Breads & Baked Goods
Alright, I gots power back (huzzah!) And I gots a job offer (another huzzah!). So let’s celebrate with a pretty cheesecake! This is definitely one of the prettier cheesecakes that I make. Of course, it is one of the more labor intensive ones to construct, but it’s easy to switch it up by using peaches, oranges, kiwis, or what’s ever striking your fancy that day. And the cheesecake recipe is such a great staple to have. This particular recipe is a little bit extra special because I do use a vanilla bean here instead of the extract. Just a nice touch that really stands out. Plus you see all the nice tiny vanilla beans, which I just love.
This I made for my Summer Mullet Party / Wine Tasting (you know — business in the front, party in the back). Unfortunately I was not able to take any pics of any slices, but it was a big hit from what I understand. I was too preoccupied tasting wine at the time. And rum. And bourbon. Anyhoo, here’s what you need:
For the crust:
- 12 big graham crackers (before you break it into four pieces)
- 1/2 c. sugar
- 1/4 t. salt
- 6 T. butter, melted
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Wrap the bottom and sides of a 9″ springform pan with heavy-duty foil. Lightly coat the bottom and sides of the pan with cooking spray. Set aside.
2. Slightly break up crackers and place in the bowl of a food processor with the sugar and salt. Pulse until fine. Stir in butter well, and transfer to prepared pan. Press the crumbs into the bottom of the pan and halfway up the sides of the pan.
3. Bake for about 10-12 minutes, until crust starts to brown slightly. Remove from the oven and allow to cool. Set aside.
For the filling:
- 5 8-oz. packages cream cheese
- 1 1/4 c. sugar
- 1/4 t. salt
- 5 eggs
- 1 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped out
- 1 c. sour cream
1. Reduce heat to 325 degrees F. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese until smooth and fluffy. Gradually add the sugar and salt while mixing on low, being sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl.
2. Add the eggs one at a time, scraping down the sides after each addition. Now add the vanilla seeds and mix to combine. Stir in the sour cream, again scraping the sides to mix well.
3. Pour the batter into the cooled crust. Place the pan in a roasting pan. Now fill the roasting pan with hot water halfway up the sides of the cheesecake. Bake for 1 1/2 – 2 hours until set in the middle. If the top browns too quickly, cover with foil.
4. Remove from the oven and run a pairing knife around the edge of the cake to help release it. Cool completely and then refrigerate at least 6 hours or overnight.
For the topping:
- 1-2 pints strawberries, hulled & sliced thin, leaving one whole
- 1/2 red currant jelly
- 2 t. water
1. In a small saucepan on low heat, combine the jelly and water. Gradually melt until mixture is easily spread with a pastry brush. Set aside to cool but still stay liquid.
2. Brush the edge of the top of the cheesecake with the warm red currant jelly glaze and make a ring of the sliced strawberries around the edge. The glaze should re-set when chilled which helps hold the strawberries in place.
3. Start layering overlapping concentric circles of strawberries, brushing each with the glaze. Once you get to the middle, place the whole strawberry and brush with the glaze.
4. Chill in the refrigerator for a few hours to set. Then you can slice and serve! And then you visit Jereme’s Kitchen and Daisy Cakes on Facebook and tell me how the recipe went for you 🙂
Notes — I’ve found it helpful to sort the strawberries according to size first before slicing. I use the slices of the larger strawberries on the outer layers, saving the smaller ones for the inner circles. . . Try different patterns. Instead of pointing the tips of strawberries out, have the points run along the edge of the cake. You can then alternate directions with each successive circle. I really hope that I explained that well.
So here it is! The moment for which you’ve all been waiting. To get everyone up to speed, to celebrate my 1 year blogiversary (which was yesterday) I decided to have a give-away. Nothing celebrates my anniversary more than giving away presents! And the winner will get not just one, but TWO items!!!
If you are a regular reader, you know that I am here in the great state of Michigan. So I wanted my give-away to focus on items that are local goods or Michiganian in nature. Plus, since this is a food blog, it has to be food-related, but not necessarily a food item. To be honest, sending a food item seemed a little weird. But enough talk; let’s get to the prizes!!!
First of all, there’s this beautiful Michigan oven mitt. It shows the Mitten State in all its mitten-shaped glory (and if you’re from Wisconsin, there’s no way that Wisconsin looks like a mitten. . . maybe a boxing glove if you squint a lot). One side has a map of the lower peninsula and when you turn it over you get the upper peninsula! It also has a list of the state symbols on the bottom. Fabulous!
Second is a cookbook that can put the spotlight on one of our locals. It was difficult to pick one since we do have a number of great restaurants in town that have their own cookbooks, including several Zagat rated establishments. Also, there are books from the always spectacular Zingerman’s, which is definitely one of the places to visit if you are in the area for the day.
