Friday, August 03, 2007

I made chocolate cheesecake this morning for a friend's birthday tomorrow. When I asked him what his favorite cakes were he said he loved cheesecake and chocolate cake. So I said, "what about a chocolate cheesecake?" and he looked at me like I was nuts and said " I don't think that would taste very good, do you?" Honey, he doesn't know what he's in for. I used Swiss Bittersweet chocolate and added the zest from one orange to give it some umph.

Pre-Heat oven to 300 degrees.

First, you take a package of chocolate wafers, crushed and a 1/2 stick of melted butter and combine to form the crust. You then pour that mixture into the bottom of a well greased 9" springform pan, tamp down and chill until needed.

Then take 1 cup of heavy cream and scald over med-high heat...take off heat and cool for a few minutes then add 8-10 oz semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate. Obviously, the better the chocolate the better the flavor. I used Lindt bittersweet. Stir until melted and then beat until cool and light in texture.

Take five egg yolks at room temp (Save the whites!) and combine with 1/2 a cup of sugar and beat until thick and lemon colored...make sure the mixture forms a ribbon when it pours off a spoon. Combine chocolate and egg mixture and set aside.

Put 1 lb softened cream cheese, 1 cup ricotta, 1 cup sour cream, 2 tablespoons cornstarch, 2 teaspoons vanilla extract and the zest of one orange in a large bowl and cream until smooth. Fold in the chocolate mixture.

Take the 5 egg whites, add a pinch of both salt and cream of tartar and beat until soft peaks form. Add 1/4 cup sugar and beat at high speed until stiff peaks form. Fold into batter.

Pour into prepared springform pan and then place pan in a roasting pan. Fill roasting pan halfway up the side of the springform pan with cold water and place in the center of the slow oven.

Cook for 1 and 1/2 hours and turn the oven off without opening the door (please don't peek) Let the cheesecake sit for 1 hour in the oven and then take out to cool. When cooled completely, wrap in foil and refrigerate overnight.

Top with raspberries or strawberries and amaze your friends.


Sunday, July 29, 2007

Greg told me this morning that he ran into a tourist yesterday who asked him where she could get great clam chowder. When he told her, she said that she'd never forget years ago eating at a place in Belfast called...Three Pirates ....or something like that and how the clam chowder there was the best she'd ever had. When Greg asked if it was 3Tides, she said indeed it was and then he told her that it was my clam chowder she'd had. Chalk one up for the best clam chowder I never ate.

4 years later, I don't even have the recipe nor do I remember how I made it. I know it had clams......I've got to find it for Greg's birthday party weekend.
I made sweet potato soup last night and just had a taste test with it this morning. Its thick and very smooth while cold and very strong on the sweet potato flavor. When hot, the ginger and orange flavors come through more. I liked it hot better.

10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) butter
3 1/2 pounds red-skinned sweet potatoes (yams), peeled, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 tablespoon golden brown sugar
1 small yellow onion, minced
3 teaspoons ground ginger
salt and pepper to taste
2 large shallots, chopped
1 1/3 cups finely chopped celery
4-5 cups homemade chicken broth (mine had a bit of curry in it)
1 1/3 cups orange juice

Preheat oven to 400°F. Melt 4 tablespoons butter in large roasting pan. Remove from heat. Add sweet potatoes and sugar and toss to coat. add minced onions, ginger, salt and pepper. Roast until very tender and starting to brown, stirring occasionally, about 30 minutes.
Melt 4 tablespoons butter in pot over medium heat. Add shallots, celery and remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons ginger and sauté until shallots begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Add roasted sweet potatoes and sauté 2 minutes. Add broth and orange juice until vegetables are just covered. Bring mixture to boil. Reduce heat and simmer until shallots and celery are very tender, about 20 minutes.
Working in batches, puree soup in processor. Return soup to pot. Thin with more broth, if desired. Season with salt and pepper.

The recipe I found used leeks instead of shallots and had an orange creme fraiche with hunks of lobster tails in the soup.