Monday, July 27, 2015

Chocolate Chip Cheesecake with Oreo Crust

Chocolate Chip Cheesecake with Oreo Crust

Isn't this a good looking birthday cake? Yes, I know it's a cheesecake but today is my birthday and I always want cheesecake on my birthday so this is a birthday cake. Isn't it pretty? And no we won't be sticking any candles on it because it looks way prettier with chocolate shavings. Also, that many candles would be dangerous.

Chocolate Chip Cheesecake with Oreo Crust
Ironically, Thursday is National Cheesecake Day and the proximity makes my whole cheesecake as a birthday cake just cosmically meant to be. And I do like to make my own cake because that way, I get exactly what I want. Last year's birthday treat had a cookie crust and blueberry sauce on top so this year I figured I'd go the chocolate route.

And have no cheesecake fear. I make the entire thing in a food processor and it's deceptively simple. You can use all cream cheese if you prefer but I've always found the mix of cream cheese and ricotta gives me a great texture every time. So, I'm going to go enjoy my birthday cake and try not to inhale the whole thing in one day. Wish me luck. Enjoy!


Chocolate Chip Cheesecake with Oreo Crust
by Hungry Couple
Prep Time: 25 Minutes
Cook Time: 80 Minutes
Ingredients (10 Servings)
  • Crust:
  • 24 Oreo sandwich cookies
  • 1/2 Stick unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled

  • Cake:
  • 16 oz. Cream cheese
  • 8 oz. Ricotta cheese
  • 1 Cup sugar
  • 3 Eggs
  • 3/4 Cup all purpose flour
  • 5 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 Teaspoon salt
  • 1 Cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

  • Topping:
  • 1 3.5 oz. chocolate bar, at room temperature
Instructions
Chocolate Chip Cheesecake with Oreo Crust
Pre-heat the oven to 325 degrees.

To make the crust, add the cookies to a food processor and pulse until they've turned into crumbs. Pour in the melted butter and pulse a few more times until all the crumbs have been coated. Pour into a 9" spring-form pan and tamp down to form an even layer.

Shake out the food processor bowl and then add the cream cheese, ricotta cheese, sugar, eggs, melted butter, flour, vanilla, lemon juice and salt. Puree until smooth. Place the chocolate chips in a bowl and toss with a teaspoon of flour to help keep them from sinking while baking. Add to the food processor and pulse a couple of times just to distribute them.

Pour the mixture on top of the cookie crust, place on a baking sheet and bake for 75 - 80 minutes or until the top is set. Allow to cool thoroughly before removing from the pan.

To make the chocolate curls, make sure the cake is completely cool and run a vegetable peeler down the sides of the chocolate bar.

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Blueberry Ricotta Cream Cheesecake

Friday, July 24, 2015

Summer Friday Flashback: Yogurt Fig Cake

Every Friday this summer I'm going to treat you to a blast from the past. I've chosen some of the best recipes from the past few years to highlight because I love making them over and over again. Enjoy!

Yogurt Fig Cake

This beautiful cake was the first time I baked with Greek yogurt and became a convert. Moist, buttery cake, fragrant with cinnamon and ginger and topped with fresh seasonal figs. It was heaven in loaf form!


Wednesday, July 22, 2015

One Pot Basmati Rice and Sausage Casserole (and a giveaway)

One Pot Basmati Rice and Sausage Casserole

Have I ever described the kitchen in my Manhattan rental to you? It's small, dark and cramped with cabinets that were all the rage back in 1986 but not at anytime since then. There's only enough room for a small fridge and the little movement room I had has been taken up by the cart I bought to hold a microwave and some basic pantry items that didn't fit elsewhere. The counter top appliances are mostly hand-me-downs and I'm pretty sure the toaster is older than I am. It's not exactly my dream kitchen but somehow it all works.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Protein Packed Breakfast Bowl


Protein Packed Breakfast Bowl

Confession time. I'm not very good to myself at breakfast. I'm rushed and distracted and I tend to eat a piece of toast standing up in the kitchen and then run. Oh, I'm better the rest of the day and I will eat fruit and vegetables and yogurt before it's all done. But, seriously, what a piss-poor way to start the day. No more, though. I'm vowing to reform.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Icy Sparkling Mango Cooler

This recipe was sponsored by Sweet 'N Low and Social Stars. Thank you for supporting the products I love and use in my kitchen.

