Once Upon A Time

Creamy Mascarpone Cheesecake

I remember when I first started trying to teach myself to cook. My mom wasn’t big on cooking; she was too busy supporting 3 kids to worry about it. She did however make really good lasagna, chili, chicken and dumplings and lemon meringue pie. But she just didn’t have the time to really get into it. So when I was about ten or so, I started playing with our food ๐Ÿ˜›

My brother or sister were usually the ones to make dinner for us when mom was at work but I liked playing around with baking. Thing is, I never used a cookbook. Strangely enough, I actually succeeded anyway quite a few times. I know now that what I was whipping up when I dumped butter (well, margarine. Mom only got butter at the holidays), sugar, vanilla and flour into a bowl and beat the living hell out of it was a basic pound cake, but back then I just thought I was a genius because I made a cake… all by myself. My brother and sister never complained. I guess even far from perfectly done cakes were ok. They were sweet after all and we were kids hehe. I also had quite a few failures with this basic dump and bake method. I recall many a cake coming out of the pan gummy, tough and undercooked in the middle. We ate those too. They were sweet and we were kids ๐Ÿ˜€

I still have problems with actually opening a cookbook and following a recipe. Anyone who reads this blog knows how often I completely destroy change a recipe I’ve gotten elsewhere. Usually it works. I get lucky. If not, hey, it’s sweet and I HAVE kids now. They don’t care. ๐Ÿ˜›

Sometimes though, I find a recipe that sounds yummy enough just the way it’s written that I don’t change much at all anything. The recipe I’m posting today is one of those rare creatures. I borrowed a Gourmet cookbook from the library recently. OMG, I love this book. I have so many paged marked (not literally) to make the recipes. When I saw this recipe for Mascarpone Cheesecake, I knew I had to make it. I had bought a tub of Mascarpone a few weeks ago when we weren’t completely broke (there is a reason you get so many inexpensive recipes lol) and was saving it for the “right recipe”. This one was it. The only things I changed was to add the zest of one orange into the filling and about half a teaspoon of orange extract. Not enough of either to actually make it taste orangey, just enough to give it that “ooo, what’s in this? I taste something but I’m not sure what it is” kind of oomph. Mainly, I wanted a reason to decorate the top of it with orange strips hehe. I also used a full 3 packages of cream cheese just cause it seemed silly to use two and a half of them ๐Ÿ˜›

So if you’re craving cheesecake, give this one a try. It’s rich and creamy without being over the top “I can’t finish a piece of this…it’s too much”. It has the most outstandingly wonderful smooth and creamy texture of any cheesecake I’ve ever tasted or made. Even my non cheesecake loving husband keeps going back and taking bites of the slice I cut for picture taking and my 15 year old says he is going to eat his piece really slowly to make it last lol. I was going to add a sauce to it, but it’s so good I didn’t. Maybe with the leftovers tomorrow.

Creamy Mascarpone Cheesecake

  • Crust-
  • 70 vanilla wafers, finely ground
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • Filling-
  • 3 8 ounce packages of cream cheese, room temp
  • 1 cup mascarpone cheese, room temp
  • 3/4 cup sugar (I used a full cup since I used extra cream cheese)
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • zest from one small orange
  • 3/4 teaspoon orange extract
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Topping-
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  1. Preheat oven to 350, making sure your oven rack is in the middle..
  2. Combine the cookie crumbs and melted butter in a medium bowl and combine until you have a nice crumbly mixture.ย  Press onto the bottom and 1 inch up the sides of a 9 inch springform pan.
  3. Bake at 350 for about ten minutes or until light brown. Transfer to a rack to cool.
  4. While it cools, make the filling. In a large bowl, combine the cream cheese, mascarpone and sugar. Beat at high speed for 5 minutes.
  5. Add in the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  6. Add the extracts, lemon juice and orange zest and beat at low speed just until combined.
  7. Pour the filling into the cooled crust.
  8. Bake until cheesecake is barely set and still jiggly in the middle, about 30 minutes mine actually took more like 40. But, it should be set on the outside, wiggly near the middle inch or so. It will finish setting up as it cools. Cool slightly in the pan for about 20 minutes.
  9. Make the topping-
  10. Stir together the topping ingredients in a small bowl.
  11. Spoon topping over the still warm cheesecake and return to the oven for about ten minutes or just until the topping looks set and not runny.
  12. Run a knife around the edges of the cheesecake to prevent cracking. Cool completely in the pan on a rack before taking the sides off of the cake. Best bet is to refrigerate it overnight.
  13. Use a knife dipped in hot water to make clean cuts. Or just grab a spoon and hide in the closet and eat this.


