Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Dark Chocolate Cheesecake

Dark Chocolate Cheesecake



24 chocolate wafer cookies (from 9-ounce package)
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 cup butter, melted


1 (9.7-oz) 70% cocoa bittersweet chocolate bar, chopped
4 (8-oz) packages cream cheese, room temperature
1 1/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
4 large eggs


3/4 cup whipping cream
1 (6-oz) 70% cocoa bittersweet chocolate bar, chopped
1 tablespoon sugar

Bittersweet chocolate curls


For crust:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Butter 9-inch springform pan.  Blend cookies in food processor until finely ground; blend in sugar.  Add melted butter and process until well blended.

Press crumbs evenly onto bottom of prepared pan.  Bake just until set, about 5 minutes. Cool while preparing filing.

For filling:

Stir chopped chocolate in metal bowl set over saucepan of simmering water until melted and smooth. Remove bowl from over water; cool chocolate until lukewarm but still pourable. Blend cream cheese, sugar, and cocoa powder in processor until smooth. Blend in eggs 1 at a time.  Mix in lukewarm chocolate.  Pour filling over crust; smooth top. Bake until center is just set and just appears dry, about 1 hour.  Cool 5 minutes. Run a knife around sides of cake to loosen.  Chill overnight.

For topping:

Stir cream, 6 ounces chocolate, and sugar in heavy medium saucepan over low heat until smooth.  Cool slightly.  Pour over center of cheesecake, spreading to within 1/2-inch of edge and filling any cracks.  Chill until topping is set, about 1 hour.

Release pan sides.  Transfer cheesecake to platter.  Top with chocolate curls.  Let stand 2 hours at room temperature before serving.  HINT- Rinse knife after each slice.

Cheesecake can be made 3 days in advance.

12 servings

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Red Bean and Rice Soup

Red Bean and Rice Soup


1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup diced bacon
2 large onions, chopped
2 green bell peppers, chopped
2 tablespoons minced garlic
4 bay leaves
5 or 6 andouille sausages, sliced
1 smoked ham hock

3 (15 oz) cans red kidney beans

1 tablespoon Cajun seasoning
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
2 quarts chicken broth

1 teaspoon salt

3 to 6 cups cooked long-grain white rice
Green onions, chopped


Heat the oil in a large stock pot over high heat.

Add the diced bacon and saute for 2 minutes.

Add the onions, bell peppers, garlic, bay leaves, sliced andouille sausage, and ham hock and cook, stirring for 3 to 5 minutes.

Add the beans and cook for 2 minutes.

Add the Cajun seasoning,  Worcestershire sauce, chicken broth, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and cook for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.

Add the salt, cover the pot, and cook for 15 minutes.  Turn off the heat and allow the pot to sit, covered, for about 20 minutes.

Remove ham hock bones.

To serve, ladle a generous helping of soup into each bowl.  Top each serving with 1/2 to 1 cup of rice and sprinkle with sliced green onions.

6 servings

Have you tried the traditional red beans and rice?  If not, here's the recipe!

Red Beans and Rice