Thursday, July 28, 2011

Cooking Tip #1

How to chop a Bell Pepper

Having watched several people in the kitchen, from neighbor to friends to family cook, I’ve always wanted to show people how to do a few things, in a positive way, of course.   

Several years back I was watching a TV show (I think it was Yan Can Cook), that the chef was chopping a green pepper.  This was so impressionable on me that I still cut peppers this same way.  Here is my interpretation of a classic TV show: 
Step 1: Slice off the top and bottom of the bell pepper.

Set aside top and bottom, you just cut off.

Step Two: Cut the core out of the top and bottom of the bell pepper

Step three: Slice down one side of the bell pepper and remove all of the unusable insides and seeds, discard.

Step four: Lay the bell pepper out flat.....

Step five: Lay out knife flat and run it along the "meat of the pepper and slice off the "white pith".  This will allow the bell pepper to lay out flat.

Step six: slice the bell pepper into strips.  Cut the strips into the width desired.  At this point you can have Julienne strips.  If you'd like diced or chopped, continue to step seven.

Step seven: Turn the sliced bell peppers sideways, and slice into the desired width.
Final Product, Diced bell peppers.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Fresh Fig Appetizer

Back in June, I posted (, I had attempted to mention a raw fig appetizer that we make when even figs are in season.  Buy them at specialty stores, farmers markets, or pick them off your tree, however you can get them, just get them!

Fresh Fig Appetizer

            1 pint Fresh Figs
            2 Cups Balsamic Vinegar, reduced to ½ (1 cup)
            1 small log Chevre, cheve, or crumbled goat cheese

Put vinegar in a small pot and bring to a boil.  Reduce to ½ the volume.  If not thickened up, thicken with a small amount of cornstarch and water mixture. Allow to completely cool.

Wash figs, and quarter.

Place figs on plates or platter and drizzle thickened vinegar over top of figs.  Sprinkle goat cheese on top.


White-Chocolate Raspberry Truffle Cheesecake

Cheesecake.  One of life's little pleasures, we have a city named after a style of it, we even have a factory named after it, or is it a restaurant?

You all can celebrate Independence day with Cherry pie, I'll take................

White-Chocolate Raspberry Truffle Cheesecake

1 ½ cups chocolate cookie crumbs(Nabisco Chocolate Wafers)
1/3 cup butter, melted

½ cup seedless raspberry preserves
¼ cup water
4 8-ounce pkgs. cream cheese-room temperature
1 ¼ cups granulated sugar
½ cup sour cream
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
5 eggs
4 ounces white chocolate, chopped into chunks

Optional Garnish
2 ounces shaved white chocolate
whipped cream

Preheat oven to 475 degrees. Prepare 9-inch springform pan by buttering pan, covering bottom with parchment paper and butter parchment.
Using a large piece of heavy duty aluminum foil wrap bottom of pan well to keep water from seeping into pan during baking.

Crush chocolate wafers in sealed plastic bag with a rolling pin, or break wafers into food processor bowl and process until fine crumbs.
Mix melted butter with crumbs. Press crumbs onto bottom and 2/3 way up the sides of springform pan. Use spoon or fork to press crumbs into pan.
Place in freezer while preparing filling.

Use an electric mixer to combine the cream cheese with the sugar, sour cream, and vanilla. Mix on medium speed for a couple minutes or until the ingredients are smooth and creamy. Be sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Whisk the eggs in a medium bowl and then add them to the cream cheese mixture. Blend the mixture just enough to integrate the eggs.
Remove crust from freezer and sprinkle bottom of crust with white chocolate chunks.
Pour half of the cream cheese filling into the crust. Gently layer the raspberry preserves over the filling. Using a knife, gently swirl the raspberry into the filling. Top with the remaining half of the filling .
Place into oven by putting the springform pan into a larger baking pan, such as a roasting pan, and add enough hot water to the baking pan to come about halfway up to the outside of the cake pan.

Bake for 12 minutes at 475 degrees, then turn the oven down to 350 degrees and bake for 50 to 60 minutes or until the top of the cheesecake turns a light brown or tan color.
Remove from the oven to cool. When cheesecake is cool, refrigerator for at least 4 hours.

To Serve sprinkle the top of cheesecake with shaved white chocolate. Slice the cheesecake and top slice with rosette of whipped cream.

Makes 12 servings.