Cheesecake with a Chocolate Cookie Crust

Since making this chessecake there has been an incredible amount of self control going on at our house. Sure we inhaled half of it the first day but since then we haven’t touched it. We are expecting friends for dinner tomorrow night so I am actually saving it.

Want a little bit of insight? The real reason it is still around is because I am neurotic. I have a way of needing things to be just so. In the case of this cheesecake we had half left so it made sense to save it all. Because there was half. Rational right?

Cheesecake with a chocolate cookie crust

Had there been a third or a quarter or anything less I am sure that we would have continued eating it. My poor sweet husband knowing and understanding my neurosis has not dared to touch it. And I love him for putting up with me.

How bad is this really? It’s bad. I have a set way in my head of thinking of the leftovers- particularly when they are baked goods or sweets.

For example I had nine leftover cupcakes the other day and the fit neatly in three rows of my cupcake pan in my fridge. After an event I added one more to it so there was 10 (I like even numbers more than odd). Nathan thinking it was safe since the 10th one looked like the odd man out asked if he could eat it.

Cheesecake with a chocolate cookie crust

No. Sorry love. I am neurotic and now in my mind 10 is better than 9 so you have to leave it.

Living with me comes with cupcakes and cheesecake and one terrible case of the crazies sometimes.

BUT we all get to eat more cheesecake tomorrow and enjoy it.

I am blessed more than you know to have people who put up with me.

Ps. This cheesecake? The best I have ever had. And I am not kidding.

Cheesecake with a chocolate cookie crust

One year ago today: Snickerdoodles

Cheesecake with a Chocolate Cookie Crust (serves 10-12 easily)
From Martha Stewart 

One half of a batch of this cookie recipe for the base
2 1/4 cups sugar
3 pounds (six 8-ounce packages) cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup sour cream, room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
5 large eggs

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter the sides of a 10-inch springform pan. Wrap exterior of pan (including base) in a double layer of foil. Pat the cookie dough evenly into the bottom of the prepared pan. Place pan on a baking sheet. Bake until crust is set, 12 to 15 minutes. Transfer pan to a wire rack to cool completely.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese on medium speed until fluffy, about 3 minutes, scraping down sides as needed. In a large bowl, whisk together sugar and flour. With mixer on low speed, gradually add sugar mixture to cream cheese; mix until smooth. Add sour cream and vanilla; mix until smooth. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until just combined; do not overmix.

Pour cream cheese filling into prepared pan. Set pan inside a large, shallow roasting pan. Carefully ladle boiling water into roasting pan to reach halfway up sides of springform pan. Bake 45 minutes; reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees. Continue baking until cake is set but still slightly wobbly in the center, about 30 minutes more. Turn off oven; leave cake in oven with door slightly ajar, 1 hour. Transfer pan to a wire rack; let cake cool completely. Refrigerate, uncovered, at least 6 hours or overnight. Before unmolding, run a knife around the edge of the cake.

Cheesecake with a chocolate cookie crust

Enchilada Quinoa Black Bean Casserole

We have done black bean enchiladas before. So ridiculously good.

I have thing for enchiladas. They might, just might, be one of my all time favorite foods. And since I can make my own sauce I can whip them up whenever I want. Which I don’t. Because I can be lazy like that. Aren’t we all?

Enchilada Quinoa Black Bean Casserole

Then the idea floated across Pinterest to just toss the sauce with quinoa and other goodies and bake. Yes please.

What a simple recipe to throw together. Skip the cheese and it is vegan. Use or make a gluten free sauce and it’s gluten free. Which, in the circles I hang out in, something that can easily be vegan AND gluten free is a real winner.

Enchilada Quinoa Black Bean Casserole

We topped our with avocado and limes. I’m sure cilantro, sour cream, and even guacamole would be welcome additions.

Simply put it is enchiladas with WAY less hassle. And a bunch of veggies. I was thinking as I was making it that you would easily roast up some veggies and include them. And if you are an omnivore or someone who doesn’t think it is a complete meal without meat adding in some shredded chicken or pulled pork would totally be appropriate.

It makes a ton to invite company over. Just sayin.