I Like Taters Cause Taters Can Make You Mine…

I like taters, specially when eaten with lots of wine!! Ok, so my revamping of song lyrics leaves something to be desired. Like talent. But in my defense the song “I like Dreamin'” has been floating in my head all day long. I had to use it SOMEHOW!

Yes, I know taters can’t really make you mine either. But if I make them for my husband, they make HIM mine. Again. Or still. Or something.

Making these particular potatoes can quite possibly make anyone yours. Think crispy potatoes, gooey cheese, green onions, more gooey cheese. Wouldn’t YOU be someone’s sweetheart for that? I would. So maybe I would be someone’s sweetheart for a ten pack of Twinkies, a few Kindle E-Books and two liter of Coke but then, I’m cheap that way.

I found the original recipe for these potatoes HERE . I knew that, being me, I would change the recipe somewhat but honestly I didn’t do a whole lot. I added a teaspoon of jarred diced jalapenos, some extra cheese (you know me. I ALWAYS use extra cheese) and some green onion in lieu of the regular onion.

You need to try these. Trust me. Just cause I eat Twinkies and drink wine spritzers made with flat Sprite and cheap wine doesn’t mean I don’t know good potatoes when I inhale them. Admittedly, the above sentence isn’t the best way to endorse myself but oh well… Continue reading

Snickering Over Doodles

 

Snickerdoodle Muffins. Yum!!

I think I’ve mentioned before that I was a weird kid haven’t I? Not that this comes as a surprise to any of you who read my blog.ย  I have to say though, I came by it honestly. It was all the fault of my brother and sister. They corrupted me. Yep, yep yep. All laid at their psychological doorsteps. There was the time they filled the washing machine with tons of soap and it overflowed everywhere. When confronted by our dad, they said that I did it. Hello?! I was so young I don’t really even remember this happening, it’s just one of those passed down family stories. Point being, if I was that small, how the heck did I reach the washer? But, dad bribed me to “tell the truth” with an offer of jello. I’m a sucker when it comes to jello so I fessed up. I’m pretty sure I didn’t get the jello.

That was just one of the many ways they warped my poor tender psyche. There were also words which have stuck with me to this day and still make the five year old stuck inside my feeble minded middle aged body giggle hysterically. Like the word doodle. To you and you and you it means a sort of random drawing right? I don’t want to know what it means to YOU, you sick puppy. ๐Ÿ˜›

Not to me though. Nope. Done been warped, I tell you. It’s all his fault *points to my brother and wonder if he sees this*. Doodle to me still brings up mental images of a coloring book I had as a child that, on the cover, told me, in gaily colored words, that one of the fun things to do inside was to “doodle”. And I giggled. My brother giggled. My sister giggled. I’m pretty sure the dog giggled. Because to us,ย  doodles were a certain part of the upper female anatomy. We were kids… thinking of that part made us giggle. Lots. How did the word doodle come to mean boobs… breasts… cleavage, knockers, hooters…well, you get the point. I have. No. Earthly. Idea. I need to ask my brother. He’s even older and more decrepit than I, so he may know how that word came to be the word for boobage in our admittedly strange household. Continue reading

Blackberry, You Taste So Sweet

Blackberry Lemonade Muffins

It’s become a challenge to find a video that will go with each blog post. Why do I do it you ask? Because I’m extremely strange first of all and also because once I start something. I become rather obsessive. ๐Ÿ˜€ This my friends, is why you get a really lame video with almost every post now hehe. I like to think of it as my being your doorway to new musical tastes. Or insanity. Whichever. You know you liked The Carrot Song.

