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April 24, 2009

Fruit Cannoli


  • some sheets of wax paper so the chocolate dipped shells do not stick
  • 1 or 2 packages of cannoli shells (or make your own - I don't.. too much work)
  • 1 package of bakers semi-sweet chocolate
  • 1 15 ir 16oz container of ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 cup of milk
  • 2 cups of real whipped cream
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar (or substitue with hot chocolate mix... YUM!)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • fresh strawberries, hulled, quartered (about 2 1/2 cups)
  • fresh raspberries (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • fresh kiwi fruits (2 or 3), thinkly sliced and quartered
  • 3 tablespoons sliced almonds (lightly toasted and browned is nice if you have a toaster oven)

Dip cannoli shells halfway into dark bakers semi-sweet melted chocolate, place on wax paper, and sprinkle almonds on the chocolate side of the shells while still melted so the almonds stick.

You will be mixing the cheese filling to an even consistency, then gently folding the chopped fruit and raspberries into the cheese filling, using a plastic bag with a small half-inch opening to squeeze the filling into the shells, but remembering to save a few strawberry/kiwi wedges and raspberries for a decorative touch after the shells are filled. You should fill the shells as close to serving time as you can, otherwise the shells will get soggy, and nobody likes a soggy cannoli.

The Cheese Filling:
Stir the ricotta with a bit of the milk to get it started. Using an electric mixer, beat the remaining milk, powdered sugar, and cinnamon in a large bowl until semi-firm peaks form. Fold the ricotta into the whipped cream. Place in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes to stiffen and yield a creamier filling. (Can be prepared 4 hours ahead. Cover and refrigerate.)

Reserve some Strawberry wedges, kiwi wedges and raspberries for a decorative garnish, and chop the remaining Strawberries and kiwi into pieces small enough to fit through a 1/2 inch hole in a plastic bag (later). The washed raspberries can be left intact.

Gently toss the fruit in a medium bowl and gently fold into the cheese filling to combine. Now place the filling into plastic bag and cut a small 1/2 inch opening from the corner of the bag. Squeeze the bag contents into each canolli shell.

Complete with fruit wedge and a raspberry garnish on the ends of the canolli and some sprinkled powdered sugar on top. Serve with your favorite hot coffee beverage. Enjoy!

April 8, 2009

Savory Egg Plant Parmesan


• 2 medium-to-large eggplant (2 to 3 pounds total) (Or substitute squash or zucchini cut lengthwise).
• Salt
• Olive oil as needed
• Bread Crumbs (Italian seasoned)
• Some melted butter to coat the eggplant slices
• Freshly ground black pepper
• 1 big Jar of your favorite tomato sauce
• 1/2 pound grated mozzarella cheese, about 2 cups (optional)
• 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus more if you omit the mozzarella
• About 30 basil leaves
• Chopped: 1 carrot, 2 red bell peppers, 10 cloves of garlic, 2 stalks of celery, 1 large onion


1. Peel the eggplant if the skin is thick or the eggplant is less than perfectly firm. Cut it into 1/2-inch-thick slices and salt it if you like.

2. When you're ready to cook, heat the oven to 350 F. Put about 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet and turn the heat to medium. When the oil is hot (a pinch of flour will sizzle), coat the eggplant slices in melted butter and then bread crumbs. Put in the pan, but do not crowd; you will have to cook in batches. Cook each side until lightly browned, then drain on paper towels. Add some pepper & Salt to the slices as they cook. Add more oil to the skillet as needed. When you remove the eggplant from the oil, sauté carrots, red bell peppers, cloves of crushed garlic, celery & onion until slightly soft.

3. Lightly oil a baking dish, then spoon a little of the tomato sauce into it. Layer the eggplant and tomato sauce with the cooked vegetables and a liberal amount of chopped parsley.Top with a layer of eggplant, then a thin layer of each of the cheeses, and finally a few basil leaves. Repeat until all the ingredients are used up, reserving some of the basil for garnish. End with a sprinkling of Parmesan.

4. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes, or until the dish is bubbling hot. Mince the remaining basil and sprinkle over the top. Serve hot or at room temperature.