Thursday, February 28, 2008

Another Quick Dinner and Some Sage Advice...

I have another confession. I love butternut squash. I can't get enough of it. I am always looking for new, interesting and delicious ways to prepare butternut squash. One of my greatest successes but also failures was my butternut squash ravioli. Please, ask my family about that story and they will crack up!

A couple years ago, I decided I was going to make dinner for my family. I had this recipe in mind for butternut squash ravioli that filled wonton wrappers with a goat cheese butternut squash mixture. It sounded divine! I figured it would be fairly easy to make but I was very very wrong. I am a naturally messy cook but this was a disaster. Filling and wonton wrappers were everywhere. But I finally made a small bowl of butternut squash ravioli, which I put on my nicely set table and called my family to dinner. My sister, brother and parents each served themselves a couple (about 3) ravioli. They loved them but then asked "What is for dinner?" Yes, I kind of misjudged the quantity needed to feed a family of five. I will never live down that kitchen adventure but at least the ravioli tasted good!

I keep noticing Ruth's Presto Pasta Night but have never gotten my act together to add one to the roundup. For its first birthday, I decided to enter this dish. The original recipe came from a New York Times article encouraging the reader to eat more vegetables with less pasta. I cannot promise that we always do that but the pasta sauce is delicious. I added sage because butternut squash and sage are the perfect pair. Check out the round-up for other pasta dishes at Once Upon A Feast.

Pasta with Butternut Squash and Tomatoes
(adapted from NY Times)

Salt and pepper
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, chopped or pressed
1 shallot, sliced
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, or to taste
1 tablespoon sage, chopped
1 can (14.5 ounces) chopped tomatoes
1 pound peeled, pre-cut butternut squash (I love the already cut up squash you can buy at the store, it is worth the extra expense for me not to have to risk a digit cutting up the squash)

1/2 pound cut pasta, like ziti or penne

Freshly chopped parsley or Parmesan for garnish.

1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and salt it.

2. Put olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add garlic, shallots, sage and pepper flakes and cook for about a minute.

3. Add tomatoes and squash, and cook with some salt and pepper.

4. When squash is tender -- about 15 minutes -- cook pasta until it is tender. Combine sauce and pasta, and serve, garnished with parsley or Parmesan.

P.S. Some more sage advice...One of my favorite dishes to make is a simple brown butter sauce with sage over ravioli or tortellini. Take about 3 tablespoons of butter and heat over medium heat until it begins to melt and bubble. Take about 5 leaves of sage (I like to dice them) and put in the melting butter. Cook until the butter begin to brown. Pour over some ravioli, sprinkle with Parmesan and eat! yummy!

Click Here for Recipe...

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

A Quick Dinner and a Guest Blogger

This week has already been really stressful and exhausting (I know, it is only Tuesday). When I came home today, I wanted to have a decent meal but I was starving so it had to be quick. I knew what I was going to make (we will get to that soon) but I was impatient. Also, I, dedicated blogger that I am, wanted to get some photos of my meal. As I was cooking, I grabbed my camera, set up the background, rummaged around for something to accompany the main dish (broccoli, in this case) and discovered that my camera's batteries were dead! But this crazy blogging lady would not be stopped. I grabbed the remote out of my roommates hands (I really wish that wasn't true), borrowed those batteries, took a few quick shots and finally sat down to eat. It was delicious and really was quick! I made Rosemary Sage Chops that I had found on Blue Kitchenby Terry when I was searching for some way to use an abundance of fresh sage and satisfy my pork craving. I used a mixture of fresh sage and dried rosemary because that is what I had. I also decided to add a new flavor by adding Parmesan.

