Archive for June, 2017
June 29, 2017
You will delight in every single bite of this delicious chocolate cheesecake. My point of reference was the Chocolate Cheese Pie served at Bern’s Steak House. While a bit different, it is just as delicious. So, this is my homage to Bern’s dessert room without having to get all dressed up.
It is an easy dessert to make – and it will definitely be your “go to” the next time you are having a special occasion and need something that will knock their socks off. I made it this weekend – for no reason at all – and shared it with lots of friends…who all thought it was a hit.
- 16 whole Oreo cookies
- 2 tablespoons salted butter
Put Oreos into food processor – pulse until the cookies have turned into a powder. Add the melted butter and pulse 7 to 10 times. Mold into the bottom of a 10” spring form pan (that has been sprayed or buttered, and press down. Bake in a 350 degree pre-heated oven for 10 minutes. Let cool on rack.
- 3 – 8 ounce packages Philadelphia brand cream cheese
- 6 ounces milk chocolate (Dove or Ghirardelli are my 2 favorites for this cheesecake)
- 1/3 cup heavy cream
- 4 extra large eggs
- 1 ¼ cups sugar
- 2 tablespoons cocoa
- 1 teaspoon instant espresso
- 2 teaspoons fine vanilla
Place heavy cream in a microwaveable bowl – microwave 30 seconds until cream comes to a boil, add chocolate and stir until completely melted – do not bring chocolate to a boil. Set aside to cool.
In a stand mixer, add cream cheese and sugar and beat with the paddle attachment until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time and beat until each egg is well combined. Add chocolate cream mixture, cocoa powder, vanilla, and espresso and mix on medium speed until smooth. Scrape the sides and bottom of mixing bowl to make sure everything has been combined.
Pour into Oreo crusted 10” spring form pan. Cover top with aluminum foil and bake in a pre-heated 250 degree over for one hour. Take off aluminum foil and bake another half hour – maybe 10 to 20 minutes longer if necessary – checking it every 5 minutes or so after 1.5 hours.
The cheesecake will jiggle in the middle – don’t let that worry you – it will set up. Let cool and refrigerate for 10 hours or overnight.
- 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
- ¼ cup boiling heavy cream
- ½ teaspoon vanilla
Put chocolate chips in a bowl. Add boiling heavy cream and vanilla and stir until well combined. The cream should melt the chips. If a few chips remain un-melted, put bowl in micro for 10 seconds – take out and stir.
Pour in zip lock baggy, squeeze into one corner – cut a small bit off the edge of the baggy – squeeze and pipe on to chilled cheesecake in all kinds a zig-zag ways. The decoration is up to you!!! Serve with whipped cream is desired. Maybe even a couple of fresh raspberries if you want to guild-the-lily.
June 14, 2017
This Sunday wake up to this buttery rich cinnamon toast. My mom would make us cinnamon toast by toasting bread, spreading it with butter and topping with a generous amount of sugar and cinnamon. Good? Yes. But not anywhere near as spectacular as this amazingly gooey delight.
You can make this spread even 2 weeks in advance and keep it in the fridge. Take it out the night before, spread it on some bread that morning – bake for 10 minutes – and you, your family and friends will go ape—- over this luscious heavenly treat.
- 2 sticks soft salted butter
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 tablespoon cinnamon
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 10 to 16 slices white or wheat bread (I like Pepperidge Farm White Sandwich Bread)
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees
Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl and whisk until well blended. Liberally spread end-to-end on bread slice(s). Lay slices on foil or parchment lined baking sheet and bake for exactly 10 minutes. Let cool for 5 to 10 minutes. Slice. Eat. It’s that simple.
June 07, 2017
Last week while visiting Frazier Farms in Brooksville foraging for fresh corn, we decided to have lunch at a local favorite which is only opened for breakfast and lunch, the Florida Cracker Kitchen – and we were not disappointed.
