Classic Tiramisu

Tiramisu. Still learning about food presentation, so bear with me!
Tiramisu. Still learning about food presentation, so bear with me!

Because my love of food isn’t limited to just eating, I’ve decided to start sharing my favorite recipes that I’ve come across on this food blog. Since I’m a sugar addict, most of these recipes will be for sweets and various desserts. First up: one of my absolute all-time favorite foods, tiramisu. It’s seriously magical what can be done using the relatively simple ingredients. Whip up some egg whites and whipping cream, combine them carefully with a liquefied egg yolk, mascarpone cheese and sugar mixture, dip some ladyfinger cookies in a strong coffee, layer it all together, chill for several hours, and voilà, you have yourself a beautiful and heartbreakingly delicious Italian dessert. The light and fluffy cream is just heavenly when it melts in your mouth, and the softened ladyfingers give the dessert the necessary bite to prevent the cream from being too overwhelming. The coffee is perfect paired with the sweetness of the cream, and the rum takes the dessert up to a whole new level with the sting and subtle aroma of the alcohol. It’s so sinfully decadent, I could eat it forever.

Ready to satisfy your sweet tooth? Get out some mixing bowls and an electric mixer and be ready to blow your friends and family away!

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup very strong coffee
  • 2 tablespoons Kahlua coffee liquor
  • 3 eggs, separated
  • 1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 8 oz mascarpone cheese
  • Ladyfingers (number will depend on size of cookies and size of pan)
  • Cocoa powder

Instructions:

  1. Mix the coffee and coffee liquor together.
  2. In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form (about 3-5 minutes on high speed). Important: bowl and beaters should be cold and clean, or else the whites won’t foam properly. In a separate bowl, beat the whipping cream until it has solidified and has about the same consistency as the egg whites.
  3. Combine the beaten whites and cream together: place about a third of the whites on top of the cream, and use a large spoon or spatula to gently scoop and drop the cream and whites together repeatedly until they begin to mix together. Be sure not to break the foam of the egg whites! Repeat this scooping and dropping motion with the rest of the beaten egg whites.
  4. In a small metal bowl, mix together the yolk and sugar. Heat some water in a small saucepan until it’s simmering/boiling, and then carefully place the bowl with the egg yolk/sugar mixture inside. Make sure the water doesn’t seep into the bowl; the water level in the saucepan should be at the level of the yolk mixture. Keep on stirring the yolk mixture while it’s in the hot water bath until it has a fine and runny consistency (all the sugar has dissolved).
  5. Once the yolk mixture becomes almost like a thin liquid, remove the bowl from the hot water and add in the mascarpone cheese. Mix them together as well as possible, and try not to leave lumps of cheese.
  6. Carefully combine the white/cream mixture with the yolk/sugar/cheese mixture using the same scooping and dropping technique as before.
  7. Now you’re ready to begin the assembly! Quickly dip ladyfingers one by one into the coffee/coffee liquor liquid, making sure that the entire cookie has some coffee on it but also that the cookie isn’t soaked. Arrange them on the bottom of your pan until the entire bottom is covered in ladyfingers. To get an even better coffee flavor, you can sprinkle some dried crushed espresso onto the damp ladyfingers.
  8. Pour half of your cream mixture over the layer of ladyfingers, making sure that all of the ladyfingers are covered. Spread evenly, remembering to still be gentle with the cream.
  9. Repeat steps 7 and 8 with more ladyfingers and the rest of your cream mixture.
  10. Cover your pan with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, preferably 8-9. Before serving, top with some cocoa powder.

And that’s it! Making a tiramisu is all about having the right technique and being very careful with the egg whites. But the end result is definitely worth it! Mangia e buon appetito!

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Kaw Thai Restaurant

Lake Tahoe’s not really known for its restaurant scene; it’s more of a “beach” place during the summer (quotations because they aren’t real beaches) and a ski/snowboard place during the winter. My family goes there every year with friends, renting a house, hitting the slopes, and eating and making merry with everyone. It’s a really nice way to spend the holidays.

On our way back, we stopped by a Thai restaurant in Davis called Kaw Thai Restaurant. What’s interesting is that the building also has a Western-style restaurant called Cindy’s; it’s like two restaurants in one. They even share a menu. Everyone in our party ended up ordering from the Thai menu though, and Mom and I split a yellow curry dish as well as a Pad Gra Praw.

Since we ordered the lunch special, our meals came with a soup and salad. The soup, which included cabbage, peas and carrots, had a consistency that was in between thick and thin. The cabbage was soft because it was boiled, but at least it wasn’t mushy. The flavoring, while not terrible, definitely wasn’t natural; I could taste the MSG and not much else besides maybe a bit of black pepper and onion. My salad actually came with only the vegetables and no flavoring, so I took some of Mom’s salad to try to balance the amount of dressing on our respective salads. The lettuce and carrots weren’t that fresh, and the clear and slightly runny dressing was too sweet.

I had never had yellow curry before, and I found it to be a bit more sweet than the other curries I’ve had, probably because it’s coconut based. The curry also had plenty of spices, which gave it flavor and a piquancy that was necessary to balance out the sweetness of the coconut. It was slightly spicy, but even someone who has as low of a spicy tolerance as I do could handle it when eating it with rice. The chicken was thin and dry, which was disappointing, but I thought that it was a good idea to add potatoes and carrots to the curry. Those were cooked better, as they were neither overcooked and mushy nor undercooked and raw.

While the yellow curry wasn’t bad, the Pad Gra Praw was barely acceptable. The flat noodles were okay; they had a decent slippery but soft and slightly chewy texture that they’re supposed to have, and the broccoli was crunchy without being too dry. The beef was pretty dry and overcooked but at least edible. The biggest problem with the dish was definitely the sauce. It was simply too sweet; it was almost like they used the sweet Yoshida’s Gourmet sauce from Costco to sautée everything and just added a little bit of soy sauce for saltiness. Usually there’s supposed to be a bit of black pepper in the sauce to balance out the sweetness, but I couldn’t detect much, if any.

I didn’t have very high expectations for this restaurant, especially since it was located in a bit of an out-of-the-way neighborhood. For travelers to and from Tahoe like us, it was at least edible, which is ultimately what counts. Maybe those who stop by that joint would be better off ordering from the other menu and getting a more Western-style meal.

Rating: 3/5 spoons

SGD Tofu House

Whenever my family is looking for Korean food near home, SGD Tofu House is always our go-to place. There aren’t too many good restaurants around Almaden, but this one is at least decent; their bibimbap and soft tofu probably aren’t the best in the world, but they’re reliable. Plus, Korean food is always delicious! We usually order the dolsot bibimbap, two different soft tofus with rice, and/or a seafood pancake, but this time I wanted to try one of their new dishes: rice with black bean sauce, vegetables and chicken in stoneware.

The sauce was a bit sweet and had a consistency that was more on the thicker side. It looked like a smooth paste, but it had a slightly grainy and sticky texture to it. The flavors of the sauce, sweet but slightly smoky with a hint of garlic flavor, paired well with the carrots, potatoes, zucchini, bell peppers, onions, chicken and rice, but I felt like there was just a bit too much of it. Sauce is supposed to enhance the flavors of the ingredients in a dish, but the sheer quantity of the sauce, as well as its thickness, made it feel like I was eating more sauce than anything else. The rice became almost soggy, and the strong flavors of the sauce just overpowered everything in the dish.

Overall, though, it wasn’t terrible, and I ended up eating most of it and taking home the rest. I’m not sure if I would order that dish again, though; I’d probably be better off sticking with the classics.

Rating: 3.5/5 spoons