Archive for the ‘Food’ Category

Cheesecake of the Month – November 2018!

November 15, 2018

Here is a tasty-sounding cheesecake recipe that was circulating on Facebook (courtesy of http://www.littlethings.com) last summer.  Cheesecake is already decadent, but throw Butterfinger candies into the mix and wow, happiness for the taste buds for sure.  And, they are the perfect one-serving size (cupcake).

Ingredients
1 12 cups chocolate cookie crumbs
2 Tbsps. sugar, and 12 cup sugar
6 Tbsps. butter, melted
3 8-oz. packs cream cheese, softened
2 eggs
2 Tbsps. sour cream
1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
34 cup white chocolate chips
2 tsps. shortening
1 34 cup crushed Butterfinger candies
8 oz. whipped topping
12 cup peanut butter chips

Instructions
1. To make the crust, combine cracker crumbs, 2 Tbsps. sugar, and butter in a bowl, and mix until combined.
2. Spoon mixture evenly into 24 cupcake liners, and press down. Set aside.
3. To make the cheesecakes, beat 2 packs cream cheese and 1/2 cup sugar in a large bowl, until fluffy.
4. Add in eggs, sour cream, vanilla extract, and beat well.
5. In a microwave-safe bowl, add white chocolate chips and 1 tsp. shortening. Heat for 30-second intervals, and stir until chocolate is melted and smooth.
6. Add melted chocolate to cream cheese mixture, and add 1 cup crushed Butterfingers. Stir well to mix.
7.  Fill each cupcake liner with cheesecake mixture. Bake in oven at 350 °F for 18 to 22 minutes. Remove and let cool for 15 minutes.
8.  To make the mousse, beat 1 pack cream cheese until creamy.
9.  In a microwave-safe bowl, add peanut butter chips and remaining shortening. Heat for 30 to 45 seconds, and stir until smooth.
10.  Add melted chips to cream cheese, and mix. Add in whipped topping, and fold mixture well.
11.  Spread 1 Tbsp. of mousse on top of each cake. Top with remaining crushed Butterfingers.
12.  Refrigerate for a few hours. Serve, and enjoy!

Savory Potato Pie!

November 3, 2018

Now that we are well into autumn, with winter just around the corner, here is an incredible savory potato pie that will be a welcomed meal when there is a chill in the air . . . or any other time, for that matter.  Oh, and it has ale as an ingredient!  Enjoy!

Cheese, Ale, and Potato Pie

Ingredients
Two 14-ounce packages puff pastry, chilled
2-1/4 pounds of medium Yukon Gold potatoes
Salt and pepper
3/4 cup of ale (Bass or similar)
1 cup plus 2 Tablespoons of heavy cream
15 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, shredded (5 cups)
3 large egg yolks, plus 1 large egg, lightly beaten
1-1/2 Tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce
1-1/2 teaspoons of Dijon mustard

Directions
1. On a lightly floured surface, roll out each puff pastry to a 10-by-14 inch rectangle.  Stack the pastry sheets on a baking sheet with a piece of parchment paper between them.  Refrigerate until chilled.

2. In a large saucepan, cover the potatoes with 1 inch of water.  Add salt, bring to a boil, and cook over moderately high heat until the potatoes are just tender (about 15 minutes).  Drain and cool under running water.  Pat the potatoes dry, then peel and quarter.  Gently crush with your hand or a wooden spoon.

3. In a medium saucepan, boil the ale over high heat until reduced to 1/3 cup (about 5 minutes).  Add the cream and cook, whisking until reduced to 3/4 cup (about 5 minutes).  Add the cheese and cook over moderate heat, stirring constantly, until the sauce is smooth (about 3 minutes).  Remove from the heat and whisk in the egg yolks, Worcestershire sauce, and mustard.  Season the sauce with salt and pepper an let cool.  Carefully stir in the crushed potatoes and season again with salt and pepper.

4. Arrange 1 chilled puff pastry sheet on a rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper and brush with some of the beaten egg.  Spread the potato filling on top, leaving a 1/2-inch border all around. Top with the second sheet of puff pastry and press the edges together to seal; crimp decoratively.  Brush the top of the pie with more of the beaten egg and cut a few slits for venting.  Refrigerate until firm (at least 30 minutes).

5. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Bake the pie for 25 minutes.  Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees, rotate the baking sheet and bake until the pastry is browned and the filling is bubbling, 25 to 30 minutes longer.  Let cool slightly before serving.

Note: the assembled pie can be refrigerated up to four hours before baking.

Source: Food & Wine magazine, December 2015.

Cheesecake of the Month — October 2018!

October 15, 2018

I was recently challenged by a colleague to attempt a “vegan” cheesecake.  Before I could do any research myself, another colleague had forwarded me a recipe for a quick and easy vegan cheesecake (courtesy of Vegangela).  Vegangela further referenced a recipe by Allyson Kramer that was gluten-free as well as vegan.

I adapted Allyson’s recipe a bit by substituting ground pecans for the almonds, and blueberry preserves for the blackberry topping . . . but, this “base” vegan cheesecake recipe could prove to be a keeper that just gets adjusted as I try new flavors.  Yum!

This recipe is super easy, and, it requires no baking!

Yummy Dessert?!

October 4, 2018

This is a delicious recipe that I found in Food & Wine magazine (December 2015) that is a wonderful dessert, or hors d’oeuvres, or late night snack, or . . . breakfast? (It does have coffee as an ingredient.)  It is a little on the labor-intensive side, but well worth th effort; a real crowd pleaser.  Enjoy!

Coffee-Caramel-Jam Toasts

Coffee-Caramel-Jam
1/2 cup of crushed coffee beans
1-1/4 cup of heavy cream
1 cup of whole milk
1 cup of sugar
1 Tablsepoon of light corn syrup
2 teaspoons of instant espresso
1/8 teaspoon of fine sea salt

Chocolate Crumble
3/4 cup of all-purpose flour
3/4 cup of almond flour
1/2 cup of sugar
1/4 cup of unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon of fine sea salt
1 stick of cold butter, cubed

Serve on dark rye toasts

Directions
1. Make the jam . . . preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Spread your coffee beans on a baking sheet and toast for ten (10) minutes, until fragrant.  Transfer the beans to a large bowl.  Stir in the heavy cream and the milk, cover, and let steep in your refrigerator overnight.

2. Strain the coffee cream through a fine sieve, pressing on the solids; you should have 2 cups.  In a large saucepan, cook the sugar over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until a light amber caramel forms (about 5 minutes).  Slowly add the caramel cream (exercise care as it will boil vigorously).  Add the corn syrup, espresso and sea salt and bring  to a simmer; the caramel will harden, but will dissolve again as it simmers.  Cook over moderately low heat, stirring, until a candy thermometer inserted in the caramel jam  registers 210 degrees (about 12 minutes).  Carefully transfer the jam to a blender and puree until smooth and shiny.  Scrape into a medium bowl and let cool to room temperature.

3. Make the crumble . . . In a medium bowl, whisk the all-purpose flour with the almond flour, sugar, cocoa powder, and sea salt.  Using your fingers, rub in the butter until coarse crumbs form.  Spread the crumbs on an even layer on a parchment-lined baking sheet and refrigerate until firm (about one (1) hour).

4. Preheat your over to 350 degrees.  Bake the crumble for about 18 minutes, until golden.  Transfer to a rack to cool completely.

5. Spread some of the coffee-caramel-jam on the toasts.  Sprinkle the chocolate crumble on one half of each toast (press gently to help the crumbs adhere).

Note: these are meant to be served at room temperature.   The jam can be refrigerated for up to one (1) week; he baked crumble can be stored in an airtight container for one (1) week or frozen for one (1) month.

Source: Food & Wine magazine, December 2015

Cheesecake of the Month – September 2018!

September 15, 2018

Here is a recipe for a Turtle Cheesecake that I ran across the other day . . . I’ve never made this form of “pastry crust” for a cheesecake before and am anxious to see how it turns out.

