Showing posts with label Cream cheese. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Cream cheese. Show all posts

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Cucumber Tea Sandwiches...and a busy day!

I was so determined to make something light today for lunch, and suddenly, an idea just came to my mind...why not Cucumber Tea Sandwiches?!...after all, I had all the ingredients, including the 'soft spread' cream cheese and fresh dill, which I like to keep on hand but they go bad so quickly. I don't even like to freeze them because they taste terrible when you thaw them out!
These little open faced sandwiches are not enough to satisfy your hunger...but for an afternoon snack with 'tea'...in my case, iced tea, would have been just the right snack to 'hit the spot.'

Also, did the same thing to the cupboards to check for items, and I even made a banana bread, as well. It sure was nice to have a large piece with cold iced tea  after the little sandwiches.

In the meantime...the lawn care guys came, and of course the little doggies went crazy, barking their little heads off!
When you have ripe bananas, I mean ripe...as in little brown spots ripe; that's when its the best time to make banana bread and if you have some chocolate chips...even better...yumm

(Remind me to post the recipe on my next post)...although I do have at least two recipes on my blog for banana bread!

...and by-the-way, the loaf pan that I gave to my daughter, is a heavy-duty calphalon, so nice to bake in it, and it was actually brand new...such a treasure from Goodwill...a fabulous thrift find for $1.99.

We do get hot temperatures, but also rain, every day since last month. Doesn't rain all day long...just on-and-off, but trying to take pictures in-between the rain, and the sun...seriously; that's how it is here in S. Florida.


Getting back to my tea sandwiches!

First off: you must have one of these gadgets, the plastic mandolin...another thing, if you can't find this in a 'thrift store'...which is almost, but I should say...always new, because most people do not, or cannot use them because they don't know how! The cost:  99cents...and I have at least 3 of these, the other two have extra gadgets, for cutting different things.

For the method:
Take one, or two cucumbers, and peel partially, like in the photo, cut the ends off, and with a steady hand slice the cucumbers. (just watch the tip of your fingers, because the blade is extremely sharp.)
Set sliced cucumbers aside on a plate, and start cutting your bread.


You can cut your bread into any shape you would like to, if you want round shapes, just use a biscuit cutter, or different cookies shape cutters. Just make sure you cut the crusts of. I used a triangle cut, (they're not so even) but that's OK...it's just for myself!








The best cream cheese to use, is the Philadelphia spreadable cheese; leave outside for about 20 before spreading on your favorite bread slices. I used a really good oat bread. If you can't find the soft spread cheese, you can use the regular cream cheese, just let it come to room temperature!







Spread each slices lightly...










Line the thin slices of cucumber in a decorative style on the slices of bread, and with kitchen shears, snip a small piece off...I got a little carried away, on a couple slice of bread, with the dill; but I love dill so much, the fragrance is incredible, and so is the flavor! Such an Eastern European 'thing'...the famous DILL!

I sprinkled some freshly ground sea salt, and freshly ground multi-colored peppers on them...such light and delicious little sandwiches!




...and that's all there is to it; Enjoy!




Enhanced by Zemanta

Thursday, June 14, 2012

New York Style Cheesecake...and Guest Post!



I am honored to be guest posting for my dear friend... Veronica, of Quay Po Cooks food blog...which is a very diverse kind of a blog that you would want to see. It always starts with Veronica's stories from friends she has met, or of a fabulous restaurant and talented chef review, or her lessons with the famous chef's, making delicious cakes. She always speaks highly of everyone, has an abundance love for her family. A very lovely, and talented person. The "Lucy" version, is a little hard for me to get, because I don't think she messes things up, or get into trouble with her sweet Western husband...that would have to say..."Lucy, dju got some splaining to do!"...on the contrary, he puts Veronica on the "pedestal"...even when she gets her Lucy "moments"



At any rate, I honestly think she has a darn good sense, and always has everything in their proper order. I met Veronica, shortly after I started my blog, a few months later... and has kept in touch, since than. She always mentions how much I helped her with advice, which I appreciate so much but honestly, we all need advice, and occasional help from friends. That's what friends are for...( a line from a song, which I can't remember right now)

Thank you Veronica, for giving me the opportunity, to guest post...while you are vacationing in beautiful California, USA!