Icy Sparkling Mango Cooler

Summer get-togethers need a cocktail, right? Right?? And since I like spending time with my guests instead of being stuck in the kitchen or behind the bar, I like to prep in advance. And that certainly includes the drinks. Brunch parties need something light and fruity and easy on the added sugar but I have lots of ideas for that.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Mustard and Herb Crusted Lamb with Yogurt Sauce

Mustard and Herb Crusted Lamb with Yogurt Sauce

Leg of lamb is a fancy meal that takes forever and is made for holidays, right? Pfft, says who? Add this to the many myths about cooking because lamb is juicy, delicious, can be prepared fairly quickly and is perfect for a weeknight meal. No need to break out the fancy wine either because it's so good with a refreshing summer ale.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Sponge Cake with Creamy Strawberry Cheesecake Frosting

Sponge Cake with Creamy Strawberry Cheesecake Frosting

Those of you who come here often already know there's a complete lack of fancy decorated layer cakes. That's not due to a lack of interest but rather to a complete lack of talent in the fancy decorated layer cake department. Oh, I'm the queen of crumb cakes and fruit pies but once you start talking about frosting and layers you should probably go elsewhere. I'm working on it.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Summer Friday Flashback: Individual Chocolate Pudding Cheesecake Parfaits

Every Friday this summer I'm going to treat you to a blast from the past. I've chosen some of the best recipes from the past few years to highlight because I love making them over and over again. Enjoy!

Individual Chocolate Pudding Cheesecake Parfaits

These little pots of awesome were born of my absolute need to have this dessert and my complete certainty that if I made it in a large pan, I would eat the whole thing all by myself in record time. Layers of butter cookies, no-bake cheesecake, chocolate chips and chocolate pudding coming together to make heaven in a jar.


Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Blueberry Cornmeal Muffins

Blueberry Cornmeal Muffins

When you see a basket full of little muffins do you think "awe, how cute?" I don't. I think it's boring and sad. A portion controlled basket of boring sadness. Enough that it makes me avoid muffins. Yes, I know the ones from the good bakery, the ones as big as your head, are considered too big a portion and should probably be shared or something. But that's too bad because that's the only size muffin I want and those are the ones I made. We can eat lettuce tomorrow.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Honeydew Melon Agua Fresca

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Honeydew Melon Agua Fresca

What are the components of a great summer party? Great food with plenty of snacks, cool drinks and rocking music. On the drink front, I'm a big believer in one "house" drink, pre-made in big pitchers and easily customizable for guests. Agua frescas are traditional Mexican waters flavored with fresh fruit. They're refreshing, delicious and healthy. Typically non-alcoholic so they're perfect for kids and non-drinking guests. And for the rest of us, they're an excellent cocktail base. Just add vodka!

Friday, July 3, 2015

Summer Friday Flashback: No Churn Blueberry Cheesecake Ice Cream

Every Friday this summer I'm going to treat you to a blast from the past. I've chosen some of the best recipes from the past few years to highlight because I love making them over and over again. Enjoy!

No Churn Blueberry Cheesecake Ice Cream

This addictive ice cream is based on one of my favorite desserts, blueberry cheesecake. I was craving cheesecake ice cream in the worst way but couldn't find it in any of my local stores. Learning to make it myself became a must and the no churn version mean I didn't even have to invest in an ice cream maker. Trust me that there is always great sadness in my house when a batch of this is finished.


Wednesday, July 1, 2015

The Month in Review - June 2015

The Month in Review - June 2015

OK, I definitely don't know where June went and how it could possibly be July already. But that probably just means that June was a good month. And given my dislike of winter, I imagine that all the lovely warm months are going to fly right by for me. Nevertheless, June was filled with loads of delicious food and a few great ideas for this coming weekend's Independence Day celebrations. So let's take a quick look back before we get to the business of zipping right through July. Enjoy!

