• Chocolate Banana Cheesecake

    cheesecake.jpg

    This cheesecake recipe comes from New Vegetarian by Celia Brooks Brown. We have the 2001 version, but I checked the 2005 version amazon sells, and it contains this recipe. This cheesecake is “lighter” than traditional cheesecakes, but still has incredible richness, texture, and flavor. One thing that makes this cheesecake excellent is the chocolate ganache topping. Chocolate and banana go very well together. This recipe is a keeper as we’ve already made this recipe a half dozen times since we purchased the cookbook back in 2002.

    Pernik Chocolate Cookie Crust:

    • 8 ounces plain Milano cookies
    • 4 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
    • 2 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder

    Assemble Crust:

    1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a 9-inch springform pan.
    2. Process cookies in a food processor, then transfer to a bowl. Pour in melted butter, add cocoa, and mix well. Pat mixture into the bottom of the greased springform pan. Bake for 10 minutes. Let cool.
    3. Reduce oven temperature to 300°F.

    Cheesecake filling:

    • 2 8-ounce packages of cream cheese, at room temperature
    • 10 ounces mascarpone cheese, at room temperature
    • 2 large ripe bananas, broken into chunks
    • 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
    • 1 cup sugar
    • 2 eggs, at room temperature, lightly beaten

    Assembly:

    1. Process the cheeses in a food processor until smooth. Add the bananas, vanilla, and sugar and mix well. Add the eggs, a little at a time, and pulse until smooth.
    2. Pour mixture into the pan and bake for 30-40 minutes or until just set but still slightly wobbly in the middle.
    3. Let cool in the pan, and then chill overnight.

    Chocolate topping:

    • 4 ounces bittersweet chocolate
    • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into cubes
    • 1 large banana
    • Juice of 1/2 lemon
    • Melt the chocolate and butter in a double boiler.

    Assembly:

    1. Remove the sides of the springform pan and transfer to a serving plate.
    2. Top with the chocolate mixture and spread, letting it dribble over the edge.
    3. Cut the banana diagonally into long slices and toss in the lemon juice and pat dry. Arrange on top of cheesecake.
    4. Chill until topping is set prior to serving.

    Chocolate Banana Cheesecake:

    4star.jpg

  • Indonesian Beef Curry with Coconut Rice

    dscn3250.jpg

    This recipe is from Cooking Light’s May 2007 issue. It’s very tasty, and a keeper. I changed the recipe a bit, and I note the changes. You can really use your imagination with this dish and substitute chicken, tofu, or veggies for the beef. You can also easily adjust the heat level by adding or decreasing the number of chiles. You can also try removing the seeds and ribs of the chiles, which leaves great flavor without too much heat.

    Curry:

    • 1.5 pounds lean top round, thinly sliced
    • 1.5 TBSP canola oil (I used olive oil, and eyeballed it)
    • 1/2 c. thinly sliced shallots
    • 2 TBSP minced peeled fresh ginger
    • 6 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
    • 2 serrano chiles, thinly sliced (depending on how hot you want it adjust accordingly. I used 1 chile and removed the seeds, and the dish still had great flavor without being too spicy)
    • 2 tsp. ground coriander
    • 3/4 tsp. salt
    • 1.5 tsp. ground cumin
    • 1/2 tsp. ground cloves
    • 1/2 tsp. pepper
    • 3 cardamom pods, crushed
    • 1 (3-inch) cinnamon stick
    • 1 cup chicken broth
    • 1 TBSP. lime juice
    • I added the remaining coconut milk from the can used in the rice recipe and about 1 cup of cooked green beans at the end.

    Rice:

    • 1.25 cups water
    • 1 c. uncooked rice
    • 1 c. light coconut milk
    • 1/4 tsp. salt

    Assembly:

    1. To prepare curry, heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Coat the pan with cooking spray. Place half of the beef in the skillet; cook 1 minute on each side or until browned. Romove the beef from pan. Keep warm. Repeat process with the remaining beef.
    2. Lower heat to medium; add oil to pan. Add shallots, ginger, garlic, and chiles; cook 4 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. Stir in coriander and next 6 ingredients (through cinnamon); cook 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Return beef to pan. Add broth; bring to a simmer. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 35 minutes or until beef is tender. Uncover and cook 10 minutes or until sauce thickens. Discard cinnamon stick; stir in lime juice. I added the coconut milk and green beans here.
    3. To prepare rice, bring all ingredients to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 18 minutes or until liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat. Fluff with a fork.

    Indonesian Beef Curry with Coconut Rice:

    4star.jpg

  • Harvest Minestrone

    dscn3211.jpg

    I’ve been looking for a good vegetarian minestrone recipe of late, and I finally found one in the most unexpected place…the grocery store. It’s one of those free 3×5 recipe cards that are in the produce section (also in the meat and fish sections). I changed up the recipe from the card just a bit, and it was excellent!! Definitely a keeper, and as a bonus, it’s a heart healthy recipe and it’s quick and easy to prepare!

    Ingredients:

    • 1 TBSP olive oil
    • 1 c. chopped onion
    • 2 garlic cloves, minced
    • 3 carrots diced
    • 2 ribs of celery, diced
    • 6 cups chicken stock (original recipe calls for 4)
    • 1 28oz can of crushed tomatoes
    • 1 TBSP Italian seasoning (original recipe calls for 1 tsp)
    • 2 potatoes, peeled and diced (I didn’t peel)
    • 2 15oz cans of beans, drained and rinsed–I used 1 can of kidney beans and 1 can of lima beans (original recipe calls for 1 can of kidney beans only)
    • 2 zucchinis, sliced in half moons (my addition)
    • 1 c. of cut green beans (I used frozen and added at the end)
    • 2 c. cooked small pasta

    Assembly:

    1. Heat oil over medium heat in large stockpot
    2. Add onion, carrots, and celery. Cook, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes or until onions are translucent. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute.
    3. Add chicken broth, crushed tomatoes, Italian seasoning and zucchini. Bring to a boil.
    4. Add potatoes, beans, and green beans (if using raw). Reduce heat to medium-low. Cover and cook for 20 minutes or until potatoes are tender, stirring occasionally. Stir in frozen green beans if using, and stir in cooked pasta, and cook until heated through.

    Nutrition info for original recipe:

    • Per serving: 171 calories, 2 g. fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 680 mg sodium, 32 g. carbs, 8 g. protein, and 6 g. fiber
    dscn3214.jpg

    Minestrone Soup:
    4star.jpg