For the actual full recipe: link to my previous post when I posted it on my blog:
click on the title: New York Style Cheesecake

...and of course, check out my guest post at Veronica's Blog!

...there's more to come re: this post! ...right now, I'm having a "Lucy moment"...ask me why?


I want to share a 'Lucy' moment with you, since we're on the subject! You see this adorable 'thank you' card, (from Veronica) and the pretty Nyonya dress?  (I think that's what is called)...'a blend of Malay and Chinese influence' which is also in foods, or it could also be Peranakan. Big words?...I did my homework!

Anyway, make a long story short...when I accepted Veronica's invitation to guest post; later, she announced to me that she's sending me a gift and needs my address...OK,  I said, 'but you don't have to send me anything'...but of course, she insisted. 'I'm sending you a nyonya dress'...I'm thinking, 'ha...what?'...what's a 'nyonya?'...or even a dress?...why does she want to send me a dress...she doesn't even know my size, and what would I be doing with a traditional 'nyonya' dress...where would I wear it?...at that point I didn't even ask her, but in the next e-mail she told me, she is sending me a small gift which is a fridge magnet of a traditional DRESS!

OK, so who's the Lucy here...when I was about to tell her...(oh, I love this line from Lucy show)...from Ricki!
"Lucy, dju got some splainin to do!"...yes Lucy/Veronica, why didn't you tell me in the first place...letting me think you're sending me (maybe a promotional dress)...from one of your favorite sponsors, and I can keep it for 30 days FREE?...then after that I will have to purchase an additional dress for the next 6 months?...phewww! what a relief!
None of the above, and I can get to keep the pretty dress, adorned on my refrigerator...so Thank you Veronica, once again. If I get to meet you in person one day soon, I will take you up on your offer, for the real DRESS. (ha, ha, just kidding!
Big hugs, to you...I accept you 'just the way you are' xoxo
Enhanced by Zemanta

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Hungarian Kifli and a Quiet Weekend

While other people were piling up outside, after Thanksgiving dinner at various locations for the famous Black Friday shopping, 24 hours before, I was glad to get home and just chill out after a huge Thanksgiving feast with friends and family. Whatever happened to just the plain old "day after Thanksgiving Sale?"...now it's BLACK FRIDAY!...pretty scary, especially when you have to camp out the day before...luckily, this year they opened the doors at some stores, as early, as 9:00pm on Thursday, and midnight, instead of 4:00am on Friday! Granted, the sales are incredible, 40 to 60% savings, is for sure a bargain. I saw a few incidence on the news last night about an irate customer that was going around with pepper spray...spraying his/ her opponents so they can't get the bargains that she was aiming for: she did get arrested, but that is "bizarre" ...think I'm just going to take advantage on the online shopping, and leave the stress behind!
The reason this is called Hungarian Kifli, which means "crescent"  in English, or "kipfel" in German The dough is either a yeast based type of dough or in this case, is dough that is combined with equal amount of butter, and cream cheese, combined with flour. No eggs used in this recipe. This is the basic dough for the famous Rugelach, as well! On the front row, they are filled with ground walnuts, raisins and apricot jam, and in the back row, shaped like the Rugelach, but slightly bigger, filled with Nutella, which was the kids' favorite!
I also made the fluffiest, and most amazing Sweet Potato Pie, at the same time, with homemade pie crust. Lora and I were able to work alongside at the same time...making pies, and other pastries. As you can see, I got the favorite butcher block table, and she had the entire granite top counter, which she likes to use.
 I did not get a chance to take hardly any photos at the dinner party, but did not want to miss the chance of my son-in-law's Chef Fabrizio's Vegetable Lasagna, that was a huge hit!

 Lora's Cranberry cake...light, and moist, not too sweet, absolutely delicious!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Fresh Strawberry Cheesecake Bars

As you can see, this is a well decorated platter with just an 8x8 inches of simple cheesecake bars...a total of 4 large pieces, with the ends trimmed off, but every thing is in the "decoration"...the "presentation"...otherwise, it would be just a simple Cheesecake Bars, if not for the above mentioned...and of course, most important, the "platter"...Originally, I was going to do the next guest post for Lora's blog, with this easy dessert, but she is home now, from her huge surgery, and is getting her strength back little by little. I was at her house making this dessert, and both Teresa, and her husband Domenico kept asking me..."che fai?" What are you doing? ...because I was trying to uplift my photography skills, by enhancing the shots, at every different angle. It certainly helps when you have a nice camera, and a pint of gorgeous fresh, and perfectly ripened strawberries.
Instead of having the glaze on top of the overturned strawberry slices, I added the jam glaze directly on the cooled cheesecake bars, and sprinkled powdered sugar over the top of the strawberries, overlapping on the cheesecake, and on the platter...within a few minutes, the strawberries get their own natural glaze, just from the sugar...the rest is "trick photography!"...my theory...you aim, shoot, and hope for the best!


