Classic Cheesecake with Strawberry Sauce

Classic Cheesecake with Strawberry Sauceby Tess Masters
The Blender Girl

Blend, freeze, slice, and scarf. That’s how easy this cake is! Once you have your cashews soaked (essential for a righteously creamy consistency), this decadent dessert takes less than 15 minutes to put together. It looks and tastes just like dairy-drenched cheesecake, but my family and friends tell me they crave this more than the conventional kind. Add the lemon and poppy seeds for an awesome twist and a drizzle of strawberry sauce to up the indulgence.

Makes 10 Slices

Crust

1 cup (160g) raw whole almonds
1 cup (170g) firmly packed chopped pitted dates, plus more as needed

Filling

¾ cup (180ml) coconut oil (in liquid form)
½ cup (120ml) full-fat canned coconut milk (shake, then pour)
½ cup (120ml) fresh lemon juice
½ cup (120ml) pure maple syrup
3 cups (420g) raw unsalted cashews, soaked
1 teaspoon natural vanilla extract
Pinch of natural salt
Coconut Cream, to serve (optional)

Optional Boosters

1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest, plus more to taste and garnish
1 tablespoon poppy seeds
Sweet Strawberry Sauce, to serve

To make the crust, grease a 9- or 10-inch (23 or 25cm) springform pan with coconut oil.

Process the almonds and dates in a food processor until the mixture is well combined and clumps together. Form the mixture into a ball; if it doesn’t hold together, you may need to add a bit more chopped date and process again. Press the mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan and set aside.

To make the filling, throw all of the ingredients into your blender in the order listed, including the lemon zest booster, and blend for about 1 minute, until rich and creamy. To achieve the smoothest filling, stop the machine periodically and scrape down the sides of the container. Add the poppy seed booster once the filling is completely blended, and then blast for just a few seconds to combine. Pour the filling into the crust. Cover the pan with aluminum foil and freeze the cheesecake for 6 to 8 hours, until solidified.

To serve, transfer the pan from the freezer to the fridge and defrost for about 30 minutes. Gently release and remove the sides of the springform pan, and then cut the cheesecake into 10 even slices with a very sharp knife. Keeping the slices together on the springform pan bottom, return the cheesecake to the fridge to continue defrosting for another 30 minutes before serving. Serve the slices plain or drizzle each one with 2 tablespoons of the Sweet Strawberry Sauce booster and top with a dollop of the Coconut Cream. Pass remaining strawberry sauce and coconut cream at the table.

Note: Because of the coconut oil, this filling will melt if left out at room temperature.

nutritional facts (per serving, based on 10 servings)

calories 594 kcal | fat 45.2 g | saturated fat 20.2 g | sodium 38 mg | carbs 44.8 g | fiber 5 g | sugars 28 g | protein 11.8 g | calcium 91.8 mg | iron 4 mg

Sweet Strawberry Sauce

This quick, easy sauce is like a little black dress. It complements almost any dessert without upstaging it, fits into any menu, and never goes out of style. Best of all, it takes less than 5 minutes to prepare. Enjoy it over ice cream, cakes, or pies. Try it drizzled over this Classic Cheesecake. Depending on the quality of your berries and your preference, tweak the lemon juice to taste. With well-ripened fruit, I reduce the dates to a third of a cup. But a half cup typically hits the sweet spot. For a sensational sauce, boost with the Grand Marnier, ginger, and vanilla.

Makes 2 Cups (480ML)

¼ cup (60ml) raw coconut water or filtered water
½ cup (85g) firmly packed pitted dates, soaked
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice, plus more to taste
Pinch of natural salt

Optional Boosters

1 teaspoon Grand Marnier
1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger, plus more to taste
¼ teaspoon natural vanilla extract

Throw everything into your blender, including any of the boosters, and blast on high for 30 to 60 seconds, until smooth. Tweak the dates, lemon juice, and ginger to taste. This sauce will keep in the fridge for about 5 days.