The book that I chose is eve: Contemporary Cuisine, Méthode Traditionnelle by Chef Eve Aronoff. You Top Chef viewers may remember her as a Season 6 alum. She has worked in the industry for over 20 years, starting from prep cook eventually working her way up to executive chef / owner. With several years of culinary experience behind her, she attended Le Cordon Bleu in Paris where she received degrees in French Cuisine and Wine and Spirits. Using her background in classical French cooking as a foundation, she draws on African, Cuban, and Vietnamese cultural influences to shape her own unique style. She has been a champion of the Slow Foods Movement which focuses on a commitment to the environment and also stresses the importance of working with locally sourced artisans and farmers. In addition to all that, she was even invited to prepare a meal for the James Beard Foundation where she was able to highlight her cooking philosophy which features bold flavors, contrasts, and textures.
Luckily I had the chance to go to her restaurant eve before it closed (too soon, if you ask me!). I witnessed first hand her wonderful mien of cooking, while at the same time celebrating the union of two of my best friends (shout out to Cari and Jeremy-with-a-Y). By the way, her Ginger Lime Martinis are top-notch! Her current venture is Frita Batidos, which features Cuban-inspired creations that harken back to times she spent growing up in Miami while visiting her grandmother. Her food is amazing and her passion definitely becomes apparent in how she writes about food and how she connects with food. And if that quick bio doesn’t make you want to add this book to your culinary library, I don’t know what will!
Alright, here’s how you enter:
- Commenting on this post gets you one entry
- If you post in the comments, AND subscribe to my blog you get one
- Liking my Jereme’s Kitchen Facebook page gets you one
- Liking my Daisy Cakes Facebook page gets you one
So that’s four chances for you. You can let me know on your comments if you already subscribe, but I will probably check anyway. I will have to go ahead and say that any member of my family will have to be excluded from this give-away, but they probably won’t read this anyway. Plus anyone who is affiliated with Jereme’s Kitchen or Daisy Cakes (thinking about changing the name) will also have to be excluded. But since that involves just me, I can police that fairly easily 🙂
Y’all have until Friday, April 6 to enter, but maybe I could extend it a day. The winner will be chosen at random and I will make the announcement (or contact the winner) the Monday after Easter (April 9). Although I may be distracted because I am planning on winning that 1/2 a billion dollar Mega Millions jackpot 🙂 I know I’m going to win — I can feel it!!!
Good luck everyone!
On this day last year, my dog Licorice passed away. She was 16 at the time and would have turned 17 in February 2011. Now if you remember a few months ago I had posted about having to put down my dog Moby in September of last year as well (and yes these were the saddest holidays I’ve ever experienced). His death was from out of the blue, whereas Licorice’s passing was something for which I had been preparing for years. Given her advanced age and some previous (and current) health scares, her death wasn’t that much of a shock. But that didn’t make it any less painful. After all, this was the longest relationship that I’ve had with another living thing aside from family.
I was living in Gainesville, Fl when I rescued her. I just fell in love with her gigantic bat ears; she later grew into those. She was black lab mix with a barrel chest, skinny legs, and pointy ears. Definitely an odd duck for a lab. But she was a sweetie, unless you tried to mess with her food. Moby learned that lesson quickly.
Towards the end, her health started to fail. There was a big scare when she was about 13 when she couldn’t move, spewed out fluid from both ends, and couldn’t eat a thing. It lasted over a week and I was at the point where if I didn’t see any improvement, I would have to really consider the worst. At the time she was on so many meds and I was up pretty much every hour administering some kind of medication. Eventually I worked out a medication schedule that also included flipping her on her opposite side, changing / washing her bedding 3 or 4 times a day, and cleaning her as best as I could. But she made it through and lasted a few more years.
The last few months of her life became more of a struggle. She wasn’t able to walk around on her own; only her front legs had any kind of strength. Also, she had started to get some skin infections and problems with discharge from her eyes. Her weight dropped and her breathing became more labored. Not the best quality of life.
But there are lots of happy memories, with birthdays being some of those memories. This is from her Sweet Sixteen. I couldn’t afford to buy her a car, but she got a cake baked with love! Thankfully Licorice, Moby, and Daisy all got a chance to take part in the celebration. This was taken from Food, Fun, and Facts. For a little added treat, I added a cream cheese frosting and some gummi bears. It was her Sweet Sixteen, after all so I thought a little extra treat was in order. Here’s what you need:
- 1 c. whole wheat flour
- 1 t. baking soda
- 1/4 c. peanut butter
- 1/4 c. cooking oil
- 1 c. shredded carrots
- 1 t. vanilla
- 1/3 c. honey
- 1 egg
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Coat a ring mold with cooking spray.