Enchilada Quinoa Black Bean Casserole

One year ago today: Honey Cake and On Delivering Dinner (my favorite post ever)

Enchilada Quinoa Black Bean Casserole (easily serves 8+)
From Two Peas and their Pod

1 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed
2 cups water
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 red pepper, seeds removed, diced
1 orange pepper, seeds removed, diced
1 cup corn frozen kernels
Juice of 1 small lime
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon chili powder
1/3 cup chopped cilantro
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 (15 oz) cans black beans, drained and rinsed or three to four cups cooked on your own
2 cups red enchilada sauce
2 cups shredded Mexican cheese

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9×13 baking dish with cooking spray and set aside. Add quinoa and water to a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Boil for 5 minutes. Turn the heat to low and simmer for about 15 minutes, or until water is absorbed. Remove from heat and fluff with a fork. Cover quinoa and set aside.

In a large skillet, heat the tablespoon of olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and garlic. Sauté until softened, about 5 minutes. Add in the peppers and corn. Cook for about 3-4 minutes. Add the lime juice, cumin, chili powder, and cilantro. Stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

In a large bowl, add the cooked quinoa and black beans. Add the sautéed vegetable mixture and stir to combine. Pour in the enchilada sauce and stir. Add 1/2 cup shredded cheese. Pour the black bean and quinoa mixture into the prepared baking dish. Top with remaining shredded cheese. Bake for 30 minutes or until the cheese is melted and edges are bubbling. Remove from the oven, and let cool for 10 minutes. Garnish with toppings, if desired. Serve warm.

Enchilada Quinoa Black Bean Casserole

Cheese Blintzes

I had no intentions of making this recipe.  I saw it pop up on my facebook newsfeed and, while it looked tasty, it wasn’t on the list of things I would necessarily make.

Cheese Blintzes

A sweet friend of mine messaged me not long after the recipe was posted on Smitten Kitchen and asked me if I had seen it. She asked if I would be willing to make them for a brunch she was hosting in honor of her mother’s birthday. Of course. Absolutely. Always. (Ps. That applies to pretty much everyone. I am more than happy to help cater for you).

Cheese Blintzes

I planned to test make the recipe ahead of time since I was concerned about the outcome. I never got around to it. Somewhere in all that procrastination I just convinced myself they would turn out fine. I’ve made crepes heaps of times. Long ago I spent many a morning ripping and tearing thing pancakes on my stove. Not anymore. They come out fairly flawless at the first go. That’s at least what I was telling myself.

And you know what? They were perfect! Granted I fed the first finished one to my husband and toddler just to make sure they were deliciously edible.

Cheese Blintzes

Judging from the way Nathan hovered over the stove asking me if he could have another one I knew they would be a hit a the party. Little ate two and half then promptly melted into a puddle of crying toddler when we cut him off.

And from the sweet text I got later on that day it sounded like they were met with rave reviews. So humbled to just get to be a part of someone else’s gathering.

Cheese Blintzes

These are the perfect fancy brunch food. You could make them up (make the crepes and fill them) the night/day before. The morning of your shindig you get to look lovely and effortless at your stove while you quickly brown them in lots of butter.

L.O.T.S. of butter. Trust me on this one. You wont regret it.

Cheese Blintzes

One year ago today: Homemade Flour Tortillas

Cheese Blintzes (makes 10-12)
From Smitten Kitchen

Crepes
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
1 cup milk
4 large eggs
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
Few pinches of salt

Filling
2 cups ricotta
6 tablespoons sour cream
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
Few gratings fresh lemon zest

Make the crepes
Combine crepe ingredients in a blender, or in a bowl with an immersion blender until smooth. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for an hour or up to two days.

Heat a medium skillet or crêpe pan over medium-high heat. Once heated, brush pan with melted butter or oil. Pour 3 to 4 tablespoons batter into skillet, just enough that it coats the bottom in an even layer when you swirl it around. Let cook, undisturbed, until the crêpe becomes a little golden underneath or at the edges. Flip (I use a long metal cake decorating spatula) Cook the crêpe on the reverse side for another 20 seconds, then slide onto a plate to cool. Repeat with remaining batter, brushing the skillet with additional oil or butter as needed. You can stack the crêpe on top of each other even when they’re hot; they will not stick.

