Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Chocolate Caramel Cheesecake

This was one of the few left over slices available to photograph after Nick's birthday. He requested this cheesecake and it did not disappoint. While the caramel flavor is subtle (especially considering the work it takes for it!) it is detectable and makes it all the more decadent. 


1 crumb crust (recipe below)
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup heavy cream
8 oz. fine-quality bittersweet chocolate (not unsweetened), chopped
1/2 cup sour cream
3 (8 oz.) packages cream cheese, softened
4 large eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract


1. Make crumb crust as directed. Preheat oven to 350°F.

2. Cook sugar in a dry heavy saucepan over moderately low heat, stirring slowing with a fork, until melted and pale golden. Cook caramel withouts stirring, swirling pan until deep golden. Remove from heat and carefully add heavy cream (mixture will vigorously steam and caramel will harden). Cook over moderately low heat, stirring until caramel is dissolved. Remove from heat and whisk in chocolate until smooth. Stir in sour cream.

3. Beat cream cheese with an electric mixer until fluffy, then beat in chocolate mixture on low speed. Beat in eggs, 1 at a time, then vanilla, beating on low speed until each ingredient is incorporated and scraping down bowl between additions. 

4. Put springform pan with crust in a shallow baking pan. Pour filling into crust and bake in baking pan (to catch drips) in the middle of the oven 55 minutes, or until the cake is set 3 inches from the edge but the center is still slightly wobbly when the pan is gently shaken.

5. Remove cake from oven and place on a cooling rack. Run a knife around top edge of cake to loosen. (Cake will continue to set as it cools.) When completely cool, chill cake, loosely covered, at least 6 hours. Remove sides of pan and transfer cake to a plate or platter. Bring to room temperature before serving. 

Cheesecake keeps, covered and chilled, 1 week.

{I can't remember if I did a 'bath' this time, but I usually do for cheesecake.}

Crumb crust (I made double the crust as suggested. I had ample for the crust and some left to add on top- you might be able to get by with 1.5 the recipe)
1.5 cups finely ground cookies such as chocolate wafers (impossible to find! use choc. Teddy grahams)
5 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
1/3 cup sugar
1/8 tsp. salt

Stir together crust ingredients and press onto bottom and up the sides of a buttered 24 cm sprinform pan. Fill right away or chill up to 2 hours.

Cheesecake Recipe adapted from Epicurious.com crust recipe adapted from Gourmet Magazine, found on Smitten Kitchen

Peach Mango Pineapple Salsa

Oh dear. Why do I do this to myself! I wait months and months to type a recipe up and by the time I want to use it again I can't find the paper I scribbled it on. This recipe was inspired from one I had at a church event but when I went to make it I didn't have the right ingredients. The alternative was also delightful so that was how we made it all summer. It was all done by approximation, so have at it.

tomatoes (fresh from the backyard!)
fresh pineapple
lime juice
jalapeƱo (original used Serrano peppers)
red onion or green onion
bit of salt

Combine all ingredients and refrigerate. Serve with tortilla chips, grilled chicken/fish/pork, quesadillas, enchiladas etc.

Citrus and Soy-Marinated Pork

This is something my sister-in-law made a while back that we enjoyed. The pork isn't the star of the picture because this was the following day, but this gives a better idea of portion anyway. We enjoyed it with soba noodles and steamed veggies.


2-3 lbs pork tenderloin
3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup soy sauce
2 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 Tbsp. dry mustard
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. black pepper
2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
1 tsp. dried parsley flakes
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
2 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice (from about 1 lemon)

1. Combine all the ingredients except pork and mix well. Pour the marinade into a ziploc bag or baking dish and add the pork tenderloin, making sure the marinade completely covers the pork. Mariade for 8-10 hours.
2. Preheat grill. Remove pork from marinade and grill about 3-4 minutes on each of the 4 sides (exact time will depend on temperature of grill) or until the internal temperature is 150-155 degrees. Remove from grill, tent with foil, and allow to rest 10 minutes before slicing and serving.

from Mel's Kitchen Cafe

Citrus Green Smoothie

The oranges on our trees are starting to beckon to me! Truthfully I don't love oranges straight up-too much pulp. But, I love freshly squeezed orange juice (thankfully Santa gave us a juicer last Christmas) and I love incorporating oranges into our smoothies. This isn't a recipe so much as an idea, but we all love it! Just eyeball the amounts and play with the flavors until you find your favorite ratio. All of the citrus pictured above was from either our yard or family/friend...one very nice perk of Arizona living.

Citrus Green Smoothie

fresh orange juice
orange segments, seeds removed
fresh pineapple
frozen banana

Mix well in a blender and enjoy!

Whole Wheat Pumpkin Pancakes

We made these festive pancakes for breakfast on Halloween- I even added a couple of chocolate chips for Siena. I know, crazy. On Halloween I tried the recipe as written, but for regular non-holiday mornings I'll use the modifications below- omitting oil, using all whole wheat flour, using a whole egg instead of egg whites (b/c I can crack an egg one-handed with a baby on my hip, but I am not talented enough to separate egg whites from yoke with only one hand) and adding a little extra pumpkin. Calvin Boy wasn't a huge fan of dinner last night and ended up eating 5 pancakes this morning (plus fruit!). This recipe makes a decent amount too, so we have extra for tomorrow and a couple to throw in the freezer.


2 cups white whole wheat flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt
1-2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 egg, slightly beaten
1 1/2 cups milk
2 Tbsp applesauce (in place of oil)
3/4 cup canned pumpkin
2 Tbsp sweetener (honey, maple syrup, brown sugar, etc.)


1. In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, baking powder, ginger, nutmeg, salt, and cinnamon.

2. In a medium sized mixing bowl, combine egg, milk, applesauce, pumpkin, and sweetener. Add pumpkin mixture to flour mixture and stir until just moistened. If batter seems too thick, add a bit of milk to thin it to the desired consistency.

3. Heat griddle on medium heat. Pour batter by 1/4 cup onto greased griddle. Flip pancake when bubbles appear at the top.

adapted from The Recipe Critic