Monday, June 29, 2015

Fruit Salad with Candied Nuts and Puff Pastry

Fruit Salad with Candied Nuts and Puff Pastry

You probably don't think of fruit salad as being in any way controversial. But I think it's divided into two camps - those who are happy to accept fruit salad as dessert and those who are not. I am firmly in the second group. So if you invite me to dinner and serve me fruit for dessert, not gonna lie, I'll be disappointed. But once you introduce another element like sweet puff pastry, that's a whole 'nother thing.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Cantaloupe Melon Martini

Cantaloupe Melon Martini

Have you mastered the art of being able to tell when a melon is ripe? Yeah, me neither. But I have learned that my best chance with melons, and all other fruit, is to go by the smell instead of squeezing the life out of it. So, if it smells like the fruit, it's probably ripe. And I've been walking past some amazingly fragrant melons lately.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Tex-Mex Corn Dip

Tex-Mex Corn Dip

Sweet corn is one of the many benefits of summer and I take full advantage of it. Grilled or roasted with plenty of butter and seasoning. I love elote which is a Mexican street corn but there is also a dish called esquites in which the kernels are sliced off the cob and sauteed in butter. Both versions get a dose of mayo and cheese and the esquites are typically served in a bowl and eaten with a spoon. Sounds like the makings of a great dip to me and I added some of the flavors of the southwest like tomatoes and cumin.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Red, White and Blue Frozen Yogurt Cake

Red, White and Blue Frozen Yogurt Cake

Let's talk about the 4th of July or any summer gathering, actually. Guests are coming, there's going to be grilling and salads and side dishes and copious amounts of snacking while you're waiting for it all. And when it's done you still want something sweet but cold and light. It's easy to just serve ice cream but maybe you kind of want to impress your guests a little, too?

Friday, June 19, 2015

Mint Lychee Collins

Mint Lychee Collins

I love watching as each summer fruit comes back into season. This week, on my stop at the fruit vendor, I spotted the display of bright red pods. The lychees are back. Sweet, juicy, tropical little orbs. Great as a snack but even better in a cocktail.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Tomato and Cottage Cheese Tart with Quinoa Crust


Tomato and Cottage Cheese Tart with Quinoa Crust

Cottage cheese has always been a staple in my house. My mother used to spread it on her morning toast and she'd mix it with apples or peaches for me as an after-school snack. I guess that stuck with me because I still sometimes make myself an afternoon snack of apples in cottage cheese. Although mom never cooked much with it, over the years I've learned that it's a great filling for casseroles and tarts, too.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Glazed Mango Bread

Glazed Mango Bread

The other day I picked up a mango on my way home. It was my afternoon snack with some Greek yogurt but I was so mesmerized by how juicy and perfectly sweet it was that I new I needed more mangoes immediately. Fruit and Greek yogurt snacking made me think of my favorite Greek yogurt quick bread recipe. Mango bread coming right up.

Friday, June 12, 2015

French Onion Mac and Cheese

French Onion Mac and Cheese

Well, hello sweet onion season. The Vidalia's are back and I'm going through them like they're going out of style, or at least out of season, very soon. I'm sure I'm driving my neighbors crazy with the smell of sweet onions caramelizing in my cast iron pan on a daily basis. And I don't even necessarily have a plan for what to put them in but I'm just happy to eat them with bread if need be.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Peanut Butter Banana Frozen Yogurt (No Churn)

Peanut Butter Banana Frozen Yogurt (No Churn)

For the last few summers I resolved to make healthier frozen treats using the pureed fruit and yogurt trick. And I become quickly disappointed with the results. Oh, they taste good enough when you first mix them but after they freeze they seem to lose their flavor. And that creamy texture we all love never returns. So many plans, so many disappointments. Except...

Monday, June 8, 2015

Pasta with Jeweled Beets


Pink pasta? Oh my, yes! I'm a pretty ardent beet fan but I seem to have been stuck in a roasting rut. I wanted to find something to change things up and maybe also speed them up. Enter my food processor and cast iron pan. In the time it took me to cook the spaghetti, I literally had the beets done and ready to go in. And the aroma in my kitchen was wonderful.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Blackberry Mint Bramble

Blackberry Mint Bramble

The other day I was stocking up on berries, my summer snack obsession, and admiring the blackberries. Such an unusual but beautiful fruit and I've always loved the color. I was turning over potential recipes in my head when I remembered the Bramble. It's a sweet gin based drink that's typically made with blackberry liqueur but I always prefer to use fresh fruit anyway.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Blueberry Cobbler with Goat Cheese and Thyme

Blueberry Cobbler with Goat Cheese and Thyme

Although I'm a big proponent of homemade pie crust, there's a lot to be said for making it the lazy way. Galettes are lazy pies where the dough is just folded over onto the fruit without any fancy edge crimping. Cobblers forgo the crust altogether in favor of sweet biscuits layered on top of the fruit, giving it a cobbled together appearance. No need even to worry about a bottom crust. Quick, easy and completely satisfying.

