Recent Posts

Best Rhubarb Cake Recipe: Bon Appetit’s Rhubarb Custard Cake

Best Rhubarb Cake Recipe: Bon Appetit’s Rhubarb Custard Cake

Rhubarb. Probably one of the least talked about vegetables. And yes, it actually is a vegetable. Originating from China, where it was used for medicinal purposes, rhubarb looks like pink/red celery and tastes…..not like celery at all! It’s many times thought of as a fruit […]

Breakfast Calzone Recipe: Bon Appetit Magazines Travel Issue 2018

Breakfast Calzone Recipe: Bon Appetit Magazines Travel Issue 2018

One of the best parts of any given weekday is opening my mailbox to find a bright glossy magazine staring back at me. I love ripping the plastic cover off and delving into the material that is covered within, each shiny page flipping through my […]

Best Key Lime Cheesecake: Samplin’ of Genius Kitchen’s Recipe

Best Key Lime Cheesecake: Samplin’ of Genius Kitchen’s Recipe

For Easter Sunday my mom and I sat down together to plan our menu. Ham, mac n’cheese, turkey breast (requested by my dad), green beans, cherry salad (I’ll save that for another post/day), brown n serve rolls, and sweet tea. Dessert? Well, that was left up to me…or my brother. My mom asked for someone to make/bring an apple pie and whatever else. Since Spring just started and it was a special occasion I wanted something bright. A dessert that wasn’t too heavy or oozing with chocolate (rare for me to say since I’m a chocolate lover) but was lighter. Key lime pie is one of my favorite desserts (that doesn’t contain a lick of chocolate), but even that seemed a little boring. So to the google search box I went. In one of my searches for all things citrusy and good I happened upon a Key Lime Cheesecake. After some quick reading of the recipes and reviews I decided on Genius Kitchen’s (a popular food blog) version of the Cheesecake Factory’s Key Lime Cheesecake. I followed the directions and ingredient list exactly as stated. I did read several comments about the crust cracking on some peoples cakes which is usually caused by over baking. But that’s always something you have to account for with recipes. Everyone’s ovens are different. There’s differences in altitude, rack position, etc. etc. In my last restaurant I made cheesecakes on a regular (almost daily) and I always cooked mine in a water bath which helps prevent this cracking. I ended up cooking my cake about 9 minutes longer than the stated time and I also used a different key lime juice (Nellie and Joe’s) because I don’t have a Trader Joe’s around here.

I will definitely make this recipe again because my family could not stop raving about it. Another recommendation I’d made is to make sure you use a stainless steel spring form pan for this recipe. I only had an aluminum one on hand and forgot about the chemical reaction that can happen between the citric acid in the recipe and the aluminum. Makes for not such a pleasant flavor. Other than that..green light city all the way for this delicious and tart cheesecake!

INGREDIENTS

FOR CRUST
2 cups graham cracker crumbs, crushed (approximately 2 sleeves)
1⁄2 cup butter, melted
1⁄4 cup granulated sugar
key lime cheesecake lilchefchic
FOR FILLING
3 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 cup sour cream
1⁄4 cup flour
2 teaspoons vanilla
4 eggs
3⁄4 cup trader joe’s key lime juice (I used

In 9 or 10 inch spring form pan, combine crumbs, melted butter, and 1/4 cup sugar. Press evenly over bottom of pan and halfway up sides. Bake at 375 for 7-8 minutes, no longer.

Cream room temperature cream cheese well, add sugar, and cream until smooth, scraping sides and bottom of bowl frequently to integrate any cream cheese lumps. Cream in sour cream, eggs, flour and vanilla. When smooth once more, stir in lime juice. Note: 3/4 Cup of Key Lime juice makes a very tart cheesecake. If you prefer a less tart cheesecake, start with 1/3 cup and increase to taste.

Pour over prepared crust. Return to 375 oven for 15 minutes. Lower temperature to 250 and continue baking 50 minutes for 10 inch pan, 55 minutes for 9 inch pan. Cool on wire rack IN PAN for 20 minutes. Run a sharp knife around edge to loosen cheesecake, but do NOT remove from pan. Refrigerate at least 6 hours before serving. May be garnished with sweetened whipped cream, lime zest, or both.

I actually made this guy the day before Easter, loosening the sides as stated above and it came out perfect! You can store the pie in the pan you baked it in, just cover with plastic wrap or foil.

Quick note: For the water bath you can place a deep roasting pan in the oven and fill with about an inch and a half or two of water before turning the oven on. That way when you’re ready to cook your cheesecake you can just gently place it in the already waiting bath of water. Once the cake is done cooking, gently remove the cake from the water bath and leave the roasting pan in the oven to cool and empty later. This will help you avoid any burns or unnecessary spills from the hot water.

