Tag Archives: vanilla

say cheese[cake that is]…

After a fantastic holiday weekend full of spending time with family and friends, unfortunately reality is kicking back in…
To prepare for another week, what better way to gear up than with a slice of velvety caramel pecan cheesecake in a graham cracker crust!
Two packages of cream cheese, sugar, vanilla, eggs, pecans, caramel and a graham cracker crust [store bought or homemade, there are no judgements here!] are all that is needed to create this delightful masterpiece…
For the pecan caramel base, chopped pecans are stirred into a sultry caramel sauce and poured into the graham cracker crust… The cream cheese and sugar are whipped until combined, then the vanilla and eggs are added in and blended together. This creamy mixture is gently eased into the crust and then baked in a 350 degree oven until set. After cooling down and then chilling in the refrigerator, it was time to slice and enjoy…
Sweet, creamy, nutty and buttery… this slice of heaven is well deserved and for me guilt-free!!

at a low simmer…
-R

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sticky and sweet…

After realizing I had a container of heavy cream in the refrigerator that needed to be used, the thought of making a caramel sauce popped into my head…
Easy enough to make and can hold up well, the process began… sugar, water, a touch of salt, vanilla and of course the cream then we were on the way to sensual, sticky, caramely delight!
One thing I cannot stress enough is the need to have a candy thermometer available because this cooking process goes pretty quick, and can go from gorgeous to the garbage in the blink of an eye…
Once everything is cooked, it needs to cool down before any real enjoyment can be had. The uses are endless and if you ask yourself, ‘can I use caramel here’, then more than likely the answer is YES!
From ice cream to popcorn, rice krispie treats to fruit, the possibilities are at your fingertips… have fun with it!

at a low simmer…
-R

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this cake is the ‘apple of my eye’…

After a wonderful early morning trip to the apple orchard, we came home in tow with three massive pumpkins, some minis, along with an abundance of different apples!! Jonagold, Honeycrisp, Macoun and Senshu were those that caught our eye and were placed into our baskets…
What better to do than snack on one on the drive back home… the Honeycrisp obviously won out, while the juiciness from each bite was reflected down our cheeks and in some spots on our jackets! That however is the fun of it all.
Once back home, there was absolutely zero hesitation; baking was about to occur… The island was prepped, the pan was greased and yes it was time!
The flour, sugar, salt, eggs, vanilla, cinnamon and oil were combined, then gently folded into the wondrously fragrant batter, the stars of this cake… a mix of those freshly picked apples which were peeled and diced up!
The batter was eased into the greased pan and thrown into the preheated oven… after baking for a little over an hour it was cooling time.
Now this moist and flavorful [ok so I snuck a tiny piece from the inside] cake will tease us until a real slice is enjoyed later!
I just don’t know how we will be able to wait till tonight for a real piece??

at a low simmer…
-R

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a reason to celebrate!

After a long and tiring day, it was time to sit and unwind! Relaxation was short lived though, since a birthday celebration was on this evenings agenda…
To make this birthday special there were hats, presents and of course… CAKE!! Well more like cupcakes.
A moist, fluffy vanilla cake with thick buttercream frosting covered in sprinkles had the birthday boy unable to control his excitement…
It was amazing that he shared any with the rest of us!

at a low simmer…
-R

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what came first… the burger or the egg?

As summer nears to an end, I cranked up the grill for some juicy burgers. These burgers however took on a different approach… some top a burger with lettuce, onions, pickles and tomatoes, while others just believe in a ‘vanilla’ burger… as for myself, I can go for all of those toppings, but tonight I decided a fried egg would also be a perfect element to cut through the meaty goodness!
A simple salt and pepper seasoning on the egg, a quick pan fry and it was time to rest this yolky beauty on this gorgeous piece of meat!
The building blocks of this perfect burger were simple and gracious… a single slice of cheese, slices of applewood smoked bacon, grilled onion and then… the star, the breathy fried egg.
Meaty, bacon-y goodness was almost sweetened by the creamy yolk that rushed down from the top of the burger like a volcano oozing lava…
What a perfect precursor to a Labor Day weekend feast!

