Friday, May 20, 2011

Lactose-free Caramel Corn

12 C popped popcorn (about 1/2 - 2/3 c kernels)
2 C brown sugar
1/2 C white Karo syrup
1 t salt (if you are using salted microwave popcorn then omit salt here)
1 cup margarine
1 t baking soda
2 t vanilla
Pop popcorn and set aside. Place brown sugar, Karo syrup, salt, and butter in a microwave safe dish. Cut up the butter into chunks so it melts better.
Microwave for 30 seconds. That should be enough to melt the butter at least half way. Stir it all to combine. Now microwave on high for 2 minutes. Take it out and stir. Microwave for 2 more minutes.
While the caramel is cooking, put the popcorn in a big bowl. Use one that is way bigger than you think you’ll need. Also, try to get any un-popped kernels out so you don’t break a tooth.
When the caramel is done cooking, take out of microwave and add baking soda and vanilla. Sit back and watch it do cool things like bubble and foam. 

Stir it well and then pour it over the popcorn.

Mix it up well with a big spoon. I usually spread it all out on a piece of foil and let it cool for a minute so it doesn’t get stuck in one big clump. The longer it sits out, the firmer it will get, but it won’t ever get crunchy-hard unless you bake it.
adapted from:

Mom's Enchiladas

(Yes, I now refer to myself as 'Mom' in 3rd person.)

4 chicken breasts, poached and shredded

3 c salsa
2 c sour cream
blend together for sauce

Add 3/4 of the sauce to the shredded chicken, roll into tortillas, place in greased 9x12 pan.

Top with the remaining sauce, and sprinkle with 1 1/2 cups of shredded cheddar cheese.

Bake 45 minutes at 350.

(optional ingredients: jalepenos, chiles, black olives, cilantro)

Monday, May 9, 2011

Mascarpone Meringue Cake

Yield: One 9" round dessert

Meringue Layers


12 egg whites (360 g), room temperature

2 1/2 cups granulated sugar

pinch salt


Preheat oven to 250 degrees F (120 C) and line 3 baking sheets with parchment paper. Using an 8" round cake pan, trace the 8" circle onto each piece of parchment so you have 3 circles. Wipe 5 Qt KitchenAid mixer bowl with paper towel and some vinegar or lemon juice, to eliminate grease. Using whisk attachment, beat egg whites and salt until foamy. Add sugar, slowly, and continue beating until it reaches glossy, stiff peaks. Using a small offset palette knife, spread an even layer (apprx 1.5" thick) of meringue over your each of the circle outlines. Bake for approximately 2.5 hours, or until dry and crisp, rotating pans every 20 minutes, and then leave in turned-off oven for another 60 minutes. *Depending on humidity in your kitchen and variance in ovens, this may take up to an additional 30 minutes to bake the meringue. You want to ensure that they are dry all the way through, so as long as they are not browning, you can keep baking them.. Once dry and crisp, remove from oven and leave on tray in cool, dry area, until you are ready to use. Layers will likely have expanded slightly when baked. You can bake 2 trays at a time, and the third layer afterwards.
*I've updated the baking time to ensure the meringue is nice and biscuit-like.
Chocolate Ganache


18 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped

2 cups heavy cream


Place the chocolate into a medium bowl. Heat the cream in a small sauce pan over medium heat. Bring just to a boil, watching very carefully because if it boils for a few seconds, it will boil out of the pot. When the cream has come to a boil, pour over the chopped chocolate, and whisk until smooth. Allow it to cool until thick enough to spread, but loose enough that it will spread easily. To thicken, cover and place in refrigerator. To loosen chilled ganache, you can microwave in 15 second intervals, stirring after each one, or place in double boiler for a few moments.

Ganache recipe adapted from

Mascarpone Cream Filling


1 cup (250 ml) whipping cream (35%)

2 tablespoons granulated sugar

1/2 cup (125 ml) Creme de Cacao (or other chocolate flavoured clear liqueur)

2 cups softened mascarpone cheese


In cold stainless steel mixing bowl and using the whisk attachment, whip the whipping cream with the sugar until thick. Add Creme de Cacao and whip again until it holds its shape. Place mascarpone cheese in a medium bowl, and fold in the whipped cream mixture.

Assembly of Mascarpone Meringue Cake

1. Place 1st meringue layer on doily or cake round. With a small offset palette knife, spread 1/3 of mascarpone cream filling over layer. With a clean small offset palette knife, spread 1/3 of your ganache over cream.

2. Repeat using remaning layers, finishing with ganache.

Notes: Store cake in refrigerator. Cut using a sharp, non-serrated knife in a gentle sliding motion.

Recipe adapted from Lucy Waverman, LCBO Food & Drink Magazine