After years of having my husband or my parents pick something up for me because they were going to be in the neighborhood, I made my first trip to the 17th Street Market last night. It's off my beaten path in an industrial area, but what a treat! This international (predominately Asian) market includes a fish monger and enough interesting goodies to keep me wandering the aisles for more than an hour. How unusual to find frozen banana leaves and Dutch hagelslag in Tucson! I found enough to fill my little shopping basket, but the reason for my trip was Forbidden Rice - which I'm eager to try after several friends have talked about having it in some of the nicer restaurants in town.
I've had a hankering to play with buttercream lately. So when my daughter said a long-awaited transfer at work was finally coming through, I offered to make her a cake to celebrate. She, of course, requested cheesecake - a nutella cheesecake with an oreo crust. . . she has some great ideas! I'm making notes on what I will do differently next time, as much to jog my own memory as anything else. Don't get me wrong, the changes will be a move toward perfection, we all really enjoyed this cheesecake as it was.
20 oreo sandwich cookies, filling removed & cookies crushed into crumbs
2 T. sugar
1/2 c. butter, melted (next time I'll use 4 - 6 T, this was too much butter - forgive me Paula Deen)
3 8-oz. packages cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 c. sour cream, at room temperature
1 c. sugar
3 eggs, at room temperature, separated
1 t. vanilla extract
1 13-oz. jar nutella (at Lisa's suggestion, next time I may use 2 jars)
Mix chocolate cookie crumbs, sugar, and butter. Press into the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan. At at 350 degrees for 10 minutes. Do not turn off oven. Allow crust to cool while preparing the batter.
Beat cream cheese, sour cream, and sugar until well combined. Add egg yolks one at a time. Mix in vanilla. In a separate bowl, beat egg whites until they hold soft peaks. Fold into batter.
Reserve 2 cups of batter in a small bowl (next time I'll only keep 1 c. of batter out). Fold nutella into remaining batter. Pour nutella batter into pan on top of cooled crust. Drop spoonsful of the reserved batter on top and swirl with a knife. Bake at 350 degrees for an hour to 1 1/4 hours or until the cake begins to pull away from the edge of the pan and the center is still has a little movement. (I wish the white batter hadn't browned on top. I may try covering or tenting the top with foil next time.) Cool completely. Refrigerate.
Tortilla is a Spanish favorite - a potato omelet (no similarity to the Mexican tortillas). I usually serve it in wedges for dinner (or breakfast) or 1-inch squares for an appetizer. Serve with roasted peppers or salsa. The simple ingredients make this the perfect dish to prepare when the cupboard is bare.
Adapted from The Foods & Wines of Spain
1 c. olive oil
4 large potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/8 inch slices
1 large onion, thinly sliced
6 - 8 large eggs
This technique takes some practice, be sure to read through it before beginning.
Heat the oil in a skillet, add the potato slices one at a time. Alternate layers of potato with layers of onion, salt the layers lightly. Cook over medium heat, turning to potatoes frequently, until tender but not brown.
While the potatoes are cooking, beat 6 eggs in a large bowl, salt lightly. Remove potatoes from the oil and drain. (Keep the oil, you'll need 3 T. for remainder of this recipe; it picks up a great flavor from the potatoes and onion so you may want the rest for future use.) Add the potato mixture to the beaten eggs, pressing them down so they are completely covered in egg. Add additional beaten eggs if necessary. Let the mixture sit 15 minutes
Wash the skillet, it's imperative that the pan be spotless (and dry) before the next step. Heat 2 T. of the reserved oil in the skillet over high heat until very hot. Add the potato and egg mixture, spreading it evenly in the skillet. Reduce the heat to medium-high and shake the pan to prevent sticking. When the mixture begins to brown, invert a plate of the same size (or slightly larger) over the skillet. Flip the tortilla onto the plate; add 1 T. of reserved oil to the pan, slide the tortilla back into the skillet to brown the other side. (If the pan wasn't hot enough, some pieces may have stuck to the bottom. Scrap them off and fit them back into place. They'll reattach as you continue to flip the tortilla.)
