There’s a reason this space has been quiet for nearly two months. At the end of May, the Frenchman and I are getting married. It’s going to be an awesome party, but because I’m a nutso micromanager, I’ve taken on the brunt of the planning myself. In an effort to personalize the occasion, I also ended up creating extra work for us: together, the Frenchman and I self-designed every bit of stationary. (Who knew that weddings require so.much.stationary?) We built a website. Eleven months ago, I bottled vanilla beans into two cases of vodka, the results of which will soon become wedding favors in the form of extract, vanilla sugar, and vanilla bath salts.
This is all to say that, although I’ve loved the process of planning this wedding, it’s also been majorly time consuming. It’s been a pleasure, but sometimes it feels as if planning this wedding has become my second full time job. This is all to say that, while I have boatloads of ideas swirling around my mind grapes, half-recipes or ingredient lists I’ve jotted down and vow to return to, the fruition of these ideas may have to wait until May 31st.
I’m still cooking, but lately this has taken on a quieter form–simple, healthful dinners to fortify the Frenchman and me against the cold. Often, the seeds of one night’s dinner sprout from whatever I have left in the fridge from the last night’s dinner. On and on it goes.
I love and value this space, but I also think it’s time for a change. In the past, I’ve been very strict with myself about the structure of a post, and adamant about only posting original recipes. However, I don’t think this model is sustainable for me in the long run. Even after the wedding, the Frenchman and I both work full time, and we still have plenty of adventures on the horizon. Plus, there are so many stellar recipes I’ve grown to love which aren’t mine. I want the option to share smaller, not limiting myself to a big project every time I hit publish. I hope this is ok with you.
In the meantime, there’s a winter trevisano salad with toasted hazelnuts, parsley, cara cara oranges, hot honey, and pecorino cheese that’s burning a hole in my pocket. I send you all warm, knee sock, hot chocolate kind of wishes.
I came across this cheesecake in San Sebastián, the most glorious food destination in all the land. We were given a copy of the recipe, but when I returned home and tried to make it, it became clear that the recipe on the page was not remotely the same as what we’d sampled. I tested and tested, making many friends and cheesecake recipients happy along the way, until I landed on this version. The ingredients are dead simple, but the cake turns out quite dramatically. I think it’s sort of a show stopper to serve to guests, especially because the cake needs a few hours out of the oven to cool down. It’s wonderful on it’s own, but I’m sure a drizzle of chocolate, coulis, or citrus slices would make a nice accompaniment. Just make sure to grease the parchment paper before pouring in the batter, to avoid a situation like the third picture down.
- 5 large eggs
- 3 packages (24-ounces or 678 grams) cream cheese
- 1 cup + 5 tablespoons (300 grams) sugar
- 1.5 heaping cups (375 grams) cream
- 1 tablespoon flour
- butter, to grease the pan
- Heat the oven to 425F (218C). Meanwhile, break the eggs into a bowl and beat until frothy. (I used an electirc mixer for 2 minutes.) Pour the eggs into a large mixing bowl along with the cream cheese. Mix on low speed until the eggs and cream cheese blend together. Now add the sugar, cream, and flour, one at a time, blending each individually before adding the next. Blend the batter with an immersion blender, to ensure a super smooth consistency.
- Lower 2 sheets of parchment paper into a springform pan; make sure the paper rises about 3-inches above the rim of the pan in all directions since the cake will rise while cooking. Grease the parchment paper with butter. Pour the batter into the pan, place the pan on a baking sheet, and move it into the oven. Leave the heat at 425F (218C) for 20 minutes, and then lower the oven temperature to 375F (190C). Cook the cake another 60 minutes, or until the top is dark brown. The cake is done when the center is mostly set to the touch. (Keep in mind that the cake will sink out of the oven. Wait 3-4 minutes, and then touch the center with a finger.) Allow the cake to cool for at least one hour before turning it out onto a plate. Serves 10-12.