Beach Day at Gloucester

Posted by on Aug 15, 2014 in Food Review, Massachusetts Eats | 0 comments

Hello hungry readers! If you guys are like me, you love the beach, so when my Aunt invited me to join them for a beach day in Gloucester, I was ecstatic to be able to finally pull out my sunglasses and bikini and head on up. After dreaming of the beach all throughout my long MCAT study days during the early part of this summer, I was mega pumped. I decided to bake a simple cheesecake to bring along as a surprise (recipe to come! ;)) And boy, was it the right decision. Who knew cheesecake and the beach go along so well with each other? We all loved it, and it kept well in the cooler. Topped with the strawberries my Aunt had brought along, it was a summer match made in heaven. After attempting and failing to body board in the freezing sea water, I spent the rest of my time leisurely flipping through The New Yorker and eating snacks while drying out. (In hindsight, I should’ve re-applied sunscreen here, as I got the worst burn EVER! Darn it. Sunscreen is important people! Nerd Jasmine would like to emphasize this. Nobody wants skin cancer. ) For lunch, we headed to this awesome place that served only fried seafood. Can’t go wrong with fried food! Here we have fried: clam, shrimp, clam strips, and scallops. Along with onion rings and french fries, it was a glorious fisherman’s plate. The scallops were my absolute favorite- sweet, juicy and tender on the inside, yet remarkably crisp on the outside. Can anyone say “healthy” though or what? Heehee. It was a long long day, but full of fun and good times. It felt wonderful to take a day away from the city and have some good ol’ R&R. Hope you guys enjoyed this short little post, and hopefully there will be more beach-y experiences for me to share soon hohoho!   – Jas :...

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Blueberry Rare Cheesecake

Posted by on Feb 12, 2013 in Recipe | 0 comments

           Sometimes, I just get this intense desire and craving for cheesecake. You know- when you dream of stuffing a whole glob full of cheesecake into your mouth and get that sighing of pleasure when you feel the heavy, creamy, artery clogging deliciousness traveling down your stomach? Oh wait. That doesn’t sound so pleasant.          Well, that is why for those people out there who actually care about such things (I for one ignore the thought of calories when the food consumed is designated for the “dessert” stomach), I shall share this super simple recipe for making Rare Cheesecake! That’s right, you can be lazy and not even pop it in the oven if you want to be even healthier and have it without crust. The cheesecake comes out light and fluffy, not too sweet but still completely satisfying. Plus, you can use it as a base for literally any flavor. Here’s my blueberry version- full of healthy antioxidants!  Ingredients less than 1 pack graham crackers (eyeball this according to how thick you want your crust) less than 2 sticks butter (also eyeball) fruit of choice (blueberries, 100 g) 125 g cream cheese 100 g fresh cream (heavy whipping cream) 3 tbsp fresh milk 30 g sugar 1/4 tbsp lemon juice (I tend to add much, much more- aka almost a whole lemon) 2 1/2 tsp gelatin (a pack of the store bought gelatin works) 1/4 cup hot water whipped cream or fruit to decorate Now here’s when you all read and be amazed. Literally four easy steps :) 1) Crush graham crackers into a semi-fine texture. It helps to put around 1 pack of crackers into a big ziploc bag and sealing it, then to use a rolling pin to smush them to oblivion. Mix in the softened butter until incorporated. Then pat the buttery crust into a cake pan- it makes things easier later to line the bottom and edges with parchment paper! Now pop into 350 F oven for around 20 min or eyeball it- when it looks baked and golden brown on top. 2) Mix all ingredients EXCEPT gelatin, hot water, whipped cream and fruit.  3) Now mix gelatin with hot water and immediately pour into batter. Make sure it is incorporated. 4) Pour batter onto cooled crust. Now you can decorate the top with fruit or whipped cream if you so desire. Here I simply put blueberries in a blender, spooned it on top, and added some whole ones for decoration. Then just put your creation into the fridge until the gelatin has set (a few hours) and eat and enjoy!   Hope you guys enjoy this simple recipe, try it out and have a nice relaxing afternoon tea! – Jas Photographs taken by Jasmine...

