Lime Icebox Mini Cheesecakes

I am not typically and icebox kind of person, but I wanted something with lime that would be on the quick and easy side, so I decided to give these a try. They called them cupcakes, but they are really mini cheesecakes in cupcake form. At least they are to me.

I did store them in the freezer before taking to work and to be honest, I like them semi-frozen – just let them sit out of the freezer for a few minutes and they are really pretty good.D&D_1883

You could use key limes for this, but since I have no fresh key limes, I went for fresh Persian limes. I do not like bottled lime juice of any sort, really – same with bottled lemon juice unless it is for canning to get the acidity correct.
Makes 12 – thankfully – a nice easy number for a cupcake pan^ …

For the crust:
5 ounces graham cracker crumbs
2 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

For the filling:
8 ounces cream cheese
2/3 cup sweetened condensed milk (7 ounces); 1/2 a can
1 tablespoon finely grated lime zest
6 tablespoons lime juice
1/4 teaspoon salt

For the topping:
1 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
raw sugar

Make the crust: Line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners.* In a small-ish bowl mix together graham crumbs, brown sugar, and salt. Drizzle in the melted butter and mix to incorporate well. The mixture should hold together in your hand when you squeeze it.

Divide the mixture evenly among the muffin liners, about 2 tablespoons per well. Use the bottom of a small glass to press the crumbs firmly into the pan to form the crusts. Place in the freezer until ready to fill.

Place the cream cheese, condensed milk, lime zest and juice, and salt a bowl and whisk until smooth. Divide the filling evenly among the muffin cups. Refrigerate until firm, 8 to 12 hours.

When ready to serve, place the sour cream, brown sugar, and vanilla in a small bowl and whisk to combine. Top each key lime icebox cupcake with a dollop of sweetened sour cream and raw sugar – because raw sugar is crunchy and good.

Make ahead: The graham cracker crumb crust can be made 3 days in advance and stored, covered, in the refrigerator.

Storage: Stuck these in the freezer, well covered and the put in the fridge the day before serving. Worked pretty well. Leftovers can be refrigerated for up to 3 days, although the crust may soften over time.

Source: The Kitchn with a couple of modifications.

^ Pet peeve – an odd number of muffins, cupcakes, whatever when everyone only has either a 6 cup or a 12 cup pan — I mean 14 cupcakes – makes me slightly crazy.

* Used really cute paper liners, but next time since I plan on storing for a day in the freezer will use foil liners.

Note: Again, these taste really good right out of the freezer, just let thaw for a couple of moments and wow. Yes, very good.

29 May 2017 – vg, easy too

Really, stupidly, good orzo – redux

This will be breakfast tomorrow. I don’t have much experience with orzo, but this seemed pretty easy and thankfully for me, idiot proof. The biggest point is to be patient. That I can do, especially since I was trying something new. Well not really new to me to eat, just the first time I made it – more to come on that shortly, but butter was involved.

The fact that Gruyere is involved in this recipe made it a no brainier for me since I’ve had a nice bit of it in the fridge that I’d been wanting to do something with … besides just eat it. I still have nice big piece left so expect some kind of cheesy something. Maybe some kind of crackers. Gruyere has a similar dryness (not in a bad way) that cheddar does, but also has an amazing nuttiness as well. Oh, and this is the good stuff, the real stuff, imported from Switzerland. Yep – I’m thinking some kind of crackers.  Sounds like a plan.

D&D_0309My thanks to the cutting edge of ordinary for sharing. Great name by the way. Maybe there is some truth in that name for all of us.

I made a half recipe and here are the proportions and method.

Everyday Orzo
2 Tbs butter
1 small onion, diced
2 medium garlic cloves, minced
1 1/4 cups chicken stock
8 ozs orzo
1/3 cup Gruyere, grated (no substitution per the original)

Melt butter in a sauce pan on medium heat, add onion and sauté until translucent. Don’t let it brown. Add garlic and sauté for a minute more. In a glass measuring cup, heat the chicken stock to boiling in the microwave.

