Today I’m here to share two of my favorite recipes with you: my Caprese Stacker and my Tiramisu. Michael and I featured these recipes on a recent Daytime TV segment about easy holiday cooking. When I’m busy with family in town, I often rely on one of our delicious Italian frozen entrées for the main course and prepare a simple but delicious appetizer and dessert to accompany it. If you make the Tiramisu in the morning, it’s ready by dinnertime, and the Caprese Stacker can be prepared while the lasagna or eggplant parmesan bakes in the oven (my favorite way to cook our meals)!
• Rustic Italian bread
• Tomatoes, large heirloom if possible
• Fresh mozzarella, buffalo if possible
• Fresh eggplant, sliced
• Olive oil, extra virgin
• Fresh basil
• Fresh garlic
• Fresh rosemary
• Prepared basil pesto
• Balsamic vinegar glaze
• Imported Romano cheese, grated
• Black olives
• Salt and black pepper
• Your favorite Italian dressing (homemade if you have the time and inspiration!)
1. Heat a few glugs of olive oil in a hot sauté pan and add some fresh garlic cloves, just slightly crushed with your hand. Sauté until it becomes aromatic (about 30 seconds). Be careful not to let it burn! Remove the oil from the stove and take out the garlic pieces.
2. Cut the bread ¼ inch thick, brush with your garlic-infused olive oil and toast in the oven at 400 degrees. When golden brown, remove from the oven and sprinkle with grated Romano cheese.
3. Grill your eggplant slices on a grill pan or outside on the grill until they have nice color and are cooked through. Spread each slice with a bit of pesto while the eggplant is still warm so it starts to soak up the pesto flavors.
4. Slice the tomatoes and season with salt, pepper, and Italian dressing. Slice the fresh mozzarella.
5. To plate, put once piece of bread down, followed by the eggplant slice, the tomato slice and the mozzarella slice. Garnish with fresh basil, rosemary, and a black olive. Drizzle the plate with Italian dressing and balsamic vinegar glaze.
*I’ve been making this recipe for so long that I don’t know the exact amounts for all the ingredients. Just buy enough to feed your family! And remember, extra cheese is always better than not enough cheese.
• 6 egg yolks
• ¾ cup white sugar
• 2/3 cup milk
• 1 ¼ cups heavy cream
• ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
• 1 pound mascarpone cheese
• ¼ cup strong brewed coffee, room temperature
• 2 tablespoons run
• 2 (3 ounce) packages ladyfinger cookies
• 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
1. In a saucepan, whisk together the egg yolks and the sugar. Whisk in the milk and cook over medium heat until mixture boils. Keep stirring — this is very important as it keeps the egg yolks from scrambling! Boil gently for one minute, remove from the stove and let it cool. Cover the mixture tightly and chill in the refrigerator an hour.
2. Beat the cream with the vanilla together until you get stiff peaks. Whisk the mascarpone cheese into the chilled egg mixture.
3. Combine the coffee and the rum. Try not to drink it! Split the ladyfingers in half lengthwise and drizzle with the coffee mixture.
4. Arrange half of the soaked ladyfingers in the bottom of a 7×11 inch dish. Spread half of the mascarpone mixture over the ladyfingers, then half of the whipped cream over that. Repeat the layers and dust with cocoa. Cover and refrigerate for four to six hours before serving (waiting is the hardest part!).