February 7th, 2009

Blueberries for Sal

Cranberry Orange Cheesecake with Chocolate Crust

Cheesecake is a nice dessert for winter. Especially this one, with seasonal cranberries and oranges. Perfect for Valentine's Day.


* 1 9-ounce box chocolate wafer cookies, broken
* 2 ounces bittersweet (not unsweetened) or semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
* 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted


* 4 8-ounce packages cream cheese, room temperature
* 1 1/2 cups sugar
* 3 tablespoons all purpose flour
* 4 large eggs
* 2 teaspoons grated orange peel
* 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


* 1/2 cup sugar
* 3 tablespoons water
* 1 teaspoon cornstarch dissolved in 1 tablespoon water
* 2 cups fresh cranberries
* 1/2 teaspoon grated orange peel


For crust:
Preheat oven to 325°F. Finely grind cookies and chocolate in processor. Add butter; blend until moist clumps form. Using plastic wrap as aid, press crumb mixture onto bottom and 1 1/4 inches up sides of 9-inch-diameter springform pan with 2 3/4-inch-high sides. Bake until set, about 8 minutes. Cool completely.

For filling:
Increase oven temperature to 350°F. Wrap 2 layers of heavy-duty foil around bottom and up sides of springform pan. Using electric mixer, beat cream cheese and sugar in large bowl until light. Beat in flour. Beat in eggs, 1 at a time, just until blended. Beat in orange peel and vanilla.

Pour filling into crust. Place springform pan in large roasting pan. Fill roasting pan with enough hot water to come halfway up sides of springform pan. Bake until filling is just set in center but still moves slightly, about 55 minutes. Remove cake from water bath; transfer to rack and cool completely, about 4 hours. Cover and chill overnight.

For topping:
Stir sugar and water in medium saucepan over medium-low heat until sugar dissolves. Increase heat to medium; add cornstarch mixture and bring to simmer. Add cranberries; cook until beginning to pop, stirring often, about 3 minutes. Stir in orange peel. Cool completely. Cover and chill overnight. (Cheesecake and cranberry mixture can be made 2 days ahead. Keep refrigerated.)

Run knife around top edge of cheesecake to loosen. Release pan sides. Top cheesecake with cranberry mixture. Chill until set, about 1 hour.
Blueberries for Sal

Braised Scallops over Spinach Chive Linguine

This is what's cooking tonight!

with steamed spinach and a grating of Parrano cheese

cooking in the skillet with butter and garlic

almost caramelized


One thawed package of Trader Joes Frozen Sea Scallops (or a dozen fresh if you can get them)
tablespoon of minced garlic
3 tblspns butter

Trader Joes Spinach Chive Linguine
Steam-in-bag spinach

Pat dry the scallops on a paper towel, reserving the liquid they came in.
Melt butter over high, add garlic, brown slightly turn to medium
add scallops and cook over medium heat turning carefully as they cook.

This is a slow caramelizing process that takes probably about 15-20 min.
When done, add the reserved liquid and turn to low

Cook linguine, drain and rinse. Toss with a little olive oil
Steam spinach in bag as per directions

Serve everything, sprinkle with fresh lemon juice, salt if desired, and grated Parrano cheese.

(6 each for two people, or four each for three people)