What do ya do when your sister shares an anniversary with you? Have them over for dinner of course!

The original plan was for the four of us to go out to dinner, but… Blanche has been a bit under the weather this past week, so we didn’t want to leave her alone for an extended length of time. Fortunately, she’s on the mend and feeling much better – and it gave me an excuse to try out a couple of new recipes!

First off was a loaf of sourdough bread. I more or less followed a recipe from Breadtopia named Slow, Lazy Sourdough Bread. I used King Arthur bread flour and a really good white whole wheat that my brother gave us. Great flavor and crust – and an almost decent oven spring. The concept is there – it just needs a bit of tweaking…

The star of the show, though, was the cannelloni! Victor made the homemade pasta and I did the fillings and baking.

The recipe went through a google translate, and even though I did try to clean it up, it can seem a bit awkward…

Shrimp and Lentil Cannelloni

adapted from La Cucina Italiana


  • 4 oz. of mirepoix (chopped celery, carrots, and onion)
  • White wine
  • 10.5 OZ. of small lentils
  • Vegetable broth
  • salt to taste


  • Garlic
  • 10.5 OZ. of peeled tomatoes
  • 1 shallot
  • Chili flakes
  • Cognac
  • Vegetable broth
  • Thyme
  • salt and pepper, to taste


  • 1 1/2 tbsp of butter
  • 1 1/2 tbsp of flour
  • 2 C. of milk
  • Nutmeg
  • pinch salt
  • pinch white pepper

1 lb of shrimp

8 cannelloni sheets or shells

Sauté the mirepoix in 2 tablespoons of oil with a pinch of coarse salt. Add the lentils after 2 minutes, along with a splash of white wine and 4 ladlefuls of broth. Cook the lentils for 1 hour, continuing to add broth so that they do not dry out.

Shell the shrimp, devein them and remove their tails, setting aside the heads. Peel the shallot, slice it and set a bit aside to chop.

Crush an unpeeled clove of garlic and sauté it in a pan with 2 tablespoons of oil, the sliced shallot, and a pinch of chili flakes for 1 minute. Add the shrimp heads, crushing them well, then add 3 tablespoons of cognac and let it evaporate. Add the peeled tomatoes, cook for 8 minutes, then add a ladleful of broth and simmer for 15 minutes. Strain the sauce, then bring to a boil and let it reduce for 15 minutes, adding salt to taste.

Blend 7 ounces of lentils with 1/2 cup of broth, then strain the cream to remove any skins. Set 4 whole shrimp aside and chop the others. Chop the remaining shallot and add it to the whole lentils and the lentil cream, then add the chopped shrimp, a few thyme leaves and mix well. Halve the 4 shrimp set aside and marinate them with oil, the juice of half a lemon, a pinch of salt, and a few thyme leaves.

Prepare the bechamel by melting the butter in a saucepan. Remove from the heat, add the flour and mix. Return to the heat and add the milk, a pinch of salt, and freshly grated nutmeg, letting it thicken for 5 minutes.

Cook the cannelloni in salted boiling water for 3 minutes, then cool in ice water. Place the lentil and shrimp cream in a pastry bag and fill the cannelloni. Place a layer of bechamel in a baking dish, then add the stuffed cannelloni. Cover with the rest of the bechamel sauce and a drizzle of oil. Bake at 350°F for 15 minutes. Top the cannelloni with the sauce, the marinated shrimp, and a few lentils to taste.


Pasta Dough

adapted from Alon Shaya

  • 1 1/4 cup 00 flour
  • 1/2 cup semolina
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 2 tsp olive oil

Mix flours. Make a well and add the eggs, egg yolks, and oil. Slowly mix in the flour and knead until smooth. Let rest 30 minutes before rolling to desired shape. We went for about 5 1/2″ squares.

For dessert, Victor made his famous flourless chocolate cake. he has been making this cake for years and always finds a way to play and have fun with it. This time, he placed Amarene cherries along the rim. They all sank nicely into the cake as it baked and gave a nice unexpected surprise bite.

Totally awesome.


Flourless Chocolate Cake

  • 1 pound bittersweet chocolate, chopped into small pieces
  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 9 large eggs, separated
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar, plus 1 tablespoon
  • 1/4 cup strong black coffee
  • 2 cups heavy cream, cold
  • Powdered sugar, for dusting

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 9-inch springform pan.

Put the chocolate and butter into the top of a double boiler (or in a heatproof bowl) and heat over (but not touching) about 1-inch of simmering water until melted. Meanwhile, whisk the egg yolks with the sugar in a mixing bowl until light yellow in color. Whisk a little of the chocolate mixture into the egg yolk mixture to temper the eggs – this will keep the eggs from scrambling from the heat of the chocolate; then whisk in the rest of the chocolate mixture.  Add the coffee and mix well.

Beat the egg whites in a mixing bowl until stiff peaks form and fold into the chocolate mixture. Pour into the prepared pan and bake until the cake is set, the top starts to crack and a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out with moist crumbs clinging to it, 25 to 30 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes, then remove sides of pan.

Serve at room temperature dusted with powdered sugar and the whipped cream.

Of course, there was also prosecco with dinner and some sipping whiskey with dessert…

It really does not suck to be us!