Cannoli

Author: swampkitty05  //  Category: Food Porn, Recipes

I grew up in South Jersey, where there was an Italian deli on nearly corner, so cannoli has been a favorite dessert of mine for years. So once I moved to Ohio, the search for cannoli has been on for over a decade. Unfortunately, it has been one disappointment after another, with problems with texture, taste, whatever. It just wasn’t the same as the stuff I could get back in Jersey. So I finally decided to say “the hell with it” and thought about making it on my own. Seeing cannoli shells a few weeks ago at Carfagna’s clinched it for me – there was no time like the present.

After having made a couple of batches, I’ve discovered a few things. First, draining the ricotta before adding any other ingredients is absolutely crucial. And the mascarpone makes it 10x better than it would be otherwise. The citrus is a nice match with the chocolate. But feel free to experiment with flavors – only the ricotta, sugar, shells and mascarpone are absolutely necessary. You’ll get different results with different spirits and/or extracts and garnishes. You’re only limited by your imagination.

Cannoli

Cannoli

30 oz. ricotta cheese, drained overnight
4 oz. mascarpone cheese
1/2 c. confectioner’s sugar (plus additional for sprinkling)
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tbsp. Grand Marnier
1 tsp. freshly grated orange zest
2 packages (of either 6 regular or 12 mini) cannoli shells
miniature chocolate chips

Using a strainer and paper towels (or cheesecloth), set the ricotta cheese in the refrigerator to drain overnight. It should be mostly dry when finished, with no additional whey able to be extracted from it. Mix the dry ricotta with the mascarpone cheese, confectioner’s sugar, vanilla, Grand Marnier and orange zest and set aside.

Pipe cheese mixture into the cannoli shells, and then sprinkle exposed ends with mini chocolate chips and entire dessert lightly with additional confectioner’s sugar. Eat fairly quickly or share with someone you care about, as these are best fresh and will start to get soggy if allowed to sit.

Review: Anatolia Cafe

Author: swampkitty05  //  Category: Uncategorized

My husband and I are die-hard Middle Eastern food fans, and luckily, we have a lot of choices for that type of cuisine here in Columbus. We were pleasantly surprised to find out that one of our favorite holes in the wall, Anatolia Cafe, offers a weekday lunch buffet. And what a deal it is!

Without knowing exactly what (or how much food) is on the buffet, we ordered one of their meze platters at first, thinking we were going to order a la carte. The meze platter is huge, with lots of different appetizers, both spicy and not, to suit everyone’s tastes.

Meze Platter from Anatolia Cafe

But back to the buffet. For $6.95, one gets more food that one can realistically eat. Let’s start with the soft and crusty pide (Turkish bread), which they bring out to you as soon as you sit down.

Pide from Anatolia Cafe

And soup is part of the buffet! Yay. You need to ask for it, but they’ll bring it right out to you. A nice vegetarian red lentil soup that really hit the spot.

Red Lentil Soup from Anatolia Cafe

And the buffet line? Awesome. Not a ton of different things, but enough to let you have a little of everything. On my plate you see a mix of gyro meat, rice, a very tomatoey chicken dish, their version of moussaka, Greek Salad, what seems for all the world to be a Turkish version of a spinach and cheese quesadilla, just to name a few…

Buffet Plate from Anatolia Cafe

And the buffet also includes dessert, which unfortunately we didn’t photograph. So if you work in the Polaris area, or in the northern reaches of Worthington, this little restaurant set in a strip mall at the intersection of Worthington Woods and Worthington Galena Road (behind the McDonalds) may be just the reasonably priced lunch time option you’re looking for.

If you’d like to go: Anatolia Cafe, 1097 Worthington Woods Blvd, Worthington, OH 614.781.0700

Christmas 2008 at Mom’s

Author: swampkitty05  //  Category: Food Porn, Holiday

Let me be honest with you all. I so wasn’t feeling the Christmas spirit. So much so, that I waited until mid-December to put up my tree, didn’t start Christmas shopping until the weekend before Christmas, and totally handed over the reins for Christmas dinner to my mom this year. I mean, I haven’t had one of my mom’s holiday meals since when Paul and I first got married, like over a decade ago. I cried mutiny the year she started putting chestnuts in the stuffing. Chestnuts in stuffing is a crime against nature. Then it was just a matter of distance, with her being two states away. But when she moved here in 2005, I still continued to cook all of the holiday meals. But I was missing Mom’s cooking, and didn’t feel like going through the whole production this year, so I asked mom to do it this year. And what did that get me? A plate of my mom’s tasty cooking. Who can ask for more?

My Christmas Plate

Her turkey, a Jennie-O that was missing a wing for some odd reason, came out perfectly, thanks in part (I’m sure) to one of my Christmas gifts to her – a temperature probe with alarm. Perfectly browned extra crisp skin and oh so juicy, even in the breast which tends to dry out.

Christmas Turkey

Paul loves her whipped potatoes, which come out fluffier than mine. I don’t know what I do differently, though.

Whipped Potatoes

And I so need to get her a fat separator for her gravy for next year. Flavor was quite excellent, but with no way to de-fat it, it was an issue.

Christmas Gravy

Joe made a nice cauliflower with cheddar sauce that I really enjoyed.

Cauliflower with Cheddar Sauce

And my mom’s cranberry sauce (not pretty in this picture, but much prettier when stirred up a bit) was so very good. A simple recipe, but delicious.

Cranberry Sauce

My sister Amanda, who is a second year culinary student at her high school, made some really good (much better than I expected it to be, honestly) chocolate mousse using a recipe she had found on Simply Recipes. Maybe there’s hope for her yet. :)

Chocolate Mousse

My contribution to the meal? Cannolis, which I’ll talk about in a separate post. I have got to say, it was nice to sit back and let others cook for once – we talked about rotating among various family members from year to year, which is AOK with me.

So tell me, what holiday dishes are a standard in your family?