Posts tagged ‘Cheesecake’

June 6, 2011

Savory Broccoli and Spinach Cheesecake

WHOA! Hold the phone! What’s that I read? CHEESECAKE?

Yeah, I know what you’re thinking… “Sonia, didn’t you just say you were going to keep your calorie intake in check and cook more light and low cal dishes for a while? And yet, here you are, making CHEESECAKE? Are you, like, out of your mind or something?

Well, not exactly! 😉 While cheesecake isn’t exactly you typical low cal dish, believe it or not, one serving of this baby will only set you back about 425 calories.

Not bad for such a rich and decadent dish. While eating it, you would never guess that it was so healthy and surprisingly light. It definitely feels super rich and creamy and oh so cheesy.

You see, I was initially planning on making a quiche, but I suddenly remembered that I had bought about a million packages of low fat cream cheese last time it came on sale (I know, I have to work on that…) and so my mind immediately went “SAVORY CHEESECAKE” and this huge grin came across my face.

Then I remembered: “-Low cal”. D’OH!

I had to think of a way to make this happen. HAD TO!

And I did!

How? I remembered that one could also use cottage cheese to make cheesecakes! Bingo, problem solved. I used one package of low fat cream cheese, one container of 1% cottage cheese and a little bit of Feta cheese for added flavour and texture.

All in all, I am EXTREMELY happy with the results. The texture is rich and creamy with nice chunks of vegetables and the pie as a whole doesn’t feel heavy at all despite being loaded with cheese. The taste? Hard to describe… but definitely YUMMY!

There’s only one tiny little detail that didn’t quite work out… the crust isn’t of the cuddly kind and doesn’t seem to want to cling to the cheese filling. That’s why I decided to garnish with arugula leaves, to hide the gap that had formed between the crust and the filling. Problem solved? Not quite that easily…

The slices are a little tricky to cut, but if you make a small “starter” indentation in the crust, the rest goes pretty good. However, once a slice is cut, the “gap” transforms into a drawbridge, so you sort of have to hold it in place with a toothpick.

Not sure how to solve that problem… I will have to think of something… Edible superglue?

Anywho, that won’t stop me from making this wonderful savory cheesecake again, or even from bringing it to an eventual party. I am truly happy with this experiment and the way it turned out.

And, now that I’ve got a good base, I can play with different flavour combinations!

Oh! food, how I love thee!

INGREDIENTS

Crust

  • ¾ cup spelt flour
  • 1/3 cup whole wheat flour
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 cup no fat plain yogurt
  • 1 egg

Filling

  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 orange bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp oranic no salt seasoning
  • 4 cups broccoli florets, chopped
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • 140g spinach, chopped
  • Freshly grated nutmeg, to taste
  • 250g low fat cream cheese
  • 500g 1% fat cottage cheese
  • the zest and juice of half a lemon
  • 1 tsp dijon mustard
  • 3 whole eggs
  • ¼ cup egg whites (equivalent to 2 egg whites)
  • 100g Feta cheese, crumbled

INSTRUCTIONS
(serves 6)

Crust

  1. Whisk flours, baking powder and salt in a bowl. In a measuring cup, whisk oil, yogurt and egg; pour over flour.
  2. Stir to form fairly smooth dough.
  3. On floured surface, knead until smooth, 2 minutes.
  4. Press into disc; wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
  5. On floured surface, roll out dough to form a 12-13 inch disc. Fit into 9 inch spring form pan, letting excess hang over edge. Set aside.

