Here is a repost for Halloween, the best time for caramel apples! I know, enough with the honey caramel, but I just couldn’t resist one more time. Caramel apples are one of my favorites and Daughter asked me to send some caramel for her and friends after seeing the …
I love the things that can be done with fondant, but although nobody seems to acknowledge it, the stuff doesn’t really taste very good. Years ago I saw the recipe for white chocolate (which I adore) plastic but had forgotten about it until I saw it again recently and thought …
No news here, I still love pizza and having recently spent some time with my brother and sister-in-law who have a real outside wood fired pizza oven I just had to do one more pizza post (not the last I’m sure). Getting the oven ready is quite a process involving several hours of loving attention, special wood and lots and lots of smoke, but the result was worth it – especially since I wasn’t the one providing the loving attention!
I like thin crust, thick crust and everything in between and have found this recipe to be even better than my original favorite (recipe here). The main difference is the high gluten flour that I don’t always have on hand so I still use the other recipe as an alternate. This dough is simple to make, easy to shape and can be rolled very thin almost like a cracker (popular with the designated taste tester – Husband).
Printable Recipe Pizza Dough
- 3 3/4 cups Hi-Gluten Four
- 1 teaspoon yeast
- 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 1/2 cups lukewarm water, enough to make a smooth, soft dough
- 2 Tablespoons Italian Seasoning (optional)
Recipe for Chocolate Cream Cheese Panna Cotta
This weekend’s episode was Chicken Canzanese and it looked so good I had to give it a try. I was not disappointed nor was the family! The chicken skin was crisp, the interior was moist and the sauce was fantastic. This is a chicken meal that you could definitely …
I’ve had such good luck with the summer fruits I just couldn’t resist getting more. This time they were even better, the raspberries and cherries were great and I have never seen such large white peaches – only 5 of them weighed over 4 pounds and they were sweet and …
Since yesterday was National Cheesecake Day, and cheesecake is a big family favorite around here, another cheesecake it was. I had a big container of really nice dark cherries and of course, chocolate goes with anything so I had to throw some of that in. I used my favorite cheesecake recipe modified a little and cut down some since my healthy eating plan for the year has already suffered from a significant lack of participation. The original recipe from The Joy of Cheesecake (my very favorite cookbook) says it makes a 10″ cake, but I always have enough left to make that and another small one so I cut the recipe down and it is just right for an 8″ springform.
Printable Recipe Fresh Dark Chocolate Cherry Cheesecake with Chocolate Chips
I made a very simple crust using crushed white chocolate peanut butter cookies (son’s favorite so I had some around). You can use graham crackers or any other crust you like. If I’d had them, I’d probably have used crushed Oreo’s. I very rarely make an “official crust” with the butter etc. patted in nicely but instead usually just crush up some cookies, cracker’s or nuts and sprinkle on the bottom of the (vegetable sprayed) pan in a light layer.
Ingredients (all should be at room temperature):
1 1/4 pounds cream cheese
1 1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 egg yolk
3 large eggs
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 cup chocolate chips
Pre-heat the oven to 475 degrees.
In a large bowl (or the mixer bowl) beat the cream cheese until light and fluffy, add the sugar and flour and mix until smooth.
Mix in the yolk and eggs one at a time until mixed thoroughly.
Stir in the cream and mix slightly, just until incorporated.
Place the chocolate chips on top of the crust and pour the cheesecake mixture over them. Bake at 475 for 12 minutes, then lower the temperature in the oven to 200 degrees and bake for about 45 minutes or until the top is set but still jiggles slightly in the middle. Start checking at 30 minutes.
4 cups of fresh pitted cherries sliced in half
1 tablespoon corn starch
1 teaspoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons water
In a small bowl mix together the corn starch, lemon juice and water until smooth. Place cherries in a saucepan over medium heat, add the liquid and bring to a boil. Cook for 3-5 minutes until the sauce thickens. Cool while the cheesecake bakes, and when the cheesecake has cooled, the topping can be spooned on the entire cake, or on the individual slices when they are served.
While I was visiting the LA Times test kitchen, Noelle Carter was gracious enough to share a great trick with me. Instead of whipping cream with a whisk or mixer, try doing it in the food processor. The cream has less air and is more substantial so it holds better and tastes amazing, a little more buttery. I couldn’t wait to get home and try it out and since I had collected quite a few fruits from my sister-in-law’s trees and the Santa Monica farmer’s market, I decided to make a citrus cream parfait. I used the lime cream recipe (Printable Lime Cream Recipe) substituting a mixture of lemons, limes, grapefruits and oranges to make a double batch. Use whatever citrus fruits you have, as long as it equals the right amount of juice. I zested all the fruits because I like things tart, but you can do only some if you prefer a slightly sweeter recipe.
Once the citrus cream was ready, I made the whipped cream by adding 2 cups of heavy whipping cream, 1/4 cup sugar and 1 teaspoon of vanilla to the food processor and processing for a brief (1-2 minutes) time until it was smooth and thick.
Gently fold 1/2 of the whipped cream with 1/2 of the citrus cream. In dessert cups or nice glasses, add a layer of the citrus cream, a layer of the cream mixture and a layer of whipped cream, then repeat if you are using large glasses. You could also do it in a single large glass bowl like a trifle. That’s it!
A double batch of the citrus cream and 2 cups of whipped cream makes 4-8 servings depending on the size of your glasses.
The citrus cream is great for desserts or put it in a jar for gifts. You can use it to make pies, filled cookies, tarts and almost anything you would use lemon curd for, even just on toast or muffins so while I was at it, I also made a double batch of the lime. I put it in a pre-baked pie shell and sprinkled with some toasted coconut for another quick dessert.