What’s your favorite cheesecake flavor? Have you tried this recipe? Hit me up below!:)

Middle Eastern Rice Dishes: Recipes from the book “Jerusalem”

Middle Eastern Rice Dishes: Recipes from the book “Jerusalem”

I don’t really remember when I first heard of the book Jerusalem, or the book Plenty, or the author, or even the restaurant Ottolenghi. All I knew is that I wanted those books. I added them to my wish list on Amazon and then soon […]

Gluten Free Sweet Potato Pancakes Recipe: Turkey Sausage Wrapped In A Sweet Potato Blanket of Love and Dipped in Maple Dijon Dressing

Gluten Free Sweet Potato Pancakes Recipe: Turkey Sausage Wrapped In A Sweet Potato Blanket of Love and Dipped in Maple Dijon Dressing

Sweet potatoes are kinda my thing. They are a super food wrapped in a cozy (edible) jacket just waiting to be ravaged.  Besides being high in fiber (hello smooooth digestion) sweet taters are also a source for most of our vitamins B and C. The […]

Fruitcake: A Tasting And Review Of “Alton Brown’s Free Range Fruitcake” Recipe

Fruitcake: A Tasting And Review Of “Alton Brown’s Free Range Fruitcake” Recipe

While I was working a few weeks back one of my customers mentioned an article she’d read that morning in the Wall Street Journal (article in link). It was about fruitcake…and hikers. It piqued my interest enough to buy some leftover holiday currants and I looked up the article a few days later online. I’ve often played with energy bar recipes or made my own Cliff bars at home in hopes of having something more nutritional on hand to throw in my gym bag or get through my mid morning slump at work. I’d never even put fruit cake in the same thought process much less hemisphere as an energy bar. I guess hikers often get tired of gorp (trail mix) while out hiking and the WSJ made the suggestion (along with several hikers who agreed) that maybe taking along a few slices of leftover Christmas fruit cake would help them get through their intense hiking days. Fruit cake is calorie dense and packed with dried fruit and nuts along with just enough cake to hold all those ingredients together. The hikers that were interviewed also mentioned they loved the taste and more natural flavors of the homemade fruit cake when compared to energy bars that tasted artificial and overly sweet.

The only fruit cake I’ve ever eaten is a Claxton fruit cake and ummmm…bleck! I’m FROM Georgia and even after the holidays when it’s sitting on the discounted Christmas candy table at 75% off I turn my nose up. I’d always read about fruit cake that actually tasted good and did not contain neon green and yellow candied fruit but I assumed that was an old wives tale. So, with my interests piqued even more, I started looking up recipes and happened upon Alton Brown’s Free Range Fruitcake. After reading the awesome reviews, (as usual for Mr. Brown) I decided to give it a whirl. My fond affection for Alton goes back years. When I was all alone on a navy base in New Jersey, Alton was my comfort. Whenever I would have visitors, they’d always ask if I only had ONE channel, the food network. It was the channel I kept my t.v. set to and it comforted me through the lonely cold winters on the military installation they call NWS Earle. It was where I realized my love of food and of making good food. By the end of my stint in the garden state I’d decided to become a chef.

I’m gonna post the ingredients exactly as they are in the above link and I’d highly recommend watching his video in the link provided as well. Besides providing a super educational tutorial, his videos are always super entertaining ( I’ve already watched it at least 8 times..he’s very thorough. lol).

Alton Brown’s Free Range Fruitcake Recipe

  • Brandy for basting

dried fruit lilchefchicfruit n butter lilchefchic

fruitcake batter lilchefchic

 

Combine dried fruits, orange and lemon peel, and rum in stainless steel bowl and let macerate overnight, covered.

Preheat oven to 325°. Place fruits and liquid as well as all spices, apple juice, and cubed butter in large pot. Bring to a quick boil before turning down to a simmer. Let cook for 10 minutes to develop flavors, stirring frequently. Remove from heat and let cool for 15 to 20 minutes.

Sift together dry ingredients (flour, salt, soda, and powder) into warm fruit and stir with a wooden spoon until well incorporated. Add eggs, one at a time, incorporating well after each egg into batter. Stir in toasted nuts and place in a nonstick 10″ loaf pan. Cook for 1 hour and check with toothpick inserted in middle of loaf to see if done. If the toothpick is dry… it’s done. If not,continue to cook another 5 to 10 minutes.fruitcake pan lilchefchic

The Review

This recipe is killer. It’s dense and moist and smells like heaven (if heaven were made of rum macerated fruits and spices). I’d say the only difficulty I had really was finding all of the dried fruits in one place. Another factor to consider when making this delicious cake is the cost of the ingredients. Someone would be VERY blessed to get this as a present.