Fresh Strawberry Cheesecake Bars
my own recipe

For the Crust:
2 cups of vanilla wafers ground
1/4 cup butter (1 stick) melted
2 Tbsp sugar
1 Tbsp grated orange rind

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grind the wafers in a food processor to make 2 cups. Add sugar, and grated orange, stir in the melted butter, just to moisten evenly, and press into a large non-stick tart pan, with a removable bottom.
Use a large soup spoon to press down, and not with your fingers, or hand, (so butter does not get too pressed into the crust) Also, do the same on the sides of the tart pan. Bake crust for no longer than 15 minutes, and follow the topping, and filling process.

Filling:

8 ounces of Philadelphia Cream Cheese
(at room temperature)
1 cup of sour cream (at room temperature)
7 Tbsp. granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 Tbsp. all purpose flour

Preheat oven at 350 degrees. Line a 8x8 inch baking pan with aluminum foil, and let it overhang about two inches. Spray the bottom with cooking spray. Mix the cookie mix with the butter and sugar, and pat down into the baking pan with about an inch around the sides. Mix the filling ingredients in a food processor, or blender for about a minute or two till blended and creamy, and pour the filling right over the crust. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes, and lower the temperature to 325degrees and continue baking for another 25-30 minutes till it gets a little color on the top. Cool, and glaze with melted strawberry jam. Just heat about 1/4 cup of strawberry, or other seedless berry jam, adding the juice of 1 lemon. Spread on cooled bars. Let it chill, and lift out from pan for easy cutting. Garnish with fresh berries. Such an easy, and delicious cheesecake bars, with or without berry topping. It is more dense, than actual cheesecake, but the same taste, especially with the glaze, and topping. Enjoy!

I'm linking this to: Swathi-Hearth and Soul Hop #43

Monday, December 27, 2010

Holiday Cheesecake, and Christmas Memories

As the year is dwindling down, and Christmas is over, a New Year is awaiting us to start "anew" with a clean slate of resolutions, and promises. Leaving the old year with fond memories, and some sadness...not just what kinds of gifts we got for the holidays, and what parties or events we attended, but thinking ahead for the coming year, of what we can do for each other, to give, and get more BLESSINGS!
After visiting my new and beautiful friend, Jamie's blog @Mangiabella and reading her inspirational posts, and quotes, reminds me, that life is so precious, and that the true joys in our lives are family, and dear friends... let us not forget our faithful pets, and embrace new friends.
I concluded this thought, after leaving Jamie's blog, that:

"Bringing gladness to the hearts of others, and giving of yourself...is the Greatest Gift of All"...(my quote)

So, I will share my most favorite cheesecake of all, that I make, just about for every special occasion...have memorized the ingredients, and method, to the point that this is seriously a "scientific" method, that you must follow, and not sway from it. It's a New York, or should I say New York Style Cheesecake, that can be left simple, without the sour cream topping, which really gives it a more amazing flavor, and dresses it up, but you can do it without it, because you will not see "cracks" on top of the cheesecake...I promise you that. You can dress this cheesecake up for the summer, with a fresh fruit topping, or for the holiday, as I did, with rainbow, holiday sprinkles, and surround them with handmade chocolate pieces that already has sprinkles on it, from your local chocolate shop, as I did. I'm not going into the "song and dance" recipe, to write it down, I will link the recipe back to this summer, when I made it the last time.
I kid you not...this is a "tried and true" recipe, that you will want to follow, to a T! The only important thing is, you should, and must make it the day before, so it will set nicely. Actually, I made this two days before Christmas, and let it chill nicely in my frig.

