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Friday, December 21, 2012

Caramel Apple Cheesecake

This is one of my favorite desserts. I have included directions on how to make the entire dessert from scratch. HOWEVER, you can take shortcuts by replacing the crust, apple pie filling, and/ or caramel topping with store-bought equivalents. TIP: If using store-bought caramel. I have found that Hersey’s is thicker than Smuckers, though both often run. If you are having issues with caramel oozing off cake when cut, then drizzle caramel over individual slices.

I would try a dry Champagne (or other bubbly) or a semi-sweet to sweet Gewürztraminer with this cake. Let me know how it works. :=)

Servings: 8-10
·         1 (9-inch) graham cracker crust (use the recipe below or buy one)
·         Apple Pie Filling (recipe below or use 1 ~twenty-ounce can apple pie filling)
·         Caramel Topping (recipe below or use store-bought)
·         2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, at room temperature
·         1/2 cup sugar
·         1 teaspoon vanilla extract
·         2 eggs

1.       Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
2.      Spoon apple pie filling onto the crust.
3.      Using electric mixer, whip the cream cheese in a large bowl until fluffy.
4.      Add the sugar, vanilla and eggs and beat until smooth.  Pour this over the pie filling.
5.      Bake until the center of the cake is set, ~25  minutes. Cool to room temperature.
6.      Spread caramel over the cheesecake.
7.      Refrigerate overnight.


·         1 ¼ cups graham cracker crumbs
·         1/3 cup sugar
·         1/ 2 tsp cinnamon
·         1/3 cup butter, melted
1.       Preheat oven to 350°F
2.      Mix ingredients together
3.      Using a spoon or rubber spatula, press mixture into bottom and up sides of 9 inch springform pan.
4.      Bake crust for 6 minutes. Cool before filling.


·         2 cups apple juice
·         1/4 cup granulated sugar
·         1 tsp vanilla
·         1 tsp cinnamon
·         1 tbsp corn starch
·         1 tablespoon cold butter
·         3 Granny Smith apples, peeled, seeded and thinly sliced
·         3 Fuji apples, peeled, seeded and thinly sliced
·         1/4 cup  brandy

1.       Pour apple juice into a large sauté pan. Add cornstarch and stir.
2.      Add sugar, vanilla, and cinnamon and bring to a boil over high heat and cook until slightly thickened and reduced to 1/2 cup.
3.      Stir in the butter until melted.
4.      Add the apples and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly caramelized and soft.
5.      Add the apple brandy and cook until liquid is thick and almost gone.  
6.      Transfer the apples to a plate and let cool slightly.


·         1 cup sugar
·         6 tablespoons salted butter, melted
·         1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons heavy cream

1.       In a medium saucepan, cook the sugar over medium heat. The best way to do this is let it melt on its own. If it appears to be melting unevenly, stir it to spread heat. This may cause lumps, but they should melt.
2.      Melt butter and cream in microwave
3.      When sugar turns a deep amber color, SLOWLY add the butter and cream and whisk until the caramel is smooth. If there are any hard pieces, break them up with spoon. If some don’t break up, you can strain caramel into a bowl.
4.      Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Sausage & Goat Cheese Pappardelle

I realized last night that I have overlooked posting one of my favorite pasta recipes. My local grocery store carries pappardelle as does Whole Foods. If you can’t find, I recommend subbing the widest pasta noodle you can find or just use whatever pasta you like best.

WINE: Go Italian!
A nice Sangiovese or Chianti will work well here. Or try a Super Tuscan, Montepulciano or Barbera.

RECIPE: Sausage & Goat Cheese Pappardelle
Servings: 4

o    1 tbsp11 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
o    2-3 links Italian sausage
o    1/2 cup finely chopped yellow onion
o    4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
o    1 medium red bell pepper, finely chopped
o    1/4 cup dry white wine
o    28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
o    Salt & freshly ground black pepper, to taste
o    ½ tsp crushed red pepper flakes (more of less based on preference)
o    ¼ cup freshly torn basil leaves 
o    4 ounces goat cheese
o    1 lb pappardelle pasta, cooked according to package directions (or another wide noodle)

1.       Remove sausage from the casing and break into coarse pieces
2.       Cook sausage in olive oil until the sausage has browned slightly.
3.       Add onion and red bell pepper and cook until soft.
4.       Add the wine and let evaporate for 3 minutes.
5.       Add garlic, and cook 1 minute more.
6.       Add the tomatoes and season lightly with salt and pepper and crushed red pepper flakes.
7.       Raise heat and bring sauce to a boil, stirring frequently.
8.      Reduce heat and let simmer until the sauce has thickened.
9.       Stir in basil and goat cheese.
10.   Toss cooked pasta with sauce. 

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Navy Bean Truffle Dip

Last week a friend brought some store-bought White Bean Truffle Dip to my house. Now I love truffle oil and salt. In fact, I bought a popcorn popper just so I could pop popcorn and drizzle with truffle oil and truffle salt. So of course, I loved the dip.  In honor of the Army-Navy game today, I thought I would make my own version.  Here it is. Go Navy!

§  2 (15-ounce) can navy beans,  drained and rinsed
§  1 head of roasted garlic (see below)
§  ¼ cup plus 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
§  1 cup olive oil
§  1  hand full of fresh parsley leaves
§  1 ½ tsp salt
§  ¼ tsp black pepper
§  1 tbsp White Truffle Oil
§  Pita Chips and/or veggies

  1.  Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.  
  2. Cut of top of garlic head and drizzle with olive oil. Wrap in aluminium foil. 
  3. Roast Garlic for 40 minutes. Then allow to cool.
  4. Place everything but pita chips and veggies in food processor. Blend together.
  5. Serve with pita chips and/or veggies.  

Friday, December 7, 2012

Singapore Shrimp Noodles

I love when I can throw together a dinner that is healthy, easy and very tasty. I didn't have rice noodles and the angel hair worked great. I also think this would well with chicken instead of shrimp. If you want more heat, you can add sriracha to individual plates or into the broth-soy sauce-sugar mixture. 


As most of you know, I am pregnant. Therefore I did not have any wine with this dinner. However, I would recommend a semi-dry Gewurztraminer or Riesling with this dish.


Serves: 2


·         6  oz of skinny rice noodles or angel hair
·         1/2 cup  chicken broth 
·         3 tablespoons soy sauce
·         1 teaspoon brown sugar 
·         3  tsp peanut oil, divided
·         1 large egg, lightly beaten 
·         1 red bell pepper cut into strips 
·         1 tablespoon  fresh ginger, minced or grated
·         ¼ or ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper 
·         4  garlic cloves, minced 
·         1 tablespoon curry powder
·         8 ounces shrimp, peeled and deveined (or sliced chicken thighs)
·         1/2 cup green onions, sliced


1.      Cook noodles according to package directions, Drain.
2.      Combine broth and brown sugar. Stir until sugar dissolves. Add soy sauce. Set aside.
3.      Heat 1 tsp oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.
4.      Add egg; stir-fry 1 minute or until soft-scrambled, stirring constantly.
5.      Remove from pan.
6.      Heat the remaining 2 teaspoons oil in pan over medium-high heat.
7.      Add bell pepper strips, ginger, crushed red pepper, and garlic; stir-fry for 2-3 minutes.
8.       Add curry powder and shrimp; stir-fry 3 minutes. (If you substitute chicken you will need to cook for a few minutes longer).
9.      Stir in noodles, broth mixture, and egg; cook 1 minute or until thoroughly heated.
10.  Sprinkle with green onions.
11.  Serve.