Most of my spices I can fortunately buy at a local specialty grocer that sells them in bulk, so I save some money there. I did not have rum so I did have to purchase that and when I saw the brandy spritzing at the end of the recipe I said aloud, “Welp, my Jack’ll have to do!” So instead of the brandy, I brushed my fruitcake with a lil Jack Daniels. Other than that, I made no changes, and I don’t recommend any! This recipe is great! I cut this loaf up into 1/2″ slices that I cut in half. I placed a little piece of parchment paper between the two slices and wrapped them for individual servings. When I hit my usual mid morning slump at work (this morning even) I grabbed my slices of fruitcake and it instantly brought me back up. This will definitely be a go to pre-workout treat for me especially on heavy lifting days.

Your Experience

What’s been your experience with fruitcake? If hearing the word fruitcake still makes you cringe or think of door stoppers, give this recipe a go and tell me what you think. I’m telling you it changes the fruitcake game!

fruitcake cooked lilchefchic

Quick Breakfast Foods: Crustless Quiche “Muffins”, Herbed Cheese and Spinach, Oh MY!!

Quick Breakfast Foods: Crustless Quiche “Muffins”, Herbed Cheese and Spinach, Oh MY!!

One of the main reasons I started this blog was to make myself find myself some good solid breakfast foods and have something on hand to grab real quick when I’m running out the door before dawn for work. I love breakfast and can put […]

Quick Breakfast Foods: Crispity Crunchity Peanut Butter Muuuunchity Granola Ballz

Quick Breakfast Foods: Crispity Crunchity Peanut Butter Muuuunchity Granola Ballz

When I jumped online tonight I literally had this song pop in my head:  I mean it’s been like four days since I posted….riiiiight? A week! Whuuut whuuuut!?? I usually can’t keep off this blog much less keep off thinking about food…and recipes..and techniques. […]

Best Winter Soups: Vietnamese Pho

Best Winter Soups: Vietnamese Pho

There’s been some unusual activity lately happening in the south and it involves…..snow.

And yes, only 2 people in the state of Georgia actually know how to drive in it. Myself, and Joe up the street who’s from New York. We are completely unprepared for the likes of that white stuff and my years of driving in the said “stuff” come only from living in the Garden State for three years. What a lot of people don’t understand though, is that on top of the inexperience of the drivers here, we also don’t have the things used commonly up north for such uncommon events down here. Salt, shovels, and snow tires. Check (sea salt, right?), uncheck on shovels, and uncheck on snow tires.

Last week was different to say the very least and put most people off their game in every way. Not only did bridges and roads close, but pretty much everything closed down for at least two days. So, I actually did get to make this awesome soup last week, but only after the asian market opened back up and everything was back to semi-normal.

Since I’m doing two soups for every stock I decided to go with Pho for my second choice because a reader asked about it in my beef stock post. I told her in my reply back that Pho was typically made with beef stock full of aromatics such as cinnamon, star anise, cloves, and cardamom, as well as ginger and onion. After these aromatics are simmered in the beef stock it is then poured over cooked rice noodles and thinly sliced sirloin, and topped with fresh herbs, bean sprouts and whatever else tickles your fancy. In the following recipe I took my already made beef stock and added all my aromatics (that I wrapped in cheesecloth) and simmered it on the stove top for 2 hours. This allows the oils from the spices to seep out and penetrate the stock adding a depth of flavor. At the end of the simmer process I removed the cheesecloth and poured over my rice noodles and beef.

Vietnamese Chefchic Phopho stock lilchefchic

8 cups beef stock (If using store bought, grab one with good ingredients and little to no sodium

2″ piece of ginger, sliced into 4 pieces

4 cloves

1 cinnamon stick

3 star anise

1 teaspoon peppercorns

soy sauce to taste (start with 2 tablespoons)

6-8 oz sirloin steak, thinly thinly sliced against the grain

 

Toppers:shun knife steak lilchefchic

Cilantro, chopped

Mint, thinly sliced

Red chile peper, thinly sliced

Green Onion, thinly sliced

Bean sprouts

Sweet Onion, thinly sliced

 

Sauces:steak ricenoodles pho lilchefchic

Hoisin

Fish Sauce

Chile Pepper Sauce

Soy

 

 

