Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Cheesecake! With Caramel Sauce.

I'll just let you feast your eyes on the cheesecake.
Please, take your time.

It gets even better.
I didn't think that was possible.

As you know if you've been following me for any time,
Rosie doesn't do "leftovers."
Rosie does "moreovers."

I never liked the word "leftovers."
It's negative sounding and not very appetizing.
I needed a word that describes what I do.
I take food that may have been blessed a time or two before,
and come up with something new and different.
It's not "leftovers."
It's "moreovers."

Years ago, I wrote this:

Nothing goes to waste in the Hawthorne Household.
And I don't refer to the remnants as leftovers.
Immediately after writing the word "leftovers,"
I knew I needed another word that was more real, more definitive, and positive.
First I thought of the word re-do's.
But that implies it wasn't done right the first time around when it certainly was.
Then I considered do-overs.
But, of course, that, too, has a negative connotation.
I've put a lot of thought into this trying to come up with just the right word which describes
the process of what I do in the life chain of the produce and viande
I prepare and serve and consume.

And my word is Moreovers.

Think about it:
You've already produced and served a wonderful, satisfying, convivial repast.
So, what's next?
MORE is next.
When you say "Moreover," you're likely going to top what you previously said,
put an exclamation point there,
and/or put it in bold or italics.
So, I have no leftovers.

So, where is Rosie going with this, you ask?
Well, I'll tell you.
The other day when I made a grape salad,
I only used half of the dressing on the grapes.
So I needed something to do with the other half. 
Enter ...  the cheesecake. 
Done deal.

And by the way, Mr. Hawthorne,
pronounced this "the best cheesecake you've ever made."
And I've made a load of cheesecakes in my lifetime.
And never a "bad" one.
Even a "bad" cheesecake is good, right?

Let's start with the crust.

4 graham crackers
16 ginger snaps
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 stick unsalted butter, melted
Process all ingredients until well combined
and press into bottom and sides of 9-inch springform pan.

Prepare the filling and pour into the pan.

1/2 of the mixture left over from the grape salad
And half of that mixture would be:
1/4 stick cream cheese, softened
2 TB sour cream
1 TB sugar
1 tsp vanilla

Rest of the ingredients for cheese cake:
1 1/2 packages cream cheese, softened
1 cup whole milk plain Greek yogurt
zest and juice of 1 lemon
1 cup sugar
2 TB cornstarch
1 TB vanilla
4 eggs, room temperature
Rosie tip:  When you want room temperature eggs
and don't want to wait,
place them in a bowl of hot tap water.

In a processor,
combine the grape salad dressing ingredients
along with the cream cheese, sour cream, yogurt,
lemon juice and zest, sugar, cornstarch, and vanilla.
Mix well.
Add in eggs, one at a time, 
processing well after each addition.

Pour into prepared springform pan.
Bake at 325° oven for 60 minutes.
Turn oven off.
Leave cheesecake in oven for 15 minutes, 
with door ajar.
Remove from oven and let cool on rack.


When cooled, remove from pan.

While the cheesecake was cooling,
the hamster was running,
and I decided to make a caramel sauce.
Because sometimes, more is more.
And this is one of those cases.

Do not be afraid of caramel.
That said, stand over the pot of melting sugar the entire time!
Do not go check your email.
Do not go to the bathroom.
Do not walk out to the mailbox.
Do not do anything.
Except stand over the damn pot.

Melted sugar can go from a beautiful caramel
to a burned mess in a split second,
so you need to be vigilant.

Caramel Sauce
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
6 TB unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 tsp kosher salt

In a heavy, perfectly clean sauce pan,
heat sugar and water over medium heat,
stirring until combined.
Stop stirring now!
Simply swirl the pan until the sugar melts
and turns a light amber color.
If you've gone too far, you can smell it.
Throw it away, clean the pan, and start over.
If you have a thermometer, go for 350°.
However, color and smell should work just fine.
Add in butter,a few pieces at a time,
whisking until combined and melted.
Remove pan from heat
and slowly pour in the cream.
Expect bubbling and steaming.
Whisk constantly until all cream is incorporated.
Stir in salt and set aside to cool.

For the step-by-steps:
Here's the sugar and water to begin with.

You want a gradually darkening.

Almost there.

That's the color you're aiming for.

Add in the butter, whisking to melt.

Whisk until all butter is melted and incorporated.

Slowly and carefully,
pour in cream.

Whisk away.

When cream is incorporated and mixture is smoothsmoothsmooth,
set aside to cool.

Drizzle caramel over cheesecake.

Rosie moans...

The texture is silken.

And if you insist on healthy,
throw in some fruit!

And that, my friends, is cheesecake!
And you are welcome.

Friday, June 8, 2018

Rosie Makes A Grape Salad.

