Archive for the ‘Food’ Category

Cheesecake of the Month – August 2017!

August 15, 2017

Every know and then you run across a recipe that makes you “stop, and take notice.”  This month’s cheesecake recipe is no exception.  And as much as most people like chocolate chip cookies, this cheesecake is sure to be a hit.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cheesecake

Ingredients
1-3/4 cups of crushed chocolate chip cookies
1/4 cup of sugar
1/3 cup of butter, melted
3 packages (8 ounces each) of cream cheese, softened
1 cup of sugar
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup (8 ounces) of sour cream
1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract
1/4 cup of butter, softened
1/4 cup of sugar
1/4 cup of packed brown sugar
1 Tablespoon of water
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
1/2 cup of all-purpose four
1-1/2 cup of miniature chocolate chips, divided

Directions
1.  In a small bowl, combine the cookie crumbs and the sugar; stir in the melted butter and mix.  Press onto the bottom and up the sides of a lightly greased 9-inch springform pan and set aside.  Place the pan on a baking sheet.

2.  In a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese and the sugar until smooth.  Add the eggs and beat on low speed until just combined.  Add the sour cream and the vanilla; beat until blended.  Pour this mixture over the crust and set aside.

3.  In another mixing bowl, cream the butter and the sugars on medium speed until light and fluffy.  Add the water and the vanilla.  Gradually add the flour.  Stir in one cup of the chocolate chips.  Drop this dough by teaspoonfuls over the filling and gently push the dough below the surface (the dough should be completely covered by the filling).

4.  Bake at 350 degrees for 45-55 minutes or until the center is almost set.  Cool on a wire rack for ten minutes.  Carefully run a knife around the edge of the pan to loosen and cool one hour longer.  Refrigerate overnight.  Remove the sides of the pan and sprinkle with the remaining chocolate chips before serving.

Excellent Crab Cakes!

August 6, 2017

Last winter I had the pleasure of attending the Culinaria Cooking School for a one-evening team-building event for the Board of Directors of the Special Libraries Association.   I have never been a huge fan of crab meat, but these crab cakes were “to die for.”  And, we actually got to make them ourselves.  Bon appetit!

“Excellent” Crab Cakes

1 pound of fresh jumbo lump crabmeat
1 cup of fresh white bread crumbs
4-5 Tablespoons of mayonnaise
4 Tablespoons of Italian parsley, chopped
1 Tablespoons of black sesame seeds, toasted (optional)
2 Tablespooons of coarse-grained Dijon mustard (rounded Tablespoons)
2 Tablespoons of green onion (or shallots), chopped
4-5 Tablespoons of fresh lime juice
2 jalapeño (or scotch bonnet or Serrano pepper), seeded and minced
2 extra large eggs, beaten to blend
2 Tablespoons of oil
2 Tablespoons of butter
Mixed greens, dressed with light vinaigrette (for serving)

1. Combine the first 8 ingredients in a large bowl and gently toss or mix together (try to not over work the crab so it doesn’t break into tiny pieces). Season the mixture with salt and pepper. Beat the eggs with a fork to blend. Add in the egg and gently blend in with all the ingredients. Form the mixture into equal sized patties.

2. Heat a heavy skillet to medium-high heat. Add 2 TBSP. of oil and then melt 2 TBSP. butter in the center of the oil.   Sauté the crab cakes in batches until golden brown, about 2-3 minutes on each side. Arrange 2 or 3 crab cakes (depending on the size) on each plate. Add some mixed greens dressed with light vinaigrette and top each crab cake
with avocado “butter,” chipotle crème fraîche or your favorite sauce and serve.

Chipotle Crème Fraîche (makes about ¾ cup): Optional
¼ cup of mayonnaise
¼ cup of crème fraîche
4 chilies (canned chipotle chilies in adobo)
1 medium clove of garlic, minced
2 teaspoons of fresh lime juice
2 teaspoons of chopped fresh parsley
2 teaspoons of capers

1. In a blender (or food processor), combine all the ingredients and puree until smooth. Cover and refrigerate for 1-2 hours to chill.

Enjoy!

Cheesecake of the Month – July 2017!

July 15, 2017

Last month, a recipe was circulating around facebook (courtesy of Lindsay and her Life, Love and Sugar blog) that I can’t wait to try . . .

Kahlua Coffee Brownie Cheesecake

The bottom crust is basically a brownie onto which you put the kahlua-coffee cheesecake batter and then top the cheesecake with a heavenly ganache and garnish with kahlua-flavored whipped cream.  Yum!

Here’s the recipe.

Fun Fact Friday, Number Thirty-Two!