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New York Cheesecake

Posted by on Apr 27, 2012 in Recipe | 0 comments

I’ve found that I make cheesecakes, always due to family demand, far too often — usually when guests are expected for a visit, or for big family dinners…and the rare occasion where I make it simply because someone wished it for their birthday. While my dad won’t ever admit it, I like to think that I make the best cheesecakes in the house. I won’t flatter myself in thinking that I can best my uncle Jerome…yet! If you’re ever in the city, drop by his place. Don’t worry, I won’t tell him you’re spying for me.  Anyway, back on topic. It’s not that I’m complaining. Far from it, I love to show off share my sweet delicacies. But after making so many cheesecakes, you start looking for variety. Something that will really wow others when they eat it.  When serving guests, especially those who aren’t from New York (or the States even), there’s nothing like simple New York cheesecake. As a New Yorker, it’s not hard to imagine the picture people have painted of us. Fast-paced, loud, obnoxious, and pushy, we want things how we want it, when we want it (usually now). We have a tendency to take things to another level when it comes to wanting our things to be the biggest, boldest, tallest, shiniest, and most intense in the nation. While this may not hold true for everyone in New York — how often have you traveled elsewhere and received a comment of how surprised they are that you’re from New York since all New Yorkers are rude? — I’d say that at least some of it applies to the majority here. It definitely applies to our cheesecake. Rich, decadent, and usually heaped with a gooey mess of fruit on top, New York cheesecakes are taller than most. Not only that, but it’s firmer and richer. Why? Unlike most cheesecakes, no sour cream is added to lighten the intensity here. Instead, we get a pinch of zesty citrus…simply because it makes it taste better. So now all we have to do is build our little skyscraper of cheesecake heaven. New York Cheesecake Ingredients: Crumb crust 2-3 packets graham crackers, finely ground 1 stick unsalted butter, melted 1/4 cup sugar Filling 5 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese 1 1/4 cups sugar 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest 1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest 5 large eggs 2 large egg yolks 1/2 teaspoon vanilla I use my measuring cup to held me push the crust up the sides. Pop it in the freezer to let it set while you prepare the filling. Preheat oven to 550 °F. [Note: Always check the temperature limit of your chosen baking pan first! If the temperature limit of your baking pan is 475 °F then start there.]  Be sure to scrape the sides of the bowl! Otherwise you may end up with unmixed stripes of cream cheese in your batter later on. Pour filling into crust, your springform pan should be completely full. Since this is a very tall cheesecake, you may want to move the layers in your oven down to prevent the cake from getting stuck on the top when it puffs up. Placing it in the middle of a shallow baking pan will prevent any drips (just in case).  Bake for 12 minutes, or until puffed. [Note: Be sure to watch your cake! Some ovens may brown more quickly than others, it it happens too quickly, turn the oven down immediately.] Reduce the temperature to 200 °F and continue baking for about one hour until the cake is mostly firm. The center...

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Mixed Berry Cheesecake

Posted by on Oct 19, 2011 in Recipe | 2 comments

Mmm, cheesecake. This is probably the one dessert that everyone in my family loves equally, and I haven’t met anyone who could refuse a slice yet. It’s so good, that my sister even demanded I bring a whole cheesecake to her dorm when we went up to celebrate her birthday.  Yes, that is just how good cheesecakes are. Half of it disappeared relatively quickly as it was split among her floor’s dorm mates. Rich and creamy, cheesecakes are a delicacy that I wouldn’t suggest for everyday snacking (Resist the temptation! Resist, I say!) but it’s great for occasions such as parties. Contrary to popular belief, cheesecakes really aren’t that hard to make. If anything, it’s more of a waiting game. A really long waiting game. A game that tests your patience. To the limit. So yea, don’t be intimidated, be patient, and you’ll be baking up delicious cheesecakes to wow your friends and family in no time! Hopefully. The following recipe’s from Ina Garten’s Mixed Berry Cheesecake with a few (very) minor changes.  Mixed Berry Cheesecake Ingredients For the crust: 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs (10 crackers) 1 tbsp sugar 1 unsalted butter, melted For the filling: 2 1/2 lbs cream cheese, at room temperature 1 cup sugar 5 whole extra-large eggs, at room temperature 2 extra-large egg yolks, at room temperature 1/4 cup sour cream lemon zest of 2 lemons 2 tsp pure vanilla extract Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. To make the crust, combine the graham crackers, sugar, and melted butter until moistened. Pour into a 9-inch springform pan. With your hands, press the crumbs into the bottom of the pan and about 1-inch up the sides. Bake for 8 minutes. Cool to room temperature. Raise the oven temperature to 450 degrees F. To make the filling, cream the cream cheese and sugar in a bowl until light and fluffy. Add the eggs and egg yolks, mixing well. Add the sour cream, lemon zest, and vanilla. Mix thoroughly and pour into the cooled crust. Bake for 15 minutes. Turn the oven temperature down to 225 degrees and bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes. Turn the oven off and leave the oven door open. The cake will not be completely set in the center. Allow the cake to sit in the oven with the door open for 30 minutes. Take the cake out of the oven and allow it to sit at room temperature for another 2 to 3 hours, until completely cooled. Wrap and refrigerate overnight. Garnish with your favorite toppings. For my cheesecake, I drizzled some homemade blueberry jam on top, added a spring of mint, and plopped some vanilla ice cream on the side. Good luck and enjoy~! ~ AJ ~ Photographs taken and provided by AnnMarie...

