Posts Tagged ‘Kitchen’

Cheesecake of the Month — June 2018!

June 16, 2018

This month I discovered a really easy sounding mini-cheesecake recipe that does not require a springform pan.  You make these in your standard muffin cups (paper-lined of course) to create the perfect individual-sized servings.  Enjoy!

Lemon-White Chocolate Mini Cheesecakes

Ingredients
1 package (4-ounce) of Baker’s white chocolate, divided
28 square shortbread cookies (1-1/2 inch), divided
2 Tablespoons of butter, melted
1/2 cup (plus 2 Tablespoons) of sugar, divided
2 packages (8-ounce each), cream cheese, softened
1 teaspoon of vanilla
1 teaspoon of lemon zest
1/4 cup of lemon juice
2 eggs

Directions
1. Preheat your oven to 325 degrees.

2. Melt  two (2) ounces of chocolate and set aside for use later.

3. Grind sixteen (16) cookies in food processor until finely crushed and place in a medium-sized bowl.  To this bowl, add the butter and two (2) Tablespoons of sugar; mix well.  Press about 1 Tablespoon-full of this mixture onto the bottoms of your 12 paper-lined muffin cups

4.  Beat the cream cheese, vanilla, and remaining sugar in a large bowl. until blended.    Add the lemon zest, the lemon juice, and the melted chocolate and mix well.  Add the eggs (one at a time) and mix on low speed just until blended (do not overbeat).  Then simply spoon this mixture over the prepared crusts.

5.  Bake for 17-20 minutes (or until the centers are almost set) then cool completely.

6.  Melt the remaining chocolate and chop (coarsely) the remaining cookies.  Sprinkle the cookie pieces over the cheesecakes and drizzle with the melted chocolate.

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Don’t Knock It Until You’ve Tried It!

April 5, 2018

I will be the first to admit that when I heard of this soup recipe, I was a bit reluctant to give it a try.  But following the glowing reviews from friends who had had the opportunity to taste it, I was glad I kept an open mind.  This is a super easy and quick to prepare recipe that I plan to keep handy throughout the soup season known as winter. And this recipe makes a lot, so be prepared to eat soup a lot . . . or freeze the leftovers.  Enjoy!

Sauerkraut Soup

Ingredients
1 pound of smoked Polish sausage, cut into pieces
5 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 large onion, chopped
2 large carrots, sliced
3 cans (14-1/2-ounces each) of chicken broth
1 or 2 cans of sauerkraut (24-36 ounces) drained and rinsed
2 cans (11-1/2-ounces each) of V8 juice

Directions
In a large soup opt, combine the sausage, potatoes onions, carrots, and chicken broth.  Bring to a boil then reduce the heat and cook until the potatoes are tender.  Add the sauerkraut and the V8.  Return to a boil to heat through.

Get Your Ramekins Ready!

March 20, 2018

Next time you are cooking for a crowd and are looking for a seemingly easy dessert, give this deliciously sounding recipe (chocolate) a try.  Enjoy!

Chocolate Pot de Crème

Ingredients
1 quart of heavy cream
1 cup of sugar
A pinch of salt
2 Tablespoons of vanilla
12-13 egg yolks (10 ounces)
3 ounces of chocolate (64% cacao)

Directions
1.  Combine the cream, half the sugar, the salt, and the vanilla in a sauce pan and bring to a boil.

2.  Combine the other half of the sugar with the egg yolks and whisk to combine.

3.  Once the cream mixture boils, temper the egg mixture by slowly adding the hot cream to the chocolate and whisk.  Then add the egg yolk mixture and chocolate to the cream mixture.

4.  Strain and pour into your molds and bake at 225 degrees until set.

Recipe courtesy of Pastry Chef Katie Ianni, Aerie Restaurant (Grand Traverse Resort)

Cheesecake of the Month – March 2018!

March 15, 2018

This month’s recipe is your basic or standard cheesecake recipe with a fun twist — the use of food coloring to create a multi-colored rainbow-esque dessert that is sure to please.

Rainbow Cheesecake

Ingredients
1-1/2 cups of graham cracker crumbs
2 Tablespoons of sugar
1./2 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
Pinch of salt
6 Tablespoons of butter, melted
4 packages (8-ounce each) of cream cheese, softened
I cup of sugar
2 Tablespoons of flour
2 teaspoons of vanilla
1 cup of sour cream
4 eggs
1 each of liquid food colors (red, orange, yellow, green, blue and purple)

Directions
1.  Preheat oven 325°F. Before you get started with the crust, wrap a 9-inch springform pan in a few layers of foil to make sure the pan stays watertight during baking. Be careful not to rip the foil, or water will get into the pan and ruin your cheesecake.

2. Mix graham cracker crumbs, sugar, cinnamon and pinch of salt together in a bowl. Add butter and mix with clean fingers until pea-sized crumbs form. Press all of the graham cracker mixture into the prepared springform pan.

