The Cheesecake Addiction

My Life in Food

Archive for the tag “holiday”

Weekly Cocktail: French 75

This little cocktail packs a sneaky punch, mixing gin and champagne. A perfect little holiday fizzy to keep your friends happy on NYE, or Christmas day, as it did CDR and myself.

A French 75 elegantly garnished with lemon thyme.
A French 75 elegantly garnished with lemon thyme.
Here's your booze: Gin and Champagne
Here’s your booze: Gin and Champagne
For one cocktail: 2 tsp of superfine sugar, mixed with an ounce of gin, and half an ounce of lemon juice, and ice of course.
For one cocktail: 2 tsp of superfine sugar, mixed with an ounce of gin, and half an ounce of lemon juice, and ice of course.
Pour into your champagne flute (or your wine glass if you don't have champagne flutes)
Pour into your champagne flute (or your wine glass if you don’t have champagne flutes)
Top each cocktail off with 4 ounces of champagne.
Top each cocktail off with 4 ounces of champagne.
And garnish with thyme.
And garnish with thyme.
And sip. Happy Holidays!
And sip. Happy Holidays!

The Christmas Roast Post

On the third day of Christmas, my true love gave to me:

Three French hens, two turtle doves, and a blog post full of love from me.

Merry Christmas from The Cheesecake Addiction! I hope it was very merry!

Far too much in the way of food happened to fully detail it all, so I’ll hit the highlights.

First, on the 23rd, I filled my first huge truffle order! I sold twenty two bags, large and small, and spent much time over the weekend slaving in the kitchen with CDR hand rolling the truffles to chocolatey perfection.

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Then on Christmas Eve, CDR and I woke up crazy early so that I could make cheesecake. And I’m telling you guys, this time, it was PERFECT. No cracks at all! Just delicious. I  was mighty proud.

Me, admiring the lack of cracks in my beautiful cake!

Me, admiring the lack of cracks in my beautiful cake!

Don't forget the sour cream topping!

Don’t forget the sour cream topping!

While the cheesecake set up in the fridge, CDR and I joined the rest of my cousins for our annual Christmas Eve trip to confession and then to lunch at Navy Pier. Never a dull moment with my Uncle John, let me tell you. Naturally, St. Peter’s was closed until 4pm, so we had to pile back into our cars and go over to St. Mary of the Angels. But not before we discovered Uncle John had the direct line to one of the priest’s, Father Santiago–an envoy from the Vatican. He called ahead to make sure they would be able to accommodate our large group (15 in total, though only 8 confessors). Upon arriving, we were surprised that we were directed to the rectory, and shown into the priests’ private chapel. Father Hillary took confessions, while Father Santiago told us the story of Christmas.

Then burritos at Navy Pier. Then home to help my mom with dinner. Check out the 17 pound rib roast.

This baby was rubbed with dijon, salt, pepper, and mustard seeds and cooked to a luxurious 130 degrees. Yummy.

This baby was rubbed with dijon, salt, pepper, and mustard seeds and cooked to a luxurious 130 degrees. Yummy.

And then we dug into the cheesecake.

Delicious!

Delicious!

On Christmas afternoon, before driving to Uncle Chris and Aunt Donna’s, we took the left over ribs, and made ourselves a luscious stock.

Left over rib roast

Left over rib roast

Ribs with parsley, carrots, yellow and red onions, garlic, salt, pepper, and bay leaves.

Ribs with parsley, carrots, yellow and red onions, garlic, salt, pepper, and bay leaves.

Add water (10 cups into the crockpot).

Add water (10 cups into the crockpot).

 

Simmer on low for up to 24 hours!

Simmer on low for up to 24 hours!

And a French 75.

Check out the Weekly Cocktail page tomorrow for the recipe!

Check out the Weekly Cocktail page tomorrow for the recipe!

Merry Christmas, kids. Just 363 more days to go. What adventures can we cook up this year?

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happy holidays!

This is totally going to happen this week at Chez-Morrell/Dunn-Rankin!

So this is Christmas…Again.

annaxmaseveOne year and one day ago I posted this. A post with the same title and lessons similar to the ones I learned this year. I wrote:
” 1.If you lose yourself, don’t hate yourself. You’ll put the pieces back together.
2. If you feel caged, just jump. Do it. Feeling a weight on your heart isn’t worth it.
3. When you are sad, don’t listen to Melissa Etheridge.
4. If you are bursting at the seams, don’t hold it in. Scream, laugh, cry or do whatever you have to do. As Marilyn said, “If you can’t handle me at my worst, you don’t deserve me at my best.”
5. Sometimes, it’s okay to sleep in. The world can wait.
So this year, I’ve decided is my year of pushing my boundaries. I will take more risks and allow myself to be more vulnerable. I will heal and cleanse my mind and body and nourish them with joy. I will let loose. I do not need to be so tightly wound. I will go to bed late and dammit! I will dance on a table this year.”