Add orzo to onion mixture and stir to coat with butter. Add in hot chicken stock, cover and remove from heat. Let stand 25 minutes without lifting the lid – this is serious – do not uncover. While waiting patiently, grate Gruyere. After time, check orzo and make sure liquid is absorbed. Add cheese and stir to melt. Season with salt and pepper. Lemon zest just makes it, but lemon juice also does the job.

This is a creamy lovely thing. Sigh. And amazingly great for breakfast. It’s just a thing for me. I think next time some lemon will be involved.  Indeed.

This was first published on 6 August 2015.

08 May 2017

50 years – this is my life

This past year (2016) I turned 50 and it is only slightly amazing how many other things turned 50 too.  Who knew? I am guessing this happens to other people, but it seemed there were a few significant things. Well, at least significant to me anyway.

Every year I know how old I will be because I am the same age at the Super Bowl. Thank you January or February – which ever month the Super Bowl falls into. This does not make lots of sense because the first super bowl was in 1967, but just wait to see what they are saying about the 2017 Super Bowl  – it will be number 51 – LI in Roman numerals. I keep telling the Boy that is how to know how old I am. It works. Though he does flatter me and make my age way less than it is – it is trick, I know. But it is nice nonetheless.

A couple of Christmas traditions were also first aired in 1966 – The Grinch – which I watch religiously for Max the Dog.

dd_max-grinch-dog

Max – need I say more?

Then there is A Charlie Brown Christmas which I watch because this cartoon, along with the Grinch, had a real grasp on commercialism – in 1966. What does that tell you?

dd_charlie-brown-christmas-tree

I respect the tree. Snoopy, well …

Star Trek started in 1966. I only saw this show in reruns and even then was not interested. But hey we are talking about William Shattner after all. He is pretty cool – but you only learn to appreciate it when you are older – like me, crap. Ugh.

Apparently, Batman, the TV show, started in 1966 – another rerun for me. And honestly, not a great show, excepting when Ertha Kitt was on as Cat Woman – Loved that voice even as a kid. Shows that I have taste in even cheesy shows.

I guess the best thing about getting older means you are not dead. I will take older, thank you very much.

 

Egg Usage – by month – May 2016

17 May 2016 – 3 eggs – Yukon Gold Potato Salad

21 May 2016 – 3 eggs – Chicken Salad

 

Well, this was not the month for eggs. I had a slight serious thing for toffee and shortbread this month and neither involve eggs. So this month, my egg supply was used on some pretty amazing savory things.

Summer always has me thinking of potato salad. I did the same thing last year. I really need to get to the local farmers’ markets to find some local red new potatoes. The By-Pass Market in Milton is one of my favorite places because they have excellent, local, new red potatoes – and lots of other amazing local produce. I am always tempted to roast new potatoes because they become sweet (like candy) and we just eat them right off the roasting pan. They are so addictive. So they never seem to make it into potato salad.  I know what my future holds – a trip to the By-Pass Market.   Ce weekend.

I am a huge fan of chicken salad. I poach chicken breasts in water which I then save and serve to a totally underserving puppy – chicken water is an excellent thing for a pup. I usually make this simple – celery – peeled of course, shallots, Duke’s mayonnaise, a little Dijon mustard, parsley, and, of course, a few boiled eggs. Simple, but so very good.

Will have to do better in June in both the butter usage and egg usage, but I am not thinking it is going to go well. I am still a little off my game, but I will make up for that.

Yes. Yes, I will. You just have to work through things and to me cooking and baking makes me happy.

Fred and Father’s Day.

My father died on May 20th this year – one month ago (that is why I have been a little absent lately). With that and the constant yammering about Father’s Day (see: totally made up holiday) these past few weeks, it has caused me to think about how important a father is. That being if he is a true involved father which mine was. I was his first born kid – I really think know he wanted a boy. He taught me quite a few things in his 83 years, some of which I ignored until I got older and then I saw the wisdom of it. Sometimes. But not always.

Practical Stuff:
* How to change a tire. That is fine if the last tire dudes did not put the lug nuts on too tight.

* How to change brake pads. Though these days things are so different I doubt I could manage.

* How to pour concrete. My dad added a room to the back of our house. It became our family room, but I helped pour the slab for it.

Things he did just because:
* He would come home with a roll of life savers in his top shirt pocket after work for me. Usually cherry or butter rum.

