Thursday, April 10, 2014

Mom's mystery torte still a winner

Several years ago, I shared my mother's Mystery Torte in The Sacramento Bee, but a search on turns up nothing with my byline anymore. (After five years away, it's like my 21 years at that newspaper never happened.) 

For a good long time, the 3x5 card that had the recipe on it was nowhere to be found, and I wasn't the only one who missed it. While cleaning out my email, I came across a friend's lament that he had not saved The Bee with the recipe, and would dearly love to have it if it ever turned up.

Here you go, Fred! And if Nancy doesn't want to share her sticky toffee pudding recipe, that's OK; I'd love to have her make it for us the next time we're in Sacramento.

Mystery Torte
Serves 8

From the recipe box of Attie Ardoin Korleski. Source unknown (it's a mystery!). If you don't have an 8-inch pie tin, use a 9-inch; it won't be as thick, but still very tasty. 

16 Ritz crackers
2/3 cup walnuts 
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup sugar
3 egg whites
1 teaspoon vanilla 

1 cup (1/2 pint) whipping cream
Sugar to taste

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Roll crackers, grind nuts and mix together (or put both in a food processor and mix until you can't tell them apart). Set aside. 

Mix baking powder and sugar. Set aside. 

Beat egg whites until stiff; add sugar mixture slowly. When done, fold in the cracker-nut mixture and add vanilla. Pour into lightly greased 8-inch pie tin. Bake 30 minutes at 350 degrees. Cool completely (but do not refrigerate yet).

Use the last two ingredients to make whipped cream. Push down the thin top layer of the torte, then spread the whipped cream on top, taking care not to lift any of the crumbs from the top while you are spreading the cream. Put in the refrigerator and chill for at least three hours before serving.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

When is balsamic just a cheap imitation of the real thing?

Good to know, from Good Stuff NW:

Bottles of balsamic vinegar on store shelves labeled "Balsamic Vinegar of Modena" are a commercial grade product made of wine vinegar with the addition of coloring, caramel and sometimes thickeners like guar gum or cornflour.

Authentic balsamic vinegar, labeled "Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale di Modena," is produced from the juice of just-harvested white grapes (typically, Trebbiano grapes) boiled down to approximately 30% of the original volume to create a concentrate or must, which is then fermented in a slow aging process which concentrates the flavors.