Saturday, November 17, 2012

Pumpkin Cheesecake with Caramel Sauce

Here is my recipe for Pumpkin Cheesecake with a caramel sauce and homemade whipped cream.

½ cup chopped pecans
1 cup crushed gingersnap cookies
½ cup brown sugar
½ cup flour
4 tablespoons melted butter

4 8-ounce packages cream cheese at room temperature
2 cups brown sugar
5 eggs
3 tablespoons flour
1½ teaspoons cinnamon
¾ ground teaspoon ginger
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
½ teaspoon allspice
¼ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons vanilla
2 tablespoons of whiskey
2 15-ounce cans of pureed pumpkin

Preheat oven to 375o F. Mix together pecans, crushed gingersnap cookies, brown sugar, and flour. Add the melted butter and press in the bottom of your pan. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool fully before adding filling,

Set oven to 325oF

Take the pumpkin puree and squeeze out as much excess water as possible (I just squeezed it in between paper towels).  In a large bowl mix together the flour, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and all spice. Add the salt, pumpkin, vanilla and whiskey. Next, beat the eggs, but go one egg at a time making sure it is smoothly blended before adding another. I used a hand mixer to blend it all together.

In a separate bowl combine the cream cheese and brown sugar until it is creamy and smooth. Making sure your cream cheese is room temperature will make this process very easy. Then gradually add the pumpkin mixture into the cream cheese mixture and blend until smooth. Then pour over the cooled crust and bake for 1½ hours. After the hour and a half, shut the oven off and prop it open and leave it to cool in the oven for an hour. Then you just have to chill it in the refrigerator for a couple of hours.

Caramel Sauce:
1 cup sugar
6 tablespoons butter
½ cup whipping cream

*Use a large pot. When the cream is added the sugar mixture will foam up.

Melt sugar on high until it is an amber color. Whisk in the butter. After the butter is melted. Turn take the pan off the heat. Count to fifteen then slowly mix in the cream (this is when the mixture will foam up). Whisk until smooth. The caramel should be good up for about two weeks.

Whipped cream:
1 cup whipping cream
2 tablespoons sugar

Put the whipping cream and sugar in a bowl. Whisk until stiff peaks are formed. (I used an electric hand mixer because it’s faster)

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Mediterranean Chicken

Well, I'm back again. Life has been crazy. Between working, school, and trying to have a social life, I haven't had much time to cook. When I do have time to cook it's usually basics for my family, but the other day I put in some real effort and came up with a new recipe. Jonathan and I recently celebrated our five year anniversary (go us!) and when we did we used an Olive Garden gift card that one of my favorite customers was nice enough to gift to me! While there I dined on their Mediterranean chicken and I knew that I had to figure out how to make it at home! Jonathan of course thought that this was a fine idea and offered to make a video of me creating this dish!

Angel hair pasta
Fresh spinach
Cherry tomatoes
Dijon mustard
Olive oil

For the vinaigrette you want to juice one lemon, add 1/4 cup of olive oil to the lemon juice. Mince 1 tsp of shallot (In this video I used a red onion because it was what I had on hand) and add in to the mixture. Then, add 1/2 tsp of dijon mustard and whisk. Set aside for later.

Heat olive oil in a pan over medium heat to cook the chicken. Season with basil, parsley, garlic, salt, and pepper and cook until it is no longer pink.

While the chicken is cooking boil water for the pasta and cook until it is done and drain. Put the pasta back into the pot and add a couple had fulls of spinach, cherry tomatoes (I cut them in half first), the vinaigrette, and let it all heat up. Add the feta before plating and then add the pan seared chicken on top and you're all set!