July 14, 2017

They say “an apple a day keeps the doctor away” . . . but were you aware that . . .

  • smelling apples (and/or bananas) can help you lose weight? (Real Fact #109)
  • each year the average American eats about fifteen pounds of apples? (Real Fact #273)
  • apples are a member of the rose family? (Real Fact #422)
  • fresh apples float because about 25% of their volume is air?  (Real Fact #720)
  • in ancient Greece, throwing an apple to a woman was considered a marriage proposal? (Real Fact #816)

Source: https://www.snapple.com/real-facts

How About Some Noodles?!

July 6, 2017

If you have been looking for a quick and easy way to add an Asian version to your carb-loading, then look no more.  Here is a tasty recipe that combines chicken, peanut butter, and noodles (with all of the assorted Asian spices) for an entree that will have them begging for more.

Chicken Peanut Noodles

Ingredients
1 teaspoon of garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon each of ginger and salt
4 trimmed chicken thighs (boneless and skinless)
1 Tablespoon of olive oil
1 head of broccoli, chopped
6 ounces of soba noodles (2 bundles)
1/3 cup of peanut butter
2 Tablespoons of soy sauce
1 Tablespoon of rice vinegar
2 teaspoons of honey
1/4 cup of chopped peanuts
1/4 cup of chopped cilantro
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions
1. Boil six (6) cups of water in a covered saucepan over medium-high heat.  To prepare the chicken, sprinkle the garlic powder, ginger, and salt over both sides.

2. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add the chicken and cook until almost cooked through (about six (6) minutes), flipping once.  Add the broccoli to the skillet.  Cook the contents, covered, until the broccoli is bright green (and crisp-tender) and the chicken is cooked through (about five (5) minutes more).

3. Add the noodles to your boiling water and cook until tender (about three (3) minutes).

4.  In a large bowl, whisk together the peanut butter, soy sauce, vinegar, and honey. Drain the noodles (but reserve 1/2 cup of the noodle water) and immediately coat the noodles in the peanut sauce (add some of the cooking water to loosen the sauce if required).

5.  Chop the chicken  and toss with the noodles and broccoli.  Top with peanuts and cilantro and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Enjoy!

Fun Fact Friday, Number Twenty-Eight!

June 16, 2017

Today’s real facts (courtesy of http://www.snapple.com) are all about mangoes.  Did you know that . . .

  • mangoes are the most-consumed fruit in the world? (Real Fact #717)
  • mangoes have noses? (Real Fact #1415)
  • mangoes can get sunburned?  (Real Fact #1416)

And were you aware that . . .

  • the paisley pattern, which originated in India, is based on the shape of a mango?
  • mangoes are related to cashews and pistachios?
  • a mango tree can grow as tall as 100 feet?

Source: http://www.snapple.com/real-facts

Cheesecake of the Month – June 2017!

June 15, 2017

This month’s recipe is an adaptation of one that uses a 13×9 pan instead of a springform pan (cheesecake “bars” instead of “cake”).  I’m guessing the only thing that I may have to adjust is the cooking time, but this one sounds positively delicious and I can’t wait to give it a try.

Banana and Coconut Cheesecake

Ingredients
2 cups of graham cracker crumbs
1/2 cup of finely chopped pecans
1/4 cup of sugar
1/c cup of butter, melted
3 packages (8 ounce) of cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup of sugar
1 teaspoon of vanilla
3 eggs
1 cup of mashed bananas (about 2 medium)
1 carton (8 ounce) sour cream
2 Tablespoons of white creme de cacao
2 Tablespoons of rum
1-1/2 cups of flaked coconut

Dirctions
1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  In a medium bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs, pecans, and 1/4 cup of sugar.  Stir in the melted butter.  Press this mixture onto the bottom of your springform pan.

2. In a large bowl, combine the cream cheese, 3/4 cup of sugar, and vanilla.  Beat with an electric mixer on medium speed until combined.  Add the eggs all at once; beat on low speed just until combined.  Stir in the banana and pour into your prepared pan.

3. Bake for approximately 45-50 minutes or until the center is set.  Meanwhile, for the topping: in a small bowl combine the sour cream, creme de cacao, and runm.  Spread over the top of the cheesecake after it is finished baking and then bake for an additional 5 minutes.  Cool on a wire rack before moving to the refrigerator to cool completely (4 to 24 hours).  To serve, sprinkle the cheesecake with toasted coconut .

The Original White Meat!

June 7, 2017

Yes, chicken!  And whenever I run across a recipe that is super simple, I just can’t resist.  Here’s a recipe that will only take you thirty (30) minutes to prepare but will taste like you slaved in the kitchen for hours!