Now, I had mentioned something about a guest blogger. My desire to make pork chops came from an email that my sister sent me regarding her most recent cooking adventure. She is also a excellent cook, although not as crazy as I am. I found it amusing so I thought I would share it, as an example of the trials and tribulations one sometimes faces cooking with roommates in an apartment building:

My apartment lacks air circulation, so when I was cooking a pork chop it got a bit smoky. I wasn't even burning the thing. I opened the windows and it started to clear out, but not fast enough for my roommate. She opened the front door which set off the fire alarm. I called the fire department to ask them to turn it off, but they said it wasn't there job and to just call my landlord. It took some time to get him on the phone, but eventually he called back and gave instructions on how to turn the thing off. Meanwhile, someone upstairs called 911. The fire department showed up and gave us shit for turning the alarm off because they are supposed to investigate. I'm mortified! I just wanted a damn pork chop.

Rosemary Sage Parmesan Chops

(adapted from Blue Kitchen)

Serves 1 to 2

4 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoons chopped fresh sage
1 teaspoon dried rosemary or 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
1 clove garlic, minced or pressed
2 tablespoons of parmesan per chop, shredded
1 to 2 bone-in pork chops
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

1. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add olive oil.

2. When it starts to shimmer, stir in sage, rosemary and garlic. Season with salt and pepper and cook for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.

3. In the meantime, pat chops dry with a paper towel and season on both sides with salt and pepper.

4. Increase heat on skillet to medium-high and add chops to pan, directly on top of herb/garlic mixture.

5. Cover pan and cook chops undisturbed for 3 minutes (make sure to cover the pan because the grease will spit everywhere).

6. Turn chops, cover pan, reduce heat to medium and cook for 3 minutes.

7. Sprinkle the side of the pork chop with 1 tablespoon of shredded parmesan and flip to create a parmesan crust on the pork chop. Cook for 2 minutes.

8. Sprinkle the other side of the pork chop with 1 tablespoon of shredded parmesan and flip to create a parmesan crust on the pork chop. Cook for 2 minutes or until the pork is cooked through.

P.S. How to cook the pork, a vegetable and starch in 30 minutes?
1. Put water on high to boil for pasta or 5 min rice. If you are cooking for one or two, you will only need a medium saucepan.
2. Prepare the pork-chops through step 5.
3. Prepare frozen vegetables according to the package in the microwave (for quick dinners, frozen works the best).
4. Flip the pork (step 6).
5. When the water boils, prepare the rice or pasta according to the instructions on the box.
6. Finish pork.
7. Drain starch.
8. Put everything on a plate and season as you desire.
9. Does this make sense? I just wanted to give you an idea of how to multi-task in order to eat quickly.

Click Here for Recipe...

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Sunlight, Sunday Morning, Scones

Sunshine peeking through the blinds woke me up this morning. Well, to be honest, the text from my roommate did but...sunlight woke me up the second time. Something about it made me crave my family's big weekend brunches. My mother will make scones, coffee cake, Züpfe (a Swiss braided bread similar to Challah), or some other sort of breakfast bread. We will get out a variety of different cheeses and fruit. Then, the whole family sits down to a leisurely breakfast. If it is warm, which in North Carolina is almost year round, we will move everything onto the back porch, basking in the sunshine and enjoying the fresh air. I love these brunches. It is always nice to be with my family and it brings back wonderful memories of our years spent in Switzerland.

This morning, I decided that I could at least replicate the food of these brunches. I made some Scones, got out the Brie, brewed some strong coffee and climbed onto the couch to watch TV with my roommates. So, not exactly the same as breakfast at my parent's house least I had scones! The scones were good but like all things never as good as my mother's. I adapted the original recipe from The Best of Priscilla's English Tea Room. This tea room was in Hillsborough, North Carolina but, unfortunately, closed and I can find no reference online. I have adapted it for only two to three people. I sometimes add cinnamon to add some extra flavor.

