Monday, April 27, 2009

DB: Cheese Cake

The April 2009 challenge is hosted by Jenny from Jenny Bakes. She has chosen Abbey's Infamous Cheesecake as the challenge.

I have made cheese cake in the past, from several different recipes in fact, but this one came with directions on how to prevent that dreaded crack, and a water bath for increased creaminess, very very good! I however was a rebel and tried something different, no bake cheese cake, no not that stuff from JELLO, cheese cake ice cream!

First the official instructions and then what I did.

Abbey's Infamous Cheesecake:

2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1 stick butter, melted
2 tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract

3 sticks of cream cheese, (total of 24 oz) room temperature
1 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1 cup heavy cream
1 tbsp. lemon juice
1 tbsp. vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F, Begin to boil a large pot of water for the water bath.

2. Mix together the crust ingredients and press into your preferred pan. You can press the crust just into the bottom, or up the sides of the pan too - baker's choice. Set crust aside.

3. Combine cream cheese and sugar in a bowl and cream together until smooth. Add eggs, one at a time, fully incorporating each before adding the next. Make sure to scrape down the bowl in between each egg. Add heavy cream, vanilla and lemon juice and blend until smooth and creamy.

4. Pour batter into prepared crust and tap the pan on the counter a few times to bring all air bubbles to the surface. Place pan into a larger pan and pour boiling water into the larger pan until halfway up the side of the cheesecake pan. If cheesecake pan is not airtight, cover bottom securely with foil before adding water.

5. Bake 45 to 55 minutes, until it is almost done - this can be hard to judge, but you're looking for the cake to hold together, but still have a lot of jiggle to it in the center. You don't want it to be completely firm at this stage. Close the oven door, turn the heat off, and let rest in the cooling oven for one hour. This lets the cake finish cooking and cool down gently enough so that it won't crack on the top. After one hour, remove cheesecake from oven and lift carefully out of water bath. Let it finish cooling on the counter, and then cover and put in the fridge to chill. Once fully chilled, it is ready to serve.

Pan note: The creator of this recipe used to use a springform pan, but no matter how well she wrapped the thing in tin foil, water would always seep in and make the crust soggy. Now she uses one of those 1-use foil "casserole" shaped pans from the grocery store. They're 8 or 9 inches wide and really deep, and best of all, water-tight. When it comes time to serve, just cut the foil away.

For the ice cream I basically cut the recipe in 1/3 added a little sugar and then added enough milk to make up the difference in my machine.

Cheese Cake Ice cream
8oz of cream cheese
2/3 cup sugar
1 large egg
1/3 cup heavy cream
1/3 tbsp. lemon juice
1/3 tbsp. vanilla extract
2 cups milk

cook over medium heat stirring constantly until it reaches a temp of 160. Remove to the fridge to cool down for several hours. Proceed as directed by your machine.

I used a springform pan and the graham cracker crust to pour my finished Ice cream in. I then served it with some Black and Blue Jelly.

Temper's Take:
Ok I admit I also made the cheese cake and while it was good it isn't the best I have made. The tips that came with the recipe were invaluable to me though.

The ice cream turned out fabulous, Indra even asked for more :) It had a great texture and the jelly set it off to perfection! It is easy enough that I am thinking it is going to be used again next time we have company this summer.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

BBD: Bunny Rolls

For this months Bread Baking Day event I choose to make Easter Bunny Rolls. I found the recipe here, when looking for something that really said Easter to me. After all what says Easter like bunnies?

BBD #19 - Spring Country Bread is hosted by Cindystar. to quote her...
It will be Easter in a few days and I would like to share with you a virtual pic-nic on Easter Monday. In Italy it's a popular tradition to have an outdoor trip in the countryside, on that special festive day all families and friends gather together, lay a blanket or a tablecloth on the grass and have a sort of epicurean brunch (never missing hard boiled eggs, part of tradition!)with children enjoy playing outdoor and adults lazily enjoying the first warm spring sun.
And my theme would like to be a celebration to Spring with Spring Country Breads.

Easter Bunny Rolls
This recipe is from a 1959 vintage holiday cookbook.
1 package yeast
1/4 c water, lukewarm
1 c milk, scalded and cooled to lukewarm
1/2 c butter melted in the hot milk
1/2 c sugar
1 tsp salt
5-5 1/2 c flour
2 eggs, room temperature, beaten
1/4 c orange juice, lukewarm
2 Tbs grated orange peel

1. Dissolve yeast in water.
2. Blend milk, butter, sugar, and salt. Make sure that the mixture is lukewarm. Stir in 2 cups of the flour.
3. Add eggs, beat well. Stir in yeast, orange juice, and peel. Add enough of the remaining flour to make a dough. Let rest for 10 minutes.
4. Knead dough 10 minutes, or until elastic, on a floured surface. Place in a greased bowl, turn to grease top, cover and allow to rise until double. About 2 hours.
5. Punch down, cover, and allow to rest 10 minutes.
6. On a lightly floured surface roll dough into a 1/2 inch thick rectangle. Cut dough in strips about 1/2 inch wide and roll between hands to smooth.
7. You can make these into two kinds of bunnies.

