Monday, April 5, 2010

Lemon Blueberry Cheesecake

In an effort to be more active on my blog, I'm finally updating with a fantasic recipe that I made this Easter. It's loosely based on an Epicurious recipe, but I altered it to make it more awesome and less artery-clogging

Lemon Blueberry Cheesecake

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit

2 cups graham cracker crumbs (I used Honey-Maid Low Fat Honey)
0.25 cups dark brown sugar
2 tsp ginger
2 tsp lemon juice
5 Tbsp melted butter

Mix these ingredients and press them along the bottom and sides of a 9"-10" springform pan. Place in the freezer for 15 minutes, and then bake for 10-15 minutes.

1 cup blueberries (fresh or frozen, depending on the season)
4 8oz packages of cream cheese (I used 2 regular, 2 low-fat)
1.75 cups sugar
1 cup sour cream (lowfat)
1/3 cup lemon juice
3 Tbsp lemon zest (just the yellow part)
1/4 cup light cream
2 tsp vanilla extract (just eyeball it)
4 eggs at room temperature

Mix everything except the blueberries together until it's homogeneous. People like to tell you that the order or amount of time you mix things actually makes a difference, but I say to the devil with them. It's just a way they have of controlling you. I mean, don't mix it for an hour, be reasonable. Pour a third of the mixture in the pan over the crust. Then add the blueberries (they'll sink to the bottom for the most part, anyway, but that way they won't make the crust mushy when it bakes). Pour the rest of the mixture. Bake until the cheesecake only slightly jiggles when you shake it--usually at least an hour. Remove and let cool for about ten minutes while you assemble the topping.

1.5 cups sour cream
2 tsp lemon rind
0.5 cups sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract

Mix the topping, and spoon it over the hot cake, reaching the edges completely. Bake for about 10-15 more minutes. Let the cake cool on a rack on the counter for 15-20 minutes. Using a sharp, thin knife, loosen the edges of the cake from the pan (don't unspring the pan yet!). Pop the still hot cake into the refrigerator, uncovered, and let it set overnight before serving. Enjoy!

Thursday, August 20, 2009


I haven't written on this blog in forever! I feel terrible, because, you know, this blog has such a large following. But here's what's going on in my life--I'm working daily from 5am to 1pm at Panera Bread (a restaurant which has inspired a ton of culinary creations), and I'm leaving for Grad School at Boston University Medical Campus in 10 days (which I'm sure will provide lots of local flavor inspirations, despite the fact that I'll be too broke to try any of them). But I haven't stopped cooking! I'm just really bad at keeping tabs of the recipes that I whip up and don't write down because frankly, most of my cooking is experimental. And then, I don't take pictures of them, which makes the blog really boring to look at. But I promise I'll post something incredible soon. Until then, you should get your food blog fix at, where one of my dearest friends posts his amazing creations. Until then....

Monday, December 29, 2008

Turkey Enchilada Casserole

I made this the first time after Thanksgiving 2007, and the second time after Christmas 2008. The second time I was floored, not because it turned out well (it did), but because my sister, who hates nearly everything, liked it. It's a great use for leftover turkey from large turkey dinners, but if you feel inclined to make this any other time during the year, chicken will probably work well. Serves 6-8.

8-8" Flour tortillas
3 c. Cooked turkey, shredded
1 c. White rice, uncooked (2 cups, cooked)
1-12 oz can Black Beans
1-12 oz can Diced tomatoes w/Green Chiles
1-12 oz can Corn
1-10.5 oz can Cheddar Cheese condensed soup
Green onions, chopped and divided
Cilantro to taste
Shredded Cheddar or Jack cheese
1-10.5 oz can Enchilada sauce

Cook the rice and set aside. In a large pan, combine the beans, tomatoes, corn, and turkey. Once that mixture is heated, add the soup, rice, green onions, and cilantro. Scoop the mixture into the tortillas, roll them, and place them in a 9 by 13 glass pan. Top with the enchilada sauce and cheese and garnish with the rest of the green onions. Bake at 350 until the sauce is bubbly and the cheese is melted. Enjoy!

My First Thanksgiving...

...or how I became friends with Jake, Colin, and Ross. This is the story of Thanksgiving 2007. I worked at Panda Express, and was given a turkey at Thanksgiving by the management. In spite of the fact that I was spending Thanksgiving alone, I decided to cook the twelve-pound bird. I figured I was a semi-experienced cook and it would be a breeze. I was slightly incorrect in that assumption and have since repented for my pride and presumptiousness. Even though I'd taken physics, I forgot Newton's law of cooling (or in this case, thawing). It takes longer than a day to thaw 12 pounds of turkey in the refrigerator, and I had too much food safety experience to thaw it on the counter (perish the thought!), so there I was, Thanksgiving morning, standing over the sink running this thing under cool water to thaw. De repente, there's a knock on the door. Normally I like to answer the door; not only because it's more formal, but also because I don't want to give a derelict invited access to my house. However, with a partially-frozen bird on my hand, I just shouted "come in!" Thankfully, it was not a derelict, but Jake, followed by Colin. Being much stronger than I, they helped me thaw the bird and forcefully remove the plastic thingy from the legs. I was so grateful that I had them over for Turkey Enchilada Casserole the following Sunday, and thus the friendship began. And now I've left them forever...sadness. But this post is a tribute/congratulations to Jake, who is getting married in 2 days! Congrats pal!

