Saturday, December 15, 2007

Camembert Cheesecake

I went to an appie party the other night as an alternative to our (my friends) annual cookie exchange. I got a recipe from the Canadian Living December 2007 issue. Finding a mini-cheese cake tray would be lots of fun. I couldn't find a mini cheesecake tray, so I used my 8 inch spring form pan which was great too. Here is the recipe and it was amazing:

1 pkg of cream cheese softened, 4 oz. of camembert cheese, diced, 1 egg, 1 tsp. of minced fresh rosemary, ¼ tsp. of pepper, 2/3 cup of sour cream. For the Crust: ¼ cup of toasted unbalanced almonds, ¼ cup of butter, softened, ½ cup of all purpose flour, ½ tsp. of minced fresh rosemary, ¼ tsp. of salt. Garnish: 4 thin slices of prosciutto, ½ tsp. of vegetable oil.

For the crust: In a food processor, finely grind almonds. In bowl, beat butter until fluffy; stir in almonds, flour, rosemary, and salt. Press onto base of twelve 4-oz (125 ml) mini cheesecake cups, or one medium sized spring form pan. Bake in the centre of a 350 degree oven until set, about 10 minutes. Let cool.

In a large bowl, beat cream cheese with Camembert until fluffy. Beat in egg, rosemary, and pepper; beat in sour cream. Spoon over bases or base of crust. Bake in the centre of 325 degree oven until puffed and centres still jiggle slightly, about 12 minutes. Run hot knife around edge of each cheesecake. Let cool on rack. Cover and refrigerate until set, about 2 hours or you can make ahead and refrigerate for up to 2 days. Garnish: slice prosciutto crosswise into thin strips. In large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat; fry prosciutto stirring, until crisp. About three minutes. You can make this ahead for up to 24 hours. Garnish each cheesecake with prosciutto.

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Friday, December 07, 2007

The Dependable Baked Potato

I'm sitting here, sweetly buzzed on this Friday night, over-seeing a mammoth sized baked potato under the clutches of my oven just....baking. What I love about this potato is that it just sits there. It doesn't sizzle, doesn't need to be flipped, or rubbed in olive oil, or swathed in anything, other than heat. It just is. Unassuming, undemanding, no stage, no pomp, no flambe....

Katherine Hepburn once described her lover and life partner Spencer Tracy this way...dependable, like a baked potato. It nice once in a while, after enjoying morsels of deliciousness, dripping in butter, or champagne that tickles our noses - to pay homage to the yen in life, the simple, the plain, and the always dependable, potatoes in life.....

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Cracked the Bourbon Chicken Code!!!!

OK - for too long I've been trying to find a recipe that remotely comes close to the one and only bourbon chicken recipe that I so adore and I got it! I can't wait to experiment with spices and stuff, but this is definitely the beginning! Though I will say, it was bourbon less....this time.

First I marinaded skinless chicken thighs for the afternoon in a little concoction of fresh garlic, olive oil and Greek salad dressing. Hell that's all I had. Then I put it in the oven at, you guessed it, 350 for about 20 minutes. Then I tossed the chicken into a frying pan with a little bit of butter and maple syrup, let it cook until brown/blacked on both sides and voila! Fantastical! I did a no sugar version with maple extract, a little butter and 2 whole packs of splenda. Oh baby, I am in heaven. I'm thinking some chipoltle may do the trick next time.


Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Lemon Loaf

This is by far the most fantastical lemon loaf I have ever had. Not that I've had many, but the citrus in this loaf tastes as though it bursts with joy and sunshine.

6 tbsp. of butter, 2 eggs, 1 tsp. of baking powder, 1/2 cup of milk, rind of one lemon, 1 cup of sugar, 1 1/2 cup of flour, pinch of salt, 1 tsp. of lemon extract (ah ha, that is the secret). Mix all of the above and put into a greased loaf pan. Bake at 350 for one hour. Once baked and cooled mix 1/3 cup of sugar and the juice of one lemon and zest and pour over loaf.


Fancy Fast/Frozen Foods

I love finding a nice healthy frozen entree. Tonight I'm eating my low carb, low calorie, ricotta stuffed chicken. It's only 190 calories with nary much fat. Of course nary in my dictionary means no flavor, so in keeping a watch on calories, I needed to re-vamp such. Over top of this frozen stuffed piece of chicken I added one tbsp. of sugar free apricot jam, a slice of cheddar, enveloped in a slice of prosciutto. Put in the oven at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes (I think I cook everything at this temperature). I do have good intentions when I buy diet stuff - but don't you also find that the occasional Lean Cuisine benefits from a little truffle oil? Well in this case I will also serve my low fat, fattened up chicken with some butter and garlic beans.

Ground Turkey Hash

Yes I know it's a little early, in Canada anyway, to be using up turkey in hashes, but the turkey I'm using here is ground. I've adapted a lovely recipe I found in the South Beach Diet, to my version - whatever the hell is in my refrigerator. I have also started reading cookbooks again as I feel like I'm stuck in a rut and can't get some things to taste as fantastic as I normally do. I need to re-learn herbs and spices and start using them generously again. I think moms sometimes get into ruts because their children may find something too spicy. Well, to hell with you kids - mama needs to get her cooking game on again - after all, if they're hungry enough they'll eat anything. Truth be known however, my children are great eaters and are willing to give many things a try. One of my sons will take nice crusty, prosciutto/havarti- filled sandwiches to school with fruit and soup. My other son loves a good meat and mashed potato dish and both my children love broccoli. Not bad. Here is my recipe for Ground Turkey Hash and remember - be flexible - add whatever veggies you have:

1 pound of ground turkey, 1/2 onion chopped up, 2 cups of frozen beans (I absolutely love the Europe's Best brand of green and yellow beans), 2 cups of chopped up sweet potato or as we call it here in Canada - yams. Also you'll need some 1 cup of chicken broth, 1 340 ml. of V8 juice, 2 tbsp. of flour, 1 tsp. of minced garlic (I used jarred - much easier), 1 tbsp. of olive oil. 1/2 tsp. of thyme.

In a large frying pan, heat oil over medium oil. Add sweet potato, onions, garlic, and frozen green beans. Cook and stir around for about 10 minutes until lightly browned and beginning to soften. Then add ground turkey and continue cooking until meat is thoroughly cooked. Add thyme. Then add 1 cup of chicken broth and simmer for about 10 more minutes on medium low. Then stir together V8 Juice and flour until it's nice and smooth and add to the pan. Continue simmering down to desired consistency and pour over rice.


Monday, December 03, 2007

Lime Oysters....

This post is mostly for me to remember a delicious combo that I'll have to bake myself eventually. My husband and I enjoyed a fabulous wine tasting the other night of Pinot Noir wines. Of course my hubby told me it was Zinfandel, so that's what we brought. There is nothing unusual about him and I screwing up. I mean my hubby is not a red wine drinker and to him Zinfandel and Pinot Noir sound similiar..... OK, so we went to this great intimate wine tasting at our friends' home and I had baked oysters and instead of lemon, she squeezed lime all over the oysters instead. One of our guests ate a zillion of them so I'm almost certain her husband would have gotten the ride of a life time later on. Pardon me, but isn't that what oysters do to you... So try lime instead of lemon - sensational!