I have a thing for berries also. I wait every year for them to show up fresh at stores for a decent price and not having the taste of…well… nothing at all. Out of season berries really suck donkey toes. So when I can’t get them, I use frozen. It’s not quite the same but it’s pretty darn close and it keeps me from going into “Lack of Berry Convulsions”, otherwise knows as LOBC. Don’t ask me how you pronounce that. Just roll with it cause you love me.

I like muffins. So does
this lovely lady who happens to be one of my favoriteist (yes, that too is now a word cause I said so) people.

Muffins are yummy. They can have all sorts of bad for you things in them (not that my muffin today does; just saying) and yet you can get away with eating 12 of them because they’re muffins. Not cupcakes, not cookies, but muffins. And if you add fruit in them, you then earned the right to call yourself the healthiest cook ever. Or something. Do that rolling with me thing again. Continue reading

“A Loaf Of Bread, The Walrus Said, Is What We Chiefly Need”

Lewis Carroll amazed me when I was a kid and truthfully, still does even now that I’m an adult. The reasons are a bit different though. When I was a child, I just loved reading about Alice, the little girl who had so many more adventures than I would ever have. By the same token, I was scared to death when I read it. It was one freaky world Alice visited and I was torn between wanting to go there myself and throwing the book across the room and hiding under the blankets for a week.

As an adult, I’m more fascinated by the mind that wrote Alice as well as his other works. People speculate that he was a drug addict and in the throes of addiction when he wrote Alice In Wonderland, but in reality, that’s not been proven. He took Laudanum, ostensibly for migraines, which is an opiate, but there’s no proof of addiction. Mind you, think of any time you’ve had to take a prescription pain killer and then imagine living in the 1800’s where drugs were far easier to obtain. Then imagine how you felt taking pain killers and intensify that by 50 because from all reports, Laudanum was some powerful hallucinogenic stuff. Makes the scene in Look Who’s Talking where the in utero Mikey is happily looking at his hand that is colorfully psychedelic because mom is rather wastedย  look tame :-p So if Mr. Carroll wrote any of his works while taking laudanum, it would explain the imagination. That or the guy either just had one hell of a good imagination or was seriously warped hehe. Continue reading

Carrots Are Yucky

Really. They are. Would I lie to you? I love you all to death so I would never lie about something as important as the ickiness factor surrounding those orange…things.

I don’t like carrots (in case the above sentences didn’t clarify that). I will eat baby carrots if they are cooked almost to the point of mush and then covered in about 16 pounds of butter per carrot and salt. I will eat carrot cake. I mean c’mon, it has cream cheese frosting and is gooey and…well…it’s cake. I can forgive it for having carrots.

I’m also that person who, upon getting one of those bagged salad mixes, picks out every single carrot shred out of my bowl and throws it in my husbands serving. Raw carrots are even yuckier than cooked ones.

But… BUT I say! I like carrot cake. So when I saw a recipe for a quick bread that had a strong resemblance to carrot cake or would once I got through with it, I knew I had to make it. The original recipe is from Food And Wine. For the most part, I was true to the original but I seriously wanted it to be a bit more carrot cakeish but in quick bread form. That way if I wanted six slices for breakfast, I could honestly say that 1) I was NOT eating cake for breakfast and 2) it has carrots in it so it’s good for me. Right? So I added more spice to it, a TOUCH more oil (and I do mean just a little; just enough to increase the moistness w/out compromising the stability of the bread), raisins and the crowning touch of a cream cheese glaze.

This is good. Really good. I may or may not have eaten three slices already and scraped all the excess glaze out of the bowl with my tongue finger.

Don’t judge me.

Tender moist cake bread, stuffed full of raisins and sweet spices and a tangy sweet and creamy cream cheese glaze. And oh yeah, those orange things. What are they called again? Oh yeah… carrots.

Go buy some orange things and some cream cheese.

And you’re welcome. Continue reading

Happy Blog-I-Versary To Me (& Something For You)!!

Today is my one year blog-iversary. Yep; I am a year old today. That won’t come as a surprise to most of you whom I sure often think that I have the maturity level of a one year old. Though truthfully, that may be an insult to the vast majority of one year olds, now that I think about it.

