Saturday, October 8, 2016

Magic in the Air

Two new recipes this week, and I did them both on the same day. First the entree.

I often make a dish called South of the Border Stuffed Shells that came from a former member of the Contessa's Kitchen discussion board in which jumbo shells are stuffed with seasoned meat, placed in a dish of salsa, covered with salsa, sprinkled with Monterey Jack cheese, and baked. It makes a lot and is great for potluck dinners. But I had always wanted to try a traditional, Italian stuffed shells. So, like any 21st century cook, I took to the internet and found this recipe.

Two things were different. I had made a very large pot of marinara a couple of months ago and had put several containers in the freezer. I pulled one out for this dish. And the recipe called for Italian seasoning, which I did not have, so I just winged it. So, this is my version.

Ricotta and Spinach Stuffed Shells.

24 jumbo shells
15 oz Ricotta cheese
1 10 oz pkg frozen spinach
1 large egg
1 c grated parmesan chees
2 c grated mozerella cheese
salt and pepper
1/2 tsp basil
1/4 tsp oregano
1/4 tsp garlic powder
Pinch of nutmeg

Cook shells in salted, boiling water for 9 minutes, then drain. Mix together ricotta, spinach, parmesan, 1 cup mozerella, and herbs. Taste and add salt and pepper if needed. Add the egg and mix well.

Spray a 9" x 13" baking dish with cooking spray and spread with a thin layer of marinara. Put about 1 tbs of filling in each shell and place seam down in the sauce. Top with sauce and remaining mozerella cheese.

Cover with foil and place in a preheated 375 degree oven for 30 minutes. Remove foil and continue baking for 10 minutes. Allow a few minutes to cool before serving.

On to dessert, and the real magic. I made a magic cake! Have you seen this?

Three Layer Magic Cake

4 eggs, separated
3/4 cup of sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 stick unsalted butter, melted
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups luke-warm milk

Preheat the oven to 325. Prepare an 8" x 8" pan with butter or cooking spray. Beat egg whites to stiff peaks and set asside.

Beat yolks and sugar until pale yellow. Add butter and vanilla and mix well. Add flour and beat until just combined.

Fold in egg whites. This is a very loose batter and there will be lumps of egg whites.

Pour into pan and bake until golden brown and the center of the pan does not jiggle when loosely shaken. The original recipe said 40 to 50 minutes, but it took mine about an hour. I started checking at about 30 minutes because the top was golden brown but it was very jiggly. I loosely covered it with foil and checked every 10 minutes or so until it was done. Let it cool for 0 minutes in the pan and turn out onto rack to cool. I placed the foil I had uses earlier on one rack, turned it onto the foil, than flipped it back onto a second rack. I then covered it with a chocolate ganache*.

Cut the cake and magically, there are three layers inside.

*Ganache made by heating 1/4 cup heavy cream in the microwave for 1 minutes and adding 3 oz of chopped semi-sweet chocolate, stirring until mixed.

If you love a custard, this is a wonderful dessert.

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