Cheesecake is always popular around here and I recently got a large container of blueberries. When I asked what I should do with them, Son’s girlfriend suggested blueberry cheesecake and since she was about to graduate and planned on celebrating at an Italian restaurant it seemed like a great idea for an at home dessert after the meal. Of course Son (who loves cheesecake but not so much blueberries) forgot to take or mention it so it didn’t make it to the celebration. I have no doubt it will be eaten anyway! I recently used this same basic recipe for an Oreo version requested for a birthday and found it is an excellent one, a little lighter texture than my usual favorite (which uses 2 2/1 pounds of cream cheese and no sour cream).
Printable Version Blueberry Cheesecake
1 1/2 cups finely ground cookie crumbs (I used the white chocolate peanut butter ones)
2 tbs butter (because these cookies were very moist I didn’t add the extra butter to keep the crust from being soggy, but if you use a dry cookie you should)
9 or 10 inch springform pan
1 1/2 lbs cream cheese (room temperature)
1 cup sugar
5 large eggs (room temperature)
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/4 cup flour
8 oz sour cream
1 lb (about 4 cups) fresh blueberries (frozen or canned works too – if you use canned in syrup, don’t add sugar)
1/2 cup sugar (I like them to stay a little tart so if you want sweet add 1 cup instead of 1/2 cup)
1 teaspoon butter
grated zest from one lemon
juice from 1/2 lemon
2 cinnamon sticks
Place the cookies in a food processor and grind them finely.
If the crumbs will not stick together between your fingers, add small amounts of melted butter until you can just flatten them together. Place on the bottom of a springform pan that has been sprayed with cooking spray. Set aside.
Beat the cream cheese until it is light and fluffy, add sugar gradually and keep beating until it is mixed in completely.
Add the eggs one at a time blending well after each egg.
Add the vanilla, salt and flour and mix until smooth, scraping down the bowl to incorporate all ingredients.
Add the sour cream and mix well.
Pour into prepared pan and bake in a preheated oven at 325 degrees for 1 hour and 15 minutes. When the time is up slightly open the door and let the cake stay for an extra hour without disturbing – no peeking you want it to cool slowly to prevent cracks, although in this case the blueberry topping will cover any that might happen. After an hour, cover with plastic wrap – not touching the top but over the pan and refrigerate at least overnight.
Wash the berries and place in a medium saucepan. Add the remaining ingredients.
Bring to a boil over high heat, then lower to a simmer to thicken to the consistency you prefer. A little less time and you will still have some whole blueberries, a little more and a thicker sauce. Remove the cinnamon sticks and refrigerate, covered until ready to serve.
For serving you can either cover the top of the cheesecake, or serve the blueberries on the side, topping each slice separately.
As we have already established, I’m a picky eater. I generally don’t do salads of any kind mostly because I don’t like condiments – no ketchup, no mustard, no dressing (or anything with vinegar in it), absolutely no mayonnaise and healthy is clearly not my strength so coming up with a healthy potato salad recipe was a big challenge for me. I’m not a big yogurt fan either, but some of the flavored ones are ok so I went with that. The best part though is that I do love potatoes in pretty much any form so I had something to work with! This was inspired by the sweet potato casserole that usually goes with Thanksgiving dinner. Thanks to Jami for a great challenge.
Jami Sorrento was our June Daring Cooks hostess and she chose to challenge us to celebrate the humble spud by making a delicious and healthy potato salad. The Daring Cooks Potato Salad Challenge was sponsored by the nice people at the United States Potato Board, who awarded prizes to the top 3 most creative and healthy potato salads. A medium-size (5.3 ounce) potato has 110 calories, no fat, no cholesterol, no sodium and includes nearly half your daily value of vitamin C and has more potassium than a banana!
Ingredients for 4 side or 2 main course salads:
2 large sweet potatoes cubed into 1 inch pieces
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon bacon or regular salt
1 tablespoon brown sugar
6 pineapple rings
1 1/2 cup pecans toasted
1 cup coconut (1/2 toasted)
1 6 oz orange yogurt cup
1 11 oz can mandarin oranges
4 large fresh lettuce leaves
1/4 cup dried cherries
1 tablespoon marshmallow cream
Place the sweet potatoes on a baking sheet.
Drizzle with olive oil
Sprinkle with cinnamon and bacon salt
Mix to coat.
On a second baking sheet place the pecans, 1/2 of the coconut and the pineapple cut into half circles and sprinkle the pineapple and pecans with brown sugar, cinnamon and bacon (or regular) salt.
Roast both pans in 400 degree oven for approx 10 minutes until the coconut and pecans are toasted – watch carefully they will go from brown to burned quickly. Remove them from the pan and continue to roast the sweet potatoes and pineapple for a total of 30-45 minutes until tender and lightly browned. Remove from the oven and cool.
Drain the mandarin oranges, reserving the liquid. Mix enough of the liquid with the orange yogurt to thin it to a pouring consistency.
Reserve 2 pineapple 1/2 slices and cut the remaining into bite sized pieces. Mix the sweet potatoes, pecans (reserving a few for garnish), toasted coconut and bite sized pineapple pieces together in a mixing bowl with the dressing.
On the serving plate lay down the lettuce, add the potato mixture, surround with the reserved pineapple half slices and the mandarin oranges, sprinkle with the untoasted coconut, reserved pecans and dried cherries.
Top with a dollop of marshmallow cream.