Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Lemon Cheesecake

From my new favorite recipe site, My Kitchen Cafe. It was light and refreshing and totally worth all of the effort.

The Best {No-Bake} Lemon Cheesecake
*Note: the cheesecake can be made ahead and refrigerated for up to 3 days. Also, it is really important to have the cream cheese at room temperature. If it is too cold, it won't mix well and there will be a lot of lumps.

*Serves 12

9 whole rectangular graham crackers (for about 1 1/2 cups crushed)
5 tablespoons butter, melted
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest

Lemon Curd:
1 large egg plus 1 egg yolk
1/4 cup sugar
pinch salt
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon heavy cream

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice, from about 2 lemons
1 envelope (2 3/4 teaspoons) unflavored gelatin
1 1/2 pounds (3 bars) cream cheese, softened to room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
pinch salt
1 1/4 cups heavy cream, room temperature

For the crust: preheat the oven to 350 degrees and adjust an oven rack to the middle position. In a food processor, pulse the graham crackers until they are finely ground. Add the butter and lemon zest and pulse until combined. Alternately, the graham crackers can be crushed in a resealable bag with a rolling pin and then poured into a bowl where the zest and butter can be stirred in. Press the mixture onto the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan. Bake the crust until it is lightly golden brown, about 8 minutes. Cool the crust completely on a wire rack before filling.

For the curd: while the crust is cooling, whisk the egg, egg yolk, sugar and salt together in a small saucepan. Whisk in the lemon juice and cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture is thick and pudding-like, about 3-4 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the butter and cream. Press the mixture through a fine mesh strainer or sieve into a small bowl and refrigerate until needed.

In a small bowl, put the 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice. Sprinkle the gelatin over the top and let it stand until the gelatin softens, about 5 minutes. Microwave the mixture until it is bubbling around the edges and the gelatin dissolves, about 30 seconds. Set aside.

For the filling: In a large bowl with a handheld mixer or in the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the cream cheese, sugar, and salt until smooth and creamy, scraping down the sides of the bowl, about 2 minutes. Slowly add the cream and beat until the mixture is light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the gelatin mixture and 1/4 cup of the refrigerated lemon curd. Beat until the mixture is smooth and airy, about 3 minutes.

Pour the filling into the cooled crust and smooth the top. Following the photos below, pour thin lines of remaining curd on top of the cake and lightly drag a pairing knife or skewer through the lines to create a marble appearance. I found it wasn't quite as easy as I thought to "pour" the lemon curd into lines. I kind of scooped it out of the cup onto the cheesecake and spooned it into lines. It doesn't have to be perfect since the imperfections are somewhat hidden after you drag through the lines.

Refrigerate the cheesecake until set, at least 6 hours. Remove the sides of the pan, cut into slices and serve.

Guiltless Alfredo Sauce

How funny Mandi! Great minds think alike :) We just made this recipe last night for the missionaries. It was amazing! You totally could not tell it was low fat. I grilled some chicken I had marinated in italian dressing and tossed it in with the pasta. I'll have to do a taste comparison with Mandi's!
Guiltless Alfredo Sauce from Our Best Bites

2 C low-fat milk
1/3 C (3 oz) low fat cream cheese
2 T flour
1 t salt
1 T butter
3 garlic cloves
1 C grated Parmesan cheese

Toss the milk, cream cheese, flour, and salt in a blender. Process until smooth and set aside.
In a non-stick sauce pan, melt butter on med-high heat and add garlic. Stand above the pan (but not close enough to scald your face) and inhale. Ahhh...butter and garlic. Okay, now get cooking again. Let the garlic saute for about 30 seconds, you don't want to burn it. It should be nice and bubbly like this:

Then add milk mixture to the pan. Stir constantly for about 3 or 4 minutes or until it just comes to a simmer. Keep stirring and let it cook for a few minutes more. It should be much thicker now.

When it's nice and thickened remove the pan from the heat. Add the cheese, stir it up and then cover immediately. Let stand for at least 10 minutes before using. It will continue to thicken upon standing. Also, if you have leftovers in the fridge, the sauce will thicken almost into a solid. Just re-heat and add a little milk and it will be back to normal again.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Fettucini Alfredo

This is one of those recipes that my family has had forever and loves. It is very simple and very good. Now- beware! You are basically going to be eating straight cream, cheese and butter over pasta, but that is why it is so good, right? We usually add shrimp but leaving it without is still good.