I love fruit salads and this delectable grape salad really hit the spot.
It's green and red seedless grapes
coated with a cream cheese and sour cream dressing
that's both sweet and tart.
I only used half the dressing for a pound of grapes,
saving the remaining half for "the best cheesecake you've ever made,"
according to Mr. Hawthorne.
And I've made a lot of cheesecakes in my time.
That recipe will be posted soon,
but for now, enjoy the grape salad.

Rosie's Grape Salad
4 oz. cream cheese (1/2 stick), softened
1/4 cup sour cream
2 TB sugar
1 TB vanilla
Combine all ingredients.
Mix well.

Using 1/2 of the above mixture,
add in 1 lb. red and green seedless grapes,
stirring to coat grapes.

Leave the grapes whole.
Slicing would make this too watery.

Sprinkle 2 TB brown sugar,
1/2 cup cup coconut,
and 1/2 cup chopped pecans
over grape mixture.

You could totally add some sliced apple in here
to give it some added crunch
and I'd be quite happy.

This is soooo gooooood.
It's one of those dishes where I keep scooping
spoonful after spoonful
because I don't want to miss out on any flavors in there.
I can't get enough tastes or textures.


Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Rosie Makes A Peach Galette.

 I'm making a peach galette today because I just got peaches from Tarheel Too Produce and they're amazingly sweet, juicy, and flavorful.  They're delicious South Carolina peaches.

What is a galette, you ask?
Basically, it's a free-form pie.  It's not made in a pie pan.  The dough is spread out on a baking sheet.  And you can shape the dough however you like - oval, rectangle, circle, square.  Then you fill it. The filling can be either sweet or savory, but why go savory when you can go sweet?  I plopped a sweet fruit filling on top of the dough and then draped the edges over to contain the filling.

First, I'm making a pie crust.  You could use your favorite pie crust recipe, but this one is pretty much foolproof and makes quite a nice crust.  I ended up with enough to make a rather large galette and an extra crust for a 9" pie which I used for a magnificent chocolate pie.  You'll get the recipe for that soon.  Trust me.  It's worth the wait.

Now, for the crust.  Leave room to make ahead of time, since the crust needs to chill for at least 2-3 hours. 

Rosie's Pie Crust
3 cups flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp kosher salt
1/3 cup Crisco shortening, cubed and left in freezer for at least an hour
1 1/2 sticks (3/4 cup) cold butter, cubed
8-10 TB cold water

Put flour, sugar, and salt in food processor and pulse to combine.  Add cold butter and shortening and pulse about 15 times until you get a coarse mixture.  Sprinkle ice water, a tablespoon at a time, over mixture and pulse 3-5 times to combine.  You should have a fairly sticky dough.  Turn dough out onto lightly floured work surface and knead a few times to bring it all together in a cohesive ball.  Place on top of plastic wrap and press out until it's about one inch thick.  Cover with plastic and chill a couple of hours, or you can leave it in the fridge overnight.

For the step-by-steps:
Pulse dry ingredients, then add in chilled diced butter and Crisco.
Add in chilled water by tablespoons.
Pulse, until you have a shaggy mass. 

And pulse...

Turn out onto a lightly floured board.

Knead a few times until it all comes together in a smooth ball.

Press dough until it's about one inch thick.
Cover with plastic and refrigerate.

Now for the filling:

Peach Filling
6 peaches
1/2 cup sugar
1 TB cinnamon
1 TB cornstarch
juice of one lemon
1 TB vanilla
1 TB grated fresh ginger

heavy cream
turbinado sugar

Peel and slice peaches into wedges.
Combine sugar, cinnamon, and cornstarch.
Sprinkle sugar mixture over peaches and toss to coat.
Add lemon juice, vanilla, and ginger, tossing to coat.

Sprinkle the sugar mixture over the sliced peach wedges and combine.

I use a garlic press for my ginger.

Let the peaches macerate a bit.  They only get better tasting.

Remove dough from fridge and let stand at room temperature about 10 minutes to soften a bit.  Place on a lightly floured sheet of parchment paper and roll into a 12- x 16-inch rectangle, about 1/8 inch thick.  Chill until ready to use. 

 I had dough left over, which I pressed down, wrapped in plastic, and returned to the refrigerator to use later.  Remember that chocolate pie!

Place parchment paper and dough on a baking sheet and layer peach slices on top, leaving about a 2-inch border.  Note that you're not pouring all the peach liquid onto the dough.  Hold off on that.

Make slices around the border.
Fold the slices up and over, overlapping.

Pour some of the peach macerating liquid onto the peaches.  You won't need all of the liquid.  Refrigerate the remainder and use later on pancakes, toast, ice cream.  So many things you can do with this.

Brush crust with cream and sprinkle with turbinado sugar.

Bake in a 425° oven for 15 minutes.  Reduce heat to 350° and bake until golden brown, about 30-35 minutes.  Cool 10 minutes on baking sheet, then transfer to a wire rack.  Serve warm.  Preferably with ice cream.

Rosie is in her happy place.
Take advantage of the peaches now and make this.
You'll be glad you did.