Saturday, April 19, 2008

Lemon Cheesecake

I found this recipe through Deb at Smitten Kitchen , who found it in "Gourmet" magazine. The recipe calls for almonds in the crust (for Passover we can't use anything made with flour like Graham crackers), but I substituted pistachios. I topped the cake with candied lemon peel and fresh strawberries.

3/4 C pistachios (or toasted blanched almonds)
2/3 C sugar
2/3 C matzoh cake meal
1/4 tsp salt
1 stick unsalted butter melted and cooled slightly
3 8-oz packages of cream cheese
3/4 C sugar
3 large eggs
2 tsp grated lemon zest
1 tsp vanilla

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Pulse the pistachios, 2/3 C sugar, matzoh meal, and salt in a food processor until finely ground. Add the melted butter until combined well. Press into the bottom of a 9" springform pan, and up the sides 1 inch. Bake for about 12-15 minutes, until the crust is firm. Cool completely.

Reduce oven temperature to 300 degrees. In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the cream cheese and remaining sugar until smooth. Reduce speed to low and add the eggs one at a time, until combined. Add the lemon zest and vanilla. Pour filling into the prepared pan and bake for 45-50 minutes, or until the filling is set around the edges but still a little wobbly in the middle. Immediately run a knife around the edges of the cake and remove the sides of the pan. Let cool for at least 2-3 hours.

Monday, April 14, 2008


I made these with a pork filling, but you could substitute chicken, beef, or vegetables if you prefer. The dough recipe is from Tyler Florence. I made it without the masa, and I think it was a mistake. I imagine you could fry these as well, if you didn't want to bake them.

3-pound pork shoulder
Olive oil
1 can chipotle in adobo, minced
1 large onion, in large slices
Garlic, coarsely chopped
Fresh oregano
Salt and Pepper

Empanada Dough:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup masa harina
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 large egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water, for egg wash
Butter, for greasing the pans

Season the pork well with salt and pepper. In large, oven proof pot, heat the oil and brown the pork on all sides. Remove the meat from the pot and add the onion, garlic, and half the chilis. When the onions become translucent, add the pork and oregano, and cover with water. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Cover and transfer to a preheated 350 degree oven for about two hours, or until the meat begins to fall apart.

In a large bowl, sift together the flour, masa harina, baking powder, and salt. Stir in the melted butter. Gradually add 1/2 cup to 3/4 cup of water, working it in with your hands to incorporate; the dough should be easy to handle and not sticky. Form the dough into a ball, wrap it in plastic, and chill for 30 minutes.
Lightly flour your rolling pin and counter. Divide the dough in 1/2 so it will be easier to work with and roll it out to 1/8-inch thickness. Using a 4-inch cookie or biscuit cutter, cut out 10 circles of dough; repeat with the other 1/2. Chill in the refrigerator until ready to use.

Once the pork is done cooking, remove it from the pot and let it cool before shredding it with two forks. Mix the shredded meat with the remaining chipotles and season with salt and pepper.

Spoon the filling into the center of each pastry circle, leaving a 1/2-inch border. Brush the edges with the egg wash and then fold the dough over in 1/2 to enclose the filling and form a semi-circle. Tightly seal the edges by crimping with the tines of a fork. Chill at least 30 minutes before baking.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Place the empanadas on a buttered baking sheet and brush the tops with additional egg wash. Using a fork, prick a few holes in the top of the empanadas for steam to escape. Bake for 30 minutes, until the pastry is golden brown.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Mid Century Supper!

Here are the pics from Jenn and my dinner experiment... The diptychs show the photo from the original cookbook on the left, with our version on the right. I was especially excited to finally make the "Meatloaf Train," which has always been one of my most prized recipes. I should note that the cake was decorated by a very capable 10-year old. We also served cheese fondue with the canapes, but I didn't get a good pic. I'm not posting recipes, but if anyone wants them, please let me know.