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Legendary New York Cheesecake

I’m not a cake person.

That said, the few cakes I do enjoy are all in the “Best Desserts Ever” category. Can you guess what’s at the very top? Cheesecake. Cheesecake is the best cake, food, and ice-cream flavor I’ve ever tasted. Seriously, if they came out with a Cheesecake GO app where you capture recipes like Pokemon, I’d be the first in line.

Anyways, a few years ago I visited my dad’s side of the family in the South. While there, and possibly on the way out of a chocolate shop, my great aunt told me about this cheesecake recipe.

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What, you don’t know the legend? Well, it’s not the story that makes this cheesecake exciting, I promise you. The story just emphasizes why this cheesecake is my favorite one.

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The topping is just some caramelized pears. I used them because pears are in season and I needed to cover up a big crack in the top of the cake. This cake tastes equally good without any topping though, don’t worry.

Once upon a time, one of my great aunt’s friends was eating at a fancy restaurant in a fancy city. Of course she tried a slice of cheesecake, and of course that cheesecake was delicious, so she asked for the recipe. On her way home, she looked at the receipt for her meal and realized the recipe had been added to her bill… for an extra couple hundred dollars. Ever since then, she’s been sharing that recipe with all her friends and relatives, because you don’t hoard Truth. That stuff needs to be shared.

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It’s a little shorter than it’s supposed to be here because I divided the recipe by 2/3. We didn’t have enough cream cheese for the full cheesecake. Totally not because I’m a cream cheese fiend. Why would you say that???

Ever since my great aunt wrote down this recipe in the margins of my sketch book, it has been the centerpiece of many a birthday. While my dad prefers the chocolate raspberry truffle variety of cheesecake, I prefer the plain and simple purity of this legendary recipe. So basically, I’m passing the world’s fanciest cheesecake recipe into your hands. Use it wisely.

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Legendary New York Cheesecake

Ingredients:*

6 packages of cream cheese at room temperature (8 oz each)
16 oz sour cream (around 2 cups)
2 cups sugar
6 eggs (room temperature is best)
2 tsp vanilla

*Note: You can use any graham cracker crust you want, but the one I used is here.

Instructions:

  • Prepare a spring form pan with graham cracker crust and well-oiled sides.
  • Preheat oven to 450*F.
  • Blend cream cheese, sour cream, and sugar thoroughly.
  • Add the eggs in two at a time, being careful not to over-whip.
  • Stir in vanilla.
  • Place spring form pan into a larger pan surrounded with one inch water.*
  • Pour cheesecake batter into the spring form pan and bake for 15 min.
  • Lower the temperature to 300*F, and bake for an additional 60 min.
  • Remove spring form pan from larger pan and return to oven. Turn oven off. Stuff hot pads in the oven door to create a small vent. Leave cheesecake in oven to cool as the oven cools. I’d recommend leaving it in overnight, but either way works.
  • Refrigerate for one day. (You could skip this step. Just make sure you have leftovers so you can appreciate its flavor the next day.)

*Note: If you don’t have a pan large enough, simply fill a pan with water and place it on the rack underneath the cheesecake.

 

 

Uncategorized

Graham Cracker Crust

The one and only purpose of this recipe is to create the crust for a certain legendary cheesecake, but you can use it for other things too. For example, it can make a tasty snack. Or you could stir it up with some cream cheese and sugar to make cheesecake dip. Or you could make cheesecake brownies in muffin cups. As always, let me know what you did with it, and share a picture or two!

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Graham Cracker Crust

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs (you know how graham crackers come in boxes with three packages? I’ve found that one package is just the right amount for crushing inside a zip-lock bag with a rolling pin to make crumbs.)
2 tbsp sugar
Pinch of salt
6 tbsp butter

Instructions:

  • Preheat oven to 325*F.
  • Stir together the graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and salt.
  • Melt the butter.
  • If making for cheesecake, brush the bottom of a spring form pan with some of the butter.
  • Stir the rest of the butter into the graham cracker mixture.
  • Press the crumb mixture over the bottom of the pan, making sure to get crust evenly into the edges.
  • Bake until golden brown, 15-18 minutes. Let cool.
Cookies · Family Favorites · Recipes · Sweets

Dad’s Chocolate Chip Cookies

While he was on his mission, my dad didn’t stop eating cookies. I’m sure the thought never even crossed his mind. Instead, at the very front of his little grey mission notebook, he wrote down what he could remember from his mom’s chocolate chip cookie recipe. The page is yellowed like an ancient document, spotted with the brown stains of being used constantly over the years. There are more recipes underneath it and on the other side of the page, but none of them quite compare to the omnipotence of this cookie. Wait, why am I describing it when you can see for yourself?

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There it is. The ultimate recipe. Simplicity combined with chocolate and light, fluffy chewiness.

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Photographic evidence. Now you *have* to make it.

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(My brother made a batch for school and put them in a plastic bag, hence the shiny bit.)

Funny story time. Once when my brother was very small, we had fish for dinner. Afterwards, we made dad’s chocolate chip cookies together. My toddler brother picked up a container full of leftover fish parts and dumped it right into the cookie bowl. It wasn’t very funny at the time. We didn’t eat it. We didn’t give up, either. We simply started over, keeping all fish entrails out of reach this time. No one and nothing can stop my family from eating homemade chocolate chip cookies.

