lemon vanilla bean cheesecakelettes

The other day I was scrounging around in my cupboards and fridge and discovered three items that needed to be used up. Triple Ginger Cookies from Trader Joe’s that were in danger of staling, a whole bag of delicious lemons in danger of rotting and a block of cream cheese that begged to be used in a delectable marriage of lemon, cheesecake and gingersnaps. 🙂 So I dialed up my favorite food blog: Smitten Kitchen and found a lemon curd recipe and a new york cheesecake recipe to tweak to my own nefarious plan. Success!

I used my fun Hipstamatic app on the iPhone to capture each stage of the process and typed up my tweakings for your amusement and delight, should you have the proper ingredients. (I had to go get eggs – I hate it when I’m out of just ONE thing necessary for my culinary whims of fancy!)

Without further ado, I present to you…lemon vanilla bean cheesecakelettes.

Gingersnap Crust:

1 ¼ cups gingersnap crumbs (I used Trader Joe’s Triple Ginger Cookies – oh delish!)

3 tablespoons melted salted butter

Make crumbs in food processor, drizzle in melted butter and pulse to combine.

Sprinkle about 2 tablespoons of crust mixture into lined muffin cups, press down cover bottom of cup. Bake at 350 degrees for about 8-10 minutes. Prepare cheesecake filling.

Vanilla Bean Cheesecake:

1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
1 vanilla bean, split and scraped out (put the bean scrapings into the mixture)
1 large egg
1/2 large egg yolk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Beat together cream cheese, sugar, flour and vanilla bean scrapings with an electric mixer until smooth. Add vanilla, then the egg and yolk, one at a time, beating on low speed until each ingredient is incorporated. Scrape bowl down between additions! Split evenly among the 12 muffin cups. Bake at 350 for 12-15 minutes or until puffed and slightly dry. Cool completely.

pre-oven

 

baked and ready for a lemon overcoat

Lemon Curd
Adapted from Gourmet

Makes a little shy of 1 cup

6 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 teaspoons fresh lemon zest, finely grated
6 tablespoons sugar
2 large eggs
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

Whisk together juice, zest, sugar, and egg in a 1-quart heavy saucepan. Stir in butter and cook over moderately low heat, whisking frequently, until curd is thick enough to hold marks of whisk and first bubble appears on surface, about 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer lemon curd to a bowl and chill, its surface covered with plastic wrap, until cold, at least 1 hour.

To finish:

Dollop lemon curd on top of cooled cheesecakelettes. Try not to devour the whole dozen at once. 😉

linky love: cooking/baking blogs

A friend recently asked me to link my favorite cooking and baking blogs, which I am happy to share! 🙂

smitten cake
  • Smitten Kitchen – this is my top, go-to, most-trusted site. Deb researches the heck out of her recipes, does it all from a tiny NYC apartment kitchen, uses as few bowls and gadgets as possible (yay for less mess!) and has a penchant for really amazing recipes including fresh fruits and vegetables. I’m definitely smitten. 🙂 So is Kyle. I found last year’s birthday cake for him on this site and unless he begs me for a repeat, I plan to make this one for him this year.
  • Brown-Eyed Baker – Michelle’s blog is full of decadent treats and very delicious baked goods. Even just looking at her pictures I gain a lb. or two. Good stuff.
  • Noshings – a very well rounded recipe and baking blog with offerings like brioche caramel rolls (oh. my.) and her take on sloppy joes. I approve.
  • Joy the Baker – Joy is funny, creative and has incredible recipes for delectable bakery items. On my current “try very soon” list from her recipe archive is lemon cornmeal breakfast cake. She also shares vegan and vegetarian meals and recipes, which is a fun break from the typical American fare. I really love her offerings!
  • The Kitchen Sink – I like this one a lot – Kristin is originally from Minnesota. So every once in a while she’ll reference something unique to MN and I feel all warm and cozy inside. Like “awww – she’s talking about home”! 🙂 Both baked goods and savory dishes make it on to her pages…and everything I’ve tried, I’ve liked.
  • Tasty Kitchen Blog – the Tasty Kitchen site is something like All Recipes for Ree Drummond fans. 🙂 Many cooking/baking bloggers contribute, as well as lil’ ol’ home bakers/cooks like me and you. My favorite posts are the recipe collections. They will pick a theme like chocolate cookies and then link photos and recipes for about 30 different variations on that theme. It’s brilliant. Grill recipes, cake recipes, ice cream recipes, you name it – they’ve done it or will. I <3.
  • A Cozy Kitchen – the recipe blog of two friends: Adrianna and Caroline, A Cozy Kitchen is another blog of tastiness. Well rounded with baking and cooking options, these two have fun posting new things often. It’s another great one!
  • Healing Cuisine – my friend Elise started this blog. It focuses on really healthy eating with an emphasis on mostly raw, sugar-free, gluten-free, soy-free recipes. Lots of lean protein and veggies, along with tasty smoothies and surprise treats fill up the pages of this colorful blog. Try the quinoa apple salad – one of my faves.
chocolate peanut butter spread: smitten kitchen
chocolate peanut butter spread: smitten kitchen

