Monthly Archives: December 2014

Passion for Christmas Cheesecake

Lilikoi a.k.a. passionfruit and limes

Lilikoi a.k.a. passionfruit and limes

Anyone who knows me at least a little bit, knows that I have a passion for that lovely, tropical fruit, lilikoi~ a.k.a. passion fruit. Last Christmas, I made my first lilikoi cheesecake, and it was heavenly. I have a large ziplock bag full of lilikoi juice, and I was fortunate to find fresh lilikoi at the market yesterday. That’s really what inspired me, so I thought this would be a great opportunity to make it again and share it for you all.

Last year's cheesecake

Last year’s cheesecake

I usually make my own graham cracker crust, but my reality this year is that I’ve been very short on time, as of late, so I’m cheating. I found a ready-made organic, graham cracker crumb crust, and that’s what I’m using, at least this time. Feel free to do the same, if you must. One of the nice things about the ready-made one is that you get a cover with it, too. It keeps things nice and neat while you’re keeping it in the refrigerator. You can also pour the batter into an oiled spring-form pan, if you’ve got one and don’t want to bother with a crust. I’m just partial to graham cracker crust, because It’s how I grew up eating cheesecake. I wouldn’t change that, either.

I cheated with an organic, pre-made crust

I cheated with an organic, pre-made crust

 

For the Cheesecake:

One ready-made graham cracker crust (or you can crush graham crackers with butter and sugar and make your own)

1 pound cream cheese, at room temperature (I like using Neufchatel, to save a few calories)
½ cup fresh, passion fruit juice (or, use frozen, if that’s what’s available)
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons Greek yogurt
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 large eggs, room temperature
3 large yolks, room temperature
1 teaspoon finely grated lime zest
1 teaspoon fresh lime juice

For the Glaze:
1 cup passion fruit juice
1 teaspoon fresh lime juice
1½ teaspoons powdered unflavored gelatin
2 tablespoons sugar
Pulp and seeds from a fresh passion fruit (or you can use ½ cup frozen nectar, if that’s what you can find available)

Pre-heat oven to 325º.

Combine the cream cheese and passion fruit juice either by beating together with a spoon, food processor or blender, until smooth. Then add the sugar, yogurt, and cornstarch, mixing to combine. Then add the eggs, lime zest and juice and mix to combine. Pour batter into the prepared pan, or purchased crust. You might have leftover batter, if you used the purchased crust. If so, you can pour into oven-proof custard cups or even cupcake papers, for little cheesecake bites.

Ready for the oven

Ready for the oven

Bake the cheesecake until the outer edges of the cake is set but the center is still a little bit jiggly, about 45 minutes. Turn the oven off and open the door for a few minutes to let out some of the heat. Close the door and continue to cook the cheesecake in the residual heat in the oven for about 20 minutes.

 

Look… no cracks!

Look… no cracks!

This should help to minimizes the risk of the dreaded crack in your cake.

Remove from the oven and cover and refrigerate for 1 hour.

 

Next up is fresh lilikoi

Next up is fresh lilikoi glaze

Meanwhile, make the glaze:

Put about half of the passion fruit juice and all the lime juice in a medium bowl and sprinkle the gelatin over the surface.

Gelatin be bloomin'...

Gelatin be bloomin’…

Don’t stir, but rather just let it sit until the gelatin “blooms,” about 1 minute. Boil the remaining passion fruit juice and all of the sugar in a small saucepan until the sugar dissolves.

 

Whisk the hot juice into the gelatin

Whisk the hot juice into the gelatin

Keep whisking

Keep whisking

Whisk the hot juice into the gelatin mixture until smooth. Refrigerate until it just begins to set, about 20 minutes.

 

Scoop!

Scoop!

Whisk again

Whisk again!

Scoop in the fresh passion fruit pulp and seeds and whisk again. I really like the seeds… they give it a really nice crunch!

 

Pour the glaze

Pour the glaze over the surface of the cake

Do the little guys, too

Do the little guys, too

 

Pour the glaze over the top of the cooled cheesecake. Garnish with lime zest. Refrigerate for at least 8 hours or overnight.

 

Serve, decorate and make pretty!

Serve, decorate and make pretty!

Serve for dessert and get ready for the compliments!

 

Delicious!

Delicious!

Serves 10.