The English Scone
(adapted from The Best of Priscilla's English Tea Room)

2 cups flour
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup milk
1/3 cup currants
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
2. Mix dry ingredients together.
3. Blend dry ingredients with butter using a pastry cutter until the butter is in very small pieces and fully incorporated.
4. Make a well in the middle and pour in the milk. Mix until just incorporated. Dough will be sticky and moist.
5. Place on a floured surface and pat into a rectangle. Mine ended up being about 8" x 4" x 1/2". Cut down the middle and cut each half into triangles (about 8 per side).
6. Place on a cookie sheet and bake for 8-10 minutes until browned.
7. Serve with honey, jam, butter, lemon curd... I prefer honey!

P.S. Do you not have a pastry cutter? My sister gave me one for Christmas this past year. I always ask for new kitchen gadgets for presents. Before this wonderful tool entered my life, I would use two kitchen knifes to cut the butter when making scones, biscuits and other such bake goods. In order to do this, hold a knife in each hand with the blades pointed down and out. Cross the blades over the butter and then pull out cutting the butter. Continue this crossing method, mixing the butter with the flour mixture until the butter is in small enough pieces and throughly mixed in with the flour.

Click Here for Recipe...

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

I think I've gone Bananas...for Bloggin'

Tomorrow, my blog will turn one month (and my grandfather 80...Happy Birthday Nonno!). How crazy is that? I must admit...I am hooked. It challenges me to be creative, learn new skills (such as html code), and try new recipes plus I love the community of the foodie blog world that I have joined. My friends and family have been very supportive by listening to me blab on and on about what I am learning, patiently refraining from eating my models while I take pictures and emailing me constructive comments. Thank you all.

I do not want to lose sight of my purpose to impart some easy recipes and tips for the 20-somethings who just want to make some good food. I grew up making this banana bread recipe. It is very easy and it is a huge hit. I have friends from college who still ask for my banana bread. It is the best way to use up over ripe bananas, because who really can eat all those bananas before they go bad? Not this single woman. I like to wait until they have turned black but before they go bad (a.k.a. moldy). We tend to freeze the bananas, as they become too ripe, so that I can use them when that craving for banana bread hits. Unfortunately, there is only one decent photo, because, as Peabody warned, beige food does not photograph well. But it tastes better than my picture looks and is really easy to make...

Banana Bread
(adapted from Betty Crocker recipe for Nut Bread)

1 cup mashed bananas (2-3 super ripe bananas)
2 ½ cup all-purpose four
1 cup sugar
3 ½ teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
3/4 cup milk
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla

1. Heat oven to 350°F.
2. Grease and flour a 9x5x3 loaf pan.
3. Mash up the bananas using a potato masher or fork.
4. Mix in the remaining ingredients, until everything has been incorporated.
5. Pour into pans and bake for 65 to 75 minutes or until a knife/ tooth pick inserted into the center comes out clean. To prevent it from burning, towards the end of the baking time, place a piece of aluminum foil loosely over the bread.
6. Remove from pan; cool thoroughly before slicing.

P.S. Do you like chocolate or nuts in your banana bread? Mix 1/2 cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips, 1/2 cup of chopped pecans/walnuts or both with the other ingredients before pouring it in the pan.

Click Here for Recipe...

Monday, February 18, 2008

I Figgin' Love Chocolate

You may have noticed, I LOVE CHOCOLATE. It is a small addiction and a very necessary part of my life. I used to give up chocolate for Lent every year. Although I would drop about five pounds, a small cloud would appear over my normal sunny demeanor, as I missed the taste and smell of chocolate. I just need a little bit everyday to satisfy my craving. Although sometimes, I stumble across a dessert that must be taken away from me before I eat it all, like these brownies.

This month, Foodie Pam sponsored Leftover Tuesdays #12: the Sweetheart Challenge. The theme of this challenge was to make a creation with the leftover chocolate that you have in your pantry from previous recipes. In my house, we have a ton of leftover chocolate. From both leftovers and the fact that my roommates and I often forget to check what we have before buying more. You know how it are at the store, have a specific recipe in mind and are almost positive you have this one ingredient. So you hover over the ingredient, debating on whether to buy it because you don't want to run back to the store once you get home. Maybe you call home to see if anyone is around but alas no one is there. So you buy it and come home to find out that you now have...two containers of cocoa.

