Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Pumpkin Swirl Cheesecake





Since Fall is officially here, I decided it was time to make a cheesecake and what better ingredient than Pumpkin! This cheesecake is as beautiful to look at as it is to eat! The cheesecake coupled with the gingersnap crust was smooth and delish!

Fall is one of my favorite times of the year and Halloween is MY Holiday! I decorate to the MAX and enjoy ever single minute of the holiday and the days leading up to it!

Two things of note regarding this cheesecake
*To cut into nice sharp slices run your knife thru hot water and dry then cut
*Serve at room temperature

Ingredients:
· Crust (see Notes below):
· 2 cups finely crushed ginger snaps cookies
· 1/2 cup finely chopped pecans
· 6 Tbsp butter or margarine, melted

· Filling:
· 3 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, softened
· 1 cup sugar, divided use
· 1 tsp vanilla
· 3 large eggs at room temperature
· 1 cup canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix) OR 1 cup cooked mashed pumpkin
· 1 tsp ground cinnamon
· 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
· 1/8 tsp ground cloves

Preparation:
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. (300 degrees F. for a dark springform pan) and position the oven rack in the center of the oven.

For the Crust (see Notes below):
Mix ginger snap crumbs, pecans and butter; press onto bottom and 2 inches up side of 9-inch springform pan.

For the Cheesecake Filling:
Using an electric mixer on medium speed, combine cream cheese, 3/4 cup of the sugar, and the vanilla until well blended. On low speed, add eggs one at a time, mixing each time just until blended.

Remove 1-1/2 cups of the plain batter and set aside.

To the remaining plain batter, add remaining 1/4 cup sugar, pumpkin, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. Using a large spoon, stir to combine.
Pour 1/2 of pumpkin batter over crust in springform pan. Spoon 1/2 of plain batter over pumpkin layer. Repeat until all batter is used.

Using a long butter knife, gently swirl through all layers of cheesecake batter without disturbing crust to achieve a marbled effect.

Bake for 55 minutes or until center is almost set. Do not overbake. Use a thin knife around the edge of the pan to loosen the crust.
Cool completely on wire rack.

Remove outer pan and refrigerate at least 4 hours, preferably overnight, before serving.

Notes for Optional Pie Crust: If you don't want to bother with a springform pan, purchase or make two small or one 10-inch oversize graham cracker or gingersnap pie crust shells. Skip the crust part of this recipe above and proceed to the fillings. Divide both fillings equally between the small pie crust shells or use same instructions for large crust and swirl. Bake at 325 degrees F for about 40 minutes for the small crusts and 45 to 50 minutes for the large.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Country Bob's All Purpose Sauce and a Giveaway





The nice folks at Country Bob's were kind enough to send me two bottles of the most fantastic sauce I have ever had! Seriously, it tastes nothing like any other bottled sauce I have used, and since we barbecue and smoke often, we have tried many. You can click on the link above and order ya some! For me, it replaces my steak sauce and my usual barbecue sauce and would be good on any protein.

We were dying to use the sauce so I purchased some beautiful boneless country ribs (they were inexpensive to boot). I got a great tip from my butcher which I will share with you!

p.s. the secret is to boil the ribs for 15 minutes in a large pot filled with one, 2 liter bottle of generic or store brand orange soda! I did just that and also added the juice of half an orange. It helps tenderize the ribs and melts off some of the fat.

Since I was on an orange bent anyway, I poured some Bob's into a bowl and added the juice of the other half of the orange and basted the ribs while cooking! This is my new favorite recipe!

4 large boneless country pork ribs
1 cup of Country Bob's All Purpose Sauce
1 juicy orange
1 two liter bottle of regular orange soda

Boil the ribs for 15 minutes in the soda and the juice of half the orange, remove and place on your barbecue (at full heat) then lower to 250 degrees on indirect heat (throw in some hickory chips if you have em).
**You could smoke them or bake them in the oven as well***

Baste occasionally with the sauce and cook for 1 1/2 hours!

