Saturday, January 29, 2011

Need a Chocolate fix…

One of my favorite desserts is Pots de Creme (pronounced Po de Cremé). It's quick and delicious, and a great way to wow guests without a lot of fuss. 

This recipe makes 4 servings and you will need:
2/3 cup Whole Milk
1 Egg
2 Tbsp Sugar
A pinch of Salt
1 cup Semisweet Chocolate Chips
2 Tbsp of Chambord, Frangelico, or your favorite liqueur 
(this is optional and I've made it without many times)
1 cup Whipping Cream
2 Tbsp Sugar

Bring the milk to a boil in a small sauce pan over medium heat. Once I put the milk on I add the egg, sugar, salt, chocolate and liqueur to a blender and mix on low until combined, but don't worry about the chocolate chunks since they will be melted by the milk. Pour the boiling milk in a slow stream into the blender and blend until smooth or about 1 minute. Pour the "soup" into whatever you are going to serve it in (i.e demitasse cups, small tea cups or custard bowls, etc) and put them in the refrigerator covered for about 2 hours or until you are ready to serve them. 

Using a high speed, beat the cream until soft peaks start to form then add the sugar a little at a time. Put a dollop or so on each serving just before you serve it. I also use fresh fruit, especially raspberries if I use the Chambord. 

Oh happy day!!

I was thrilled this morning to find that my new sewing machine had arrived! Making the (current) grand total of 4 machines that I will now use on a regular basis. I don't name my machines as some do, but I am happy to say that I purchased the Janome CoverPro 1000. It looks a lot like my serger, but only does cover stitches which I am thrilled with as I am starting to work with a lot more knits and my other machines just don't do quite the job that I would have liked.
I felt a little like a traitor when I ordered it at first as it is the first one that I have purchased that is not a Baby Lock and did not come from Sew Many Stitches. I learned to sew on my mother's machine when I was about ten and several years later was given one by a friend. my gifted machine lasted several years and then was sadly laid to rest… so I bought another one, a Baby Lock Pro Line 6300. A couple of years later I purchased my Baby Lock Eclipse serger, and upon my High School graduation my pride and joy, a combination sewing and embroidery machine, also by Baby Lock, the Eclipse. Now, as my sister is (I hope) reading this I should mention that she and I bought the first sewing machine and the serger jointly. Upon her moving however we swapped our portions of the machine and she was in possession of the sewing machine and I the serger but to make a long story short, and probably partly due to the fact that I do most of her sewing for her, I have her machine again and my arsenal is fully equipped to tackle more than I have time for.
Enough about the machines already though. This past monday I received a thrilling phone call. A lady in town had her own sewing shop and needed to get rid of a lot of extra material and the Lord led our paths together through a mutual friend. I have been going through the fabric, mostly upholstery, and finding many treasures. My mind has been working about a million miles a minute as I go through everything and literally see finished products from the raw material that I have in my hands.
This journey is proving to be both exciting, and a bit scary as I am working towards business deadlines and trying to finish projects that have been accumulating, some of them for a few years some only since Christmas. But I am going to my sisters this weekend so I had better finish a few of them or my nieces and nephews might take me off of Favorite Auntie status.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Chocolate Swirl Cheesecake

This is one of my favorite Cheesecakes! I drain and puree low-fat cottage cheese to substitute for half of the cream cheese and that is how I have written the recipe. You can use all cream cheese if you want to, but make sure you bake it at 325˚F and only for 1 hour if you do as the substitutes take longer for some reason. 

The last time I made this was for my niece's birthday party and I used chocolate graham crackers and layered the batter so that it looked like a great big Oreo or ice cream sandwich. I then topped it with fruit and whipped cream. It was really yummy!

When I am in a pinch for time getting it into the oven I set the cream cheese packages on the stove as it is warming up while I make the crust. I also strain my cottage cheese in 1/2 - 1 c. portions using a large sieve or strainer (with VERY small holes) placed over a bowl and mix it with a slotted spoon so that the excess liquid goes through, then I puree the cheese. The drained liquid is very good in smoothies or as the base for a healthier ranch dressing.

I hope you enjoy this as much as my family does!
~ Claire ~

Chocolate Swirl Cheesecake
Preheat oven to 350˚F

8 graham crackers (chocolate, cinnamon or regular) – crushed
1/3 c. melted butter

Mix together and press into the bottom of a 9” spring-form pan.

Place spring-form pan onto a double-layer of heavy-duty aluminum foil. (You will need approximately 16 in squares.) Securely wrap foil up sides of pan.
Place spring-form pan in a large baking pan.

2 8-oz packages cream cheese (softened)
2 c. pureed cottage cheese (remove any excess liquid before pureeing).
1 ½ c. sugar
¼ Tsp. ground cinnamon
¼ c. all-purpose flour
4 eggs, lightly beaten
2 Tsp. vanilla extract
2 c. semisweet chocolate chips – melted according to package instructions
2 c. white chocolate chips – melted according to package instructions

Beat cream cheese, cottage cheese, sugar, cinnamon and flour until smooth. Add eggs; beat on low until just combined. Stir in vanilla. Divide batter in half.
Melt the chocolates right before you are ready to add them to the batter and add it slowly so that you can mix it well.
Stir one of the melted chocolates into first portion and pour over crust.
Stir the other melted chocolate into remaining batter and drop by spoonfuls over first chocolate layer. 
Marble chocolate by swirling a knife or toothpick through the different colors until desired effect is achieved. 
Add about 1 in of water to the baking pan.
Bake for 75-85 min or until center is just set and top appears dull.
Remove spring form pan from water bath and cool on a wire rack for 10 min.
Carefully run knife along sides of pan to loosen edges but don’t remove sides until completely cool.
Cool one hour then refrigerate overnight.

I like to top this one with freshly whipped cream and fresh fruit.

Yield: 16 servings

Refrigerate or freeze any leftovers.

Hello, Hello, Hello!

I have finally done it. I have started a blog. There are a lot of kinks to be worked out and by the end of March you might not even recognize it as the same page. On here I will be sharing my adventures as I embark on the exciting journey of starting a small sewing business, bake my say through healthier recipes, and seek to glorify my Maker. 

I welcome your feedback! This is all very new to me, (the blog thing that is) so any tips or tricks that you can share will be greatly appreciated.

        ~ Claire ~