Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Brownie Bottom Cherry Swirl Cheesecake


It's that time of the year again. The time when I celebrate my birthday (tomorrow) and my lifelong love of cheesecake. And yes, I am one of those people who makes my own birthday cake because I take my cheesecake very seriously.


Don't get me wrong, there are some great cheesecakes out there. I'm a sucker for the classic steakhouse New York style strawberry topped version. You can usually count on a steakhouse for a cookie crust instead of graham crackers and that is what I prefer. But there's room in my heart for all sorts of cheesecake love.

Each year I make a different version and this is my first brownie bottom one. The trick is to bake the brownie layer just enough to set it but not enough to dry it out during the long cheesecake bake. But I'm happy to report that it actually works perfectly. And since I love the combo of chocolate and cherries, this cake got a cherry swirl. It's pretty seriously great but, don't worry, I'm sharing. Enjoy!

Brownie Bottom Cherry Swirl Cheesecake

by Hungry Couple
Cook Time: 100 Minutes
Ingredients (10 Servings)
    Brownie Layer:
    • One box of your favorite brownie mix or use my homemade recipe here.
    Cheesecake Layer:
    • 16 oz. Cream cheese, softened
    • 8 oz. Ricotta cheese
    • 1 1/4 Cups sugar
    • 3 Eggs
    • 5 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
    • 1 Tablespoon vanilla
    • Zest of one lemon
    • 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
    • 3/4 Cup all purpose flour
    • 1/2 Teaspoon salt
    • 1/2 Cup cherry preserves
    Pre-heat the oven to 325 degrees and line a 9" spring-form pan with parchment paper.

    Prepare the brownie mix and pour into the pan. Bake for 20 minutes and allow to cool slightly but leave the oven on. Note that the brownie mixture will be lightly set but not cooked through yet.

    Make the cheesecake filling by combining the cream cheese, ricotta cheese, sugar, eggs, butter, vanilla, lemon zest, lemon juice, flour and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer. Mix until smooth and pour over the cooled brownie base.

    Using a spoon, dollop the cherry preserves all over the top of the batter. Using a butter knife, gently swirl it into the batter. Place the pan on a baking sheet to catch any drips and bake for 75 - 80 minutes or until the top is set. It's fine if the top still has a tiny wiggle. Allow to cool completely before removing from the pan.

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    Wednesday, July 19, 2017

    Blueberry Lemon Galette with Labneh Whipped Cream


    Galette is the French term for a flat pastry but I just consider it a nice way of saying lazy pie. As in, I found some beautiful blueberries in the market and I really feel like eating blueberry pie but I really don't feel like dealing with crust crimping. No problem, just make a galette!

    Wednesday, July 12, 2017

    Frozen Mint Lychee Daiquiri


    I get very happy when each seasonal fruit I love finally appears in the market. The first cherries, mangoes, figs, etc. are all cause for celebration and recipe planning. And lychees definitely belong in that category. I can never resist those little rough looking pinkish orbs.

    Wednesday, July 5, 2017

    No Bake Cheesecake Mousse with Cherry Compote


    It's been kind of quiet around here, hasn't it? You might have wondered where I've been for the past few weeks. Well, I'm going to tell you and get a little personal today. Or, if you've got enough on your own plate, just skip down to a simple and perfect treat recipe.

    Monday, June 12, 2017

    Black Bean and Vegetable Meatballs with Zucchini Noodles


    In my life I've met some pretty amazing homemade tomato sauce makers. But I'll admit this is an area where I'm more likely than not to get a little help from the store. Still, it's got to be good and I want to be able to pronounce all the ingredients. I also really want any sweetness to come from ripe tomatoes and not a pound of sugar. Fortunately, the selection of good store bought sauces has grown a lot over the years.

    Monday, May 22, 2017

    Lemony Angel Hair Pasta with Carrots and Zucchini


    I'm in summer recipe planning mode these days and definitely going for dishes that are light, easy and quick to make. Because I want to be outside in the warm sunny weather and not in the kitchen chained to my stove. Bonus points for dishes that taste good at room temperature as well as hot. Extra extra bonus points if I can work a few veggies into it.

