Monday, March 15, 2021

Chocolate Semifreddo and a Winner

If you have been with me for years and years 
you will remember that we went to visit 
my husband's cousin in Bologna, Italy.  

My daughter had just finished culinary art 
school and she came with us.  His adorable 
cousin set up an opportunity to have two 
beautiful ladies, one a countess, teach us 
some cooking classes in her home. 

(Me, Victoria, Kirk's cousin Tonya, Antonella and my daughter Amanda)

We began the adventure by going shopping 
at the small local stores with them and then 
on to cooking.  For dessert they taught us 
a semi-freddo, which is a creamy half frozen 
dessert, almost like a frozen mousse. 

Click here to see that post. 

I started that post by saying Bologna is known as 
"The Fat One" because foods from Bologna are 
rich, and semifreddo certainly qualifies for that.

I hadn't made it again until we recently 
went to a restaurant and ordered it for dessert.  Each bite was so creamy and delicious that I decided I hadto go home and make some.  

At the restaurant they offered a slice of white 
chocolate semifreddo and a slice of chocolate 
semifreddo.  I decided to make just a chocolate 
and to serve it in individual dishes rather than 
a traditional loaf pan since I didn't have one 
here in Cabo.

I found a fabulous recipe from Family Style Food
and we have made it three times now!  
(Covid pounds!!!)

I made a few slight changes to her 
recipe for ease and considering what 
ingredients I had.  I also divided it into 
6 individual dishes instead of 4.   This is the most 
luxuriant dessert ever and not difficult even 
though there are a few steps.  It also lasts well 
in the freezer so you can take one out later and 
indulge again and again.

Chocolate Semifreddo Recipe

Crumble one and a half Oreo cookies per small 
serving dish and divide into six dishes. 

2 T. plus 1/4 C. sugar
1/4 C. water
1 C. semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 T. cocoa powder (sifted)
4 egg yolks
1 C. whipping cream
3/4 C. mascarpone cheese

Place the 2 T. sugar and 1/4 C. water into a small 
saucepan and heat until the sugar has dissolved.  
Remove from heat and stir in the chocolate chips 
and cocoa powder.  Stir until smooth.  

Remove the melted chocolate to a large bowl 
and allow it to cool for about ten minutes.  

Place the egg yolks in a mixing bowl with the 
remaining 1/4 C. sugar and beat with the whisk 
about 5 minutes until it becomes light and forms 
a ribbon.  

Fold the egg mix into the chocolate until well blended.  

Wash and dry the mixer bowl and whisk and 
then add the whipping cream and mascarpone cheese 
and beat until soft peaks form.  Gently fold the 
chocolate mixture into the cream until it is 
well blended.  Spoon into your dessert dishes or 
a loaf pan, if you prefer. 

Freeze for at least 4 hours until firm.  Garnish with 
whipped cream and chocolate shavings and a 
little raspberry sauce if desired.  

It should be served semi frozen, so remove it from the 
freezer for a few minutes before you eat it. You can 
unmold it or just eat it straight from the bowl - we 
started to just eat it from the bowl - drawing a line 
through the center so we could share it - haha!  

Amazing - wow your friends and family or just 
yourself with this one.  

Now to the winner of our MacKenzie-Childs giveaway 

was chosen randomly and 
is the winner of the beautiful tea towel. 
 She told me she doesn't often comment, 
so it was a good thing 
she did this time!  Congratulations!

Monday, March 1, 2021

Another Tale of the Traveling Totes and a Giveaway

Miss Madi K and I want to welcome you on another 
adventure of Tales of the Traveling Totes as our 
group of MacKenzie-Childs loving women take 
you along with our totes to places near and far!
This is our 26th trip of fun.  I feel so lucky to 
be a part of this great group of women.  

Stay with me to the end to enter our 
quarterly giveaway.  Leave a comment on 
my blog to enter, as I am in charge of the 
giveaway this time!

Today is a real adventure as I take you out into 
the desert of San Jose del Cabo.  
Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo 
are called Los Cabos - two neighboring cities, 
and if you fly in, you actually fly into San Jose 
del Cabo and drive for 35 minutes to reach 
Cabo San Lucas.  Now we are heading back that 
direction and going out into the middle of 
nowhere - really - to have an amazing experience. 

We are headed to Acre (ah-cray) for a 
farm to table experience, and here the farm is, 
the cattle were just along the side of the dirt 
road on our way there.  (They have been 
wandering the roads by the airport the 
last two times too! 
I just love cultural experiences.)

We had heard about this farm to table experience from 
my friend's daughter, who had gone here on a 
business trip.  We looked it up and decided we weren't 
that interested, but residing here for quite a while 
this winter, hubby and I decided we wanted to try 
something new. 