2. In a mixing bowl, combine the flour and baking soda. In another combine the remaining ingredients. Add the flour combination and mix quickly.
3. Transfer to prepared mold and bake for 30 – 40 minutes. Allow to cool slightly before transferring to a serving plate.
Notes — serving suggestion is to frost it with some cottage cheese and top it with some carrot pieces. . . like I mentioned earlier, I frosted this one with a cream cheese frosting and topped it with some gummi bears.
Here’s that pumpkin cheesecake that I was talking about in my Lavender Pepita Croquant post. It’s nothing all that fancy, but still it’s pretty much a classic dessert for this time of year. If you’re looking for an alternative to a pumpkin pie, this could be it! I tried to make this a marbled cheesecake, but I made too much of the chocolate batter and it just ended up like a chocolate layer on the top. Which, in and of itself, is not a bad thing, just not the effect I wanted. It didn’t really matter since I was topping this with a nice whipped topping. This will make a 10-in cake. Here’s what you need.
For the crust:
- 3/4 c. graham cracker crumbs
- 3/4 c. ginger snaps
- 1/4 c. sugar
- 1/2 stick of butter, melted, plus more for the pan
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter the bottom and sides of your springform up about 1 inch. Set aside.
2. In a medium-sized bowl, combine the dry ingredients and mix. Pour the melted butter over the top. Mix well to combine.
3. Press the mixture into the bottom of the pan and up the sides about 1 inch. Bake in the oven for about 10 minutes.
For the filling:
- 4 8-oz. packages cream cheese
- 1 1/4 c. sugar
- 1 c. canned pumpkin puree (or fresh if you’ve got it!)
- 1 T. pumpkin pie spice
- 1/2 t. cinnamon
- 2 t. vanilla
- 1/2 t. salt
- 4 eggs
- 1/4 c. flour
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. In the bowl of a stand mixer and on low-speed, cream together the cream cheese and the sugar until smooth. Add the pumpkin, spices, vanilla, and salt. Mix well, being sure to scrape down the sides.
2. Add the eggs one at a time, again scraping down the sides of the mixing bowl after each addition. Sift to flour over the top and mix until just combined.
3. Pour the filling into the prepared crust and, smooth the top. Bake in the middle of the oven for about 45 minutes to an hour. Allow to cool before wrapping in plastic while still in the pan. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours.
4. Cover the top with some fresh whipped cream or whipped topping. Sprinkle the top with some of the Pepita Croquant. And it’s ready to serve!
Notes — I mistakenly used a 9-in springform for this and it should have been a 10-in. So I had to keep the cake in the oven longer than it should have, so some stuff was a little bit “crispier” than it should have been. Just a reminder to use proper equipment!. . . If you just have a 9-in pan, just use 3 packages of cream cheese, omit one egg and 1/4 c. sugar. . . You’ll notice that there is some cracking on the cheesecake. If this happens to you, an easy fix is to just cover it with something like some whipped topping (which I had leftover from the pumpkin trifle from a little bit ago). . . Crust ingredients can vary, specifically the butter. You need to have enough moisture so that the dough can crumbs can hold together. Take a handful of the crust mixture in your hand and squeeze. If it holds together, it’s good; if it falls apart, you’ll need more butter.
I still am not clear on the proper phrase to use. Sometimes I find myself overly focused on the correct grammatical term. They all work on some level which is kinda strange. Weird thing to become obsessed about, I know. But I digress. . . This is just a quick post focusing on the Ann Arbor’s Farmers Market (check them out on Facebook, too!) These were from a couple of weeks ago. To be more specific, this was our trip to the weekend market the morning before my family got into town for Labor Day weekend. This was so early that some of the vendors didn’t even set up for the day. Early trips are nice because you get to beat the crowds, but on the other hand not all the booths are there. And it can get crowded, especially on home game days when visiting Wolverine fans and alumni come into town. Anyhoo, hope y’all enjoy this quick introduction to the market. If y’all are ever in town, make sure to try and stop by.
This time last year was the start of a very sad period in the household. After a very quick, very sudden, very severe illness, one of my dogs named Moby had to be put to sleep. He was 10 years old, but he definitely didn’t act like a senior dog. He was always active; he’d chase squirrels all day in the backyard if you let him. Which made it that much more difficult. One day, he’s running around chasing leaves, two days later he’s gone.
He was rescued from a shelter in Mason, MI where I found him sitting in his own filth. Sitting at the front of his pen, his face was just pressed against the gate, and he was just looking down at the ground. All the other dogs in the place were barking and yelping for attention, all except for him. He clearly was not used to being in a place like that. So how could I turn away the saddest puppy in the place who was covered in his own crap? Of course, he would celebrate his new freedom by throwing up into the middle console of my truck on the drive home.
