Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Faking it.

Chances are if you're too busy to make dinner for yourself when you get home, you're probably too busy to make a decent lunch to bring to work.

Let's face it, eating well isn't easy for a lot of us. As my client Debbie explained, "it's any port in the storm" when you're spreading yourself thin among myriad projects.

That's when my services can come in handy. You know good food. You know how to keep yourself fed. However, there is no shame in asking for some assistance. It's the only way I've ever gotten anywhere in my life- by asking for help when I need it. Providing lunches to clients is something I do on a regular basis. I'm already in their kitchen, why can't I help with that, too? Even just offering an extra serving or two of dinner to eat later the next day can make all the difference to someone who's trying to eat better when they're out of the house.

Okay, enough of the soap box- let's talk grub!

Even personal chefs run short on time for their own meals. Here's a fun way I got out of it once:

What in the world is this? It's called a cheat!

I'm calling it Lemon Cheat Cake. Mark and I had dinner plans with my in-laws a few weeks ago. Amid my busy schedule I had to find time to make dessert to bring with us. Something that went with lobster rolls and a strawberry and spinach salad.

My mother-in-law, Diane, is a huge fan of lemon (as am I)- so I knew I had to start there ... Hmmm. Lemon and blueberries?

I wanted to make panna cotta, but there wasn't time. I had only an hour to make it once I had ingredients in hand. 

Behold, the results.

I knew a good place to start was the bakery in my local grocery store. Turns out they had lemon pound cake on sale. That was a good start. So, we work with that. I've always loved mascarpone cheese, so I figured I would mix some lemon zest into that along with some confectioners sugar to create a "cream cheese frosting" kind of deal.

I cut the cake slices with a biscuit cutter and they fit perfectly into these ramekins I had at home. I put a shmear of cheese at the bottom of each, then a layer of pound cake, then cheese, then cake, until the pots were full. I finished with a layer of the cheese and added some garnish.

But I wasn't done there. You can't just eat something that rich without some flavors to cut it.

I bought some blueberries, blackberries and Moscato. I did some partial mashing of the berries in a half cup of the wine, then added sugar, half a vanilla bean, and some lemon juice. I let all of it macerate up until spooning it onto our cakes.

Let me tell ya', the result was so awesome! And with very little effort on my part. A sweet riff on bread, cheese and wine. What's not to like??

So, feel free to put this to use in your own kitchen. Individual desserts seem so fancy- and they help with portion control. Why not make your guests feel super special with fewer steps that normal? You'll all end up happy. 

I wish you spring flavors and meals that end in smiles! xo

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