Tag Archives: recipe

Upside Down Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Cheesecake

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Halloween is one of my favorite holidays. I love fall, I love sweets and I love dressing up. What’s not to love?

I couldn’t miss this pumpkin recipe as it’s got some of the texture and flavor of the original cheesecake. It’s not quite Junior’s New York Cheesecake, but it’s still pretty yummy.

The crispy graham cracker tastes delicious against the cool creamy pumpkin filling that has a custard-like quality.

I adopted this recipe from Hungry Girl, also known as Lisa Lillien who tries to make yummy food low calorie. This recipe was more like a pumpkin mousse rather than a pie, so let’s hope you aren’t feeding pumpkin cheesecake purists. This recipe doesn’t exactly replicate the cheesecake, but it’s a fun and convincing waste-line friendly copy.

Lisa Lillien’s original recipe calls for sweetener and tons of cool whip but I’m not a fan of splenda especially so much of it. So this is my play on upside down pumpkin cheesecake, with a little chocolate for those of you, like me, who have a hard time eating “diet food.”

My grandmother Phyllis gave me this serving spoon. She has an adoration of antiques and she would be glad to know I’m serving with it. I miss her always and this makes me think of her.

Upside Down Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Cheesecake Ingredients:

15 ounce can pumpkin
1/2 cup Fage 0% Yogurt
8 ounce container fat free or low fat cream cheese
7/8 cup fat free or low fat sour cream
3 1/2 sheets graham cracker, low fat honey, crushed
1/2 cup honey or agave (add more if sweeter flavor is desired)
2 tablespoons pumpkin spice
1/2 lemon
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

And if you dare:
chocolate chips, any kind
top with light whip cream

You can get all of these ingredients at Trader Joes!

Directions:

Blend together all ingredients except graham cracker in a bowl with an immersion blender.
Put ingredients in a pie pan and coat the top layer with graham cracker
Add chocolate chips and serve cold
or
Melt chocolate and drizzle over the top

Slow Cooked Smokey Barbecue Chili

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I tell you this every time I post a recipe, but I’ll tell you again. I love to cook because it’s creative. There are generally so few activities that get us away from the computer, and allow us to use our hands. That is precisely why the kitchen is a welcome breath of fresh air.

Yesterday was a quiet day at home. I spent the morning with the ladies from Team In Training going for a Saturday morning jog, brunch and then drifted through my favorite local Farmer’s market at Lakeshore in Oakland.

On a Fall day with three hours to do as I choose there is no greater joy than pulling out the slow cooker and losing myself in some heavy duty chopping.

Dish purchased at Cost Plus World Market

Slow cooked food always tastes better. The dish soaks up all kinds of flavors given that it has more time to marinate. That being said, slow cooked chili is one of my favorite things to make. It opens up your pores just as much as a salsa dancing class would. And if you like spice and flavor, there’s no shortage of variations you can do. I like to kick the heat and spice into high gear. You can control how spicy the dish is with the optional ingredients listed below.

You don’t have to make this in a slow cooker but it adds a lot of flavor.

Smokey Chili Recipe Ingredients:

1 lb heirloom tomatoes (the fresher the better)
1/3 cup of smokey barbecue sauce
1 lb extra lean beef (organic if possible)
1 green bell pepper chopped
3 garlic cloves minced
1 yellow onion chopped
1 can of Cuban black beans
2 tablespoons of chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 tablespoon salt
1/3 cup low-fat cheddar cheese
2 cups low sodium chicken broth

Optional Chili ingredients:

1 cup Israeli cous cous or another grain to serve with
chili powder or chipotle seasoning [check out the Rancho Gordo Chili Powder found at the SF Ferry Building or Farmer’s Market]
2 Habanero Peppers

Directions:

1. Spray pan with olive oil spray or pam. On medium heat saute the chopped onions in garlic. Chop green pepper and add. Once soft, add ground beef and break up the meat in the pan. You might add some of your chicken broth to avoid having to use olive oil and keeping the meat moist.
2. Heat slow cooker and add in all chopped ingredients stirring every 45 minutes or so. Add water if soup is too thick. Heat on high for about 4 hours on high, or 8 hour on low.
3. Serve with Israeli cous-cous and a spritzel of cheese on top garnished with cilantro or fennel.

I always just use what I have in the fridge or pantry. There’s no sense in starting your car up and driving to the market for one small ingredient.

I garnished my soup with fennel rather than cilantro. Fennel, while probably an uncharacteristic garnish, still tastes wonderful. Frozen cilantro went into the soup but wouldn’t have looked very becoming on top of the meal.

I took one bite of this soup and melted on the kitchen floor. The fresh heirloom tomatoes from the farmer’s market and all the spices made this dish an absolute pleasure to eat.

And…

To dress the table for your meal, depicted below are a feast of Dahlias.


Heirloom tomatoes, golden beets, carrots and cucumbers from Lakeshore Farmer’s Market.  Fresh veggies make all the difference. Once you get your veggies directly from the farmers you won’t ever want to get your veggies from a plastic case at Trader Joe’s again. I promise you this.


Autumnal Jujube Jam

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I was walking through the Lakeshore farmer’s market one day and these circular brown apple impersonators caught my eye. They were hiding in a bin looking forbidden, so of course I went right over, picked up a handful, and asked myself what I could do with this forbidden fruit.

The jujube is a Chinese date that looks like a small brown apple and tastes just as sweet and a little tart.

Speaking of dates, this fruit is quite the charmer.

Apparently throughout Chinese history the fruit was believed to make teenagers fall in love. In the Himalaya and Karakoram regions, in order to impress the ladies, men would skip cologne and put the Jujube flower stem in their hat.

So perhaps all you fellas out there reaching for your Hugo Boss cologne, you might actually find what you are looking for at the farmer’s market.

Lastly I now know in a traditional Chinese wedding ceremony, historically the jujube was used in the newlyweds bedroom as a good luck charm for fertility–an invocation to “have an honored child soon.” In the Jewish religion we just brake a glass. Everyone has their tradish.

Jujubes are a great way to cleanse the palate after a meal. They are are rumored to help with sleep and stress. So with check marks in the love, rest and overall health category, you really can’t go wrong with the Jujube.

Today for you I made a Jujube Jam recipe. Say that three times fast.

Recipe Ingredients:

  • 30 Jujube fruits
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 tablespoon flour or quick-cooking tapioca
  • Grated zest of one lemon (juice of half a lemon)
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped crystallized ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • a pinch of salt (if you have lavendar salt use that-not completely necessary)

Jujube Jam Recipe Instructions

1. Chop jujubes so you cut the stems and seeds out.
2. Combine Jujube fruit in a steep pot or slow cooker.
3. Add all ingredients and cook on medium heat stirring every few minutes. Use lid if necessary.
4. Once jujubes are soft and mixture looks ready, take off the heat and let sit to cool
5. When the mixture is cool, put in food processor and mix on chopped. Grind down until smooth.
6. Serve

Here you see the jam served over greek plain yogurt with a small blueberry muffin. Eat on toast or, if you are throwing a party this season, serve with cheese and salty crackers! Enjoy.