This happens fairly often in my house, so when I looked at our chocolate selection I found out that we have a ton of chocolate...semi-sweet baking chocolate, milk chocolate chips, the cocoa, white chocolate chips, bars of milk chocolate...I could go on. I also have a bunch of dried figs that I have been trying to use with something. Then I remember this recipe, I saw on Pittsburg Needs Eated. for a Double Chocolate Fig Brownie. I changed it around a little bit to incorporate what I had on hand. The result was a delicious, scrumptious, rich, fudgey, and gooey brownie. It is best enjoyed with a huge glass of milk. The pictures are not my best because I was too impatient to let them cool before I took the photos and woofed them down.

Double Chocolate Fig Brownie
(adapted and converted from

• 7 oz. semi-sweet chocolate, broken into pieces
• 1 stick of butter, cubed
• 1 cup brown sugar
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 2 eggs, whisked
• 1 cup dried figs, finely chopped
• ½ cup brandy
• 3/4 cup flour
• 1/4 cup cocoa powder

1. Soak the chopped figs in the brandy for 30 minutes until softened.
2. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease an 8’ x 8’ pan.
3. Melt chocolate and butter in a saucepan on the stove at medium heat.
4. Remove from heat and stir in sugar and vanilla. Set aside for 5 minutes to cool.
5. Stir egg and fig into chocolate mixture.
6. Mix in flour and cocoa until well combined.
7. Spread chocolate mixture into prepared pan. Bake for 25 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the center comes out slightly sticky. Brownies should be set and have a crust, but still be a little soft inside.

P.S. Do you like whip cream?

I actually do not, which is why I did not include it with this recipe but this is a quick and easy topping to accompany the brownies.

Brown sugar cream:
1 1/4 cup whip cream
2 tablespoon brown sugar

1. Important step: Place bowl and beaters into the freezer before making the whip cream. This makes it easier to whip.
2. Beat cream and brown sugar in bowl until thickened. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Click Here for Recipe...

Saturday, February 16, 2008

In lieu of flowers...I'll take flour

In the wake of Valentine's Day, after I gorged myself on way too much chocolate and enjoyed my co-workers beautiful flowers, I got to thinking about how romantic practical gifts can be. So many of the standard Valentine's Day gifts are cute and romantic but not very lasting or useful. Flowers die, chocolate consumed, teddy bears neglected. My roommate, for instance, bought her boyfriend things he needed for his car. Not the standard "romantic" present but it was by the sheer fact that it was thoughtful and maybe the thought does count. Thinking back, I've been given practical gifts that have been very meaningful and memorable to me. I've had a pack of cards for about six years from an ex that I still breakout and has somehow survived all my moves. One guy I was dating brought over 25lbs of bread flour (although, now that I think about it, we weren't dating did not take long). Given my bread obsession, I'll happily take flour over flowers. Although, I would never turn down flowers!

I love bread! I love making bread! I love the smell! I love the taste! I love everything about bread! If I have a rough day at work, I break out the flour and yeast and get rid of my aggression by kneading the dough. A productive way to destress. In keeping with one of my blog goals, to teach people how to cook, I decided that I really need to learn how to make No-Knead Bread. I was never too interested because the kneading is my favorite part but...when I saw LyB's of And then I do the dishes beautiful post, I thought I should give it another chance. No-Knead is easy to make for anyone who is intimidated by the bread making process. The important part is that it needs to be cooked in a pot in order to create the really good crust and maintain a nice shape. Previously, I had tried it without a pot because I do not have one big enough but it did not turn out well. I have two pyrex bowls, 1 quart and 2 quart, so I adapted the recipe to make two smaller loaves. Start this the day before you want to make it because it will need to rise at least a total of 14 hours. My little loaves turned out quite well. A nice crunchy crust and an airy moist inside, absolutely delicious.

