *have* to use one even if the recipe mentions one, but I wanted one :)

My cherry pittin' station -- see my pitter scissors? They are great!
My new 14 cup food processor, making some "moist clumps and curds" as directed, it's so obedient :)
Taste testers for the evening were my children, myself, and my mom, I always invite her over for dinner when I'm doing a TWD dessert. My husband was working, and he missed out, because there were no leftovers! My kids loved it, I loved it, and my mom liked the fruit part but not the topping, I believe it was the whole wheat flour that really turned her off. I don't even know if she's ever had anything whole wheat other than bread, and she said it reminded her of a piece of whole wheat bread on top...totally not what I thought but we have very different tastes. It was a tad healthy tasting, but homey healthy, not boring gag me healthy.
My super silly two year old taste tester, he absolutely loved this dessert and asked for seconds and thirds! Look at all that cobbler on his face, what a little messy mess :)

I really enjoyed the combo of cherries and rhubarb in this dessert, but I woulnd't hesitate to make with just cherries, I think that would work out fine too. My only change to the recipe was to add 1/2 cup of sugar to the fruit mixture instead of 1/3 -- I almost added 2/3 but didn't want it to be too sweet. Why did I change the sugar amount? Well, I hadn't had rhubarb in years, and years ago the only rhubarb I think I had was in prepared
strawberry rhubarb pies, where it's all mushy, so I wanted to try a bite of raw rhubarb and see what I thought, WHOA was it sour! Now I know rhubarb is supposed to be a little sour, but my pack of rhubarb contained stalks of different sizes and colors, and to me most of it looked a little pre-ripe, so I added the extra bit of sugar just incase my rhubarb was tarter than it should have been.
Oops, I said me only change was about the sugar, I guess I did one more change and that was to cut my peeled rhubarb quite thin and not into the 1 inch pieces mentioned in the book. Why did I do this? I was just nervous about the rhubarb and didn't want us to not like it and have those big chunks ruin the recipe for us. I'm glad I sliced it smaller, since the kids have never had it I didn't want to scare them away from rhubarb and the smaller slices for us 'unconfirmed rhubarb eaters' were the perfect intro to that unique fruit, or wait, isn't it a vegetable?

Before going in the oven, I felt like I should flatted my puffs a little bit, I knew they would rise but not spread too much.

Ta-Da! All bubbly and beautiful, I had my oven timer set to check it at 35 minutes, and I ended up letting it bake for 40 minutes total.

Rachael Ray's Cheesy Orzo

Rachael Ray's Cheesy Orzo
from 30 Minute Meals, episode "Picky Eaters Beware"

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, 2 turns of the pan
1/2 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 cans (14 ounces) chicken or vegetable broth or stock
2 cups orzo pasta (enriched rice may be substituted)
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano or Romano
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat a 8 inch pot with a tight fitting cover over moderate heat. Add oil, onion and garlic and saute for 2 or 3 minutes. Add broth to the pan and bring to a boil. Stir in orzo and return broth to a boil. Cover pot and reduce heat to simmer. Cook 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until liquid is absorbed and pasta tender. Remove lid and stir in cheese. Season with salt and pepper to your taste. You favorite fresh herbs may also be stirred into the orzo or rice to strengthen the flavor even more.


This was my first time preparing orzo. I wanted a nice simple recipe and this fit the bill! I stayed pretty true to the recipe and had to add about 1/2 cup more water towards the end -- maybe I had the heat on too high? I used vegetable broth, left out the onion and sprinkled some onion powder, and also added extra parmesan cheese. I can't wait to try this again and add some veggies into the mix, I'm thinking peas and mushrooms would be great.

This was a mild yet tasty side dish and my family loved it! My kids thought it was rice and I explained to them that they were correct with the shape since orzo is understood as "rice shaped pasta" in the United States, and sometimes called Italian rice even though it is not rice and made from hard wheat semolina -- thank you Wikipedia :)