The folks at Bob's were kind enough to sponsor a giveaway! Just leave me a comment by the end of this week, and we will randomly pick a winner to receive 2 bottles of this fantastic sauce! Good Luck!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Bagel's


I have always wanted to try to make bagels, but was intimidated by the process. Yesterday, I was bored and decided to give it a whirl, there are a few steps and it is a hurry up and wait type of thing, but I made 12 awesome Bagel's. I am so proud of myself!

These bagels start with an overnight starter for extra flavor!

These are crunchy on the outside and chewy on the inside, and positively delish! I am not sure I will ever buy them again! This recipe is from the King Arthur Flour Website, I find many great recipes there.

Starter
1/2 cup King Arthur Unbleached Bread Flour (I used Better for Bread Flour)
1/4 cup cool water
pinch of yeast

Dough
4 cups King Arthur Unbleached Bread Flour
1 1/4 cups cool water
1 3/4 teaspoons salt (next time I will use 2 tsp)
1 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast
Water bath water to fill a 10"-diameter pan about 1" deep
1 tablespoon non-diastatic malt powder or brown sugar (I used brown sugar)

1st step
Combine the starter ingredients in a medium-sized bowl, cover, and let rest at room temperature overnight

2nd step (Next Day)
Combine the puffy starter with all of the dough ingredients and knead—by hand, electric mixer, or bread machine—to form a stiff but not dry dough. (I used the dough hook on my Kitchenaide Mixer, and let it work for about 10 minutes till the bread was smooth)

Since we're using a high-protein bread flour here, you might notice it takes a bit more effort and time to develop the gluten.

Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl, cover, and set it aside to rise for 1 hour.

Gently deflate the dough, and let it rise for another 30 minutes.

Transfer the dough to a work surface, and divide it into 12 pieces. Roll each piece into a smooth, round ball. Cover the balls with plastic wrap, and let them rest for 30 minutes. They'll puff up very slightly.

While the dough is resting, prepare the water bath by heating the water and malt (or sugar) to a very gentle boil in a wide-diameter (about 10") pan.

Preheat your oven to 425°F.

Use your index finger to poke a hole through the center of each ball, then twirl the dough on your finger to stretch the hole till it's about 2 inches in diameter (the entire bagel will be about 3 ½" across).

Place each bagel on a lightly greased or parchment-lined baking sheet, (I used a Silpat) and repeat with the remaining pieces of dough.

Transfer the bagels, four at a time if possible, to the simmering water. Increase the heat under the pan to bring the water back up to a gently simmering boil, if necessary. Cook the bagels for 2 minutes, flip them over, and cook 1 minute more. Using a skimmer or strainer, or the end of a wooden spoon, remove the bagels from the water and place them back on the baking sheet.

Repeat with the remaining bagels.

Bake the bagels for about 25 minutes, or until they're as deep brown as you like. To top with seeds, remove them from the oven after about 15 minutes, spray with water or Quick Shine, and sprinkle with seeds. Return to the oven to finish baking. Remove the bagels from the oven, and cool completely on a rack.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Caipirinha - Brazilian Cocktail



I picked my husbsters up from the airport on Sunday and one of the things he really enjoyed in Brazil was their National Drink, which uses is a liquor made from sugar cane and is called Cachaca.

The cocktail itself is called a Caipirinha (pronounced kie-purr-EEN-yah)

He said it was a very refreshing drink on a hot day, and he wanted to make it for me to try at home. I must say I loved it. They do sneak up on ya tho!

Here is what you need to make one!

Lots of ice
Limes
Cachaqa (pronounced Ka chah sah -- your local liquor store should have it)
sugar (we used equal)
muddler

Cut limes into 1/4 inch thickness, remove the pith, leave skin on

take 1 1/2 lime slices, muddle in the glass or martini shaker, add 1 tsp sugar, 2 oz of Cachaga and ice, mix well and enjoy!
Repeat cautiously!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Zuchinni Bread Yummized!


