Zina's Produce

  (Williamsburg, Virginia)
A Country Affair Farm
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Ploughing ,planting and dreaming! And yet another strawberry recipe!

My husband Gary has been busy ploughing the garden for his beautiful flowers and vegetables. Nine years of working this soil and it is finally perfect for what we grow. The girls (hens) had their hand at it after he was done. We have clay soil so it has been a challenge. We are now starting the process of becoming certified organic. We have plans for a you- pick-it fig farm, and local organic flowers. Great for summer weddings! We had another great day of weather. It makes me feel compelled to buy seeds, all the time! I love em, can't get enough. If I am not buying seeds or plants, I am looking in seed catalogues. We are growing beets for the first time this year. I bought some red and white striped Seed Saver type. One of my produce customers brought me some brown leafed lettuce from Monticello .Lettuce is one thing that really loves our soil. Last year we did a "Pick Your Own Salad Day" and the kids picked a cucumber, lettuce and a few radishes. They really enjoyed pulling those babies out of the ground. Who doesn’t? It is great fun. Swiss Chard is a new fav. with me, especially the rainbow. Not much can contend with the beauty of the Sun shining thru rainbow Swiss Chard. With strawberry season right around the corner, I have included yet another recipe (like you could ever have enough, right?)Enjoy! This recipe is a no bake cheese cake that is out of this world! You do have to put the crust in oven for 10 min. Great for this time of year. You can serve this cake 4 hrs after you make it,but it is best if made the day before. This recipe is adapted from the chef Curtis Stone.

                         No Bake Strawberry Cheese Cake

For the Crust:
1 cup very fine graham cracker crumbs (from 7 1/2 rectangular graham crackers; 4 ounces)
2 tablespoons sugar
5 1/ tablespoons unsalted butter melted
nonstick baking spray
For the Filling:
1 1/2 teaspoons unflavored gelatin
1/4 cup water
2 8-ounce packages cream cheese (room temperature)
1 cup cottage cheese (pressed through strainer)
1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
1/4 cup sugar
1 large egg yolk
8 ounces fresh strawberries (hulled and thinly sliced)
For the Topping:
1/3 cup water
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
12 ounces fresh strawberries (hulled and quartered)
2 teaspoons 10- to 20-year aged balsamic vinegar
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Place the graham crackers crumbs and sugar in a medium bowl.

Slowly mix in the melted butter to form a wet sandy texture and until the mixture clumps when squeezed together.

Spray the sides and bottom of a 9-inch-diameter springform cake pan with nonstick baking spray then line with parchment paper.

Press the crumbs onto the bottom of the prepared pan. Place the pan on a baking sheet and bake until the crust is pale golden brown about 10 minutes. Set aside to cool the crust completely before filling.

To Prepare the Filling:

Sprinkle the gelatin into a small saucepan. Pour the water over the gelatin and swirl to blend. Let stand until the gelatin softens about 5 minutes.

Blend the cream cheese in a food processor until smooth and creamy scraping down the sides and bottom of the mixing bowl occasionally to ensure no lumps remain.

Add the cottage cheese and continue to blend until smooth and creamy.

Add the sweetened condensed milk sugar and egg yolk and blend well. Set aside.

Stir the gelatin mixture over medium heat until the gelatin dissolves about 1½ minutes.

With the food processor running slowly pour the hot melted gelatin mixture through the feed tube and into the cream cheese mixture in a thin stream.

Continue to process to ensure the gelatin is very well blended.

Transfer the cream cheese mixture to a bowl and fold in the strawberries.

Pour the cream cheese mixture into the prepared crust.

Refrigerate until the cheesecake is cold and set preferably 1 day.

Carefully peel away the parchment paper from around the sides of the cheesecake
Using the small offset spatula loosen the crust from the bottom of the cake pan and the paper. Using 1 or 2 long wide spatulas remove the cheesecake from pan bottom and transfer the cake to a cake plate. You can use the small spatula or a knife to smooth the sides of the cheesecakes if necessary.

Spoon strawberries on top for garnish.
Cut the cake into wedges and transfer to plates. Drizzle the balsamic vinegar over the cheesecake and serve.

Sounds wierd but the clash between the strawberries and the balsamic vinegar is wonderful.

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