So, here's the link, and recipe: New York Style Cheesecake

Monday, July 26, 2010

New York Style Cheesecake

 I have made so many different kinds of cheesecakes in the past, but this particular recipe is the best by far. No need to change a thing , or adapting it your way, other than perhaps adding a fruit topping, such as berries. I prefer to have the berries on the side. I have made this exact recipe over the last 3 years and have not change a thing. If you follow exactly, it will turn out perfect for you. It is not a difficult process. I have memorized the recipe by heart, and made it in Italy when I was visiting my son-in-law's family. You can actually get Philadelphia creme cheese there also, but nothing beats he American brand, solid and creamy. The egg yolks in Italy are like pure gold, therefore the cheesecake turns out a bit of yellowish shade, but the texture and flavor are the same. Also, you cannot find graham crackers there, so I had to use vanilla cookies to crush, but the recipe, and the method of baking was exactly the same. I copied and pasted the recipe, it was way too long for me to type, and besides, this is NOT my original recipe. Courtesy, of "Joys of Baking."
New York Cheesecake:
Grease, or spray with Pam, a 9 inch (23 cm) springform pan.  Place the springform pan on a larger baking pan to catch any leakage while the cheesecake is baking. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (177 degrees C) with rack in center of oven.
For Crust:
In a medium sized bowl combine the graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and melted butter.  Press the crumbs evenly over the bottom and about 1 inch (2.5 cm) up the sides of the springform pan.  Cover and refrigerate while you make the filling.
For Filling
In bowl of your electric mixer place the cream cheese, sugar, and flour.  Beat on medium speed until smooth (about 2 minutes), scraping down the bowl as needed.  Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well (about 30 seconds) after each addition.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the whipping cream, lemon zest, vanilla extract and beat until incorporated.  Remove the crust from the refrigerator and pour in the filling.  Place the cheesecake pan on a larger baking pan and place in the oven.
Bake for 15 minutes and then lower the oven temperature to 250 degrees F (120 degrees C) and continue to bake for about another 1 1/2 hours or until firm and only the center of the cheesecake looks a little wet and wobbly.  Remove from oven and place on a wire rack.
Meanwhile, in a small bowl combine the sour cream, sugar, and vanilla extract.  Spread the topping over the warm cheesecake and return to oven to bake for 15 more minutes.  Remove from oven and carefully run a knife or spatula around the inside edge of pan
to loosen the cheesecake (helps prevent the surface from cracking as it cools).
Let cool before covering with plastic wrap and refrigerating.  This cheesecake tastes best after being refrigerated for at least a day.
Serve with fresh fruit or fruit sauces.
Makes one - 9 inch (23 cm) cheesecake.
To freeze:
Place the cooled cheesecake on a baking pan and freeze, uncovered, until firm.  Remove the cheesecake from the freezer, wrap it in heavy duty aluminum foil and place in a freezer bag.  Seal and return to freezer.  Can be frozen for several months.  Thaw uncovered cheesecake in the refrigerator overnight.
Adapted from Cheesecake Extraordinaire by Mary Crownover.
 
Crust:
2 cups (200 grams) of graham wafer crumbs or finely crushed vanilla wafers or gingersnaps (process whole cookies in a food processor until they are crumbs)
1/4 cup (50 grams) granulated white sugar
1/2 cup (114 grams) unsalted butter, melted
Filling:
32 ounces (1 kg) (4 - 8 ounces packages) cream cheese, room temperature (use full fat, not reduced or fat free cream cheese)
1 cup (200 grams) granulated white sugar
3 tablespoons (35 grams) all purpose flour
5 large eggs, room temperature
1/3 cup (80 ml) heavy whipping cream
1 tablespoon lemon zest
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Topping:
1 cup (240 ml) sour cream (not low fat or fat free)
2 tablespoons (30 grams) granulated white sugar
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Tips:  Sometimes the surface of the cheesecake cracks.  To help prevent this from happening do not over beat the batter, especially when creaming the cheese and sugar. 
Another reason for cracking is overbaking the cheesecake.  Your cheesecake is done when it is firm but the middle may still look a little wet. 
Also, make sure the springform pan is well greased as cracking can occur if the cheesecake sticks to the sides as it cools.
Read more: http://joyofbaking.com/Cheesecake.html#ixzz0utDeKZWI
Another satisfied customer. Megan, the "all American girl, from Rimini, Italy. Ciao Bella!
Enhanced by Zemanta