Sunday, March 21, 2010

The Genius of the Mini Cheesecake

The best present I got for Christmas last year was a membership to Sam's Club.  Yes, I know -- Sam Walton was kind of a bully.  Yes, I've seen Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price.  Yes, it's weird that they make you flash your i.d. card at the door.  Flaws and all, I like shopping at Sam's Club.

Thanks to my new love of bulk buying, I'm now in possession of a three-pound (count 'em, three) block of cream cheese.  Philadelphia brand, of course.  Which explains why I've been on a cheesecake kick as of late.

The first cheesecake project: raspberry mini cheesecakes from Cook's Country.  These little delights are genius.  Why?  Because they're tasty.  And because they're fast and easy.  And tasty.  Did I mention that?

I could eat cheesecake every day, but I'm not much on lining pans and setting up water baths and crushing graham crackers and baking forever and then waiting for the thing to cool in the oven.  The trick with the mini cheesecakes is that they use whole butter cookies in place of crumb crusts (I told you, genius!) and they bake quick because they're small.

I also like the individual portions (no cutting) and the cupcake liners (no mess).

Raspberry Mini Cheesecakes (adapted from Cook's Country)
  • 18 round shortbread cookies (like Keebler Sandies)
  • 2/3 c. seedless raspberry jam
  • 12 oz. cream cheese, softened 
  • 2/3 c. sweetened condensed milk
  • 3 large eggs
Heat the oven to 300 degrees.  Line 18 muffin cups with cupcake liners, then put a cookie into the bottom of each.  Put a dollop of jam on each cookie.  (There will be jam left over.)

Using an electric mixer, beat together cream cheese and condensed milk, scraping the sides of the bowl occasionally.  Add eggs, one at a time, and beat until smooth.

Divide batter among muffin cups.  Bake until set, about 20 minutes.  Cool tins on wire racks.  Once cupcakes have reached room temperature, refrigerate about 1 hour.

Microwave remaining jam until thinned, about 30 seconds.  Glaze the top of each cheesecake with jam and serve.

Makes 18 mini cheesecakes.

The food: Raspberry mini cheesecakes
The verdict: Mini cakes, mucho tastiness

Friday, March 12, 2010

Oh, Honey! Beekeeper's Jezebel Sauce


I like sauces.  Of all kinds.  Barbecue.  Plum.  Butter.  Steak.  The more sauce the better.

I also like making sauces -- because they're easy and because they can transform the usual stuff you have in the fridge into a taste explosion!  Yes, the exclamation point was absolutely necessary there.

My latest sauce: Beekeeper's Jezebel Sauce from Southern Living.  I'm not sure why they call it that, but I like it.  The name's got zip.

As does the sauce.  I used it on biscuits, then on roast chicken, then on egg rolls.  It was good everywhere.

And I think you'll agree.

Beekeeper's Jezebel Sauce
  • 1 15-oz. jar apricot preserves (no big fan of apricot, I used peach)
  • 1/4 cup chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 3 T. horseradish
  • 1 T. fresh chopped parsley
  • 2 T. Dijon mustard (I used a regular old spicy brown -- sorry French mustard lovers)
  • 1 tsp. fresh chopped thyme
  • 1/4 t. dried crushed red pepper
Mix it all together in a small saucepan.  Cook over medium heat, stirring often, about three minutes.  Use immediately and store leftovers in the fridge for up to one week.

Easy!  And yummy!  (More necessary exclamation points.)

The food: Beekeeper's Jezebel Sauce
The verdict: Worth exclaiming over

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Kitchen-Clean-Out Soup: Chicken Noodle with a Chinese Twist

Encouraged by The Kitchn and Re-Nest to clean out my fridge and pantry, I made what I'm calling a Chinese chicken noodle soup this week.  Chicken stock, the last of the rice vinegar, leftover chicken, chopped ginger, one on-its-way-out carrot, my final green onion, some rice noodles and a dash each of fish sauce and sesame oil made for a tasty supper.

I like soups because you can just throw in whatever you like.  And usually it works.

Anyone else have a clean-out-the-kitchen soup recipe to recommend?