Monday, November 29, 2010

Thanksgiving

What a crazy week! Thanksgiving, making cheesecakes, family visiting from Norcal and to top it all off, most places of business are twice as crowded. All I know is, I spent a lot of hours in the kitchen! Keebler elf status. It was really rewarding and I learned so much! Thank you to everyone that had enough faith in me to buy a cheesecake off of me. The turnout was more than expected and I had a lot of fun. But don't get me wrong, I don't want to see another cheesecake for awhile! (Or at least until Christmas)

Pumpkin cheesecake with Gingersnap crust
So how awesome is it that I bought the wrong trays? I went to Restaurant Depot and it was all that they had! Running out of time and options, I just decided to use them. They weren't meant to be cake boxes but having no choice, I improvised.

I was only able to bake 2 cheesecakes at a time because I was using a waterbath. I don't have many photos from either the cheesecake baking marathon or Thanksgiving because I was running around so much so please bare with me!

Fresh out of the oven, cooling
Making my house smell yummy

What you need for Pumpkin cheesecake:

Crust:
1 Cup graham cracker crumbs
About 3/4 cup finely ground Gingersnap cookies
5 tbsp butter

Cheesecake:
1 pound cream cheese
2/3 cup sugar (I used brown sugar)
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/8 tsp ground cloves
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
1/16 tsp cumin
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 eggs
1 and 1/3rd cup pumpkin puree

Topping:
1 cup sour cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt

Butter up an 8 inch springform pan. Mix all the crust ingredients together and press down on the pan to form a crust. Bake in the oven at 350 degrees for 5 minutes, then cool in the refrigerator while you make the filling.

Combine all the dry ingredients for the filling of the cheesecake: the sugar, salt and all the spices. In a food processor, blend the cream cheese until it's nice and smooth. The best way to do this effectively is to use room temperature cream cheese. One at a time, add the eggs and then the mixture of all the dry ingredients with the vanilla extract. Lastly, add the pumpkin puree and it should become a nice light orange/brownish color.

Pour the mixture into the cooled pan with the crust and bake for 25 minutes. Then turn the heat down to 325 degrees and bake for another 25 minutes or until only the middle of the cake is jiggling.

The KEY: on the bottom of your oven, pour about a cup of hot water into a waterbath cup. This will moisturize the air and prevent your cake from cracking and keep it from drying out.

Take the cake out and quickly whip up the topping. Add all the ingredients into a food processor and then pour over the cheesecake, moving the pan around if you have to, to even out the liquid. Stick the cake back in the oven for about 5 minutes just to slightly let the topping set. When you take it out, it should be almost a jello-type consistency. Let sit on a cooling rack for about 2 hours or until completely cool. Then, cool in the refrigerator for at least 8 hours.

What saved my life!
My mom bought me this stainless steel processor awhile ago and has kept it in storage. I used it for the filling and the one on the right for the topping. This brand is absolutely amazing! Made in France. Go get yourself one, it'll be the best kitchen tool investment you ever made.

This Thanksgiving, dinner was far from traditional. My cousin, her husband and kids were staying at our house. Jinny and Minsoo are the little ones names. What is their most favorite food in the whole wide world? Pizza (Minsoo) and Spaghetti (Jinny) are their answers. So, for Thanksgiving I made some Spaghetti and Pizza too! The pizza, however, he ate the next day for breakfast. There was a lot of food! No one in my family is really a fan of turkey either so we decided on chicken and some Korean food.

Again, I wasn't able to take as many pictures as I wanted. Kinda sad about that! But I had a lot to be thankful for this year. I've grown so much as a person over even the past few years and I'm so lucky to have the family and friends that love me! No person or family is perfect...but as cheesy as it sounds, the love we have for the ones we cherish overlaps any imperfections and makes them seem minuscule - and that is a beautiful thing!

Just a few of the goodies to start cooking - Munster cheese, onions, fresh Rosemary, green chilis, mushrooms, eggplant, bell peppers and cucumbers
Eggplant and yellow and orange bell peppers (My attempt at being festive)
My version of a veggie lasagna (Eggplant, mushroom, Parmesean cheese, Munster cheese) Veggies sauteed, then baked with cheese.
Rosemary + Garlic chicken with potatoes
Spaghetti in progress - taking a break
Mushroom spaghetti with Parmesan cheese
Korean chives, peppers, and cucumbers

Busy eating
Not a lot of the food is shown on the main table. We had chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy, sauteed seasoned bell peppers and onions, Eggplant and mushroom lasagna bake, Spaghetti, Marinated spicy pork, rice, and Korean banchan. (Veggie side dishes) The most unconventional dinner I've put together but it somehow worked! And of course, some pumpkin cheesecake to top it off.

I had so much fun taking the kids to Downtown Disney. I took them to the Disney store, and instead of running to the toys, they spent a solid 15 minutes reading a book based on a show they both like. The cutest thing I've ever seen! Made me think of Reading Rainbow, my favorite show as a kid. Butterfly in the skyyyy....
A kodak moment
Happy Holidays! Make sure to set your radio stations to KOST 103.5!

Also, I thought this clip was hilarious, an SNL parody of Paula Dean. Well, it's funny if you know who Paula Dean is, of course. She has such a thick accent and even watching her show on Food Network makes me feel like my arteries are clogging. Her energy is almost contagious though, which is a good thing. I love Kristen Wiig from SNL! My favorite show.

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