Sunday, November 23, 2014

Bring me NO Flowers...... Raspberry Cheesecakes for your Thanksgiving Hostess

With Thanksgiving fast approaching I thought I'd give a quick reminder that if you are a lucky guest at someone's table this your hostess a favor and do NOT bring flowers!
You see, if you arrive with fresh flowers, your hostess has to stop what she is doing, find a vase and arrange the flowers and figure out where to put them.  She probably already has a centerpiece for the table and the house decorated so there just might not be a space to showcase your lovely thought!

You don't want to show up empty handed and there are a number of little lovelies you can bring. A small gift of guest soaps, especially if they are personalized, a lovely book centered on the hostesses hobbies, a scented candle, a bag of FRESHLY GROUND coffee or  something special for breakfast. If you bring these little treasures just make sure you wrap them and attach a note stating that it is to be opened only in the morning.

16 oz cream cheese
1 c sugar divided
 1/2 t. vanilla
2 eggs
1/2 c Greek yogurt
1 c frozen raspberries thawed
4 T. lemon juice divided
1/2 cup raspberry jelly
12 Oreos
Pre heat oven to 350
With an electric mixer blend together the cream cheese, vanilla, 1/2 c. sugar, yogurt, 2 T. lemon juice and eggs.
Line muffin tins with cupcake papers or coat with nonstick spray.
Place one Oreo in the bottom of each muffin tin.
Pour cheesecake batter into the 12 muffin tins 3/4 full.
Combine in a small sauce pan on medium heat the remaining lemon juice, thawed raspberries with the juice and raspberry jelly until jelly is melted and juice is reduced by half.
Press this mixture through a sieve to eliminate the seeds.
Spoon the raspberry sauce over the cheesecake and swirl into the batter with a knife.
Bake for 30 minutes.
Cool to room temp then chill in fridge for 1 hour.

 If using fresh raspberries reserve four to five whole raspberries for the top of each cheesecake!

Saturday, November 1, 2014

What to do with your Leftover Halloween Pumpkin?

Oh do I have a treat for you!
Pumpkin Cheesecake with Marshmallow Meringue

For the crust:
1 1/8 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/2 cup ground pecans
3 Tbs. firmly packed light brown sugar
8 Tbs. (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly

For the filling:
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 tsp. Chinese 5 spice
1/4 tsp. salt
1 lb. cream cheese, at room temperature
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 cup pumpkin puree
1 Tbs. vanilla extract
4 eggs

For the marshmallow topping:
3/4 cup egg whites
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/4 cup light corn syrup
½ t. vanilla

Preheat an oven to 350°F (180°C).
 For the crust:
With an electric mixer beat the graham crackers, pecans, brown sugar and butter on low speed until combined. Press the crust into the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan. Bake until lightly browned, 10 to 12 minutes. Cool on a wire rack. Reduce the oven to 300°F

For the filling,
Combine the cinnamon, nutmeg, 5 spice and salt in a small bowl and set aside. With an electric mixer beat the cream cheese and brown sugar on medium speed until smooth, about 2 minutes.  Add the sweet potato puree, vanilla and spice mixture and beat until again on medium until well incorporated and smooth; about 1 minute. Add the eggs one at a time, beating after each addition.

Wrap a double layer of aluminum foil around the bottom and sides of the springform pan. Add the filling and smooth the top. Place in the center of a roasting pan. Pour hot water into the roasting pan to reach halfway up the sides of the springform pan. Bake until the cheesecake is firm but jiggles slightly in the center, 45 minutes to 1 hour. Let cool in the water bath before topping with the meringue. The cheesecake can be refrigerated overnight.

To make the meringue, in a saucepan, bring 1 inch (2.5 cm) of water to a simmer. Place the egg whites, brown sugar, corn syrup and vanilla in a bowl and set over but not touching the simmering water. Whisk by hand until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture is hot, about 2 minutes. Transfer to an electric mixer bowl and beat with the whisk attachment on high speed until the meringue cools to room temperature and stiff peaks form, 5 to 6 minutes.

Lightly pat the cheesecake with a paper towel to remove moisture. Mound the meringue on top and spread it to the edges. Using a spoon, create mountains of meringue around the surface. Lightly brown with a kitchen torch. Serve immediately or refrigerate for up to 6 hours. Serves 8 to 12.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Pumpkin Soup, Spiderade & Lemon Espresso Martinis

Welcome to Fall and Happy Halloween!!!
Here's the perfect Halloween Dinner!  Just organize your soup, toss it in the oven and go trick or treating!  Then, when you get home dinner will be ready.
I know your kids will love the spiderade and you'll be ready for a pick-me-up Lemon Espresso Martini after taking the kids all around the neighborhood!

Just follow along with the video recipe and you are all set for a night of fun!

Here are the recipes; to print out just copy and paste!

Nothing says fall like pumpkins and nothing says fun like individual pumpkin soups serve with spiderade for the kids and Lemon Espresso Martinis for the grown-ups!

Ingredients for the soup:
4 individual pumpkins cleaned
8 slices bread cut into cubes
4 tablespoons butter divided
2 cloves garlic
½ pound bacon
4 Tablespoons Pepper Jelly
4 onions thinly sliced
4 tablespoons olive oil divided
4 cups chicken stock
½ cup grated parmesan

Caramelize onions in 2 tablespoons olive oil and 2 tablespoons butter
Divide onions between the 4 pumpkins
Fill pumpkins with hot chicken stock and replace tops.
Bake in 375 oven for 45 minutes
Place bacon on cookie sheet covered  with non stick foil
Spread pepper jelly on each slice
Place bacon into cold oven and turn set heat to 400
Bake for 20 minutes
Melt 2 tablespoons butter and 2 tablespoon olive oil and add garlic
When butter begins to bubble and brown remove garlic and add bread
Sauté bread turning constantly until toasted
Slice bacon very thin
Serve the soup topped with the croutons,  Parmesan and bacon

Ingredients for the Lemon Espresso Martinis 2 martinis
2 tablespoons lemon syrup
2 shots vodka
2 shots cold strong espresso
2 slices lemon rind
4 tablespoons sugar
1 cup ice

Rub rim of martini glass with lemon rind and dip in sugar
Combine ice, vodka, lemon syrup and espresso in martini shaker
Shake vigorously
Pour into martini glasses and serve with lemon rind
Lemon Syrup:
2 lemons cut in half around the center
3 cups water
1 cup sugar

In a medium sauce pan cover lemon with water and bring to a boil.
Simmer for 45 minutes then remove lemons from water and cool
Scrape out fruit, pulp and pith; toss away
Combine water, sugar and lemons in sauce pan and simmer until translucent, about 35-40 minutes
Use the rind for martinis and vinaigrette dressing and the syrup for iced tea and martinis

Plastic spiders
Ice cube tray
Place one spider in each ice cube compartment
Fill with water and freeze
Fill glasses with lemonade and drop in one or two spider cubes