My shrimp and sausage gumbo had the rich roux flavor I look for and it was “loaded” with andouille sausage and okra…signs of a great gumbo for my taste. My shrimp and grits were perfectly seasoned. Because my dad taught me how to fry shrimp (remember Palios on MacDill – OMG the best fried shrimp in town before Bailey’s) I love fried shrimp so I had an order thrown in to see how they were prepared as well. Research ya’ know. They were very good…big shrimp and not too much breading.
By the way, their grits are the only ones I have ever had at a restaurant that needed no salt or butter…they were very good. Most restaurant grits are made with just water thinking that the patron can add their own salt and butter. Big mistake. And some even put sugar in them which is a Yankee thing and a big no-no. Horrible idea. We at Bailey’s, make ours with lots of cream, butter, and salt – but we cook the grits with these ingredients as opposed to adding them after the grits are cooked. Makes for better tasting grits.
The table next to me was having breakfast – and I was dying to reach over and fork her plate. I needed one of those extension forks. The omelet was huge and she said was incredible. I started to cry. Her slab bacon looked so good I got an order. I’m going to take a drive with some friends some morning for breakfast – because the dishes I saw are still on my mind. I need to go with lots of friends, so I can do a tasting. Want to join me?
Florida Cracker Kitchen 966 East Jefferson Street
Brooksville, Florida 34601
OPEN 6 Days-A-Week: 7:00am – 2:30pm
June 07, 2017
As summer’s rain cascades against my kitchen window, tomato soup and garlic parmesan crostini’s are the perfect pick for dinner tonight. My nieces Blaine and Brittany say this is one of their favorite soups we make at Bailey’s. It takes no time to make – and you’ll love the rich flavor.
While my mom (who was from Boston) was an expert chowder maker, I don’t think she ever made us kids homemade tomato soup. Her tomato soup of choice was always a can of Campbell’s made with milk – and it always tasted good to us – especially with a grilled cheese sandwich. But if you want a soup that is so much better – homemade is definitely the way to go.
TOMATO SOUP VARIATIONS
Know too that I make a lot of different kinds of tomato soups and bisques but the recipe below is a really good one that can be made quick. Below are some variations to make my original soup recipe more complex overall – but for you soup lovers, begin with this recipe and play around later with what might tempt your taste buds.
- Add one cup each chopped celery (including the leaves) and carrots to the onion and shallot mixture – it gives it an extra dimension that is always good
- Start with a couple slices of chopped Applewood smoked bacon to begin the onion (vegetable) saute process is great as well
- Instead of using canned tomatoes, toss quartered whole tomatoes in extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper, and roast in a hot 450 oven for about 15 to 20 minutes
TOMATO SOUP RECIPE
- 1 cup finely chopped sweet onion (Vidalia is perfect – but whatever you have in your pantry)
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped shallots
- ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 stick salted butter
- 2 large 28 ounce cans crushed Hunts tomatoes
- 1 ½ teaspoons salt
- ¼ cup sugar
- 1 ½ cups heavy cream
- ¼ cup chopped fresh basil
Melt butter in heavy bottom pot. Add onions, shallots, and red pepper flakes and sauté on medium low heat until very soft and mushy. Add tomatoes, salt, sugar, and bring to a hot simmer on medium heat and cook down covered for 30 to 45 minutes – stirring occasionally to make sure it does not stick on bottom. After soup is cooked put small batches in Cuisinart (food processor), or blender and blend until smooth. An immersion hand-held blender is perfect for blending this soup. Know too, that if you want texture in your soup – no blending is necessary.
Add heavy cream. Ladle hot soup into bowl(s) and top with 1 tablespoon fresh chopped basil and parmesan garlic crostini.
GARLIC PARMESAN CROSTINI
You will find these crostini’s a “go-to” for many dishes. In addition to wonderful crostini’s, this mixture makes awesome garlic bread for just about any dish you can think of – especially Italian. Perfect on any type of bread like Cuban – just cut bread baguette in half and liberally spread mixture on top – broil or bake until golden brown.