Pollo con Papas

I have no picture of this one, but it's not hard to mess up visually. This is a copycat recipe of something that is made at Panda Express, Chicken with Potatoes, however, most of the staff is Spanish-speaking, so I know it by its Spanish name, Pollo con Papas. My sister liked it, and she's incredibly picky, so it's definitely good. Serves 4.

1 Chicken Breast, cut into small bite-sized pieces
3 Carrots, cut into medallions
4 Green onions, chopped into small pieces
1 Bag of frozen, crinkle-cut french fries
1 Packet of chicken gravy mix
2 Tbsp Soy sauce
1 tsp Ginger
Salt and Pepper to taste

Prepare the fries according to package, but keep them in the oven longer than the recommended time. Broil them for a few minutes at the end--you want them to be really crispy (but not burnt). While the fries are going, brown the chicken breast in oil (I like grapeseed) in a large frying pan. Add salt and pepper to the chicken to taste. Once the chicken is browned, add 1 cup water to the pan. Add the carrots and allow the whole thing to simmer until the carrots are slightly tender (nobody likes mushy carrots). Once the carrots are tender, stir in the gravy mix and add another cup of water. Let the gravy thicken a bit and then add the ginger and soy sauce. Once the potatoes are done, add them to the mix along with the green onions. Serve immediately as to preserve some of the firmness of the potatoes.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Unnamed Apple Dessert Creation

I have no idea what to call this. It's one of those "it's a dessert but you don't feel terrible about eating it for breakfast" kinds of things, but it's absolutely delicious, easy to make, and a perfect way to welcome in the first days of fall (which in Utah feel a lot like summer).

2 large canisters of plain biscuit dough (don't get anything with the word "butter" on it)
9 small to medium-sized Gala apples, peeled, cored, and sliced into thin wedges
1 stick unsalted butter
1/3 c brown sugar
2/3 c white granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 Tbsp cinnamon (this goes a long way)
1 tsp nutmeg
Slivered almonds (optional)
1/3 c powdered sugar (optional)
1 Tbsp milk (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
In a large pot, melt the butter on low heat. Once melted, add the white and brown sugar and let it form a syrup. Add the vanilla (this part's fun--it sizzles), cinnamon, and nutmeg; and just barely let the mixture start to bubble. Stir in the apples and increase the heat to the low side of medium. Let the apples tenderize, stirring frequently.
Meanwhile, open the biscuit dough (I usually have my roommate do this as the spontaneous explosion of the can terrifies me) and cut each biscuit round into fourths. Roll the fourths into balls and use them to line the bottom of an ungreased glass 9 by 13 pan (don't worry about squishing them together too much, they'll expand in the oven). Place the pan in the oven for 10 minutes to let them bake a bit before the next step.
Spoon the apple mixture over the semi-baked biscuit cobblestones and let any remaining liquid coat the biscuits. Bake for 3o minutes or until the biscuits in the center are no longer doughy (I usually take some out with a fork and rearrange the apples to cover the hole, but if you have a more sophisticated way of doing this, go for it).
If desired, garnish with slivered almonds and a glaze made from the powdered sugar and milk. Enjoy!

Friday, July 25, 2008

Signature Peach Cobbler

This is a recipe that I doctored from for a soul-food dinner party. My version is a little less sugary and more spiced than the original, and it's very simple to make. So simple that you can make enough for 110 people and only be moderately exhausted.

Prep Time 20 minutes, Bake Time 60 minutes

(1) 6 lb can of peaches, drained (you can use fresh or frozen, but I like the consistency--and price--of canned)
1 stick of butter (no substitutions)
3/4 c. white granulated sugar
3/4 c. dark brown sugar
1 Tbsp. cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. nutmeg

2 Prepared 9" pie crusts (if you have time to do this from scratch, feel free)

Melt the butter on low heat in a large pot. When the butter is melted, gradually stir in the white and brown sugar so you have a syrup. Add the cinnamon, vanilla, and nutmeg and allow the mixture to heat until mildly bubbling. Add the drained peaches and allow the mixture to simmer for about 10 minutes.
Note: This cobbler is very "juicy," which is good if you're serving with ice cream, but if you prefer a thicker filling, add 1/4 c. cornstarch to the mixture before the peaches.

Meanwhile, roll your piecrust into a ball of dough, and then roll it out again into a 9" by 13" rectangle; it should be a little thicker than a normal piecrust. Pour your peach mixture into a glass 9" by 13" pan and place the piecrust on top. Seal the crust to the edges of the pan as the crust tends to shrink when baking. Poke a few holes in the top and bake at 375 degrees for 1 hour or until crust is golden. The peaches will still be bubbly, so allow to cool for about an hour before serving with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream. Enjoy!