    Monday, May 15, 2017

    Pan Roasted Smokey Potato Salad with Corn and Bacon


    We are officially two weeks away from the unofficial start of summer. Yup, Memorial Day weekend is when I've always considered it the beginning of the season because that's when summer time shares typically start, summer work schedules go into effect and I start to want grilled food and potato salad every weekend.

    Thursday, May 11, 2017

    Watercress Salad with Honey Sauteed Apples and Almonds


    Can we talk about my favorite new healthy green that's not kale? When I say new I mean new to me, of course. Watercress has been around a long time and I had heard of it but I'm ashamed to say I hadn't tried it. Somehow I had this idea that it was super bitter or something so I kept buying spinach and kale and passed it by. Not anymore!

    Monday, May 8, 2017

    Baked Pine Nut Falafel Sliders with Hummus Slaw


    It's time, once again, to celebrate one of my favorite foods. Yes, this coming Saturday, May 13th, is International Hummus Day and it totally makes me happy that hummus is so widely appreciated.

    Wednesday, May 3, 2017

    Corn and Bacon Fritters with Apricot Yogurt Sauce


    I am all about the sweet and savory together. Yes, that's why I love chocolate covered pretzels but it's also why I like apple tarts baked with cheddar cheese, sweet fruit compotes over brie and maple syrup on bacon. And I know just where I get this particular set of taste buds, too. Yup, just like mom. So it makes sense that I make a sweet and savory treat for her for Mother's Day, right?

    Monday, May 1, 2017

    Cherry Blossom Cocktail


    I've always been completely obsessed with cherry blossoms and eagerly wait for them every year. They bloom for such a short period of time and I check the city parks regularly to make sure I don't miss them. For the record, I get like this in the fall, too, when I'm planning a road trip to see the leaves turn and monitor the foliage report like a stalker. Anyone else?

    Wednesday, April 26, 2017

    Smoked Gouda Pretzel Cheese Dip


    Serious pretzel lover here! Not the hard, crunchy ones you snack on. Wait, I mean, yes, those, too. But I'm talking about the soft, bready ones. Is bready a word? Let's just say it is. Pretzels are all my New York childhood memories of getting the big salty ones from street vendors when my mom and I went to watch the ice skaters at Rockefeller Plaza. Pretzels are my jam.

    Monday, April 24, 2017

    Liz's Shabbat Apple Cake


    Today I have the pleasure of sharing a recipe with you that comes from my friend Liz's new book, The Ultimate Jewish Shabbat Dinner. Liz writes the blog, The Lemon Bowl, and she shares many recipes from her Jewish and Syrian childhood. Given my passion for Middle Eastern cuisine, I'm obviously a fan.

    Wednesday, April 19, 2017

    Potato Hash Shakshuka


    The first time I saw shakshuka on a restaurant menu, I flashed to my first experience of huevos rancheros, the popular Mexican breakfast dish. The two aren't really similar at all except for the tomato sauce but, since my first huevos experience wasn't good, I kind of mentally banned eggs and tomato sauce, no matter the cuisine. I know better now, of course.

    Wednesday, April 12, 2017

    Strawberry and Honey Oat Scones


    I'm always fascinated by cooking / lifestyle programs that talk about entertaining over breakfast. I mean, I love entertaining. Come for lunch, come for tea, come for dinner or drinks. It's all good. But please don't come for breakfast. Unless you either enjoy cold, half eaten toast or like having your breakfast around Noon. I just can't fathom it any other way.

    Monday, April 3, 2017

    Cream Cheese Stuffed Pretzel Bagel Balls


    Being a native New Yorker, I'm used to a bagel with a schmear (of cream cheese) as a given. Every deli has it as the morning special with coffee, as do the street vending carts that offer breakfast options in midtown. It's our thing. Our delicious thing. The only question, really, is what kind of bagel you want with your schmear.

    Wednesday, March 22, 2017

    Chocolate Crumb Snack Cake


    Last weekend I was home, wanting a beautiful spring day but, instead, watching it snow outside. I was alternating between watching that giraffe cam and snuggling with my dog (my own personal petting zoo). Are you guys into the giraffe thing? I have no idea how I got sucked into waiting for a giraffe to give birth but now I'm involved so I'll wait it out until she has that baby and then go on with my life. But, in the interest of sanity, I decided to bake a cake.

