Friday Food. October.

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Dreams do come true.

I will claim, rightly so, to be a good cook, but only a moderate baker. I almost never bake from scratch. Baking is not only an art, but also a science. You mess up one ingredient and it won’t work. Cooking is its own art, but it also lets you improvise more – a little of this, a little of that; don’t have an ingredient, substitute something completely unrelated.

A long time ago, in a kitchen far, far away, my middle son asked for cheesecake for his birthday cake. I made the Philly Three-Step, he loved it, and the rest is history. This has become a yearly tradition. Always plain with whipped cream. Occasionally with raspberries. Once with chocolate swirl. But typically, he doesn’t like it dressed up.

On Wednesday, he turned 18, and I wanted to do something special. I asked if he wanted a different birthday cake, and he wanted cheesecake. Okay, why mess with perfection?

A couple of weeks ago, I had a dream, and it was this cheesecake.

Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake.
(c)2022

After we finished singing Happy Birthday, and eating the cake, I told them about my dream and they laughed at me. I don’t care. I made it happen, and it was a nice surprise and even better, it was delicious!


Recipe:

  • Make the Philly Three-Step Cheesecake as directed. (Takes 1 hr plus 3 hours refrigeration.)
  • Before serving, use one (or all) of the tips with the Betty Crocker Cupcake Icing to make a chocolate border. It can be as thin or as thick as you like.
  • Wash and dry fresh raspberries and fill in the center.
  • Serve.
  • Can also serve with whipped cream.

Friday Food: Super, Simple Super Bowl Snacks

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With New Year’s just past and the Super Bowl coming up in a few short weeks (Feb. 2), I thought I’d share some of my family’s easy to prepare foods. For New Year’s this past week, we actually cooked very little. Most of our food was simple, store-bought, easy to prepare, easy to clean up, and best of all, yummy.

1. Dip. We love the dill dip from Marzetti. It can be found in the refrigerated area of your grocery’s produce section. We like to pair it up with a variety of items to dip, including: pretzels, crackers, bread chunks, raw snow peas, raw green beans, carrots, broccoli, tomatoes, potato chips. If you want to dress up your table, scoop out the insides of a round bread loaf and put the dip inside. Looks great, no clean up!

2. Hot dogs wrapped in crescent roll dough. You can buy these premade (we like the Hebrew National ones) or you can make them yourself. I’d recommend cutting the hot dogs in three, and cutting each crescent roll triangle in two. You get twice as many little dogs and it’s not over doughy.

3. Mini quiches or mini potato puffs. Again, you can buy these premade or make them yourself. For either of these, use a mini muffin tin. Put in a puff pastry square and add your ingredients. For quiches: eggs, cheese, onion, bacon. For potato puffs: mashed potatoes, bacon, cheese. Delicious.

4. Cheese and crackers. In addition to cheese cut in chunks, there are also cheese spreads that are very good on crackers. Add pepperoni to the platter for a little extra.

5. Dessert. Break and bake chocolate chip cookies. Brownie bites. Ice cream. Mini cheesecakes are also an excellent option. Use those mini muffin tins again. Put some crushed graham crackers in the bottom, use your favorite cheesecake recipe, add whipped cream when serving.

Holiday Food

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Food makes the world go round. When we travel, the first thing we do when we get off the airplane or park the car is to find somewhere to eat. I know we’re always looking for that perfect, quintessential local food that we can instagram and taste, and talk about when we get home. Maybe that’s just me.

The holidays are also a time of food; not always trying new things, but having the old things – the things of our childhoods, of our in-laws, of that Pinterest thread that we’ve been promising ourselves we would eventually try.

Here are a few of mine:

1. Candy canes for Christmas and Gelt (chocolate gold-wrappered coins) for Chanukah.

2. Latkes. Confessional time: I make latkes more during Passover than I do during Chanukah. Passover has an overabundance of potatoes, and by  mid-week, it gets a little tiring, although celebrating our Exodus from slavery is never old.

3. French Toast. I happen to make the best French toast. Plain, unadulderated, egg, milk, white bread with butter and Aunt Jemima syrup. Mmm. On occasion I will make a French toast casserole that needs to refrigerate overnight, and then bake in the morning, and that is also amazing, but I think that has less to do with me than with easy French toast on a weekday morning!

4. Green bean casserole. Yes, the Kraft one. Or is the recipe from DelMonte? I think the recipe calls for milk, but my mother never used milk to keep it somewhat kosher-like. Again, simple: 2 cans of French-style green beans, drained, mixed with one can of condensed cream of mushroom soup, mixed with half a container of French’s fried onions and baked for 30-35 minutes on 350. Sprinkle the fried onions on top, and bake for another 5 minutes or so. Voila!

5. Orange Marmalade. I’m not sure why I think of orange marmalade at Christmas time. Possibly because my mother-in-law is British/Irish and that’s a very British food to have during Christmas (or any tea time) with scones or English muffins or biscuits.
What are your holiday favorites that you really miss or can’t live without?