Blog & Recipes

Lemon Trifle

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice 1/4 cup granulated sugar
12 -ounces cream cheese, softened One 8-ounce jar prepared lemon curd
2 cups heavy cream 22 hard ladyfinger cookies
3 cups mixed raspberries and sliced strawberries Powdered sugar, for garnish
Whipped cream, for serving

 

A clear trifle bowl with layers of lady fingers, raspberries and lemon cream

In a small measuring cup, mix the lemon juice with the sugar and 1/4 cup water until the sugar is dissolved. Set aside.

Place the cream cheese, lemon curd and heavy cream in a food processor and process until smooth and a bit fluffy.

To assemble the tiramisu, place half the ladyfingers in the bottom of an 8-inch square baking dish, breaking a few to fit, and drizzle with half of the lemon syrup. Top with half the lemon cream and 1 cup mixed berries. Repeat the layers, using the remaining ladyfingers, syrup and lemon cream.

Cover with plastic wrap and chill at least 8 hours or overnight. Before serving, top with the remaining 2 cups of berries and dust with powdered sugar. Serve with whipped cream on the side.

 


The Making of Marshmallows & Memories – Family Holiday Traditions

By Karyn Miller

Reprint from October 2013

 

The scents of the cool fall air always spark different emotions and trigger memories for me. As a child, once the Trick-or-Treat candy was consumed (or otherwise mysteriously disposed of), my family got to work on the next series of events. Football, Homecoming, a few fall birthdays, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day inspired us and gave us all something pleasing to anticipate.

My father owned and managed retail businesses during my youth. He worked six days a week as long as I can remember, holidays being the rare exception. Mom taught high school homemaking and was a foodie before the word existed. While she managed to deliver some amazing meals for us despite the limited help from her industrious husband and her three indolent children, her magic really sparkled when the cool weather and fall fog rolled into town. From homemade hot chocolate to the best pralines ever, from candied orange peel (still not my favorite) to sand tarts and divinity, Mom’s greatest gifts flowed forth from kitchen. For our family, holiday traditions focused on these sweets and other favorite foods.

My daughter and I rely happily and heavily on those holiday traditions from my mother’s kitchen. With the first breath of chilly air, we make homemade hot chocolate just like we did when I was a kid – that perfect combination of chocolate with the tiniest pinch of salt and spice. After I pour it into mugs, my daughter Molly mounds marshmallows so high that it takes half an hour to get to the beverage. By the time the marshmallows are gone, she and I are halfway through another longstanding family holiday tradition, “A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving.” Never a drop of hot cocoa remains in either of our cups by the end of the show.

One of our newer traditions is to make our own marshmallows – not for the ordinary cold night hot chocolate, but as holiday gifts for teachers and friends, and of course, as a gift to ourselves. The recipe isn’t difficult, but it is time-consuming and messy. And worth every bit of waiting, togetherness, powdered sugar, and fun. That time together is the stuff that holidays are made of, the stuff I remember as a kid with my brother and sister.

Thanks to a mother who was and is a fabulous cook, both of my siblings and I love cooking and eating good food, bantering and being silly with each other; so, what many might view as an onerous tasks in the kitchen I see as luxurious indulgences when we truly take the time to create good food and good memories. I savor the hours “slaving” in the kitchen, even if I complain about how little time we have to sleep, to relax, and to relish the season. Despite my family’s mutual admiration of all things food and all things cooking, our holiday season typically starts with the same friendly sibling argument:

“What are we doing for Thanksgiving this year?”

“I don’t know. I don’t even know what I’m having for dinner tonight.”

“How about turkey?”

“I don’t want turkey this year.”

“How about ham?”

“I don’t like ham.”

“Fine. I’ll ask Gary.”

“Gary, are you and Beth in town for Thanksgiving this year?”

“I think so. I don’t know. You’ll have to ask Beth.”

