Monday, July 27, 2009

Apple Cheesecake Burritos

I know what you're thinking: cheesecake burritos? Gross/weird/why/etc. I thought the same thing when Tim proudly announced that this was the dessert that he wanted for his birthday this year. He had never tried them, but after reading through the ingredients, thought they sounded tasty, and oh boy was he right. It is well documented that Tim's all-time favorite dessert is Apple Pie. He does, however have an adventurous spirit, and loves to experiment with things, so he tends to enjoy several variations on the standard, all-American version. He is not loyal to apple pie in it's original form, only to the apples, butter, sugar, and cinnamon. There are so many places you can go with this, and that is why every year for his birthday, and on a lot of other occasions, he gets a dessert of his choice, and he always picks some form of apple pie. I do not remember him ever requesting a standard apple pie; always something a little quirky, and a little surprising. A pie just like him. This recipe, like several others on this blog, comes from Apple Pie Perfect, and it is in the Pie On The Fringes Category.

Here is what you will need for this culinary adventure:

3 Oz Cold Cream Cheese
1 Tblsp Granulated Sugar
1 tsp Lemon Juice
2 Whole Graham Crackers
2 Tblsp Firmly Packed Brown Sugar
1/4 tsp Cinnamon (omit if using cinnamon grahams)
1 Tblsp Unsalted Butter
1 Golden Delicious or Other Firm Baking Apple, peeled, cored, and cut into 1/2-inch chunks
Two 8- or 9-inch flour tortillas

1 Tblsp Unsalted Butter, Softened
Granulated Sugar

Put the cream cheese on a small plate and mash with a fork. Add the granulated sugar and lemon juice and mix well. Refrigerate.

Break up the graham crackers into crumbs. You can use a rolling pin or a food processor. I just used my hands and it worked just fine. I like to have some texture in my food.

Put the crumbs in a medium bowl and add brown sugar and cinnamon. mix well and set aside.

Melt butter in a medium sized skillet. Add the apples and cook, stirring constantly, over medium heat until heated through and crunchy (not smooshy). This should take about two minutes.

Add the apples, getting all of the butter from the pan, into the bowl with the graham cracker crumbs. Mix well and set aside.

Preheat the broiler.

Warm one of the tortillas in the skillet for a couple of minutes. Just until it is flexible. Remove the tortilla from the pan and lay it flat. Spread half of the cream cheese mixture in the center, leaving room around the edges so that it does not ooze out when you roll it up. Spoon half of the apple mixture on top of the cream cheese.

Roll it up like a burrito and repeat with the second tortilla and the remaining fillings.

Place the burritos in a shallow, buttered baking dish with the seam side down. Smear softened butter and sugar on the top. I actually omitted the granulated sugar topping and used some extras from the graham cracker/cinnamon/brown sugar mixture as the topping. This was really good.

I love brown sugar.

Broil burritos (about 2-inches from broiler) for 2 minutes until the tops are golden brown. Watch them to make sure that they don't burn.

Cut in half diagonally before serving.

You may notice that there is a high tortilla-to-filling ratio. I was nervous about this when I first cut them open. I ended up being grateful for the extra tortilla though, because without it these may have entered into the "too sweet" category. Extra tortilla made it perfect.

The book did not specify whether to eat them warm or cold. We ate them cold, thinking that since it was cheesecake-like it may be gross warm. I think we made the right choice.

This makes 2-4 servings depending on whether you want to eat a whole burrito or half of a burrito. We split each burrito in half, and that ended up being good because they are very sweet, and half was just the right amount. It also made them last a whole extra day! I won't judge you if you eat a whole one though. Promise.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Greek Tomato Salad

This salad was so refreshing after a week long vacation. In the past week I feel like I have eaten mass amounts of grease at every meal, and my diet was lacking good fresh food. Don't get me wrong. I enjoyed every bit of grease that I consumed, but after a while I start to crave something healthy. While making this salad I was reminded of my Grandma. She was an amazing cook, who even wrote two cookbooks, but she used to make a great salad that was a staple at every meal that she hosted. The ingredients were different from this, but it was simple and versatile just like this one. This salad could accompany any number of entrees because of it's simplicity. It's bright colors also add a beautiful element to any meal! You know I am a sucker for pretty food :-) I upped the amount of garlic from one clove to three. I thought it was perfect, but this would definitely be too much for someone who does not LOVE garlic. I did not use the green pepper, only because our market did not have any good ones this week. It was good without it, but in the future, when possible, I will add it to have some extra crunch in there. I also only peeled half of the tomatoes because frankly, peeling tomatoes is slimy, messy, and just not very fun. I had a band-aid on my finger after the first tomato. It didn't seem to make a difference one way or the other, so I think in the future I will leave the skin on. It has a lot of the nutrients in it after all!

*Recipe from Simply In Season

Combine in a large bowl:
8 medium Tomatoes (peeled and sliced)
1 medium Onion (thinly sliced)
1 Green Pepper (chopped; optional)
1 Cucumber (chopped; optional)

Mix in a small bow:
2 Tbsp fresh Basil, Mint, or Parsley (chopped)
1 Tblsp Olive Oil
1 Tblsp Wine Vinegar or Balsamic Vinegar
1 Clove Garlic (minced, optional) In my opinion this should definitely not be optional...just my opinion...

Pour over the vegetables and toss lightly. Salt and Pepper to taste. Garnish with fresh cheese such as: shredded mozzarella or crumbled feta.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Peanut Butter and Jelly Cupcakes

Okay, okay, I know I have now posted multiple PBJ flavored desserts on here, but they really never get old. As I have said before, I LOVE peanut butter. It is probably my favorite food. I eat it at least once a day. This is just one more form in which for me to get my daily serving :-) These cupcakes got rave reviews from everyone who tried them, and they were easy to make, so next time you need a creative dessert that will really impress, I suggest you go with this one. It is different, and people are usually surprised (pleasantly) when you tell them what the flavor is.

Recipe Originally from Martha Stewart Cupcakes

Peanut Butter Cupcakes:

1 3/4 C All Purpose Flour
3/4 tsp Baking Powder
1/2 tsp Salt
1/4 tsp Baking Soda
1.5 Sticks Unsalted Butter, softened
1 1/3 C Sugar
2/3 C Creamy Peanut Butter (can use natural if desired)
3 Lrg Eggs at room temp.
1/2 C Sour Cream
1/2 tsp Vanilla

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees and line muffin tin with paper liners.
Whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.

Cream butter and sugar until fluffy. Reduce mixer speed to low and add peanut butter. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Mix in vanilla. Gradually add flour mixture.
Mix in sour cream.

Pour batter into lined baking tins and bake about 22 minutes, until clean knife, or other testing device, comes out clean.

Peanut Butter Frosting
(Don't be scared to make your own frosting. It is quick and easy, and way better than the stuff you buy at the store that has a shelf life of 55 years)

6 Oz Cream Cheese, at room temp.
1/3 C Confectioner's Sugar
1/2 t Salt
1 C Creamy Peanut Butter (do NOT use natural peanut butter for the frosting, it will not taste the same, and the consistency will be all wrong)
1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract
1/2 C Heavy Cream
1/2 C Jam or Jelly

Beat cream cheese and confectioner's sugar on medium speed until fluffy. Add salt and peanut butter, and combine. Beat in vanilla.

In a clean, and seperate bowl, whip heavy cream, using wire whisk attatchment, until medium-stiff peaks form. Fold into peanut butter mixure.

Spread frosting on cooled cupcakes, and top with a teaspoon-full of Jelly. I used Strawberry, you can use wantever flavor you like best.