So, I have two days to dance on a table. I’ll come back to that in a second…erm, a paragraph. If you read often, you know what a rough ride the past six months have been. And I know. You’re tired of hearing it. But isn’t the new year the time to be pensive and reflective? Of everything mentioned above, I did it all…except the table thing. I took risks, allowed myself to be vulnerable, I healed and cleansed, felt extreme joy, and you know…I did let loose. A year ago, my anxieties would have kept me home rather than going on an awesome (yes, I said awesome) trip to Canada or to Beach State Park when I was aching for clarity. The past month has been easier on the heart and body–stepping away from theater helped a lot. I am less tired and much more capable of handling the ridiculous ” you’re happy now” photos that Facebook throws at me. Bring it on!

Before I tell you about my delicious Christmas roast, please humor me a few more sentences. While I will remember this year for the lessons I learned, I think I’ll remember this year more for the…well…the snapshot memories. If I could choose a lesson that accurately depicts the whole year, I’d say it is: Cherish it. Cherish the pain, the joy, the breaths, the friends, the theater, the laughter, the love. Cherish Chris, Miriam, Wendy, Geoff, Gabby, Emily, Paul, and the countless others that got me through. Cherish the sun tan from that one terrible pier-side day that STILL won’t fade. I’ll remember always Canada, graduation, Rent (oh, I’ll never forget Rent). Some Nights reminds me of excruciating summer nights and Katy Perry reminds me of Paul car dancing.

When all is said and done, have you said everything there is to say? Do the people in your life know exactly how you feel about them? Has everything been made right on your part? I am not sure I can say much in the way of accomplishments this year–but I can answer “yes” to those questions. And that’s good enough for now.

So thanks guys. Now, forChristmas Eve this year, I made another standing rib roast. I coated it with the help of a smokey, peppery brown sugar rub (made by the awesome CDR). Cooked it fat side up, searing at 500 for twenty minutes, and then continued cooking for two hours at 350 until medium rare. The flavor was unbelievable. Incredible BBQ taste. Delicious bark and tender, juicy meat. Soo good.

COAT it with the rub! Mm, mmm, good!

COAT it with the rub! Mm, mmm, good!

Out of this world!

Out of this world!

As an appetizer, I also made Brie en Croute. My standard recipe. Just bake Brie and a honey, rosemary, cranberry mixture in puff pastry until golden brown.

put honey mixture in the center.

put honey mixture in the center.

wrap pastry around it.

wrap pastry around it.

Serve!

Serve!

And of course I made a cheesecake. And honestly, it was the best one I ever made. Extra creamy, crumbly crust. Outstanding and hats off to myself. Yay.

‘And a Merry Christmas to your family.’

Fancy Fish and Cookies

Hey guys!

I’m kind of in a hurry to clean my room for the cleaning lady tomorrow (oh come on, we all know that chestnut) SO, I’ll try to make this as brief as possible–with little heart-felt yammerings.

Yammerings: This week I started my new job as a nanny, and it was a little rough, but mostly pretty great. The paycheck was nice too. Still looking to fill five more hours of childcare and/or personal assistant work on Thursdays…so please feel free to hit me up (I know, not so heartfelt). I had a wonderful girl’s lunch with Gabs and Em on Thursday and it was exactlt what all of us needed. Two whole hours of laughter. And yesterday, I saw A Christmas Carol and Paul was my date for the evening. He even accompanied me for late night tacos. Thanks, bud. A little bit each day, I feel like I’m a little less on the crazy train. A little bit. Please note that as I say this, I have six GIANT sheets of blank paper strewn about my room that I have to turn into backdrops for the Christmas pageant. There’s a million canvases and articles of clothing thrown around and between me and the computer screen I have: a toiletry bag, a Victoria’s Secret perfume box, a journal, Nine Kinds of Naked, two pill bottles (left over from the pneumonia), an inhaler, sheet music, a notebook, an old mp3 player, insurance papers, a necklace, a hair clip, Pier 1 reed diffuser fragrance, and about $8.50 in change (dimes and pennies). So. A while still on the crazy train.

BUT. On Friday night, I decided that I would make CDR a fancy date-night dinner. I decided that the menu would be grilled salmon, orzo-stuffed tomatoes, and a kale, spinach, and red pepper saute. All in all, pretty fantabulous. We paired it with a delightful pinot grigio (but keep in mind that with salmon, you could really go either way–white or red) and enjoyed ourselves on a makeshift indoor picnic blanket.

Oooh la la, que bueno!

Oooh la la, que bueno!