So we got dressed up, and off we traveled 
to the middle of nowhere - only getting lost 
using GPS for a few turns - sometimes GPS 
can't navigate in undeveloped areas. 

We had been to a similar farm to table experience 
at Flora Farms, and had we known it was literally 
right next door, we would have had an easier time 
finding the place.  We wanted to arrive while it was 
still daylight so we could have a tour around the 
25 acre property. 

They kindly take you around the property in a golf cart, 
and imagine our surprise when after we have passed 
vegetable gardens, rescued animals, mango groves, etc. 
when we walk down paths to the restaurant that 
turns the desert into a literal jungle.  I felt we 
had been transported to a tropical botanical 
garden with palms and plants that I had 
never seen before.  

Tucked in along the path to the restaurant are 
tree houses that you can stay in.  You can barely 
see the treehouses with all of the lush vegatation - 
follow the path to the black poles and look up!

Now that sounds exotic!

We were told the property was purchased in 2012, and 
the lush jungle was planted in 2014 - so six years 
later it has gone from that sandy desert you saw in the 
first pictures to a dense jungle.

This is a huge upgrade from Flora Farms, 
where you sit at picnic tables.  It was so beautiful 
and lush and romantic. 

We started with sparkling limades.  We got the 
rose from a vendor at a stoplight before 
we got off on the dirt road.  He only wanted 
a dollar, so we bought one.  

I love the embroidered napkins - everything 
was just top notch. 

Everyone begins with this herbed bread 
that comes with a spicy eggplant spread.  
Talk about presentation!  

I also ordered their cheddar biscuits - 
literally a pocket of melted cheese inside. 
I probably didn't need that much bread, 
but we really enjoyed both. 

There are beautiful peacocks wandering the grounds, 
and he happened to pass right by our table.  

As the sun started to go down, Miss Madi K 
happily held my hat, my wrap and my rose. 

I ordered the burrata appetizer, but honestly, 
with the breads and the size of the burrata and 
fresh tomatoes and greens, I shouldn't have 
had anything else.  It was beautiful and delicious. 

Kirk ordered this pear and gorgonzola salad 
which was also huge and amazing. 

At that point we should have just moved 
on to dessert, but since we had more 
food coming....  We have both been taking 
photos of food long before I ever started blogging.  
It is such a big part of our life and adventures, 
so I thought this captured his love for food 
photos just as much as mine! 

I ordered brussels sprouts and they were topped 
with sugared nuts and seeds and it was more 
like a dessert than anything.  It was amazing.  
The beautiful girl who had taken us on our 
tour had recommended it, saying that she 
didn't even like brussel sprouts, but this was a 
must try.  She was right.

Although Kirk was full by now too, he had ordered 
a lobster salad.  It was so fresh and light and it 
was a piece of art, that we both enjoyed it  

Our peacock decided to get a great view of 
everyone enjoying their evening as he hopped
 up onto the roof.  It was magical seeing the 
lights begin to turn on creating an even more 
romantic setting.  

The evening sky was spectacular in one direction, 

while in the other direction we spied a 
full moon through the vegetation. 

I know, we were too full, but there is something 
magical about dessert - it just kind of fills in 
the cracks.  This Frozen Key Lime pie with a 
smidge of meringue was out of this world. 

Then it is more magical as you walk back down 
the paths to your car. That Miss Madi K was 
a lucky girl to get invited along on such a 
magical adventure!

I immediately texted my friend and told her 
we had made a mistake by not going there - 
next time!!!

Now for the fun giveaway! 
I am hosting the giveaway 
this month.  I always love the 
MacKenzie-Childs gifts we give 
each time and wish I could win - haha.

Leave a comment below and the winner 
will be randomly chosen and announced.  
Good luck!  I just love giveaways, and 
we don't have as many in the blogosphere 
as we used to! 

Visit all of our TTT friends to see where 
they were off to this quarter.  I love seeing 
a lot of the fun places they get to.  

Debbie with Miss Aurora @ Mountain Breaths 

Emily with Miss Courtney ChildsThe French Hutch
Jenna with Miss Coquille @The Painted Apron
Linda P with Miss Lola @ Life and Linda
Patti with Miss Kenzie @ Pandora's Box  
Rita with Miss Luna C Panoply 
Sarah with Miss Merri Mac @ Hyacinths for the Soul
Ricki Jill and Countess De Monet @ The Sketchy Reader
Cherry Kay and Carrie Ann Hall @ Entertaining Women  

Join us June 1st for our next adventure of 
Tales of the Traveling Totes.  Hard to believe 
summer will be here that soon!

Friday, February 12, 2021

Valentine's Pavlova

Valentine's Day is fast approaching and I had 
to have a dessert or two to celebrate.
I decided a heart-shaped pavlova with 
gorgeous red fruit would be perfect, 
and beautiful!