He was a member of the family for over 10 years and I wasn’t ready for him to go. I had spent years trying to prepare for when Licorice, who was the elder dog at the time, would pass away (Licorice died later on in the year on December 13 at the age of 16, so my holidays just plain sucked last year). But this wasn’t supposed to happen to Moby. That was definitely a horrible day for us. I was at the vet for hours listening to him howl in pain; even morphine couldn’t ease his suffering. So on September 27th of last year, we said goodbye to our little buddy. I was a mess for months; even know I can’t help but get emotional as I’m writing this. What made things even worse, I ended up forgetting Daisy’s 1st birthday which happened to be two days later on the 29th.
As is a tradition in this house, all the puppies get a special cake or meal on their birthday. I know that they probably have no clue as to what’s going on, but it’s important to me to celebrate it. So this year we’re making sure to celebrate Daisy’s 2nd birthday with one of Moby’s favorites.
This recipe for the “Very Berry Drooly Dreams” cupcakes was taken from the Three Dog Bakery cookbook. This cookbook is actually a very good resource if you do like to bake goodies for your furry friends since it contains a nice list of non-dog-friendly ingredients. I’m sure everyone knows about chocolate and onions being toxic to dogs, but did you know that macadamia nuts could have adverse effects on the digestive and nervous systems of your pooch? Grapes / raisins also contain toxins that could damage the kidneys if eaten in sufficient amounts. Just a couple of facts that might be useful for folks out there. Anyhoo, here’s what you need:
1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
- 1 c. quick rolled oats
- 1 T. baking powder
- 1/4 c. canola oil
- 1/2 c. honey
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 c. low-fat sour cream
- 1/2 c. skim milk
- 1 c. berries, fresh or frozen and thawed
1. Preheat the oven to 375 F. Coat a standard muffin tin with cooking spray. Set aside.
2. In a large bowl stir together the flour, oats, and baking powder. Set aside. In a separate bowl, whisk together the oil and honey. Add the eggs, one at a time, then the sour cream and milk. Gradually add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix until just combined. Fold in the berries.
3. Fill the muffin cups about 2/3 full and bake for 30 minutes until a tester comes out clean.
4. Cool on a rack until room temperature before serving. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days. You can freeze them, where they can keep for a couple of months. Just thaw before serving.
There’s still some last grasps of summer up here in the midwest. Today may be the last “warm” day we get for a while — it got all the way up to 76 F today, which is way better than the 105 that we got over the summer. And although autumn is pretty much here (which is my favorite time of the year), I still want summer to hang around for just a little bit. So that brings me to some peaches.
Now originally some peaches were picked up at the store cuz they were really on sale (which is grocery-speak for “ready to spoil”) and I got inspired. Initially one thing popped into my head — Peach Soufflé! But I wanted a quick easy fix so that recipe will have to wait for another time. So what’s next? — scones! But apparently I figured it out too late and those peaches did end up spoiling. I was still inspired so I went to the store and got some new, not quite so nearly-rotten-but-still-sellable as the old peaches.
This was taken from the King Arthur Flour website. I made some minor changes, but it still stays true to the original. I did follow a couple of suggestions: 1) to just drop some of the batter into a greased muffin tin, and 2) cut the amount of nutmeg in half — it originally called for 1 t. of nutmeg. It doesn’t make for the prettiest scone, but it makes it a little easier to divide the portions out, at least for me. Here’s what you’ll need:
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 t. salt
- 1/4 c. granulated sugar
- 1/2 t. nutmeg
- 1/2 t. galangal
- 1 T. baking powder
- 1 stick cold butter, cut into pieces
- 2 large eggs
- 1/3 c. sour cream
- 1/2 t. vanilla extract
- 1 c. diced peaches, fresh or canned
- 2 tablespoons coarse sugar
1. Preheat your oven to 375°F. Lightly grease a divided scone pan, a 12-cup muffin pan, or a baking sheet.
2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, sugar, nutmeg, and baking powder. Cut in the butter, using your fingertips, a fork or a pastry blender.
3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, yogurt or sour cream, and the almond extract. Stir this mixture into the dry ingredients. Add the peaches and stir just until everything is well-combined. This is a wet, sticky dough, good for drop scones.
4. Divide the dough among the compartments of the scone pan, or drop by the scant 1/4 cupful into the cups of a muffin pan or onto a baking sheet. Sprinkle the scones with coarse sugar, and bake them until they’re golden brown, 15 to 18 minutes (on a baking sheet), or 18 to 20 minutes (in a pan). Yield: 8 to 12 scones.
Notes — The original calls for 6 T. of butter, but I was using some low-fat sour cream so I added the last two from the stick to call it even. Not sure if that makes everything square, but it tidies everything up — I didn’t want 2 T. of butter lying around the kitchen just waiting for some toast.