Filling

  1. Preheat oven to 375F
  2. In a skillet coated with cooking spray, cook onion, bell pepper and seasoning over medium heat, until fragrant and onion becomes translcent, about 2-3 minutes. Add broccoli and continue cooking for another minute or two.
  3. Add water and balsamic vinegar. Cook until all water has evaporated. Turn off the heat and add chopped spinach and nutmeg. Stir until the spinach is wilted. Set aside to cool.
  4. In a food processor, blend cream cheese and cottage cheese together until smooth. Scrape the sides once or twice during process to make sure all cheese is well incorporated.
  5. Add lemon juice and lemon zest, Dijon mustard and give a quick stir.
  6. Add eggs, one at a time, blending until smooth between each addition. Add the egg whites and take the mixture for a final spin.
  7. Transfer cooked vegetables to a large mixing bowl. Add crumbled feta and creamy cheese mixture. Fold delicately until well combined.
  8. Transfer this mixture into the reserved crust. Immediately put in the oven and lower temperature to 325F.
  9. Cook for 55-60 minutes, until cake is set.
  10. Allow cake to cool completely before unmolding.
  11. Garnish with arugula leaves right before serving.

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April 25, 2011

OMGIDITGLIFO – Easter Extravaganza!

Wondering about all those letters? They stand for Oh My God I Did It Thank Goodness Lent Is Finally Over!

To me, Lent this year meant 46 days of eating clean, 100% of the time. No processed sugar, in fact, no sweet treats at all. The only exception was a teaspoon of honey here and there when a recipe called for it, and there is this once when I drizzled a half teaspoon over my buckwheat pancake, mostly for the looks… Hey, I had to make that sacrifice so that my picture would look good!!! How’s that for dedication?

So for 46 days, no sugar, no junk, not one french fry, not one potato chip, not even a pretzel, not one drop of alcohol, not one bite of meat (save for fish and seafood), even white flour was off limits. Need I tell you It was tough? It was a heck of a challenge, but I did it!  And I am very proud. Kudos to my kids for also succeeding with their Lent challenge. You kids are good! Hats off to you!

I do feel, however, like this year has been especially long and especially hard… especially when it comes to everything sweet. You see, I have a mega sweet tooth. Sugar would be my one addiction that still isn’t completely under control.

For Easter, my brothers and I went to my parents and had a lovely pot luck lunch. I love pot lucks. You get to eat so many different things in a very relaxed atmosphere. You can walk with your plate and sit anywhere you please. You can eat in small installments, too. The only thing is, I always overeat. At least, this time, I was good. Most of what I ate was healthy and good for me… most, I did say!

For the occasion, I had baked this absolutely decadent Stout and Chocolate Cheesecake. I had found the recipe on Kevin’s Closet Cooking a few weeks ago and I had been drooling and day dreaming about that cake ever since. I was looking sooooo forward to eating it, you can’t even imagine. I think the hardest part of my Lent observance came when I finally made the cake. You see, since I was making it for Easter, I had to prepare it in advance so Lent wasn’t over yet when I actually made it.

Have you ever tried making a cake without even so much as licking your fingers, especially when you have been craving sugar for weeks and you have to look at this melted chocolate, and smell it, and you can’t even taste it? Then you crack open this beer that you really really like, and you don’t even need half of it for your recipe, but you can’t even finish it… It was hell, I tell you! At least, I thought I would get to eat the cake that I’d been daydreaming about in less than 48 hours…

Unfortunately, the cake, while good, was not nearly as good as I expected. I chose to top it with Bailey’s Whipped Cream and, well, I think THAT was my favorite part. For some reason, I think my cake was a little overcooked… It wasn’t nearly as creamy as Kevin’s was. And I couldn’t taste the beer at all. Maybe it’s because I chose to use a different stout, a cocoa and vanilla stout called Aphrodisiaque, which is brewed by a local brewery. Maybe I ought to try the cake again using Guinness this time.

It did look pretty, however, didn’t it?

Another very yummy thing that I contributed to the pot luck is this lovely pine nut shaped cream cheese appetizer.  I got the inspiration here for the shape, but I didn’t care much for the cheese recipe. I’m not big on mayo, you see… and I wanted something orange / cranberry. This turned out soooo good, I think it’s worthy of getting its own post… but it’s basically low fat cream cheese, sour cream, the zest of 1 orange, some parsley and chopped pecans with a handful of dried cranberries. Oh, and a pinch of cayenne!

The rest of my food contributions are all déjà-vu…

My cold shrimp salad (I cheated and added a can of heart of artichokes…)

My Orange Cranberry Quinoa Salad

My No Knead Country Loaf  (well, ok… not quite mine… I admit!)