My fabulous neighbor Jack, gave me a bunch of Zuchinni's as he does every year, he is sooo sweet! I decided to make my regular Zuchinni Bread recipe, but do my usual and add in a bunch of extras!

I actually made one batch and poured half into a loaf pan, then added my "extras", stirred and poured into the 2nd loaf pan. That way you can have the best of both worlds. Both breads were delish!

3 1/4 cups of all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground nutmeg (fresh is best)
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup applesauce
4 eggs beaten
2 cups grated Zucchini (use a towel and squeeze excess liquid out)
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
1 cup chopped nut of your choice, I used Walnuts
2 tsp honey
1 tsp vanilla
1/3 cup water

EXTRAS: 1/2 cup of chocolate chips (or whatever chips you have), 1 cup of mini marshmallows

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease 2 loaf pans

In a large bowl combine flour, salt, nutmeg, baking soda, cinnamon and both sugars

In a separate bowl, combine oil, applesauce, eggs, water, zucchini, honey, vanilla and lemon juice

Mix wet ingredients into dry, and fold in nuts, split between your 2 loaf pans, or do as I did and place half into a loaf pan, add your extra's, stir and pour into your 2nd loaf pan

Bake for 1 hour or until your knife comes out clean

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Scrambled Eggs - Help!

Today, I do not have a recipe for you, but I do have a plea!

Please help me to learn to make scrambled eggs. I can make over easy, over hard, poached, everything else under the sun but scrambled!

So, tell me your method, secrets, procedures? Do you do them fast? Slow? Add water? Add milk? What is your process!

I peesiate all the help I can get!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Mocha Popsicles



I love coffee and I love Popsicles, so I decided to combine the two! I have to say these are the best "grownup" Popsicles that I have ever had, it is a delicious way to get your caffeine buzz and stay cool at the same time!

Tina and Tam this one's for you!

Strong brewed coffee or Espresso if you have the ability to make it
Sugar Free Chocolate Syrup
Sugar Free syrup of your choosing, I used Hazelnut
Whole Milk

Mix the above and pour into your Popsicle molds, freeze and enjoy!
p.s, don't forget to send your Foodgawker and Tastespotting rejects to Tastestopping! They accept what others won't!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Simply Blueberry Sorbet

First off, this is not my photo, however mine looked exactly like this, I borrowed the photo from Sweet Pleasure.

I purchased the ice cream attachment for my Kitchenaide mixer this summer and we have been busy making ice cream and sorbet.

Here is the recipe for the Sorbet, it was amazingly flavorful and delish! I am not a fan of ice cream normally, but homemade is so much better that I adore it.

1 cup sugar
1/2 cup water, preferably spring water
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 pints (about 2 pounds or 6 cups) fresh-picked blueberries, rinsed and patted dry
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 large egg white

Preparation

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine the sugar, water, and salt. Cook, stirring, until the sugar and salt have dissolved, about 3 minutes. Let cool for 15 minutes.

In a blender, purée the blueberries with the syrup and lemon juice until very smooth (you may need to divide this into several batches if your blender is not extra-large).

If desired, strain through a fine-mesh sieve for a smoother texture. Cover and refrigerate until chilled, at least 4 hours or overnight.

Churn in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's directions.

Add the egg white, if using, during the last 2 to 3 minutes of churning. Place into an airtight container and freeze.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Cheese Fondue

One of our favorite restaurants locally is The Rheinlander, they have the most amazing cheese fondue appetizer as well as traditional German food.

We had German food last week for lunch, and I decided to try to make the Rheinlander version of Fondue for dinner tonight.

I found the recipe online and it was delicious, a light easy summer dinner. Pair it with a sausages, fresh veggies, bread cubes and you are set.

