Tag Archives: easy

Recipe: Pumpkin Cheesecake

19 Oct

Man oh man. I am getting BEHIND in the blogging.

Ok, so, we left off with a whole bunch of pumpkin puree, it was about 2 cups. I decided to take that puree and turn it into delicious, soul-sustaining cheesecake. Yummy yum yum!

I was a little worried that I would have to eat the whole thing by myself, but my fears turned out to be unfounded. The cake was split equally between my internship class and my internship site-ie-a whole bunch of counselors LOVE ME right now. I don’t know why no one else has ever thought of this. Problems at work? Bring cheesecake, douchebag. (Not that I had problems. I’M LOVELY. Even without baked goods).

Ingredients (Recipe by Paula Deen).

Crust:

1 3/4 C graham cracker crumbs

3 TB sugar

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 stick melted butter

Filling:

24 oz cream cheese (3 8oz packages)

1 15oz can of pureed pumpkin (this is where I used my homemade pumpkin puree, which I had about 2 cups of).

3 eggs plus 1 egg yolk

1/4 C sour cream

1.5 C sugar

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1/8 tsp ground nutmeg

1/8 tsp ground cloves (I didn’t use cloves because I didn’t have any).

2 TB flour

1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat your oven to 350˚.

Crush up your graham crackers. I used my hands.

Add the sugar, cinnamon, and butter. Mix until combined and then press into the bottom of a springform pan.

Beat the cream cheese until smooth (it’s supposed to be room temperature, but I put in in the microwave for about 30 seconds). Then add the pumpkin puree, eggs, egg yolk, sour cream, sugar, spices, flour and vanilla.

Beat until well combined.

Pour into the springform pan and bake for 1 hour. Remove from the oven and let rest for 15 minutes, then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight.

My effing cheesecake cracked.

And it started out life as so perfect and smooth!

Right after exiting the oven.

I left it to sit for longer than 15 minutes, and I suspect this is what made it crack. It may have looked like The Land Before Time but it tasted like DELICIOUS. Cut up into slices you could hardly tell, too, so I consider this cheesecake experiment SUCCESS!

Eaaaaat meeeee!

Nommy. Remember to share!

❤ stef

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Recipe: Chocolate Raspberry Bread Pudding

20 Sep

Ingredients:

1.25 C bread cubes

1/2 C milk

1/4 C sugar

1 egg

1/3 C raspberries

1/4 C chocolate chips

Topping:

1 TB butter

1 TB brown or raw sugar

dash of vanilla extract

I used one of Paula Dean’s recipes for the basis of this one, but didn’t actually follow it to the letter. I’ve never made bread pudding before so I wanted to get an idea of the ratio of bread to egg to milk to sugar to use.

I love buying baguettes, but a consequence of that is that they always get too hard for me to use after a few days. To be honest, I usually end up throwing them away (which is really tragic considering I could have boatloads of homemade croutons by now) but this time I was motivated to make something of it. I had stale bread, chocolate chips, and some fresh raspberries that all needed using. Not to mention my 2 month blog absence (sorry…) and I knew I had something. I had…chocolate raspberry bread pudding, Dinner Love edition! Nomnomnom.

Cut your stale bread into little cubes. Put them into an oven-safe dish (I used my super-awesome vintage glasbake loaf pan) and set the oven for 350˚.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the milk, egg and sugar.

Pour over the bread cubes and stir to coat all of the bread bits in eggy sugar milk mix. Allow to sit for 10 minutes.

Add the raspberries and the chocolate chips and stir again.

In a separate bowl, melt the butter and mix in the raw/brown sugar and the vanilla. Pour all over the bread bits.

Bake the bread pudding in the oven on a middle rack for 20 minutes. Allow to cool slightly and serve warm (or cold…but having had it both ways I’m going to say that warm is better).

This makes…a tiny amount of bread pudding. The entire recipe would serve one to two people (depending on how greedy you’re feeling). Of course, you can always play with the amounts and make as much or as little as you want. I love that it isn’t too sweet, and that is probably why I ate the whole damn thing. Yup. ALL OF IT. It was like french toast on crack. And who doesn’t love that?

