Saturday, April 17, 2010

Cinnamon Roll Cheesecake

This is another recipe that I had to try.  Um, delicious!  It's like eating a cinnamon roll and a cheesecake at the same time, which I think was the point.  And you could maybe justify eating it for breakfast: after all, it's got eggs, cream cheese (you eat them on bagels anyway), and basically cinnamon rolls.  It sounds well rounded to me!
Cinnamon Roll Batter:
2/3 cup white sugar
1/4 cup unsalted butter (at room temp)
1 egg (at room temp)
1/2 cup half and half
1 Tbs. vanilla
2 cups flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt

Cheesecake Filling:
2 packages (8 oz each) cream cheese (at room temp)
1 cup sugar
1 Tbs. vanilla
2 Tbs. flour
3 eggs (at room temp)

Cinnamon Filling:
1/3 cup butter, melted
1 cup brown sugar
3 Tbs. cinnamon

Cream Cheese Frosting:
2 oz. cream cheese (at room temp)
3 Tbs. unsalted butter (at room temp)
2 tsp. vanilla
1 cup powdered sugar
1 Tbs. lemon juice, optional

Preheat oven to 350 F.  Grease a springform pan.

For Cinnamon Roll Batter:
Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt.

Using a mixer, cream the butter and sugar for 3 minutes, until light and fluffy.  Add egg, half and half, and vanilla.  Beat for another minute.  Scrape down bowl.

Combine the dry and wet ingredients.  Mix on low speed until thoroughly combined.

Press half of the batter onto the bottom of the springform pan using greased fingers.  It will be sticky and thick.

For Cheesecake Filling:
In a clean bowl, beat cream cheese and sugar for 2 minutes on medium-high speed.  Add the eggs one at a time, scraping down the bowl after each addition.

Add the vanilla and flour and beat for another minute.

Pour all of the cheesecake filling on top of the cinnamon roll batter in the prepared pan.

For Cinnamon Filling:
In a small bowl, combine the melted butter, cinnamon, and brown sugar.  Mix until thoroughly combined.

Drop spoonfuls of the cinnamon filling over the entire top of the cheesecake.

Finishing Assembly/Baking:
Drop the rest of the cinnamon roll batter by spoonfuls over the entire top of the cheesecake.  Using a knife, swirl ingredients together as well as you can.

Bake for 50-55 minutes.  Cake will be puffy and lightly browned.  Let cool for 20 minutes at room temperature and then cover and move to fridge for at least 4 hours.

For Cream Cheese Frosting:
Beat cream cheese and butter together.  Add vanilla, powdered sugar, and lemon juice (if desired); beat to desired consistency.  Frost cheese cake.

- I don't own a 9" springform pan--just 8.5" and 9.5"--so I used the larger of the two.  I think using a 9" would have been cutting it close to overflowing in the oven.
- I used fat free half and half.
- In addition to greasing the springform pan, I cut a round of parchment paper to fit in the bottom and greased it as well.
- After 3 minutes, the butter and sugar I creamed for the batter wasn't "light and fluffy," but I called it good anyway.  It was mixed.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Crispy and Creamy Donuts

From, submitted by Kelly.

Total time: Anywhere from 2 1/2 to 4 hours
Yield: About 3 dozen donuts + holes

These donuts don't quite mimic the brand their name plays on, but they were very, very yummy!  We'll make them again for sure . . . sometime.  Donuts aren't an all-the-time thing, you know.
2 (.25 oz) envelopes active dry yeast (or 2 Tbs.)
1/4 cup warm water (105-115 F)
1 1/2 cups lukewarm milk
1 tsp. salt
2 eggs
1/3 cup shortening
5 cups all-purpose flour
1 quart vegetable oil for frying

1/3 cup butter
2 cups powdered sugar
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
4 Tbs. (or as needed) hot water

Sprinkle yeast over warm water and let stand for 5 minutes or until foamy.

In a large bowl, mix together the yeast mixture, milk, sugar, salt, eggs, shortening, and 2 cups flour.  Mix for a few minutes at low speed, or stirring with a wooden spoon.  Beat in remaining flour 1/2 cup at a time, until the dough no longer sticks to the bowl.  Knead for about 5 minutes or until smooth and elastic.  Place the dough into a greased bowl and cover.  Set in a warm place to rise until double.  Dough is ready if you touch it and the indentation remains.

Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and gently roll to 1/2 inch thickness.  Cut with a floured donut cutter.  Let donuts sit out to rise again until double.  Cover loosely with a cloth.

Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat.  Stir in powdered sugar and vanilla until smooth.  Remove from heat and stir in hot water one Tbs. at a time until the glaze is somewhat thin but not watery.  Set aside.

Heat oil in a deep fryer or large heavy skillet to 350 F (175 C).  Slide donuts into the hot oil using a wide spatula.  Turn donuts over as they rise to the surface.  Fry donuts on each side until golden brown.  Remove from hot oil to drain on wire rack.  Dip donuts into the glaze while still hot and set onto wire racks to drain off excess.

Other Topping/Filling Ideas:
- Powdered sugar
- Cinnamon/sugar mix
- Alton Brown's chocolate glaze (we wanted to try this but forgot to make it)
- Melted chocolate (that's what lazy me did)
- Maple glaze (didn't have time, but I'm thinking of trying the recipe HERE next time--there's also an orange glaze)
- Sprinkles
- Vanilla pudding (I left a few donuts intact so I can fill them)
- Jam or fruit purees (but you could have pudding!)
- Anything else you can think of!

- We used canola oil instead of vegetable oil.  Just make sure what you use is safe for deep-frying and doesn't have a low flash point; you don't want to have an oil fire.
- My dough always stuck to the side of the bowl, but it was really easy to scrape out.  I admit I lost count of how much flour I put in (oops!).  I got to what I thought was 5 cups, but the dough was still really sticky looking.  After trying to count back on how much flour I had added, I decided to go ahead and add another cup.  So I'm not sure if I added 5 or 6 cups.
- I love my mixer.  I used the paddle to mix things in and then switched to the dough hook for the kneading.  Yeah right I'm going to knead by hand for 5 minutes!  Ha!
- The indentation in my dough remained even before it doubled in size, so . . . I let it keep rising.
- Donut cutter?  Really?  I used a 3" biscuit cutter and then used the mouth of a small glass bottle to cut out the centers.  I think the mouth of a plastic water or soda bottle would work, too.
- One reviewer said that she let her donuts rise on wax paper sprayed with Pam, so I did, too.  Matt thought it made it harder to pick them up--do what you want.
- We were so involved in the donuts that I forgot about the glaze until the last minute, so I cheated.  I melted the butter in the microwave and slowly added the powdered sugar.  I'm sure it would be easier to do it on the stove, but it worked in a pinch.
- We don't have a thermometer that measures up to 350 F, so I looked up some ways to test the oil without one.  Check HERE and HERE for some methods you can use.
- If you're using a deep fryer, you'll want to check your directions before using it (duh).  Ours says donuts take 2-4 minutes, but I'm not sure they even took that long.  Just make sure you test the insides every now and then to make sure they're cooked through.
- Donut holes are harder to fry since they don't want to flip over once the first side is cooked.  We wasted 8 or 9 before we figured that out.  Matt decided to fry them one at a time and just hold them under the oil with the spider--presto!  He's a genius.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Red Chile-Honey Glazed Salmon with Black Bean Sauce and Jalapeno Crema

From Bobby Flay's Mesa Grill Cookbook, pages 116-117.

Serves 4.

I just have to say that Bobby Flay is a culinary genius.  We had this for dinner last night and were still talking about how delicious it was when we went to bed.  It's takes a fair amount of time to prepare the black bean sauce (start the night before), but it was definitely worth it.  Even Matt loved this salmon, and he really doesn't like to eat fish unless it's raw.
Jalapeno Crema (makes about 1/2 cup)
1/2 cup crema, creme fraiche, or sour cream
1 large or 2 small jalapeno chilies, roasted, peeled, seeded, and chopped

Brush jalapenos with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Place on a rimmed baking sheet and bake for 15-17 minutes at 375F, rotating a few times to ensure even roasting.  Put chilies in a glass bowl and cover with plastic wrap; let sit for 15 minutes.  Remove skin.  Cut in half lengthwise and scrape out seeds.  Chop.

Combine the crema and jalapenos in a food processor and process until smooth.  (Alternatively, you could finely chop the jalapenos by hand and stir them into the crema.)  Season with salt and pepper and refrigerate for 30 minutes before serving.  This can be made and refrigerated up to 1 day in advance.

