Layered Irish Cheesecake

Look at the layers

This is a fun cheesecake for Saint Patrick’s day. Make sure to use homemade Irish cream. You may need to use food coloring for the espresso layer if it does not get dark enough.

Layered Irish Cheescake

For crust

  • 9 oz chocolate graham crackers
  • 3 tbsp sugar
  • 6 tbsp melted butter

For espresso layer

  • 16 oz cream cheese warm
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/8 cup fresh espresso
  • 1 tsp espresso grounds
  • 2 eggs

For Irish cream layer

  • 16 oz cream cheese warm
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup Irish cream

Grease a 9″ springform pan with butter, flip the bottom upside down and cover with parchment paper. Crush cookies and mix with butter. Pour butter over and pack into base of pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes then remove from oven and let cool. Meanwhile mix the espresso cheese layer. Start by whipping the sugar and cheese together until smooth, then add 1 egg at a time and mix well, then the vanilla and grounds and finally the espresso. If it does not get dark enough add food coloring to desired tone. Pour into pan and let set for 15 minutes. Make the Irish cream layer and pour carefully on top so that it sits on the layer below without mixing. Bake at 350 degrees for an hour, then turn off stove and let sit another hour without opening the oven. Then let it cool completely before refrigerating at least 4 hours or up to 24.

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Raw Spinach Stuffed Cornish Hens

it cooks in the cavity

This is a different way to stuff cornish hens.

Cornish Hens Stuffed with Raw Spinach

  • 2 cornish hens
  • 4 cups fresh spinach leaves
  • 6-8 cremini mushrooms sliced in half and then sliced very thin
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • Pesto
  • Salt/pepper

Clean cornish hens and pat dry. Saute mushrooms in butter until browned then add garlic and saute until fragrant. Let cool then mix with spinach leaves. Rub some pesto inside each hen cavity then stuff with spinach mixture. Tie legs together and place in a roasting pan. Rub pesto into and under skin and surround hens with chunks of carrot. Roast at 375 degrees for 15 minutes then turn heat down to 350 and cook until done, about 1 hour. Split and serve halves.

 

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Juice and Stormy

bring a touch of spring early

It has been awhile since there was a new cocktail.

Juice and Stormy

  • 1 1/2 oz black strap rum
  • 1/2 oz fresh orange juice
  • 1/2 oz fresh lime juice
  • Ginger beer

In a juice glass filled with ice add rum and juices. Top with ginger beer and garnish with fruit slices.

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Swedish Ginger Snaps

This is a funny shape according to Raising Arizona

The proper way to finish these cookies is decorated with sweet icing but I like them as is for serving with coffee or tea. They can be cut into any shape desired.

I used a round ravioli cutter.

Swedish Ginger Snaps

  • 3/4 cup butter
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 1/2 tbsp molasses
  • 3 tbsp boiling water
  • Zest of 1/2 lemon
  • 2 1/2 cups unbleached white flour
  • 1 tbsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground clove
  • 1 tsp ground cardamon
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground ginger

Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Mix molasses and water and add to butter with lemon zest. Sift flour, baking soda and spices and add to butter until rough dough forms. Knead by hand quickly until the consistency of pie dough adding more flour if necessary. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate 1 hour. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Roll dough out on a floured counter to thickness of thin pie dough. Cut out shapes and place on greased baking sheets. Bake for 10-15 minutes until edges begin to brown. Let cool until hardened. Decorate with icing if desired or serve plain. Makes about 5 dozen 2″ rounds.

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Duck Stuffed with Farro

Turkey skin has nothing on this

This is a great use of an inexpensive light red you may have foolishly bought again around the start of November.

More so it is a fantastic way to present whole duck.

It does require de-boning the whole bird intact. To do this is very easy, but will require a sharp knife and 30 minutes. Flip duck over to backside and cut a slit to the bone from the neck to tail. Working from one side of cut, slice against bone leaving the skin and fat attached to the meat. Continue to work away meat to the thigh joint, pop from the socket and pull back. Do the same with the wing joint. Continue carefully to the breast then repeat on other side. Finally separate thin connection between fat and top of breast bone careful not to cut all the way through. Then work knife around leg and wing bones leaving outer skin intact around meat. Make fantastic meat stock with carcass bones.