But yep… From Cupcakes To Caviar is one year old today. Now I can get one of those cool widgets that shows recipes from a year ago without the widget looking at me and saying “Whatchoo talkin’ bout Janet? You can’t use this yet.” And yes, in my little world, widgets talk. So do animals, both real and stuffed, my computer keyboard, various fruits and vegetables, my ceramic pigs and my toes. This could be why no one else ever wants to enter my little world. But that’s ok, because going by the above list, I already have tooย  much damn company for my own good. Oh yeah… and Twinkies. They talk to me. Lots. Usually they just say “eat me… NOW, wench!” and I am so frightened I obey. Twinkies are Demi Gods.

So today for my blog-i-versary, I bring you brownies. No no, not just any brownies. C’mon how often do I do things the normal way? No, these are special “don’t feed them to your kids” brownies. No really; don’t. They have booze in them, on them, drizzled over them. These are a cocktail in fudgy form. I don’t want to be responsible for drunken kiddos.

I was actually rather proud of how these turned out. The brownies are thick, incredibly fudgy and have a nice chewy bite to them (have I mentioned that I love Cooks Illustrated in recent days?) The original recipe came from C.I. with just a few minor changes made by me. But the buttercream frosting and the Kahlua Caramel Drizzle (yes, you read that right. Thank me later) are all me. The Kahlua drizzle is absolutely amazing if I do say so myself. It is thick and chewy and intensely Kahlua-ish (hey, I needed a word! Don’t be hatin’)

But that’s not all. For sticking with me for a year (or in some cases, since you started reading this post because someone told you there was a giveaway… it’s all good) I have a present for you. But to find out what it is, you have to click that “continue reading” link hehehe. Continue reading

Mrs. Pauls Parchment Baked Fish Review

Please ignore the fattening potato and honey mustard salad dressing next to the nutritious fish :-p

Hey everyone! A while back, I was one of the “Foodbuzzers” who got selected to try and review the new Mrs. Pauls (Van De Camp in some parts of the country) parchment baked fish.ย  I was tickled to get chosen because I absolutely LOVE fish and have always had good experiences with the Mrs. Pauls products.

It took me a while to get to this post for obvious reasons if you’ve been reading my blog lol, but here is my review.

As always, my review will be 100% honest even if it makes me find hitmen outside my door tomorrow.

I got one package each of the Classic Grilled flavor and the Garlic Butter flavor. Tonight I tried the classic grilled. As I always try to do with a review product, I didn’t “do” anything to it, just cooked per the directions.

Truthfully, I don’t think I’ll be buying this one myself though I’m extremely grateful for the free coupons I received. This smelled wonderful cooking so I had high hopes for it. But when I put it on my plate, I was surprised at how small the portion was. I have a teenie tiny appetite that gets me in trouble half the time but this was small even for me. The entire pack (two servings) is 7.2 ounces. When we got it, it was on sale for $3.99 with the normal price being $6.99. So we’re looking at about the equivalent of 15 dollars a pound. Truthfully, I can’t see paying that for convenience. I can buy fresh fish for much much less. Continue reading

Back Away From The Asparagus & No One Will Get Hurt

Marinated Asparagus. The taste will "Stalk" you in your dreams. HA! I slay myself! (If you click on the photo, the dressing shows up better)

I was a weird kid. Yes, I know I’m also a weird adult but my point is that it started years ago. It was just a hobby then. Now I have it down to an art form. But moving on. I was a weird kid. I never turned up my nose at things like spinach, brussel sprouts or asparagus. On the contrary, I inhaled them. Which was great until the one time that asparagus spear got stuck up my nose upon inhaling…

What? You really expected me to make it through a paragraph without a bad one liner? You must be new to my blog.

But I really did love all of them. No inhaling involved *insert bad Bill Clinton joke here* Mind you, the spinach and asparagus I had a kid were always canned. Sad as it is, I didn’t have fresh of either until I was well into my 30’s. For the longest time, I preferred the canned versions because they were familiar. The fresh tasted funny to me. But they grew on me. No really. They did. Makes wearing a skirt interesting.

I’d lie and tell you that I’ll stop now but you’d know and I’d know that I was lying so why bother?

It was the dawning of the Age of Asparagus, age of asparagus

Ahem. Yeah. Again; moving on. Loved them, ate them, wore them. Ok, I think that catches us up now. Continue reading