Turtle Cheesecake

Ingredients
Crust
1 cup of flour
1/3 cup of brown sugar
1/4 cup of finely chopped pecans
6 Tablespoons of cold butter, cubed

Filling
4 packages (8-ounces each) of cream cheese, softened
1 cup of sugar
1/3 cup of brown sugar
1/4 cup, plus 1 teaspoon, of flour, divided
2 Tablespoons of heavy whipping cream
1-1/2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
4 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup of milk chocolate chips, melted and cooled
1/4 cup of caramel ice cream topping
1/3 cup of chopped pecans

Ganache
1/2 cup of milk chocolate chips
1/4 cup of heavy whipping cream
2 Tablespoons of chopped pecans
Additional caramel ice cream topping

Directions
1. Securely wrap the outside and bottom of a greased 9″ springform pan in heavy-duty aluminum foil.

2. In a small bowl, combine the flour, brown sugar and pecans; cut in the butter until crumbly.  Press onto the bottom of your prepared pan.  Place your pan on a baking sheet and bake at 325 degrees for 12-15 minutes or until set.  Cool on a wire rack.

3. In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese and sugars until smooth.  Beat in the 1/4 cup of flour, the cream, and the vanilla.  Add the eggs and beat on low speed just until blended.  Remove one cup of the batter and combine with the melted chocolate.  Pour this mixture over your crust.

4.  In another bowl, mix the caramel topping, remaining flour, and the pecans.  Drop by Tablespoonfuls over the chocolate batter.  Top with the remaining batter.  Place the springform pan in a large baking pan and add an inch of hot water to this larger pan.

5.  Bake at 325 degrees for 1-1/4 to 1-1/2 hours, or until the center is just set and the top appears dull.  Remove the springform pan from your water bath and remove the foil.  Cool the cheesecake on a wire rack for about ten minutes before attempting to loosen the sides of the pan from the cheesecake with a knife.  Cool for one hour longer before refrigerating overnight.

6.  For the ganache, place the milk chocolate chips in a small bowl.  In a small saucepan, bring the cream just to a boil before pouring over the chips; whisk this combination until smooth.  Allow this mixture to cool slightly; continue stirring occasionally.

7.  Remove the sides of your pan.  Spread the ganache over the cheesecake and sprinkle with the pecans.  Refrigerate until set.  Add additional caramel topping (if you so desire) prior to serving.

Enjoy!

Better Chicken Nuggets!

September 4, 2018

I ran across a recipe the other day (courtesy of Natasha’s Kitchen) for chicken fritters that sounded positively delicious.  I’m going to have to give these a try very soon.  Hmm, college football season is upon us and this would make a great “snack” for during games.

Cheesy Chicken Fritters

Ingredients for fritters
1-1/2 pounds of chicken breasts
2 large eggs
1/3 cup of mayonnaise
1/3 cup of all-purpose flour
4 ounces of mozzarella cheese (1-1/3 cups shredded)
1-1/2 Tablespoons of chopped fresh dill
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1/8 teaspoon of black pepper
2 Tablespoons of olive oil

Ingredients for Aioli dip
1/3 cup of mayonnaise
1 garlic clove (pressed)
1/2 Tablespoon of lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon of salt
1/8 teaspoon of black pepper

Directions
1. Dice your chicken breast into 1/3″ piece and place in a large mixing bowl.

2. Add the remaining fritter ingredients (but not the olive oil) and stir until well combined.  Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours (or overnight).

3. Heat the olive oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium heat until the oil is hot.  Add the chicken mixture a heaping Tablespoon at a time.  Slightly flatten the fritters and cook uncovered for 3-4 minutes on the first side before flipping and cooking an addition 3 minutes (or so) on the other side, or until the outside is golden brown and the chicken is fully cooked.  Add additional oil as needed while cooking the remaining fritters.

4. To make the aioli dip, combine all of the ingredients in a small bowl and stir together until smooth.

Enjoy!

Source: https://natashakitchen.com

Yes, I Am a Carnivore!

August 13, 2018

Happy Monday and Happy National Filet Mignon Day!  Ah, the most tender cut of beef (from the tenderloin), and the most expensive . . .  but certainly worth the price.    Some other ways of referring to this cut of beef include:

  • tournedos, filet de boeuf (France)
  • medallions, tenderloin steak (U.S.)
  • fillet steak (UK and Ireland)
  • Bife do Lomo (Argentina)
  • Filé Mignon (Brazil)
  • Filete Migñón (Puerto Rico)
  • Ossehaas, Haasbiefstuk (Netherlands/Belgium)

Chocolate-Lovers Beware!