Make filling and fill wrappers
Mix all filling ingredients together until smooth. Place 2-3 tablespoons or so filling across the center of the top crepe in your stack. Fold the bottom part of the wrapper up and over it; fold the sides in over the bottom and filling, then fold the pancake up to form an egg roll-like shape filled pancake.

You can use these blintz right away, or refrigerate them for up to 2 days or freeze them between layers of waxed paper for up to 2 months.

Before serving
Heat a pat of butter over medium heat in a skillet. Fry blintz until browned on both sides. Transfer to a place and serve with sour cream or a fruit sauce or jam or your choice.

Cheese Blintzes

Cheese and Rosemary Crackers

Seriously people can we knock it off with the snow already?

This is what it looked like out my window this morning. Not.ok.with.me.

Cheese and Rosemary Crackers

Ok ok ok I know it isn’t your fault but for the love of all that is holy who DID we piss off this year?

We already had an incredible amount of snow (for the Willamette Valley) in December. Snow, which because of sub zero temperatures, stuck around for a week.

Cheese and Rosemary Crackers

Then it came again. Although this time it was out for blood. First four inches, then a nice layer of freezing rain turned that into an ice skating rink. As if that wasn’t enough we then got another 6-8 inches (what the ?!?) topped with off with more freezing rain. Everything was coated with an inch of ice. Lovely.

Mostly we have taken it in stride though. Cold weather always brings out the carb craver in me. We don’t usually have bread around the house unless I make it. We were short on white flour and even shorter on bread flour so attempting a whole loaf of bread wasn’t on my list of things I wanted to do.

Cheese and Rosemary Crackers

Crackers though. Crackers rock. Or flatbread which is what this really is.

These were are breeze. A quick mix and knead and into the fridge. I totally followed the recipe to a T and used my pasta roller. If you have one this is absolutely the way to go. I can’t speak to how easy or hard it is to roll these out by hand since I didn’t even try.

photo-(1)

Also this is a great snowy day activity for your littles people. Painting activities at our house involve egg wash. I’m the best kind of mom. Really.

Cheese and Rosemary Crackers

One year ago today: Tuna Noodle Casserole and Peppermint Pattie Cookies

Cheese and Rosemary Crackers (make about 16)
From Martha Stewart Baking Handbook

1 cup warm water
3/4 teaspoon instant yeast
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus more for bowl and plastic wrap
15 ounces (about 3 cups) all purpose flour, plus more for dusting
2 teaspoons coarse salt, plus more for sprinkling
2 teaspoons honey
1/4 cup freshly grated aged cheese (I used manchego and parmesan), plus more for sprinkling
1 large egg, lightly beaten
Freshly ground pepper
3 tablespoons fresh rosemary leaves (or 3 tablespoons caraway seeds)

In the bowl of an electric mixer, stir the water and yeast together. Attach your dough hook. Add olive oil, flour, salt, and honey and mix on low speed for 1 minute. Switch to medium speed and mix until dough is soft but not tacky, about 2 minutes. Add cheese and mix for 1 minute more.

Transfer dough to a lightly floured work surface; knead four or five times, forming into a ball. Cover with lightly oiled plastic wrap; let rest for 10 minutes. Place dough in a lightly oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate until well chilled, at least 1 hour or overnight. Meanwhile, line two baking sheets with parchment.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Turn out dough onto a lightly floured work surface. Divide dough into 16 equal pieces. Flatten the dough with your hands into a disk. Using a pasta machine, run it through on either #3 or 4. If you don’t have a pasta roller, just roll out thinly with a rolling pin. Transfer pieces of dough to prepared baking sheets. In a small bowl, whisk the egg with 1 tablespoon water; brush over dough. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and additional cheese and top with sprigs of rosemary (or with caraway seeds).

Bake, rotating sheets halfway through, until crisp and golden, about 15 minutes. Cool on a wire rack. Repeat with remaining dough. Bread can be kept in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.

Cheese and Rosemary Crackers

Cream Cheese Brownies

Sometime things don’t turn out exactly how you had hoped.