To make these dreamy little balls of heaven (pretend I came up with something better to say), you simply hollow out tomatoes and sprinkle them with a little S&P. Reserve the liquid from the tomatoes, because you can use it to cook the orzo (or rice, or cous cous, or whatever). In a small saucepan, toast two tabelspoons of butter, 1 sliced shallot, and 1 clove of garlic. When the butter has melted, add 1 1/2 cups of orzo and lightly toast. Pour in the tomato liquid and chicken stock and cook orzo until done (about 8 min). Make a breadcrumb topping by combining breadcrumbs and a variety of herbs (I used parsley, basil, and rosemary) with salt, pepper, and olive oil (HINT: also add some parm. I was out of cheese, so I couldn’t do that part). When the orzo is done, stir in half of the breadcrumb mixture and fill the tomatoes (you’ll have orzo left over for later). Sprinkle the tops of the ‘maters with the rest of the bread crumb mixture, drizzle with a little bit more olive oil, and throw them under a low broiler for a few minutes. Delish, is really all that I can say.

It didn't even taste healthy!

It didn’t even taste healthy!

For the kale and spinach mixture, first chop a shallot and a clove of garlic and bring it to temperature with a bit of olive oil and butter (1 1/2 TBL total). Also, if you’d like (and I liked) add 1/2 tsp of red chili flake. Then add 1 sliced red bell pepper at saute 2 min. Add one bunch of kale and one bunch of spinach (this stuff wilts down to almost nothing, so if you’re cooking for more than 2, be sure account for that), and saute until it wilts, but still has a bit of a bite to it. Sprinkle in a dash of nutmeg, too. It brings out the flavor of greens.Now, for this salmon–I went a little outside my fish comfort zone. Usually, I just like to drizzle with a bit of olive oil and salt and pepper it and be done with it, because I like to keep the fish as pure and as simple as possible. BUT, I thought, what the hell? Make it herbacious, right? So, about ten minutes before I threw it on the grill, I slathered it with some honey mustard, basil, parsley, rosemary, salt, pepper, and a little bit of lemon juice. Slathered may not be the right word…because I definitely just lightly coated it. Threw it on the grill 4 min a side (I took it a little far. 3 min a side would have been better) The flavor was unbelievable and the skin was crispy.

Look how yumy!!

Look how yumy!!

This has CDR's stamp of approval!

This has CDR’s stamp of approval!

Now, with Friday night’s successful dinner, I thought I’d make fancy Christmas cookies on Saturday morning. They really aren’t that fancy. They’re sugar cookies with some chopped rosemary. Couldn’t be easier. Everyone has their own favorite sugar cookie recipe, so just use that and add about 1 tablespoon of chopped FRESH rosemary, and it gives your cookies a wonderful pine, Christmas flavor.

I wish YOU a Merry Christmas!

I wish YOU a Merry Christmas!

So maybe this year we give Santa a little sophistication and leave him some nice rosemary-sugar cookies. They’re delectable, and quite perfect for those of us that want to feel a little grown-up this Christmas.

Make enough for reindeer!

Make enough for reindeer!

Ciao, guys. I have a room to clean.

No Bake Cookies (or Candy)

 

Season's Eatings!

Hello all and a happy Winter Solstice! Tis the magical season of giving and love. How are you celebrating? I’ve been baking my tail off, trying to live my Unitarian Universalist principles, and tonight I’ll celebrate the solstice. But I’m sure you readers (because I know you’re out there) care not to hear about my solstice plans. You care about what I’ve made recently, as this is a food blog.

 

So last night, Chef Vishneski and I baked on an industrial level. Though, that was not intentional. See, I accidentally quadrupled this recipe by adding two cups of milk instead of 1/2 cup. Don’t ask. I’m still trying to figure out how that one happened. But anyway, because of that, we had to quadruple all other ingredients. These cookies we made are quite delicious. They are no bake chocolate peanut butter oatmeal cookies. My mom pointed out last night that I probably should advertise these as candy rather than cookies, and after careful consideration, I’m going to have to agree with her. However, the index card in the Vishneski kitchen said these were No Bake Cookies, and a V family tradition, so while I’ll caution you that these are really more like candy, I’ll call them cookies. Here’s the recipe (in not quadrupled form.)

2 cups sugar, 1/4 cup cocoa (Hershey’s), 1/2 cup of milk, and 1/4 pound of butter (that’s one stick). Put these ingredients into a medium saucepan, and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and let it sit for a minute. Then mix in 1 tsp of vanilla, a pinch of salt, 1/2 chunky peanut butter, and 3 cups of quick-cooking oats. Drop by teaspoonfuls on wax paper. Let them harden (we put them in the fridge), but be aware that these won’t REALLY harden, they will just solidify a bit more than what you just dropped onto the wax paper. The result is kind of magical.

 

Yum Yum Yum

 

So, while I wait for the financial stability to repair my camera, images from my web cam will have to do (though donations are being accepted and much appreciated). At least I can add fun borders to them. You should expect a post on the 23rd, and maybe if I have time you’ll get something on Christmas Eve. You see, I’m throwing a little Christmas/Solstice/Birthday party on the 23rd, and am in charge of a large portion of Christmas Eve dinner. In the meantime, go and be merry! Finish your last-minute shopping, and don’t forget to cook something.

 

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