Stuff and Nonsense


Wordless Wednesday: Clean Adipose

As far as alien invaders in my kitchen go, Adipose are too cute to take seriously.

Three-Bite Christmas Cheesecakes

I wanted to do something decadent for Christmas Dinner, but not overwhelmingly so. Mini cheesecakes seemed just the thing and when I stumbled across Paula Deen's recipe for "Hazelnut Mini Cheesecakes," I knew I'd struck gold. What do we love? Nutella. And Ferrero Rocher. And Frangelico. What's in these cheesecakes? Hazelnuts. Chocolate. Frangelico.

It was meant to be!

Pulverized chocolate graham crackers.

Now, making cheesecake is actually The Husband's thing, so I was a little nervous making these ... but I needn't have been! The instructions are quite clear and the whole thing turned out much more easily than I'd feared. The hardest part, actually, was making the chocolate graham cracker crumbs simply because I wasn't sure how fine a crumb they should be. I guess, maybe, you can buy the crumbs ready-made somewhere? I've certainly bought the plain graham cracker crumbs before (yes, LAZY). I ended up processing half the box of chocolate graham crackers down to something that looked a lot like black almond flour and decided that was probably good enough.

"Finely"(ish) chopped hazelnuts.

Honestly, I think I could have used regular graham cracker crumbs, because we couldn't really taste any chocolate when we ate these. Hazelnut, yes. Chocolate, no. And there was the scent of Frangelico, but no taste of it. If anything, I feel the cheesecake batter would have benefited from a teaspoon or so of vanilla bean paste. Or, The Husband's suggestion, raspberry extract.

Certainly, these would be very good drizzled with raspberry coulis. Many of my mini cheesecakes collapsed a bit in the middle as they cooled (I suspect I'd beaten too much air into the batter), creating the perfect "cup" for sauce of some kind. When I served them after Christmas dinner, I topped the cheesecakes with fresh whipped cream and a Ferrero Rocher so no-one could see the indentations!

Overall we liked these cheesecakes, but we didn't love them. Oh, we were certainly happy to eat them all up over the course of Christmas vacation, but every time I ate one, I was reminded of how much better it could be. Definitely orange or vanilla extract next time, beaten on a lower speed, and maybe grease the pans a bit to keep the baking cheesecakes from creeping up the sides? It's definitely a recipe worth fiddling with.

Paula Deen's "Hazelnut Mini Cheesecakes" from Cooking With Paula Deen, Nov/Dec 2007. Also available on the DVD Cooking with Paula Deen, The Complete Collection (2005-2012). Can't locate a copy on your own? See if your friendly local library can help you out.


Top 10 Tuesday: Resolutions

It’s not-quite-the-first Top Ten Tuesday of 2015. The best (or worst?) time to set goals and make resolutions. As this is a bookish blog, most of my goals are reading or blogging related:
  1. Accept that sometimes I buy books simply because they are beautiful objects and not because I actually intend to read them.
  2. Don’t feel bad about not being a "real" book blogger.
  3. Find a better way to organize my books. Right now, they’re split between two rooms and there’s really no way to change that, but it would be nice if, say, the ones in the den could be arranged better. Basically, I think I want to redecorate the den. (Do you hear that, Husband? Paint swatches and flooring samples are in your future).
  4. I want to read and blog more books than in 2014. (Ideally, I’d like to get back to my 2011 level of blogging, but that may not be possible as my life is rather different from what it was in 2011).
  5. Leave more comments. Yes, this was on last year’s list. I’m still working on it.
  6. Read more books I own and haven’t read yet. I still own so many books I haven’t read -- especially books other people have given me. I think I’m afraid to read them, because what if I don’t like them and then the person who gave them to me asks what I thought of them and I destroy that person emotionally by pooh-poohing the books they picked out and bought just for me? I am overthinking this, aren’t I.
  7. Stop worrying about not doing Twitter "right." Seriously. I just don't have the energy or time for it.
  8. Try out Audible. Because the library will never have all the audiobooks I want to listen to (and I so want to hear to Simon Prebble read Patricia McKillip’s The Riddle-Master of Hed).
  9. Update my LibraryThing account every month to include recent reads. I’ve been very hit or miss about updating it and I just really need to sit down with my CueCat over the next long weekend (MLK, Jr Day?) and scan the heck out of my shelves.
  10. Just enjoy reading.