Monday, August 3, 2009

News! And two recipes.

First, the news. I resigned from the job that I started on June 15. It's totally not like me to quit something just because it's hard (and the job wasn't that hard) but when I thought through my priorities and things that needed attention, the job was at the bottom of the priorities but taking up way more attention than that. So I'm moving on. I took a graduate assistantship at school and Llama will go to daycare there. Real daycare, the kind where I entrust her to people I don't really know (wolves, as they're commonly known) and they let her wander freely. Please note the sarcasm. The daycare is actually on the campus of my school and is the only one I ever had a happy feeling visiting, so I'm taking it as a good sign. Llama and I will go visit ahead of time and make sure she's comfortable, but I'm pretty sure she'll like it because she likes just about everything and every place in the world.

And now on with the recipes! I know I'm just showing up to put up recipes these days, but as I've said before, I'm using this blog as a journal, a scrapbook for Llama, and apparently now it's a recipe box too. Maybe you're hungry for a specially flavored cookies and cream cheesecake. Or some marinated grilled chicken. Maybe you're not. But I want to remember these recipes because they were super good.

Marinated Grilled Chicken

juice from two lemons
juice from one lime
1/3 cup vegetable oil
2 tbsp ground mustard
2 tsp honey
4 cloves garlic, crushed
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 tbsp "Italian seasoning" (or 1/2 tsp oregano, 1/2 tsp basil if you don't have the Italian seasoning)
1 tsp rosemary
1/3 cup Worcestershire sauce
salt and pepper

Mix it up, let it sit in the fridge for a couple hours. About an hour before you're ready to grill, take the marinade and the chicken out of the fridge and brush some marinade on the skin. When you actually grill, brush it again on each side. Add more as you feel necessary. It covered two packages of "Pick of the Chix," from my local grocery store, so I guess about two whole chickens.

**I'm told that the secret to good grilling is leaving the meat alone. Flip only one time. I served this chicken with grilled seasonal veggies (peppers, zucchini, mushrooms, and onions) and a rice pilaf.

Super Cookies and Cream Cheesecake

2 cups crushed chocolate cookies (I used chocolate Teddy Grahams)
2 tbsp butter, melted
1/4 cup packed brown sugar

2 pounds cream cheese, softened
1 1/4 cups white sugar
1/3 cup Bailey's Irish Cream
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 eggs
1 1/2 cups chocolate sandwich cookie crumbs

Topping #1:
16 ounces sour cream
1/4 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Topping #2:
1 cup heavy cream
1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Combine all of the crust ingredients and press firmly into the bottom of a Springform pan. Bake for 5 minutes.

In a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese until it's all soft and manageable (probably that's not the right cooking term, but I'm just a regular person here). Gradually mix in the white sugar until it's well combined. Add the Bailey's and beat well again. Add the flour and beat well again. Add the eggs, one at a time, and then the vanilla, continuing to beat well.

Pour 1/3 of the batter on top of the baked crust. Put the cookie pieces and crumbs on top of that, then pour the rest of the batter on top of that. Bake (in your already heated to 350 degrees Fahrenheit oven) for 45-50 minutes. Use a water bath, which is a pan of water in the oven on the rack underneath the cheesecake. It keeps the cake from cracking.

Combine the sour cream, white sugar, and vanilla and beat well. When the cheesecake is done baking for the first 45-50 minutes (it'll still be a little wobbly in the middle), take it out and spread this sour cream mixture on it. Put it back in the oven for another 10 minutes. Then shut the oven off and let the cheesecake sit in the oven for another hour.

Take the cheesecake out and let it cool all the way on a baking rack. Leave the pan alone. Don't let anyone stick their fingers in the cake. You laugh, but just try baking in my house.

When the cake is cool, mix together the heavy cream and chocolate chips in a small saucepan and cook them on VERY LOW until the chips melt and it's all creamy. Mix in the vanilla. Pour that on top of the cake. Put it in the fridge for as long as possible, which is hopefully 8 hours or so, but was only 6 for us and it was still okay. Put it in the back of the fridge if you don't want people to come by and think they should do a taste test for you.

It should serve 12 people, but it served 7 adults and two babies last night with two pieces left over. That might be because I had iHusband cut it, or it might be because I used a 9" pan.

**I used a 9" pan and the cheesecake was nice and tall, but if you want to serve more people with smaller pieces, use a 10" pan and adjust the times.

**A Kitchen Aid stand mixer would have been really useful for all that beating, but even though I have one, it's in the attic wasting away and making me sad. Small house = small kitchen = no room on the counter for my lovely Kitchen Aid.

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