White Chocolate Caramel Macchiato Cheesecake

I need to buy a springform pan! I cheated and used a premade crust, so it came out more like a cheesecake pie. Still yummy though!

INGREDIENTS
(Nutrition)

  • 2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 2 tablespoons white sugar
  • 3 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 8 oz White Chocolate Chips
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 (8 ounce) container sour cream
  • 1/3 cup brewed espresso or strong coffee
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • pressurized whipped cream
  • caramel ice cream topping

DIRECTIONS Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

Lightly coat a 9-in springform pan with nonstick cooking spray.


  1. Mix together the graham cracker crumbs, melted butter, and 2
    tablespoons of sugar until well combined. Press into the bottom of the
    prepared springform pan, and 1 inch up the sides. Bake in preheated
    oven for 8 minutes, then remove to cool on a wire rack.

  2. Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C).

  3. Beat the softened cream cheese in a large bowl with an electric mixer
    until fluffy. Gradually add 1 cup of sugar, beating until blended. Add
    eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in sour
    cream, espresso, melted white chocolate and vanilla. Pour batter into the baked and cooled
    crust.

  4. Bake cheesecake in the preheated oven for 1 hour and 5 minutes; then
    turn the oven off, partially open the door and allow the cheesecake to
    rest for 15 minutes more. Remove from the oven, and run a knife around
    the edges. Cool cheesecake on a wire rack to room temperature, then
    cover the springform pan with plastic wrap, and chill in the
    refrigerator for 8 hours.

  5. To serve, cut the cheesecake into wedges and garnish each slice with
    whipped cream and caramel sauce.

White Chocolate Chip and Cranberry Cookies

White Chocolate chip and cranberry

I freaking love these cookies. It a basic chocolate chip cookie base with white chocolate and cranberries. During the holidays, I would suggest soaking the cranberries in rum ( because the holidays are a perfect time to spike your food up!)

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon brandy
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 cup white chocolate chips
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • DIRECTIONS
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Grease cookie sheets.
  2. In a large bowl, cream together the butter, brown sugar, and white sugar until smooth. Beat in the egg and brandy. Combine the flour and baking soda; stir into the sugar mixture. Mix in the white chocolate chips and cranberries. Drop by heaping spoonfuls onto prepared cookie sheets.
  3. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven. For best results, take them out while they are still doughy. Allow cookies to cool for 1 minute on the cookie sheets before transferring to wire racks to cool completely.

Shrimp Fra’diavolo

After searching for the perfect recipe for my unopened bag of shrimp, I finally stumbled across this one from Giada De Laurentiis (aka my homegirl). I had to adapt to the recipe since (a), I didn’t have a can of diced tomatoes and (b) I didn’t have white wine. Instead, I used my can of no sugar added tomato sauce and sake. Yes, you read that right, SAKE. I was a little afraid of using it  because in the back of my head, I kept on thinking “is it a sin to mix Japanese and Italian food?”.  Giada might have a heart attack but the dish turned out to be terrific. The flavors of the garlic and fresh herbs ( basil and rosemary) complemented the  red pepper  shrimp. This dish is absolutely going to be filed under the “must make again” list!

Giada De Laurentiis’s Shrimp Fra’diavolo

1 pound large shrimp peeled, deveined
1 teaspoon salt, plus additional as needed
1 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper flakes
3 tablespoons olive oil, plus 1 to 2 tablespoons
1 medium onion, sliced
1 (14 1/2-ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 cup dry white wine
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
3 tablespoon chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves
3 tablespoon chopped fresh basil leaves

Toss the shrimp in a medium bowl with 1 teaspoon of salt and red pepper flakes. Heat the 3 tablespoons oil in a heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the shrimp and saute for about a minute, toss, and continue cooking until just cooked through, about 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer the shrimp to a large plate; set aside. Add the onion to the same skillet, adding 1 to 2 teaspoons of olive oil to the pan, if necessary, and saute until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes with their juices wine, garlic, and oregano. Simmer until the sauce thickens slightly, about 10 minutes. Return the shrimp and any accumulated juices to the tomato mixture; toss to coat, and cook for about a minute so the flavors meld together. Stir in the parsley and basil. Season with more salt, to taste, and serve.

shrimp

Pink Lemonade Cupcakes

Squeeeeee! Pink! Cupcakes! Those are typical thoughts from my brain that come out when I see a recipe online.

From http://www.jasonandshawnda.com/foodiebride/?p=198

Pink Lemonade Cupcakes
1 1/8 cup (9 oz) frozen Pink Lemonade Concentrate, thawed*
White cake mix (yes, the boxed stuff)
3 egg whites
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
Non-stick spray
1 recipe Lemon Buttercream Icing (recipe follows)

* For a less tart cupcake (and these babies do pack a punch), try reducing the amount of pink lemonade. 3/8 cup water and 3/4 cup pink lemonade will cut the tartness.

In a stand mixer, add the cake mix, egg whites, vegetable oil, and the pink lemonade concentrate. Mix on low for about 30 seconds and then increase to medium speed for 90 seconds (the batter will still be a bit lumpy; take care not to overmix so you don’t end up with dry cupcakes).