❤ Stef

Recipe: Simple Syrup

5 Jul

As I’ve mentioned before, I am a coffee snob. A terrible, vocal coffee snob. At least I admit it. Granted, if I’m at a diner I drink whatever coffee is available. Bad coffee is much better than no coffee at all. But given the choice I make my coffee at home, using whatever method strikes me at the time (ceramic hand drip cone, vacuum coffee pot, stovetop espresso maker), half and half, and turbinado sugar. When I make a point to go out for coffee I’m super-picky and there are only a few shops I frequent. I don’t usually like iced coffee because when I think of coffee I think of it as being hot. “Coffee” means espresso, or drip, with sugar and cream, steaming in my hands. The desire for an iced coffee is something completely separate from my desire for coffee. When I want coffee (and I so often do) I want it strong and creamy-sweet. When I want iced coffee I like it to be strong, but I want more half and half than usual (like an iced au lait?) and yes, sugar. And yet sugar is a complete nightmare to dissolve in anything cold. I’ve been drinking my coffee iced more often because Boston is a nightmare of humidity. When I wake up sweating in my sheets my last thought is for a hot beverage, no matter how much I may love my hot coffee. (And let me tell you, I love it a lot.)

I usually just dissolve the sugar into the coffee before I let it cool and add ice, but I decided to make some simple syrup instead. The nice thing about having simple syrup around is that you can use it for alcoholic beverages too (woo-hoo!) and it’s easier to tailor your coffee once it’s already iced. Sometimes I add my sugar to the hot coffee, throw in ice and milk, and I realize that I added too much or too little sugar and there isn’t much I can do at that point. 😦  SIMPALLLLL SYRUP TO THE RESCUUUUE!

Recipe:

1 C water

1 C sugar (I used turbinado sugar)

Dash of vanilla extract (oooh, fancy!)

If you wanted you could also use a different extract – like ginger, or orange blossom, cinnamon. Just take into account what you want to use the finished product for. The most important part of this recipe is the water to sugar ratio, which should be one to one. So, if you wanted to lower or increase your quantities that’s fine as long as you keep it one to one.

Mix together your sugar, water and extract and heat to just boiling. Stir occasionally as it heats and make sure the sugar is dissolving. Keep it at a gentle simmer for a few minutes, then take off the heat and allow to cool.

Once cooled, pour into a bottle or jar for easy serving. I used this super-fancy jar.

My syrup is so dark because of the turbinado sugar. Mmm!

Mix into all of your delicious iced beverages.

Liiiiiike coffee!

MM, icey.

Your iced beverages will never suffer from lack of sweetness again!

❤ Stef

Recipe: Nearly-Flourless Chocolate Cake

22 Jun

A few weeks ago, some of my friends had a massive birthday party to celebrate their combined birthdays. The party started at one of their houses, with a barbecue dinner and snacks and alcohol (of course!). Guests were asked to bring some alcohol or a snack to share, and I love an opportunity to show off. Yup, I admitted it. I cook tasty things to impress people. Also to trick them into befriending me. Muahahaha! (Wait…)

My original idea was just to make some chocolate cookies from the leftover dough I had in the freezer, but then I decided that I should put in more of an effort. I have this teeny little cookbook (in the shape of a slice of cake!) called “The Chocolate Lover’s Cookbook”. I don’t remember where it came from but it is fair to guess that my mom gave it to me.

I chose the recipe because I had all of the ingredients for it and it was rich enough that I wouldn’t need to make any frosting. I am personally not a fan of flourless-type cakes (I think they are too rich and sweet) but my mom and sister LOVE THEM so I figure I am just a weirdo and that the cake would be a hit. My initial idea was to stencil “Happy Birthday” on the cake with powdered sugar, but that went terribly. It was a crazy, messy, blurry mess of powdered sugar so I smeared it around and voila! Cake. I tried a bite at the party and I have to say, it was really good, like a crazy delicious rich brownie. It got many compliments from other people at the party, so I’m going to call this one a win. It’s so easy too, so you really have nothing to lose. This cake is NOT a lie.