I'll be completely honest and tell you that when I bought my cute little box of Barilla orzo I wanted to make a risotto (also something I've never prepared before) I knew you needed arborio rice but couldn't find any at the store and I'd remembered hearing of an 'orzo risotto' recipe so I just bought the orzo and went on with my shopping. When I got home I had to do some googling before I got answers on the orzo for arborio substitution... had my answer and made me feel rather stupid for googling it..."Because their shapes are similar, you mean? Like, could you substitute bamboo for sugar cane, because they look similar? Or — and this has happened (but certainly not to us) — could you substitute salt for sugar? " Yikes, sorry! Never claimed to be an expert -- thank goodness I wasn't the person who actually wrote in and asked "Is orzo a substitute for Arborio rice? " to Ochef -- ouch. I ended up just searching for a basic orzo recipe and that's how I came across Rachael's recipe on I think I will just order some arborio online so I can finally try my hand at risotto :)

Emeril's Spinach, Mushroom, and Four Cheese Lasagna

Spinach, Mushroom, and Four Cheese Lasagna
1 (20-ounce) package fresh spinach, tough stems removed and washed
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup minced shallots
2 teaspoons minced garlic
3/4 pound portobello mushrooms, stems removed and sliced (about 3 large)
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
4 cups whole milk
1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
2 1/2 cups grated Parmesan
15 ounces fresh ricotta
1 1/2 cups grated Fontina or provolone
1 1/2 cups grated mozzarella
1 pound lasagna noodles, cooked to al dente
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the spinach and cook for 2 minutes. Drain in a fine mesh strainer, pressing with a large spoon to release as much water as possible. Finely chop and set aside.

In a large skillet, melt 1 tablespoon of the butter over medium-high heat. Add the shallots and garlic and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the mushrooms, 1/4 teaspoon each of the salt and black pepper, and cook, stirring, until the mushrooms are tender and have given off their liquid, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool.

To make the bechamel sauce, in a large saucepan, melt the remaining 4 tablespoons butter over medium heat. Add the flour and cook, stirring with a wooden spoon, to make a light roux, about 2 minutes. Whisking constantly, slowly add the milk and continue to cook, stirring occasionally until thickened, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, the nutmeg, and 1 cup of the Parmesan and cook, stirring, until thickened, about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat.

In a bowl, combine the ricotta, fontina, and mozzarella cheeses. Fold in 1/4 cup of the bechamel sauce.

Across the bottom of a deep-dish lasagna pan (13 by 9-inches), spoon enough bechamel sauce to cover (about 1/2 cup). Then add 1/4 of the mushrooms and sprinkle 1/4 of the spinach across. Arrange a layer of cooked noodles side-by-side across the sauce. Spread another layer of bechamel over the noodles and top with more spinach, mushrooms, and cheese. Repeat layering with sauce, noodles, spinach, and cheese 2 more times, ending with noodles on top. Sprinkle the remaining 1 1/2 cups of Parmesan over the top, cover tightly with aluminum foil, and bake until the noodles are tender and the lasagna is hot and bubbly, about 30 minutes. Uncover and continue baking until golden brown on top, about 10 minutes.
Let rest for 10 to 15 minutes before serving. Serve hot.
When I went shopping for this recipe I wasn't feelin' the full size portobello vibe, yeah, I love them as a sandwich and in some recipes, but I was thinking that wasn't the texture I wanted for this lasagna so I bought a pack of 'baby bellas' and planned to just use that. When I started sauteeing them my pan looked so bare, I decided to toss in a few cups of sliced white mushrooms I had in the fridge ...
BAM! (sorry, had to say it!) much better mushroom coverage :)

I had to add more than 1/4 cup of the bechamel to the cheese mixture, probably 1/2 cup or so, I also added a little garlic salt and italian seasoning to the cheese mixture, just to be sure it wouldn't be too bland. Other minor changes I made were to omit the pepper and shallots -- personal preference, to use frozen chopped spinach, prepared, instead of the fresh, along with many extra mushrooms and extra cheese.

After my first couple of layers I decided it would be much easier to evenly distribute the spinach if it was mixed with the bechamel, and since they were on top of each other in the lasagna pan anyway, why not? Sorry Emeril, I hate to change up your directions, but this makes it much easier and the end result is the same.

To the top 1 1/2 cups of parmesan cheese I also added a handful of fontina and a handful of mozzarella, can't go wrong with extra cheese in my book!

Sorry no plated pics, I tried to get one but it didn't turn out and the lasagna was gone before I had a chance to take another :)

Althought I've watched Emeril quite a few times this is the first recipe of his I've tried, and it was amazing, such an indulgence but totally worth it. Would I make this again? You bet! This lasagna was so creamy and delicious. I am so happy that I tried this recipe :) YUM!