1 pound grated processed Swiss American
2 cups very dry white wine, Chardonnay or Chablis
2 cloves mashed garlic
¼ teaspoon white pepper1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper (I doubled this)
Pinch of nutmeg
Fresh Veggies
Sliced Sausage (I used Kielbasa)
Bread cubes (toasted is best)

If you cannot find cheese in a one pound block, buy it in sandwich slices then dice into small cubes.

In a stainless steel saucepan or fondue pot, simmer white wine, garlic, nutmeg, white pepper and cayenne pepper for approximately 10 to 15 minutes to reduce wine and let alcohol cook out.

Place grated cheese or cheese cubes in wine mixture. Stir with a wooden spoon until cheese completely melts. Do not boil, just let it melt. If it is too thick, add more wine; if too thin, add more cheese.

The consistency of the fondue should coat the bread evenly when it is dipped into the mixture.

Serve with assorted fresh veggies, bread cubes and sliced sausages

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Barbeque Meat Loaf



We have been barbecuing up a storm lately, and I decided I wanted to try to barbecue meat loaf. I don't make it often, maybe twice a year, but never on the barbecue.

I must say it was the best meatloaf I have ever eaten, and the meatloaf sandwich leftovers, YUM! I think using a mixture of pork and beef makes all the difference, and basting every 15 minutes or so!

P.S. I made a double batch so I could freeze one! This is the recipe for a single batch. Also, this is a modified Paula Deen recipe.

For the Loaf
1 1/2 lbs total of ground beef and ground pork
1 cup fresh breadcrumbs (make in your food processor)
1 sweet onion, diced
1 egg slightly beaten
2-3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 red bell pepper
1/2 yellow bell pepper
4-5 Crimini Mushrooms, diced stem removed
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
2 tbl Worcestershire sauce
1/2 can tomato sauce, 8 oz can
3 tbl A1 sauce or steak sauce

Saute your onion,garlic and peppers in olive oil, for about 5 minutes,set aside

Place all the above ingredients (including the cooled onion/garlic mixture)into a large bowl.

Mix gently, don't overmix or the meat will be tough

Mound onto a the top part of a broiler pan or something with holes which can go on your barbecue and lets the fat drain out

Basting Sauce
1/2 remaining can tomato sauce
3 tbl white wine vinegar
3 tbl brown sugar
3 tbl Dijon mustard
2 tbl Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup of catsup

Mix the above ingredients together, add a bit of apple juice if it is too thick.

Heat your barbecue to about 350 degrees and cook for about an hour, basting every 15 minutes. If you have wood chips or chunks, place them on so you can get some smoke on your loaf!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Fresh Strawberry/Blueberry Cheesecake


I have been craving dessert lately which is absolutely strange. I am not a dessert person, at all,(except for the yummies Pam my neighbor shares!) neither is my husband. We are savory people. Give me the choice of ice cream or cheese and crackers and I will pick the savory option every time.

I make desserts, and am pretty good at it, but I give them away and rarely eat them! I decided if I was going to eat dessert it was going to be low carb/fat and sugar. I found this fantastic blog and immediately saw this dessert. I changed it up just a bit, and it is fantastic! I mean I could not stop eating it. She has some great low carb/fat recipes, check it out!

Here is how ya do it! Click the linke above for her version, I am giving you my slightly altered version.

One Graham Cracker Crust
8-ounce container Sugar Free Cool Whip, thawed
Two 8-ounce pkgs reduced-fat cream cheese, softened
3/4 cups Splenda Sugar Blend
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract
1.5 cups chopped fresh strawberries
1 cup fresh blueberries

In a large bowl, beat cream cheese until smooth. Beat in Splenda Sugar Blend, vanilla, and almond extract. Fold in Cool Whip, chopped strawberries and whole blueberries.

Spoon and mound filling into crust. Garnish with strawberry halves and blueberries.

Cover and chill until set

Strawberry Muffins

I had some beautiful local Strawberries that were looking a little sad, I decided to make Strawberry Muffins out of them.  I do have to ...