Monday, November 29, 2010

OMG! Pumpkin Cheesecake

Sorry that the picture isn't the best as it was taken after a couple glasses of wine and Amaretto...but yes, that's right...OMG Pumpkin Cheeeeeeesecake. I can't tell you how great this cheesecake turned out even from scratch. I wanted to make something a little different for Thanksgiving and it was devoured almost immediately even by those that don't like cheesecake (yes, people that don't like cheesecake really exist...go figure)! I plan to make this for some upcoming holiday parties that I'm sure will impress.

I actually came across this recipe on a coupon believe it or not. I was so drawn to the idea of pumpkin cheesecake that I decided to go for it making my own modifications of course to deliver a totally GoldenBrown one-of-a-kind! Being that this was my first ever homemade cheesecake, it really wasn't very hard or intimidating at all. are required to have some key items in order for it to turn out perfectly that include:

1. Spring form pan....don't have one? Forget it.

2. Parchment paper.

3. Wide piece of foil to cover the bottom of the pan without having to use two pieces.

If you have those three items, plus the required're golden. Now be the foodie that you are or wanna be and just do it!

2 cups ginger cookies, ground
2 Tbsp. brown sugar
1 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 cup salted butter, melted

2 (8 oz.) pkgs of softened cream cheese
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 (15 oz.) can of pumpkin
1 cup sour cream
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. ginger
1/2 tsp. cloves
1/2 tsp. allspice
1/2 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 350F.

Cut out a piece of parchment paper the same diameter of your pan and line the bottom of your pan. Ground up the ginger cookies however you want, blender, processor, ziplock and a rolling pin, etc., either way just make sure you don't have any big chunks. Combine the rest of the crust components and press evenly into the bottom of your pan. Bake the crust for 10 minutes, remove it, cool it...and turn oven down to 325F.

Make sure the cream cheese is at room temp. Mix the cream cheese until smooth and beat/mix in the sugar. Beat in eggs, one at a time. In a separate bowl mix together the pumpkin, sour cream and remaining spices/salt...then gently combine with the cream cheese mixture by hand. Pour into your cooled pan. Place on your much needed wide piece of foil and tightly wrap the bottom on your pan so that no water can leak in there and ruin your crust! Place your pan into a large roasting pan and fill the roasting pan with hot water about half way up the sides of your pan. Like any cheesecake, the water bath will prevent your cake from drying out and cracking. Bake for 1 hour, turn off the heat and leave in the oven for 1 more hour. Remove and let cool and either chill it or you can freeze it until about an hour before serving (my preference).

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Sweet Roasted Chestnuts

I've always wanted to do the ole tradition of roasting chestnuts...maybe not over an open fire as my oven would suffice. I got this idea from a show I recently watched where they made drunken chestnuts....I know right? So I had to try it. The peeling was painful....but totally worth it in the end. Burned thumbs and sticky nuts...sounds good to me!

1lb whole chestnuts
4tbls salted butter
4tbls sugar
Sprinkle of cinnamon
1/4cup dark rum (optional)

Preheat oven to 400F

Make a slit in each chestnut with the point of a sharp knife to prevent the chestnuts from bursting. Roast the chestnuts in a shallow dish or baking sheet for 20 minutes. Peel the shell of the chestnuts while they are still warm. In a pan melt the butter over medium heat, add the peeled chestnuts. Sprinkle with sugar. Let cook for about 7 minutes until the sugar is dissolved. Remove the pan from heat and add in the careful! Cook for another 10 minutes until alcohol has been cooked out and the liquor is syrupy. Cook longer if needed.

Serve hot!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Harvest Chicken

When the weather is getting chilly...and I mean really cold, what better than inviting family and friends over for a mini feast of roasted chicken and harvest vegetables. Being that I had just invited a group of family and friends over for pumpkin carving, cocktails and the hockey game...I figured I'd serve them up some friendly comfort food. Chili...naw...stew...maybe....roasted chicken...perfect. This dish was not only easy and really tasty, but it also displayed itself beautifully on the platter.

1 whole chicken cut up (I bought it precut)
1/2-1lb of tri colored fingerling potatoes cut in halves
5 parsley roots chopped in large pieces
4 large celery stalks chopped
4 large carrots peeled and chopped
3 small shallots chopped in large pieces
3 large garlic cloves smashed
2 sprigs of rosemary
Handful of fresh sage leaves
4 tblsp of salted butter
Olive oil
Salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 350F.

Generously season the chicken pieces with salt and pepper. (Set the backbone aside to make stock with). In a large cast iron/ceramic pot over medium-high heat add about 2 tblsp of the butter and place a few pieces of the chicken in skin side down. Don't overcrowd the pot as you may need to brown the chicken in batches. Brown the chicken on both sides until they have a nice golden crust, but don't cook all the way through. Once all of the chicken is nicely browned, set aside while you prepare the vegetables.

In a large roasting pan add in all of the vegetables, potatoes and rosemary. It's important that all of the vegetables and potatoes are about equal in size. Pour some olive oil over them then season with salt and pepper. Mix together with your hands so that they are all coated with the oil and seasoning. Place the chicken on top of the veggies and place in the oven and cook for 45-50 minutes. In a small sauce pan, add the rest of the butter and sage to melt together. Baste the chicken with the sage butter every 10 minutes.