22 December 2010

Simply Cheesecake Experimenting

During the fall (it is now winter!) I enjoyed spending some time turning this . . .

. . . into this (okay, so I've only tried it twice).

The recipe for this chocolate pumpkin cheesecake is from a cookbook called "Simply in Season". I've had some problems with it. First off, I couldn't get the thick chocolate-y part to swirl very well.

So I thinned that part of the batter, with this result.

Hmmmm . . . still not getting the swirling part down. I may have to try layering it--pumpkin, chocolate-pumpkin--then swirling.

My second complaint with the recipe is that it isn't pumpkin-y enough for my taste. Too much chocolate, too little pumpkin. To remedy this (once the cake was already made) I came up with a pumpkin sauce to drizzle over it. Yummy! But not a permanent solution for the cheesecake itself. I've still got some work to do . . .

I was pretty pleased with the pumpkin sauce for its own sake though. Good on pancakes. French toast. In coffee. Over cheesecake. Over ice cream . . .

Once I nail either the cheesecake or the sauce to my liking, I'll post some recipes. Until then, happy experimenting! Let me know if you've got any tips!

Ginger Brew

A few months ago I bought some ginger root and club soda with the idea that I wanted to try making my own ginger brew. A few weeks ago it finally happened. There are scads of recipes on the internet, and I'm not even sure where my original came from. Basically, you just make a ginger/sugar syrup and add club soda to it by the glass. Not authentic maybe, but simple and yummy!

Here's what I did:

1/2 cup minced ginger (I whizzed it in the food processor)
2 c. water
2/3 c. sugar
zest of one lemon

Mix everything but the lemon zest together in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat, stirring occasionally to dissolve sugar. Once it boils, reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat, add lemon zest, strain and cool.

To mix soda:

Place 2-4 TBSP of ginger syrup in a glass with ice. Add mint sprigs and a squeeze of lemon if desired. Fill with club soda and stir to mix. Lots of pretty, frothy bubbles! Taste and add more ginger syrup as desired. I also added in some of the strained-off minced ginger for some extra bite!

Cook's Word: I definitely need to at least double the amount of minced ginger for the syrup. I had to keep adding syrup to my soda to make it pungent enough!

Long Beans

Here's one from the "archives" (of pictures I hadn't sorted and made use of yet). Long beans which I found at our local farmers market back in November. And cooked shortly thereafter. They were too beautiful to resist (though they look a little snake-y in the pan)!

I didn't want to break them up, because that would make them look just like normal green beans. So, into the pan with a little oil, then pesto. If you remember my post a while back on pesto, I had forgotten to mention that one of my favorite ways to use it is on green beans.

Sprinkled with a bit of parmesan cheese and served up with some steaming "black bean-butternut-rice-etc. casserole" and mixed greens.

Cook's Word: A bit crunchier than your normal green bean--I kept cooking them but they never got truly soft. Which is okay, because I don't mind an "al dente" bean. The length definitely made them a bit of a choking hazard, though, so I would probably cut them into small pieces next time. The flavor combination of beans with pesto? Winner!