Monday, July 18, 2011

Grow old along with me, the best is yet to be

Photo: Oxmoor House
Today is the most perfect day. The sun is shining, birds are singing and I'm happily baking in my kitchen. But even if the skies were dark, I would still be happy. Today is our 30th wedding anniversary, and I can't remove the smile from my face. I thank God for the wonderful husband He brought into my life three decades ago.

Baking? Yes, of course. I love my kitchen and I love to cook and bake (as you know). Husband and I could go out for a wonderful dinner, but in the end we'd spend so very much money just so that someone else washes the dishes. I don't intend to sound smug, but I rarely find a meal at a restaurant that exceeds what comes out of my own kitchen.

Our menu tonight is a spinach salad, mixed mushroom risotto, Dungeness crab, and chocolate cheesecake. I baked the cheesecake early this morning (they're best if they have at least 8 hours to chill). So let me share that recipe (from Cooking Light Magazine) with you, and perhaps tomorrow we can do the risotto together:

Triple Chocolate Cheesecake
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon margarine (not tub margarine)
1 1/3 cups chocolate graham cracker crumbs
cooking spray
3 tablespoons dark rum (optional)
3 1-ounce squares semisweet chocolate
1/4 cup chocolate syrup
1 8-oz. block nonfat cream cheese, softened
1 8-oz. block Nefchatel cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. salt
2eggs
1/2 cup low-fat sour cream
1 tablespoon sugar
2 tsp. unsweetened cocoa

Preparation

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Place first 3 ingredients in a bowl; beat at medium speed of a mixer until blended. Add crumbs; stir well. Firmly press mixture into bottom and 1 inch up sides of an 8-inch springform pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350 degrees F. for 10 minutes; let cool on a wire rack.

Combine rum and chocolate squares in the top of a double boiler. (I used water place of the rum). Cook over simmering water 2 minutes or until chocolate melts, stirring frequently. Remove from heat; add chocolate syrup, stirring until smooth.

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Place cheeses in a large bowl; beat at medium speed of a mixer until smooth. Add 1 cup sugar, 2 tablespoons cocoa, vanilla, and salt; beat until smooth. Add rum mixture; beat at low speed until well-blended. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition.

Pour cheese mixture into prepared pan; bake at 300 degrees F for 40 minutes, or until almost set. Combine sour cream, 1 tablespoon sugar, and 2 teaspoons cocoa; stir well. Turn oven off, and spread sour cream mixture over cheesecake. Let cheesecake stand for 45 minutes in oven with door closed. Remove cheesecake from oven, and let cool to room temperature. Cover and chill at least 8 hours.

Garnish:
Use your imagination. Perhaps a simple dusting of powdered sugar, a dollop of whipped cream, or fresh berries.

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