Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Key Lime Cheesecake

6 degrees of separation between key lime cheesecake and the college cheating scandal:
Key lime cheesecake is my favorite flavor at The Cheesecake Factory.
Andrew watched an Eater video that proves The NBA Loves Cheesecake Factory.
Andrew is convinced that we saw Dallas Mavericks NBA player, Ryan Broekhoff (#45, small forward, 6’7”), while shopping at Central Market the other day. 
If we photoshopped Andrew’s head on Ryan’s body, maybe Andrew could get accepted to USC.
If you cheat to get into college (or lie or generally behave badly to try and get ahead in life), bad things will happen.  
If you don’t follow the instructions when baking, like not putting in the right amount of baking soda, it results in wacky, hollow chocolate chip cookies and that’s bad because I really wanted a cookie.
You can learn life lessons from baking: follow the rules because karma is a b*tch.
Key Lime Cheesecake

Buddy vs. Duff.  
Hands down: Duff.

  • 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs (about 14 rectangle graham crackers, crushed)
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 6 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 3 packages (24-ounces total) cream cheese, softened to room temperature 
  • 1 cup granulated sugar 
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch 
  • 1/2 cup key lime juice 
  • 3 large eggs 
Topping (adapted from the mixed berry sauce for French Toast Waffles)
  • ½ pint (1 cup) fresh strawberries, sliced
  • ½ pint (1 cup) fresh raspberries
  • 1/8 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/8 cup water
  • 1 heaping tablespoon raspberry preserves
  • ½ tablespoon fresh lemon juice


For the crust:
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. Position one oven rack just above the middle position and another is in the bottom third of the oven. Lightly grease a 9-inch springform pan.

In a medium bowl, stir together the graham cracker crumbs and sugar. Add the melted butter and mix until the graham cracker crumbs are evenly coated in sandy in texture. Press the mixture into the bottom and 1/2-inch or so up the sides of the prepared pan.

Bake the crust for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool while you prepare the filling.

For the filling:
In a large bowl with an electric mixer, whip the cream cheese, sugar, cornstarch and lime zest together until smooth and creamy, 1-2 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add the lime juice and mix until combined. Add the eggs and mix until just combined (over mixing can cause the cheesecake to crack while baking thanks to all the extra air beat into the filling).

Pour the cheesecake filling over the crust and spread evenly. Place a metal 9X13-inch or similar-sized pan on the bottom rack of the oven and pour in 2-3 cups of boiling water. Immediately place the cheesecake on the upper rack and bake for 50-65 minutes until the cheesecake is set around the edges. A slight jiggle in the center of the cheesecake is fine.

Turn the oven off and prop the oven door open about 4 inches. Keep the cheesecake in the oven for 30 minutes. Remove and let cool completely.  Refrigerate the cheesecake overnight.

For the topping: 
Combine the strawberries, raspberries, sugar and water in a medium saucepan, bring to boil and cook, stirring occasionally, until the berries are soft, about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool for 5 minutes. 

Transfer the berry mixture to a blender or food processor, add the raspberry preserves and lemon juice and blend until smooth. Transfer to a bowl and let cool to room temperature. The sauce will keep in the refrigerator stored in a container with a tight fitting lid for 1 week.

When ready to serve, serve the berry mixture with each slice (pour it on top of the slice of cheesecake or on the plate under the slice or on the side) and maybe even add a little whipped cream.  

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Orzo Salad with Roasted Cauliflower, Spinach and Feta

Orzo Salad with Roasted Cauliflower, Spinach and Feta

My vast experience with cauliflower had been during cafeteria duty.  Somehow, they always managed to serve cauliflower on my day to volunteer.  It seemed odd that they would serve this to lower school kids in a self-serve, hot foods line.  There it was: a whole head of cauliflower with a cheese sauce poured over the top.  Even at age 4x (I’m not sharing), that giant head of cauliflower seemed daunting to try and scoop off a piece and put on a tray.  Can you imagine if you were age 7-10?  Fast forward to this recipe (from Cravings by Chrissy Teigen) shared once again from my friend, Elizabeth.  I am still unsure if I am carving this thing correctly but I end up with florets for roasting and that’s good enough for me.  The salad is really pretty good and must be good for you with cauliflower and spinach.  Try it for a new change of pace this spring or any of these other orzo recipes: Orzo Salad and Orzo with Arugula, Dried Cherries and Ricotta.


For the Salad:

  • 1 small head cauliflower, broken into small florets (about 5 cups)
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup orzo pasta
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion
  • 1 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 2/3 cup dried cherries
  • 4 cups baby spinach

For the Dressing:

  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

In a bowl, toss the cauliflower with 3 tablespoons of the olive oil, the garlic, salt, and pepper. Spread on a large baking sheet and roast until tender and cauliflower is slightly charred, about 20-25 minutes. Let cool, chop into smaller pieces, if you choose, and set aside.

In a pot of salted boiling water, cook the orzo until al dente following the directions on the box. Drain in colander, rinse under cold water, drain well, and toss with the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil.

In a large bowl, make the dressing.  Whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, honey, mustard, salt ad pepper.  Add the cooked orzo, roasted cauliflower, red onion, crumbled feta cheese, and dried cherries.  Toss until well coated with the dressing.  Add the spinach and toss one more time.  As needed, season with more salt and pepper.