nutritional facts (per serving, based on 16 servings)

calories 20 kcal | fat 0.1 g | saturated fat 0 g | sodium 18.6 mg | carbs 5.5 g | fiber 0.7 g | sugars 4.5 g | protein 0.2 g | calcium 6.6 mg | iron 0.1 mg

CREDIT: Reprinted with permission from The Perfect Blend, copyright 2016 Tess Masters. Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.
Photography Copyright 2016 by Anson Smart

Sustenance Stew

Sustenance Stewby Tess Masters
The Blender Girl

I’m a sucker for stew, and this one is seriously delicious and so quick and easy. The combination of rich, creamy almond butter, sautéed sweet potatoes, and spices will make you mmmm your delight at every bite. This hearty dish, loaded with protein (the optional greens and seeds add even more), is an alkalizing, immune-boosting, chlorophyll-rich crusader.

Serves 5 to 6

Cauliflower Eice

2 medium heads cauliflower, cut into florets
¼ cup (60ml) extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon natural salt, plus more to taste

Stew

1 tablespoon grapeseed oil or extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, roughly chopped
2 teaspoons minced garlic (about 2 cloves)
Natural salt
3 cups (720ml) vegetable broth
2 (14.5-ounce/411g) cans whole tomatoes with their juice
1½ tablespoons minced fresh ginger
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
4 cups (570g) peeled and roughly diced orange-flesh sweet potatoes
3 cups (210g) chopped broccoli florets
4 cups (120g) Swiss chard, stalks removed, leaves cut into ribbons (about 1 large bunch)
1/3 cup (43g) roasted almond butter
½ cup (14g) loosely packed finely chopped cilantro
1 medium avocado, pitted, peeled, and sliced
½ cup (80g) sliced raw almonds

optional boosters

¼ cup (35g) shelled hemp seeds
1 tablespoon chia seeds (black or white)
¼ cup (10g) pea greens

To make the cauliflower rice, preheat the oven to 375°F (180°C). Line a large baking sheet with a silicone liner or parchment paper.

Put the cauliflower florets in a food processor and pulse about 5 times, until the cauliflower has the texture of couscous. You may have to process in two batches. Transfer the cauliflower to a large bowl and stir in the oil and 1 teaspoon of salt until well combined.

Transfer the “rice” to the prepared baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes. Stir with a spatula or wooden spoon and continue to roast for another 15 minutes, until the “rice” begins to brown. Set aside until ready to serve.

To make the stew, in a large pot over medium heat, warm the oil and sauté the onion and garlic with a pinch of salt for about 5 minutes, until the onion is soft and translucent.

Meanwhile, add the broth, tomatoes, ginger, and red pepper flakes to your blender and pulse a few times on low until rustically chopped and combined but not blended. Stir the sweet potatoes and broth mixture into the sautéed onion. Increase the heat to high and bring the mixture to a boil. Lower the heat to medium, add 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and simmer, uncovered and stirring occasionally, for about 15 minutes, until the sweet potato is just tender. Add the broccoli and simmer for another 5 minutes. Stir in the chard and almond butter and simmer for another 5 minutes, until the chard is just wilted. The broth should be absorbed and you should have a creamy vegetable dish. Stir in the cilantro and tweak the salt to taste.

To serve, spoon equal amounts of the cauliflower rice into bowls and spoon the stew next to or over the “rice.” Top with the avocado and sliced almonds and sprinkle with the hemp seed and chia seed boosters. Finish by topping with the pea greens booster.

Nutritional Facts (per serving, based on 6 servings)

calories 126 kcal | fat 9.6 g | saturated fat 1.4 g | sodium 324.8 mg | carbs 8.8 g | fiber 2.8 g | sugars 4 g | protein 3.6 g | calcium 68.6 mg | iron 1.8 mg

CREDIT: Reprinted with permission from The Perfect Blend, copyright 2016 Tess Masters. Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.
Photography Copyright 2016 by Anson Smart

The Ugly Gentleman aka “Steve”

2oz Rittenhouse Rye
.5oz Amaro Abano
3 Tblsp Turbonado
2 DAB (Dash Angostura Bitters)
2 drops sesame oil

Instructions: Burn maple wood with propane torch and cover with rocks glass so the smoke is trapped. Stir all ingredients into mixing glass. Keep rocks glass upside down while hand-cut ice is placed in the glass. Keep bottom covered while turning it over and pour cocktail into the glass. Smoke should rise out. No garnish. Drink.

