Saturday, November 12, 2005
Quote of the Day, and a Recipe
From What I Cooked Last Night:
A naked man stuck in his back yard at four thirty in the morning holding a redhot baking tray containing a kilogram of carbon with a cat themed teatowel would be wrong on so many levels.
(Also known as the Set the Oven Timer Principle. Me, I use my microwave to time cooking, even in the conventional oven; I just find it easier to use.)
This seems to be a good lead-in for the recipe I promised you yesterday. The original name was "Cheesecake Supreme" but I just call it "Green Cheesecake." My mother got the recipe decades ago from a family friend who worked as a hospital administrator. It was served in the Doctors' Dining Room for dessert (so you know it has to be good). My mother hadn't made it in years, but a few years ago I requested the recipe for an office potluck and it was a smash hit. I also make it annually for V.'s Saint Patrick's Day party. Caveats: it will dirty every mixing bowl in your house, and you have to find some green creme de menthe before you start making it. Try a specialty liquor store. If you aren't fond of mint flavored desserts, try it anyway; there is just the faintest whisper of mint in the background when it's done. It keeps pretty well. I make it the day before it's needed, and it is good for a couple of days after that if there's any left.
1 small pkg lemon jello
1 cup boiling water less 2 Tbsp
2 Tbsp green creme de menthe
3 Tbsp lemon juice (I use fresh but bottled would be okay)
5 drops green food coloring
1 stick butter, melted
1 (6 1/2 oz pkg) vanilla wafers, crushed (I usually use more)
1 cup chopped fine walnuts (optional)
3 Tbsp powdered sugar
1 8-oz pkg softened cream cheese
1 c. granulated sugar
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
1 20-oz can pineapple (in its juice, not syrup), drained
1 can evaporated milk (chill can, beaters and bowl before whipping)
Okay. What you do here is make a crumb crust, and then make three different mixtures and combine them for the filling. I find it works best to do it in this order:
1. Get the evaporated milk, beaters and bowl into the fridge several hours in advance - the day before is okay too.
2. Put the cream cheese out to soften before you do anything else. It takes a while.
3. Combine the jello and boiling water and whisk like mad (so you don't get gelatin seeds on the bottom). When the jello is completely dissolved, add creme de menthe, food coloring and lemon juice. You will now have a lovely kelly green mixture that smells slightly minty. Put this aside to cool. It will start to thicken so keep an eye on it.
4. Make the crust. Pour the cookies into the blender or Cuisinart and pulverize. Mix with the powdered sugar, melted butter and nuts if using. Reserve some mixture for topping and pour the rest on the bottom of a large pan (I use a 9x13 inch baking pan, the original recipe calls for a "sheet cake pan" which is larger and shallower).
5. Use the largest bowl of the bunch for this part. Mix the (hopefully now softened) cream cheese with the granulated sugar and vanilla till combined. DRAIN the pineapple well and add that too. Do not pour the juice in or you're in trouble.
6. You're almost done. Get out the milk, bowl and beaters and whip the milk - it really will whip though you won't get peaks - then set it aside and whip the jello into a froth (you don't have to clean the beaters first if you do it in this order).
7. Now add the whipped jello to the cream cheese mixture and combine well. Then add the whipped milk and combine again. Pour the mixture into the crust and top with reserved crumbs. Now for the cook's treat: get a spoon and lick the bowl. When you taste this you will realize why you went to all this trouble.
8. Cover the pan with plastic wrap and set in the fridge. Grit your teeth and clean up the kitchen.