Waste not…

October 5th, 2008

A challenge to living alone is the inevitable problem of leftovers. It seems that no matter how hard I try to half, third, or fourth recipes, I always end up with too much food. Not wanting to waste any food, I find that I am eating the same thing for the next couple days. It gets so boring! This quiche was born out of this problem…

Last week, I had some italian parsely going bad in the fridge so I made some pesto. For those “How I Met Your Mother” fans out there, you will notice that I added peanuts just like Ted did a few episodes ago. It is a really different and interesting twist. I liked it alot. After having pasta and pesto for three days, I still had so much pesto left. What was I going to do?

I decided upon this Italian inspired quiche using more leftovers from my fridge…onions, cheese and tomatoes. Overall, I liked it. The pesto and cheese worked well together without being too over powering. Next time, I would add more vegetables. Of course, now I have an entire quiche to eat…and I still have more pesto! Ah, so this is why freezers were invented?

Ginny’s Pesto Quiche
(based on a recipe from Joy of Cooking)

1 pie crust
3 tablespoon pesto (see below for a recipe)
8 oz. of cherry tomatoes, sliced in fourths
1/2 onion, chopped
1 1/2 cup Five Italian Cheese mix, Shredded (or you cheese of choice)
3 eggs
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper

1. Heat oven to 375°F.
2. In a prepared pie crust, spread the pesto on the bottom of the crust.
3. Sprinkle with the tomatoes, onions and cheese.
4. In bowl, whisk the eggs, milk, salt and pepper together.
5. Pour over the other ingredients in the pie pan.
6. Bake for 30-40 minutes, until the center is set.

Italian Parsley Pesto
1 bunch of Italian Parsley (about 3 cups)
3 garlic cloves
1/2 cup Peanuts
1 cup Parmesan
3 tablespoon Olive Oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper

1. Place all ingredients in the food processor and mix until smooth.
2. Add more olive oil as needed.

Patriots + Giants = A Yummy Superbowl Cheesecake

February 2nd, 2008

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.