    Monday, March 13, 2017

    Loaded Egg Salad Bagel with Honey Roasted Bacon


    What's that expression about, if you're going to do something then do it right? Well, this is a breakfast sandwich done right. More of a weekend project for me but definitely a special Sunday morning treat. Maybe even an amazing brunch for two after a good long sleep.

    Wednesday, March 8, 2017

    Middle Eastern Potato Snack Platter


    I'm impatient for spring to arrive. It always happens to me around this time of year. I feel like I've endured two months of freezing cold and snow and now I want cherry blossoms and warmth. Soon, I know, but not quite yet. So, while it's still cold and bleak, I'm catching up on my streaming movie watching and that requires snacks.

    Thursday, March 2, 2017

    Smokey Black Bean Burgers


    The other day I was looking through my refrigerator and cupboards and pulling out ingredients to make lunch. No particular plan. Just seeing what I have and what I could make with it. My own personal episode of Chopped?

    Monday, February 20, 2017

    Tex-Mex Potato Nachos


    It feels like I haven't been in my kitchen for weeks but, actually it's more like one week. One whole, incredibly long week of being flat on my back with the flu. Yes, that plague that's been going around since the new year finally caught up to me and all I can say is that it's evil. And I need a serious break from chicken soup for a while. Oy.

    Wednesday, February 8, 2017

    Heart Shaped Chocolate Cherry Mini Cakes


    It all started when I decided to make some Valentine's treats for friends and neighbors. I figured I'd do something fun and colorful but my baking cabinet was sadly out of red or pink sprinkles. So I headed to the store to restock and saw heart shaped sprinkles (what??) and red candy melts and heart shaped cutters and I bought them all without even knowing what I was going to do with them.

    Monday, February 6, 2017

    Red Velvet Swirl Bundt Cake with White Chocolate Ganache


    So the Superbowl is over, right? And one of the teams won, correct? My lack of interest is showing, isn't it? In fairness, I'm a big fan of football food. I just prefer eating it while watching puppies playing with a ball. But that's not important now. What is important is that we all stuffed ourselves with copious amounts of game day snacks and now it's time to focus on the sweets. Yup, Valentine's Day is coming!

    Sunday, January 29, 2017

    Soup and Salad Wraps Dinner


    I think I've made it known in the past that I'm obsessed with soup in cold weather. And by cold weather, I mean starting right after Labor Day. And by "made it known" I mean multiple times per year going back forever. So, it's a soup-fest around here for most of the year.

    Wednesday, January 25, 2017

    Game Day Eats Ideas and Finds!


    I'm back today with more game day food ideas but with an eye toward convenience. Let's face it, sometimes you've just been cooking too much and too many folks are coming and you need some shortcuts. Or, at least, recommendations for good products to buy to supplement the snacks you've made yourself. So here then are some items I've tried lately that deliver on flavor, convenience and quality. I hope some of them will find their way to your game day festivities. Enjoy!

    Monday, January 23, 2017

    Southwestern Chorizo Filled Potato Poppers and Pineapple Salsa

    Southwestern-Chorizo-Filled Potato-Poppers-and-Pineapple-Salsa

    I'm deep in game day recipe mode around here. Between regular Sunday sporting events on TV and the big game coming up soon, it's a bit of a snack fest around here. And the cold rainy weather outside is not doing anything to remove the desire to eat yummy food in front of the TV inside, if you know what I mean.

    Wednesday, January 18, 2017

    Ultimate Crispy Topped Cheddar Mac and Cheese


    Superbowl is almost here. Are you getting really excited? Are you cheering for your favorite teams and planning a big get together with lots of great snacks? Me, too! Um...OK...maybe just the food part. Seriously, I have watched football (the things you do for men), I understand football (sort of, in the sense that I know the rules of the game) but I'm really just here to eat.