Chicken Parmesan in a Garlic Mushroom Cream Sauce

Ingredients
4 chicken breasts, boneless and skinless
2 Tablespoons of olive oil
Salt and pepper
8 ounces of sliced mushrooms
1/4 cup of butter
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 Tablespoon of flour
1/2 cup of chicken broth
1 cup of heavy cream
1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese, grated
1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon of pepper
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1 cup of spinach, chopped

Directions
1.  Season your chicken on both sides (salt and pepper).  In a large skillet, add the olive oil and cook the chicken on medium-high heat for 3-5 minutes on each side or until browned/cooked to where there is no longer any pink in the center.  Remove the chicken and set aside.  Add the sliced mushrooms to the skillet and cook for a few minutes until they are tender.  Remove them and set aside.

2.  For the sauce, add the butter to you skillet and melt.  Throw in the minced garlic and cook until it is tender (a minute or so).  Add the flour and whisk until it is incorporated and slightly thick.  Whisk in the chicken broth, heavy cream, Parmesan cheese, garlic powder, salt, and pepper.  Add the spinach and let it simmer until the sauce thickens and the spinach wilts.  Add the chicken and the mushrooms back into your sauce (to coat).  Serve on either a bed of rice, or over the pasta of your choice.

Yum!

Lasagna in a Hurry!

May 18, 2017

When you find you are not in the mood to deal with lasagna noodles and sauce from scratch, here’s a wonderful recipe for lasagna that you can throw together in a hurry (using only four ingredients).  And it is positively fantastic!  Enjoy!

Ravioli Lasagna

1 pound of ground beef
1 jar (28 ounces) of spaghetti sauce
1 package (25 ounces) frozen sausage or cheese ravioli
1-1/2 cups (6 ounces) shredded mozzarella cheese

In a large skillet, cook the ground beef over medium heat until no longer pink; drain off the excess juice.  In a greased 2-1/2 quart baking dish, layer a third of the spaghetti sauce, have of the ravioli and beef, and 1/2 cup of the cheese.  Repeat the layers once and top with the remaining sauce and cheese.

Cover and bake at 400 degrees for 40-45 minutes or until heated through.

Super easy!

Cheesecake of the Month – May 2017!

May 15, 2017

This month I am experimenting a bit.  I found a couple of separate recipes for a pear/gingersnap combination and I’m going to take the best parts from each to create a hybrid recipe of sorts.  Wish me luck!

Pear-Gingersnap Cheesecake

Ingredients
1-1/2 cups of crushed gingersnap cookies (about 40 cookies)
6 Tablespoons of butter, melted
1 Tablespoon of brown sugar
2 small ripe pears – peeled, cored, and sliced (1/8″ slices)
1/4 teaspoon of ground ginger
2 Bosc pears (firm) – peeled, cored, and sliced (1/2″ wedges)
2 Tablespoons of butter
1 Tablespoon of sugar
3 Tablespoons of molasses
2 packages (8-ounces each) of cream cheese, softened
1-1/4 cup of sugar
3 large eggs
2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
2 Tablespoons of flour
1 cup of sour cream

Directions
1.  In a medium bowl, combine the gingersnap crumbs, butter, and brown sugar.  Press onto the bottom and up the sides of a 9″ springform pan.  Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.

2.  Prepare the Bosc pears: melt the 2T of butter in  large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add the pears and sprinkle with the sugar.  Cook the pears, stirring occasionally, until the pears are tender and lightly browned around the edges (5-7 minutes).  Add the molasses and continue cooking until syrupy (about 2 minutes more) and then set aside.

3.  Prepare the other pears: in a small bowl, toss the pears and ginger.  Line the cooled crust with the pears, overlapping the slices slightly.

4.  For the filling: In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese and sugar until smooth and creamy (about 2 minutes).  Add the eggs, one at a time, and mix until combined.  Add the vanilla and flour and beat until just combined, then add the sour cream and beat until smooth (about 1 minute).

5.  Pour this mixture over the pear-lined crust then gently  arrange the Bosc pear slices on the top (set aside any remaining molasses syrup [can be stored at room temperature] for when you serve the cheesecake).

6.  Transfer the cheesecake to the oven on the middle rack directly over a water bath. Bake at 325 degrees for approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes or until lightly browned and set around the edges (the center should still jiggle a bit).  Transfer the cheesecake to a rack and allow to cool to room temperature before covering and refrigerating for at least 6 hours (or overnight).  Drizzle with remaining molasses syrup when serving.

Enjoy!