Wednesday, January 26, 2011

So tired...

I stayed up til 3am this morning making cheesecake.  Not the best laid plan I have to admit.  I would have taken pictures of the finished product in their pretty Tiffany blue boxes, but I was so tired that my fingers did not function with enough dexterity to accomplish this task (the fact that I used dexterity in a sentence right now is impressing me, since my brain stopped functioning properly an hour ago...I need a nap).  

Anywho, its on to making the sauces tonight for tomorrows birthday function at work.  I will post pictures of everything tomorrow and let you know how the sauces turn out.

Enjoy the foods of your labor.  :-)

Monday, January 24, 2011

The "Mini Me" of Cheesecake...

The office birthday party for the month of January is coming up soon.  I am in charge of arranging it by myself, since my birthday is the only one in December (thanks mom and dad...why is it that everyone I know has a December birthday, but the people I work with???).  I decided that the more difficult I make my life the instead of bringing in a store bought cake of some sort, big enough to feed an army, I would make cheesecake for the 40+ people that work here (I think its around 40 give or take...I can't seem to count beyond 10 with my shoes on).  It also occurred to me that making a cheesecake in the normal spring form pan would never do for a few simple reasons...

1.  I am pretty sure you can only get 5 servings out of a cheesecake this way.
2.  By the time the third person has tried to get their slice, the thing would look so mangled that nobody would want to eat it.  

So I got the idea that using muffin tins and cupcake papers would be the way to go to make little individual servings of cheesecake.  Then I started to the heck do I take a full cheesecake recipe and bake it in little mini portions???  Will it stick to the paper???  How am I suppose to get all of these too work in a nice manner???  AAAAAAHHHHHH!!!!!

I took a breath and "GOOGLED" it; someone, some where, must have baked these at some point in time...right?  Google didn't let me down, I was lead to a blog, Rainy Days and Sundays, in which they had made mini cheesecakes similar to Giada's Individual Orange Chocolate Cheesecakes from Food Network.  This was a good start to figure out the cooking time with the recipe I was going to use.  I was starting to feel less stress, as long as the things didn't stick to the paper...feeling more stress again.  AAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

So at 9:00pm, last Monday,  it was time to make my tester cheesecakes (don't ask me why I started at 9pm, maybe I like stress and no sleep).  I started off by mixing up graham cracker crust for 1  9in  pie.  After placing all of the papers in my muffin tins, I pressed a respectable spoonful of crust into each paper and then pressed it down with my 2 Tbls All Clad measuring spoon (they are perfect for this since they are flat on the bottom).  I set the pans aside and started on the cheesecake.

For printable recipe, please click here
5 pkgs (8oz ea) Cream Cheese (room temp)
1 ¾    C  Sugar
3 Tbs  Flour
2 Tsp  Lemon Zest
1 ½ Tsp  Orange Zest
¼ Tsp  Vanilla Extract
5  Eggs  +  2  Egg Yolks (room temp)
¼ C  Heavy Cream (room temp)

Preheat oven 350 °.  In a large mixer bowl w/ the paddle attachment; blend cheese, sugar, flour, zests, vanilla at high speed.  At medium speed mix in eggs & yolks 1 at a time, mixing until smooth, occasionally scraping the bowl w/ a spatula.  Mix in cream.  Pour into prepped muffin pans, about 3/4 full.  Bake at 350° for 25 min. or until a toothpick test is clean.
***(For full cheesecake, using a spring form pan; preheat oven to 500°, pour the cheesecake mixture into prepped spring form and bake for 10 min.  Lower heat to 250°, bake for another hour.  Remove to cooling rack and let cool for 2 hours)

I let the little guys cool down in the pans for about 5 to 10 minutes before lifting them out.  Use two hands to pull out or else the paper will try to come away from the cheesecake.  The paper peeled away like magic and no part (cake or crust) stuck or tore apart.  This little idea created, in all, 48 lil cheesecake minis.  I did need to make extra crust in order to finish op the batter.  

Next blog, I will talk about my sauces I am planning for these little bits of heaven, a blackberry reduction, a brown butter bourbon sauce and a chocolate ganache (I have never ganached anything, I am very excited!!!). 

Enjoy the foods of your labor.  :-)

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Food of Yesteryear

So...I was bad about blogging last year, you know that already. I was also bad about taking pictures of food. Some pictures did get taken, but not posted, some posts got started but were never published because there were no pictures...see a pattern.