Aaaaarghhhh! Thus the holiday tradition in the Miller family begins. Eventually my sister and I will congregate over a glass of wine and talk about our plans through the season. We ponder over recipes, menus, new and old favorites. Finally we emerge with our Thanksgiving dinner plan, typically a mix of a new twist on a turkey we likely found in Bon Appetite, our grandmother’s traditional Southern Dressing, Gary’s Potatoes Dauphin, Beth’s rolls, something green (changes every year), a variety of pies, and of course, Mom’s pralines. Perhaps we should just keep that same menu every year, but then we would lose the traditional pre-holiday argument I have come to anticipate and enjoy.

I “interviewed” my daughter before writing this article to find out what she considers her favorite family holiday traditions to be. Without any prompting she said, “Grandma’s pralines. Grandma makes the best pralines ever.” Next she mentioned hot chocolate and homemade marshmallows. She even mentioned how her Aunt Caryl and I have to wrangle over our holiday dinners and gatherings.

She mentioned how she loves for our whole family to get together, usually after New Year’s, to have our official family Christmas where each family member gets to open his or her gifts one by one for all to see. I don’t know why, but it surprised me that Molly defined her holiday traditions and memories so similarly to the way I define mine.  I realized we all have our own traditions – an imperfectly perfect blend of all the traditions that have graced and cursed us through the years. I can only hope she is so lucky with her own family someday.

 

 

Mollymallows

Molly and Karyn’s traditional homemade marshmallow recipe for gift-giving and hot cocoa.

 

4 envelopes unflavored gelatin

1 ½ c water

2 ½ c white sugar

½ c brown sugar

1 ¼ c light corn syrup

¼ t salt

½ t cinnamon

2 t vanilla extract

½ c confectioners’ sugar

½ c cornstarch

 

Combine confectioners’ sugar and cornstarch in a small bowl. Set aside.

 

Line a large jellyroll pan with lightweight foil. Spray with vegetable spray and dust pan lightly with sugar-cornstarch mixture.  Set pan aside.

 

In the bowl of an electric stand mixer, soften gelatin with ¾ c water.

 

Place the white and brown sugars, corn syrup, salt, cinnamon, and ¾ c water in a heavy saucepan. Stir to mix well. Bring to a boil and cook over high heat until the syrup reaches the soft-ball stage (234-240°F). After it reaches the soft-ball stage, remove pan from heat and add vanilla. The mixture will be dark at this stage.

 

With the whisk attachment and the mixer at high speed, slowly pour the hot syrup mixture into the gelatin until the mixture is very stiff. This takes about 15 minutes. The mixture will fluff up and turn almost white.

 

Pour the mixture into the foil-lined pan and smooth the top with a well-oiled spatula. Allow the mixture to sit, uncovered, at room temperature for several hours, overnight it usually best.

 

Light sprinkle some of the cornstarch-sugar mixture over a cutting surface. Turn the stiffened marshmallow mixture out onto the cutting surface. Dip a slightly oiled cookie cutter into the remaining cornstarch-sugar mixture, and cut the marshmallows into shapes. Drop freshly-cut marshmallows into cornstarch mixture, then store in an airtight container.

 

These make beautiful homemade gifts, especially when combined with a cup of homemade cocoa mix and a peppermint stick in a mug.

 

Variations: Chocolate marshmallows, chocolate-cayenne, peppermint marshmallows, coconut marshmallows. Call me for more ideas or for specific recipes for these. Enjoy.

DID YOU KNOW?

According to the January, 2013, issue of Bon Appetit, pp.19-20, the margarita is not Mexico’s most beloved cocktail. Did you know that? The Paloma, which features grapefruit juice, is the Mexican drink of choice. Now, I’m no expert on this subject, but I wanted to give it a try. When my friend took twenty grapefruit sectioned to a church retreat, she gave me the left-over juice. “Waste not; want not.” A good reason to “indulge.” The BA writer gives his…

Read More »
Wackym's Cornmeal Rosemary Shortbread

Tea & Cookies – A Simple Dessert Solution with Not-So-Simple Flavors

Last Friday, two of our favorite vendors graced Gourmet Gallery with a Tea and Cookie Pairing. We had a full house, and we tasted some wonderful treats. Since then, I have tasked our Gourmet Gallery crew to come up with some fun, simple recipes that are nice enough to serve to guests. Below are two recipes. One from our friend Paul Wackym at Wackym’s Kitchen, and the other from our own kitchen. We have paired both of these with some…

