February 27, 2015


unfinished… is for “unfinished”

It also stands for “unable to comprehend” why a beautiful project unfortunately stops after it’s begun.

gma'sgingersBy God’s grace, we go on…

teddyThank you, little one, for the joyful smiles you gave us to remember.

February 19, 2015

Black Bottom Tiramisu Cheesecake

The Improv Cooking Challenge February installment features Coffee & Cream. ElisabethJean cof'n'cream (1)When our hostess Lesa publicized this month’s ingredients, I was so sure I was going to make one of those panna cotta thingies topped with a coffee gelée like I’ve been seeing all over Pinterest. Unfortunately, however, my fellas are not pudding-y/custard-y type eaters, so I needed to punch it up a bit. I was so glad I came across this recipe by Theresa of Island Vittles for a tiramisu cheesecake with an espresso glaze.

My absolute favorite sweet when I was in school was Black Bottom Pie. The next decade I loved me some cheesecake! Most recently I’ve enjoyed making liqueur-soaked cookie/cake-based desserts. Today I’ve combined all the above into one 9-inch springform pan!ElisabethJean cof'n'cream (14)First I made my mascarpone with 4 cups of cream & lemon juice as I did here. ElisabethJean cof'n'cream (4)While that was cooling, I used my #blendtec Christmas gift to make the coffee extract for the espresso gelée. ElisabethJean cof'n'cream (2)(Today it was 1/2 c. espresso powder with 12 oz.  rum. That yielded a little over 6 ounces of extract.)

For the “black bottom” part of the dessert I decided to go with a flourless chocolate cake recipe in part to keep the dish gluten free.

  • 1/2 c. butter
  • 1 c. semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 t. kosher salt
  • 2 t. espresso powder
  • 2/3 c. brown sugar
  • 1/3 c. dutch dark cocoa
  • 3 large eggs

Preheat oven to 375° and prepare springform with parchment. Melt butter & chocolate chips. (It took 90 seconds in the microwave.) Whisk in the salt, espresso, brown sugar & cocoa until smooth. Add eggs one at a time, whisking well after each. Scrape into prepared pan and bake 20 minutes. Remove pan to cooling rack and re-set oven to 200° (might need to leave oven door open for a bit to help it cool down…)ElisabethJean cof'n'cream (6)

  • 1 lb. mascarpone
  • 1 lb. cream cheese
  • 1 c. sugar
  • 1/2 c. dark rum
  • 1/4 c. cornstarch
  • 1/2 t. kosher salt
  • 4 large eggs

In mixing bowl combine mascarpone, cream cheese and sugar on low speed until well blended. I used the whisk attachment to add the remaining ingredients except for the eggs. I then ran the mixer on medium speed to add the eggs, one at a time, and continued to whisk until the batter was creamy & smooth. Gently pour over the chocolate bottom. Return pan to oven and bake until firm. (It can take 3 hours, or so…) Cool on rack. When no longer warm, cover and chill in refrigerator overnight.ElisabethJean cof'n'cream (7)

  • 1 T. cold water
  • 1 t. gelatin
  • 2 T. light brown sugar
  • 1/2 c. boiling water
  • 1/2 c. espresso extract

Sprinkle gelatin over cold water in heat-safe bowl. Allow to “bloom” for about 5 minutes. Stir in brown sugar. Add boiling water and stir until brown sugar & gelatin are completely dissolved. Add the espresso extract and allow to cool 15 minutes. Gently pour gelée over cheesecake. Chill until set. Remove ring from pan and serve as desired.

ElisabethJean cof'n'cream (3)I decided to whisk up a little brown sugar whipped cream to top it all off.ElisabethJean cof'n'cream (13)It was the yummiest!ElisabethJean cof'n'cream (17)

Follow these links for some more coffee & cream inspiration:

February 18, 2015

Marquee lights obsession

I loves me some marquee lights!

Even more than marquee lights, I’ve got a thing for &.

(Yes, I have started a slight ampersand collection…)

I decided I needed a remote-controlled, battery-operated marquee ampersand above my kitchen cupboards. (Didn’t want wires or plugs showing & being 12+ feet from the floor, the ability to turn on remotely was a must.)

Couldn’t find one. Even if I found one, I’m sure that would be more $$ than I could justify spending.

So, I bought a papier-mâché one from my favorite Joann store.

I carefully removed the top with a craft knife.

…and it sat like that for months while I looked for components to complete my project!

After I decided on my lights, it was time to paint. I wanted my & to look weathered & rusty. I used Mod Podge to give it a sheen as if it were painted metal.ElisabethJean marquee ampersand (2) I used white tape to bundle the little lights by twos, and small ornaments for the “globes”.ElisabethJean marquee ampersand (8)

ElisabethJean marquee ampersand (6)I love the way it looks when lit.ElisabethJean marquee ampersand (18)

Unfortunately, I found a replacement & while waiting for this project to be complete…ElisabethJean marquee ampersand (10)


Faux Zinc Stencils

I “needed” a few galvanized metal-looking stencils to complete a little tableaux atop my kitchen cupboards.

A stroke of frugality genius compelled me to cut my letters out of 5 layers of cardstock with my #Silhouette and then glue them together for desired thickness. ElisabethJean faux zinc stencil (15)A little black/grey/blue/silver paint dabbed here & there gave the appearance of aged zinc stencils.ElisabethJean faux zinc stencil (16)

ElisabethJean faux zinc stencil (17)My dad had given me the perfect slab of wood a couple years back -- all I had to do was dust it of & then run a light wash of grey over it.ElisabethJean faux zinc stencil (20)Fortunately in the garage I found some small silver-toned nails that looked just right hammered into the corners of the stencils.ElisabethJean faux zinc stencil (18)(I think I only bent one nail…)ElisabethJean faux zinc stencil (22)Ta-da!ElisabethJean faux zinc stencil (1)