Friday, February 25, 2011

White Chocolate Cheesecake with Red Raspberry Sauce

I wanted something special for Thanksgiving and since the meal itself was pretty healthy we went all out with dessert. This cheesecake was definitely all out!
I made a butter crust and added white chocolate chips directly to the batter as well as on top of the crust so it has a very rich flavor off set perfectly by the red raspberry sauce.
Set the cream cheese out to soften a couple hours ahead.
1 cup all purpose flour (I used spelt)
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 cup cold butter, cut into chunks
Whirl in a food processor until dough forms.
Line 9" springform pan with parchment paper and press the dough on the bottom and sides of pan.
Bake at 350F. for 12-15 minutes until the edges are just beginning to turn golden.
After baking the crust, wrap the exterior of the pan in one piece of foil and put it in a large oven proof pan. Fill pan with water as high as you can with out slopping it all over. This is supposed to keep the cheesecake from cracking (works sometimes).
 Set this aside and make the cream cheese mixture.
4  8oz. packages cream cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
4 eggs
1 1/4 teaspoons vanilla
12 oz. bag of white chocolate chips or a 10-12 oz. bar, chopped
In a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese until fluffy, add sugar and mix well.
Add eggs one at a time, beating after each addition. Mix in vanilla.
Sprinkle 1/2 the white chocolate on the crust.
Now pour the batter on top of this. Top with the other half of the white chocolate, gently press them down into the batter just until covered. This will keep them from turning brown.
Bake 450F. for 10 minutes then reduce heat to 250F. and bake another 40 minutes.
It should be wiggly like jello but not wet or liquid. Since my oven varies on a whim (it's own), I often have to bake it longer.
While this bakes, make the sauce.
Raspberry Sauce:
1 cup seedless raspberry jam
1/4 cup water
Heat the jam and water until melted and whisk together until smooth.

I didn't have seedless jam, if you don't either then put it through a sieve with the back of a spoon to remove seeds. Cool and store in refrigerator.
I like to chill cheesecake until the next day so the flavor builds and it is well set.
Before serving remove the ring from the spring form pan and gently peel the parchment paper from sides. Carefully slide the cake to a serving plate or serve on individual plates. The raspberry sauce can be drizzled (or in my case, dribbled) on top as you serve or small bowl with serving spoon passed for guests to serve themselves.
Happy face!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Challah Buns-Make a Great Sandwich

What could be better than a beautiful challah bun loaded with fresh sandwich meats or cheese and tomato (my favorite).
You'll find the recipe for challah on this blog listed as "Beautiful Braided Challah". For 8 buns make half the recipe. After the rising time cut it into 8 even pieces.
Just like play dough roll each one into a ball then flatten into a disc.
I am using a baking stone here but usually use a sheet pan, if using a sheet pan, grease lightly then dust with corn meal, for the stone just sprinkle corn meal lightly.
Arrange the discs on the stone or pan for the last rise.
Cover with a clean towel and ignore them for 40 minutes or until doubled in size.
Preheat oven to 400F.
Bake for 25 minutes or until deep golden, a thermometer inserted into the bun should read 190F. if you aren't sure.
  This one is filled with my daughter's Curry Chicken Salad--I'll post that one another day, sorry. ;)

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Whole Grain Pita Bread

These were very easy, well worth the time which was minimal.

In a large mixer bowl combine:
1 1/2 cups whole grain flour (I used whole spelt)
1 1/2 cups white flour (spelt again)
1 tablespoon honey
3 teaspoons yeast
1/2 teaspoon salt
Stir until mixed then add:
1/4 cup warm water
2 tablespoons olive oil
Mix until well combined and knead, in the mixer or by hand for 6-8 minutes. Allow to rest, covered with an oiled piece of plastic wrap, for 1 hour or overnight in the fridge.
Preheat oven to 400F. Use a pizza stone or a sheet pan lined with parchment. Knead dough again for just 1 minute.
 Dust counter with flour.
Cut dough into 12 equal pieces.
 Roll in palms to form a ball then using a rolling pin, roll into a circle, or somewhat circular, about a 1/4 inch thick.
Place on heated stone three at a time or lined pan six at a time.
Bake for 3 minutes on each side for soft pitas or 4-5 minutes for crispy pitas.
 Tickles me every time they puff up.
Allow to cool a few minutes before stuffing them or store in ziploc for a few days.
Stuffing ideas:
hot or cold chicken
sliced turkey
fresh or sauteed mushrooms
ranch dressing (found on this blog ;)
These are my favorites, let me know yours!
If for some reason some don't puff up, it does happen, just use them for little pizzas and heat them in the toaster oven.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Homemade Fried Cheese Sticks