Spray each cupcake liner with the non-stick spray and spoon the batter into a prepared muffin pan (fill the cups between 2/3 and 3/4 full). Bake at 350 for about 25 minutes or until a toothpick registers “done” in the center cupcake. Remove the pan from the oven and cook 5 minutes. Remove the cupcakes and cool completely on a baking rack.

Once the cupcakes have cooled, make the icing and ice the cupcakes.

Lemon Buttercream Icing

3 cups + 3 Tbsp confectioner’s sugar
1 stick unsalted butter at room temperature
1/8 tsp salt
2 Tbsp lemon juice
Red food color (to color icing and sugar, optional)
1/4 cup granulated sugar (optional)

Add the butter, confectioner’s sugar, salt, lemon juice, and food coloring (if using) to the stand mixer and mix on low using the paddle attachment until combined. Turn the speed to med-high until the icing is fluffy and uniformly pink. Add the icing to a pastry bag fitted with a 2D tip and ice the cupcakes.

Optional – Add the sugar and a couple drops of the food coloring to a food processor. Process until the sugar turns pink. Spread the sugar onto a plate and let dry for 15 minutes. Sprinkle onto freshly-iced cupcakes.

Weatherman says 50 degrees, I say Gumbo time!

My favorite food from New Orleans is gumbo. Slimy okra, spicy andouille sausage and chicken combine to make the perfect comfort food during cooler weather.

INGREDIENTS

  • 12 cups water
  • 3 pounds chicken parts
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 pounds okra
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 pound andouille sausage, sliced
  • 1 (28 ounce) can Italian-style whole peeled tomatoes
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon file powder

DIRECTIONS

  1. Combine water and chicken in large pot. Bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer until chicken is tender, about 1 hour. Using tongs, transfer chicken to strainer and cool, saving cooking liquid. Remove meat from bones in pieces.
  2. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in heavy skillet over medium heat. Add okra and cook until no longer sticky, stirring frequently, about 20 minutes; set aside.
  3. Stir flour and remaining 1/2 cup oil in heavy large Dutch oven. Cook over medium heat until deep golden brown, stirring frequently, about 6 minutes. Add 4 cups reserved chicken cooking broth, okra, andouille sausage, tomatoes with their juices, bell pepper, celery, garlic, bay leaf, salt, thyme, basil, cayenne, and pepper. Cover partially and simmer until thickened, about 1 1/2 hours.
  4. Spoon off any fat from surface of gumbo. Add chicken and file powder to gumbo and simmer gently 15 minutes. (If preparing ahead, cover and refrigerate. Bring to simmer before serving.) Mound rice in shallow bowls if desired. Ladle gumbo over and serve.

First Friday of Lent- Roasted Tomato Soup

I had a craving for La Madeline’s Tomato Basil soup for lunch. Unfortunately, the nearest one is in Uptown. Thank goodness for Food Network’s website! I’ve made this soup once before and can’t get over how easy it is to make. I also made a grilled cheese sandwich to dip into my soup (yes, I’m weird that way)

Homemade Tomato Soup
Recipe courtesy Michael Chiarello

1 (14-ounce) can chopped tomatoes
3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 stalk celery, diced
1 small carrot, diced
1 yellow onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup chicken broth
1 bay leaf
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
1/2 cup heavy cream, optional

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.

Strain the chopped canned tomatoes, reserving the juices, and spread onto a baking sheet, season with salt and pepper, to taste, drizzle with 1/4 cup of the olive oil and roast until caramelized, about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a saucepan, heat remaining olive oil over medium-low heat. Add the celery, carrot, onion and garlic, cook until softened, about 10 minutes. Add the roasted chopped canned tomatoes, reserved tomato juices, chicken broth, bay leaf and butter. Simmer until vegetables are very tender, about 15 to 20 minutes. Add basil and cream, if using. Puree with a hand held immersion blender until smooth.

Red Velvet Valentine Cupcakes!

After reading a ton of food blogs, I’ve decided to drink the kool aid and start one of my own!Here is what I attempted to make this past Saturday night…Red Velvet Cupcakes!

Since Feb 14 is coming up, they are decorated for Valentine’s Day

Recipe

2 1/2 C cake flour
1 1/2 C sugar
1t baking soda
1 t salt
1T cocoa powder
1 C buttermilk
2 eggs
1 T distilled white vinegar
1 1/2 C vegetable oil
1 oz red food coloring
1 T vanilla

Frosting:
pound of cream cheese
1 pound of butter
4 C confectioner’s sugar
2 t vanilla

(1) Preheat the oven to 325 degrees

(2) Sift the flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, and cocoa.

(3) Combine remaining cake ingredients and beat on medium speed.

(4) Add dry ingredients slowly til fully combined.

(5) Pout into 2 9″ cake pans greased with vegetable oil. Bake 20-30 minutes. Cool for 20.

FROST

(1) Combine butter and cream cheese on medium speed. Slowly add sugar til desired consistency and taste is reached. Add vanilla. Frost cooled cake.