Hungry Couple

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Blueberry Ricotta Cream Cheesecake

Blueberry Ricotta Cream Cheesecake

I've had a life-long love affair with cheesecake but, until very recently, I didn't know there was a National Cheesecake Day.  Even better is that it falls just 3 short days after my birthday.  It's like they know me!  I knew I'd be celebrating today with a huge group of my fellow bloggers but I went ahead and made the cake over the weekend so that it could be my birthday treat.

Blueberry Ricotta Cream Cheesecake
In deciding what kind of cheesecake to make I borrowed ideas from a few different ones to create my ideal version.  I love crust so my perfect cheesecake got a crumbly buttery crust.  I love fruit topped cheesecakes and am currently obsessing over blueberries so I made a sweet and tart blueberry compote for the top.  For the cake itself, I wanted to combine the best of both cream cheese and ricotta cakes and mixed it in the food processor for the perfect texture.  The result was my ideal version of a cheesecake and the best birthday cake I could ever have.  Don't forget to check out all the links below to see everybody else's idea of the perfect cheesecake.  Enjoy!

Ingredients

Crust:
2 1/4 Cups all purpose flour
2 Sticks unsalted butter, chilled and cut into 1" pieces
1/2 Cup sugar
1 Egg
1 Teaspoon baking powder
1/2 Teaspoon salt

Filling:
16 oz. Ricotta cheese
8 oz. Cream cheese
1 1/4 Cups sugar
1/2 Teaspoon salt
3 Large eggs
1 Tablespoon vanilla
Zest of 1 lemon
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
5 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
3/4 Cup all purpose flour

Blueberry Compote:
2 Cup blueberries
1/4 Cup sugar
2 Tablespoons lemon juice
1 Teaspoon lemon zest
Pinch of salt

Blueberry Ricotta Cream Cheesecake
To make the crust, add the flour, sugar, salt and baking powder to a food processor.  Add the butter and pulse a few times, just until the mixture resembles course crumbs.  Add the egg and continue mixing until it forms a dough ball.  Wrap the dough in plastic and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

Make the topping by adding the blueberries, sugar, lemon juice, lemon zest and salt to a pot and cook on medium heat for about 10 minutes.  Refrigerate for at least an hour or even overnight.

To make the filling, combine the cream cheese, ricotta cheese, sugar, salt, eggs, vanilla, lemon zest and lemon juice in the food processor and pulse until smooth.  Add the butter and than the flour and mix in thoroughly.

To assemble the cake, place the dough into a 9" spring-form pan and, using your hands, spread it out and up the sides of the pan.  This dough falls apart when rolled so this is the only way I've found.  A bit tedious but worth it.  Pour the cheesecake batter into the crust (it will be runny) and bake in a pre-heated 325 degree oven for 75 - 80 minutes until the top is set.  If it has a very tiny wiggle when it's done, that's fine and it will set.  Allow the cake to cool thoroughly before removing from the pan.  Top with the blueberry compote before serving.  Makes approximately 10 servings.


Happy National Cheesecake Day from my fellow bloggers:


Baked Cheesecakes:
No Bake Cheesecakes:
Cheesecake Beverages:
Cheesecake Cookies and Bars:
Cheesecake Desserts and Treats:
Frozen Cheesecakes and Treats:

Monday, July 28, 2014

Fig Salad with Bacon, Blue Cheese and Honeyed Walnuts

Fig Salad with Bacon, Blue Cheese and Honeyed Walnuts

Fresh figs must be one of the prettiest fruits around and I can't quite resist them when I see them.  Sometimes that happens, though, when I have no actual plan for how to use them.  So I just drizzle them with a little honey, crumble on some sharp cheese and munch away as a snack.  But taking that a step further and creating an amazing salad is so worth it.

Fig Salad with Bacon, Blue Cheese and Honeyed Walnuts
Figs have a short season in late spring/early summer and then a bigger season at the end of summer into fall.  Still small windows of time, though, which also explains why I can't quite say no.  In creating this salad I tried to think of flavor contrasts - sweet, bitter, sharp, citrus - and match them all up properly.

I paired the sweet figs with strong greens and sharp cheese.  Then balanced it out again with a touch of honey in the dressing and again in the walnuts.  They all come together to create a perfectly balanced flavor not to mention a delicious and special salad.  Enjoy!