Little Drummer Boy

Bartender: Dan Tapia
Courtesy of DineLBC

1.5 oz Pecan Infused Rye Whiskey (instructions below)
4-6 oz California Clementine-infusion, piping hot (instructions below)
1 Tb Cinnamon/Nutmeg Compound Butter (instructions below)Little Drummer Boy Cocktail by Dan Tapia
salt to taste

Pour whiskey into mug. Ladle clementine infusion on top. While mug is still steaming hot from infusion, add one tablespoon of compound butter to the top. Toddy should be hot enough to melt the butter to form a delicious layer on top, and the spices will diffuse into toddy as well as remain on the butter layer. Throw a pinch of salt on top of you like the butter to come out a little more, don’t if you like the spices to dominate.

Pecan Infused Rye Whiskey
For rapid infusion, take a 1L cream whipper and add 750 ml of rye. Fill to top with pecans, allowing enough space in the whipper for the gas cartridge, about a cup’s worth. Charge whipper and give a little shake. With whipper standing upright, release the gas as rapidly as possible (the rapid change in pressure is what creates most of the infused flavor). Whiskey may also shoot out, so put a jar or bottle over the business end of the whipper.

Clementine Infusion
Cut 8 clementines in half, and squeeze juice into 1.5 L of water. Add the rinds into the water as well and bring to a boil. This is probably the hardest to do behind a bar, but I imagine a clementine squeezed into a French press with some hot tea water should do the trick nicely.

Compound Butter
Here’s where the magic happens! Soften 500 g  sweet cream butter to where it can easily be whipped in a mixer. Add 300 g light brown sugar (dark brown works well too, it’s all about taste. If you like it a little more on the molasses side, use dark. Have fun, this is boozeplay), 20 g ground cinnamon, and 10 g ground nutmeg. This can be easily scaled, and kept in a deli container for quite some time.

 

Jack-O-Lantern Cocktail at Pechanga

Jack O Lantern Cocktail from Pechanga Casino and Resort6 oz Orange Juice
3/4 oz Triple Sec
1.25 oz Blavod Black Vodka

Combine orange juice and triple sec over ice in a cocktail shaker.

Shake and pour into a Collins glass. Float Vodka on top of orange juice and garnish with an orange slice and a whole black olive.

*Black vodka is and tastes exactly the same as clear vodka. The black is created by the vodka manufacturer by adding catechu extract from the acacia tree. The extract acts as a natural food coloring.

Chef Marlene’s Chili Original Temptation Hearty Southern Style Chili Recipe

Southwest Syle Chili Recipe by Marlene Moore of Temptation Food Court at Pechanga Casino ResortIngredients:
5 pounds ground beef
4 cup diced onion
1 cup diced green bell pepper
1 cup diced red bell pepper
5 cloves garlic, minced
2 (10.75 ounce) cans tomato puree
1 (15 ounce) can kidney beans with liquid
1 (15 ounce) can pinto beans with liquid
¼ teaspoon paprika
¼ teaspoon oregano
¼ cup oil
1 arbol chili pepper (roasted & crushed)
1 California Anaheim chili pepper (roasted & crushed)

Sprinkle of: dark chili powder, cayenne powder, onion powder, ground black pepper and cumin

Salt to taste

Directions:
Place the oil in a skillet until hot, and sauté the garlic, onions, green & red bell pepper 
Place the beef in the skillet over medium heat, and cook until evenly brown
Place the tomato puree, kidney beans, and pinto beans. Season with paprika, oregano and the Roaster chili Heat & salt to taste. (If you like it spicier you can add more roasted chili heat…)
Cover and slow cook for 8 hours on Low.

