Poached Plum Ricotta Cheesecake

Ingredients

1 cup gingerbread cookie crumbs
3 tbsp melted butter
475 g ricotta cheese
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup sugar
3 eggs, separated
2 tbsp flour
2 tsp lemon zest

Poached Plums

4 cloves
1 tsp whole black peppercorns
1 cinnamon stick
1 cup red wine
1/3 cup sugar
500 g plums, stones removed, sliced

Method

  1. To make the poached plums, in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, combine all ingredients and bring to a simmer until sugar is dissolved, about 2-3 minutes.
  2. Add the plums, reduce heat to low, and cook for 5 minutes until tender. Remove plums, and strain remaining syrup into a small saucepan. Reheat syrup until reduced by half then return plums to the pot to keep warm until ready to serve.
  3. Preheat oven to 325°F.
  4. In a large bowl, mix together cookie crumbs and butter then press into a 9-inch (23 cm) springform pan. Refrigerate for 15 minutes to set.
  5. Meanwhile, add ricotta, sour cream, sugar, egg yolks, flour and lemon zest into a food processor. Blend until smooth, scraping down the sides as required. In another large bowl, beat egg whites until stiff and then tip in the cheese mixture. Fold together, but don’t over mix.
  6. Pour into prepared pan and bake for 50-60 minutes until a cake tester comes out clean and the middle barely quivers. Remove from oven and immediately run a long sharp knife all around the inside edge of pan.
  7. Set on rack to cool then cover and refrigerate for 6 hours, or overnight.
  8. When ready to serve, spoon poached plums over the cake. Just before serving, sprinkle sugar evenly over surface of cheesecake. Using a mini torch, heat until sugar melts and caramelizes. Serve immediately with reserved spiced plum syrup.

Makes 6 to 8 servings.

Source: Chef Kendall Collingridge

Oven-baked Chicken Chimichangas

Ingredients

2/3 cup home-made or store-bought picante sauce
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano leaves, crushed
3/4 pound boneless chicken breasts or thighs, cubed
4 ounces shredded Cheddar cheese (about 1 cup)
2 green onions, chopped (about 1/4 cup)
6 (8-inch) flour tortillas
2 tablespoons butter, melted
fresh cilantro leaves

Method

  1. In a 2-quart saucepan over medium heat, add 4 cups boiling water. Cook chicken for 5 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through. Drain and chop the chicken.
  2. Stir the picante sauce, cumin, oregano, chicken, cheese and onions in a medium bowl.
  3. Place about 1/2 cup of the chicken mixture in the center of each tortilla. Fold the opposite sides over the filling. Roll up from the bottom and place seam-side down on a baking sheet. Brush with butter.
  4. Bake at 400ºF for 25 minutes or until they’re golden brown. Serve with additional picante sauce. Garnish with cilantro.

Makes 6 servings.

Source: Food Network

1970s Grilled Ham, Cheese, and Pineapple Sandwich

Ingredients

6-8 ounces turkey ham, coarsely chopped or cut into ribbons if already thinly sliced
3 tablespoons mayonnaise or as needed
4 thick slices fresh pineapple or 5 slices canned in its own juice (if using fresh, a small sprinkle of sugar may be necessary)
8 slices whole-wheat or wheatberry bread, thinly sliced
about 12 to 15 slices of bread-and-butter pickles or 8 to 10 Peppadew Piquante Peppers
1/2 onion, thinly sliced
about 8 ounces Taleggio cheese (rind cut off), or sharp Cheddar cheese, sliced
extra-virgin olive oil for brushing bread

Method

  1. In a small bowl, combine the turkey ham with the mayonnaise. Set it aside.
  2. Dice or coarsely chop the pineapple and set it aside in a bowl. If using fresh, toss it with sugar to taste.
  3. Lay out the bread slices. On 4 of them spread the pineapple. On the other 4, first place some of the pickles, then the turkey ham salad mixture, then some onion, and the Taleggio. Carefully top with the pineapple-topped bread slices to form sandwiches, and press together tightly. Brush each side lightly with the olive oil.
  4. Heat a heavy nonstick skillet or panini press over medium-high heat. Place the sandwiches in the pan, browning and pressing, until the first side is crisp and golden and the cheese begins to melt; then using your spatula and possibly a little help from your hand, carefully turn the sandwiches over and cook on the second side, pressing as they brown.
  5. When the sandwiches are crisp and lightly browned on both sides and the cheese is melted, remove from pan, cut into halves, and serve (this is a messy sandwich, so get prepared to lick the delicious goo from your fingers).

Makes 4 servings.

Source: Chef Austin Powers

Pappardelle with Lamb Ragu

Ingredients

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 carrot, finely diced
1 onion, finely diced
1 celery rib, finely diced
1-1/2 pounds ground lamb
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground fennel seeds
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon chopped rosemary
1 teaspoon chopped thyme
salt and freshly ground pepper
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1/2 cup dry red wine
1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes
1-1/4 cups chicken stock or low-sodium broth
12 ounces pappardelle
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
3/4 cup fresh ricotta cheese
2 tablespoons chopped mint

Method

  1. In a large cast-iron casserole, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil. Add the carrot, onion and celery and cook over high heat, stirring occasionally, until slightly softened, 5 minutes.
  2. Add the lamb, coriander, fennel, cumin, rosemary and thyme; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring, until the liquid evaporates, 5 minutes.
  3. Stir in the tomato paste. Add the wine and cook until evaporated, 5 minutes.
  4. Add the tomatoes and their juices along with the stock and bring to a boil. Cover partially and cook over moderately low heat until the liquid is slightly reduced, 25 to 30 minutes.
  5. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the pasta until al dente. Drain, shaking well.
  6. Add the pasta to the sauce. Add the butter and the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil and toss over low heat.
  7. Serve the pasta in bowls, topped with the ricotta and mint.

Makes 6 servings.

Source: Chef Andrew Carmellini

Dried Cherry Cheesecake Muffins

Ingredients

5-1/2 oz butter, plus extra for greasing
scant 1 cup cream cheese
generous 3/4 cup superfine sugar
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 cups self-rising flour
generous 1/2 cup dried cherries, chopped
confectioners’ sugar, for dusting

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F/180°C. Grease a deep 12-cup muffin pan.
  2. Melt the butter and let cool slightly. In a large bowl, whisk the cream cheese and sugar together, add the eggs one at a time until well combined, and then stir in the melted butter.
  3. Mix the flour and cherries together in a bowl, then stir gently into the batter. Spoon into the prepared muffin pan, filling each hole to about two-thirds full, and bake for 12-15 minutes, or until golden brown.
  4. Remove from the oven and let cool on a wire rack. Eat warm or cold, dusted lightly with confectioners’ sugar.

Makes 12 muffins.

Source: Brunch