Ingredients
4 Figs, quartered
2 Cups romaine or other peppery green
2 Slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
1/2 Cup of crumbled blue or Gorgonzola cheese

Fig Salad with Bacon, Blue Cheese and Honeyed Walnuts
Honey Vinaigrette:
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
1 Tablespoon mayonnaise
1 Teaspoon honey
Salt & pepper to taste

Honeyed Walnuts:
1/2 Cup walnuts
1 Tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
2 Tablespoons honey
Pinch of salt

Fig Salad with Bacon, Blue Cheese and Honeyed Walnuts
To make the honeyed walnuts, combine the melted butter, honey, salt and walnuts in a small bowl and stir to coat.  Spread them out on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and roast in a pre-heated 400 degree oven for approximately 7 minutes.  Start checking them at 5 minutes to make sure they're not burning.  When done, set aside to cool.

Whisk all the dressing ingredients together in a separate bowl and season to taste.

Place half the salad greens on each of two plates.  Add half the figs, cheese, bacon and walnuts to each and drizzle on the dressing.  Makes two servings.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Heirloom Tomato and Gorgonzola Tart

Heirloom Tomato and Gorgonzola Tart

Most Saturday mornings in summer, you'll find me at our local farmer's market.  Yes, Manhattan has farmer's markets and quite a few, in fact.  The big, amazing, awesome, I wish I lived across the street one is at Union Square.  Four times a week, farmers, growers, bread bakers and cheese makers drive down from the Hudson River Valley to set up their stalls.  While I used to have the pleasure of working only two blocks away, it's quite a treck from my upper east side apartment.  Fortunately, there's a smaller version of the market just a few blocks from home.

Heirloom Tomato and Gorgonzola Tart
Because my local market is smaller, I have to make sure to get there early but Hadley doesn't mind accompanying me for a morning walk.  The selection also varies greatly based on what the farmers had ready to bring.  But the mystery and discovery is part of the fun of a farmer's market  My "find" last Saturday was a selection of beautiful heirloom tomatoes.

I knew immediately that I'd combine these sweet lovelies with some sharp Gorgonzola cheese and bake them into a simple tart.  Alongside a fresh salad, it was an ideal summer evening dinner.  Enjoy!



Ingredients

Crust:
1 Cup all purpose flour
1 Stick unsalted butter, chilled and cut into 1" pieces
1/2 Teaspoon baking powder
1/2 Teaspoon salt
1/4 Cup ice water

Filling:
3 Tomatoes, sliced thin
1 Cup crumbled Gorgonzola cheese
1 Cup ricotta cheese
1 - 2 Tablespoons milk, if needed
Salt & pepper to taste

Heirloom Tomato and Gorgonzola Tart
To make the crust, add the flour, salt, baking powder and butter to the bowl of a food processor and pulse a few times until the mixture resembles course crumbs.  Do not over-mix.  With the machine running, add the ice water through the feed tube until a dough ball forms.  Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least one hour.  After the dough has chilled, roll it out on a well-floured surface into about a 10" circle. Drape over a 9" tart pan (preferably one with a removable bottom) and move your rolling pin across the fluted top to cut off the excess dough.

To make the filling, combine the Gorgonzola and ricotta cheeses in a bowl and mix together, by hand or with a mixer, until mostly smooth.  Add the milk if needed and season with salt and pepper.  Spread the cheese mixture evenly into the tart shell and top with the tomatoes.  Sprinkle a little salt over the top and bake in a pre-heated 375 degree oven for 35 - 45 minutes or until the crust is a light golden brown.  Makes approximately 8 servings.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Kiwi Banana Smoothie and My New Kiwi Love

Kiwi Banana Smoothie

It's no secret that I love summer fruit and I always have a nice selection on hand.  But I have to admit that the little kiwifruit is not usually one of them.  Oh, I like the taste and always enjoy them when they're served to me on a fruit platter somewhere, but the idea of peeling those furry skins just doesn't appeal to me.  So, did you know that you can just scoop out the flesh without peeling them?  Neither did I.

Kiwi Banana Smoothie
Image Courtesy of Zespri
Going to a kiwi tasting and educational event sponsored by Zespri may not seem enlightening but I actually learned a lot.  Enough, in fact, to now add kiwis to my basket at the market.  Nutritionist Rebecca Scritchfield was on hand to explain that a serving (2 kiwifruit) has less than 100 calories, more vitamin C than an orange, more potassium than a banana and loads of antioxidants.  And no peeling necessary.  Just cut them in half and run a spoon along the edges until the flesh pops right out.  Knowing that turned a seemingly inconvenient fruit into an extremely portable one.

I also had my first taste of the new SunGold Kiwifruit which is a cross between the green and gold varieties. Rather than the typical hairy skin, the SunGold has a smooth skin that is technically edible...although I think I'll just scoop this one, too.  It has even more vitamin C than the green kiwi and is wonderfully sweet.  I enjoyed a martini made with it and that flavor is still on my mind so I'm pretty sure I know what I'll be drinking next weekend.

