I was going to post a pasta dish this week – it’s really good and summery but still creamy and light – but I just couldn’t bring myself to suggest that you turn on both your oven and your stove. I don’t know about you, but we are in the middle of a heat wave. It’s another heat wave, or maybe it’s the heat wave we’ve kind of been having all summer despite a couple days last week. We have established a system of closing our windows around noon when it starts to get really hot outside, turning on the air conditioning when the inside temperature gets unbearable, and then opening the windows in the evening once the outside temperature is lower than inside or maybe if there’s a slight cool breeze blowing by.
On days like this, I can’t imagine eating anything hot. In fact, I would prefer that everything I ate was cold and crunchy, preferably also maybe juicy or with a little tang or spice to it. These toasts almost fit that bill – no juiciness really (unless you include the cucumbers that I GREW IN MY OWN GARDEN – sorry, I’m excited), but lots of crunch from the sliced vegetables and tang from the miso cream cheese. You do have to turn on your toaster, but it’s worth it, I promise.
It’s been a little while since I did any weekend finds, hasn’t it? I figured I’d give you some posts you could sink your teeth into. But hey, sometimes you can sink your teeth into a list of cool stuff I found, right? Right. Halloween is around the corner (like, wow, two weeks away already). And that, to me, means that we are in the thick of fall, which in turn means we should be making all things squash. I have my old go to’s (like tofu and delicata with miso and molasses, root veggies with miso and harissa) but it’s always fun discovering new ones. Here are some I’m itching to try.
1. Pumpkin Muffins
I’m not sure what about these pumpkin muffins makes me feel like they’ll be different from pumpkin muffins I’ve made in the past – maybe it’s the face that they’re topped with whipped cream cheese? Yeah, that could be it.
2. Butternut Squash Pie
This Italian dessert sounds beautiful – somewhere between a custard and a pie and sprinkled with almonds.
3. Squash with Dates and Thyme
I love me some roasted squash, and acorn has become a recent favorite of mine. This acorn squash tossed with coconut oil and roasted with dates sounds perfect – I love the thought of the sweetness from the dates. I would throw the thyme in to roast with the squash, and maybe add a sprinkle of cayenne.
This past Friday was Jonah’s birthday. A while back he told me that he really likes cheesecake, and I immediately thought of my dad’s insanely delicious cheesecake recipe. He has made this cheesecake for some big events over the years (I seem to remember him making like 7 for my older sister’s bat mitzvah). I swear it is the creamiest cheesecake I’ve ever had. I had never made it myself before, so I was a little nervous. I just wanted to do everything right!
Also, you should know that in our family, this recipe is pretty top secret. When I told my dad I was putting it on the blog, he may have been a little hesitant. He said “No! We have to make people beg for it! Pine after it!” So the fact that I’m just giving it to you for free is a sign of how much I love you. And that it’s so good that I want to share it with the world. It’s so good that if everyone ate it, it may bring us world peace.
Graham Cracker Crust
1 7/8 cups graham cracker crumbs
5 Tbl sugar
1/2 cup butter, melted
Cheesecake Filling and Assembly
2 ½ pounds cream cheese
1 ½ cups sugar
2 Tbl flour
1/8 tsp salt
5 whole eggs + 2 extra egg yolks
½ cup heavy cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
Graham Cracker Crust
Ok, let’s start with the crust. I just picked up a box of graham cracker crumbs and got the recipe off the side of the box. In my family we like a bit of a thicker crust, so I multiplied the recipe by 1.5. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Combine sugar and crumbs in a bowl, add the melted butter. Mix in the butter thoroughly. Pack the mixture into a spring form pan, pressing firmly into the bottom and up the sides. Bake for 8 minutes, and allow to cool before filling.
Cheesecake Filling and Assembly
Once the crust is out of the oven, turn up the heat to 475 degrees. Have the cheese at room temperature. Beat it in an electric mixer until soft and creamy. Now add in the sugar, flour, salt, and the 5 eggs, one at a time. Beat in the egg yolks, cream, and vanilla until very smooth.
Pour the cheese mixture into the spring form pan slowly. Bake in a preheated 475 oven for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 225 and bake 1 hour longer. Turn off the heat, crack open the oven door and let cake settle in oven for 15 minutes (or longer… I did probably about 30 minutes just because I was running around doing other stuff). When you crack the oven open, run a knife around the edge of the cheesecake, between the crust and pan, so that when you remove the sides of the spring form it’s easier.
Remove from the oven and cool for at least 4 hours before removing sides of spring form. It’s best to put it in the fridge so it can really settle. If you’re going to leave it overnight (like I did), be sure to cover it so it doesn’t get dried out or anything like that. The crust crumbled a lot when serving, but it’s all good because this stuff is so delicious that no one will care. It’s moist and creamy and very rich. Bon appetit!