6 oz semi sweet chocolate, chopped, or 1 C semi sweet chocolate chips

1 stick butter, softened

2/3 C sugar

3 eggs

1/2 C flour

Confectioner’s (powdered) sugar to dust on top

Preheat the oven to 350˚. Line a 9″ round pan with parchment paper (or grease thoroughly and shake with flour).

Melt the chocolate in top of a double boiler. I always use a glass or metal bowl and set it on top of a saucepan in place of a true double boiler.

Beat the butter until light and fluffy.

Beat in the sugar, then pour in the chocolate and mix. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.

Gently mix in the flour until it just disappears. Don’t over mix! Pour the batter into your prepared pan, smooth the top, and bake for 25 minutes or until a tester comes out clean. I usually use a fork or a knife.

Allow the cake to cool in the pan, then invert it onto a plate and top with powdered sugar.

Yum yum yummmm. I feel that this cake would also taste very very good with a little bit of raspberry jam, or with fresh raspberries. It is summer, after all.

Cut into wedges to serve, maybe with some of those berries we were talking about?? I don’t have serving pics because I brought it to a party. If I showed you pictures it would be of drunk people shoving cake into their mouth and while those are super-entertaining it doesn’t really showcase the food in the way I’d like. 🙂

❤ Stef

Recipe: Crab Like Dad Makes

11 Jan

In case you haven’t guessed, this is crab the way my dad makes it. It’s not much of a recipe, more of a “throw everything in there and mix well” sort of deal, but I’ve never had crab this way unless it’s with my dad.

Here in San Francisco (back home for winter break, woo!) it’s dungeness crab season. Dungeness is the most delicious of all of the crabs (even the ichthyologists think so, as its latin name is cancer magister, ie, master crab), and yes I’ve had soft shell and blue and even king but dungies are still the tastiest, thanks. Unfortunately, you can only get them on the pacific coast and only from Alaska down to Santa Cruz, CA, so the majority of people probably don’t eat them. Which is just tragic.

Dungeness crab season is always really exciting, because the price lowers to almost nothing. I decided to have a crab feast with my friend Jake because:

1. It was $5.99/lb at Whole Foods.

and

2. Anders doesn’t eat crab.

So I went off and got myself 2 crabs at about a pound each (pre cooked). The lovely fish monger at Whole Foods even cleaned and cracked the crab for me, so I had almost nothing to do by the time I got home. Aside from eat some delicious crab, that is.

Dad’s Crab

2 lbs of cleaned and cracked crab (If you go to a decent fish monger they’ll do it for you. Otherwise you should probably go here.)

2 lemons

olive oil

salt

cracked black pepper

french bread, for serving

Put the crab pieces in a strainer and rinse for a few minutes under cold water.

Put the crab in a big bowl. Drizzle heavily with olive oil. Add the juice from both lemons, plenty of cracked pepper, and salt. Mix thoroughly. Don’t freak out too much about proportion here. Let loose. I’d advise you not to go too crazy on the salt, though, because it’s difficult to repair overdoing it on the salt.

Let everything hang out in the fridge for about 15 minutes while you grab the french bread and cut it into pieces.

I just serve it as is, in the giant bowl accompanied by french bread. The trick is that you have to suck the lemon-olive oil deliciousness off of the crab pieces before you go crazy cracking the crab for the meat inside.

So, pick up your crab piece.

Suck.

Eat.

Mop up juice from the bowl with the french bread.

I never said this was going to be neat.

❤ stef

Recipe: Peach Cobbler

26 Oct

When I was a child, I was enamored of the kitchen. I always used to ask my mother if I could help her cook dinner, and I was always very annoyed when she told me I could make the salad.

The salad? I would think.

A salad is not cooking. I wanted to use the stove to make something real. I wanted to do something, anything other than make that very boring salad.