Often I tackle complicated baking or cooking projects and they turn out perfectly on the first go around. And by often I mean 99% of the time. I attribute it to my ability to pick a good recipe.

Cream Cheese Brownies

Today I was really hoping to share croissants with you. I worked on them for what felt like all weekend. They were ok but not perfect. They look absolutely stunning and I am proud to have made them BUT there are is much trouble shooting to be done. I plan on tackling them again this coming weekend and, fingers crossed, I can side step all the mistakes of this first batch and have a stellar recipe to share with you.

So instead here are some brownie. Nathan had been craving brownies all week and I was more than happy to oblige. Besides, yesterday was the Super Bowl and what better day to overindulge in sweet treats?

Cream Cheese Brownies

These are also on the list of things that didn’t turn out exactly as hoped but they are chocolate and cream cheese so much more forgivable than butter, flour, and yeast. I think they were left in the oven just a touch too long so as long as you stick to the 35 minutes recommended in the recipe I believe they will be perfectly gooey.

Cream Cheese Brownies

And by not perfect I mean they were deliciously edible chocolately cheesecakey squares of heaven.

I highly recommend these. And hopefully soon I can recommend an equally delicious croissant recipe.

Cream Cheese Brownies

One year ago today: Ginger Molasses Cookies

Cream Cheese Brownies (makes 16)
From Smitten Kitchen

1 stick (1/2 cup or 4 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
3 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
8 ounces cream cheese, well softened
1/3 cup sugar
1 large egg yolk
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Chocolate chips for sprinkling if desired

Preheat oven to 350 F. Butter an 8-inch square baking pan. Heat butter and chocolate in the microwave 30 seconds at a time until just melted. Whisk in sugar, eggs, vanilla, and a pinch of salt until well combined. Whisk in flour until just combined and spread in baking pan.

Make cheesecake batter by whisking together the sugar, cream cheese, egg yolk, and vanilla in a small bowl until smooth. Dollop over brownie batter, then swirl in with a knife or spatula. It might take several passes to get it marbled. Sprinkle chocolate chips over cheesecake/brownie batter swirl if using.

Bake until edges are slightly puffed and center is just set, about 35 minutes. Slice once completely cool.

Cream Cheese Brownies

Spaghetti Squash and Kale Gratin

Spaghetti squash and I have not been on the best of terms. Mostly I want to to like it. Mostly it disappoints me. Alot. Like the bad boyfriend you just KNOW is going to change but no… nope… same story.

I was bemoaning this to my brother in law as I was roasting the squash for this recipe and he agreed. In fact unprompted he mentioned that for him it seems like you can never get it quite cooked enough and is crunchy. E.X.A.C.T.L.Y. my issue. Does this happen to anyone else?

However, kale. Kale let me count the ways I love you. I love it in my juice, in a pot pie, sauteed with simply with olive oil and garlic then piled high with homemade mac and cheese. Kale was our bumper crop this past year in our garden. In fact it is still growing. After a week of snow and countless frosts the hardly buggers are still hanging on. Yum.

Spaghetti Squash and Kale Gratin

So why did I tackle a new recipe with spaghetti squash when I don’t like it? I was given two huge spaghetti squash and I hate wasting food. When I stumbled on this recipe I though it might, just might, be ok.

It is more than ok. It is lets make this twice in one week good. It is a we fought over leftovers good. Sure you could serve this as a side dish to chicken or steak but it also makes a lovely stand alone vegetarian dinner.

The other winning fact is this recipe is so forgiving. The second time I made it I eyeballed everything. I just threw things in bowls, sautéed estimations in a pan, and threw it in these cute individual dishes. It tasted just as good as the first time when I payed more attention to measurements.

Bravely I made this into two 8×8 pans and gave one to a mama friend of mine who recently started a new job. I hate gifting recipes I haven’t tested but thankfully they enjoyed it as much as we did.

Cooking the squash twice (one roasted in the shell and again in the pan) helps it not be as crunch. It actually tastes done. And the kale. The kale makes up for everything.

I will be making this again soon. My son wont eat it but my husband and I devour it. I made both recipes with just one of the two enourmous squash I had. Yeah you read that right. Twelve servings from one squash. That was one big squash.