at a low simmer…
-R

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no nuts here…

So with a bunch of quickly ripened bananas, I thought what better to do than whip up a banana bread… not being an enormous fan of nuts however this ‘bread’ would be ‘fixed’ before even being born…
Four ripe bananas behaved badly and got a good mashing; they were then mixed in with some french sour cream and a healthy dose of vanilla. While they were starting to get along, I whisked [by hand since the recipe calls for it… bleh] two eggs [I use extra large] and sugar… this was whisked until it became fluffy and a pale yellowy color… After adding the banana mixture into the eggs, I gently added in the dry ingredients of flour, baking soda, salt and some spicy cinnamon…
The voluminous batter was then poured lovingly into a slightly greased loaf pan, gently tapped to remove any air bubbles and shot right into the pre-heated 350 degree range for about an hour. The scents of this intoxicating concoction drifted throughout the house and was attempting to put me under its spell… sweet bananas, spicy cinnamon… oh how difficult it was to contain myself!
At last, once golden and cooked through, the bread was placed in the corner [like an unruly child] to cool off. After cooling down, but still slightly warm, what better way to enjoy a slice of this sexy treat [yes I’m sorry there is no way this is just a ‘bread’] than with a light dusting of powdered sugar and a soothing cup of tea…
Hmmmm perhaps I have to seek out close-to-ripe, instead of unripened bananas from now on at the market…

at a low simmer…

-R

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warm and gooey on the inside!!

While watching the news this morning, towards the end of the broadcast they happened to show a brief segment featuring one of my FAVORITE restaurants in NYC! The executive chef was on whipping up a stuffed French toast dish that looked sinful [and I’m all about sin]…
So I thought to myself I haven’t made stuffed French toast in quite a while and figured why not! So I made some minor tweaks to make it my own, as well as an adults only maple syrup…
I had a loaf of hearty bread that I picked up over the weekend and we all have the basics at home to make a super luxurious custard base to soak everything in.
I sliced up some thick pieces of the bread, made an incision and filled with peanut butter and raspberry jam. I placed the slices into a custard of heavy cream, cinnamon, good vanilla and eggs… I also added a little boozy stuff to the mix [there’s always booze at my party]!
Off to soak up and chill out in the fridge for a couple of hours [turning once] and it was time to butter a pan and toss these bad boys on to tan…
A dusting a powdered sugar and some homemade boozy maple syrup and we were in business! Buttery on the outside, warm and oozing on the inside with the perfect kick from the boozed up, hot maple syrup… You’re not finding this at your local diner!

at a low simmer…
-R

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summery indulgence…

What better way to enjoy the summer months, than by eating the fruits that come along with it… So I decided to rinse off some juicy little blueberries that were picked up from a local farm and top them off with a mascarpone cream and crushed amaretti cookies. The sweet blueberries were a wonderful highlight against the tangy [although sweet in its own right] mascarpone cream, while the amaretti cookies gave a wonderful crunch and texture to an already divine sweet treat!

Hmmm maybe I should make more for dessert…

at a low simmer…

-R

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we all scream for…

Boredom finally got the best of me this afternoon… rainy weather prevented me from doing anything outside so I decided to whip up some homemade ice cream! Not just your plain old vanilla or chocolate though… something spicy and delightful. So ginger ice cream it was! There is a recipe I use for this, but add my own little bump up to make it extra special…
Heavy cream [or half and half], sugar, vanilla, fresh ginger, chopped candied ginger and eggs… After heating the heavy cream, sugar, vanilla and ginger to a boil it was steeped to release all of the flavors. Once fully steeped, the mixture was reheated to a boil, strained and tempered into the eggs and some additional sugar that was whipped together. Off the heat the mixture was chilled down and then poured into the ice cream maker to churn away till thick and velvety!
Once done some candied ginger was stirred into the mix for a little added texture and heat, everything was scooped into plastic quart containers and placed in the freezer to firm up even more until it is ready to be eaten…

at a low simmer…
-R

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berry, berry good!

Tonight I decided to talk about something different and not what we usually eat often… dessert! This dessert however was actually probably on the ‘good’ side for us. Fresh blueberries, raspberries and blackberries served with a thick and creamy fat-free Greek yogurt that I doctored up with some local honey and vanilla!
The berries were sweet and a bit tart, the yogurt slightly tangy, but so flavorful. These are the kind of desserts that I never make me feel guilty and I could go back for more and more! Well maybe tomorrow…

at a low simmer…
-R

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