Month: April 2015

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A fish dinner down to the bare bones!

There’s an ethnic market a few miles away that I frequent at least twice a month.  They have such a variety of fresh produce from all corners of the globe.  Newark Farmers Market is Chinese owned I believe, but there’s a large Indian, Caribbean, Mexican, Japanese, Korean section, and many more.  Their stands display an array of fruit and vegetables that are inexpensive. Their grains come in a variety of colors and shapes, there’s such a vast selection of teas and coffee, cheeses, meats and fish.  I came away with more than I needed or wanted, but that happens at every single visit to this diverse market.

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New York style marbled cheesecake

I know exactly what Carol, our younger daughter loves when she comes home to visit from New York City.  “Mamma, can you please bake me a cheesecake?”  Well of course, how could I say no?  I decided on a New York style marbled cheesecake, we would eat some after dinner on Saturday night, and the rest she was to bring with her on the Greyhound Bus back to New York City.  It did look quite a sight actually, traipsing around the city with a cheesecake in tow.  I decided to freeze it, so that it would be intact when she arrived…..and guess what, it did! :)

NY Style Marbled Cheesecake

  • Servings: 12 slices
  • Time: 1 hr 30 minutes
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New York Style Marbled Cheesecake

  • 1/3 cup margarine or butter, melted
  • 1 1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 4 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese softened
  • 1 (14-ounce) can Eagle Brand Sweetened Condensed Milk (NOT evaporated milk)
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/3 cup unsifted flour
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 to 4 (1-ounce) squares semi-sweet chocolate, melted
  • 2 tbsp orange liqueur (optional)

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Combine margarine, crmbs and sugar; press firmly on bottom of 9-inch springform pan.
  2. In large mixer bowl, beat cheese until fluffy.  Gradually beat in sweetened condensed milk until smooth.
  3. Beat in eggs, then flour and vanilla.
  4. Measure 1 1/2 cups batter into medium mixing bowl.  Add melted chocolate; mix well.
  5. Spoon half the yellow batter into prepared pan, then half the chocolate batter. Repeat, ending with chocolate.
  6. With metal spatula, cut through batter to marble cake.
  7. Place in a water bath and bake 1 hour or until lightly browned around edge.
  8. Cool to room temperature.  Chill at least 6 hours.  Garnish as desired.  Refrigerate leftovers.

IMG_3227Combining margarine, graham cracker crumbs and sugar – press firmly on bottom of 9 inch springform pan.

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Ready for the oven.  Place in a water bath, cover the bottom with tin foil.  The water bath prevents the cheesecake from cracking on top.  Also, spray the sides of the pan first.

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The finished product.  Make sure the cheesecake is refrigerated for 6 hours or more, it helps with slicing it later on.

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A close-up.  Isn’t it fabulous?  The best tip for cutting the cheesecake cleanly is to use a hot knife for each cut. To do this, fill a tall container with hot tap water deep enough to cover the entire blade of your knife. Dip the knife into the hot water, and wipe it dry on a clean towel before making a cut.  Obviously I didn’t follow my own advice as I was in a hurry to take pictures before sundown – see below :)

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Not too happy with the photography – unfortunately it was sundown when I remembered that I had to take pictures of the finished product, so the lighting was just not right.

So, blogger buddies, this week I will be co-hosting the weekly party at Angie’s Fiesta Friday #64 with Ginger @Ginger& Bread.  Ginger and I started blogging about the same time, click on her link to take you to her fabulous blog with the most amazing recipes.  We both warmly welcome you to this wonderful happening party each Friday.  Do please link your blogs to Angie’s site and to Ginger’s and my sites, as we will receive a ping back and know that you’ve arrived.   Also,  please tag your posts with “Fiesta Friday” as well, so that it’s easy for others to find you and you will also be eligible for the weekly feature.   If you are new, we’d love to have you and encourage you to stay.  It sure is a great way to gain more exposure and meet like-minded bloggers.  Here are the guidelines.  To join in, just click on the link below, follow the prompts and you’re in!  Do stay around, visit other blog sites, encourage one another and enjoy a feast for the eyes!  Fiesta Fridays have become one big “family affair” and we’re all loving it!

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A Happy Blogiversary to me (celebrated with a Hyderabadi Chicken Biryani)

It’s a special occasion, and I’d like to shout it out on the rooftop.  I started blogging about a year ago and today I present to you a Hyderabadi Chicken Biryani dish to celebrate the moment.  I made this special dish on Easter Sunday for the very first time.  I’ve made biryanis before, but I’d never tried the Hyderabadi variety, which is purported to be the best!   Truth be told, I had to look up Hyderabad on the map of India.  I know, shame on me.  I don’t usually try new dishes when we have company, but I just knew that this would be a great hit with our guests.

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Southwestern Black Bean, Quinoa and Mango Medley

Just as the weather is finally turning warmer, thoughts of salads, barbeques and lighter fare spring to mind.  I promised myself that we would barbeque more often this summer.  I do enjoy firing up the grill outdoors, and sipping on cool cocktails, but I don’t do it as much as I’d like to.  The very thought of heating up the kitchen when temperatures are soaring in the 90’s should be incentive enough to take the cooking outdoors.

We are finally warming up on the East Coast of the USA, the birds are merrily chirping, daffodils, crocuses and other spring bulbs are vying for attention.  This has got to be one of my favorite times of the year.  After the long, cold and snowy winter, the garden in it’s dormant stage is now slowly waking up, there’s nothing more exciting than digging in the dirt and being surrounded by a sea of color all around.  Based on today’s weather, I thought I’d present a gorgeous, colorful salad, chock full of deliciousness all around.  It is packed with vitamins, fiber, and iron.  The sweetness of the mango and the zesty lime and spicy cumin just enhances it all.  It keeps well in the refrigerator and tastes even better the following day.  I’ve paired it with some grilled salmon and fresh avocado for tonight’s dinner.  I’ve adapted this salad from the website of skinnytaste.com.  A wonderful blog full of flavorful dishes, with half the fat.

Southwestern Black Bean, Quinoa and Mango Medley

  • Servings: 6
  • Time: 40 minutes
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Ingredients

  • 15-ounce can black beans, no salt added, rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup cooked quinoa (according to package directions)
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen corn
  • 1 small red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 cup chopped fresh mango
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 small jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely diced (I used 2 thin hot Indian/Thai chillies)
  • juice from 1 medium lemon or lime
  • 1 1/2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced (I used less)
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp chipotle chile powder
  • 1/4 tsp ground tumeric

Directions

  1. Mix together the beans, quinoa, corn,  bell pepper, mango, onion, cilantro and jalapeno in a mixing bowl
  2. Whisk together the lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, cumin, chipotle powder and tumeric in a small bowl.
  3. Drizzle over the mixture and toss.  Refrigerate until ready to serve.

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I paired the hearty quinoa salad with a Salmon Bake and Pecan-Crunch Coating.  At first, I sprinkled lemon pepper seasoning to flavor the salmon steak.  I then made a mix of dijon mustard, butter, ginger, honey and brushed it over the salmon. I then combined breadcrumbs, chopped pecans and dill and spooned it over evenly across the top of the salmon.  I baked it for a few minutes till the fish flaked easily when tested with a fork.  Oh and the purple you see are leftover purple onions that I grilled with the fish.  This was indeed a taste of things to come, it screams summer and lighter fare don’t you think?

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IMG_3118Hopping on to Fiesta Friday #62 hosted by the amazing Angie and her co-hosts, Jess@ Cooking is my sport and Prudy@ Butter Basil and Breadcrumbs.  Thanks everyone, and a very Happy Easter to all.