Tuesday, September 8, 2009

confetti orzo salad and chocolate cheesecake

We brought these two dishes to a party on Saturday and they were huge hits!

Confetti Orzo Salad

1 box of orzo
2 chicken bouillon cubes (add this to the water you cook the orzo in)
1/2 cup of the following finely chopped:
red pepper
yellow pepper
grape tomatoes (sliced in half)

3/4 crumbled queso cheese (or goat cheese would work here too)

3/4 olive oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
2 tbs of Penzy's "country french vinaigrette" spice
the zest from one lemon
1 tsp sugar

cook orzo and drain
mix the dressing and toss with pasta
add the veggies toss then the add the crumbled cheese

Brenna had a HUGE bowl of this before we even left the house! Kids love how colorful and the since the cheese is super mild, the flavors of everything really mesh well.

this is best when served at room temperature

The Cheesecake:

For the crust:
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs (10 crackers)
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
For the filling:
8-12 ounces milk chocolate
1 tablespoon instant espresso coffee
1 3/4 pounds cream cheese, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
3 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
1/2 cup sour cream, at room temperature
For the ganache:
2 cups of semi-sweet chocolate chips or a bar chopped
1/2 cup heavy cream
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

To make the crust:
Place the graham cracker crumbs, melted butter and cinnamon in a food processor fitted with a steel blade and pulse until combined. Pour into a 9-inch springform pan. With your hands, press the crumbs into the bottom of the pan. Bake for 12 minutes. Cool to room temperature.

Meanwhile, chop the bittersweet chocolate and place it in a heat-proof bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Add the espresso and stir until just melted. Set aside until cooled to room temperature.

To make the filling:
Cream the cream cheese, sugar, cornstarch, vanilla and almond extracts and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment on medium-high speed until light and fluffy. Reduce the speed of the mixer to medium and add the eggs, 1 at a time, mixing well. Scrape down the bowl and beater, as necessary. With the mixer on low, add the sour cream, and the cooled chocolate mixture. Mix thoroughly and pour into the cooled crust.

Bake for 1 hour. Turn the oven off and allow the cake to sit in the oven with the door opened wide for 1 1/2 hours. Take the cake out of the oven and allow it to sit at room temperature, until completely cooled.

For the ganache:
Finely chop the semisweet chocolate and place it in a heat-proof bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Add the cream and stir until just melted. Set aside until cooled to room temperature.

Remove the cake from the springform pan by carefully running a hot knife around the outside of the cake. Leave the cake on the bottom of the springform pan for serving. Pour the ganache over the top of the cheesecake. Chill for another hour before serving for the ganache to set.

1 comment:

  1. That orzo is so pretty - especially on the cutting board. Is it wrong that I judge recipes by how "pretty" they are?