Strawberry Cheesecake Bars

cheesecake bars with swirled strawberry and fresh strawberry garnish on a white plate

When the local, native strawberries seem to be jumping off the vine during a more rainy than usual June on Cape Cod, I can’t help myself:  I must pick as much as I can carry home.  After paying a small fortune, I realize that I need to come up with some really good ideas for these luscious gems.  Strawberry jam is an obvious choice for me to make as I put up a batch just about every year.  Strawberry Shortcake and fresh strawberries at the ready to just pop into my mouth are favorites, too.  I came up with a strawberry smoothie including almond milk and Kefir for those who want to keep it healthy but what about those of us who love some sugar with our berries?  Strawberries and cheesecake is a classic combination but who has the time for cooking a fancy New York style cheesecake that takes hours of low and slow baking for the creamiest of textures?  Behold the Strawberry Cheesecake Bar.  Easy, portable, and incredibly creamy and delicious with just the right amount of sweet fruit. Continue reading “Strawberry Cheesecake Bars”

Advertisements

Campfire Strawberries

img_20190428_155339_253363924982.jpg

It’s strawberry season on Cape Cod.  That time of year when the native berries are ripe and juicy, practically jumping off the vine, begging to be picked and popped right into your mouth.  It’s a short season as far as produce goes: just a few weeks and they are gone.  So, it’s important to drop everything and partake in these glorious red orbs at every possible moment.  Continue reading “Campfire Strawberries”

Blood Orange Pie

fresh cut blood oranges and juicer

The first time I made this pie, I followed the original instructions which included the pith and the skin of the oranges and the lemon.  And it was oh, so bitter.  But in spite of the fact that I do not like bitter orange flavors like marmalade and such, I persisted and ate all of the pie, a small slice per day, until it was gone.  Not because I am stubborn, prideful and refuse to let my hard work go to waste (all these points are true), but because of the real reason: the crust was exquisite and shame on anyone who wastes a crisp, flaky homemade pie crust.  Shame on them. Continue reading “Blood Orange Pie”

Sprinkle Cake

Chocolate cake with vanilla buttercream covered in rainbow sprinkles on a pedestal plate

Is it a special occasion? Or just an occasion that would be made that much better with cake? Does it matter? I think not! Especially when this cake is so easy to make and requires little more than some basic pantry supplies and a large container of rainbow sprinkles. And, it definitely brings out the joy in everyone. People get really excited when they see that I’ve used a ton of sprinkles. It’s like I’m throwing around dollar bills when I walk into the room with this cake. Money is great but, a slice of cake tastes way better.

Continue reading “Sprinkle Cake”

Fruity Cereal Cookies

 

Whenever I go to Starbucks for my grande latte, which isn’t very often but as often as I can, I like to check out the case of sweet stuff just to the right of the cash register.  I love the lemon cake with the layer of sweet frosting that you can peel off in one piece, the mini vanilla scones and the thick slices of marble cake, bitter chocolate and warm vanilla, the best of both worlds in one dessert.  But recently, I spied a large, round cookie, half frosted and decorated with rainbow colored sugar.  Not the usual type of choice for me but something made me ask for it.  Continue reading “Fruity Cereal Cookies”

Focaccia Bread

focaccia bread sprinkled with rosemary and sea salt

 

Yesterday, I was craving fresh, hot pizza.  But we had a lot of leftovers to eat for dinner.  Since I never like to let anything go to waste, the pizza would have to wait.  But I still did not want to let that thought go.  So, I compromised. We needed a little bread to go with dinner, anyway.  At least that is how I justified making this easy focaccia to jazz up our plates.  And, today, there is barely any left.  So, I guess I didn’t need to make any justifications, anyway.

Continue reading “Focaccia Bread”

Four Snacks for Super Bowl Fans

Most of my friends who are football fans know that I have never followed a team and usually have no idea what is happening during a game. I am to busy socializing and eating snacks, which suites me just fine. It’s only in recent years, now that my son has become such a die hard Patriots fan that I began paying attention especially if New England is going to be in the Super Bowl. My eleven year old is fully invested. He sheds tears when things look bleak like in that last playoff game when it looked like the Pats didn’t have enough time for a win. I can’t bear it. Not the loss, it’s the sad child. So, like any loving mother, I lectured him, “Tom Brady hasn’t given up yet! Why are you giving up on Tom Brady!” Sometimes I really cannot believe the words that come out of my mouth.

