Monday, January 24, 2011

Dinner and Dessert!

Yesterday I spent most of the day in the kitchen, just where I love to be! I made two cheesecakes in the morning, then cleaned the kitchen for awhile, then later, for dinner I made a big pot of homemade chili! Needless to say, my boyfriend loved the outcome of my domesticity. I served my cheesecakes with lemon pie filling and raspberry jam and the combination was amazing!

New York Style Cheesecake

Makes: two regular sized cheesecakes in frozen pie crusts, or one big one with a springform pan. 
-3 packages of cream cheese- 250g each (or one cup each) 
-1 cup sugar
-3 eggs
-1 tbsp vanilla extract
- 2 frozen pie crusts (you can make your own, but it is extremely difficult as I found out when I made lemon meringue and key lime pies, and it's also not worth it. If you're using a springform pan, make your own simple graham cracker crust with brown sugar, graham cracker crumbs and butter and mix until it sticks. line just the bottom of the pan with the mixture)

1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. 
2. Beat cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla together until smooth. 
3. Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each until smooth. 
***Important*** If your batter looks lumpy or curdled, you added the eggs too quickly which caused the cream cheese to separate. Don't worry, you can fix this by just continuing to beat/whisk the batter smooth, or by mashing the lumps manually with a potato masher.
4. Pour into crusts (or if you are using a springform pan, pour onto your graham cracker crumb base, which you have already prepared, obviously with the sides of the pan closed.) 
5. Bake for 20-30 minutes. Check doneness at 20, you probably will require a few minutes more depending on your oven. Your cheesecake is done when it is still slightly jiggly, but not liquidy, and the edges appear set, while a quarter-dollar sized circle in the middle is still liquidy. 
6. Let cool on cooling racks for half an hour, then put in fridge/freezer (my fridge wasn't cold enough for it to firm up, but it depends on your fridge and your settings, so experiment to see which works best for you). If using the following lemon pie filling as a topping, top after putting it on the cooling rack for the half hour, but before putting it in the fridge/freezer. If also topping with jam or sauce, add that just before serving.

Lemon Pie Filling

Makes: about a cup or two of filling. Enough to top two cheesecakes or make a few small tarts. 
I halved the original recipe and tweaked it a little, which is why some of the measurements are odd.
- 1/2 cup + 1/8 cup of sugar (that's half a cup plus two tablespoons)
- 3 tbsp cornstarch
- 1/4 tsp salt (just add a pinch in)
- 1 cup water
- 2 egg yolks, beaten
- 1/2 tbsp grated lemon rind
- 1/4 cup lemon juice (I would use a little more if you're using juice straight from a lemon, if you're using the stuff in the bottle this is the right measurement)
- 1 1/2 - 3 tbsp butter (I used the original three it called for in the full recipe and found it did nothing bad to my filling, and may have made it creamier. Do as you wish.)
1. In a heavy saucepan, mix together sugar, cornstarch and salt. Stir in water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to medium-low, simmer for 3 minutes, stirring constantly.
2. Remove from heat. Whisk about one-quarter of the mixture into a bowl with the egg yolks, then once mixed, mix back into the pan. 
3. Cook over medium heat, stirring, for two minutes. Remove from heat, stir in lemon rind, juice, and butter. Top onto cheese cake or serve within ten minutes.
***Important*** It's crucial to constantly stir the mixture at all times when it is over the heat or it will burn and stick in a big glob and be really gross. 

 Quick Beef Chili

Makes: One large pot, about 5-6 servings. More if you serve over rice. 

- vegetable oil, enough to coat the bottom of the pan
- 1 1/2 lbs ground beef
- 1/4- 1/2 cup chopped onion, depending on how much you like onion
- 1 envelope chili seasoning,
- black pepper, garlic powder and red pepper seasoning to taste
- 1/2 cup of water
- 1 large can (about 28 ounces) diced tomatoes, undrained
- 1 can (15 ounces) of kidney beans, white or red depending on preference, undrained
- 1 can (15 ounces) of corn, undrained
- 1-2 tbsp brown sugar (does not make it sweet, just complements the other flavours. I used two tablespoons and it turned out awesome)

1. Heat oil in a large, heavy skillet- medium heat
2. Cook ground beef and onions until pink is gone, making sure to break it up into tiny pieces
3. Stir in chili seasoning and other spices, then add remaining ingredients
4. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for ten minutes
5. Serve over rice, with chips or bread or on its own.


Comment Questions:
1. What's your favourite cold-weather food?
2. What do you think about me writing my own cookbook directed at teens and young adults?

1 comment:

  1. 1. My mom makes the best chicken noodle soup ever.
    2. Yes! Good idea! Your positive-attitude towards cooking makes me feel totally different about the thought.