Friday, April 12, 2013

Carrot Cake Cheesecake

I made this cheesecake to bring to an Easter Dinner. 
Unfortunately, I made it at about midnight the night before, of course, the stores were all sold out of crushed pineapple and coconut flakes.
I had to use the real deal, which was a hassle.  Well, the pineapple wasn't bad, but the coconut was a disaster.  I finally gave up and triple bagged the sucker, then whacked it against the concrete....maybe a tad too hard....bags all shredded instantly and coconut water went EVERYwhere.  Then, I got to struggle with getting the "meat" to come off of the bark. 

I just put everything through my juicer.
The recipe called for really dry carrots and pineapple, so my juicer worked perfect--I just used the pulp.  And it gave me pineapple juice for the icing.
Glad I could use my expensive investment for something other than juicing!

One last thing, I couldn't taste the pineapple in the frosting AT ALL.  In fact, I'm convinced that the only point of the frosting is to make the cake look prettier.

Anyway, here's the recipe I used.
I found it on the blog, Sifting Focus.
My photography isn't nearly as stunning as the original poster's.

Cheesecake Factory Carrot Cake Cheesecake

16 ounces cream cheese (at room temperature)
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon flour
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla

Carrot Cake:
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 generous pinch of salt
1 (8 1/2 ounce) can crushed pineapple, well drained with juice reserved (I used a little over 1 C fresh)
1 cup grated carrots
1/2 cup flaked coconut (I used about 1/4 of a fresh coconut)
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (I used pecan bits)

Pineapple Cream Cheese Frosting:
2 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 tablespoon butter, softened
1 3/4 cups powdered sugar, sifted
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon reserved pineapple juice
Dash of salt

Grease a 9 or 9 1/2 inch springform pan.  Set aside.

In the large bowl of an electric mixer, beat together 2 packages cream cheese and 3/4 cup sugar until smooth.  Beat in 1 tablespoon flour, 3 eggs and 1 teaspoons vanilla until smooth.  Set aside.
For the carrot cake:  in a large bowl, combine oil, 1 cup sugar, 2 eggs and 1 teaspoon vanilla, blending thoroughly.  Stir in 1 cup flour, baking soda, cinnamon and pinch of salt, mixing well.  Stir in drained pineapple, carrots, coconut and walnuts.

Spread 1 1/2 cups carrot cake batter over bottom of prepared pan.  Drop large spoonfuls of cream cheese batter over carrot cake batter.  Top with large spoonfuls of remaining carrot cake batter.  Repeat with remaining cream cheese batter, spreading evenly with a knife.  (Do not marble with the knife.)
Bake in preheated 350˚F oven 60 to 65 minutes or until cake is set and cooked through.  Cool to room temperature and then refrigerate.

When cake is cold, prepare the frosting.  In a bowl of an electric mixer, combine 2 ounce cream cheese, butter, powdered sugar, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla, 1 tablespoon reserved pineapple juice and a dash of salt.  Beat until smooth and of spreading consistency.  Frost top of cheesecake.

Refrigerate 3 to 4 hours before serving.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Awesome Lunch!

Lately, I've eaten so lousy
Because it's just me--the boyfriend is home in Virginia--I have no motivation to cook any delicious meals.
However, this afternoon, after making a nice jar of juice AKA pond water  that tasted reminiscent of moss, I got the urge to eat something decent and satisfying--something buttery.   
And, so, I quickly whipped up two of my favorites--salmon & a baked potato.

This is a fabulous meal for one.  Normally, I would have had some asparagus or green beans or at least a salad with this, but I was pressed for time and had a jar full of fresh juice. Sorry for my less than stunning photography skills. 

Foil Pack Salmon
Drizzle Salmon Fillet with EVOO
Sprinkle both sides with:
Lemon Pepper
Cracked Rosemary
Kosher/sea salt
Fresh pepper
Dried, minced garlic (or garlic powder)
Place onto a large sheet of foil.  
Top with a small pat of butter.  
Fold foil up around salmon into a foil pack.  
Bake @ 400F 12-15 minutes.
Then, open foil, and broil for about 2 minutes.
***if you don't overcook the salmon, it will be tender and juicy and delicious!

Perfect FAST Baked Potato
Rinse a russet/Idaho potato thoroughly.
Dry off and stab repeatedly with a fork or knife.
Place in microwave for ~4 minutes until almost done.
Remove from microwave--drizzle with EVOO & sprinkle with kosher salt.
Place in 400F oven with salmon.
Cook 15-20 minutes, turning over halfway through.
Skin should be crisp and salty, and inside should be fluffy and tender.
Top with lots of butter and fresh pepper.