Other cooking websites I rely on:

  • Epicurious – this site includes recipes from the magazines Bon Appetit and Gourmet. Definitely a more upscale, inventive recipe source. For our epic Christmas feast last year, I used many recipes from this site, or tweaked recipes I found here to suit what I was going for with the meal. Well-tested recipes and I can usually get all the ingredients at my local small town grocery store, avoiding a trip to the “big city”. 🙂
  • All Recipes – in a pinch or when I’m trying to find an “old recipe” I have in my head but can’t find easily. These aren’t always the best tested or accurate recipes, but if I’m trying to concoct something, the recipes are usually a very good place to start. I combined two recipes I found here for our favorite fish tacos.
  • Food Network – not my first go-to, but there are a lot of great recipes on here. My all time favorite turkey brine came from Alton Brown…bless his overly detailed soul.

So there you have it, folks. All my favorite cooking and baking resources in one, nice list. What are your favorites? Where do you go for reliable and delicious recipes?

currently…

I forgot that I used to do these posts every so often on my old blog. I came across the last one I did back in September of 2010 and thought “oh yeah! I should do a new one.” So here it is. 🙂

currently 5.0

current reading material: I just finished “So Brave, Young and Handsome” by Leif Enger. It was great. Also reading “Crazy Love” by Francis Chan. Ouch. It’s really convicting and super good stuff on following God in the reality of life. I am glad we’re going through it in our church small group. Skimmed “Exercising Through Your Pregnancy” and got some great activity ideas from “The Toddlers Busy Book” this past week too. So that’s my fiction, spiritual and topical “where I’m at in life” reading list for the past few weeks.

current songs o’ delight: Adele’s Rolling in the Deep. I have this weird thing for LOVING break-up songs. Like I don’t usually realize its a break-up song until I am in love with it. lol. This one is totally awesome. Her vocals are incredible and the melody and beat are just driving and intense. Loves.

current projects: spring cleaning. I was inspired to start doing it now before the weather gets beautiful so I’m done when I’d rather be outside! So nitpicky stuff like wiping down all the kitchen cabinets, the baseboards, washing windows, dusting high cobwebs, etc. 🙂

current recipes I’ve tried: jacked up banana bread by smitten kitchen. YUM. Made this into muffins this evening with some overripe nanners and man oh man…they are delish. I would reduce the sugar down to even 1/2 cup – I used 3/4 and they were slightly too sweet, but not bad. I love how Deb’s cake/bread recipes are almost all one-bowl preparations.

cinnamon sugar pull-apart bread by Brown Eyed Baker. This sounded soooo good, but didn’t turn out as fabulous as I hoped. I probably did something wrong but the dough was a little heavy and by the time it had baked in the middle, the ends were hopelessly dry. Nothing a cup of coffee or milk to wash it down can’t help, but it wasn’t AMAZING.

current hair color: almost my totally natural color. A few highlights and lowlights left in the lower half that have blended in well, but its almost completely the genuine article. Too bad I’m not a fan! It will be time to change it soon.

current events:

1. We went downhill skiing on Saturday to celebrate Kyle’s sister Molly’s 13th birthday. It was a beautiful afternoon and we had fun tearing up the hills. We had to get some practice under our feet for our big ski trip to Tahoe coming up next week (see below)!

2.  Ultrasound for Little Bit tomorrow afternoon! 🙂 I love getting to “meet” our kids for the first time. I’m praying that everything is as it should be and have been acknowledging God’s sovereignty even over this little life. It is His and He is in control. Can’t wait to see the little person!

upcoming events:

1. Trip to Lake Tahoe and environs next week!!! I’m so excited. We are vacationing with our awesome friends Rob and Rosanna and get to ski on real mountains for the first time in our lives. It will be an adventure flying with two very active 18 month old boys, but there’s four parents and two of them, so with that ratio, enough snacks and iPad/iPod movies and games we should be in good shape. I hope. lol.