For twist bunnies (the one that looks like it is sitting upright):
1. For each bunny you will need a 14 inch strip of dough. On a lightly greased cookie sheet lap one end of the strip over the other to form a loop. Now, bring the end that is underneath up over the top end, letting each end extend to the sides to form ears. Pat tips of ears to make a point.
2. Roll a small ball of dough and put it on the bottom loop for a tail. Let rise until double.

For “Grazing” Bunnies:
1. For each bunny you will need a 10 inch piece of dough for the body and a 5 inch strip for the head.
2. On a lightly greased cookie sheet make a loose swirl for the body with the longer strip, and one for the head with the smaller strip. Place the head close to the body. To add the ears pinch off 1 1/2 inch strips of dough and roll to form ears. Place next to the head. Use a little bit of dough to make a small ball for the tail. Allow to double.

The second rise will take from 45-60 minutes. Bake at 375 for 12 -15 minutes. Frost while warm with sugar glaze. Makes 2 1/2 dozen.

Sugar Glaze (I skipped this)
To 2 1/2 c confectioners sugar
1/4 c hot water
1 tsp butter.

1. Stir until blended.
2. Use this to brush over warm rolls.

Temper's Take:
I loved the subtle orange of this bread, the bread is good, darn good. The bread is plenty sweet with out the glaze but a nice orange glaze would be great too. Heck, it would be a great sweet roll period, maybe with some dried cherries.

The bunnies turned nicely bunny shaped (which I had been worried about) and were easier to form then I thought they would be. My favorites were the standing up ones.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Spaghetti Squash ala Esther

My Friend Esther is a true foodie, unfortunately she is also diabetic and managing it through diet, which means almost no carbs. I don't know about you but I don't think I could live that way. This was her suggestion of a side when we had Thanksgiving together.

Spaghetti Squash ala Esther
1 spaghetti squash, cut in half and deseeded
2 table spoons butter
Nutmeg (freshly grated is best)
Salt (kosher or sea, not table)
Pepper (fresh ground)
Dried Cranberries

Rub each half squash with a table spoon of butter, Sprinkle with nutmeg, salt and pepper to taste (I like it to look freckled) and then wrap in tinfoil.

Cook at 350 degrees until soft (test with a fork through the side or by squeezing gently).

loosen the sides with a fork and 'fluff'. I then sprinkle with the dried cranberries. It sits well and reheats great in the microwave making it great for family get togethers.

Temper's Take:
This turns out surprisingly rich tasting and the dried cranberries (my addition) offsets that beautifully. I have also used this method with Italian seasoning, a couple of meatballs, garlic and a sprinkling of parmesan with great results. As an additional plus spaghetti squash is cheap and it is easy to make, just what I want in a great dish.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

R2R, Steak Diane Flambé

This months Recipe to Rival challenge was Steak Diane Flambé. I hosted with assistance from Shawnee of Delishes Delishes (ok, so she found the recipe and came up with the disclaimer and... well alot of other thing). As she said "I've never purposely set fire to my food before (besides marshmallows)". You know what, neither have I, about time wouldn't you say?

And here is the wonderful disclaimer:
Disclaimer: We do not require that you flambé, if you choose to flambé and burn down your kitchen, don't sue us. If you choose to flambé try and get a picture (I recommend getting someone to help). Remember when playing with fire keep a fire extinguisher close and never use water on a cooking fire.

Steak Diane Flambé
recipe by Frank Bordoni from Great Food Live.
For the steaks
4x85g beef medallions
1 tsp Dijon mustard
freshly ground salt and pepper

For the sauce
1 tsp Butter, clarified
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
2 tbsp Shallots, finely chopped
50g button mushrooms, finely sliced
1 tbsp lemon juice
125ml double cream
1 tbsp Chives, snipped
50ml Brandy

1. Rub the medallions of beef with the mustard, season with salt and pepper and set aside.
2. Heat a large frying pan over a medium heat and when hot, add the clarified butter and Worcestershire sauce.
3. Add the shallots and mushrooms, and push to the centre of the pan. Arrange the medallions around the edge. Cook for 2 minutes, stirring and tossing the mushroom mixture as you go. If you prefer your steak well done, give it an extra minute or 2.
4. Add the lemon juice and season with salt and pepper.
5. Turn the steaks over and pour in the cream and chives. Tilt the pan slightly (away from you) and pour in the brandy at the far end. Now turn up the heat to high so that the brandy ignites. Swirl the sauce around in the pan and turn off the heat.
6. Put the medallions on 4 plates, pour over the sauce and serve.

I served it with roasted asparagus (recipe later) and they went great with the sauce for left overs.

Temper's Take:
This was so easy, the flames where great (the pyromaniac in me is saying do it again!), and it was very nummy. The meat was a little undercooked for our pallets, and I wish I had got a nice brown coat on it like some of the others. But it is definitely something I will be doing again, maybe for company, it is fancy and easy, so perfect for entertaining.