Spaghetti Squash and Kale Gratin

One year ago today: Black Bean and Brown Rice Burgers and Stuffed Peppers

Spaghetti Squash and Kale Gratin (serves 6-8)
Adapted from Kalyn’s Kitchen

1 large spaghetti squash
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons dried rosemary
1 large onion, diced small
fresh ground black pepper to taste
1 tablespoon minced garlic
5-6 cups chopped kale leaves
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh chives or sliced green onion
1/2 cup sour cream
3/4 cup cottage cheese
1/2 cup coarsely grated Parmesan cheese plus about 1/4 cup more for topping the gratin
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup shredded mozarella

Preheat oven to 400 F. Prick the spaghetti squash all over with a fork. Place the whole, uncut squash on a baking tray and place in the oven. Bake for an hour or until easily pierced with a fork. Remove from oven and allow to cool. Cut open, remove seeds with a spoon, then using a fork pull the strands of spaghetti squash out and into a bowl. Set aside (this can be done a day ahead).

Heat 1 tablesppon olive oil in heavy frying pan, add chopped onions, rosemary, and black pepper, and saute until onion is softened, about 2-3 minutes. Add minced garlic and cook about 1 minute more, then add chopped kale all at once. Cook kale about 1-2 minutes, turning a few times. until it’s wilted to about half the size it was. (The kale shouldn’t be completely cooked, since it will cook more in the gratin.) Salt well. Turn off heat.

Using a large fork, gently mix the chopped chives or green onion and shredded spaghetti squash into the onion/chard mixture. Combine the sour cream, cottage cheese, Parmesan cheese, and beaten egg in a seperate bowl and salt well. Mix into the chard/spaghetti squash mixture. Then put the combined ingredients into the gratin dish, and press down so it’s evenly distributed in the dish. Sprinkle top with about 1/4 cup more Parmesan cheese and with the mozarella cheese.

Bake about 30-35 minutes, or until the mixture is bubbling and cheese is browned on top. Serve hot.

Spaghetti Squash and Kale Gratin

Spinach Pesto Risotto

I don’t think I have EVER made pesto the normal way.

You know- with basil, pine nuts, garlic, parmesan, and olive oil. The only other pesto post I have is for pea pesto. Incidentally that is delicious stuff. Also wow. That post was so so so long ago it seems.

Spinach Pesto Risotto

Aaaanyways. For so many reasons I have not made traditional pesto. Chief of which is pine nuts. My husband and I are at complete odds about them. I’m pretty indifferent about them and for the price point I can’t justify them. Nathan on the other hand loves them and dislikes my attitude towards these spendy buggers. Until we win the lottery I will keep subbing walnuts in for the pine nuts.

Also I love veggies. The idea of pureeing veggies with tasty basil, garlic, cheese, and olive oil entices me. And then you can put it on things. Bread, pasta, more veggies, and yes even risotto.

As much as I love and have made risotto it has never occurred to me to stir in basil. Perusing Pinterest like you do one day I stumbled on spinach risotto. Done. Pinned and planned.

Spinach Pesto Risotto

Or maybe not. It took a few weeks for it make it on the menu. I happily had the privilege of making it for my family one Sunday. They all absolutely loved it. Even Little. He will scarf this stuff down like it is going out of style.

The very best part about this recipe? It makes a bunch of pesto. Enough for two batches of risotto for us. Plus it is a great way to get loads of veggies in a toddler. Because currently that is on the long list of things that keeps me up at night and watching him chow down on this warms my heart.

Hey you do what you gotta do sometimes.

IMG_1646Spinach Pesto Risotto

One year ago today: Beef with Barley Stew 

Spinach Pesto Risotto (
From Food Recipe HQ

For the pesto:
2 cups fresh spinach leaves, stemmed and washed
1/4 cup walnuts
1/2 cup pine nuts
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 cup parmesan cheese, freshly grated
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Risotto
4 cups chicken broth
3 tablespoons butter
1 finely chopped onion
1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper

Make the pesto: Place all ingredients into you food processor and blend until you get the desired consistency.