In a large pot add stock and aromatics (ginger, cloves, cinnamon, anise, and peppercorns) that have been wrapped in cheesecloth and let simmer. Slice the sirloin steak into thin strips making sure to cut against the grain for optimum tenderness. In a separate pot (about 30 minutes before broth is completed) cook rice noodles following package directions and leave in colander on side until needed. Cook broth for 2 hours until infused, up to 4 hours based on the flavor you’re going for. Remove cheesecloth bundle and add in soy sauce 1 tablespoon at a time until it reaches your desired taste. Add some sea salt if necessary if bland. Bowl up noodles in serving dishes and place a serving of thinly sliced steak in each. Ladle the hot soup over the beef and noodles to cover (and cook the steak). Top with desired vegetation such as chopped cilantro, thinly sliced mint, sweet onion, lime wedges, green onion, and bean sprouts (if using) and serve with condiments (sauces) listed above on the side for guests to choose from.

Serve it up and slurp it up!pho bowl herbs lilchefchic

This soup was so good and had so much depth. All the add on’s at the end gave it freshness and made every mouthful bright. The toppings are personalized for each bowl which makes it even more fun for your guests or family members because each bowl will taste different and unique based on that persons desires.

Give it a try and let me know what you think!

Best Winter Soups: French Onion Bliss

Best Winter Soups: French Onion Bliss

Homemade beef stock, caramelized sweet onions, fresh herbs, red wine. That’s a meal right derr. This is one of the simplest and most affordable meals that you can make. Seriously. All you need is a little thyme. 🙂 The classic flavor of this soup comes […]


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Homemade beef stock, caramelized sweet onions, fresh herbs, red wine. That’s a meal right derr. This is one of the simplest and most affordable meals that you can make. Seriously. All you need is a little thyme. 🙂 The classic flavor of this soup comes from the slow cooking of the onions, which take close to an hour to melt to perfection. But wait! It’s worth it. Let it go…Low and slow, while you sit back and read the paper. Catch up on that old novel you’ve been meaning to get back to. Just keep a lil peeky eye out on your onions. And have patience. The slow cooking helps ensure an even sumptuous bite with no…err bitter bite? Cuz cooking these babies over high fast heat creates a bitter tasting soup. And that’s not what we’re here for.

French On-yon soup:

4 lbs Sweet Yellow Onions, peeled and slicedjust cooked onions lilchefchic

1/2 Stick Butta

1 Tablespoon Olive Oil

1 Heaping Teaspoon Fresh Thyme

6 cups Homemade Beef Stock

1 cup Red Wine

salt and pepper to taste

1 tablespoon Fresh Lemon Juice (optional)

1/3 lb. Comte’ Cheese or Gruyere

1 day old French Baguette, Sliced into 1/2″ pieces

 

Peel and slice onions about 1/8″ thick and place in large pot with butter and oil on moderate heat. Cook down, stirring occasionally for 10 to 12 minutes until softened. Add in thyme and salt and pepper ( I like lots of fresh cracked pepper in this soup..so have at it!). Now, you’re basically going to set it and forget it..well, sorta. Check back on it every few minutes making sure the heat is not too high and give it a stir. Cook for 50 to 60 minutes until onions are a nice golden brown color.caramelized onions lilchefchic

Pour in wine and turn the heat up a bit keeping an eye on it as to not burn. Cook until onions are jammy looking and the wine is cooked out. Sprinkle flour over onions and stir, cooking for 3 to 4 minutes to get the raw flour taste cooked out. Add in your stock and bring to a boil. Once at a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning and add in lemon juice if needed for extra acidity. Ladle into oven proof bowls and top with slice of bread and cheese. Set oven at lo-broil and cook until cheese is melted and bubbly.

 

 

 

jammy onions lilchefchic

Enjoy!

Chefs Notes: A lot of recipes will call for bay leaves or garlic in the recipe but my stock was infused with all of these flavors already, even the thyme. But since I’m a lover of thyme, I added more here for freshness. If you’re using store bought stock make sure it’s low sodium and contains good quality ingredients.  You’ll also find a lot of recipes calling for vinegars and sugars but since I’m using wine that’s the best of both worlds. That’s why the lemon in the recipe is optional. If you think the acid is perfect once you’re at the almost stopping point then don’t add the lemon. All wines are different and my soup was screaming for some more acidity.

 

When’s the last time you had a nice big bowl of soup and where’d you stumble across it? What made it so good? The weather outside? The friend you dined with? Or those good quality ingredients?? Hit me up down below in the comments!:)
finito frenchonionsoup lilchefchic