Rhubarb curd cheesecake with hazelnut crust

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This cheesecake was in no way planned, and somehow turned out perfectly! I wasn’t even planning on cheesecake at all until I ended up with three packages of cream cheese that I picked up on super sale at our local supermarket. The idea for rhubard curd on top came from the bag of frozen rhubarb that’s been in my freezer for way too long. And the hazelnut crust? A gigantic bag of raw hazelnuts that I bought last week to make hazelnut cookies. But guess what? Nutty hazelnut crust is the perfect balance for sweet, custardy cheesecake filling, which goes perfectly with tart rhubarb curd. Guess what else? Eating a handful of toasted hazelnuts followed immediately by a spoonful of still-slightly-warm rhubard curd is a really good idea.

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Hazelnut lemon-lime coconut bars

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A while back I had a serious craving for lemon bars. It came completely out of left field. Jérôme makes an amazing lemon tart, and that has satisfied our lemony needs for the last few years. But I wanted a bar. Something that reminded me of my childhood but that was different and better at the same time. I had a lime and a few lemons, and knew that I wanted some coconut thrown in as well. This recipe from Bon Appétit was exactly what my taste buds were yearning for, and it turned out to be one of my most favorite desserts ever. Continue reading

Lemony fried risotto

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This, like the nutmeg and pepper popovers that I wrote about recently, was the star side dish of our New Year’s Eve menu. I know I’m a little late in writing about it, but culinary school pretty much put most of my blog posts on hold! I had fried risotto for the first time about a year ago at one of my all-time favorite restaurants in Normandy, Les Canisses. It’s kind of genius, actually. Take any ordinary risotto, flavored or classic, spread it into a pan or baking dish, let it cool and harden slightly, then cut it into slices that you can fry up in olive oil in a pan, or even in a deep fryer. The result is a perfectly creamy inside, and a lovely, crispy, outside. I love the texture of fried or overcooked rice, and I think one of my next projects will be to look into making breading for fish filets using rice! Continue reading

Bruschetta pasta

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Bruschetta is my go-to party dish whenever I have guests in the summer. I usually tend to do three versions for a little variety: a classic tomato, roasted yellow bell pepper and crème de parmesan. It’s always a hit, and seems like more work than it actually is. Even when doing three different kinds, it comes together easily and effortlessly. Once the guests arrive, all I have to do is heat up my bread rounds and spoon on my different sauces.

The last time that I made bruschetta I ended up with some leftovers. While the sharp tomatoey goodness of my classic recipe is delicious enough to eat right out of the bowl with a spoon, I decided to see what it would be like if I added it to some pasta. I ate this particular dish luke-warm, but I have a feeling it would be even better as a cold vegetarian pasta salad. The capers and olives paired perfectly with the pasta with a little zest from the lemon juice. Some mild gruyère cheese topped it all off and helped the dish to find balance. Continue reading

Lemon sugar cookies with vanilla bean and sea salt

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These cookies are my childhood made better. A few months ago I wrote about the lemon-scented sugar cookies that I ate as a child and my quest to recreate them. I first tried these lemon, olive oil, thyme and black pepper sugar cookies knowing that they wouldn’t fulfill my nostalgic cravings but hoping that they would become the new lemon cookie in my life. They were excellent, but just not quite it. Then miraculously the cookies were swept out of my mind until a couple of weeks ago when I found this recipe and knew I had to have these cookies ASAP.

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My favorite green beans (hot or cold)

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I despised green beans for a long time once I was an adult. I didn’t mind them as a child, contrary to canned peas. It was only once I got older that I realized that the problem wasn’t the peas then, nor the green beans now. It was the can. It’s a texture thing. I can’t do the mush. Once I realized that peas didn’t have to be mushy and olive colored but vibrant green and crisp, I loved them. Once I discovered that green beans could have the same, tasty fate, I stopped giving them the cold shoulder.

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Virtually fat-free lemon lime curd

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This recipe is quick, simple and virtually fat-free. I discovered it while on the Dukan diet, and it definitely livened up my week. If you’re looking for a traditional lemon curd recipe, you’re probably going to be disappointed. It isn’t low fat for nothing, and doesn’t taste quite as decadent as a true curd does. However, if you’re watching what you eat, or if you just want to be able to eat at least part of your dessert and feel guilt-free, this one’s for you. The texture is perfect, and using sweetener (and not much of it) instead of sugar really lets the citrus flavors shine.

Virtually fat-free lemon curd
Ingredients:

1/2 C lemon juice
1/3 C lime juice
Zest of 3 limes
2 eggs
1/3-1/4 C sweetener, to taste

Begin my energetically whisking the eggs and sweetener in a medium-sized bowl until well incorporated and moussed. Next, simply heat your juices and zest in a small saucepan until it just begins to boil. Very slowly, you should pour the juices into your sugary eggs, whisking all the while. Whisk for a minute or two before adding your curd back to the pan and heating it slowly over low heat until it thickens enough to coat a spoon. That’s it, enjoy!