Tag Archives: creamy

Deep Dish Lemon Soufflé Cheesecake with Blueberry Topping

26 Jun

imageedit_3_7479616928

One of my dearest friend’s, Ashley, and I made this on my birthday last month. It’s a riff on another friend’s recipe. I am in love with the flavor combo of lemon and blueberry so to me this is pure perfection!

Time: 30 minutes + 90 bake + cool                      Serves: 8-10

Ingredients


  • Crust


  • 1 tsp brown sugar
  • 30 Canelitas cookies (Mexican cinnamon cookies), processed to crumbs equaling 2 1/2 cups
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 13 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
  • Filling


  • 32 oz cream cheese, room temperature
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 6 egg whites
  • 1/3 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp cream of tartar
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 tbsp lemon zest
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar, divided
  • 1/2 cup whipping cream
  • 2 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • Blueberry Topping


  • 3 cups blueberries
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 tbsp lemon zest

imageedit_1_5600974235

Here are the Canelita cookies. And me! With my Mexican feast and delicious cocktail. Not a bad way to spend a birthday, not at all.

How to make it


  • Crust


  • Combine cookie crumbs, cinnamon, and melted butter (reserve one tbsp)  in a mixing bowl.
  • Spread remaining tbsp of melted butter on bottom and sides of a 6-inch spring-form pan. Sprinkle brown sugar around bottom.
  • Press cookie crumb mixture into the bottom of the spring-form pan. Press down to make an even crust, going up the sides to create a deep-dish effect.
  • Wrap pan in aluminum foil to prevent the water bath from seeping in. Place in refrigerator to firm up while you make the filling.
  • imageedit_5_4524094689
  • Filling


  • Preheat oven to 325F.
  • Put a pot of water on to simmer.
  • Place cream cheese in a large mixing bowl and beat until creamy. Continue beating, and gradually add 3/4 cup sugar. Beat in the egg yolks, one at a time, scraping the sides of the bowl after each addition. Mix in the lemon zest, lemon juice, vanilla, 1/4 tsp salt and heavy cream until well blended.
  • In a separate bowl, with clean dry beaters, combine egg whites, 1/3 tsp salt, and cream of tartar. Begin to beat, gradually adding remaining 3/4 cup sugar. Beat until soft peaks form, about 3-5 minutes. Do not over-beat.
  • In three parts, fold egg white mixture into cream cheese mixture.
  • Remove pan from refrigerator. Place pan in a large roasting pan and pour hot water around it, going about 3/4 up the sides.
  • Place in middle rack of oven and bake for 90 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely.
  • Once cooled, place in refrigerator for at least two hours before you plan to serve.
  • imageedit_7_4486225854
  • Topping


  • Combine 1 1/2 cups of blueberries, sugar, and lemon zest in a small saucepan. Cook on medium heat for 6-8 minutes until the berries burst. Remove from heat and stir in remaining berries. Set aside to cool.
  • Once cooled completely, spread over top of cooled cheesecake.

imageedit_9_8954273939

Amaretto Milk Cake

18 Jun

lunapic_137158028255299_1

I made this for a very special someone’s birthday. Another recipe inspired by one of Chef Matthew Kenney’s from his book, “Big City Cooking”.

Time: 45 minutes + cool                      Serves: 9

Ingredients


  • Cake


  • 4 eggs, room temp – separated
  • 1/2 cup sugar, separated
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup AP flour, sifted
  • 1/2 cup toasted almond flour/meal**
  • 1 tbsp butter, melted
  • **I made my toasted almond meal by toasting just under 1/2 cup of raw almonds on a parchment lined baking sheet at 400F for 5-7 minutes. Once cooled, I ground them in my food processor.**
  • Amaretto Milk and Toppings


  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 12 oz. can evaporated milk
  • 3/4 cup sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 tsp almond extract
  • 1 tbsp amaretto or comparable almond-flavored liqueur
  • 1 tbsp powdered sugar
  • 8 almond butter thin cookies (Trader Joe’s) or amaretti cookies, crumbled
  • 1 tbsp powdered sugar