- 2 sticks (1/2 pound) room temperature salted butter
- 1 cup freshly grated fine Parmesan OR Romano cheese
- ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 ½ teaspoons garlic powder
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
- A good French baguette (sliced ¼” thick on the bias)
Combine all ingredients (except for the bread) in a mixer and whip until well combined – about a minute or two. Liberally spread on baguette slices. Place on baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes until golden brown.
June 02, 2017
Flan is the perfect dessert after a great Spanish, Mexican, or Cuban meal…and it is so easy to make. Most flans are made with sweetened condensed milk which makes it a bit heavy for my taste, so I lightened it up and kept the richness using 3 milks (tres leches) – cream, whole milk, and evaporated milk, plus an equal amount of eggs and egg yolks yielding a flavor unmatched for a taste sensation you will thoroughly enjoy after a fine meal.
Making flan may seem a bit daunting to you – but you must trust me on this – it is one of the most simple desserts you will ever make. The primary thing you must remember is to get the correct color and flavor of the caramel…a deep amber. You do not want it too dark (for it will be bitter), or too light (for it will be tasteless). If you don’t get the caramel correct the first time – do it over – just don’t fill with the custard until you get the sugar caramel down pat.
When making flan (or anything on our blog), if you ever have any questions about a recipe or the process, shoot me an email at RobertKimBailey@hotmail.com.
- 1 ½ cups sugar
- ½ cup water
In a skillet (with no heat) stir the sugar and water together until well combined. On medium high heat cook on top of stove until sugar begins to brown (but not burn). It is important to not stir the sugar while it cooks or it will crystalize and you will have to discard it, for it cannot be used if this happens.
If sugar begins to crystalize on the sides of the skillet, brush it down with a wet brush dipped in water. There is a fine line between perfect and burnt. It should be the color of a medium dark amber. Remember too, that it should be taken off the stove prior to reaching the desired color – for it will continue to cook.
It took me a time or two to get it right – it doesn’t cost much to practice, only a bit of sugar and water – so if it doesn’t work the first time – try again.
Quickly pour caramel sugar into 13 ramekins – about 2 tablespoons in the bottom.
- 4 extra-large eggs (room temperature)
- 4 extra large egg yolks (room temperature)
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 cup whole milk
- 2 cup heavy cream
- 1 cup evaporated milk
- 1 teaspoon fine vanilla extract – not vanilla bean
- In a medium size mixing bowl combine eggs, sugar, salt, extract and whisk until completely blended. Heat cream, whole milk, and evaporated milk in the microwave for 1 to 2 minutes or on top of the stove in a sauce pan until warm but not hot
- Slowly whisk into sugar and egg mixture until completely combined
- Strain through a fine mesh strainer into a different bowl
- Ladle strained custard mixture into caramel lined ramekins leaving 1/4” to ½” space at the top
- Place ramekins in a container large enough to hold all 13 ramekins. I use a hotel pan that can be purchased at Sam’s or Costco. Fill with warm water halfway up the ramekins.
- Cover tightly with aluminum foil
- Carefully (so you don’t spill the water into the custard filled ramekins – place in pre-heated 350 degree oven and bake for 25 minutes. Check every 2 to 5 minutes until done. Test one with a sharp knife until it comes out clean
- When done – take out of water bath and cool on rack. Chill in refrigerator until cold
STEP THREE – Serving
- Run thin sharp paring knife around the edges of the ramekin and place upside down on serving dish, and tap a couple of times until it falls onto plate
- After the flan has been unmolded, I put my empty ramekin in the microwave for approximately 10 seconds to get the extra caramel on the bottom to pour over the top of the flan and on the sides of the plates
- Garnish simply with a sprig of fresh mint on top
- If you want to go fancy – put a dollop of fresh made whipped cream on the side (not on the top), 2 or 3 fresh raspberries, strawberries, or blackberries (or some of all 3), and remember a sprig of fresh mint