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I have a bad habit of not eating all the veggies in the crisper before they go bad.  When I’m on the road, I try to remember to give them away before I leave so I don’t come to spoilage. This time, I decided to try and freeze them.

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I wasn’t sure what exactly to do, so I decided to wing it.

  • Step One: wash the veggies.
  • Step Two: chop the veggies.
  • Step Three: blanch the veggies in boiling salted water.
  • Step Four: dunk them in an ice bath.
  • Step Five: drain and pat the veggies dry.
  • Step Six: put them in a freezer container (glass or plastic bowl, or plastic bag).
  • Step Seven: put them in the freezer.

We’ll see how they turn out when I defrost them next week to make soup.

 

 

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One of the reasons I haven’t been posting to In the Kitchen with Kate is that I’ve been figuring out how to eat less sugar.  And by less sugar, I mean all sugar.  Who knew sugar was in everything??  Which has made the cooking a lot more hit and miss lately.

The good news is that I’m discovering — and inventing — some fun new recipes, which I’ll be sharing as they are perfected.

I made a loaf of my banana blueberry bread and decided that it needed a little fanciness.

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There’s a sprinkle of ginger in the batter, so I decided to carry that through into the frosting. All you need is a mixer, 8 ounces Neufchatel cheese, 8 tablespoons of unsalted butter, 1-2 teaspoons of ground ginger, and a cup of confectioner’s sugar. Let your standing mixer do the work, and then spread a lovely thick layer of frosting on top of the loaf.

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I can’t wait for breakfast!

This is one of the very best — though not the prettiest — cheesecakes I’ve ever made. It’s not a mocha cheesecake. It’s an intense espresso cake with a rich chocolate swirl.  Beware, though: it cracks a lot, so you need heaps of whipped cream to cover the flaws.

Ingredients:

10 ounce package of gourmet shortbread cookies
6 tbs unsalted butter, melted
2 tbs espresso powder dissolved in 1 tbs warm water (Medaglia D’Oro is the best)
3 8-ounce packages of cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup of sugar
3 eggs
6 ounces Guittard bittersweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup heavy whipping cream for the ganache

How I Made It:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Prepare a 9 inch springform pan with baking spray, then wrap the outside of the bottom in foil (in case the butter leaks out when you set the crust).

Crush the shortbread in the food processor. When you have a nice batch of crumbs, drizzle the melted butter over the top of the crumbs. Cover and pulse a couple of times to combine the crumbs and butter.

Press the shortbread crumbs into the bottom of the springform pan.  Place the pan on a cookie sheet and bake in the oven for about 5 minutes.  Remove the pan from the oven and set it aside to cool while you make the batter.

In a standing mixer, beat the cream cheese until smooth.  Add the sugar and beat the mixture until it is fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating each into the batter completely before adding the next.  Add the espresso and continue to mix at medium speed.

** I tend to over mix my cheesecake batter, because I like an airier cake.  As long as you have a well-combined batter, you can reduce the mixer time to your taste. **

In a double boiler or heavy bottom saucepan, heat the whipping cream over medium heat.  Be careful not to let it get too hot or to scorch.  Add the chocolate to the hot cream, and remove the pan from the burner.  Whisk the chocolate and cream together until smooth.  Set aside.

Transfer half of your cheesecake batter to the springform pan.  Then, spoon five or six dollops of chocolate ganache on top of the batter.  With a thin bladed knife, swirl the chocolate into the batter. Espresso Cheesecake Part 1

Carefully pour the rest of the batter into the pan, and then repeat the chocolate swirl step.

Put the springform pan back on the cookie sheet and then put it in the center of the oven to bake.  Bake the cheesecake for 36 minutes or just until the edges start to turn a light brown and crack.  The center will not be set.  Turn off the oven and let the cheesecake sit in the oven for another 15-20 minutes.

Remove the cheesecake from the oven. Gently release the sides of the pan.  If you are not going to serve it right away, put the cheesecake, covered, in the refrigerator until you’re ready.  When you’re ready, top with whipped cream and serve.

How It Turned Out:

Cheesecake Final

VOILA!  Scrumptious!

I love all things Caprese (not just the salad, the island, too!).  Caprese salads are so simple and so tasty.  But, they can also be a bit . . . mundane.

So this year, for my holiday feast (which had an Italian theme) I decided to do something different. But what? And then, while I was watching the Curious George Holiday Movie with my favorite five year old, I saw just the thing — Tomato Snowmen!

The Italian chef on Curious George’s street makes them, and they are the Man in Yellow Hat’s favorite.  Curious George tries to make them as a Christmas gift for him, with disastrous results. Thankfully, mine turned out nicely with no monkey business.

Ingredients:

Cherry tomatoes
Fresh mozzarella medallions
Fresh organic basil
Long toothpicks
Balsamic vinegar for drizzling

How I Made Them:

Just as you would expect — stack the tomatoes, with bites of mozzarella and basil in between, on the long toothpicks to make a Caprese Snowman.  Plate and serve as an easy starter.

Caprese Snowmen

When you cook for one, you often default to cereal or the microwave instead of cooking something from scratch. recipestarters_mushroom

That’s why finding shortcuts to scrumptious is so important.  This recipe calls for just three ingredients: left over roast (like my walnut oil and sage beef roast or this wonderful bison roast), stroganoff noodles, and a can of Progresso Portabella Mushroom Recipe Starter Sauce.

Heat the left over roast, cut into 1 inch cubes, in the mushroom sauce while you cook the noodles.  Drain the noodles and then combine them with the sauce.

Voila! Single Girl Special Stroganoff!

 

It’s not that Kate is no longer In The Kitchen.

It’s that I’m recuperating from a serious broken bone and haven’t been able to cook much more than a microwave meal.  Not only because my lovely big kitchen is difficult to navigate right now, but also because I am afraid that I will lose my balance and fall onto the hot stovetop.

If I didn’t know before how much I enjoy the process of planning, cooking, and sharing a meal, I certainly do now.  The list of recipes I plan to make after I’m back on my feet will last me at least six months (so friends, be prepared for lots of dinner parties and fancy treats!).

be back soon sign

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