Monday, August 25, 2014

Sharing Memories of Romania

Romainia, Havarti with Caraway, Srilton with Blureberries, Ciresa Taleggio, Lemon Raspberry Cake with Lemon Curd Whip Cream, Multi-Seed Crackers, Brenton Crackers.,

Our recent dinner guest was Vlad, whom is originally from Romania.  Stone and I recently took a trip to his homeland and we where eager to have him over to recount our journey.   As soon as Vlad arrived, we began with our appetizers and wine. These included  Havarti with Caraway, a fresh buttery cheese with added caraway seeds, a White Stilton with Blueberries, with light textured crumbly cheese and a natural sweetness combined with soft blueberries and lastly, the Ciresa Taleggio, with its rough, rosy crust, pale yellow interior, and a rich buttery, fruity, and slightly salty flavor interior.  For our vehicle with our cheeses, I chose crunchy oven baked Multi-Seed Crackers and Breton Crackers that has a light tender-crisp texture.  As we munched on our appetizers and sipped our wine, we viewed images on the big screen from our trip as Vlad talked about what his life was like growing up in Romania during the communist era.

Romainia, Havarti with Caraway, Srilton with Blureberries, Ciresa Taleggio, Lemon Raspberry Cake with Lemon Curd Whip Cream, Multi-Seed Crackers, Brenton Crackers.,

The table was set and we carried our conversation to the porch where dinner was served.  As the entree was cooking, I began our meal with a Strawberry and Spinach Salad mixed with Quinoa and Crumbled Goat Cheese with Apricot and Thyme and Multi Grain Bread.  Once done, I plated the entree, Individual Beef Croustades with Boursin & Mushrooms on top of drizzled balsamic Vinegar.  It was well into the evening when we polished off our last bite.   

Romainia, Havarti with Caraway, Srilton with Blureberries, Ciresa Taleggio, Lemon Raspberry Cake with Lemon Curd Whip Cream, Multi-Seed Crackers, Brenton Crackers.,

With just enough room left, I served dessert, a Lemon Raspberry Cake with Lemon Curd Whip Cream.   This was the first time I had made this recipe and I'm glad I did.  YUM!!! 

Romainia, Havarti with Caraway, Srilton with Blureberries, Ciresa Taleggio, Lemon Raspberry Cake with Lemon Curd Whip Cream, Multi-Seed Crackers, Brenton Crackers.,

Lemon Raspberry Cake with 
Lemon Curd Whip Cream

Cake Ingredients:
1/2 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 Tablespoon lemon zest
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 cup raspberries, fresh or frozen

Cake Directions:
Preheat oven to 350'.  Spray 8 inch round cake pans with baking spray.  
Sift together flour, baking powder and salt.  Set aside.
Using mixer, beat butter and sugar until light and creamy.  Add eggs one at a time.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl and mix again.  Fold in the lemon juice, sour cream and flour mixture.  Fold in the raspberries. 
Divide the cake batter between the two cake pans and smooth the batter evenly to the edges.
Bake for approximately 25 minutes or until lightly browned on top and the cake springs back when lightly pressed.
Let the cakes cool in their pans for 5 minutes before flipping them over onto a cooling rack. 

Lemon Curd Ingredients:
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons lemon zest
2 large eggs

Curd Directions:
To make the lemon curd place the lemon juice, lemon zest, eggs and sugar in a heat proof glass bowl.  Place the bowl over a pot of rapidly simmering water, being careful that the bottom of the bowl doesn't touch the water.  Stir the mixture until it thicken (about 5 minutes).  You will know when the curd has thickened enough when it coats the back of the wooden spoon and will not drip off easily.
Pass the lemon curd through a sieve to eliminate lumps.  Cover the curd with plastic wrap and place in the fridge to cool.

Stabilized Whipping Cream Ingredients:
1 pint heavy whipping cream
1 Tablespoon Jello Instant Vanilla Pudding Mix (dry)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup confectioners' sugar (or to taste)

Whipping Cream Directions:
Put all the ingredients in a large mixing bowl, preferably one that has been chilled.
Mix on low speed until ingredients are combined.
Mix on high speed until soft peaks form, scraping sides of bowl often.

Lemon Curd Whip Cream Directions:
Reserve 4 Tablespoons Lemon Curd before gently folding in the remaining curd into the whip cream.

Assembling The Cake:
Spread the 4 Tablespoon reserved Lemon Curd onto one of the cake rounds.  Top with 1/3 of the Lemon Curd Whip Cream.  Place the remaining cake round on tops and spoon the remaining Lemon Curd Whip Cream on top and sides.  Smooth out the cream and decorate with fresh raspberries and lemon slices and mint.
Chill until you are ready to serve. Adapted from: http://bakersdaughter.typepad.com/the_bakers_daughter/2010/03/lemon-raspberry-cake-with-lemon-curd-whip-cream.html

Romainia, Havarti with Caraway, Srilton with Blureberries, Ciresa Taleggio, Lemon Raspberry Cake with Lemon Curd Whip Cream, Multi-Seed Crackers, Brenton Crackers.,
Flowers From Vlad

We spent the entire evening going back in time.  It's amazing how spoiled Americans really are when you hear of the difficulty and sacrifice people from other countries have endured.  We've had a great evening. Vlad has left, the dishes are put away, and the lights have been extinguished.  Lucy lead Stone and I to the bedroom and encouraged us to call it a night as she laid down in her crate beside our bed.