Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Kahlua cheesecake

I have to admit I am a thrifter to the bone. I've gotten all kinds of great stuff at thrift stores for example a blue delphite Fire King chili bowl for 5o cents, a The Sak purse for $10, and 6 Glasbake milk glass mugs. I'm very proud of my thrifting finds. When ever I find something good I sort of feel like a treasure hunter. I got a spring form pan from the thrift store a few weeks ago and I've been dying to make a cheesecake ever since. I figured Easter was as good an excuse as any to whip one up. I'm glad I finally did it. It was a lot easier than I thought it would be and I'm really proud of the way that it turned out. My little $2.99 spring form pan also preformed beautifully.

2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1 stick butter
2 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3 8 oz. blocks of cream cheese room temperature
1 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon liqueur (I used Kahlua)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Begin to boil a large pot of water for the water bath.

Mix together the crust ingredients and press into your preferred pan. You can press the crust just into the bottom, or up the sides of the pan too - baker's choice. Set crust aside.

Combine cream cheese and sugar in the bowl of a stand-mixer (or in a large bowl if using a hand-mixer) and cream together until smooth. Add eggs, one at a time, fully incorporating each before adding the next. Make sure to scrape down the bowl in between each egg. Add heavy cream, vanilla, lemon juice, and alcohol and blend until smooth and creamy.

Pour batter into prepared crust and tap the pan on the counter a few times to bring all air bubbles to the surface. Place pan into a larger pan and pour boiling water into the larger pan until halfway up the side of the cheesecake pan. If cheesecake pan is not airtight, cover bottom securely with foil before adding water.

Bake 45 to 55 minutes, until it is almost done - this can be hard to judge, but you're looking for the cake to hold together, but still have a lot of jiggle to it in the center. You don't want it to be completely firm at this stage. Close the oven door, turn the heat off, and let rest in the cooling oven for one hour. This lets the cake finish cooking and cool down gently enough so that it won't crack on the top. After one hour, remove cheesecake from oven and lift carefully out of water bath. Let it finish cooling on the counter, and then cover and put in the fridge to chill. Once fully chilled, it is ready to serve.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Pumpkin bread

I have a confession to make, my weakness in this world is anything pumpkin flavored. I've tried every thing from lattes, to granola, to cheesecake. I get so excited when fall rolls around every year and places start carrying pumpkin spice things but after the holidays it's back to the same old same old. A few weeks ago I was craving something pumpkin once again so I decided to roll up my sleeves and do it myself. I'm glad I did because anything home made is always better than something cranked out of a commercial oven. Not to mention this recipe is fast and simple. This delicious bread reignited my love of pumpkin, so I'll be here, pining away until September comes and I can once again fill my Styrofoam Royal Farms cup with creamy pumpkin latte.

Pumpkin Bread

4 egg yolks
1 cup oil
2/3 cup water
1 (15 oz) can pumpkin puree
3 cups sugar
1 1/2 t. salt
1 t. cinnamon
1 t. nutmeg
2 t. baking soda
3 1/2 cups flour

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix egg yolks, water, oil, and pumpkin puree.

Add sugar, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda, and flour and mix until just combined.

Pour into three medium loaf pans that have been sprayed with cooking spray. Bake at 350 degrees for 50-60 minutes. Wrap in saran wrap while warm.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

White Chicken Enchilads

The weather here is currently amazing as in sun shining, flowers blooming, and perfect temperature. I love it, but it's making studying and all things school related look even less appealing than normal. It's also causing my allergies to go crazy. On the other hand it's making me look forward to the blue berry picking, fresh strawberries, and local lima beans that will no doubt lead to lots of good dishes this summer. In any case I'm glad it's getting warm and I hope the thermometer creeps up for you all too.
White chicken Enchiladas
adapted from The Pioneer Woman
2-½ cups Cooked, Shredded Chicken
2 cups chicken broth
3 Tablespoons Canola Oil
12 whole Corn Tortillas
1 whole Large Onion, Diced
3 whole 4 Oz Cans Whole Green Chilies, Diced
1 whole Jalapeno, Seeded And Finely Diced
1 teaspoon Paprika
½ cups Heavy Cream
2 Tablespoons Butter
2 Tablespoons Flour
1 cup Sour Cream
2-½ cups Monterey Jack Cheese, Grated
Salt And Pepper, to taste

Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a small skillet over medium-high heat. Fry tortillas for no longer than 20 seconds, just to soften not to brown or crisp. Place the tortillas on a stack of paper towels to drain.
Heat oil in separate skillet over medium heat. Add onions and jalapenos and saute for,just to start the cooking process. Add chicken, half of the green chilies, and 1/2 teaspoon paprika. Stir together. Add 1/2 cup chicken broth and stir. Add cream and stir, allowing mixture to bubble and get hot. Turn off heat and set aside.
In a separate large skillet, melt butter and sprinkle in flour. Whisk together and cook over medium heat for one minute. Pour in 1 1/2 cups chicken broth. Whisk together and cook for another minute or two. Stir in the other half of the chilies. Reduce heat, then stir in sour cream. Add 1 1/2 cups grated cheese and stir to melt. Add 1/2 teaspoon paprika. Check seasoning and add salt and pepper as needed.
To assemble, spoon chicken mixture on top of tortillas, one by one. Top with plenty of cheese and roll up. Place seam side down in a 9 x 13 casserole dish.
Pour cheese mixture all over the top of the tortillas. Top with extra cheese if you’d like, then bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Sprinkle generously with chopped cilantro.