Monday, June 1, 2015

The Month in Review - May 2015

The Month in Review - May 2015

I enjoyed May way too much. And the reason I know that is because it went by way too fast. Because winter lasted so long, our cherry blossoms and tulips were late this year. But once they appeared I wasted no time grabbing my camera, and my furry assistant, and capturing as much as I could. Now they've been replaced with the lush greenery of summer and the first of many summer in the city street fairs is coming up next week. And I'll be there, enjoying those too. The food in May was pretty amazing as well so let's take a quick look back. Enjoy!

Friday, May 29, 2015

The Manhattan

The Manhattan

The classic, elegant Manhattan is one of the first cocktails I ever learned to drink. It seemed like such a grown up, classy thing to sip on while sitting in some dark, oak paneled New York bar. So the young me thought it was fun while the...um...older me now appreciates the taste.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Roasted Potato and Bacon Caesar Salad

Roasted Potato and Bacon Caesar Salad

I love Caesar salad and you probably do, too. I've rarely met anyone who doesn't. But let's be honest and say that there's not much to it. Yes it has delicious garlicky toasted croutons but mostly it's a delivery vehicle for Caesar dressing. That's what we really love, isn't it?

Monday, May 25, 2015

Life in the Big City - Spring in My New York

Life in the Big City - Spring in My New York

Lately I've had several out of town friends plan visits to New York and, of course, want to know where to go and what to see. In a city like this, there's no short answer to that question because you could plan dozens of trips and never see the same things twice. And I appreciate that tourists do what tourists do, just as I do when I'm a tourist in another state or country. Still, it hurts my heart to think that anybody's view of my lovely city goes no further than Times Square and the Naked Cowboy.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Curried Chickpea and Hummus Sandwich

Curried Chickpea and Hummus Sandwich

Happy National Hummus Day! Yes, there is such a thing and well there should be because I love hummus. My parents lived in Israel for a few years and they brought back a life-long love of Middle Eastern cuisine. So I grew up with tahini, falafel and massive doses of hummus. And as an adult on my own nothing's changed. My fridge looks a whole lot like theirs did, complete with many tubs of Sabra hummus.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Pasta Primavera Salad

Pasta Primavera Salad

Tick tock...we're counting down to Memorial Day weekend. Patriotic festivities, the start of long summer weekends and for many, the first BBQ party of the season. What's not to love? Well, sometimes what's not to love is the same old collection of mayo laden side salads. Sure, I make them, too, and there's a favorite macaroni salad that's been making the rounds for I don't know how many summers. Time for a change, maybe? Don't like change? OK, how about just an addition.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Mustard Roasted Cauliflower

Mustard Roasted Cauliflower

I'm not sure how much cauliflower I eat in a given year but it would not surprise me at all to find out I'm personally subsidizing some nice cauliflower grower out there. Hey, if you're that farmer, it would be so much easier to bypass the grocery store altogether and just back that truck up to my house. It's my favorite vegetable.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Watermelon and Herbed Feta Cheese Salad


Sweet, juicy, ripe, beautiful watermelon...I've been waiting for you. And just in time for Memorial Day weekend. That is the official start of summer entertaining as far as I'm concerned and whomever decided summer doesn't really start until June 21st needs to rethink that.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Pretzel Crumb Caramel Banana Cream Pudding

Pretzel Crumb Caramel Banana Cream Pudding

Can we take a moment to consider all the ingredients in this jar? Crumb topping made with pretzels for that sweet and salty bite, banana pudding made with thick double cream and homemade caramel sauce dripping down over it all. Forget heavenly dessert - this is the dessert served in heaven. I dipped in my spoon to take a taste and when I came out of my trance the whole jar was gone. And I can't even blame the dog because she doesn't like bananas.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Cheesy Ramp Biscuits

Cheesy Ramp Biscuits

I am one of those ramp obsessed New Yorkers who flock to the farmer's market in spring when the first crop of ramps appear. I buy a ton of them and put them in virtually everything I cook. And yet I realized that I haven't shared a single one of those recipes with you and it's because I was too busy eating and savoring to photograph and write. And by the time I finally came out of my hypnotic ramp state last year, they were almost gone. Maybe it's because their season is so short that we're so obsessed. But I'm getting an earlier start this year.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Lemon Drop Daiquiri

