Friday, March 30, 2012

New York Style Chocolate Cheesecake

New York Style Chocolate Cheesecake

Original recipe by Emeril Lagasse.  (Recipe altered by Frank Hays)


  • 1 3/4 cups chocolate wafer crumbs
  • 1 cup plus 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 8 tablespoons ( 1/2 cup) unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 1/2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened at room temperature
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 8 ounces melted semi-sweet chocolate, cooled slightly

          Ganache (Chocolate topping)
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 5 ounces melted semi-sweet chocolate


Preheat oven to 350 degrees (if using a silver springform pan, or 325 degrees if using a dark nonstick springform pan).

Lightly grease the bottom and sides of a 9-inch spring-form pan. In a mixing bowl, combine the chocolate wafer crumbs, 3 tablespoons of the sugar, and the butter and mix well. Press onto the bottom of springform pan and set aside.

In a large mixing bowl with an electric mixer, combine cream cheese, remaining cup of sugar, vanilla extract and beat until light and creamy. Add the flour to the cream cheese mixture and beat until smooth. Add the melted chocolate and sour cream and mix well.

Add the eggs, 1 at a time, mixing on low speed after each addition until just blended. Pour the batter into prepared pan.

Bake for 1 hour to 1 hour and 10 minutes, until the center is almost set. Run a sharp knife around the rim of the pan and allow cake to cool on a wire rack before removing rim of pan. Refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight before serving. 

For the ganache topping, heat 1/2 cup of heavy cream and 5 ounces semi-sweet chocolate.  Once melted, cool ganache topping for a few minutes.  Drizzle cheesecake with ganache topping.  Enjoy!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Penne Pasta with Sausage and Cream Sauce


This recipe is very special to my heart, because my father and I make our own Italian sausage. When I think back to the first time we made sausage, I smile, and remember how we fried sausage after sausage doing taste tests. We altered the seasonings after every bite, and finally, we made the sausage our own. It is delicious! When my father and I come together for an afternoon to make Italian sausage, it is always filled with laughter, and good memories. I treasure the times we spend together.


2 tablespoon butter
3 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
6 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 pounds spicy Italian sausage (Buy Italian Sausage w/ Hot, Red Peppers, Caraway Seeds, Coriander, Fennel Seeds, etc.)
1 cup dry white wine
1 14 1/2-ounce can diced peeled tomatoes with juices
1 cup whipping cream
8 tablespoons chopped Italian parsley
1 pound penne pasta
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese


Melt butter with oil in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic and sauté until golden brown and tender, about 7 minutes.

Add sausage and sauté until golden brown and cooked through, breaking up with back of spoon, about 7 minutes. Drain any excess drippings from skillet. Add wine to skillet and simmer for about 2 minutes. Add tomatoes with juices and simmer 3 minutes. Add cream and simmer until sauce thickens slightly, about 5 minutes.

Stir in 8 tablespoons parsley.

Season to taste with salt and pepper. Remove from heat. (Sauce can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate.)

Cook pasta in large pot of boiling salted water until tender but still firm to bite. Drain pasta; transfer to large bowl.

Bring sauce to simmer. Pour sauce over pasta. Add 3/4 cup cheese and toss to coat. Sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup cheese and 2 tablespoons parsley.

6 Servings

My Father making Italian Sausage

Italain Sausage 8/22/12 

Friday, March 23, 2012

Bread Pudding with Whiskey Sauce

Bread Pudding with Whiskey Sauce

This is the classic New Orleans bread pudding, as prepared by the Bon Ton Cafe on Magazine street.


Bread Pudding

1 loaf french bread
1 quart half & half
4 eggs, beaten
2 cups sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 cup raisins
3 tablespoons melted butter

Whiskey Sauce

1 cup sugar
1 stick butter
1 egg, beaten
4 ounces Bourbon


Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Whisk the beaten eggs into the half & half. Tear the bread into chunks and soak in mixture. Crush with hands to make sure that egg and half & half mixture has soaked through bread. Add sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, raisins and stir well.

Pour melted butter into a heavy 9 x 14 baking pan. Coat the bottom and sides of pan. 

Add bread mixture and bake until very firm, about 40 minutes. I sprinkle more cinnamon and raisins on top.

Cut the bread pudding and place it into individual dessert dishes. When ready to serve, add the whiskey sauce.

Whiskey Sauce directions:

Cream the sugar and butter together in a double-boiler or saucepan until very hot and well-dissolved. Next, add the well-beaten egg very slowly and whip very fast so the egg does not curtle. Remove from heat and add liquor.

Serves 8