naples34102 Profile - (18863788)


Home Town: Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA
Living In: Mequon, Wisconsin, USA
Member Since: Aug. 2004
Cooking Level: Expert
Cooking Interests: Baking, Italian, Nouvelle, Dessert, Quick & Easy, Gourmet
Hobbies: Gardening, Reading Books, Music, Wine Tasting
Recipe Box 1 recipe
  • Title
  • Type
  • Overall Rating
  • Member Rating
Simple 'N' Delicious Chocolate Cake
Neiman Marcus Chocolate Chip Cookie
Warm Blueberry Cobbler
Easy Chocolate Bundt Cake Glaze
White Chocolate Pound Cake
Jesse and Steve's Fresh Strawberry Cake
About this Cook
After raising two children and putting them through college, they are now on their own and my husband and I are empty nesters. Not better, not worse, just different! My husband's job has always required a lot of travel, but now I accompany him on all his trips. It seems we travel more often than we're home, sometimes several trips a month! I have seen and experienced some amazing things and while I do get homesick, I'm blessed for the opportunities to see so much of our country. And, since a great deal of my husband's work is in Naples, Florida, we have a second home there and enjoy our little getaway. When we're home, we've established a new ritual of dining, just the two of us...beautiful music, lots of glowing candles and a martini(Chocolate for me, Traditional for him) while we work together in the kitchen to make creative and elaborate dinners.
My favorite things to cook
While the kids were growing up, cooking meals was more a daily function than a satisfying experience. Once my "work" was done, I always found great satisfaction in baking. Now I've stepped beyond the "kid friendly" meals, and have really enjoyed trying more creative dishes for meals. Baking, however, is still my greatest joy. I still make the family favorites when requested, but I love experimenting, trying new recipes, putting twists on some of them, and try to master higher-skilled techniques not so familiar to me. No distractions anymore, so I now have the luxury of having the time and opportunity to work on more complicated recipes!
My favorite family cooking traditions
Having started cooking at age five, and at my age, there are many memories of family cooking traditions, and I still use them on holidays when we're all together. By far my favorite is our Christmas Eve dinner tradition. I am a second-generation Italian-American who continues to follow traditions set forth by my mom, grandma, and probably by the women before them too. We have a traditional, meatless, Italian Christmas Eve Dinner which has always included spaghetti with sauce made from tuna and anchovies (trust me, you don't taste the tuna or anchovies!), baccala (salt cod), and Shrimp Scampi. It wasn't always the kids' favorite, but they've come around! And I know they'd think something wasn't right with Christmas if it was any other meal!
My cooking triumphs
Consistently preparing beurre blanc and other emulsions perfectly and understanding why!
My cooking tragedies
I've only had one cooking tragedy, but it was a doozie! When my son was about 10, I was in college and preparing my Senior Thesis. I had been studying long hours, getting very little sleep, and still trying to keep up with my domestic responsiblities as well as taking care of the kids and getting them to all their activities. On his birthday I sent him to school with brownies for his class birthday treat. Easy...I made them so often I could do it blindfolded. I'll never forget when he got off the bus after school that day, carrying the empty pan and with his head hung down. Clearly something was wrong! He told me I had forgotten to put the sugar in the brownies, and I can only imagine how embarrassed he was as his classmates sunk their teeth into them! I couldn't have cared less about my cooking failure, but only that I was responsible for my son having a not-so-nice birthday at school.
Recipe Reviews 3236 reviews
Neiman Marcus Chocolate Chip Cookie
Generally I prefer a chocolate chip cookie with equal measures of brown sugar and granulated sugar; and I particularly don't care for cookies with more brown sugar than white. While they do impart more of a butterscotchy flavor (especially if you use dark brown sugar), they also make the cookie softer, a characteristic more beloved by Hubs than myself. I guess you could say that's exactly why I tried this recipe - to please Hubs... and curiosity too, I admit. What a surprise! And what a way to wake up your taste buds! Outside of there being too many chocolate chips for my chocolate taste buds anyway, these are quite possibly one of the better chocolate chip cookies I've ever made and, having baked for decades, I've tried many. First, they are an inviting delight to the eye, just a beautiful cookie. Not flat (hate that) and not little balls (hate that too). Just a nice, thicki-ish, hearty looking cookie. Reach for one and after one bite you're sold. One hundred percent sold. You get everything here that's most desired in a chocolate chip cookie - they're crispy, chewy and soft and gooey all at the same time. They're rich and buttery, and the espresso makes them taste even more chocolaty. Feel confident to bake these at 375 degrees as directed. Absolutely no reason to do otherwise. As for the authenticity of their being the genuine Neiman Marcus cookie? I don't know. And I couldn't care less. (Update: Hubs said he'd have preferred these without the espresso)

4 users found this review helpful
Reviewed On: Jun. 29, 2015
Warm Blueberry Cobbler
After reading a couple of reviewers' remarks that this was too liquidy, too juicy, I took that as a heads up. Because of previous experience with blueberry cobblers, however, I knew this needed no flour or cornstarch and was just fine without. But given the experience of some others, I took heed and baked it a little longer (than I should have) to make sure I would not have that problem. Yes, others' experiences can give us insight into how a recipe performs, but in addition to that we must not forget to use and trust our own judgment. The recipe, as I see it now, is perfect as written. Just right sweet with a rich and buttery crackly topping unlike a true cobbler, but just delicious no matter what you want to call it. I have no doubt it was because of that decadent drizzle of melted butter before baking. Seriously, I tried a little dish so as to review this recipe beyond what I already knew about it from preparing it - and I had to stop myself from eating my fill. My attempts to correct a problem that proved to be non-existent caused more of the juices to evaporate than should have been. So aside from, in this case anyway, using the tips provided by others, this would have been a 5-star recipe. My suggestion? Prepare this recipe just as written.

6 users found this review helpful
Reviewed On: Jun. 26, 2015
White Chocolate Pound Cake
Hubs and I agree this was not the finest pound cake I ever made. Whatever white chocolate flavor there might have been was completely masked by the almond extract. Hubs even inquired what the “weird flavor” was, and that it had an “unpleasant aftertaste.” I decided the idea of putting the chopped chocolate in the center just didn’t appeal to me so I didn’t use it, and I’m glad for that. Also, I’m thinking that four ounces of white chocolate in the batter in place of the extra cup of sugar and additional 1/2 cup of butter that would typically be there wasn’t exactly the perfect trade-off. It was neither as moist nor as sweet as a good pound cake should be. A good dousing of Easy Chocolate Bundt Cake Glaze, also from this site, was this cake’s salvation.

4 users found this review helpful
Reviewed On: Jun. 16, 2015
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