How to make it


  • Cake


  • Preheat oven to 350F. Prepare an 8×8 glass baking dish by brushing melted butter on bottom and sides. Fit bottom with a square of parchment paper and brush this with melted butter as well.
  • In a large mixing bowl, beat the egg yolks with 1/4 cup of sugar until light and creamy – about 3 minutes.
  • In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites with 1/4 cup sugar until soft peaks form – about 3-5 minutes.
  • In three parts, gently fold the egg whites into the yolks. Add salt and vanilla and fold in gently as well.
  • Sift in 1/4 cup of flour, fold to incorporate. Repeat with remaining flour. Add 1/4 cup almond meal and fold to incorporate. Repeat with remaining almond meal.
  • Pour into prepared dish and place in middle rack of oven. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Allow to cool completely.
  • Invert cake onto a cutting board. Remove parchment paper. Cut off the browned edges of the cake and then cut into 9 even squares. Place cake pieces back into pan.
  • Amaretto Milk and Toppings


  • In a medium saucepan, combine whole milk with evaporated milk and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat.
  • Whisk in condensed milk and simmer for an additional minute. Remove from heat. Whisk in almond extract and amaretto liqueur.
  • Remove one piece of cake. Pour milk mixture into pan in open spot, being mindful not to pour over the tops of the cake pieces.

lunapic_137158028255299_3

  • Replace piece of cake. Let soak for 10 minutes.
  • Serve pieces of cake with extra amaretto milk spooned around, topped with crumbled cookies, raspberries, and powdered sugar.

Creamy Spring Michigan Asparagus Soup

14 May

crmofasp

I look forward to the spring for so many reasons, and Michigan asparagus is one of them! It’s fresh, subtly sweet, and oh so delicious. The simplicity of this luscious soup lets it shine through and really be the star. May be served hot or chilled.

Time: 45 minutes                            Serves: 6

Ingredients


  • 1 onion,  finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 pounds asparagus, tough ends removed – cut into 2-inch pieces, tips reserved
  • 2 cups peeled & cubed potatoes
  • 5 cups vegetable broth
  • sea salt and black pepper, freshly ground – to taste
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream

How to make it


  • Heat olive oil over medium heat in a 5 qt stock pot. Add onion and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until softened and translucent. Add garlic and cook for an additional minute.
  • Add potatoes and cook for 5 minutes. Then, add asparagus (not the tips!). Add stock and bring to a boil. Reduce to simmer and cook for about 20 minutes, or until potatoes are tender.
  • Meanwhile, preheat oven to 400F. Place asparagus tips on a lined baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place in oven and roast 5-7 minutes, depending on size. Remove from oven and set aside
  • Once potatoes are tender, use an immersion blender to puree or standing blender in batches. Return to pot and add cream. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  • Garnish with roasted asparagus tips.

Spring Risotto Primavera with Crispy Lamb Sausage

9 May

lunapic_136787825230486_3

I got inspiration for this dish from last month’s Food & Wine. This dish screams Spring with every bite! While the sausage and risotto pair perfectly together, feel free to mix and match these recipes in with others. The risotto would be great with a poached egg.

Time: 1 hour                     Serves: 4

Ingredients


  • Risotto


  • 1/2 cup cherry, grape, or mini heirloom tomatoes – halved
  • 1 large carrot, peeled then shaved into ribbons with veggie peeler
  • 1 parsnip, peeled then shaved into ribbons with veggie peeler
  • olive oil
  • sea salt & black pepper, to taste
  • 1 bunch asparagus tops (reserve rest for another use)
  • 1 cup cubed yellow summer squash
  • 1/4 pound baby bella mushrooms, quartered
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 small leeks, cleaned well cut in half and sliced
  • 1 cup arborio rice
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • red pepper flakes
  • 1 tbsp lemon zest
  • 1 cup fresh peas
  • 1 small bunch green onions, bottom white and light green parts only – chopped
  • 1 cup packed pea shoots
  • 1/4 cup assorted herbs, such as basil, chervil, chives, mint, parsley, and tarragon – chopped
  • grated Parmigiano Reggiano
  • toasted pine nuts – for garnish
  • chive blossoms – for garnish
  • Sausage


