Mary’s Memo #2273

     Desserts in a jar are a trend today, but grandmothers tucked desserts into their canning jars because they had
them on hand. This was the inspiration for Shaina Olmanson’s Desserts in Jars, 50 Sweet Treats That Shine (Harvard Common Press, July 2012, $16.95). In a day and age where so much of what we use is disposable, using glass jars as a serving mechanism is a way to make the entire package reusable. Olmanson is a cook, writer and photographer of the popular and award-winning blog Food for My Family. She lives in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area with her husband Ole, and their 4 children.
     Flourless cakes amaze me so I chose Olmanson’s Flourless Chocolate Cake to share. Some of us have jelly glasses collecting dust on basement shelves but if you need new ones Chief and Rays have a variety of jars suitable for her recipes.

Oil for greasing the jars7 ounces bittersweet chocolate4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter4 large eggs, separated1 cup granulated sugarConfectioner’s sugar, for dustingPreheat oven to 350ºF. Grease (14) 8-ounce jars. In a double boiler over simmering water, melt the chocolate and butter until smooth. Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly. In a separate bowl, use a handheld mixer to beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form. Set aside.In a stand mixer, beat together the granulated sugar and egg yolks until thick and creamy. Mix 1/4 cup melted chocolate and butter into the egg yolks. Continue to mix, slowly pour the remaining melted chocolate mixture into the egg yolks until all is incorporated. Fold the egg whites into the chocolate mixture. Spoon 4 to 5 tablespoons of the cake batter into each greased jar. Place the jars 2 inches apart on
a large baking sheet. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until tops of the cakes start to crack. Remove from the oven and let the jars cool. Dust with confectioners’ sugar before serving. Serve warm or at room temperature. Recipe makes 14 individual cakes.
Source: Desserts in Jars by Shaina Olmanson (Harvard Common Press, July 2012, $16.95).CAN COCONUT OIL TREAT ALZHEIMER’S?
     A new book by Dr. Mary Newport, a pediatrician, has gotten a lot of media coverage. Newport, whose own husband has Alzheimer’s, suggests that coconut oil may have dramatic effects on people with the disease. Coconut oil is high in calories (115 calories per tablespoon). That can add up when the recommended doses are 4 to 8 tablespoons per day.
     The University of California, Berkeley Wellness Letter, June 2012, reports that although the book makes a convincing case for coconut oil, they can’t. The most important thing to do if a family member has serious memory problems is to consult a doctor, preferably a neurologist. Don’t assume it is Alzheimer’s disease. There are other causes of memory problems and other forms of dementia, some of which are reversible. A vitamin B-12 deficiency, hypothyroidism and depression can all lead to symptoms that may be mistaken for early Alzheimer’s. Certain medications can also impair memory. Thus it’s important to rule these out and not be sidetracked by self-treatments such as coconut oil.
Source: University of California, Berkeley Wellness Letter, June 2012.

     When Portobello mushroom caps are on sale at Chief and Rays I buy! I like the meat-like texture of Portobellos. I’ve stuffed the caps with regular stuffing but recently roasted the caps in the oven with a light breading mixture. Extras can be reheated in the microwave. A half tablespoon of freshly grated Parmesan cheese was not nearly enough to suit me so I used 1 tablespoon per cap. Recipe called for plain dry bread crumbs but I only had Italian seasoned ones
on hand and they worked fine.

4 large Portobello mushrooms, stems removedSalt and freshly ground pepper to taste (use caution because there is salt in the topping)1/4 cup Italian dry bread crumbs4 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese1 tablespoon chopped flat leaf parsley1 tablespoon light olive oil1/8 teaspoon saltPreheat oven to 450ºF. Cover a 9x13-inch baking pan cover with foil. Coat with cooking spray. Place mushroom caps, gill side up, on prepared pan. Sprinkle caps with salt and pepper. Roast for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, combine breadcrumbs, Parmesan, parsley, oil and 1/8 teaspoon salt. Divide
mixture between mushroom caps, spreading evenly. Return to oven until crumbs are browned, about 5 minutes. Recipe makes 4 servings.
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