So suffice to say that I starting cooking (for real) at a very young age – I made my first pie (chocolate cream) when I was ten. Maybe younger. So the other day (ok fine, the other MONTH), when I was rifling through my things at my parent’s house, I was absolutely delighted to find my old childhood cookbooks. I have three – The Boxcar Children’s Cookbook, Addy’s Cookbook, and Samantha’s Cookbook (the latter two are both American Girls cookbooks. Shush you in the back! Did you make apple brown betty when you were twelve? I thought not).

As a quick side note-I am very pleased to learn that the American Girl franchise is still creating new stories and new girls. I absolutely adored American Girl when I was growing up, and I collected all of the books about all of the girls available at the time. I think it is a fantastic way to introduce American history to pre-teens, and even more amazing that all of the stories are told from the viewpoint of the girls themselves. These stories sparked so much more interest in me for the time line of American history than any class ever did, and I just can’t speak highly enough of them.

Back to the food! Upon my re-discovery of these cookbooks, I decided it would be fun to do a series on recipes made from them. Since I am really nothing more than a child at heart, and besides, I’ve never found a better recipe for many of the items in these books. Hell, I still make milkshakes the way the Boxcar Children taught me.

This recipe is from Addy’s Cookbook.

Recipe:

Filling:

4 C sliced peaches (you can use frozen if you like)

2 TB flour

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1 C sugar

Crust:

1 C flour, plus some extra for rolling out the dough

1 TB sugar

2 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

3 TB butter

6 TB half and half

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp sugar

Slice the peaches.

Add the flour, cinnamon and sugar, mix together and spoon it into a greased baking pan or a skillet.

For the crust, mix together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Cut the butter into small chunks and smush them into the flour mixture with a fork until you have pea-sized lumps. Add the half and half and stir until the ingredients are just moistened. Sprinkle some flour on a surface (like a cutting board), turn the dough out onto it, and knead the dough for about 30 seconds. To knead, push down on the dough and then fold it in half and repeat. Using a rolling pin, (or, if you don’t have one like me, any cylindrical object. I’m rather fond of wine bottles!) roll out the dough starting from the center and working your way out until it is 1/4″ thick.

Like this!

Like this!

Cut the dough into strips, or use a cookie cutter to make shapes. I went for strips because I don’t have cookie cutters. I know, you’re just thinking, “How does this woman survive in this world?! No rolling pin and NO COOKIE CUTTERS??” It’s hard. But I manage. During Christmas time I either make drop cookies or cookie strips. Better for dunking that way.

Lay the pieces over the fruit and sprinkle cinnamon and sugar over it all.

Mmm, cinnamon-y.

Mmm, cinnamon-y.

Bake in a 425˚ oven for 30 – 35 minutes, or until the crust is golden.

It should look something like this.

It should look something like this.

Ta da!

Cut and serve. You can serve with whipped cream or ice cream if that suits your fancy. I eat mine plain, for dessert and for breakfast. Because I’m an adult now, and I can do that. Hahahaha!!!

❤ Stef

Recipe: Ricotta Cake

19 Jun

Original recipe by Mario Batali (I modified ingredients slightly).

I had no idea that ricotta cake existed, but apparently it does, because here it is! This was extremely easy to make. You basically just mix everything together and throw it into the oven. BAM! (Sorry, Emeril.)

You’re supposed to use a cake pan, but I used ramekins because they are more fun. These are excellent served with fresh fruit, either for dessert or (gasp!) breakfast. It’s got eggs and cheese. It’s totally breakfast material.

Please excuse my wonky measurements. I halved the recipe, and dividing 3/4 by 2 is more difficult than it looks.

Olive oil, for greasing the ramekins

1/2 C + 6 TB ricotta cheese

1/3 C sugar

zest of 1 orange

1.5 eggs, separated (this is the most annoying part.)

Combine the ricotta, sugar, orange zest and egg yolks.

Mix until combined. Add half of the egg whites to the mix and stir, then add the other half and stir.

Grease the ramekins (my batter fit into 3).

Divide the batter into the ramekins, and put in a 300 degree oven for 30 minutes, until the tops are light golden brown.

And that’s all!

Except for the eating part, of course. That is is best part of the whole baking experience!

Oh, yes, ricotta cake. You make me happy.

❤ Stef