1.29.2011

Roasted Garlic and Herb Cheesecake
with a Spicy Walnut Crust
 
Global Gardens in Los Olivos, CA is a specialty food company that specialize in olive oil and things of this nature. You can become a member and get seasonal baskets from them or purchase their items separately. My lovely mother actually joined as a member and ordered me a seasonal basket. *how nice is that?* I received a beautiful bottle of olive oil, pomegranate balsamic vinegar, a colossal garlic bulb, and some yummy spicy walnuts.

Last week, I decided it was time to roast the garlic for dinner. In order to roast garlic, you do not need a garlic roaster. However, it does make is fun. Especially when you have a Buddy helper. :)
 It's worth spending about an hour and half making roasted garlic because the garlic is just yummy. :)
It has milder garlic taste but more flavor and it's soft with a bit of chewiness. You can use the garlic in a recipe, slice it up and toss with veggies for dinner, or spread it on some french bread with butter.
Roasted Garlic
-Preheat oven to 300F
-Slice about a 1/8 or 1/4 inch off the top and bottom of two regular size garlic bulbs, leaving the peel still on them. (as you can see in my picture I went a little backwards.oops!)
-Place the bulb onto the plate of the garlic roaster or in a small baking dish lined with aluminum foil coated with 1 Tbs olive oil.
-Place fresh herbs around the clove if you want and then sprinkle some salt and pepper over the clove.
-Drizzle olive oil all over the clove and herbs, about 1/4 cup.
-Cover the garlic with the lid of the roaster or aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes.
-Remove foil or lid to expose garlic to dry heat and bake another 40 minutes while basting with olive oil every 15 minutes or so.
I tossed some slices with green beans for dinner and then saved the rest to make my planned savory cheesecake.

The Walnut Crust:
1/2 cup Cheese it cracker crumbs
 1/4 cup finely chopped, spiced walnuts-
(Coat in a butter, honey, and cayenne sauce and bake for 10 minutes at 300 tossing occasionally)
1/4 cup melted butter
-Coat crumbs and walnuts with melted butter and then press lightly into a 3 ramekins LIKE THIS METHOD or mini spring form cake pans. Set aside.


Roasted Garlic Cheesecake Recipe
1 80z pack of cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup sour cream
1/4 cup milk
3 tbs corn starch
2 eggs
1 roasted garlic glove
2 tbs olive oil
fresh herbs
salt and pepper to taste

-Puree in a food processor, soft roasted garlic, fresh herbs like rosemary and sage, olive oil, and salt and pepper. Set aside.
-In a large mixing bowl, beat cream cheese until smooth.
-Add sour cream and then the cornstarch.
-Add eggs and milk
-Add roasted garlic mixture
-Place cake pans on a cookie sheet.
-Pour cheesecake batter into your cake pans and bake at 275 for about 30 minutes.
-Serve warm with bread or crackers or chill and serve as a cheese spread.
That's all for now, I hope you have a lovely weekend!

1.18.2011

OLIVE OIL CUPCAKES
Olive oil, Meyer lemon, vanilla bean cake with a French ginger liqueur, Meyer lemon glaze and bitter chocolate.
Wow! I haven't posted anything all year. Actually, I can't think of a better way to open up a new set of 2011 posts with fresh lemon, pure olive oil, and some brand new inspiration.

I had a lovely weekend. I hope you did too. My Seanie Prince Charming surprised me and swept me off to a Bed and Breakfast getaway that was a fun adventure, relaxing, and refreshing.  When we returned to L.A., we happened to stumble upon the Santa Monica Farmer's market.

Yep, I went to the farmers market this weekend. YAY! Can I just say though, that I love this place! It's super inspiring and exciting. Every time I go to the FM, I get a new lease on life cooking and baking. This time, ONE *okay* ONE, of the things I found was some beautiful Meyer lemons. They smell so lovely. If you are not familiar with them, Meyer lemons are like a cross between a lemon and a mandarin orange. They are sweeter and less acidic than your common lemon varieties of Eureka and Lisbon. And... Meyer lemons are actually from China and were planted for ornamental purposes. The burst of popularity in California cuisine brought them into the spotlight for culinary purposes.

For Christmas, my sweet mother had an olive oil basket sent to me from a olive oil and fine foods company based in Los Olivos, California. To me, the best olive oil would be green, murky, and have that deep, rich olive oil smell. Mmmmmm. I mean that's the best artisan oil fresh from Italy right. I have said before how olive oil is pure gold in the kitchen. But, there are so many uses for olive oil dating waaay back, it's really interesting.

My mom also sent me a very cool book called The Passionate Olive.
Among many other useful recipes and uses for olive oil, in this book you will find a recipe for olive oil cake book-marked by me with some yarn. A desire to bake was sparked immediately when I found this recipe. And all these things, waiting in my cupboards to be used, finally came together in my head.
Olive Oil Cake
Meyer Lemons
French Ginger Liqueur
Valrhona Bitter chocolate (85% cocao)

Try baking the following. It won't let you down and is very easy. Sorry my pictures aren't that great. I baked at night and couldn't get good lighting or be bothered with the fuss of perfect pictures.
Olive Oil Cupcake Recipe (adapted from the cake recipe in The Passionate Olive)
Recipe makes 38 minis or about 20 regular cupcakes

1 3/4 cup flour
1 tbs and 1 tsp baking powder
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla bean powder (if you don't have this, use vanilla extract and add it with your wet ingredients)
1 tsp ground ginger
Zest of one Meyer lemon
3 eggs, room temp
3 tbs milk
1 tbs Meyer lemon juice
1 stick minus 1 tbs melted butter
1/2 cup and 2 tbs extra virgin olive

 -Preheat oven to 350F
-Mix the butter and olive oil in a small bowl and set aside.
-In a large mixing bowl, Sift and whisk flour, baking powder, sugar, vanilla bean powder, and ground ginger.
-Usinings an electric mixer:
-Add lemon zest, then one egg at a time, then milk, then Meyer lemon juice.
-Slowly pour in the butter and oil mixture.
-Mix well but don't over mix either. You should have a smooth batter perfect for scooping into cupcake papers.
 -Fill your cupcake lines 3/4 of the way full.
-Bake minis for 10, regulars about 15-18 minutes or until the toothpick comes clean yada, yada, yada.
-Let cool, then slowly pour about a 1/2 tsp of ginger liqueur on the cupcake and let it soak in.
Then frost with icing and melted chocolate.

Ivy's Ginger Liqueur and Meyer lemon icing Recipe
 Ingredients:
1 tbs water
1 tbs honey
2-3 cups powdered sugar- I know it seems like a lot. You gotta do it on this one if you want a white frosting/glaze.
2 tbs Meyer lemon juice
1/2 a shot of ginger liqueur
1 tbs Meyer lemon zest.
-Whisk all ingredients together until you get your desired consistency.
-Dip or glaze cooled cupcakes. Beware the frosting will drip if you don't want this, let them dry faster in front of a fan.
-Drizzle with half a melted Valrhona chocolate bar, and sprinkle lemon zest to garnish.
-Store at room temp for a couple days at most.

So there you have it. They were moist and delicious! By themselves they could be a substitute for cornbread served with chili. And with icing and chocolate they are homemade gourmet cupcakes.
THE END!