    Monday, January 9, 2017

    Spiralized Root Vegetable Pasta with Crispy Chickpeas and Walnut Pangrattato


    This recipe title is a mouthful, I know. And it really should be even longer because it's technically a walnut gremolata pangrattato. Ouch. So many big words for such a simple and easy to make dish. Healthy, filling, delicious and on the table in 30 minutes. Let's discuss, shall we?

    Monday, January 2, 2017

    Southwestern Black Bean Salad with Sweet Potato Wedges


    Happy New Year, friends! I have to say that I love when New Year's Day falls on a Sunday. I mean, I'm all for resolutions and new beginnings and all that. But to go from chugging a bottle of champagne (I admit nothing) to presenting yourself at the gym the next morning on a bowl of high fiber, whole grain cereal, is a little daunting. By which I mean, it ain't happening. So this way, we kind of get a bridge day to get it together.

    Monday, December 26, 2016

    Bourbon Manhattan Cherry Shrub


    I always find it hard to say what my favorite foods and drinks are because I love so many. But if there's one cocktail that's had a starring role over the years, it's the Manhattan. It's one of the first real drinks I ever tried and I'm sure the name had a lot to do with the attraction for this native New York girl. But I did really like it.

    Wednesday, December 21, 2016

    Baked Gingerbread Doughnut Holes


    In between the rounds of cookie baking I've been doing lately, I was suddenly struck with an urge for a doughnut. Of course, the problem could also be that I was gifting all the cookies and developing sweet treat withdrawal. It actually doesn't take much to put me in sweet treat withdrawal which is probably why stretchy pants are such a good idea. But back to the doughnuts. I wanted some right now.

    Monday, December 19, 2016

    Satsuma Mandarin Shrub Martini


    This year I added a new treat to my list of favorite things. I wasn't completely sure how I felt about the idea of drinking something that was made with vinegar. But, as it turns out, I'm totally on board and the shrub experiments began in earnest around here. If you haven't tried it yet but are a fan of kombucha, you probably will become a shrub lover.

    Monday, December 12, 2016

    Potato, Onion and Cauliflower Latkes


    It's getting to be the most delicious time of the year. And if there's anything better than the smell of frying potato pancakes, I don't know what it is. Yes, Hanukkah is in a couple of short weeks. In fact, it's rather late this year, with the first menorah candle being lit on Christmas Eve. So, there will be yuletide carols and frying potatoes. It's going to be epic!

    Monday, December 5, 2016

    Southwestern Cheddar Stuffed Meatballs


    Meatballs again? Oh, hell yes, I love them! They're easy to make, use ingredients I usually have around the house and the flavor can be customized in lots of different ways. They're great as leftovers or on a sandwich. Hey, there's a reason that a meatball themed restaurant is doing so well in New York that it's opened multiple locations. More meatballs!

    Monday, November 21, 2016

    Potato and Acorn Squash Soup


    Every year I flip through fancy housewares catalogs and see gorgeous soup bowls shaped like pumpkins and squash, just begging to be added to an elegant holiday table. And I want them. And I imagine making pumpkin or squash soup to serve in them. But I never buy them because they're kinda pricey for something I'll just use at Thanksgiving.

    Thursday, November 17, 2016

    Cocoa Caramel Cocktail


    Every year I plan a "house cocktail" for the holidays. I make a big pitcher of it in advance and then just shake off the individual cocktails with ice as guests arrive. Since I'm a big believer in making as much ahead as possible so I can enjoy actually spending time with friends and relatives, it makes sense to do the same with the drinks.

    Monday, November 14, 2016

    Pear and Apple Autumn Pie


    Holiday desserts in my house have always meant pie. Sure, there might be a few other things that I whipped up or that guests brought. And they change with the season and mood. But there's always pie. When I was a kid, I really only ever wanted the crust and could do without the filling. But now that I make my own pies, I want them both.

    Wednesday, November 9, 2016

    Butternut Squash and Parmesan Lasagna


    So, I was basically a nervous wreck all day yesterday, waiting for election results and watching cable news obsessively. I knew I needed some comfort food so I put my nervous energy to work in the kitchen, layering flavors, creating something delicious and keeping my mind occupied.

