Saturday, March 30, 2013

Meyer Lemon Cheesecake with Raspberry Sauce

Happy Easter. No bunny cakes or cupcakes with nests of chocolate atop them for this year's Easter dinner.  Instead, I've opted for a sophisticated and rather decedent cheesecake flavored with lots of juice and zest from  slightly sweet Meyer lemons and topped with a lovely raspberry sauce. It just screamed Spring to me.

This cheesecake differs from ones I have made in the past in that the crust is a shortbread rather than the normal graham cracker crumb concoction.  It too contains some lemon zest, making it a perfect compliment for the creamy filling.  This recipe is a keeper!

Meyer Lemon Cheesecake with Raspberry Sauce

1 cup flour
¼ cup sugar
1 teaspoon lemon zest
½ cup butter
1 slightly beaten egg yolk
¼ teaspoon vanilla

3 packages cream cheese
2 teaspoons lemon zest
2 lemons, juiced
1 1/2 cups sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
4 egg yolks
¼ cup sour cream
Raspberry Sauce :
1 cup of raspberry jam (I used seedless jelly)
1 cup of fresh raspberries  (I used frozen berries)
1 tablespoon of lemon zest

Preheat oven to 400.

Make Crust:
Combine first 3 ingredients. Cut in butter till crumbly. Add egg yolk and vanilla; mix well. Pat 1/3 of dough on bottom of 9-inch spring-form pan (sides removed). Bake about 8 minutes or till golden; cool. Butter sides of pan; attach to bottom. Pat remaining dough on sides of pan to height of 1 3/4 inches.

Preheat oven to 450.

Make Filling:
Add softened cream cheese into the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat until creamy; add sugar, lemon juice and zest. Add egg yolks one at a time, beating after each just to blend. Add sour cream and stir to combine.

Turn into crust-lined pan. bake at 450 for 12 minutes; reduce heat to 300 degrees; bake 55 minutes or till knife inserted off-center comes out clean. Remove from oven; cool 1/2 hour; loosen sides of cheesecake from pan with knife. Cool 1/2 hour more; remove sides of pan. Cool 2 hours longer.

Raspberry Sauce:
Put jam into a microwave safe bowl and heat for 1 minute until melted. Add raspberries and stir to coat. Pour over cooled cheesecake

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Happy Birthday To Me

I threw a birthday party for myself yesterday.  No particular reason this year. I just wanted to celebrate me.  So I invited my best friends over and with The Husband, we ate, drank and were merry.  We had a simple but yummy dinner starting with shrimp cocktails, followed by Caeser Salad and Fettucini Alfredo.  There was crusty French bread that was dipped in the most amazing fruity olive oil pressed from arbequinia olives. Find some and try it.  You'll be glad you did. We drank Lemon Drops and giggled.

For dessert I opted to purchase a cake from a renowned local bakery called Konditerei's.  The proprietor, Gerry Frank,  is a fixture in our town. He comes from a family who owned a famous department store in our state and he was the right hand man for Mark Hatfield, one of the state's long time senators. 

What Gerry Frank is probably best known for though, is his bakery and his cakes, particularly chocolate cakes.  Every year at the state fair there is a chocolate cake contest judged by Mr. Frank.  The annual winner receives not only a blue ribbon, but lots of publicity and accolades.  I purchased the Gerry's Chocolate Cake to celebrate my birthday and it was the perfect ending to a wonderful day.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

It's All Greek To Me

This post will be short but flavorful. I have had a craving for Greek food and unfortunately my town is lacking in such fare, except for one restaurant which isn't always open when we want it to be.  Since I had a trip to Portland planned yesterday, I stopped by Barbur World Market which I have blogged about in the past and picked up some fresh baked pita bread along with some hummus for our delicious Greek dinner I served today. I made my own tzatziki which I have posted before also.
Included on the menu to go with our steak gyros was Greek potatoes.  I made up this recipe and the combination of ingredients worked out great.  They made a wonderful accompaniment to our meal. Now my Greek craving is satisfied for awhile anyway.

Greek Potatoes
(Serves 4)

One pound of new potatoes into one inch cubes and microwaved them until just slightly done  
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup olive oil
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp ground pepper
1/4 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp. fresh oregano (optional)
Dash of cayenne pepper

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Combine all of the ingredients together and toss the microwaved potatoes with the marinade.  Put in a baking dish in a single layer and roast in the oven for 30-45 minutes until golden brown.  Sprinkle with salt.  These can be served hot or at room temperature.

Sunday, March 3, 2013


The latest edition of Bon Appetit (March 2013) arrived in my mailbox and as usual, there were at least a dozen recipes I want to try.  This weekend I tried my hand at making Cioppino, an Italian seafood stew.  It's one of The Husband's favorite dishes when we go to seafood restaurants and I have never made it at home.

A trip to my favorite fish store, Fitts was in order and after getting all of the necessary ingredients, including their in-store made fish stock, I got busy in the kitchen.  The recipe calls for bottled clam juice but I figured fish stock would make a better soup. I also cut back a tad on the red pepper flakes but actually could have left the measurements as stated. It was a little on the mild side. I also omitted the step at the end that calls for adding butter to the soup.  Who needs the extra calories??  Though there appears to be a lot of steps to this recipe, it went together very easily.  This recipe states serves 6-8 so I cut it in half for the two of us and we'll have leftovers tomorrow. 

For the photo shoot, I left the seafood in their shells. But in actuality, when it came time to serve I deshelled the clams and mussels because really,  who wants to deal with those shells at the dinner table (or in the TV room if truth be told!)  I got the words of approval from The Husband when he stated "This is the best soup ever."  Praise indeed!

(Serves 6-8)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, chopped
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 cup dry white wine
1 28-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes
2 8-ounce bottles clam juice (or 16 ounces of fish stock)
4 sprigs flat-leaf parsley
2 bay leaves
Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium shallot, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
2 pounds any mix of mussels (debearded), clams, or cockles, scrubbed
1/4 cup dry white wine
1 pound firm skinless white fish fillets (such as sea bass), cut into 1-inch pieces
1 pound large shrimp, peeled, deveined, tails left intact
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
Flat-leaf parsley leaves (for serving)

Toasted country bread, rubbed with garlic and olive oil (for serving)

Heat oil in a large heavy pot over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 8-10 minutes. Add garlic, basil, oregano, and red pepper flakes; stir until fragrant, about 3 minutes. Remove pot from heat and add wine. Return pot to heat, bring to a boil, and cook until wine is reduced by half, about 4 minutes. Add tomatoes with juices, crushing with your hands as you add them.

Cook, stirring occasionally, until thickened, 15-20 minutes. Add clam juice, parsley, bay leaves, and 8 cups water; season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer until flavors meld, 10-15 minutes more. Discard parsley sprigs and bay leaves. DO AHEAD: Broth can be made 2 days ahead. Let cool slightly; chill until cold. Cover and keep chilled. Reheat before continuing.

Heat oil in a large heavy pot over medium heat. Add shallot; stir often until softened, about 3 minutes. Add garlic; stir until fragrant, about 1 minute. Remove from heat; add mussels and wine. Set over medium-high heat, cover, and cook, stirring occasionally, until shells open (discard any that do not open), about 4 minutes.

Add reserved broth; bring to a simmer. Add fish and shrimp. Cover; cook just until opaque, about 4 minutes. Stir in butter; season with salt and pepper. Divide among bowls; top with parsley. Serve with toast.