Saturday, July 10, 2010

Blueberry Cheesecake

Dad is the cheesecake man. He makes really fantastic cheesecakes that are ginormous. And that means they are really, really big. Since I don't get to see him very often, he made a huge effort to make every yummy treat he knew how to make.

It resulted in 4 cheesecakes and a key lime pie in a week. I gained 5 pounds. Mom and Hali counted the desserts in the fridge one night: 5 choices. Obviously I had one of each. Every night. Someone please save me from myself. Nobody should be so committed to dessert. (But it is really good.)

If you know Dad, give him a call. He is the cheesecake man. If you don't know him you will have to make your own cheesecake. Several other flavors will be coming soon.

Blueberry Cheese Cake

For 10 inch springform pan For 9 inch springform pan
1 ½ cups vanilla wafer crumbs 1 cup vanilla wafer crumbs
¾ cup flaked coconut – toasted ½ cup flaked coconut – toasted
3/8 cup finely chopped walnuts ¼ cup finely chopped walnuts
3 T sugar 1/8 cup sugar
½ cup butter – melted 6 T butter – melted (a little less butter works ok) Combine 1st 4 ingredients in bowl – stir in butter Press onto bottom an 1 in up sides of springform pan Refrigerate for 15 min.

Cook Sauce
2 ½ cups blueberries
¼ cup sugar (combine sugar and cornstarch before adding) (little less sugar)
3 t cornstarch
1 T water
1 T lemon juice

Cook until it thickens.

3 packages (8 oz each) cream cheese – softened
1 (14 oz.) sweetened condensed milk
4 eggs
1 tsp vanilla

In a mixing bowl, beat cream cheese until smooth. Beat cream cheese and condensed milk till combined. Add eggs and vanilla; beat till combined Pour ½ in to crust. Add ½ of blueberry sauce. Add rest of filling. Swirl in the rest of blueberry sauce. Place pan on baking sheet. Bake at 350 for 50 to 60 min or until center is nearly set Cool for 10 min. Carefully run a knife around edge of pan to loosen. Refrigerate overnight

Friday, July 9, 2010

Nasturtium Orange Butter - And Other Creations

Aunt Marie sent me home with a bouquet of edible flowers. They were beautiful and I was thrilled - but a bit hesitant to actually eat a flower.

We wanted an excuse to see her, so we asked if we could help weed her garden. She saw through our excuses but let us come. Aunt Louise got the short end of the stick because I left with FOUR BAGS of loot and she got nothing. I guess the moral of the story is if I volunteer to help, hide your stuff because I may be really excited to use all the wonderful things growing in your garden. It's my garden envy and I must wear it on my sleeve because everyone gave me some food as a gift. At any rate, I'm a lucky, lucky girl.

Thanks, Aunt Marie. I loved everything that came from your garden and you are so generous.

These are stuffed with cream cheese and chives and next time I get my hands on a few blooms I am going to try the honey and walnut recipe.

A salad with a few gorgeous blooms as garnish looks really fancy. Aunt Marie is so nice and fun. I wish I lived closer to her so I could see her every day.

Nasturtium Orange Butter
1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 t orange peel, grated
1 T lime juice
3 T nasturtium blossoms, finely chopped

Herbed Cream Cheese Stuffed Nasturtium Blossoms
3 ounces softened cream cheese
1 T heavy cream
2 T minced fresh chives

Nasturtium Stuffed with Honey, Cream Cheese, and Walnuts
3/4 cup cream cheese, softened
4 T sour cream
1 T fresh lemon juice
3 T honey
1 t vanilla
1/3 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 cup chopped golden raisins
20 nasturtiums and leaves, washed and dried
Salt to taste
30 large nasturtium blossoms

Monday, June 28, 2010

Monkey Bread Monkeys

Cienna promised to show me how to make monkey bread. I remembered it as a gooey, sticky, caramelized treat when I was a kid. Could it possibly be as good now?

Apparently these kids think so. They must be the monkey bread monkeys. I thought it was great, too.

Monkey Bread
In glass pie pan or bundt cake pan, mix:
2 T butter
1 T water
1/3 C brown sugar
If you are over 40 years old, add chopped nuts.

Heat in microwave 30 seconds, or until butter melts (optional)

Cut refrigerator biscuits into quarters. Add to sugar mixture and stir to coat. Push away from center and put a glass in the center.

Cook in the microwave 3 1/2 minutes or bake in the oven 10 minutes at 400 degrees. If you are using the bundt cake pan you have to bake it. Flip onto a plate and serve immediately. Double recipe if you are serving more than 6 people.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Strawberry Daiquiri

When we woke up 2 hours later than we had planned on Saturday morning, Kevin called the strawberry farm to ask if we could come later in the day. They stayed open until 1:00, so we drove to the farm and picked a flat of berries before coming home and devouring half of them. Then we realized that they would be gone soon if we didn't stop eating and start cooking.

Of course, freezer jam was on the 'absolutely must' list. If you are in need of a little jam, send me an email or a comment and I'll put you on the Christmas list. Or the 4th of July list. It lasts a year in the freezer, and we have been looking for things to give people that are consumables and not super-de-duper unhealthy. Not that jam can be classified as healthy....

I can't give you a recipe for freezer jam because all brands of pectin are slightly different so you have to use the recipe on the box. Get the 'low sugar' pectin.

The jam was setting and the berries were still looking at me when we started getting ready for a party. I suddenly realized that I hadn't had a strawberry daiquiri since 11th grade, when I ordered one on a date. It was sweet and cold and tasted just like summer should. Of course, it was a virgin one, and it was exactly the taste I wanted to sip all night.