Make the risotto: Place the stock in a small sauce pan and bring to a simmer. Keep at a simmer while cooking the risotto. In a large, heavy saucepan, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter over medium heat. Add the onion and saute until tender but not brown, about 5 minutes. Add the rice and stir to coat with the butter cooking for 2-3 minutes. Add the wine and simmer until the wine has almost completely evaporated, about 3 minutes. Add 1/2 cup of simmering broth and stir until almost completely absorbed. Continue cooking the rice, adding the broth 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly and allowing each addition of broth to absorb before adding the next, until the rice is tender but still firm to the bite and the mixture is creamy, about 20 minutes total. Remove from the heat. Stir in the Parmesan cheese, as much pesto as you want, the remaining tablespoon of butter, and salt and pepper to taste.

Spinach Pesto Risotto

Lemon Ricotta Almond Cake

My thoughts and feeling on gluten free baking are generally meh.

I do not have an allergy or sensitivity not does anyone in my family. In my mama tribe though there is quite a bit of gluten avoidance. I love them so I try.

Lemon Ricotta Almond Cake (Gluten Free)

But I just cannot wrap my mind around all those flours. I have used a gluten free flour mix once and it was ok. The real problem lies in apathy. I really don’t want to buy all these little bags of random flours in the bulk section of the grocery store. I don’t want to test my recipes as gluten free. I like them the way that they are honestly.

But I love my mama friends. So when I stumble on recipes, like this one, that are incidentally gluten free I rejoice. I always have a stash of almond meal on hand for making macaroons so, other than the ricotta, I had all these ingredients in my house already.

Lemon Ricotta Almond Cake (Gluten Free)

Win. Win. Win.

This cake made a stunning appearance at a baby shower for a mama I love dearly. What a wonderful time we had celebrating her as she prepares to welcome her second daughter earthside.

A mama who happens to be gluten free and was thrilled she could enjoy her cake.

I am stashing this recipe along with the flourless chocolate cake away in my repertoire for any other gluten free celebrations I might be honored to be part of.

And please please please tell me I am not the only baker out there completely terrified of gluten free baking.

Lemon Ricotta Almond Cake (Gluten Free)

One year ago today: Blueberry Pancakes and Saffron Chicken Veggie Soup

Lemon Ricotta Almond Cake (serves 10-12)
From Cakelets and Doilies

(Note: This recipe was written in grams so I did it as such. Measurements are for reference)

120 grams (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
275 grams (1 1/3 cups) caster sugar
1 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped
1/4 cup lemon zest
4 eggs, separated and at room temperature
240 grams (2 1/2 cups) almond meal
300 grams (10 1/2 oz) ricotta
Sliced almonds, to decorated
Powdered sugar, for dusting

Heat oven to 350 F. Line the base and sides of a 10 in round spring form pan with parchment paper and set aside.

Place the butter, 165 grams sugar, vanilla seeds and lemon zest in an electric mixer and beat for 8-10 minutes or until pale and creamy. Scrap down the sides of the bowl, then gradually add the egg yolks, one at a time, continuing to beat until fully combined. Add the almond meal and beat to combine. Fold ricotta through the almond meal mixture.

Beat the egg whites in a clean bowl with a hand-held electric mixer until soft peaks form. Gradually add the remaining sugar to the egg whites mixture and whisk until stiff peaks form. Gently fold a third of the egg whites into the cake mixture. Repeat with the rest of the egg whites.

Pour the mixture into the prepared cake tin, smooth the tops with a palette knife and bake for 40-45 minutes or until cooked and firm to touch. Allow to cool completely in the pan. Dust with slivered almonds and powdered sugar to serve.

Lemon Ricotta Almond Cake (Gluten Free)

Chanterelle Mushroom Risotto

Will you forgive me if we don’t chat much today?

Things are busy around here. A birthday party for a soon to be two year old, work, a host of nasty headaches and migraines.

Chanterelle mushroom risotto

Thankfully I am dutifully cooking my way through a lovely batch of chanterelle mushrooms still.

Easy weekenight dinner? Check- risotto plus roasted mushrooms. Gourmet with hardly any effort.

Chanterelle mushroom risotto

Ps. I still love you lots even though our chat was short. I promise we will catch up later this week. Coffee date soon? Yes, please.