No Knead Bread
(Adapted from Jim Lahey, Sullivan Street Bakery, as found in the NY Times)

3 cups all-purpose or bread flour, more for dusting
¼ teaspoon instant yeast
1¼ teaspoons salt
1 5/8 cups water

Cornmeal, flour or wheat bran as needed.

1. In a large bowl combine flour, yeast and salt. Add water, and stir until blended; dough will be shaggy and sticky. Cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let dough rest at least 12 hours, preferably about 18, at warm room temperature, about 70 degrees. (I left mine for about 15 hours.)

2. Dough is ready when its surface is dotted with bubbles. Lightly flour a work surface and place dough on it; sprinkle it with a little more flour and fold it over on itself once or twice. Split the dough into two equal portions. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rest about 15 minutes.

3. Using just enough flour to keep dough from sticking to work surface or to your fingers, gently and quickly shape each portion of dough into a ball. Generously coat a cotton towel (not terry cloth) with flour, wheat bran or cornmeal; put dough seam side down on towel and dust with more flour, bran or cornmeal. Cover with another cotton towel and let rise for about 2 hours. When it is ready, dough will be more than double in size and will not readily spring back when poked with a finger.

4. At least a half-hour before dough is ready, heat oven to 450 degrees. Put a two 1- to 2-quart Pyrex bowls pot in oven as it heats. When dough is ready, carefully remove pot from oven. Slide your hand under towel and turn dough over into pot, seam side up; it may look like a mess, but that is O.K. Shake pan once or twice if dough is unevenly distributed; it will straighten out as it bakes. Cover with lid and bake 25 minutes, then remove lid and bake another 10 minutes, until loaf is beautifully browned. Cool on a rack.

P.S. If you want to make one large loaf check out LyB's recipe. In fact, check out her blog anyway. Her pictures are beautiful and she has a lot of ideas for variations.

Click Here for Recipe...

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

I Heart Valentine's Day

Oh Valentine's Day! A day of joy, happiness, jealousy, depression, anger and disappointment... There is so much meaning associated with this day... If you are in a relationship, whatever your significant other does somehow represents how he/she feels about you. If you are single, it is the day you want to hide, as your co-worker is sent a dozen beautiful red roses. It is down right silly. A while ago I decided to just embrace Valentine's Day and enjoy it regardless of my current relationship status! Besides, it is a perfect excuse to indulge in delicious chocolate creations, wear too much pink, decorate everything with hearts and remind your loved ones that you love them. Of course, I am also human and my positive attitude does not always shine co-worker will receive flowers and I'll feel a pang of jealousy or my boyfriend will buy me only one rose and I'll begin questioning our relationship...but I am trying and chocolate always helps.

When I saw the event, A HEART FOR YOUR VALENTINE, I could not wait to come up with something. Although in lieu of a sweetheart this year, my roommates happily filled in. I thought of this recipe for a Double-Chocolate Ginger Dessert from La Cucina Italiana, designed specifically for a couple. I had put this on my list of something to make in the future but had never gotten around to it. Chocolate and ginger is one of my favorite combinations so I thought I should give it a try. This recipe defies my mother's mantra "that if you can read, you can cook." It is very sparse and assumes you have a certain degree of skill. It also calls for baking in small 3' by 4' pans which are very hard to find so I decided to play with the recipe, incorporating hearts and this is what I came up with...