Whole Duck Stuffed with Farro, Figs and Sausage

  • 1 5-7lb whole duck
  • 12-16 whole black figs
  • 1 1/2 cups gamay based wine
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 dried bay leaf
  • 2-3 sprigs thyme
  • 1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
  • 6 whole allspice
  • 1 lb mild pork sausage
  • 1 cup farro
  • 3/4 cup hazelnuts, toasted, skinned*, and coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped sage

A day before serving rinse and soak farro in cold water. Bring wine, sugar, and whole spices to a boil, then simmer 2 minutes. Remove from heat, add figs and cover. Let both stand overnight.

Day of bring 4 cups salted water to a boil and cook farro until al dente, strain and let cool to room temperature. Slice soaked figs into quarters. Add raw sausage, sage, hazelnuts and figs to farro and mix well. Season with salt and pepper. Take duck carcass and season with salt and pepper on both sides. Arrange meat skin down and spoon stuffing into a 3″ thick cylinder down center of meat. Pull together into a log and secure with kitchen twine every 2″. Place slit side down in a pan with roasting rack with 1 cup wine in base. Roast, basting every 15 minutes at 375 degrees until thermometer in stuffing center is 160 degrees about 1 1/2-2 hours. Turn heat down to 325 degrees after first hour. Let stand 10 minutes before slicing. Serve hot with pan gravy made from 1/2 cup drippings and 3 cups fresh carcass stock.

 

 

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Chilled Cucumber Soup

That is a big zucchini fritter

We got a ton of cucumbers from the garden.

What to do, what to do.

Chilled Cucumber Soup

  • 2 1/2 lbs cucumbers seeded and chopped roughly
  • 1 1/2 cups non fat Greek Yogurt
  • 1/3-1 cup buttermilk
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh thyme
  • small bunch fresh dill
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 salted anchovies rinsed and separated into fillets
  • 1 cup red onion roughly chopped
  • 1 jalapeno
  • 2-4 cloves garlic
  • Salt/pepper

Place cucumber, jalapeno, garlic, onion, anchovy, fresh spices and oil in a blender and combine until smooth. Add yogurt, and 1/3 cup buttermilk and blend again until smooth. Season with salt and pepper and let stand in refrigerator for at least 6 hours but up to 24. Re-blend and add more buttermilk to reach desired consistency. Serve cold garnished with zucchini fritters, chopped tomatoes or what ever else may come to mind.

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Fresh Blueberry Cheesecake

The sauce also helps hide any cracks that may occur if you can’t help opening the oven to gaze at it while setting up

The blueberry bushes are really at peak production and there are too many berries to eat slowly.

This is my type of problem.

Blueberry Cheesecake

Sauce

  • 1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tsp cornstarch
  • 1 tbsp water

Crust

  • 1 1/2 cups graham crackers
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 6 tbsp melted butter

Filling

  • 28 oz cream cheese
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup Greek yogurt
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 4 eggs

Make sauce first. Mix berries, sugar and lemon juice together in a sauce pan and let stand 15 minutes. Bring to boil and then simmer on medium until berries begin to break. Mix cornstarch and water together and add to berries. Mix and continue to simmer and crush berries until thickened and smooth. Remove from heat and stir every so often to keep from forming a skin on surface. Meanwhile mix all crust ingredients together and press evenly into the bottom of a greased spring form pan. Bake at 350 degrees until lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Remove and let cool. Meanwhile beat cheese and sugar until smooth in a mixer. Add flour, yogurt and vanilla and beat until smooth again. Add one egg at a time and beat in completely over medium low speed. Pour cheese mixture into spring form pan. Spoon 2 tbsp blueberry sauce on top of cheese and swirl in with a knife. Bake at 350 degrees until set and risen, about 1 hour. Turn off oven and leave cheesecake inside for another hour without opening the door. Remove from oven and let stand for 1 hour more until cooled completely. Spread remaining sauce over top evenly and place in refrigerator overnight before serving. Can be stored frozen for a month.

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