Whatever team you root for this Sunday, snacks will be needed. Here are four recipes that are all made with puff pastry and can be made in about an hour. They satisfy just about everyone. If you happen to have any leftovers just heat them up on low heat in the oven to recrisp the puff pastry. Enjoy and Go Pats!!

Everything” Mini Pigs in a Blanket

1 sheet puff pastry

flour for rolling

1 package hot dogs

1 egg

Everything Spice Mix (see following paragraph for recipe)

optional: mustard, relish and catsup for serving

Preheat oven to 430 degrees. Roll out puff pastry sheet on a lightly floured board to slightly increase surface area. Using a pizza cutter or a sharp knife, cut puff pastry sheet into 24 small rectangles/squares. Cut each hotdog into 3 even pieces. Mix egg with a tablespoon of water. Roll up each hotdog piece in a portion of puff pastry and seal the edge with some of the egg wash (you can use your finger or a brush). Lay each puff pastry enrobed hotdog on a rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Once all of the hotdogs are rolled in puff pastry, brush all of the tops of the pigs in blankets with the remaining egg wash and quickly sprinkle them with Everything Spice Mix (so that the spice mix will stick). Place pigs in blankets in oven and bake for 15-20 minutes until pastry is golden and puffed. Remove from oven and allow to cook for at least 5 minutes before serving and people tend to shove these into their mouths and they are very hot!! Serve with mustard, relish and catsup.

Everything Spice Mix

1 teaspoon driend minced garlic

1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt

1 1/2 teaspoons poppy seeds

2 teaspoon sesame seeds

1 teaspoon dried, minced onion.

Mix all ingredients together and sprinkle on everything. Especially good on toast with butter or cream cheese. Store in an airtight container.

 

Pinwheels 2 ways: Sausage and Cheese or Spinach and Cheese

1 sheet of puff pastry

flour for rolling

5-6 chicken or turkey sausages, casings removed

1 1/2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 430 degrees. Roll out puff pastry sheet on a lightly floured board to increase surface area. Use your hands to press sausage onto puff pastry, spread it to 3 edges leaving one long edge 1/8″ free of sausage. Cover sausage with grated cheese. Roll up puff pastry beginning from the long edge opposite the edge free of sausage. Wet your fingers with water and run it along the free edge of puff pastry then press lightly to seal. Using a sharp knife, cut 1/2″ pinwheels from sausage and puff pastry roll. Lay them on thier sides on a parchment lined, rimmed baking sheet. Bake for 15-20 minutes until sausage is cooked through and pastry is golden brown. Remove from oven and allow to cook for 5-10 minutes before serving.

Alternately, use frozen spinach and spreadable garlic and herb cheese along with the sharp cheddar instead of sausage in these Spinach Pinwheels:

1 sheet puff pastry

flour for rolling

6 oz. garlic and herb flavored spreadable cheese

frozen chopped spinach, thawed and rung out

1 1/2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 430 degrees. Roll out puff pastry sheet on a lightly floured board to increase surface area. Using a butter knife, spread garlic and herb flavored cheese to all edges of puff pastry. Cover spreadable cheese with spinach leaving one long edge of puff pastry 1/8″ free of spinach. Sprinkle sharp cheddar over spinach. Roll up puff pastry beginning from the long edge opposite the edge free of spinach. Press lightly to seal. Using a sharp knife, cut 1/2″ pinwheels from spinach and puff pastry roll. Lay them on thier sides on a parchment lined, rimmed baking sheet. Bake for 15-20 minutes until pastry is golden brown. Remove from oven and allow to cook for 5-10 minutes before serving.

 

spinach, sharp cheddar cheese, garlic pub cheese rolled up and baked in puff pastry

 

Oh, what to do with the last lonely sheet of puff pastry? Here is an easy idea that always gets gobbled up:

Preheat oven to 430 degrees. Using a small amount of flour, roll out pastry sheet to increase surface area. Cut pastry into 12 square/rectangles. Spread raspberry or any flavor jam over each square. Roll up each square beginning with a corner . Place each rolled piece of pastry and jam on parchment lined baking sheets sprayed with a little cooking spray. Brush the tops of the pastry rolls with egg wash and sprinkle with turbinado sugar. Bake for 15-20 minutes until pastry is golden brown. Remove from oven and allow to cool for at least 15 minutes before serving as jam gets very hot!!

20170910_094854