Black Bean Sauce
1 1/2 cups dried black beans
1 small red onion, coarsely chopped
2 cloves garlic, peeled
2 chipotle chiles in adobo sauce, chopped
1 tsp. ground cumin
Kosher salt

Red Chile-Honey Glazed Salmon
1/3 cup honey
1 Tbs. ancho chile powder
1 Tbs. Dijon mustard
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Four 8-oz skin-on salmon filets
2 Tbs. canola oil
Jalapeno Crema
Thinly sliced green onions, white and green parts, for garnish (optional)

Pick over the beans and discard any stones.  Put in a bowl, cover with water, and let soak overnight.

Drain the beans and combine with the onion, garlic, chipotles, and cumin in a medium saucepan and add just enough cold water to cover by an inch; bring to a boil over high heat.  Reduce the heat and simmer, adding more water if the beans appear dry, until the beans are tender, 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

Transfer the mixture to a food processor or blender (in batches, if needed) with a slotted spoon, add 1 cup of the cooking liquid, and process until almost smooth; the sauce should still be a little chunky.  Season with salt.  If the sauce is too thick, thin with more of the cooking liquid or with water.  This can be made up for 4 hours in advance and refrigerated.  Reheat before serving.

To make the glaze for the salmon, whisk together the honey, ancho powder, and mustard in a small bowl and season with salt and pepper.

Preheat a grill pan or large nonstick saute pan over high heat.  Brush the salmon with the oil on both sides and season with salt and pepper.  Place the salmon in the pan, skin side down, and cook until golden brown and a crust has formed, 3 to 4 minutes.  Brush the top of the salmon with some of the glaze, flip over the filets, and continue cooking until a crust has formed and the salmon is cooked to medium, about 2 minutes more.  The salmon will be pink in the center.

Spoon some of the black bean sauce onto 4 plates and drizzle with some of the jalapeno crema.  Set the salmon in the center, glazed side up, brush with more of the glaze, and garnish with green onion.

- We ate this with rice.  I think a salad or some freshly steamed vegetables would also accompany it well . . . if you have room to eat them!
- I think our salmon filets were 6 or 7 oz. each, and that was enough.  We also used skinless filets, and that didn't seem to be a problem.
- If you have trouble finding the chipotle chilies, look in the section of your grocery store that has the Mexican foods.  The chilies I buy are in probably an 8-oz can.
- I ended up adding all of the cooking liquid to the bean puree before I thought it had reached the right consistency, so don't be afraid to keep adding liquid until the mixture looks right to you!
- I divided the glaze into two bowls: one for brushing the raw salmon and one for brushing the cooked salmon.
- Be careful flipping the salmon--mine stuck a little.
- I think I cooked our salmon a little longer on the second side than the recipe calls for, maybe a minute or two.  And then I turned the heat off and left it there while I put the sauces on the plates.
- Maybe it's because I used sour cream, but my Jalapeno Crema wasn't really drizzling consistency.  It was more globbing consistency.  Oh well.  Still tasted good.

Black Bean Chicken with Rice

From Healthy Cooking (Feb./March 2010), page 58.

Prep/Total: 25-30 minutes
Yield: 4 servings
3 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. pepper
1/4 tsp. salt
4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves (4 oz. each)
2 tsp. canola oil
1 can (15 oz.) black beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup frozen corn or 1/2 can corn
1 cup salsa
2 cups cooked brown rice

Combine the chili powder, cumin, pepper, and salt; rub over chicken.  In a large nonstick skillet, brown chicken in oil on both sides.  Stir in the beans, corn, and salsa.  Cover and cook over medium heat for 10-15 minutes or until a meat thermometer reads 170F.

Slice chicken; serve with rice and bean mixture.

- I'm not sure you really need to measure the rice unless you're really trying to get the nutrition facts exact.
- This came from an issue of Healthy Cooking, so it included the nutrition facts.

Nutrition Facts:
1 chicken breast half with 3/4 cup bean mixture and 1/2 cup rice = 400 calories, 7 g fat (1 g saturated fat), 63 mg cholesterol, 670 mg sodium, 52 g carbohydrate, 8 g fiber, 32 g protein
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