Weekend Baking with Martha and the Boss

It took a trip to Dunn Bros for a triple shot of espresso and an in-and-out at the liquor store for a bottle of sweet Marsala. It took a search through all the supermarkets in Bemidji for ladyfingers, little finger-shaped sponge cakes. My friend, Kelly, went the extra mile — extra miles, really. She lives way out of town. She was determined to create tiramisu using a recipe from her idol, Buddy Valastro, the Cake Boss. I was one of the lucky people who had that heavenly Italian dessert melting in my mouth last night.

Kelly never did find ladyfingers. She discovered the small round spongecakes designed to hold fresh berries worked well as a substitute. (Gosh, Kelly, you could have made ladyfingers from scratch. Just kidding :) I’ve actually used Twinkies in Tiramisu. Please don’t tell anyone.

Imagine layers of spongecake dipped in sweetened espresso and coffee liqueur, Marsala-spiked creamy mascarpone and whipped cream, dusted with cocoa powder. Not too wet, not too dry, not too strong of alcohol, this tiramisu is the best I’ve ever eaten — a balanced and harmonious blend of decadence. Thanks for your determination to get this recipe right, Kelly. It was soooooooooo worth your efforts.

The Italian word tiramisu means “pick-me-up.”  One serving will definitely make you happy. I was ecstatic — until I tried to get to sleep last night. It must have been the espresso and the cocoa that kept me tossing and turning. But, eventually, I was dreaming of tiramisu.

This Friday the 13th is your lucky day. I am directing you to this very uncomplicated recipe for tiramisu from the Cake Boss. Just click here.

Kelly’s tiramisu was only a small part of our monthly potluck with food-loving friends. Our hostess proclaimed it an evening of food prepared with recipes from our favorite Food Network star. Cake Boss, Buddy Valastro, is a star on TLC.

Ellen prepared the other dessert you see in the photo at the top of the page, Martha Stewart’s Simple Lemon Cake. It doesn’t sound all that simple to make, but then, everything is simple for Martha, right? Making the Lemon Cake requires slicing very thin rounds of fresh lemons and boiling them, then pureeing the mixture, which apparently intensifies the bright lemon flavor. Ellen served each slice with fresh berries and whipped cream.

We also enjoyed Bobby Flay’s Queso Fundido with Roasted Poblano Vinaigrette. It’s an awesome combination of spice, heat and sweet with plenty of cheese thick and gooey enough to hold a tortilla chip in place.

Ina Garten’s Chunky Blue Cheese and Yogurt Dip is healthful and so nice with blanched asparagus spears. The Barefoot Contessa rarely disappoints.

Ina’s Orzo with Roasted Vegetables, prepared with zucchini rather than eggplant, is a winner. It’s a salad that will will be a perfect go-together with anything off the grill this summer.

We also enjoyed Paula Deen’s Black-Eyed Pea Dip and Sara Moulton’s Turkey Meatballs with Pesto and Orzo from her “Everyday Family Dinners” cookbook. Sorry, no photos of these two dishes.

Happy Friday the 13th. May your weekend hold spoonfuls of tiramisu!

 

 

6 thoughts on “Weekend Baking with Martha and the Boss

  1. The desserts look marvelous, especially the one in the cake pan.
    Years ago, I made orzo and roasted vegetables at a time when I came down with the flu. To this day, I can’t even look at a picture of it without feeling woozy… the association is so strong.
    Martha Stewart wears me out.

    • Patt, quick, get the bucket. Then, go get all the ingredients you’ll need to make the tiramisu. It’s bound to soothe the bad orzo-and -roasted-vegetables-tummy.

  2. Let me tell you homemade ladyfingers are not worth the effort, but in a pinch if they are not readily available, we do what we have to do, right? I like the inventive idea to use the shortcakes>

    • Yes, Lois, I thought Kelly was a creative cook for thinking of swapping out the ladyfingers for the shortcakes. No one would have even known if she hadn’t told us her secret.

    • I love Ina, too, Sandi. She’s my idol. I’m so glad you had a chance to try her Roasted Vegetable Orzo. It’s delicious, isn’t it? It will be perfect for summer picnics.

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