Mrs. Carla Monti

Mrs. Carla Monti

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Beat the Heat!

I never let the weather dictate what I make in my kitchen. I've made chili in 90 degree weather after spending the day at the beach (yum!), and I make chilly desserts in the fall. I let my cravings and daily inspirations from Pinterest, food magazines, and food blogs motivate me to get cooking and baking. I tend to make a random combination of dishes in one sitting because I try to make the most of it when I have a couple of hours to spend in the kitchen.

A few nights ago I decided to try my hand at casserole-making with a meatless eggplant dish. I loosely based the recipe from Everyday Maven, but instead of using polenta, I used garlicky risotto as the base. First I sliced the eggplant into thick slices and sprinkled kosher salt over them, leaving them to release some of their water in a colander. Next I prepared the risotto with plenty of garlic. I then began to assemble the casserole, drizzling olive oil on the bottom, and then adding the risotto as the first layer. Then I began to layer the eggplant slices. I added some tomato-cabernet sauce, more eggplant, spread some mascarpone cheese, topped with fresh basil leaves, Italian breadcrumbs, and grated Parmesan. I finally topped the casserole with slices of munester cheese and set it to broil, giving it a delicious crispy cheesy topping.

After the casserole, I made Joy the Baker's amazing-sounding dark chocolate, pistachio, and smoked salt cookies (seen here). The only substitution I made was to use sea salt instead of smoked salt. Yum! These cookies were a great balance of sweet and salty and were a big hit at the office.

Now: Birthday Cake Remix! Today is my lovely mummy's birthday and when I asked her last week what type of cake/dessert she wanted, she surprised me by saying she wanted a vanilla and coconut cake. I found a recipe from Annie's Eats (whom I still love, even if she is too vanilla to read "Fifty Shades" ;) that I made, but with a different frosting. The cake itself took well over two hours! First, I made cake flour by sifting all-purpose flour along with cornstarch twice, and then adding salt and baking powder and sifting again (so the flour has a very airy and light quality). I got the measurements from the ever-helpful Joy The Baker. For the frosting, I made a chocolate whipped cream frosting, recipe from Joy of Baking, and added a healthy dose of Godiva White Chocolate Liqueur for a special little kick. For garnish, I toasted coconut flakes in the oven until nicely browned and crispy, and covered the top of the cake with it.

Happy Birthday Mommy! :)


  1. Delicious looking cake! And i love the veggie casserole, too. I had one for the first time a week ago, and I fell in love. They are filling, delicious, and healthy! Perfect combo. :)

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