Wednesday, July 7, 2010

I'm a cheesecake connoisseur, and it was awfully good. - Jim Les

Chandler: The other cheesecake came. They delivered it to the wrong address again.
Rachel: So, just bring it back downstairs. What's the problem?
Chandler: I can't seem to say good-bye

I love cheesecake. I love it a lot. My husband, on the other hand, dislikes it. He HATES cream cheese, which unfortunately keeps me from making any desserts that include it. That is unless I have a group of people I can make it for and July 4th was just that day!
I was feeling pretty patriotic when it came to food choices. We went with the All-American Hot Dogs and Burgers (please refrain from lecturing me on the true origins of said meats), cold beers, and random samplings of potato chips. But for dessert I wanted to go all out. I wanted to show the world (aka my friends at the BBQ) that I loved America and I loved Freedom (really I wanted to make a cheesecake and nothing more) and therefore I decided to go with a Patriotic Berry Cake of Cheese Dessert (again just a cheesecake with blueberries and raspberries on the top).

The recipe was simple and was taken from with a few variations.

Make a graham cracker crust - use 1 1/2 packages (3 come in a regular box) of graham crackers,
5 tbsp. of butter melted, 1/3 C. of sugar and a little salt. Add all to a large ziploc and pound the
hell out of it. Press into your springfoam pan. Secure springfoam with tinfoil so that it doesn't open accidentally. Also, if you are setting the pan into a hot water bath, this will protect from leakage.

Preheat the oven to about 500 degrees
Five (5) 8oz packages of Cream Cheese
(Full fat! Nothing's cheesecake!)
1 3/4 C. of sugar
3 tbsp. Flour
Zest of one lemon
Cream all of these ingredients together add
5 large eggs, one at a time
2 egg yolks, one at a time
1/2 tsp. Vanilla
Pour into your crust. Place on rack (or in water bath) and bake for about 12 minutes or until it's puffed up. I just did 12 minutes without the puffing. This may have caused some issues later on.
When it's puffed reduce heat to about 200 degrees and cook for 1 hour more. Then remove from oven and chill for at least 6 hours.

Now I have a very fussy oven. It's old and crappy. It doesn't even have a window on it, so whenever I bake I have to constantly open the oven door. So after the first 12 minutes, I decreased the temp and baked it for 60 minutes. It was NOT done, by any means. So I cooked it for another 15 minutes. STILL nothing changed. So I cranked up the heat to 350 degrees, and let it cook for about 15 minutes. It finally puffed. The top, a nice golden brown. I removed it from the oven, left it on the counter and let it set.
Once it was cooled, I made slices and added the berries.

The next day at our BBQ, I brought it out. I was a little worried because I hadn't tasted it yet and I wasn't sure if it was overcooked or what! But according to the people who ate ALL of it (yeah I kinda wanted one slice later for a midnight snack) it was great!
Patriotic Berry Cake of Cheese Dessert Success!!!

Friday, July 2, 2010

Cooking from my CSA

We got our CSA and I was very excited about what I found.
Garlic Scapes
Onion Blossoms
I had a night off and I decided to do a little cooking. It had been so long I forgot how much I enjoyed it and how relaxing it can be. I had some salmon fillets and decided to make a nice little dill sauce to put on top. Just some mayo, fresh dill, pepper and fresh lemon juice.
I seasoned the salmon with salt, pepper and a little onion powder. I chopped up some of the fresh dill and sprinkled it on top of each fillet and then roasted those bad boys for about 15-20 minutes...I think.
I roasted the broccoli with a little olive oil and sea salt. This is the only way Karl will eat broccoli so we have it often. Oh and don't think I am complaining because it is A-MAZ-ING!
I needed a starch. Whenever I make big meal I like to have a veggie, a protein and a starch. Call me old fashioned if you must, but it's how I roll.
I decided on Garlic Scape Mashed Potatoes.
I was worried. I had just learned what a garlic scape was THE DAY BEFORE I GOT THEM and never really had time to research recipes or anything, but I decided I was just going to go for it.
I whipped up my mashed potatoes how I usually do (boil the potatoes in a nice salt water, drain, add heavy whipping cream, butter, salt and pepper....yeah I can't make these that often or I would be 752 pounds) but instead of just adding roasted garlic to make the potatoes I added the scapes. I minced those suckers and sauteed them in an olive oil and butter mixture. Once they were a little tender I just tossed them into the potatoes. The light garlic flavor with a chive texture mixed into the creamy potatoes was...well...bomb as hell!
I was proud of myself
I also created a little salted monkey bread, but it was from a package and it was only mediocre. I will try that little recipe again worries. All in all a great meal.