I wanted to give you some of the foods completed last year that I actually took pictures of, to include these pumpkin pancakes (Martha Stewart recipe) you see to your left.

This was a little breakfast sandwich I was working on, on an asiago bagel.  This bagel sandwich made me contemplate all of my egg mishaps in life.
An ebelskiver is a delightful filled pancake.  There is a special pan that you can get to make these little pillows of goodness.  As you can see below I made a sweetened cream cheese mixture and added chocolate chips to it for the center.  Tasty!  
Cream Cheese Chocolate Chip Filling:
1 pkg cream cheese (at room temp)
1/2 cup powdered sugar (more or less to taste)
 a dash of vanilla extract
a handful of chocolate chips

Mix together well with an electric mixer.

Sean and I grilled out a few times this past year too...this was a burger from this past summer. 
This was a sausage skillet with gnocchi. I was trying to find a a way to use left over grilled peppers and this is what I came up with.  Simple, pretty and pretty tasty.

This is my mom's famous chili.  It is probably one of my favorite things to make and one that I try to make often since it is in my top 5 comfort foods.  I will do a blog post on this sometime in the future.

Maple bacon scones...all I have to say is BACON!!!!

Chicken salad...I was trying to make a chicken salad that was similar to a restaurant here in town that I love to get chicken salad at, Flying Star.  I think I came close...very close.

Blackberry skillet cobbler...I have a fondness for my cast iron skillets.  I used my new 12" skillet for this cobbler.  The cobbler tasted great, but it ate the finish off the bottom of my skillet.  I had to put 2 coats of lard on the bottom of the thing to get it started on seasoning again.
Coconut cupcakes (Ina Garten recipe)...these were my contribution to a "Food Network" themed Thanksgiving.

Marshmallows (Alton Brown recipe)...I'm sorry but there are few things more satisfying than making marshmallow.  Making marshmallows just makes me happy.

 These have been just a few "foods of my labor" that I have enjoyed and I will followup with full blog posts on a few of these items..  Enjoy the foods of your labor.

English Scones on Foodista 

Monday, January 10, 2011

Happy Birthday to me!!!!

My birthday was last month. I never celebrate my birthday on the actual day of my birthday (I'm too busy putting up the festivus pole for that). Heck I try to avoid the whole thing til the next month (this includes anyone else's birthday during December...and they are all in December...WHY?!?!?!?!). The only thing I get to do fairly close to my birthday happens right after Christmas; my annual shopping trip with my mom to Las Cosas, a kitchenware's store in Las Cruces ( I LOVE THIS STORE). This trip was a little bit about replacement, a little bit about adding to a collection of pieces and a little bit of getting items that I have really been needing. I broke my favorite casserole dish a few months ago, a very nice Le Creuset stoneware piece. This oval baking dish was awesome for desserts, it was awesome for heating up stuff, it was awesome for was just awesome and one very early morning I broke it in 3 pieces by knocking over a ramkin that fell on it. The ramkin broke in 2 and the dish broke in thirds. My heart sank. So I decided at that point (this was October) that I would use my birthday shopping trip to replace it. The other thing that would be a "must have" another large whisk. I had chosen 3 whisks the last time we had gone to the store, a flat whisk (good for sauces and rues), a small and larger egg whisk. Well, I was forever washing the large egg whisk this past December (I don't sift dry ingredients together, I whisk them...I know some of you are gasping right now and saying how could I do such a thing...well, I hate sifting; I find it get over it)...if only I had another large whisk I wouldn't have to repeatedly wash the one that I have. Wait, I can get another nice whisk on my shopping trip (a smile came over my face with the thought of a new shiny whisk to add to my other shiny whisks on the wall). My game plan was set, I knew what I needed for the kitchen, but would I remember this when I entered the store...or would A.D.D. set in and I be drawn to the random shiny objects? Well, I kept 2 of the 20 items that I had thought about in mind. So...for my birthday...I got...

* a balloon whisk
* a medium oval Emile Henry casserole dish, in yellow (it matched my pie plate that my sister got me a few years ago, which is THE BEST PIE PLATE EVER!!!!)

* a large oval Emile Henry casserole dish, in yellow

* a baker's rolling pin
* two new potholders that match the apron my sister put in my Christmas stocking bag

Not to mention what I bought for myself while I was there.

* Easter cookie cutters

* Iced glazed serving plates
* Dish Towels
* Set of 4 Christmas plates Overall it was a successful trip.

Next time...a look back of things made through the year, that didn't get posted but at least got pictures taken of it.