A pavlova is a meringue crust with a 
soft filling, like sweetened whipped cream,
and is usually topped with fresh fruit.  
I have shared a couple of other pavlova's 
over the years.  One is a Christmas one with 
peppermint that is a family favorite.  

Now mind you, we are still staying in 
Cabo, and so the hunt for my ingredients 
began.  I stood in the store with my 
limited Spanish (it gets me around, but 
ingredients can be new) and looked up 
"Fecula de maiz" and sure enough it 
was cornstarch.  We have found a couple 
of grocery stories that we really love, 
La Comer and Fresko, and La Comer 
had what they called a gourmet area, where 
I readily recognized Cream of Tartar.  I 
was surprised and thrilled.  I could have 
substituted vinegar, but even with vinegar, 
there just isn't a big selection here. 

I have made meringues with regular sugar rather 
than super-fine, but the sugar here in Mexico 
is super coarse - as in my chocolate chip cookies 
have a crunch from the sugar.  So I decided to 
whirl the sugar around in my blender and got 
some pretty nice super-fine sugar.  
As you can tell, things are a little more 
complicated here and the Mexican culture's 
taste in baked goods is different than ours.  
Our builder's wife immediately told me I 
would need to import flour as theirs is softer 
than cake flour, but we found a little organic 
store close by that carries King Arthur flour. 

I am not sure I can bake without parchment 
paper, so I brought a supply down with me.  
To make the heart, I folded the parchment 
paper in half and made half a heart, then 
turned it over and copied the other side.  
Then I made sure to turn my parchment 
paper over to the back side so that I didn't 
end of with markings on the back of my 
meringue - yes I have had that happen before.  

With the leftover meringue I piped 
some smaller hearts for accents. 

Meringue is really fun and easy and I haven't 
met someone who didn't love that melt in 
your mouth texture.  
Pavlova Recipe
Heat oven to 230 degrees.  Line pan with 
parchment paper.  
Start with a squeaky clean mixer bowl and 
whip.  Whip 4 room-temperature egg whites 
(with not a speck of yolk in them) until soft 
peaks form.  Then spoon 1 C. of super-fine 
sugar in, one heaping tablespoon at a time.  
Stop and scrape the sides of the bowl as 
needed.  The meringue will get glossy 
white and beautiful.  After you have 
added all of the sugar - don't rush this - 
beat in 1 Tablespoon cornstarch and 
1 1/2 teaspoons cream of tartar that 
have been blended together with a fork. 
Continue to beat until 
the sugar crystals are almost gone - test 
by rubbing a little between your fingers.  
Spoon the meringue onto the parchment 
paper within your design.  Swirl it and 
make it beautiful using the back of a spoon.  
Use the remaining 
meringue to create meringue cookies if 
Place the pan into a 230 F oven for 80 minutes.  
Then turn off the heat and allow to stay in the 
oven for at least two hours or even overnight.  
I took mine out after several hours and let 
it cool, then covered it with plastic wrap 
so I could assemble it the next day.  

Top it with whipped cream or whatever filling 
you desire and then the fruit.  Refrigerate 
until served.  I like it to sit for a while to 
help soften the meringue, but then I would 
top it later with the fruit.  
This pavlova turned out so beautiful and 
white - I think it loved the Cabo climate!  Haha.


Chocolate Peppermint Pavlova 

Spring Berry Pavlova

I hope you have a lovely 
Valentine's Day.
Thanks for stopping by.  Give this a try, 
it will melt in your mouth. 


Tuesday, February 2, 2021

Cabo Eats

I have to admit that I travel for food!  Food is a huge 
component of my joy in traveling and Cabo has some 
really amazing food.
I am continually getting friends contacting me about 
my restaurant recommendations while they are in Cabo, 
so I thought I would do another post on it.  

We have had a place down here in Cabo for 16 years 
and so we have definitely tried many, many places.  
When my family comes, they have their favorites, 
so we can't explore much, but after they leave, or if 
we are here by ourselves, we like to try new places.
 Hubby and I ventured out to 
a new place that we had walked by 
Tres Sirenas - Three Mermaids.
The above is Coconut Shrimp, served in a sliced in 
half coconut shell and the center was filled with a ruby 
red mashed potatoes - colored with beets - but it 
didn't taste like beets.  The plate was surrounded with 
gorgeous pink bougainvillea blossoms - delicious and beautiful.

They started us off with this fantastic
 empanada appetizer - 
included in your meal.  

We could have had several of those 
for a meal!

We also tried a prepared at your table Lobster 
Caesar Salad.  Of course, they accented it with 
rose petals.
We loved the atmosphere so much and the beautiful 
dishes, and the food also didn't disappoint.  Right 
away I knew that this was where I wanted to 
eat for my birthday dinner when friends came. 
They made me feel like a mermaid!