August 5, 2018

Happy Sunday!  I ran across this recipe a few weeks ago while perusing our local newspaper and it is certainly a keeper, especially if you enjoy chocolate.

Double-Chocolate Waffles

Ingredients
2 packages of Shawnee Mills Buttermilk Pancake and Waffle mix
4 Tablespoons of cocoa powder
2 Tablespoons of granulated sugar
2 cups of milk
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon of vanilla
1/4 cup of canola oil or melted butter
2 (2-ounces each) dark chocolate bars, chopped
Whipped light cream
Chocolate syrup
Maraschino cherries

Directions
1. In a large bowl, stir together the waffle mix, cocoa powder, and sugar.  Add the milk, eggs, vanilla, and oil or butter, and stir until combined.  Chop up one of the chocolate bars and fold into the mixture.

2.  Heat your waffle iron.  Pour the mixture into the waffle iron, filling to the edges.  Cook until the waffle is set in the center and slightly crisp on the edges.

3. Top each waffle with the whipped cream, chocolate syrup, remaining chopped chocolate, and a maraschino cherry.

Enjoy!

National Hot Dog Day!

July 18, 2018

Happy National Hot Dog Day!    In 1991, the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council created National Hot Dog Day.  This informal holiday coincides with the same day as the annual Capitol Hill Hot Dog Lunch, which is generally the third Wednesday of July.   Here are some fun facts:

  • hot dogs & hamburgers are a summertime staple in the U.S.
  • 9 billion hot dogs are sold annually in the U.S.
  • Americans eat 155 million hot dogs on the 4th of July each year.
  • From Memorial Day to Labor Day, 7 billion hot dogs are consumed in the U.S
  • 26 million hot dogs a year are eaten at U.S baseball stadiums.
  • In 2014, 7-Eleven sold over 60 million hot dogs.
  • in 2017, 7-Eleven sold over 100 million hot dogs.
  • mustard is the most popular condiment for hot dogs.
  • ketchup and chili come in as the 2nd and 3rd most popular condiments.

Source: http://www.holidayscalendar.com/event/national-hot-dog-day/

Not Your Standard Meatball!

July 5, 2018

Are you tired of the same, old, boring meatball recipe (ground beef, salt, pepper, egg, bread crumbs, parsley . . . )?  Then have I got a treat for you!  I found this divine recipe that will really shake up (spice up?) how you look at meatballs.

Lamb Meatballs

Ingredients
1 large egg
1/2 cup of panko crumbs (Japanese breadcrumbs)
1/2 teaspoon of ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon of ground tumeric
1/4 cup of finely chopped parsley (plus 1 cup of parsley leaves with stems)
2 Tablespoons plus 1 cup of olive oil
1-1/2 teaspoons of salt
2 cloves of garlic, divided
1 pound of ground lamb
2 cups of mint leaves
3 Tablespoons of golden raisins
Plain whole-milk Greek yogurt (for serving)

Directions
1. Place a rack in the upper third of your oven and preheat the oven to 425 degrees.  In a large bowl, combine the egg, panko, cumin, red pepper flakes, tumeric, parsley (finely chopped), 2 Tablespoons of oil, and 1-1/2 teaspoons of salt.  Finely grate 1 garlic clove into the bowl and then add the lamb and mix thoroughly with your hands.

2.  Gently roll the lamb mixture into small balls (about the size of a golf ball — 1-1/2″ diameter).  Place the meatballs on a rimmed baking sheet  (space them evenly apart) and bake them until they are browned and cooked through (about 8-10 minutes).

3.  While the meatballs are cooking, in your blender, purée the mint, raisins, parsley leaves and stems, remaining garlic clove, remaining 1/2 cup of the oil, and a big pinch of salt to create your pesto.  Taste the pesto and add more salt (if required).

4.  Spread the yogurt on the plates and divide the pesto and meatballs on top of the yogurt.

Enjoy!