* Help coach my softball team. Sometimes that did not go well. That is a very long story.

*Took us bowling with him and mom every Friday night. They were in a league – who does that now? And we pretty much roamed free to play video games. Excellent.

* Brought a dog home that was hanging around his work. Terrier mix that we called Domino because he was black with two white spots on his throat.

* Build a rabbit hutch. For bunnies he brought home for us. I think they were supposed to be eating rabbits, but Ralph  and Thumper were pets. And I would so love to have another rabbit.

* Would respond to our notes of, “please take us to the 7-11 for candy.”

Silly things:
* He pretended he could make traffic lights switch with a snap of his fingers when I was little. A 4 year-old is so gullible. He was watching the opposing lights.

* He would always kiss me before he went to work at about 5:30 in the morning. Which was lovely until one time when I was slightly awake and socked him in the jaw. I am sure I didn’t hurt him but I did feel bad. But not really.

* Bought me Swedish Fish since I could not have real fish. I still love them and there is a jar of them in my office.

Not so much fun:
* He went looking for me when I was late coming home from work because I was having a drink with a guy – pre-cell phone era. Oh, so not happy then.

* Got totally pissed when I accidentally electrocuted my self with Christmas lights and a large container of water which had a Christmas cactus in it in the half done addition to the back of the house. Boy howdy, he was pissed, but that was because he was scared. And I was scared too.

“I am not going to run behind you all the way to first grade.” Helping me learn to ride a bike without training wheels.  I did learn that very day.

* The time I left my windows cracked on my car and it rained overnight. Oh, so not good, again.  But then again, he bought the car and then said, by the way, you now have a car payment. Lovely.

* The time I scraped a school bus in the parking lot of my high school parking lot and they (by which I am sure it was a she bus driver)  called the cops for a hit and run  and leaving the scene of an accident.  Honestly, really? I got 9 points in one day and since I was dropping off friends, the cops beat me home. Once again he was angry, but I think by the time I had to go to court – yes, court- he really thought it was bullshit. It probably did not help when the judge said, “why did you leave of an accident?” And I said, “I did not know there was an accident to leave the scene of.” Fred jabbed me in the ribs. Ugh.

By the way, his name was not Fred, but that is what I have been calling him since I was about 12 or so. Not even sure how that happened, but it did and it made me happy. And maybe him too.

Butter Usage – by month – May 2016

11 May 2016 – 16 Tbs – Pretzel Toffee – Did not work – need to use a thermometer for the temp of toffee. Damnation

12 May 2016 – 16 Tbs – Shortbread with mini chocolate chips & Heath pieces – just saying damn skippy – And my birthday – the 50th. So where do we go from here? Being old that’s where I go anyway. Just something I have to do. I have always said it is better than the alternative.

21 May 2016 – 16 Tbs – Pretzel Toffee – again. This time I got it right. It is stupidly good. Yep. Stupid. D&D_1465

This was not the best month for me. My Fred died and I miss him so. But I also miss my Mom and my little Bering and my big dog Duke. I am kind of tired of people and dogs I love dying.  Yep tired of all this.

Will do better next month – really need to get back into the kitchen and do something useful.

The kitchen always makes me feel better.

Pretzel Toffee

I love toffee. I can’t help myself. And when you pair it with salty pretzels what is not to love?  I am going to plan this carefully – Florida = humidity, but I think past weekend was my time. In May that is a strange land indeed. What the hell, I will give it a go.D&D_1465

1 cup unsalted butter
1 cup sugar (how would this work if we changed it to brown sugar?)
1 cup chopped walnuts
2 cups of pretzels
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Line a baking pan with a Silpat. Cover with the pretzels in a single layer. Sprinkle walnuts evenly over the pretzels.

Melt butter in a heavy saucepan. Add sugar and stir until dissolved. Cook until the sugar is light amber in color, about 7 – 10 minutes. It can separate but that’s okay.

Pour sugar mixture over the pretzels with the walnuts. Top with chocolate chips then use an offset spatula to spread the chocolate over the toffee. Cool the toffee in fridge. Then break into big or middle-ish pieces. Store in an air-tight container in the fridge. Fridge = dry, and in NW Florida, at this time of year, that is a good thing for toffee.