Kiwi Banana Smoothie
I also never thought to use kiwis in any way other than just eating them as a fruit but now I've been educated.  Kiwi cocktails are outrageously good and are definitely going to be made around here.  But the biggest revelation of the party for me was the the kiwi BLT, or rather a KLT.  Yes, slices of kiwi replace tomatoes in the classic sandwich and the combination of sweet fruit and crispy bacon is amazing.  Another must-make recipe in my collection.

Kiwi Banana Smoothie
I left the party with a little goody bag filled with kiwis that I used to make a fresh smoothie.  As I was doing my weekly online grocery shopping from Fresh Direct, though, I saw they had the new Zespri SunGold available.  Right into my cart they went.  Kiwi cocktails and KLT's coming right up.  Enjoy!











Ingredients
1 Small banana, peeled and frozen
1 Kiwi fruit
1/2 Cup low fat Greek yogurt
1/2 Cup low fat milk
1 Teaspoon honey
Pinch of salt

Combine all the ingredients in a blender or food processor and puree until blended.  Note that kiwi fruit contains an enzyme that can break down dairy products so this smoothie is best consumed when it's first made.


For more information about Zespri, their growing practices, the varieties of kiwifruit and plenty of kiwi recipes, please visit their web site and their Facebook page.


I was compensated for writing this post but the recipe and opinions are my own.  Thank you for supporting the products I love and use regularly in my kitchen.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Blueberry Pie with Lemon and Thyme


Today I have the pleasure of kicking off my first article for Hoosier Homemade.  I was in a serious mood for pie and couldn't pass up some beautiful ripe blueberries.  But I also decided to borrow from one of my favorite quick breads and add cornmeal and lemon zest and thyme.  And goat cheese.  Yes, goat cheese and blueberries are a happy couple.  The result was definitely a winner and one that I'll be making again and again.


Head on over to Hoosier Homemade to see the recipe!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Greek Burger with Tzatziki Sauce

Greek Burger with Tzatziki Sauce

Summer brings out my burger craving in a big way!  Sure, there's that whole outdoor grilling thing but, actually, I love mine made in burning hot cast iron pan in my own kitchen.  However they're made, though, I've been wanting them non-stop.  As it happens, my friend, Kita, from Girl Carnivore is hosting a burger month - 31 days, 31 burger recipes by 31 amazing bloggers.  And there are cool giveaways, too, so be sure to enter the raffle at the bottom of this post.

Greek Burger with Tzatziki Sauce
Every day I see what my fellow #BurgerMonth bloggers made and, every day, I say "Ooh, I want that and oh, I want that, too!"  But I had to decide what flavors I would contribute to the party and my love of Greek food meant we're taking a trip to Greece via my cast iron pan.  Creamy tzatziki sauce, the salty bite of fresh feta, crispy baby spinach and plenty of oregano.  Oh, yes, Greece was a good place to go for a burger.  Enjoy!












Ingredients
1/4 - 1/2 lb. Ground beef
1 Tablespoon canola oil
1 Teaspoon dried oregano
1 - 2 Slices fresh tomato
1/4 Cup fresh spinach leaves
2 Tablespoons tzatziki sauce (recipe below)
2 Tablespoons crumbled feta cheese
Salt & pepper to taste

Sauce:
3/4 Cup Greek style yogurt
1 Clove garlic, peeled and minced
1/2 Cucumber, diced
1 Teaspoon chopped dill
Salt & pepper to taste

Greek Burger with Tzatziki Sauce
Season your beef patty with salt, pepper and the oregano on both sides.  Heat the oil in a cast iron pan and cook the beef to your desired doneness.

Combine all the ingredients for the tzatziki sauce in a bowl and mix.

When your burger is cooked the way you like it, spread a tablespoon of the sauce on the bottom of a toasted roll, add the burger, tomato slices, spinach and remaining sauce.  Sprinkle on the feta cheese.


Greek Burger with Tzatziki Sauce
A huge thanks to all of the fun bloggers who were just as inspired by a month of burgers as I was and the awesome companies that have donated prizes to #burgermonth , El Diablo Hot & Spicy Mustard, FireWire Grilling Skewers, Hamilton Beach, KitchenIQ, The Spice House, and Wisconsin Cheese







a Rafflecopter giveaway


Monday, July 14, 2014

No Churn Blueberry Cheesecake Ice Cream #IceCreamforOXO

No Churn Blueberry Cheesecake Ice Cream

Cold ice cream, hot summer day - you don't need convincing, right?  So only two questions remain.  What flavor and do we make it or buy it?  I'm guessing that, those of you with ice cream makers, choose to make it while those who don't (that would be me) opt to purchase.  What's that you say?  You can make ice cream without a machine?  Thanks, I think I will!