Not even fish entrails.

And with that, let’s take a look at the real recipe. The one in the photo is almost perfect, but it has too much salt and is a little vaguer than I’d like.

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Dad’s Chocolate Chip Cookies

Makes: 3 dozen

Ingredients:

1 & 1/3 cups butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
3 & 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 bag chocolate chips

Instructions:

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  • In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugars together.
  • Mix in the eggs and vanilla.
  • Add the flour, baking soda, and salt.
  • Stir the dry stuff together, then stir it together with the wet stuff until everything is well combined.
  • Stir in the chocolate chips. Taste the batter.
  • Put cookie-sized balls of the dough onto a well-greased (or parchment paper covered) baking pan, spaced evenly apart
  • Bake for 5-10 minutes.
Family Favorites · Recipes · Soup

Mom’s Beef Stew

Quick, think of a meal you ate all the time when you were a kid! Was it beef stew?

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No? Well, it was for me. And now that I’m old enough to actually operate a kitchen, I got to see how it’s made. It’s surprisingly easy. Just imagine bite-sized pieces of steak soaked in broth with carrots, potatoes, and celery.

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(Oh wait, you don’t have to imagine it)

I can’t think of anything in the world more ordinary and satisfying.

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Mom’s Beef Stew

Makes: 6-8 servings

Ingredients:

1 pound beef flank, round or sirloin steak – cut into bite-sized pieces
1 onion, chopped
2 cups celery
1 tbsp garlic powder
6 cups water
3 tbsp instant beef bouillon
1 cup carrots, chopped
1 cup frozen green peas
4 potatoes, peeled and chopped
2 bay leaves
1 tbsp dried oregano leaves
1 tbsp dried chives
2 tbsp ground marjoram
1 tsp salt
½ cup flour
½ cup water

Instructions:

  • In a large soup pot, bring 1/4 cup of water to boil.
  • Add the onions, celery, and garlic powder. Sauté until soft.
  • Add the steak and cook until browned.
  • Pour in the rest of the water, bouillon, vegetables, and spices, and bring to a boil.
  • Reduce heat to medium, and cook until the vegetables are soft.
  • Combine the flour and ½ cup water in a small bowl or cup, making sure to get out any lumps. Stir a little of the stew broth into the flour mixture, then pour the flour mixture into the stew.
  • Let simmer until the stew thickens.
Photography

Sunset After Rain

This photography collection hit like a brick falling from the sky. I looked out the window, was struck by how vibrant the orangey-yellows mingled among the clouds were, and dashed outside to take pictures before the sun went down.

By the time I’d finished taking pictures, mis padres were wondering where I was. Funny how you can go missing in your own backyard, right? My main focus was capturing the tranquil mood of Earth after rain, made so vivid by the moon high in the sky as well as the emotive yellow clouds, ranging from puffy white to thunderous. I hope I’ve captured the wind, the rain, and the sunset well enough for you to feel transported to that place where you smell petrichor and hear gentle wind murmuring in your ears.

Breakfast · Recipes · Snacks

Rewe’s Yogurt Muesli Cup

When you start a blog, you have to ask yourself what you’re going to post first. For me, this moment is the deciding factor in whether the blog actually happens or not. More often than not, I freeze at the idea of writing a post worthy of my plans for the blog. Will it be good enough? Will it be interesting enough?

Well, enough of that. Instead of some intro-post or something, I’ll dive straight into the creative stuff that inspired starting this blog in the first place.

Namely, the Yogurt Muesli Cup.

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For years I lived within walking distance of a grocery store called “Rewe”. Kinda overpriced, but convenient. And every time I walked through the fresh foods section, I’d have one eye on this cup of goodness right here. Not only does it have no-gross-sugar-added German muesli and yogurt, but it’s brimming with nuts and sliced fruit. Once or twice I’d volunteer to walk the dog just so I could buy one of these and eat it on the way home…

Here’s the ingredients list, copied studiously from the back of the cup:

  • White and red raisins
  • Cashews,
  • Brazil nuts
  • Walnuts
  • Hazelnuts
  • 3.5% fat yogurt
  • 3.5% fat milk
  • Muesli*
  • Banana slices
  • Unpeeled apple chunks
  • Pear chunks
  • Grape halves

For some reason the ingredients list also mentioned percentages, so here those are too:

    • 18% nuts and milk and yogurt
    • 45% muesli
    • 37% fruit

There you have it! My favorite breakfast food ever. Or snack. Or dessert. Don’t forget to post pictures if you make it yourself!

*Note: Muesli over there is not what it is in America. American muesli is like eating tiny, hopelessly crunchy cookies made out of grains held together by sugar. If you want to get this right, either use German / Swiss muesli (I saw it at Walmart once… or you can order it online at German sites), or mix together some of these yourself:

  • Rolled oats
  • Random dried fruit (cranberries, blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, apricot, etc)
  • Chopped dates and/or coconut flakes
  • Other grains and seeds, such as sunflower seeds, barley, sesame seeds, puffed rice, cornflakes
  • Chopped nuts, such as almond slices, walnut pieces, hazelnuts, etc
  • This doesn’t work in a yogurt cup per se, but I’ve seen muesli with chocolate chunks