  • 1 fennel bulb, minced – reserve fronds for garnish
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • olive oil
  • 2 tbsp chopped rosemary
  • 1 tsp crushed red pepper (more or less to taste)
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 2 slices bread, cubed (I used Udi’s Gluten Free Sandwich Bread)
  • 3 tbsp milk
  • 1 pound ground lamb

How to make it


  • Risotto


  • Preheat oven to 400F. Toss tomatoes in olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place on a lined baking sheet and roast in oven for about 25 minutes.
  • Rub parsnip and carrot ribbons with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place on a wire rack and bake in oven for 6-8 minutes until dry & crisp but not too brown.
  • Toss asparagus in olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place on a lined baking sheet and roast in oven for about 10 minutes until charred and tender.
  • Place 1 tbsp olive oil each into 2 large skillets over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms and zucchini to one, and leeks to the other. Season each with salt. Cook stirring for about 6-8 minutes.
  • Add garlic to mushrooms and zucchini. Cook an additional 2 minutes, then remove from heat.
  • Add risotto to leeks once tender, about 4 minutes. Cook until all risotto is coated with oil and is lightly toasted 1-3 minutes.
  • Add white wine and cook, stirring, until no liquid remains, about 2-3 minutes. Begin adding broth 1/2 cup at a time, stirring after each addition until most of the liquid is absorbed before adding more. This process takes about 20 minutes in total. Rice should be creamy (not mushy) and slightly firm in the center.
  • Add red pepper flakes, lemon zest, cheese, peas, and green onions.
  • Add roasted tomatoes, roasted asparagus, squash, mushrooms, garlic, and pea shoots.
  • Top with cooked crispy lamb sausage and garnish with parsnip and carrot chips, fennel fronds, chive blossoms, and toasted pine nuts.
  • Sausage


  • Coat the bottom of a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add fennel and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 8 minutes. Add garlic and cook an additional 2 minutes. Set aside to cool
  • Combine bread cubes and milk. Allow to absorb as fennel cooks.
  • Combine cooked fennel and garlic, soaked bread cubes, seasonings, and lamb. Form into four 1″ logs.
  • Heat a cast iron grill pan rubbed with olive oil over medium-high heat. Cook lamb until browned on all sides, turning every 2 minutes – about 8 in total. Let rest for a few minutes before slicing.

Chicken Pot Pie Mac & Cheese

25 Apr

lunapic_136685465986219_1

I’ve been back in Detroit for almost two weeks and Spring has definitely come through here and there but it’s still not in full swing. This comforting dish is nice on a rainy, cool spring evening and reminds me of the saying “April showers bring May flowers” because of how colorful it is,  incorporating fresh spring produce. This was my beau’s brainchild and I’d say an experiment gone

Time: 1 hour           Serves: 10

Ingredients


  • 1 1/2 pounds chicken breast (b/s), poached in 2 1/2 cups chicken stock, shredded*
  • 8 oz. elbow quinoa pasta, cooked al dente (or short cut pasta of your choice)
  • 6 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 medium onion, diced (about 1 cup)
  • 2 celery stalks, diced (about 1 cup)
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and diced (about 1 cups)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup corn, frozen
  • 1 cup fresh peas
  • 1/2 cup brown rice flour (or flour of your choice)
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • sea salt & black pepper, freshly ground  (I used about 1/2 tsp each)
  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise
  • 8 oz. New Zealand white cheddar, shredded – divided
  • handful pea sprouts, for garnish