Double-Chocolate Ginger Dessert
(adapted from La Cucina Italiana January-February 2006)

2/3 cup heavy cream
1/3 cup candied ginger, chopped
5 ounces chopped semi-sweet chocolate, divided into 2 ounces and 3 ounces
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon flour
2 tablespoon butter, chopped into pieces
pinch of salt
2 egg whites

1. In a saucepan, combine the heavy cream and candied ginger, set in the fridge for an hour to infuse.
2. Preheat oven to 350º.
3. Melt 2 ounces of the chocolate in a small sauce pan slowly on low heat.
4. Remove from heat and add the butter, stir until melted.
5. Pour the chocolate mixture into a cool bowl and add sugar, flour, and salt.
6. In a separate clean bowl, beat the egg whites at high speed with a mixer until they form stiff peaks.
7. Fold the white eggs into the chocolate mixture.
8. Butter and flour 2 ramekins. Pour the batter into the ramekins.
9. Bake for 30 minutes or when a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove and set aside to cool.
10. Place the remaining 3 ounces of chocolate into a large bowl.
11. Heat the cream/ginger mixture over medium-high heat until it just begins to simmer.
12. Remove from heat and strain the chopped ginger out of the cream.
13. Mix the cream into the chocolate, until the chocolate melts.
14. Allow to cool and then using a mixer beat into a mousse (I tried to do this but mine refused to become a mousse so I created more of a chocolate-ginger ganache).
15. Spread the chocolate-ginger mousse/ganache over the cakes in the ramekins (Both of my cakes had fallen in the middle, creating a small pocket for the ganache).

For the chocolate hearts...
1/2 cup white chocolate
1/4 cup milk chocolate

1. Grease the bottom of a pan and the inside of the heart cookie cutters.
2. Melt the white chocolate in the microwave. Heat it for 20 seconds and mix it to help melt it. Continue to heat it for 10 second intervals, stirring in between until it has melted. Be careful not to burn it.
3. Melt the milk chocolate in the same manner.
4. Pour the white chocolate into the pan.
5. Dab the milk chocolate and swirl into the white chocolate with the back of the spoon.
6. Place the heart cookie cutters into the chocolate and put into the fridge to harden.
7. When it is harden, break apart the chocolate and pop out the chocolate hearts.

P.S. Check out the round-up for other yummy heart ideas here.

A heart for your Valentine

Click Here for Recipe...

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Ginny makes…toast

I have trouble with toast. Toast is very difficult. You have to watch it all the time or it burns up.

-Julia Child

When I was in kindergarten, after school one day, I really wanted toast. My mother, busy with my 3 year old sister and newborn brother, told me to put the bread in the toaster and push down the button. When it popped up, it would be ready. I listened to her instructions but when the bread came up it was not toasted enough for me (I like my bread toasted to the point of almost being burnt). I asked my mom about what to do and she said to change the dial to a higher setting. So I tried again. The next thing I knew, black smoke was billowing out of our house, our neighbor was running across the street wanting to know if he needed to call the fire department, and my poor toast had turned into ashes. I had committed one of my first culinary mistakes by toasting the same bread twice.

Although, I still like my bread toasted to the verge of burnt. I haven't burnt bread quite that bad since. One of my favorite new sandwiches, Chicken-Thyme-Pear-Brie, I made up one day on a whim because I had some pears about to go bad and some chicken. My roommate keeps asking when I am going to make it again and when it will appear on the blog. So here we go... Although, to be truthful, this one is made with swiss because it is what I have at home. I like it with Brie more but Swiss is a decent substitute.

Chicken-Thyme-Pear-Brie Sandwich

Makes two sandwiches.

4 slices of bread
1 chicken breast
3 tablespoon white worcestershire sauce
1 pear
1 teaspoon thyme
2 tablespoon butter
brie (or swiss), sliced

1. Marinate the chicken in the worcestershire sauce for a least 2 hours and up to a day beforehand.
2. Grill the chicken until cooked through.
3. Slice the pear into strips around the core.
4. Heat 1 tablespoon butter in a frying pan over medium heat until melted.
5. Cook the pear in the butter until softened and beginning to brown.
6. Sprinkle with thyme and mix to cover. Season with salt and pepper.

In a toaster oven:
7. Place the slices of bread in the toaster oven. Put slices of cheese on two of the slices of bread. Toast the bread to your desired toastedness and the cheese melts.