This, my brother made. It’s so easy and soooooo good. You simply take a very fresh salmon fillet, cut it into cubes, then pour some lemon juice over it, sprinkle with a little bit of fresh dill and let it marinate for a half hour or so. The lemon juice will take care of cooking the salmon but it remains super tender. Notice on one of the pictures below, this is the only plate that got completely cleaned!

This plate right there was 750g of salmon and the juice of about 2 lemons. Not much calculation required here, really…

Of course, there was also people at that party!!!

This adorable little fellow would be my nephew, Lyle. He is just the custest kid I have ever seen. Don’t you agree? I think he too, really liked the whipped cream on that cake…

This is my older brother, Sylvain, oh, and Lyle eating cake again… We had this huge chocolate fondue with tons of fruit. YUM!

My niece Rosalie in the foreground and my daughter Natasha (with the red sweater)

My mom, Maria and my sister-in law, Myriam (I guess you can figure out who’s who…) This picture reminds me of “The Last Scene”…  Notice the empty salmon plate… all that’s left are lemon slices!

My younger brother, Patric, and his girlfriend, Myriam

My niece Elisabeth playing the guitar, her sister Rosalie and Lyle, the future heart breaker…

My dad! My favorite dad in the whole wide world! (with again, Lyle in the background… he’s just everywhere, that kid!)

And, well, me! Yep, this is all you’re getting! 😉

October 31, 2010

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cheesecake Bars

For well over a month now, I have been reading Bake or Break, drooling over all the pictures, checking out the recipes, trying to decide which one I would choose as my monthly decadence.

I finally decided on these bars.

What a good choice I made. They are truly, absolutely decadent. Although I made mine even more decadent by adding a good layer of Dulce de Leche between the graham crust and the cheesecake filling, and I slightly upped the quantity of filling, using 2 entire packages of cream cheese instead of the 10 ounces that the recipe calls for. Of course, I adjusted eggs and sugar quantities accordingly.

Just look at the gooeyness of the added caramel. To die for!

Caramel
Wow those are GOOD. Worth every single calorie, let me tell you.

Made my top 5 best desserts ever.

Recipe from The Essential Chocolate Chip Cookbook

Adapted from Bake or Break

CRUST

  • 1½ cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 5 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
  • 2/3 cup miniature semisweet chocolate chips

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 325F. Butter a 9″square baking pan. Line pan with parchment paper, leaving enough to extend over the sides. Butter the parchment paper.
  2. Combine graham cracker crumbs and butter until crumbs are moistened. Stir in chocolate chips.
  3. Press crust mixture into bottom of pan and 1” up sides. Bake for 6 minutes. Set pan on wire rack to cool.

COOKIE DOUGH

  • 5 tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 3 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Instructions

  1. Using an electric mixer, mix butter, brown sugar, sugar, salt, and vanilla extract at medium speed until smooth.
  2. Decrease mixer speed to low and add flour. Mix just until incorporated.
  3. Stir in chocolate chips.
  4. Roll cookie dough into 21 little balls. Set aside.

FILLING

  • 16 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups Dulce de Leche (not to be mixed in)

Instructions

  1. Using an electric mixer, beat cream cheese and sugar just until smooth. Add egg and vanilla extract, beating just until blended.
  2. Spread Dulce de Leche onto baked crust then pour batter right on top.
  3. Place your cookie dough balls over the top of the filling.
  4. Bake about 30 minutes, or until set. Place on wire rack to cool.

TOPPING

  • 1/3 cup semisweet chocolate
  • 3 tbsp caramel

Instructions

  1. Melth the chocolate chips in a double boiler or in the microwave. Add about ½ tsp of butter if necessary to make chocolate smooth.
  2. Drizzle over top of bars, then drizzle caramel. Cool bars in pan completely, about an hour. Do not refrigerate at this point or the cookie dough will be very hard to cut through.
  3. Using the edges of the parchment paper, remove bars from pan. Cut into bars and serve.

More pictures here…