3. Bake the crust for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven, and allow it to cool completely before adding the filling.

4. To make the filling, beat the cream cheese in a large mixing bowl smooth. Add the 1 cup of sugar, and continue to beat until smooth. Next, add the vanilla, flour, and sour cream and beat until smooth. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating briefly between each egg.

5. Measure about 1-3/4 cups of the batter into a separate bowl and tint with red food coloring. Measure 1-1/2 cups of the remaining batter into another separate bowl and tint with orange food coloring. Continue to divide remaining batter into 4 additional bowls, decreasing the measure of batter in each bowl by an additional 1/4 cup as you work your way down to the last bowl which should have only about 1/2 cup of batter. Tint each of the remaining plain batters with a different color food coloring (in order listed in ingredient list).

6. Pour the red batter over the center of the crust. Repeat with the remaining batters, one color at a time, starting with the batter with the most volume and working your way down to the batter with the least volume, and always pouring the batters over the batter in the center of the pan.

7. Bake 1 hour to 1 hour 5 min. or until the center is almost set.

8. Turn off oven and open the oven door slightly.  Let the cheesecake stand in the oven for 1 hour. Run knife around rim of pan to loosen cake; cool completely before removing rim. Refrigerate until you are ready to serve.

Cheesecake of the Month – February 2018!

February 15, 2018

One of my non-U.S. friends (thank you Martha) has forwarded me yet another intriguing cheesecake recipe to add to my files.  Add it does not require baking!  I will definitely be trying this one soon!  I’ll have to break out my metric conversion charts for this one.

Salted Caramel and Popcorn Cheesecake

Crust
250 grams of crushed ginger nut biscuits
90 grams of butter, melted

Batter/Filling
3 cartons (180 grams each) of cream cheese, softened
200 ml of whipping cream
5 Tablespoons of sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Salted Caramel
300 gram container of caramel spread
1/2 teaspoon of sea salt flakes

Garnish
30 grams of salted caramel popcorn
30 grams of toasted pecans

Directions
1. Line the bottom and sides of a 9″ springform pan with parchment paper.

2. Mix the biscuit crumbs and butter together and press on to the bottom and sides of your springform pan.  Refrigerate for 15 minutes or so to firm up.

3. To make the cheesecake mixture, put the cream cheese into a bowl with the cream, sugar, and vanilla and beat until smooth with an electric hand-held mixer.

4. To make the salted caramel, beat the salt into the caramel until smooth.  Remove the springform pan from the fridge and spread 2/3 of the caramel onto the crust.

5. Add the cheesecake mixture and spread over the top of the caramel mixture.  Refrigerate for at least two hours to set.

6. Once set, remove from the refrigerator and scatter the popcorn and pecans on top before drizzling with the remaining salted caramel.

Cheese Makes Everything Tastier!

February 6, 2018

I don’t often find new recipes for preparing vegetables that strike my interest (perhaps this is because I am not looking too strenuously for them), but I ran across this recipe the other day that sounds positively delicious!

Roasted Parmesan Crusted Cauliflower

Ingredients
1 large head of cauliflower (firm)
2-1/2 Tablespoons of olive oil
Black pepper
Oil spray (olive oil)
Finely chopped parsley
Crust
1/2 cup of grated parmesan cheese
1/4 cup of panko bread crumbs
1/2 teaspoon of dried oregano or thyme
1/2 teaspoon of paprika
1/2 teaspoon of black pepper

Directions
1. Preheat the oven to 390 degrees.

2. Mix crust ingredients in a small bowl.

3. Break the cauliflower into large florets.  Cut the very large florets into 1/2″ thick slices, and the medium florets in half.  You will want a large flat area on each piece of cauliflower for the crust mixture to adhere to.

4. Line a baking tray with parchment paper.

5. Drizzle the tray with olive oil.  Use one of the cauliflower pieces to spread the oil over the entire paper.

6. Sprinkle the crust mixture all over the tray, as evenly as possible.  Don’t touch it once it is scattered.

7. Place the cauliflower down on the crust mixture (pressing down lightly).  Don’t jam the cauliflower pieces right up against each other (this may cause them to steam and go soggy), keep a tiny bit of space between each piece.

8. Spray the cauliflower generously with oil and sprinkle with a bit of black pepper.

9. Bake for 20 minutes or until the crust is a deep golden brown.

10. Use tongs to turn the cauliflower so the crust side is up and bake for an additional five minutes.

11. Serve immediately sprinkled with finely chopped parsley (or other herb) if desired.

Storing Your Groceries!

August 13, 2017

For those of you who can never remember which foods need to be stored in the refrigerator (or what steps you can take to keep your foods fresh), here is a marvelous infographic with the low-down on all of the dos and don’ts (courtesy of Jessica Stevens in Kitchen Hacks).

cooking_infographic_28

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!

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!

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!