RASPBERRY WHITE CHOCOLATE CHEESECAKE.
For this Raspberry White Chocolate Cheesecake, a facsimile version of one served at the Cheesecake Factory (various locations throughout Southern California), pieces of white chocolate are layered on the crust, then topped with a luxuriously rich and creamy cheesecake mixture swirled with seedless raspberry jam. Once baked, cooled and chilled, the cake receives a whipped cream border to grace its edges, along with fresh raspberries.
11 (8 1/2-ounce) package chocolate wafer cookies
3 tablespoons butter, melted
1/2 pound white chocolate ribbons OR pieces, broken into 1-inch pieces
3 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla
2 cups whipping cream, cold
1/2 to 3/4 cup seedless raspberry jam, stirred OR heated slightly and stirred
Fresh raspberries for garnish
Hot fudge sauce, heated (optional)
In a food processor fitted with a metal blade, process cookies until in fine crumbs. Add melted butter and process until thoroughly mixed. Press into bottom and part way up sides of 9- to 9 1/2-inch springform pan. Arrange white chocolate pieces in single layer over bottom of crust and refrigerate while preparing filling.
In bowl of an electric mixer, beat cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add vanilla and 1 1/2 cups whipping cream and beat at medium speed 10 minutes, until mixture thickens. Spoon 2/3 of mixture over crust that has been layered with white chocolate. Drop teaspoonfuls of jam over surface of cheese mixture. Carefully top with remaining cream cheese mixture. Swirl or run a knife gently across and through jam and cream cheese for a marbling effect.
Bake in preheated 325-degree oven 1 1/2 hours or until edges seem set but middle of cake still jiggles. Cool completely at room temperature before refrigerating or freezing.
When ready to serve, whip remaining 1/2 cup whipping cream and use to pipe border around edges of cake. Garnish with fresh raspberries. Serve slices drizzled with hot fudge sauce, if desired. Makes 1 cheesecake, 12 or more servings.
SPINACH SALAD WITH BLUE CHEESE, MUSHROOMS, BACON AND WALNUTS
This salad is a favorite entree on the lunch menu at Paul's Cafe in Tarzana. Although it requires a little time and effort, it's not difficult to make our copycat version. Once you've prepared a simple Balsamic Vinaigrette, make a batch of Candied Walnuts (quicker than you can imagine). Then cook and crumble some applewood bacon, and grill and cut up a couple of large portobello mushrooms (a grill pan on top of the stove works well) and simply toss everything together with baby spinach and crumbled blue cheese. To speed preparation time and for convenience, use prewashed spinach. Although the restaurant serves its version topped with a mound of very thin crispy fried potatoes, we opted to skip this step.
12 cups packed, cleaned baby spinach leaves
1 cup crumbled blue cheese
2 large portobello mushrooms (a 6-ounce package), grilled OR broiled, then cut into long thin strips and cooled
8 strips applewood smoked bacon, cooked until crisp, drained, cooled and crumbled into pieces
1/2 cup Candied Walnuts
Thin crispy fried potatoes for top (shoestring potatoes could be substituted) (optional)
In a large bowl, toss together spinach, blue cheese, mushrooms and bacon pieces. Add as much Balsamic Vinaigrette as desired and toss until well mixed.
Divide salad evenly among 3 to 4 dinner-size plates. Sprinkle with Candied Walnuts and top with crispy potatoes, if desired. Makes 3 to 4 main-dish servings.
Balsamic vinaigrette: In a small bowl, whisk together 2/3 cup olive oil, 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar, 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar and 1 1/4 teaspoons Dijon mustard until well mixed. Add seasoned salt and black pepper to taste. Makes about 1 cup dressing.
Candied walnuts: In a medium skillet, heat 2 tablespoons sugar with 2 tablespoons water until sugar dissolves and mixture is clear; cook 30 seconds. Stir in 1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts and cook, stirring, a minute or so to coat walnuts. Turn out onto waxed paper. Cool; separate into pieces. Makes 1/2 cup.
SPINACH ARTICHOKE DIP
With a little assistance from the microwave, this dip, a restaurant replica version of one served at Maggiano's Little Italy, Woodland Hills (and other locations), goes together fast, with a homemade Alfredo-style sauce as the base. For convenience, we've used frozen chopped spinach cooked in the microwave and well drained. Asiago and Parmesan cheeses add flavor punch along with sun-dried tomato strips. The works is oven-baked just prior to serving. If you have any leftover, keep refrigerated. The dip reheats well in the microwave oven on 50 percent power. Serve with tortilla chips or crostini as the restaurant does.
1 1/2 cups whipping cream
1 tablespoon flour
1/4 teaspoon garlic pepper
4 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese OR Parmesan-Romano cheese
1 (16-ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, cooked in microwave and drained well
1 cup shredded Asiago cheese
1 (14-ounce) can artichoke hearts, chopped (be sure they are drained, then rinsed and well drained before chopping)
1/4 cup slivered rehydrated sun-dried tomato pieces
In a glass bowl or large glass measuring cup, whisk together cream, flour, garlic pepper and 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese until well blended. Heat in microwave oven 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 minutes, stirring twice, until very hot and thickened slightly. Stir in spinach, Asiago cheese, artichoke hearts and sun-dried tomatoes until well mixed.
Turn into a 9-inch pie, quiche or attractive serving dish, spreading evenly. Sprinkle top evenly with remaining 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese. Bake, uncovered, in preheated 350-degree oven 15 to 18 minutes or until hot and bubbly. Serve with thinly sliced crisp crostini or tortilla chips. Makes 6 or more servings.
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|Publication:||Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)|
|Date:||Mar 28, 2002|
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