Lemon Drop Daiquiri

Warmer weather makes me crave lots of citrus in my food and, of course, in my drinks as well. I've been making good use of the big bowl of lemons sitting on my counter and I definitely wanted them to shine through in my cocktail. A lemon drop was the logical choice.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Beet and Chickpea Burgers with Feta and Tahini

Beet and Chickpea Burgers with Feta and Tahini

Let me describe the state of my kitchen the day I decided to experiment with beet burger recipes. A big bowl of chopped beets, a row of bowls filled with black beans, white beans and chickpeas. Another row of bottles from where I'd basically emptied out my spice cabinet. I had curry powder, smoked paprika, cumin, dried oregano and garlic powder. Representing the fresh herbs from my fridge were scallions, chives and parsley. And finally I had spoons and bowls for mixing various combinations because these were going to be the best beet burgers I could make.

Monday, May 4, 2015

The Month in Review - April 2015 (and a Little Horn Blowing)


April might be gone but it was thoroughly enjoyed. Sunshine, comfortably warm temperatures, blooming trees and a riot of spring flowers.April in New York is an absolute delight. It's also when May issues of magazines typically hit the newsstands. You all don't mind if I do a little tooting of my own horn, do you? Because one of those magazines featured me! Yes, an actual, glossy, printed, buy it at the newsstand magazine has me in it. It has a bunch of other great stuff too, of course, so you definitely want to buy a copy. Assuming there are any still left because I might have bought just a few extra for myself.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Pear Margarita

Pear Margarita

It's getting to be that time again when my mind turns to thoughts of margaritas. OK, that usually happens every Friday or whenever my best friend and I happen to head out to our favorite Mexican restaurant. I'll spare you the details of how many years we've been haunting that place. But what I'm talking about today is Cinco de Mayo.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Spring Pea Soup

Spring Pea Soup

When I was wandering around the produce section of the market, looking for dinner inspiration, I wasn't really expecting to make soup. Not that I'm opposed to it almost year round but my mind was looking for spring food inspiration. And there they were - spring peas. And fresh chives and even pea tendrils. And I started to think about a light, simple but flavorful soup.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Walnut Cake

Walnut Cake

As much as I might ooh and aah over some beautifully decorated and artfully frosted cakes, the fact is that I usually prefer something more simple. Give me a crumb cake and make sure there's a thick layer of it, a good coffee cake dusted with powdered sugar or a simple almond pastry and please have a pot of tea ready as well.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Blueberry Cheesecake Martini

Blueberry Cheesecake Martini

For most of my life I was obsessed with strawberry cheesecake. That is, a standard New York style cheesecake with a layer of strawberries on top, usually glazed with some kind of syrup. Steakhouses are the best places to find perfect examples of this classic and it's what I always ordered. Until a few years ago when we had dinner at Sojourn and tasted their blueberry ricotta cheesecake. And my fantasy cheesecake repertoire suddenly grew.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Cast Iron Loaded Deep Dish Pizza

Cast Iron Loaded Deep Dish Pizza

I'm a lazy pizza maker. There, I've said it. Living in New York, it's easy enough to satisfy a pizza craving by simply walking two blocks in any direction of my apartment but I don't so much care for those thin pizza parlor slices. OK, I may have just jeopardized my right to live here but I've said that now, too. There are several excellent options for pre-made artisan dough around here and I tend to keep balls of it in my freezer. Are you sort of thinking of forgiving me? But I tend to dump whatever form of tomato sauce I have in the house, some pre-shredded cheese and slices of pepperoni on it, put the whole thing on a sheet pan and shove it in the oven. Wait! Come back here. I can do better, I promise.

Monday, April 20, 2015

New York Frito Pie

New York Frito Pie

I grew up in Manhattan. We had Frito's but no Frito pie. We also had no Walmart or Target or any supermarket larger than a standard studio apartment because real estate is way too expensive around here. It was a deprived existence. OK, not really. New York is an amazing place to grow up but we still had no Frito pie. Thanks to some of the wonderful southern foodies I've met through blogging though, I have been introduced to this creation and it sounded wonderful.