Read More »

“Now We Are Four”

On August 15, 2008, a dream came true. After months, yea, even years, of planning, Gourmet Gallery Waco, opened for business. At the time no one realized that August 15 was the anniversary of Julia Child’s birthday. Frankly, we had worked so hard that I hardly remembered MY birthday. Nor did we know that 2008 would begin the economic downturn that we have all experiened these years. However, the dream has lasted. A recap of what has happened in those…

Read More »

Thousand Islands’ Thousand Island

My husband was predictable when it came to food choices. He chose green beans and corn when available; any dessert was just fine as long as there was plenty of it; the coffee should be served hot, preferrably in a heated cup; the dressing for a green salad–a “little dab of ‘Thousand Island’.” I must confess that since I never eat that particular dressing (my choice is vinaigrette or a rich, creamy bleu cheese) I hadn’t given its origin any…

Read More »

Fredericksburg with Fourteen Fun Friends

We place the reporting of the Spain Adventure on hold to write about “Fredericksburg with Fourteen Fun Friends.” Early on the Thursday before Easter fourteen friends of Gourmet Gallery loaded onto a luxury coach from Brazos Valley Travel that took us on a four day adventure. You know us! Emphases–food and wine. We have some recommendations to pass on to our friends who did not get to go with us. And let me tell you that you missed a great…

Read More »

Well, I Did It. Reduced My To-Do List By One

OMG= Oh, My Goodness. I visited Spain and Por-tu-gal.(Learned that the name has not “chu” in it.) What a week. Where shall I start? Flight– relatively uneventful and long. Tour company Insight Adventures–topnotch. Tour director– punctual, competent, knowledgeable, helpful, and charming as well as handsome.  Many beautiful sights. Have pictures to prove it. I just hope that I can sort through and remember where I was when the picture was taken. One of our fellow-travelers took copious notes, and now…

Read More »

A To-Do List

The term bucket list, came into it’s own when the movie, The Bucket List starring Morgan Freeman and Jack Nickleson, came out. You probably know the story: two terminally ill men decided to do the things they wanted to do before they “kicked the bucket.”  Unlike a “bucket list” I have a list to do while I can still enjoy doing them. The main object of my list is to go as many different places in the world, see as…

Read More »

A Tarte Tatin

What in the world is a Tarte Tatin? In the world of France it is a famous upside-down apple tart.  This dessert was created by two French sisters who lived in the Loire Valley and earned their living making it. This  The French call this dessert tarte des demoiselles Tatin, “the tart of two unmarried women named Tatin.” Information is found in FOOD LOVERS COMPANION, pp686-7les light corn syrup Though traditionally made with apples, the tart can be made with any fresh fruit. The…

Read More »

Making a Tagine in a Tagine

Cold weather calls for stews or soups, and since I have a Moroccan tagine, I cooked a chicken tagine. That sounds like some sort of puzzle, and, in a way, it is. A tagine is a cooking vessel used by the Berbers, the indigenous people of Northern African who populated the territory west of the Nile River. The meat or vegetable cooked in the vessel is called a “tagine.” This cooking pot is shaped like a pie plate with a…

Read More »

Just in Time for Valentine’s Day: I Don’t Love Chocolate

I know. I know. I am in the minority. I am weird. I do not know what is really good or good for me. Nevertheless, I really do not love chocolate. The reasons for this food bias may be any one or all of the following. First reason is genetic. My mother and my grandmother, the matriarch of the kitchen in our family, did not make chocolate things. and a biology teacher told me that not liking chocolate is genetic.…

Read More »
We’re Home!

We have a new home in wonderful DOWNTOWN WACO!

502 B Austin Avenue
Waco, TX 76701

We’re Social:
Contact Us:

(254) 339-1198

eMail Us Here!