Cooking Spree: Raspberry Tiramisu

Following a bleary-eyed week of little sleep but joyous puppy loving, I somehow pulled myself together this weekend to knock off another item on my 2011 resolution list:  home entertaining.

Some of my dearest ladies came over to experience my reinterpretation of the Italian feast. And to finish the meal after a hearty heap of pasta, I thought there was no better accompaniment than the Italian dessert classic tiramisu. During my New York days, I made tiramisu a couple of times but it’s been at least six years since … I don’t know why, because it’s so easy! The hardest part is tracking down real ladyfingers, which was simple in Queens but is a little more of a challenge in Charlotte. Thank goodness for Pasta & Provisions.

This time around I felt that the traditional chocolate-espresso tiramisu needed a lighter makeover, since the Italian feast of meat and sauce is on the heavy side and our weather has been in the 80s already (in March!). So this is a summer-ized riff on the classic recipe with raspberries, whipped cream and orange liqueur. It’s fluffy and creamy, yet tart and really not too sweet. Keep reading »

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Guess who’s coming to dinner.

Sometimes I wish I was Italian. Maybe it’s because I want to be Giada de Laurentiis when I grow up, or that I love wine and food, that the countryside seems breathtakingly beautiful, or that I think they’ve got the right idea of living and celebrating “la dolce vita.” Or maybe it’s because I haven’t yet found an Italian dish that I don’t love.

Pasta, garlic, tomatoes, olives … all right up my alley.

That’s why I was so excited for the cooking marathon this past weekend. A few weeks ago, my stepmother went to visit her Italian aunt in upstate New York and brought back an old-world Italian recipe for tomato sauce (“gravy”) with a variety of meats. She did a dry run-through last weekend, and my dad requested that she make tons of sauce to freeze for later. The idea was to prepare and cook all day so there would be leftovers … until my stepmother invited everyone she knew to dinner. Keep reading »