Garnish: Optional 

  1. Pico De Gallo
  2. Mixed Cheese
  3. Diced Green Onions
  4. Sour Cream
  5. Fried Fresh Japanese Chili on top
  6. With a dash of Roaster Chili Heat

Black Bean Chili Con Carne, Poblano Rajas with Crispy Pork and Shishito Peppers

Pechanga Chili CookoffUmi Sushi & Oyster Bar at Pechanga Casino & Resort
Chef Damian Stanley’s Chili Recipe (makes 6 servings)

Carnitas prepared 1lb (cooked pork shoulder)
Ground beef 1lb
Onions diced ½ yellow onion
Garlic minced fresh 1 tbsp
Bay Leaves 2 ea
Cumin Ground 1 tsp
Chili powder 2 tbsp
Aji Panca Paste (optional) 1 tbsp
Tabasco Sauce (to taste)
Worchestshire Sauce (1 dash)
Stewed tomatoes (3) 14.5 ounce cans​
1 Roasted Poblano pepper cut into strips
Shishito Peppers (no stem)
Salt and pepper (to taste)
Green or Red Bell Pepper diced 1 ea
Beans (Ranch Style) Pinto (2) 15 ounce cans
Beans Black Beans (1) 15 ounce can
Chicken Base 2 tsp
Sapporo Beer (1 can)
Vegetable oil 2 tbsp
Water 1 cup

Directions:
Brown the meat in the oil. Add the onions, black pepper, and bay leaves until onions are soft. Add remaining ingredients, bring to a boil then reduce heat to a simmer, approx. 45min. Add the beans with liquid last, so that the beans do not overcook. Adjust seasoning, serve hot.

Grilled Salsa Salad

Melissa's Grilled Salsa Saladby Chef Tom Fraker
Melissa’s World Variety Produce

Sweet and savory, this delicious salad is perfect for those summer months when the grill is always fired up.

6 large Roma tomatoes, halved lengthwise and seeded

limes, halved
garlic cloves, peeled
2 large avocados, halved lengthwise and pitted
1 large mango, halved lengthwise and seeded (do not peel)
sweet onion, thickly sliced
Extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
15 dried tepin chile peppers, ground
Salt
1 head butter lettuce

Melissa's Great Pepper CookbookPreheat grill to medium heat. Brush tomato and next 5 ingredients (through onion) with oil. Place fruits and vegetables on grill rack; grill, rotating halfway through grilling to achieve even grill marks, about 3 to 5 minutes. Set limes aside.

Peel and finely dice remaining grilled fruits and vegetables. In a bowl, combine fruits and vegetables, cilantro , and chile; toss together. Squeeze in lime juice; sprinkle with salt to taste. Serve with butter lettuce leaves.

Recipe from The Great Pepper Cookbook

Custardy Apple Squares

I think of this as a “back-pocket recipe,” one I can pull out when I need something quick and wonderful, something I can make on the spur of the moment without trekking to the market. The cake is primarily apples (or pears or mangoes) and the batter, which resembles one you’d use for crepes, has more flavor than you’d imagine the short list of ingredients could deliver and it turns thick and custard-like in the oven. Through some magic of chemistry, the apples, which go into the pan in a mishmash, seem to line themselves up and they come out baked through but retaining just enough structure to give you something to bite into. That it can be served minutes out of the oven makes this the perfect last-minute sweet.

I’ve made this with several kinds of apples and the cake has always been good. In general, I go for juicy apples that are not too soft (Gala and Fujis work well), and if I’ve got a few different kinds on hand, I use them all. I slice the apples on a mandoline or Benriner, tools that make fast work of the job, give you thin slices and allow you to use almost all of the fruit. When you’re finished slicing an apple on one of these, all you’ve got left is a neat rectangle of core.

3 medium juicy,sweet apples, such as Gala orFuji,peeled
1⁄2 cup (68grams)all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1⁄3 cup (67grams) sugar
Pinch of fine sea salt
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
6 tablespoons whole milk at room temperature
2 tablespoons(1ounce; 28 grams) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting (optional)

Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Butter an 8-inch square baking pan.

Slice the apples from top to bottom using a mandoline, Benriner or a sharp knife, turning the fruit as you reach the core. The slices should be about 1/16th inch thick—elegantly thin, but not so thin that they’re transparent and fragile. Discard the cores.