I love cheese! So what's better than fried cheese? Cheesecake, but it's not time for dessert yet.
My daughter gave me a recipe for these yummy cheese sticks, they are incredible. I used olive oil for a healthier fat, reduced fat mozzarella sticks, homemade bread crumbs from some stale bread I put in the freezer and good eggs from my friend Letitia's pastured chickens. So, really, how unhealthy were they?
You could use sliced mozzarella or the sticks sold as string cheese, in fact, the cheddar or pepper jack sticks would be good too.
Here's the recipe:
1 lb. mozzarella sticks or chunk cut into 1/4 inch slices
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup flour all purpose, white spelt or rice might work too but I didn't try it
3/4 cup bread crumbs
1 1/2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
1/2 cup olive oil
I had to make my crumbs by grinding the bread in the food processor, add the seasoning too.
Set up three bowls with the eggs in one, the flour in the second and the crumbs in the third.
I cut the cheese sticks in half. Have ready a sheet pan lined with wax paper.
Dip each stick in egg,
then flour,
then egg again,
then bread crumbs.
Place on sheet pan.
Line them all up and refrigerate for an hour.
Heat the oil in a small fry pan.
Put a few in the hot oil careful not to over crowd them.
Cook one minute per side.
Remove to a paper towel lined plate. Guard them. In fact eat a couple quickly before the family snags them all.
Serve with marinara sauce or tomato soup.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Carrot Cake Pancakes

This is what the trees looked like when I took the dog out this morning. Beautiful, however, it is late January at this writing and this woman is tired of layers of sweaters and boot puddles on the floor.
After warming up, I thought I'd fix a warm, hearty breakfast for my family, my daughter gave me a recipe for Carrot Cake Pancakes and after a couple changes (because of my picky eaters) we really liked these, even the kiddo inhaled them. These were low fat, high fiber and packed with nutrition AND flavor!
 So here is the recipe with way too many photos as usual but it keeps me out of trouble.
1 cup all purpose flour (I used white spelt)
1/4 cup whole grain flour (again, I used whole spelt)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
pinch of ginger
pinch of cloves
1/4 cup light brown sugar
3/4 cup buttermilk, or kefir or thin yogurt
1 tablespoon olive oil or coconut oil
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1 1/2 - 2 1/2 cups shredded carrots
1/4 cup shredded coconut (optional)
2 tablespoons flax seeds (optional)
In a small bowl, combine the flours, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger, salt and flax seeds.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the brown sugar, buttermilk, oil, eggs and vanilla.

Now add the dry ingredients to the wet in the large bowl.
Add the carrots (with a spoon not a whisk, trust me it is no joy to pick the carrots out of the wires)
and coconut, stirring until just combined.
Now don't just a book by it's cover, it's really good.
Heat a large skillet, or a small one if that's all you have, over medium to medium high heat. Spray with olive oil or a pat of butter.
Pour about a 1/4 cup of batter into the hot skillet, spreading slightly with a spoon since the batter is thick.
Give them a couple minutes and when the edges look done gently turn them over.
This recipe made this many pancakes--see-
Now if it were up to me I'd add the nuts that were called for and a handful of golden raisins too!
I made a cream cheese topping for them but everyone else opted for the more traditional maple syrup.
Soften 3 oz. cream cheese and 1 tablespoon butter. Whip in small bowl with whisk, adding 3 drops vanilla, 2 tablespoons milk and 1 tablespoon powdered sugar. Perfect accompaniment.
I served these gems with turkey sausage in case you wondered, I opted out of the usual fruit side because of all the carrots but some cantaloupe or kiwi slices beside would be pretty and tasty.