    Thursday, November 3, 2016

    Butternut and Ricotta Polenta with Crispy Brussels Sprouts


    I've been on a serious polenta kick around here lately. I think it's a combination of chilly weather and busyness. Polenta is a big warm bowl of comfort and it's also easy to make and cooks pretty fast. And, for even more fun, it's wonderfully versatile so I can change up the flavors and not get bored.

    Monday, October 24, 2016

    Crispy Curried Smashed Potatoes


    Have you ever had crispy smashed potatoes? To me, they're sort of like potato skins only a few notches above. Skins have tons of toppings but not much potato. Definitely more appetizer than side dish. But smashed potatoes give you the crispiness as well as the full flavor of the potato. But, somehow, I rarely get around to making them.

    Wednesday, October 19, 2016

    Pumpkin Cheesecake Ice Cream with Praline Pecans


    For most of my life, I stopped craving ice cream after summer was over. But all that changed a number of years ago when I first tasted pumpkin ice cream. There's a small local artisan ice cream shop near my apartment and they put a sign out announcing the flavor. Curiosity eventually got the better of me and I went in and got a scoop. An obsession was born.

    Monday, October 17, 2016

    Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich Cookies


    We will now take a brief recess from pumpkin spice everything to bring you some peanut butter. I promise that things will go back to orange very shortly. But sometimes, peanut butter and jelly beckon and you cannot refuse. OK, I cannot refuse.

    Wednesday, October 5, 2016

    Smokey Pumpkin Sage Pasta Sauce

    Smokey Pumpkin Sage Pasta Sauce

    Wow, it's almost the end of the first week of October and this is the first pumpkin recipe I've shared with you this season. That's quite a lot of restraint on my part because I love pumpkin and my kitchen has been stocked with them since I saw the first one in the market.

    Wednesday, September 28, 2016

    Park Avenue Vegetarian Sandwich

    Park Avenue Vegetarian Sandwich

    Many years ago (we won't discuss how many), I worked at an ad agency that was on Park Avenue in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan. And down the block was a great deli where most of the neighborhood headed for lunch. They piled their sandwiches high with all the lunch meat you could ever hope for but they also offered a veggie only option, called the Park Avenue Vegetarian, that was piled just as high.

    Monday, September 26, 2016

    Joan's Ding Dong Cake

    Joan's Ding Dong Cake

    Earlier this month, a foodie friend posted a link to the Ding Dong cake from Chocolate, Chocolate and More and a flood of memories came pouring in. My darling friend, Joan, created that blog and made it hugely popular. She loved to bake and loved to spend time in the kitchen with her three children in her lovely Georgia home. But Joan was not a small town girl and she and this big city girl hit it off like gangbusters. She was smart, funny, sassy, irreverent and a good time. But she was also the person most likely to help anyone with anything without ever looking to take credit for it. She was a rare and special light.

    Wednesday, September 14, 2016

    Peanut Butter Pie with Chocolate Covered Pretzel Crust

    Peanut Butter Pie with Chocolate Covered Pretzel Crust

    I was in the grocery store last week and planned to pick up a bag of pretzels to snack on. All they had were large bags, more than I needed for a snack for sure, so I thought I might use the rest in a pie crust. And while I'm standing there, deciding, my eyes fell on a bag of chocolate covered pretzels. I'm totally a sweet and salty fan and chocolate covered pretzels are some of my favorite treats but I normally try to avoid them. The reason my eyes lingered is because my brain was thinking along the lines of pie crust and I wondered what would happen if I made a chocolate covered pretzel pie crust. Very, very good things would happen, actually.

    Wednesday, September 7, 2016

    Salisbury Steak Meatballs

    Salisbury Steak Meatballs

    Last week I came home from grocery shopping with a pound of ground beef but no fixed idea how I was going to use it. That's not really all that unusual and I picked it up because I knew I needed dinner ideas, even if I didn't know what they were. One of my go-to ground beef dinners is meatballs and my basic recipe includes an egg and breadcrumbs with the herbs and spices varying. A basic tomato sauce works most of the time but the sauce is a good opportunity to give the dish a new flavor. So, what flavor?