Whisk the flour and baking powder together in a small bowl.

Working in a large bowl with a whisk, beat the eggs, sugar and salt together for about 2 minutes, until the sugar just about dissolves and, more important, the eggs are pale. Whisk in the vanilla, followed by the milk and melted butter. Turn the flour into the bowl and stir with the whisk until the batter is smooth. Add the apples to the bowl, switch to a flexible spatula gently fold the apples into the batter, turning everything around until each thin slice is coated in batter. Scrape the batter into the pan and smooth the top as evenly as you can—it will be bumpy; that’s its nature.

Bake for 40 to 50 minutes, or until golden brown, uniformly puffed — make sure the middle of the cake has risen—and a knife inserted into the center comes out clean. Transfer the cake to a rack and allow to cool for at least 15 minutes.

Using a long chefs knife, cut the cake into 8 squares in the pan (being careful not to damage the pan), or unmold the cake onto a rack, flip it onto a plate and cut into squares. Either way, give the squares a dusting of confectioners’ sugar before serving, if you’d like.

Bonne Idées

You can add a couple of tablespoons of dark rum, Calvados, applejack or Armagnac or a drop (really just a drop) of pure almond extract to the batter. If you have an orange or a lemon handy, you can grate the zest over the sugar and rub the ingredients together until they’re fragrant. You can also change the fruit. Pears are perfect and a combination of apples and pears even better. Or make the cake with 2 firm mangoes—the texture will be different, but still good—or very thinly sliced quinces. Finally, if you want to make this look  a little dressier, you can warm some apple jelly in a microwave and spread a thin layer of it over the top with a pastry brush.

Text: Excerpted from BAKING CHEZ MOI, (c) 2014 by Dorie Greenspan. Reproduced by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved.

Photos: (c) Alan Richardson

Three-Pepper Sausage Cornbread Dressing

Thanksgiving How to Cook it Well by Sam Sifton from Randon Houseby Sam Sifton

Here is a recipe I adapted from the cooking of Kurt Gardner, a New York theater man of great culinary passions who has been contributing the dish to our home for years, usually in proportions large enough to feed boroughs. Rare is the month where there is not a frozen bag of this stuff in our freezer, ready to be deployed.

2 tablespoons extra- virgin olive oil
11⁄2 pounds andouille sausage, or fresh chorizo or hot Italian sausage
1 medium yellow onion, peeled and diced
2 stalks celery, cleaned and diced
2 red or orange bell peppers, cored, seeded, and diced
2 poblano or Anaheim peppers, seeded and diced
2 serrano or jalapeño peppers, seeded and diced
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, cleaned and roughly chopped
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 cups chicken stock (if using store- bought, use low sodium variety)
1 pan cornbread, cut into cubes (recipe follows)

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

2. Heat olive oil in large fl at- bottomed sauté pan over medium- high heat. Add sausage and sauté until browned, approximately 10 minutes. Remove to a large bowl and set aside.

3. Add onion to the pan and reduce heat to medium, then sauté until onion begins to turn clear and soften, approximately 5 minutes. Add celery and peppers and continue cooking until peppers begin to soften, approximately 10 minutes.

4. Pour vegetable mixture into bowl with sausage, add chopped cilantro, salt and pepper to taste, and toss to mix.

5. Return pan to heat and deglaze with a splash of chicken stock, then scrape contents into bowl with sausage and vegetable mixture.

6. Pour mixture into a large roasting pan and add cubed cornbread, mixing by hand. Add chicken stock to moisten, cover with aluminum foil, and place in oven for 30 to 35 minutes, or until it is soft and the flavors well incorporated. If you desire a crunchy top, remove foil for fi nal 10 minutes of cooking.

(Dressing can be made ahead of time and reheated when needed. If dry upon reheating, add additional chicken stock.)

Excerpted from Thanksgiving: How to Cook it Well by Sam Sifton. Copyright ©2012 by Sam Sifton. Excerpted by permission of Random House, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.