Strawberry Cheesecake Parfaits

April 24, 2010

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Strawberry Cheesecake Parfaits
(serves 6)

1# strawberries, stemmed and sliced
1 tsp. sugar
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
3 T. milk
1 T. fresh-squeezed lemon juice
1 T. sugar
1 C. Cool-Whip
1/2 C. graham cracker crumbs

Toss sliced strawberries with the 1 teaspoon sugar; set aside.

Place cream cheese, milk, lemon juice, and the 1 tablespoon sugar in medium-sized mixing bowl. Beat with electric mixer until smooth. Fold in Cool-Whip.

Spoon about 1 tablespoon graham cracker crumbs into each of six parfait glasses; top each with about 1/4 cup of the cream cheese mixture and about 1/4 cup of the strawberries. Create a second layer of about 1 tablespoon crumbs, about 1/4 cup cream cheese mixture, and about 1/4 cup strawberries. Serve immediately, or cover and refrigerate up to 6 hours.

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Slightly modified from this recipe.

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Cranberry Pear Pie

November 26, 2009

Chef’s Notes: This is one of my must-haves for Thanksgiving. I don’t remember where I originally found the recipe but it’s been a favorite for several years. I usually make it with a lattice top crust but this year I tried a crumb topping.

Cranberry Pear Pie

Cranberry Pear Pie
Yields 8 slices

Pastry for single 9-inch pie

Filling
4 ripe pears, peeled, cored, and cubed (should yield about 4 cups)
2 C. fresh cranberries
1/2 C. maple syrup
2 T. cornstarch
2 T. cold water

Topping
1/2 C. flour
1/4 C. packed brown sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
5 T. cold unsalted butter, diced
1/2 C. chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Line a pie pan with pastry; trim and flute edges. Set aside.

In a medium saucepan, combine pears, cranberries, and maple syrup. Heat until gently boiling, stirring constantly, and cook for 3-5 minutes, until cranberries begin to pop. Combine cornstarch and water and stir into the simmering cranberry/pear mixture. Cook one minute more. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.

To prepare the crumb topping, combine the flour, brown sugar, and cinnamon. Cut in the butter until the mixture is crumbly. Stir in walnuts.

Pour cooled filling into prepared pie shell and sprinkle with topping. Cover edges of crust loosely with foil. Bake for 40 minutes or until crust is golden brown and filling is bubbly. Cool on wire rack.


Apple Bread Pudding

October 27, 2009

Chef’s Notes: All I can say is…this is the ultimate autumn comfort food. Trust me, you will not want to share!


apple bread pudding

Apple Bread Pudding

Apple Bread Pudding
(Serves 4-6)

4 C. day-old wheat bread cubes
2 C. peeled and sliced apples
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1 3/4 C. milk
1/4 C. unsalted butter
1/2 C. brown sugar, loosely packed
2 T. maple syrup
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Place bread cubes and apples in 8-inch glass baking dish (square or round); sprinkle with cinnamon and nutmeg. In a small saucepan, combine milk, butter, brown sugar, and maple syrup; heat over low heat until butter melts. Pour milk mixture over bread and apples. In a small bowl, whisk the egg and vanilla; pour into baking dish. Bake 45 minutes. Serve warm.

 

(Bread pudding is frequently served with a vanilla or rum/brandy/bourbon sauce. I think a sauce makes it too rich, but if you’d like to try it, you can find multiple recipes by googling.)


Pears and Apples Salad with Toasted Walnut Dressing

October 11, 2009

Chef’s Notes: I found this recipe in Soup Makes The Meal. It’s wonderfully simple yet very tasty. This dish perfectly captures the flavors of autumn!

Pears and Apples Salad with Toasted Walnut Dressing

Pears and Apples Salad with Toasted Walnut Dressing

Pears and Apples Salad with Toasted Walnut Dressing
5 or 6 servings

1 C. walnuts, coarsely chopped
3 T. olive oil
3 T. cider
1 ½ T. cider vinegar
1 T. firmly packed light brown sugar
3 large ripe pears, peeled (about 3 C. diced)
2 large crisp apples, peeled (about 2 C. diced)
Small handful raisins (optional) (I used dried cranberries)
2 to 3 T. heavy cream, to taste (I used 2 T. half-and-half)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Put the walnuts on a baking sheet and toast them in the oven until fragrant and lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and tilt them off the sheet and onto a plate or your work counter (they’ll keep toasting if you leave them on the sheet).

Put 1/3 cup of the still-warm nuts in a blender or mini-chopper. Add the olive oil, cider, vinegar, and brown sugar and process the mixture until smooth, then set aside.

Quarter and core the pears. Cut them into bite-sized chunks and put them in a medium-size bowl. Do the same for the apples. Toss in the remaining 2/3 cup chopped nuts and the raisins, if you’re using them.

Pour the dressing over the fruit and toss well to coat evenly. Add the cream and toss again to coat evenly. Serve the salad at once, or cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until needed, up to a few hours.


Creamy Baked Peaches

August 18, 2009

Chef’s Notes: Peach cobbler with cream is one of my favorite desserts, and peach season always gets me thinking about it. But, I wondered, is there a way to enjoy those flavors, without all the pastry and sugar? Yes, there is, I discovered when I created this yummy recipe!

Creamy Baked Peaches | Oven-baked Frittata with Mushrooms and Bacon

Oven-baked Frittata with Mushrooms and Bacon | Creamy Baked Peaches

Creamy Baked Peaches
Serves 2

1 fresh peach
1/2 cup cottage cheese*
1 T. honey
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
2 T. walnut pieces
Fresh mint

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Peel peach, cut in half, and remove pit. Place peach halves in small shallow baking dish. Combine cottage cheese, honey, and cinnamon; scoop onto peach halves. Bake 15 minutes. Garnish with walnuts and mint.

Pictured with Oven-baked Frittata with Mushrooms and Bacon

*All cottage cheeses are not created equal. Some are moist, some dry, some salty, some sweet. I used Michigan Brand cottage cheese, which is quite dry and slightly sweet. I don’t know how this recipe would work with a cottage cheese of a different consistency and/or flavor. Ricotta could be substituted.

As an alternative, slice or dice the peaches rather than leaving whole, and substitute real maple syrup for the honey. Bake, and then use as a topping for a whole wheat waffle.