On the stove:
7. Heat the other tablespoon of butter in a frying pan and tilt the pan to move the butter over the frying pan. Place the bread on the frying pan. Put slices of cheese on two of the slices of bread. Toast the bread to your desired toastedness and the cheese melts.

8. Remove from the toaster oven/frying pan. Place slices of chicken on the bread with the cheese, top with the pears and then cover with the other piece of bread.
9. Slice and eat! yummy!

P.S. Don't have/like Brie or Swiss? Add any cheese that you like or have around. Play with new combinations and see what you come up with

Click Here for Recipe...

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Patriots + Giants = A Yummy Superbowl Cheesecake

I love football but this year I am not excited about the Superbowl. It stems from my complete dislike of either team and apathy towards the outcome of the game. In order to make it more exciting, I decided to challenge myself by creating a dessert for my friend's Super Bowl Party that was representative of both teams. I started thinking about what was a very typical Boston dessert in honor of the Patriots and a very typical New York dessert in honor of the Giants. I came up with a Boston Cream Pie and a New York Cheesecake. Trying to fit these two desserts together seemed quite difficult. The textures and flavors of both are very different and not conducive to being put together...Kind of like getting the Pats and Giants to play nice together. Instead, I focused on the essence of each dessert. The vanilla custard and chocolate ganache of the Boston Cream Pie and then the texture and smoothness of the cheesecake. This led me to create a Vanilla Cheesecake with a Chocolate Ganache.

Ginny's Super Bowl Cheesecake

Adapted from
Vanilla Bean Cheesecake with Cranberry Jewel Topping found on Epicurious

12 vanilla sandwich cookies (such as Vienna Fingers; 6 1/2 ounces), broken into pieces
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1/4 cup sugar

6 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup whipping cream
1 1/2 pounds cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup sugar
Pinch of salt
4 large eggs

Chocolate Ganache (adapted from the Joy of Cooking)
1 1/2 cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips
3/4 whipping cream

1. About an hour before you start to bake, take the cream cheese out to come to room temperature.
2. Preheat oven to 350° F.
3. Wrap outside of 9-inch springform pan with foil and grease the inside of the pan. Place it in a deep pan with at least inch high sides. Test to make sure you have sufficiently wrapped the springform pan by pour water in the pan and seeing if any leaks through.
4. Blend the cookies and sugar in a food processor (or blender) making crumbs.
5. Melt the butter in microwave for 30 seconds.
6. Mix into the cookie mixture and press into the bottom of the springform pan.
7. Bake for 10 minutes, make sure not to burn it. Remove from oven and set aside.
8. While the crust bakes, mix the cream cheese, sugar and salt. A mixer will make it easier.
9. Mix in the cream and vanilla.
10. Add the eggs and mix until all ingredients have been incorporated. Scrape the sides to make sure everything is incorporated. Do not over mix.
11. Pour over crust and place in the deep pan.
12. Boil a cup of water and pour in the pan, making sure not to spill it into your cheesecake.
13. Bake at 350° F for 50 minutes until the sides have puffed up slightly and the middle is slightly jiggly.
14. Turn off the oven and crack the oven to slowly cool the cheesecake.
15. Once it has cooled, refrigerate for at least 6 hours or overnight in the springform pan.
16. To prepare the ganache, in a saucepan over medium low heat bring the whip cream to a slow boil.
17. Stir in the chocolate until melted and incorporated.
18. Pour over the cheesecake and place back in the fridge to set.
19. Once set, using a knife, slowly loosen the edges of the cheesecake from the springform pan and undo the spring to take off the sides of pan. Slowly slide the cake off the bottom of the pan onto a serving platter.
20. Slice and serve! Yummy!

P.S. Cracking Eggs Tip: Always crack eggs in a separate bowl. That way in case you get some shell in it, you can fish it out before it goes into the dessert.

Click Here for Recipe...