I found a recipe and proceeded to change the amounts and ingredients. You know how I once said that I always make a recipe exactly according to the directions the first time? Well, I've been paying attention since then, and I haven't made a recipe exactly as written in over a year. Oh, well. I guess no recipe is safe in my hands.

The original called for lemon juice and white sugar, but I don't like lemon and I had a bottle of maple syrup in the fridge that was starting to crystallize. If you use regular sugar, mix it with the other juices and blend it for a bit before adding the ice to make sure it dissolves. The orange juice is so good that I highly doubt anyone will ever want to use lemon juice ever again.

Strawberry Daiquiri
1/4-1/3 C maple syrup (start with 1/4 C and add more if you want it to be sweeter)
4 ounces frozen strawberries
1/8 C lime juice
1/2 C orange juice
3 cups ice
spiced rum such as Captain Morgan (optional)

Mix everything except the rum in the blender until it is slushy and there are no ice chunks.Pour into a glass and top with a fresh strawberry and serve with a straw and an umbrella.

If you want this to be a little more like a sorbet, put it in the freezer and get it out every half hour to blend it again with the stick blender until it is frozen. That way it will stay scoopable but still icy instead of freezing into one large ice block.

If you plan to add the rum, use closer to 1/3 or 1/2 C of maple syrup and let each person add their own rum so they can choose how strong to make it.

Bye, bye, strawberry hulls.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Almond Rhubarb Coffee Cake

If you have ever wondered how heaven tastes, I've found the perfect recipe to give you a little preview. It's the almond and it is so good.

Khuong had a baby boy and has been out of the office for a couple of weeks, so when he stopped by WITHOUT his new baby but WITH a bag of rhubarb for me, I was filled with mixed emotions. Hopefully I get to get that new baby soon!

Last year he brought me bags and bags of rhubarb and I cooked a gazillion rhubarb recipes. By the end of the season I was so tired of rhubarb. He was going to rip our his rhubarb plants because he doesn't like it and doesn't want to devote so much of his yard to it. Thank goodness it squeaked in another year, because I have been craving a rhubarb fix for a while.

After eating one piece of cake, I took the rest to work where I proceeded to break one of the red heart dishes in a clumsa-tastrophe (which happens to be a clumsy catastrophe.) I may have to reconsider traveling with my fancy stuff. On one hand, I love to bring fun food to share with my friends, but I also know that my clumsy self isn't very well suited to nice things. *sigh*

Almond Rhubarb Coffee Cake
1 1/2 C packed brown sugar
2/3 C oil
1 egg
1 t vanilla
1/4 t almond extract
2 1/2 C whole wheat pastry flour (or all purpose)
1 t salt
1 t baking soda
1 C milk
1 1/2 C chopped rhubarb
1/2 C sliced almonds
1/3 C white sugar
1 T melted butter
1/4 C sliced almonds

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease two 9 inch round pans (or whatever pans suit your fancy.) In a large bowl, beat brown sugar, oil, egg, vanilla, and almond extract until smooth. Combine flour, salt, and baking soda. Add to sugar mixture alternately with milk. Beat until smooth. Stir in rhubarb and milk. Pour into prepared pans. In a small bowl, combine white sugar and butter. Stir in 1/4 C almonds. Sprinkle over batter. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until the cake tests done.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Strawberry Topped Brownies

Are you scared of sweetened condensed milk? If so run far, far away. And hand me your brownie before you scamper off.

The brownie itself is nothing special. It is made with a brownie mix - any box will do. Add one more egg than it calls for to make it a little extra cakey. You can make them in a pan or in cupcake papers. This time I made regular cupcakes and mini cupcakes because I wanted less messy individual servings.

Then. Get. Ready. To. Be. Delighted. The frosting is what makes these brownies delicious. It is sweet and tangy and shouldn't be eaten by the spoonful, although it is tempting. Someone please come hide all my spoons because they are just BEGGING me to get a heap of this sticky sweet ambrosia and eat the rest of the bowl.

Brownie Topping
1 Can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 C cold water
1 pkg instant pudding (vanilla, white chocolate, or cheesecake)
4 oz whipped topping, thawed
1 pint fresh strawberries

Mix the sweetened condensed milk and cold water, then beat in the pudding. Chill for 5 minutes and add the whipped topping. Spread on cooled brownies and top with sliced strawberries. Serve within a couple of hours. The strawberries start to get icky after too long.

Mmmm...tempting dessert or tantalizing husband.....delicious dessert or deliciously sweet hubby....can I have both?

Potato Salad with No Mustard

Mustard. It is such a divisive condiment. The person in my household who is in favor of mustard (Kevin) tends to be the one who makes the potato salad so it usually contains mustard. When Kevin volunteered to bring kabobs to a dinner party last weekend, and then decided to make some potato salad to go with it, I was ready to eat first so I wouldn't be hungry when I declined half the dinner. But then he found a mustard-less potato salad recipe and harmony was restored to our fridge.

This recipe is absolutely the bestestest potato salad I have ever had. That isn't saying too much because it is the first potato salad I have ever liked, but it is a tasty side dish. Even Kevin liked it better than the yellow version.

Potato Salad
1 1/2 pounds red-skinned potatoes, scrubbed and peeled
2 large eggs, hard-boiled, peeled, and chopped
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/4 cup chopped red onion
1/4 cup chopped green onion (scallions)
2/3 to 3/4 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1 tablespoon sour cream, optional
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Boil a large pot of water and put the peeled potatoes in it. Cook until they are almost soft, then drain and cool. They should be a little more firm than you would like them since they will cook a little more while they cool. While waiting for the potatoes to cool mix the rest of the ingredients together, leaving out the eggs. When everything is mixed, chop the cooled potatoes and eggs and mix until coated. The more you mix the more the potatoes and eggs crumble, so stir as little as possible.