Good in the Summer, as well as the Winter

Good in the Summer, as well as the Winter

Lilikoi Lime Cheesecake

Lilikoi Lime Cheesecake

Good to the last bite!

Good to the last bite!

Figs & Cheese For an Easy Appetizer

I love figs

I love figs!

Since the holidays are coming, and there is more of a need for a good appetizer, here is one that is good and healthy. This idea came recently, when I ran across a basket of small figs. Since I love them so much, I bought them.

This idea is also so easy to put together, you’ll love it, because of the time you’ll save.

Simply chop

Simply chop

Simply chop up the figs and put them into a bowl. They really don’t need anything else.

 

Goat cheese

Serve with creamy goat cheese

Serve with some nice, creamy goat cheese, good bread or crackers, and a sprinkling of fresh thyme leaves.

 

figs & cheese

Figs & cheese~ an easy appetizer

You will love how easy and delicious this is!

A delicious, healthy bite

A delicious, healthy bite

 

Can’t find figs?

No figs? Try raspberries

No figs? Try raspberries.

Try it with fresh raspberries, for a slightly different treat.

Shepherd’s Pie from Turkey Leftovers

I know that Thanksgiving was a week ago, and it’s likely that your leftovers are already gone. We actually had grilled, whole chicken for Turkey Day, with no regrets, and we ended up buying a turkey roast on sale, after Thanksgiving. We also grilled that, and now I have some leftovers that I’d like to use up.

I really wanted to make a turkey pot pie, but then I thought of all the calories in that wonderful, buttery crust. Ummm, no. That’s just too many calories, especially for someone not abel to get enough exercise. I thought also of making the same with a biscuit crust, and decided against that, too~ especially when I noticed the red potatoes sitting on the counter, waiting to be used. Bingo. That’s when I realized that shepherd’s pie was my answer.

I wanted to make this fairly low calorie, so I’ve made a few tweaks, such as using chicken broth to mash the potatoes. I’ve also added lots of veggies to give us a good dose of vitamins and fiber, to give us some good protection in this very cool autumn, that we seem to be having. Best of all, this is really, very simple to make.

Start with some turkey...

Start with some turkey…

 

Peas, fresh or frozen

Peas, fresh or frozen

 

What you’ll need:

2-5 potatoes, (depending on size) scrubbed and cut into uniformly sized chunks
3-4 cloves garlic, divided use
1/4 cup yogurt
2 teaspoon minced parsley, divided use
salt & pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
2-3 carrots, diced
2 celery ribs, diced
1 cup mushrooms, chopped
1 cup frozen peas, thawed (or fresh, if you can find them)
1 cup cooked turkey, cut into 1-inch dice
2 cups chicken broth
3 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon dried or fresh thyme
1 teaspoon sage or poultry seasoning

————————————————————–

Lighten-up mashed potatoes

Lightened-up mashed potatoes

We’ll start with the mashed potatoes…

Smash and peel 2 cloves of garlic and boil along with potatoes and in a pan of salted water, until fork tender. Drain the potatoes and place them back into the pan. Add the yogurt, 1/2 cup broth and 1 teaspoon of parsley (optional) and mash, until smooth and creamy. Set aside.

Add parsley after mashing, if using

Add parsley after mashing, if using

 

This is a good time to preheat the oven to 400º F.

In a large pan over medium heat, add the olive oil, and sauté the onion. Add in the carrots, mushrooms and celery and cook until soft. Mince the remaining garlic and add to the mix, cooking for 1 minute.

 

Add the flour and coat

Add the flour and coat

Add in the turkey and heat until warmed. Salt and pepper to taste, then add in the flour and herbs, stirring to coat.

 

The peas go in last

The peas go in last

Next, pour in the remaining broth, and bring the heat up to a simmer. Allow to cook for about 5 minutes, or until the mixture thickens. It should make a nice gravy. Add in the peas last, so they don’t get mushy.

 

Cover with the mashed potatoes

Cover with the mashed potatoes

Transfer the turkey/vegetable mixture to a greased 9″ x 9″ baking pan or casserole (or similar capacity dish) and spread it evenly. Spread the mashed potatoes over the top, swirling with the back of a spoon.

Swirl!

Swirl!

 

 

Fresh from the oven

Fresh from the oven

Bake for approximately 40-50 minutes, or until the top of the potatoes is golden brown.

 

Looks like comfort food

Looks like comfort food

Serves 6.  Nice with a slice!