Chanterelle mushroom risotto

One year ago today: Homemade Granola

Chanterelle Mushroom Risotto(serves 4-6 depending on if it is a side or entree)
Adapted from the Joy of Cooking

Note: Risotto is not an exact science but is rather based on feel. As stated above taste taste taste then taste some more. Some days your risotto will take 4 cups of chicken stock then the next take 5. Channel your inner chef and trust your instincts.

4 cups chicken broth
3 tablespoons butter
1 finely chopped onion
1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper
1 lb chanterelle mushrooms chopped or torn
1 tbs olive oil

Place the stock in a small sauce pan and bring to a simmer. Keep at a simmer while cooking the risotto.

Preheat oven to 400 F. Place the mushrooms on a baking sheet and drizzle with oil. Place in the oven for 10-15 minutes until dark brown.

In a large, heavy saucepan, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter over medium heat. Add the onion and saute until tender but not brown, about 5 minutes. Add the rice and stir to coat with the butter cooking for 2-3 minutes. Add the wine and simmer until the wine has almost completely evaporated, about 3 minutes. Add 1/2 cup of simmering broth and stir until almost completely absorbed. Continue cooking the rice, adding the broth 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly and allowing each addition of broth to absorb before adding the next, until the rice is tender but still firm to the bite and the mixture is creamy, about 20 minutes total. About 5 minutes before it is finished add the mushrooms and all the pan juices (if any). Remove from the heat. Stir in the Parmesan cheese, the remaining tablespoon of butter, and salt and pepper to taste.

Chanterelle mushroom risotto

Tomato Bread Bake

We are drowning in tomatoes. I have been a making and freezing sauce as fast as I can and still can’t seem to keep pace.

These are not your average tomatoes. These are peak of the (end) of summer sweet heirloom tomatoes.

Tomato and bread bake. Delicious way to use up end of the summer tomatoes.

I am not bragging about my ability to grow tomatoes. I am fairly incompetent in the garden and we operate on a ignore it policy around here. Somehow ever since we adopted this we don’t care philosophy we have had bumper crop after bumper crop of tomatoes.

Bliss.

Tomato and bread bake. Delicious way to use up end of the summer tomatoes.

The first few big heirlooms were eaten on the back porch sprinkled in salt. They never even made it inside. I have made mozarella from fresh raw milk for a spectacular capresse salad. And as I mentioned earlier I have been making lots and lots of sauce. also I have been on a hunt for recipes that use lots of tomatoes to put these beauties to good use. Thankfully Smitten Kitchen came to the rescue.

Tomato and bread bake. Delicious way to use up end of the summer tomatoes.

I have no idea why she calls this scalloped tomatoes. Well… in all reality if I had made the recipe correctly maybe I would know but I kinda misread an ingredient on the list and wound up with this deliciousness.

I have no idea if the original way is better but I love this .It reminds me of pappa al pomodoro (an italian tomato and bread soup) but it is baked with cheesy goodness. A delicious side to whatever your main entree might be or just a gorgeous light dinner all on its own. You just can’t go wrong.

And believe it or not this is even better as leftover. Incredibly delicious the day of, mindblowingly good the next day.

Tomato and bread bake. Delicious way to use up end of the summer tomatoes.

One year ago today: Oatmeal cookies your way

Tomato Bread Bake (serves 6 as a main 8-10 as a side)
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

3 tablespoons olive oil
One loaf French boule in a 1/2-inch dice
2 1/2 pounds whatever good tomatoes you’ve got, cut into 1/2-inch dice
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons Kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup thinly slivered basil leaves, lightly packed
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup grated mozzarella cheese

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Heat olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high. Add the bread cubes and stir so that they are evenly coated with oil. Cook cubes, tossing frequently, until toasty on all sides, about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, combine tomatoes, garlic, sugar, salt and pepper in a large bowl. When the bread cubes are toasted, add the tomato mixture. Allow to sit for about 5 minutes. Stir in the basil. Pour into a shallow (6 to 8 cup) baking dish and top with Parmesan and mozzarella cheese. Bake 30 to 35  minutes until the top is browned and the tomatoes are bubbly. Serve hot or warm.

Tomato and bread bake. Delicious way to use up end of the summer tomatoes.