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Pumpkin Cheesecake and Tiramisu

Posted by on Dec 7, 2010 in Recipe | 4 comments

While the entrée may be dubbed the star of the meal, we all know in our heart of hearts that dessert is what we’re secretly waiting for. Not only is a sweet treat looked forward to by many, but it also makes a nice excuse to gather round with a cup of hot coffee/tea in hand to help settle the meal with some pleasant chatter. Also, let’s keep in mind that dessert is the last impression guests leave with! So let’s make it special. Here are two simple recipes that are quick enough to make that you should be able to easily squeeze it in your busy schedule and whip it up without a problem. Pumpkin Cheesecake Ingredients: For the crust – 1 3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs 3 tbsp brown sugar 1 tsp ground cinnamon 1 stick melted butter For the filling – 3 (8 0z) packages cream cheese 1 (15 oz) can pureed pumpkin 3 eggs plus 1 egg yolk 1/4 cup sour cream 1 1/2 cup sugar 1 tsp ground cinnamon 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg 2 tbsp all purpose flour 1 tsp vanilla extract Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. For the crust: Combine the crumbs, sugar, and cinnamon in a bowl. Add the melted butter and mix evenly so that all of the crumbs are moist and coated. Press down firmly into a 9-inch springform pan. I use the bottom of a measuring cup and spread out so that the crust climbs up the sides of the pan as well. For the filling: Beat the cream cheese until it’s smooth. Add the pumpkin puree, eggs and egg yolk, sour cream, sugar and spices. Mix well, then add the flour and vanilla. Make sure everything is incorporated evenly before pouring the batter into the crust. Spread out evenly and bake for 1 hour. Let cool for a few minutes before sliding a knife around the edge of the crust to separate it from the pan. This keeps the pie from staying nicely shaped while cooling, otherwise it may end up breaking as it cools. Cover in plastic wrap and cool for at least 4 hours before serving.   Tiramisu Ingredients: 6 egg yolks 3 tbsp sugar 1 lb mascarpone cheese 1 1/2 cup strong espresso (cooled) 2 tsp dark rum 24 packaged ladyfingers unsweetened cocoa, ground cinnamon, fruit (optional) Beat the egg yolks and sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer until it’s thick and pale. Add the mascarpone cheese and mix until smooth. Add 1 tbsp of espresso and combine thoroughly. Add the remaining espresso in a separate dish with the rum. Dip each lady finger into the espresso on both sides. You’ll want to dip and turn quickly since the ladyfingers will get soggy and start falling apart. Place the soaked ladyfinger on the bottom of your preferred serving dish and start layering the bottom of the dish. Feel free to break them in half if needed. Spread an even layer of the mascarpone mixture over the lady fingers before adding yet another layer of ladyfingers on top. Repeat as many times as you’d like (or are able to). Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours (lasts up to 8 hours). Before serving, powder the top with unsweetened cocoa powder, ground cinnamon, and decorate with your preferred fruit. Enjoy~! ~ AJ ~ Photographs taken and provided by AnnMarie...

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