Thursday, May 9, 2013

Blueberry Cheesecake

Cheesecake + Blueberry Topping.
A simple birthday dessert for my dad, who turned the big 60 on Monday! 

Cheesecake is one of my dad's favorites and the obvious choice for his birthday. I adapted the recipe from Tyler Florence's Ultimate Chessecake and it was amazing! The cheesecake isn't too heavy, and has lemon and orange zest in it, making it brighter than a traditional cheesecake. The blueberry topping adds a little more tartness and another layer of flavor. I made the cheesecake the night before, let it refrigerate overnight and made the blueberry topping the day of.

Cheesecake & Blueberry Topping 
adapted from Tyler Florence's 'Ultimate Cheesecake' 

2 cups finely ground graham crackers (about 30 squares)
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 stick unsalted butter, melted
1 pound cream cheese, 2 (8-ounce) blocks, softened (I used 1 block 1/3 fat, and one regular)
3 eggs
1 cup sugar
1 pint sour cream
1 lemon, zested

1/2 orange, zested 
1 dash vanilla extract

Blueberry Topping:

1 pint blueberries
1 lemon, zested and juiced
2 tablespoons sugar


Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

In a mixing bowl, combine the ingredients with a fork until evenly moistened. Lightly coat the bottom and sides of an 8-inch springform pan with non-stick cooking spray. (I used a 10-inch springform pan and this was plenty)

Pour the crumbs into the pan press the crumbs down into the base and up the sides. Refrigerate until the filling is ready.

For the Filling:

In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese on low speed for 1 minute until smooth and free of any lumps. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, and continue to beat slowly until combined. Gradually add sugar and beat until creamy, for 1 to 2 minutes.

Add sour cream, lemon zest, orange zest and vanilla. Periodically scrape down the sides of the bowl and the beaters. The batter should be well-mixed but not overbeaten. Pour the filling into the crust-lined pan and smooth the top with a spatula.

Set the cheesecake pan on a large piece of aluminum foil and fold up the sides around it. Place the cake pan in a large roasting pan. Pour boiling water into the roasting pan until the water is about halfway up the sides of the cheesecake pan; the foil will keep the water from seeping into the cheesecake. Bake for 50 minutes. The cheesecake might jiggle a little, but will firm up once chilled. Let cool in pan for 30 minutes. Cover and chill in the refrigerator, until ready to serve (at least 4 hours, I chilled mine overnight). 

For the Topping:

In a small saucepan add all the ingredients and simmer over medium heat for 5 minutes or so until the fruit begins to break down slightly. Leave to cool before spreading on cheesecake.


Once you're ready to serve, run a knife along the edge of the pan and unmold, transferring to your cake plate or server. Pour the blueberry topping over the cheesecake and enjoy! 


Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Anthro-Inspired Kitchen Decor

I've been wanting to add some personality to my kitchen, and the wall space above the stove seemed like the perfect place to do so. Inspired by Anthropologie's Zinc Letters, I decided to create my own at a fraction of the cost. 
Anthropologie Zinc Letters

Empty wall space before
"EAT" seemed like a perfect phrase for the kitchen, but you could change the word to suit a different room or make a monogram with two small letters and one big letter! 

I found these 8" paper mache letters at Joann's for $2.99 each and used craft paint that I already had on hand. 

Black base coat 
First I painted the letters black, then I painted a rough silver layer. I didn't want to add too much paint at once because I wanted the final result to look worn. 

After first coat of silver paint
After adding one more silver coat I went back with a little black and blended it until I liked the way it looked.  

Finished product

To hang them, I just used lightweight command strips and stuck them to the wall.

I love the way they turned out, and for less than $10, I think they make a great impact!