No Churn Blueberry Cheesecake Ice Cream
The truth is that I've been meaning to try no-churn ice cream for quite a while but have opted for laziness and a pint of vanilla from the store.  But two things happened recently that finally pushed me over the edge.  I had a taste somewhere of cheesecake ice cream, developed an overwhelming urge for it and couldn't find it again and my friends at OXO sent me some of their tools to try.  Tools that are just right for ice cream making.  Oh, all right!

In hindsight, of course, I don't know what took me so long since it's quite easy to make.  And the flavor choice was obviously easy.  The cheesecake version I'd had was plain but, being the one making it also means being able to customize it.  As it happens, my friend Jo-Anne was over for a visit recently and brought me a cheesecake.  I froze the leftover cake but decided to chop a bit of it up into the ice cream for a little texture.  I also especially love blueberry cheesecake because the fruit gives a nice tang to cut the richness.  Hmm.  I quite like this customizing business.  Enjoy!

Ingredients
2 Cups blueberries
3 Tablespoons sugar
2 Tablespoons lemon juice
8 oz. Cream cheese
14 oz. Sweetened condensed milk
2 Cups heavy cream
1 Teaspoon cheesecake extract (vanilla is fine, too)
Pinch of salt
2 Slices baked cheesecake, roughly chopped into 1/2" pieces (optional)

No Churn Blueberry Cheesecake Ice Cream
Add the blueberries, sugar and lemon juice to a saucepan and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat to medium and cook for a few minutes until the berries are soft enough to crush and the sauce begins to thicken.  Allow to cool and then refrigerate for at least an hour.

Add the cream cheese and condensed milk to a large bowl and, using a stand or hand mixer, blend until smooth.  Add the extract, salt and heavy cream and continue beating for about 5 minutes or until soft peaks form.  Fold in the cheesecake pieces, if using.  Pour half the mixture into a freezer safe container with a tight fitting lid (I used this one), add the blueberry spread and top with the remaining ice cream base.  Using a butter knife, gently swirl the mixture.  Cover and freeze for at least 6 hours.  Allow to soften slightly before serving.  Makes approximately 12 half cup servings.


No Churn Blueberry Cheesecake Ice Cream
Note:  OXO provided me with the tools to help make the ice cream but the recipe and opinions are my own.  Thank you for supporting the brands and products I love and regularly use in my kitchen.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Creamy Roasted Heirloom Tomato Dressing

Creamy Roasted Heirloom Tomato Dressing

If you've recently noticed fewer salad greens in your local market, it may very well be my fault.  The way I've been buying massive quantities of all sorts of lettuces could have contributed to a nationwide shortage.  What's my sudden passion for romaine and butterhead?  To scoop us this dressing, of course, and shovel it into my mouth.  The next option would be a spoon.

Creamy Roasted Heirloom Tomato Dressing
I blame the fact that I'm starting to experience photosynthesis on my friend Renee who writes the Magnolia Days blog.  She posted a recipe for a tomato vinaigrette and my life hasn't been the same since.  I tried her original recipe first and instantly knew that tomato dressing was going to be a regular thing in my house.  But I do like to tinker and on one of my many shopping trips for tomatoes and lettuce, I spotted these yellow heirloom beauties.  Roasted for extra flavor, creamy, because I like creamy dressings, slightly sweet, slightly tangy and I had that perfect oomph to create a lettuce panic among farmers.

I will warn you about one thing.  As you make this, do not, whatever you do, taste the roasted tomatoes when you take them out of the oven.  Um...you already did, didn't you?  And you ate them all standing right there and now you don't have any left for the dressing, right?  I'll wait here while you go get some more tomatoes.  Maybe get a few extra because you will be making this again and again.  Enjoy!

Ingredients
2 Large yellow tomatoes (red is also delicious, just a slightly stronger flavor)
3 Tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 Tablespoons mayonnaise
1/4 Cup milk
1/4 Teaspoon sugar
1 Tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 Large clove garlic, peeled
1 Tablespoon chopped chives
Salt & pepper to taste

Creamy Roasted Heirloom Tomato Dressing
Slice the tomatoes and place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  Drizzle one tablespoon of olive oil over them and roast in a pre-heated 400 degree oven for 25 - 30 minutes.

Place the garlic in a food processor and pulse until it's chopped finely.  Add the roasted tomatoes, remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil, mayonnaise, milk, sugar and red wine vinegar.  Puree until smooth then season with salt and pepper to taste.  Add a bit more milk if you like a runnier consistency.  This recipe probably makes 4 servings but, around here, it doesn't!