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Monday, September 19, 2011

White Chocolate Pumpkin Cheesecake

White Chocolate Pumpkin Cheesecake

Crust
1 cup graham cracker crumbs
1 cup oreo cookie crumbs
1/4 cup pecans
4 tbsp walnuts
5 tbsp pumpkin seeds
1 1/2 tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
4 tbsp margarine or butter

Mix well in a blender all ingredients. Place in bottom of spring form pan. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 8 minutes. Let cool on cooling rack. Keep oven at 350.

Filling
3 - 8 ounce pkg of cream cheese
1 cup sugar
1 cup canned pumpkin - unsweetened
3 eggs
4 squares white chocolate, melted
1 tsp vanilla
1 dash of nutmeg
1 tsp cinnamon

Cream together first two ingredients. Melt white chocolate squares over a double boiler, if you do not have a double boiler, a glass bowl over water slightly rolling, but not a full boil will suffice. Then add remaining ingredients and blend well until smooth. Pour into spring form pan. Bake in 350 degree oven for 1 hour until top of cake starts to crack. Let cool for five minutes. Run knife around the edge of the spring form pan, then remove outer ring. Let cool for another 30 minutes.

Topping
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
1/4 cup dried cranberries
4 tbsp butter
4 tbsp brown sugar

In a frying pan, melt butter. Add pumpkin seeds and start toasting over medium low heat. After the seeds start to turn brown, add brown sugar and cranberries. Toast for another 4 to 5 minutes. Avoiding as much butter as possible, spoon the mixture on top of the cooled cheesecake.

Place in fridge covered with wrap and cool for 4 hours or overnight. Serve with whipped cream.







Sunday, September 11, 2011

BBQ Butternut Squash Soup

1 butternut squash

3 large carrots
2 large parsnips
1 leek
1 cup Chardonnay wine
4 cups water
2 cups whipping/heavy cream
1 tbsp dried basil
1 tsp ground cloves
dash nutmeg
2 tsp sea salt
dash pepper



Cut squash in half lengthwise and hollow out seeds with a spoon. Poke several holes in it with a fork.

Heat barbecue up to 500 degrees, then turn burners down off on half of the barbecue and on the other side, place a pie plate with apple wood chips that have soaked in water for at least two hours. (I put some water in the pie plate as well). Leave this half of the bbq on medium heat. On the upper rack place the butternut squash over the side that is turned off allowing the smoke from the apple wood to circulate over the squash. This also allows the squash to cook without burning.
After 30 minutes of this, add the peeled carrots and peeled parsnip beside the squash. I added a bit more water to the pie plate of wood chips as they were burning rather than smoking. I allowed them to cook for a total of about an hour and a half. This made the veggies quite soft. About ten minutes before removing veggies, layed leek over the other veggies and let it cook for ten minutes

I cut the carrot, leek and parsnip into circles and placed it in a large dutch oven on the stove. I peeled the skin off of the squash, diced it up and placed it in the dutch oven. I put half the wine into the dutch oven with the veggies along with the sea salt. Stirred this for about 10 minutes and then added half a cup of water.

I removed this from the burner and poured it into a blender. I pureed it on high adding water until it was well blended. Rinsed out the dutch oven and poured the puree back into the pot. Added the wine, basil, cloves and nutmeg, stirred well. Cooked on medium low for 30 minutes. Then added heavy cream and turned temperature to low after mixing well. Let this heat up for another 15 minutes, added pepper and served.

I served this with a red leaf salad with garlic prawns and a glass of chardonnay. Amazingly sweet.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Peanut Butter Chicken

Peanut Butter Chicken 
- originally published here Nov 17, 2010
- also published on the Canadian Living Magazine website


Ingredients

8 chicken thighs
1 royal gala apple
8 tsp tsp(34 mL) smooth peanut butter
1 cup(250 mL) orange juice
1 tbsp(15 mL) red wine vinegar
1pinch salt
1 pinch pepper
1 tsp(5 mL) cumin
1 tsp(5 mL) tumeric
1 tsp (5 mL) coriander
1 tbsp (15 mL) margarine or olive oil

Preparation:

Cut apple into 8 slices, having removed the core and seeds. Open chicken thighs, place one slice of apple in the centre of each thigh. Place one teaspoon of peanut butter into the centre of each thigh. Roll thigh around apple/peanut butter. Close with one or two toothpicks. Heat margarine/oil in large non-stick frying pan on medium heat. Place all the thighs into the hot pan toothpick side up. Brown thighs, then using tongs turn thighs to each side until brown then to the top side. Once they are browned all the way around, add the orange juice and red-wine vinegar. Simmer on medium heat until liquids are reduced by half. Add seasonings and simmer for another 10 minutes. Adjust seasoning to taste. Serve on a bed of basmati rice. I have used an orange riesling wine vinegar which was very nice. As well, sometimes, I add curry and fresh garlic cloves, instead of cumin and tumeric. But the kids favorite is with the cumin and tumeric. Be sure all toothpicks are removed prior to serving.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Dessert

fresh strawberries, sliced
fresh peaches, cut into pieces
frozen blueberries, thawed
goat cheese, crumbled
strawberry-fig balsamic reduction

mix strawberries, peaches, blueberries, and goat cheese in a bowl.  microwave for 30 seconds, stir and mircowave for another 30 seconds.  Drizzle balsamic reduction over fruit. 

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Cooking with Orange juice

My friend Stephen in New Jersey teases me because I like to cook things in orange juice.  I have cooked yams sliced up in orange juice and I like to use it to cook rice in once in a while. 

When I do the rice, I use:

Two cups of orange juice,
1 cup of washed basmati rice (yes, I rinse it under cold water using a sieve),
I add 1 tbsp of butter,
A dash of salt (I would use about a teaspoon, but I'm supposed to be cutting back because of the high blood pressure)

Then depending on my mood I will add various complimentary spices such as:

2 tablespoons of mild to medium curry
or
1 tablespoon of freshly grated ginger
or
1 teaspoon of hot pepper seeds
or
2 teaspoons of tumeric and cumin