Fettucini Alfredo

¼ C butter
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 C fresh mushrooms, sliced/optional
4 C heavy cream
½ C fresh grated parmesan cheese
1 lb pasta

Saute garlic and mushrooms in butter. Add cream and bring to rolling boil. Reduce heat and simmer sauce. Add cheese right before tossing with noodles and serving.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Double Chocolate Mousse Torte

I have found a new cooking blog that I am falling in love with My Kitchen Cafe. This girl has some amazing recipes, one of which is this one. This was one yummy cake!

8 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped (I used half bittersweet, half semisweet)
1 cup butter
1 cup sugar
5 large eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup all purpose flour

1/2 cup butter, cut into pieces
4 large eggs, separated at room temperature
1/4 cup whipping cream
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
8 ounces bittersweet (not unsweetened) or semisweet chocolate, chopped finely
(it is important the chocolate for this mousse layer is chopped finely or it won’t melt completely when added to the warm egg yolks)
1/2 cup sugar

3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
2 tablespoons powdered sugar
2 cups fresh raspberries

For cake:
Preheat oven to 325°F. Butter 10-inch-diameter springform pan; dust with sugar. Melt chocolate and butter in heavy large saucepan over low heat, stirring constantly. Cool to lukewarm. Whisk in sugar. Whisk in eggs one at a time, blending well after each addition. Mix in vanilla and salt, then flour. Pour batter into the springform pan. Bake until cake just rises in center (tester inserted into center will not come out clean), 30-35 minutes. Cool completely in pan on rack (the center of the cake may fall slightly). Cover and chill while making mousse.

For mousse:
Melt butter in medium metal bowl set over saucepan of simmering water (do not allow bottom of bowl to touch water). Whisk yolks, 1/4 cup cream and vanilla in small bowl to blend. Gradually whisk yolk mixture into bowl with melted butter. Whisk constantly over simmering water until thermometer registers 150°F, about 6 minutes (mixture may appear broken – mine did not but it was very thick like custard or pudding). Remove from over water; add chocolate and stir to melt. Set aside. Beat egg whites and 1/2 cup sugar and a pinch of cornstarch in large bowl to medium-stiff peaks. Whisk 1/4 of beaten egg white mixture into warm chocolate mixture to lighten. Fold in remaining egg white mixture. Pour mousse over the
cooled cake in pan; smooth top. Chill torte until mousse is set, at least 6 hours and up to 1 day.

Run sharp knife around edge of pan to loosen torte. Release pan sides. Transfer torte to platter. Using electric mixer, beat 3/4 cup cream and powdered sugar in medium bowl until peaks form. Spread whipped cream over torte. Top whipped cream with raspberries.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Hamburger Buns

From Our Best Bites I made these for the fourth of July and they were really good! It makes your burgers so much more gourmet!

1 Tbsp. yeast
1 1/2 c. warm water
1 1/2 Tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. salt
4-5 1/2 c. flour
3 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1 egg, separated
2 Tbsp. cold water

Combine yeast, water, and sugar in large mixing bowl and allow to stand 10 minutes or until bubbly. Add salt, vegetable oil, and egg yolk (set white aside for later) and combine. Add 3 c. flour and mix well until combined. Add enough remaining flour to make a soft dough that barely sticks to your finger. Knead, either by hand or in mixer (my personal and very lazy choice) for another 2-3 minutes. Cover and allow to rise 1 hour 45 minutes.

Punch down dough. Spray a cookie sheet with non-stick cooking spray. For a loaf of bread, shape into loaf and place on greased cookie sheet. For buns or hoagies, divide equally into 8-10 (or even 12, if you want smaller buns when you're done, and let's face it, who doesn't want smaller buns??) pieces and shape as desired. Use a scale if you have one to get equal-sized buns.

It's okay if they touch (or will touch after having risen). Cover and allow to rise another 1 1/4-1 1/2 hours or until doubled. Keep an eye on things--if they seem like they're getting so big that they might collapse, hurry and get them into the oven.

Preheat oven to 375. Mix egg white with water and brush over dough. Bake for 10 minutes and repeat brushing the dough with the egg wash.

Bake an additional 8-10 minutes or until bread is golden brown and your house smells like heaven.