Everything they did was so beautifully presented. 
This was their crab or lobster enchiladas.  The beautiful 
purple blossoms make it look like a dessert.  This picture 
also shows the gorgeous dinner plates.  I highly
recommend this place for special occasions. 

Our favorite breakfast place, which is a family favorite 
is down on the beach, where you can take your 
sandals off and dig your feet into the sand - 
The Office.  
We love to say we are "at the office" as we 
enjoy our breakfast here.  I can't resist the 
fresh fruit on a half pineapple.  Again, this is 
always adorned with fresh flowers.  I just love that. 

My second favorite is their green chilaquiles with 
chicken.  They have the best green sauce.  One of 
our friends asked if we could buy some sauce and 
they happily sold us some for three or four dollars 
in a to-go coffee cup.  We enjoyed that later on 
tacos and quesadillas at home. 

Hubby's favorite is the shrimp omelette.  I always 
have to have a bite of his.  It is so amazing. 

We found out they even will serve you bacon wrapped 
shrimp for breakfast if you want, so we got an 
order and split it three ways.  
The family loves this place so much that we usually 
go there twice in one week. 

(We don't choose this place for dinner though, 
as it is too much of a drinking beach party at night.)

Another breakfast favorite is from Solomon's Landing 
down on the marina.  This one is about a 20 minute 
walk from our home.  This restaurant was recommended 
by Guy Fieri on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, although 
this is a nice restaurant on the marina.  If he hadn't 
recommended their Strawberry Stuffed French Toast, 
we would probably never have found this.

 My husband specializes in breakfast foods and he 
had been making stuffed French toast for years, 
so of course we went home and tried to recreate this. 

I posted a copy-cat recipe for this one.  
Click here for the recipe. 

When we had friends here we got up every morning 
to watch the sunrise.  We had the landscapers fill 
some of the planters with sand, so although we 
are up on a cliff we have little sandy beaches. 

After sunrise, we would all go on a walk, either down 
to the beach or up the hills.  Most breakfasts are 
simple, at home, make your own style breakfasts, 
but they often feature fresh squeezed orange juice. 

Lunches are usually at home also, but we do have 
a couple of favorite taco shops we love to visit. 
My favorite is Asi Y Asado tucked into a little open 
air space almost right across the highway from 
Costco.  Their grilled shrimp tacos are my favorite. 

A while ago they had added hamburgers to their 
menu, and everyone was reluctant to order one 
since their tacos are so wonderful, so on our 
way to the airport to drop friends off, we 
decided to try one and split it.  The waiter 
asked if we wanted bacon, onions and mushrooms 
on it.  I said sure!!!  It was delicious, so now 
I know where to get a good hamburger.

A new find this year is a funkier taco shop called 
La Lupita.  Their tacos tend to be more stylized. 

We have only been for lunch, but we loved it 
and it seems like the atmosphere would be nice at 
night.  They are located close to The Office and 
Tres Sirenas. 

We kept passing this place and 

it was always busy so we decided to give 

Cabo Cantina a try.  It is a sports bar and grill, 

but we went early and they were just playing 
extreme sports videos, so it wasn't too loud and crazy. 
The Carnitas were superb.  They were the best we 
have found here in Cabo and a very generous portion.

Their specialty, served all day long, is Billionaire Bacon. It is a sugared and spiced bacon, but extra thick. They offer a BLT wrap with it.  We may have to try that. 

I got the two lobster tails and two shrimp special. 
I would never have tried the bread, as I was already 
getting full, but after hubby tried a bite, we realized 
a bite of buttered lobster on the crusty bread tasted 
like a lobster roll - yum!

We hardly have a decent Italian restaurant at home, but 
here in Cabo, there are so many to try.  We tried 
The Italian Job
this year, and loved everything from this giant calzone 
to their fabulous Carbonara and creamy Gnocchi.  
Put this one on the list too!
Our other favorites are La Dolce - the Gorgonzola Filet!
Pizza Nostra - the foccacia, lasagna and Fragola Salad
Salvatores - their giant lasagna, shrimp scampi, bruschetta, 
and sea bass pasta.

Recommended by a friend's daughter - 

 is Marea by Night located at the Montage. 

It is located right up from the beach at 
Santa Maria Beach, and is definitely a 
special occasion atmosphere and price.
The shrimp cocktail was superb.

We followed that with lobster tails that were huge.  
We could have probably shared one. 

Not to be missed is their light as a feather 
Pavlova with fresh fruit and Coconut Ice Cream.

You can see why we have to go walking each morning - 
up and down the hills of Pedregal.

We also got some new Pickle Ball courts here in our 
community, so we are learning that now too - 
that should give us a little exercise. 

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