Lower the heat to medium. Flip the tortilla 4 or 5 more times (this helps with the shape), cooking for a bit on each side, 8 - 10 minutes in total. Spaniards like their tortilla to be a little juicy inside; I prefer my eggs cooked all the way through. Adjust cooking time accordingly. Transfer to a platter and serve hot or at room temperature.
Dessert for our Polish meal. This recipe makes a soft flaky dough, and the prepared filings simplified the process. I've never added oil to an egg wash before but I'm very happy with the way it turned out and will try this egg wash on other baked goods.
1 T. sugar
1/2 c. warm water
2 (1/4 oz.) packages dry yeast
1/2 lb. butter, melted and cooled
3 T. sugar
1/4 t. salt
4 c. flour, heaping
3 cans prepared cake & pastry filling, almond, poppy seed, apricot (in my grocery store these are with canned fruit rather than on the baking aisle)
1 T. oil
1 T. cold water
Mix together sugar, yeast and 1/2 c. water and allow to foam. Beat the butter, remaining sugar, salt and 3 eggs for five minutes. If you have a Kitchenaid or similar mixer switch to the dough hook and add the flour and the foamy yeast mixture and continue kneading for five to eight minutes.
Remove from mixer, form into ball and place in a greased bowl, cover, and allow to rise for thirty minutes. Divided the dough into three equal size balls, roll out to a 15x15 inch rectangle, flouring lightly the work surface if necessary. This measurement, 15 x 15, is for guidance only. The dough should be very thin but not see through. You don't want the filling to seep through.
Fill with prepared filings, and roll up jelly roll style crimping and sealing the ends to keep filling from oozing. Place seam side down on greased cookie sheet, place all three rolls on the same sheet. Rolls should be about 14 inches long and two to three inches in width before baking. Allow to raise for another 30 minutes.
Right before baking prick with a fork five times down the center of the roll. Combine 1 egg, 1T. water and 1 T. oil. Brush pastry with egg wash.
Bake in a preheated 350°F oven for 30-40 minutes or until nicely browned. Cool on the pan.
Friends will be transferred to Poland soon, and I wanted to fix them a Polish meal before they left. We had pierogi with the stuffed cabbage. I'm sorry to say the pierogi were frozen; I must try making my own one of these days.
Ingredients Adapted from Better Homes and Gardens Heritage Cookbook
2/3 c. white rice 2 heads green cabbage 2 eggs, beaten 1 1/2 lb. ground beef 1 c. chopped onion 1 t. salt 1/4 t. pepper 8 slices bacon, cut in 1-inch pieces 2 16-oz. cans tomatoes 2 8-oz. cans tomato sauce 2 bay leaves
Cook rice according to package directions. Cool. Remove core from caggage; run hot water into cored area to help in removing outer leaves. Remove 8 - 12 leaves from each head of cabbage. Chop remaining cabbage and place in two baking dishes (or a large dutch oven), sprinkle with salt. Boil cabbage leaves until limp, about 5 minutes. Drain and rinse in cold water. Cut about 2 inches of the heavy center vein from the leaves.
Cook bacon with 1/2 c. onion till bacon is crisp; stir in undrained tomatoes, tomato sauce, and bay leaf. Simmer, covered, while preparing the rest of the dish. Remove bay leaves before adding to dish.
Combine cooked rice, egg, ground beef, the remaining 1/2 c. onion, 1 t. salt, and pepper; mix well. Place about 1/4 c. rice mixture in center of each cabbage leaf; fold in sides and roll ends over rice. Place rolls, seam side down, on top of chopped cabbage.
Pour tomato mixture over cabbage rolls. Cover; bake at 350 degrees from 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 hours. Freezes well. Serves 8.