Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Lunch Ride: Desert Rain Cafe, Kitt Peak, and an Aquisition

Yeah, yeah, you've heard it all before... Kitt Peak, blah blah blah.   It's my local ride of choice this time of year, it's true, so it's hardly blog worthy.  But it's been a year since I've been about 20 miles west of there, to the Desert Rain Cafe (which I told you all about here), and I almost always ride up there by myself, so... why not go out to lunch with a Suzuki riding friend?

Prickly Pear Chicken Wrap

Tepary Bean Quesadilla

 170 miles round trip, by my estimate.  This ride rarely disappoints.  I should say there was one other reason to meet up with my friend today.  She handed over the title to this bike.  It's official.  Welcome to the herd, Eeyore.  HeeeeeeHaaaawww!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas! (Tiramisu Tart*)

It’s been a while since I’ve made an “impractical” dessert.   I’ve had no shortage of delicious sweets, mind you, but when your work hours double and your income, the number at the dinner table and your oven size all decrease by half, well, it’s only natural to simplify.  These days I’m more likely to turn to this cabinet, or my CSA haul (remember the beet cake?) for ingredients rather than stand on a loading dock in a sketchy part of town, looking to score exotic items before the local upper crust restaurateurs nab them.  (Yes, I’ve actually done that.)  Although this little tiramisu tart doesn’t quite compare with the towering showcase confections of my younger years, I’m happy to present it to you.

Black Bottom Tiramisu Tart

What you can’t see from the picture are the layers within:  a sweet cookie crust, the barest brushing of dark chocolate, the creamy noggy mascapone Marsala filling, a wafer thin disc of chocolate sponge cake soaked with an espresso syrup, then more filling, all hiding under the cocoa dusting and chocolate curls.  I can safely say I could have easily ridden three hundred miles and had lunch at a diner in the time it took me to make this tart for dessert last night.  But I had great fun doing it, and I’m already gleefully plotting and shopping for ingredients for a New Years Eve dinner finale.  Many thanks to my dear friends who provided the rest of Christmas Eve dinner, along with their gracious and loving company last night. I could not be more blessed.

Tonight’s dinner left me plenty of time for a ride on the the sleigh.  Magret (seared duck breasts with coarse sea salt - "the other prime rib" if you ask me, with the bonus of a sinfully rich crispy skin), crusty bread, cranberry sauce and a salad. So quick, so few dishes to wash, so elegant – I can’t think of anything else I’d want to eat more.  And what did Santa bring?  Do I dare divulge?  Sing along!  “Itsy bitsy, teeny tiny, red Ducati, string bikini!”  I’m not sure which I’m surprised to own more – the motorcycle or the swimwear!  Perhaps I should reconsider that second slice of tart…

Ducati Sleigh

Joy to the world for 2012!  May you all find happiness in the here and now!

* I used the recipe for the "Tiramisu Black Bottom Tart" from The Pie and Pastry Bible, by Rose Levy Beranbaum.  You could use bits and pieces from other cookbooks or recipes, instead, to create your own spin on the idea, if you wanted.  That opens up a lot of doors, doesn't it...