Chocolate covered Peanut Butter Cheesecake for Easter and a Birthday

For those of you celebrating Eatser I hope you had a wonderful time with family. And happy last day of Passover. For the first time in my life I hosted Easter since we were combining this celebration with a very important birthday.

Today is my mother’s 80th birthday. It’s a biggy! My mother’s birthday is April 1st, which  just so happens to be April Fools day.  April Fools in French is called “Poisson d’avril” which means April Fish. On this day of practical jokes, children (or all ages) tack paper fishes on each other’s back.

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I have often tried to include a little prank for my mom, such as a chocolate fish as her god parents gave here every year as a child, or her having to find her present through a treasure hunt. So for a very special 80th birthday I pulled out all the stops with a fish themed dinner…every single dish! Here is the menu:

Tasty reading ahead, KEEP GOING… →

Red Velvet Cheesecake and Happy New Year

As the New Year flows in
May you soar ever higher
Reach greater heights
And find happiness in everything you do

Happy New Year to all of you!

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I hope you have been enjoying the holiday season and have spent many happy moments with loved ones.

If you are like me and are always put in charge of the dessert for a celebration, after a few years it can become a daunting challenge. Every year I ask myself how can I top of the cakes of past, impress with more extraordinary pies, makes mouths water like never before.

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As I was perusing hundreds of recipes online I finally fell on one I knew would be the winner for this year. I saw this Red Velvet Cheesecake on the blog of The Squishy Monster and I knew I had found my cake! We are all fans of cheesecake and I love anything red velvet. The combination was perfect.

She posted this recipe a bit before the holidays and now this is my New Year post. Ironically we both posted a recipe about drunk Gummy bears! I posted earlier and the Gummy bears are her New Year post. As you said my dear friend: great minds think alike.

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I made 2 changes to the recipe: I used 3 tbsp of cocoa instead of 2 because chocolate rules, and I used an 8 inch pan instead of a 6 in one. For decoration all I did was sprinkle of sugar powder just prior to serving. It may be on my top 3 of best cheesecakes ever and it was incredibly moist and not to sweet.

 

Yields 8

Red Velvet Cheesecake

15 minPrep Time

1 hr, 15 Cook Time

1 hr, 30 Total Time

Save RecipeSave Recipe

Ingredients

  • 2 blocks (8 oz) soft room temperature Cream Cheese
  • 1 c Sugar
  • 1 ts pure Vanilla
  • 1/4 c Sour Cream or Buttermilk
  • 2 room temperature Eggs
  • 3 tb sifted unsweetened Cocoa
  • 1 ts Vinegar
  • 2 tb Red Color
  • 1 c crushed Cookies/Crackers
  • 6 tb melted Butter

Instructions

  1. Make sure your cream cheese is very soft and break it apart with your mixer. Blend together with your sugar and vanilla for about 5 minutes until light and fluffy.
  2. Tip in your cream/milk and slowly crack in one egg at a time. Blend well.
  3. Sift your cocoa and sprinkle it in.
  4. Pour in your vinegar and color. Blend well. Make sure not to over beat to prevent incorporating too much air.
  5. For the crust, press together your crumbs and butter onto the bottom of a 8 inch spring form pan. Bake at 350 for 6-8 minutes. Cool completely and pour in your filling.
  6. Wrap your pan in foil and place it in a larger dish/pan. Fill with hot water and allow it to reach half way up its side.
  7. Bake your cheesecake at 350 for 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes. Allow it to cool for at least a couple hours before setting in the fridge overnight.
Recipe Type: Desserts
7.6.2
220
http://cultureatz.com/red-velvet-cheesecake-and-happy-new-year/

 

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SRC: Yogurt Cheesecake with Nectarines for FFM2

Today is my group’s reveal day for the Secret Recipe Club. What is the SRC? Basically you are assigned a fellow participant’s blog by the organizer and then you pick a recipe of your choice from that blog and make your version of it. But it is a secret, you cannot reveal whom you picked and what you made until the established posting date and time.

I discovered a real fun new blog, Inquiring Chef, written by Jess. She is temporarily living in Bangkok with her husband. There are quite a few food bloggers set up for a bit in Asia. I have to admit I am jealous, would love to experience that. Jess has moved around quite a bit in her life and has traveled quite a lot. It took some time but she works in Bangkok too and has a closer connection really living with the locals. Did I mention how jealous I am lol? This blog started in Thailand so you will find tons of Thai recipe. So up my alley. But oddly enough I did not choose an ethnic recipe.

I settled on this Yogurt Cheesecake dessert recipe, my contribution to my 2nd annual Cheap Ethnic Eatz food film marathon which took place this past weekend. Cake: nothing to warm up or prepare. I made a full cake recipe instead of small cakes. And I had a chance to test this ‘mock’ cheesecake on a group. There is NO CHEESE in this cheesecake. I will steal a sentence from her post: “This was one of those recipes that I had to make myself in order to believe that it was even possible”, I concur.  Would my guests bite or say something was off?

I served the desserts and those who tried my ‘cheesecake’ all complimented me, some saying it was better than most cheesecakes because it was light and not heavy. It was a success. Once the cake gone I announced the TRUTH: there was no cheese. they were all in disbelief and several people asked me for the recipe. This is a keeper for sure: tastes like a favorite but much lighter calorie wise.