How to make it


  • Preheat oven to 350F. Prepare 1 13×9 or 2 8×8 or 2 quart casserole dishes with cooking spray.
  • Melt butter in a large 5 qt. pot. Add onion, cook until softened. Add carrots, cook for 2 minutes. Add celery, cook for 1 min. Add garlic, cook for 2 minutes. Add flour. Cook until a lightly brown roux forms around the veggies.
  • Slowly add stock, and whisk to incorporate. Remove from heat. Add shredded chicken, mayo, cooked pasta, corn peas, and half shredded cheese. Mix to incorporate. Pour into casserole(s), I set one aside at this point to cool completely to freezer for another great dinner.

lunapic_136685465986219_8

  • Top with remaining cheese. Bake on middle rack for 15-20 minutes until bubbling. Transfer to top rack and turn on broiler. Broil until golden brown, about 2-3 minutes.
  • Allow to set for 5-10 minutes before serving. Garnish with pea sprouts.

lunapic_136685465986219_3

Arancini

23 Apr

529540_364934566958035_519772446_n

I’ve had the pleasure of eating arancini several times. One memory stands out more than others, Angelina Bistro in Detroit. I had never made them before, so when my chef asked me to prepare them for a tasting for a wedding I was excited! He put me on all of the family recipes for Italian classics as according to him I am an “Italian specialist”. Family recipes, huh…Oh and did I mention the groom is a chef too and the family recipes are his?! Well, the arancini were an absolute hit. And I must admit, and I can here, that I did leave a fingerprint.

Time: 45 minutes              Serves: 12 pieces

Ingredients


  • 1 cup short grain risotto rice
  • 2 cups water
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 2 eggs, separated
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese + more for garnish
  • 1-2 oz. fresh mozzarella, cubed – enough for 12 pieces
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs (I used fresh)
  • oil for frying
  • handful basil, chiffonade

How to make it


  • Preheat oil to 375F in a deep fryer or wok.
  • Cook rice uncovered until tender, but firm – about 20 minutes. When done, remove from heat and add butter. Mix to incorporate. Spread out on a large parchment lined tray to cool.
  • Once cooled, place in a large bowl and add egg yolks and parmesan cheese Mix well.
  • Take about 1/3 cup of rice mixture and shape into a ball in the palm of your hand. Make a well in the center of the ball and place a piece of mozzarella in the center. Rework the ball to enclose the cheese.
  • Put the egg whites in a bowl, beat until stiff.
  • Put bread crumbs in a shallow dish.
  • Coat rice balls with stiffened egg white one by one, then roll in bread crumbs, pressing around to coat evenly. Place on a parchment lined baking sheet.
  • Fry for about 4 minutes until golden brown and crispy all around. Remove and transfer to a paper towel lined baking sheet.
  • To serve, garnish with grated Parmesan cheese and basil chiffonade. Enjoy as is or with a delicious sauce such as my Tomato Butter Sauce.

Stovetop White Cheddar Jalapeño Mac

8 Apr

ac8182299ec1a14754bc9b44514d4bc5

I’ve been meaning to make this at home for quite some time. I made it up while in a local brewery restaurant. I love the contrast of the sharp creamy cheddar with the spicy peppers.

Time: 15 minutes             Serves: 4

Ingredients


  • 8 oz. mini shell (Conchiglie) pasta (I used quinoa & corn – GF)
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp flour (I used brown rice flour)
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 1 cup shredded sharp white cheddar cheese
  • 2 tbsp 0% plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup diced & seeded jalapeño peppers

How to make it


  • Bring a pot of salted water to boil. Add pasta and cook until al dente.
  • Reserve 1 cup cooking water and drain pasta.
  • Meanwhile, add butter to a medium saucepan – large enough to house all ingredients eventually – over medium-high heat. Once melted, add flour. Cook, stirring, for 2 more minutes. Gradually whisk in the milk and continue to whisk until sauce is smooth and begins to thicken, about 5 minutes.
  • Add pasta, cheese, Greek yogurt, and diced jalapeños. Add some cooking water, about 1/4 cup at a time until desired consistency is met. I used 1/2 cup.