2. SPRING!!! I sure hope its here and starting its transforming magic on the world when we come back from NV. 🙂 Please, God?!

current photos:

1. molly’s birthday 2. Jack’s abstract Mr. Potato-Head creation

skiing at Wild Mountain
Jack style

good housekeeping cookbook

this morning I was on a mission to find some fun, kitschy appetizers for our classic cocktail party coming up on Friday. so I looked at my cookbook collection and pulled out the ever trusty 1963 edition of Good Housekeeping’s Cookbook. 🙂 I figured going right to the era I want to emulate would be a winner.

the 1963 edition

But egads! The combinations of flavors and some of the ideas made me a little queasy…for example:

Edam Bowl: With knife, carefully remove small cone from center top of baby Edam. Leaving rind intact, carefully scoop out chunks of cheese. Fill Edam shell with mayonnaise mixed with French dressing, half and half. Insert toothpicks into cheese chunks; arrange around Edam.

Yum! Let’s dip chunks of cheese in mayo/french dressing. EW! That sounds so gross to me.

Does the product “deviled ham” even exist anymore? And what is it? How exactly do you “devil” ham? 🙂

The stuffed celery, crescent roll wrapped cocktail “franks”, and cheese balls sound palatable and will make it onto the menu alongside the classic cocktails and party punch.

But not so much for the liver pate’, the tangy frank spread (a chopped hot dog and cheese spread over french bread slices, broiled), and the cheesy egg dunk.

I am still searching for the perfect sweet finish for the menu – a retro dessert or cake of some kind. If you have any suggestions, I’m all ears! Just please don’t include deviled ham in the ingredient list. 😉

foto friday: cheating.5/52

i didn’t mean to have this be my foto friday, but instead of another week of posting my friday pic and then my (belated) 5/52 of project 52 picture, I’m combining them. I knew you cared. 🙂

Anyone who knows me well knows I love to bake. So when there was going to be a bake sale at an adoption fundraiser for our assistant pastor’s family this week, i had a good excuse to bake and not have to eat it! 🙂 Hooray!

Baking is my first culinary love. My daddy taught me to bake chocolate chip cookies, biscuits and cinnamon rolls while my mom helped me figure out bread and let me have free reign in the kitchen at a young age. She tried valiantly to teach me to clean as I go, but it always ends up looking like Hurricane Johanna swept through after I’ve had my way with the mixer.

In the photo, you can catch a glimpse of banana cupcakes with fudge frosting, my favorite cookie of all time: chewy chocolate gingerbread, and big, soft, sugar cookies. I promise you will not be sorry if you make any or all of these recipes as some point in your lovely life.

I also have a thing for cutesy retro aprons – a friend made this one for me as a wedding  gift. I have a fun collection and really should learn how to sew better so I can make  some more.

And the awesome thing in my hair? Another gift from a very sweet friend! Since I don’t  knit or crochet, I all but begged on Facebook for someone to make this (you saw the    link in my last post), and the ever fabulous Joy Phillips took pity on my poor, craft-    less soul and bestowed her skill upon me. I am in love! The headwrap will be getting        much use, I assure you.

have a happy weekend all! Maybe one of these years I will post in the middle of the  week.

linky love

today I’ve come across a bunch of wonderful things that I just must share!

beautiful plate with a Mr. Darcy quote on it. I can hear and see Colin Firth deliver the line…can’t you, fellow P&P lovers? I totally printed the photo and am putting it in a frame on the shelves above my bar tonight.

adorable crocheted headwrap loveliness! I am NOT crafty in this way at ALL, but I have some awesome friends who are and have offered to make me one or two of them after I begged on Facebook today. 😉 Conventional headbands give me a horrible headache, so I thought this would be perfect, besides being freakin’ cute!

a beautiful post with a lovely thought about God waiting to bless us us. I have only met Jenny once, but she’s a sweet woman and I love reading her blog about their family life and her creativity. Having a dear friend find out she’s expecting this week after 2 1/2 years of trying, this blog post brought a smile to my face and a lump in my throat. The verse Jenny used at the end of her post is one that God gave me in a time of waiting and wondering if and when He would do something big in my life. I ❤ Isaiah 30:18.

homemade granola bars with GINGER? Yes. please. I like the formula of this recipe so you can tweak and add things as desired. I do a lot of tweaking when I cook and bake. A lot.

dark chocolate and orange scones. Yeah, I’m definitely making these to take to MOMS group on Tuesday. Can’t wait to try them!

And that’s all she wrote, folks!