Ξ Yogurt Cheesecake with Nectarines Ξ

Ingredients

for the crust:
1 stick cold butter, cut into small chunks
1.5 cups flour
1/4 tsp salt
2 Tbsp. sugar
zest of 1 lemon
1 egg yolk
2 Tbsp. cold water

for cheesecake:
2 cups whole milk or 2% Greek yogurt (not non-fat)
2/3 cup sugar
pinch of salt
2 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 Tbsp. cornstarch

1-2 peaches, thinly sliced and 1 T honey, for topping

In a large bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, lemon zest and salt. Cut in the butter and blend in with your fingers until mixture resembles cornmeal. Add egg yolk and cold water. Mix until dough comes together to form a shaggy ball (dough may be dry). Cover in plastic wrap and let chill for half an hour. Preheat oven to 375.

Roll out dough to same diameter as the pan. Place dough circle at the bottom of the pan. Place tin foil on top of the dough circle and cover with dried beans or rice to weigh down. Bake for 15 minutes then take off rice/bean/tin foil and prick all over crust with a fork. Return to oven and bake for another 15 minutes, or until golden.

In the mean time, in a blender or food processor, combine the eggs, sugar, yogurt and vanilla. Blend until smooth then add cornstarch and pinch of salt and blend again.

Pour filling into hot crust, lower oven temperature to 350 and bake for 35 minutes. When the cheesecake is done, it will still be jiggly in the center but will have a “done” look to it. The edges of the cake will start to pull away from the sides of the pan.

Let cool then chill for 2-3 hours in the fridge before releasing springform. Arrange the sliced fruit over top of the cooled cheesecake. Melt the honey in a small sauce pot then drizzle on as well.

Back to the 2nd annual Cheap Ethnic Eatz food film marathon, boy did we have a blast. I learned a lot from my 1st year and there were a lot of changes this year. I played for 4 films instead of 6. I did not invite the whole planet. I did not try to raise funds (a stress) for a charity event. This year it was about fun. And we had a lot of fun.

We numbered 19 people in total this year. The price of entry was a dish for the potluck. Yep 19 people crammed in my living room in front of the TV. The first film started at 1:30pm and the last one ended around 11:30pm. It was an open invite so people came and went as they wished but the biggest crowd is always around the dinner time movie where I pick a block buster.

Here are the movies we saw, with my little comment in red:

Waitress – Jenna is a pregnant, unhappily married waitress in the deep south. She bakes phenomenal pies at Joe’s diner, listens to old Joe’s wisdom, tolerates her sour boss Cal, is friends with Dawn and Becky (her fellow waitresses), and finds a mutual attraction with the new doctor in town. Cute, quirky, adorable, funny, PIE, PIE, PIE – a MUST.

The God of Cookery – A martial arts Food Film!  The most renowned and feared chef in the world loses his title of God of Cookery because of his pompous attitude. Humbled he sets out to reclaim his title. Cantonese with English subtitles. The most absurd, full of nonsense, movie I have ever seen in my life, plan to say WTF over and over again, very entertaining.

Julie and Julia
Julia Child’s story of her start in the cooking profession is intertwined with blogger Julie Powell’s 2002 challenge to cook all the recipes in Child’s first book. It’s Julia, un chef-d’oeuvre!

Big Night – A failing Italian restaurant run by two brothers gambles on one special night to try to save the business. My least favorite even if a good movie. Depressing. Scene shots though are fantastic, especially kitchen at the end.



Greek Yogurt Cheese Cake

Last week I attended a media event where a lucky few bloggers and journalist got to sample a few Greek recipes made with Oikos Greek yogurt. The event took place at Martin Juneau’s new restaurant, Pastaga. Martin is one of the hot commodity Montreal chefs  and he prepared one of the recipes of the evening, inspired by a culinary trip to Greece with another chef from Vancouver, Anthony Sedlack. Their Greek chef host was none other than Diane Kochilas, one of the world’s foremost authorities on Greek cuisine.

Here is a( bad) cellphone photo of the wonderful dessert created by Diane Kochila. Don’t judge on the picture, it was awesome so it is worth sharing. The topping on the cake was an Orange marmalade with candied Orange peel created by a chef at Pastaga but you can improvise your own topping.

Ξ Greek Yogurt Cheese Cake Ξ

1 3/4 cups crumbled graham crackers, cinnamon cookies or Mastiha-scented cookies or wafers
3 tbsp Greek honey
6 egg whites
1 pound cream cheese
1 cup sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
3 cups Oikos Greek drained yogurt
Topping options: preserved fruit, fruits, sweets, nuts

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 190ºC (375ºF).

2. Combine the cookie crumbs and honey in a bowl. Press into the bottom and up the sides of a 22-cm (9-inch) spring form pan. Place in the refrigerator until ready to use.

3. In the bowl of an electric mixer, whisk together the egg whites, cream cheese, sugar, vanilla, and salt. Add the Oikos yogurt and mix to combine. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and bake for 35 to 45 minutes, or until set. The filling will still look soft.

4.Remove from oven and let the cheesecake stand at room temperature for one hour before topping with preserved fruit. Spread one of the Greek spoon sweets on top and chill for a few hours until completely set.

 

On Friday I had dinner with my mom and told her about the event I attended. So she tells me she could have sworn the Greek yogurt she had at home contained 18gr of protein per serving. I was not convinced at all, how can yogurt have such a high protein content? Well I checked my container at home and indeed this one had 17gr of protein per serving. It turns out Greek yogurt is a great source of protein. Who knew!