Thursday, January 19, 2017

my NO BAKE cheesecakes, yeah, I do them in jars so that not only do I not have to cook but i can simply reach into the fridge and open a jar of cheesecake, c'mon, is there anything better?

This basic no bake cheesecake recipe can be used as a jumping off point for your own creativity or made as is and enjoyed by all. It's quick, easy and most of all, completely delicious

We are going to make cheesecake today.  There are a handful of ingredients that I'm sure you have in your fridge.  We aren't going to bake it.  We are mixing, dividing, chilling and eating and then, I will be your very best friend.

Trust me here. I haven’t led you astray yet and I am on a mission not to. I could wax poetic about how delicious these ridiculous little tarts are but I could never, and I mean never, do them justice. Check your fridge, be sure you have the ingredients. I’d be shocked if you didn’t, and make them, now!

You will need some sort of vessel to hold these little darlings. My favorite is the 3” springform pan, this will make two.  You can make a quick graham cracker crust for each. I confess, today I cheated and used the 6 mini graham cracker tart pans from the store, $1.49, I didn’t think I could make them cheaper to be honest. Another option is the 8” graham cracker crust. Go with what you like here.

Another option to contain this most delicious filling is to use no crust at all, try diving the mixture between ramekins, your choice on size or number and chilling.  When you serve, that's when your creative juices can flow.  Feel like fruit?  Add some on top.  Granola will allow you and your friends to pretend this is health food.  Try nuts, pecans work beautifully (because I am in Texas and you become morally obligated to only use pecans when you live here, determining addition uses for pecans is also on the entry exam I think). Walnuts are a good alternative and less expensive generally.  Cookie or graham cracker crumbs on top give crunch and the feeling of a crust without having to do any real crust work.



Cheesecake filling

1/2 cup whipping cream
8 oz cream cheese (room temperature)
1 TB lemon juice
zest from about half a lemon
1/4 cup or less sugar
pinch of salt

Cracker crumb base

2 graham crackers, crushed
1 tbsp room temperature butter (no need to melt)
pinch of salt
1 Tbsp sugar


Combine cracker crumbs and butter and salt and sugar and divide between 4 mason jars as a base or use a whole premade base, it's all your choice here... 

In bowl 1
Whip half a cup of whipping cream to gentle firm peaks (just use a whisk, even *I* can whip half a cup to peaks without fretting or tears)

In bowl 2, BEAT until smooth and creamy, completely smooth and creamy
8 oz room temperature cream cheese

THEN beat in;

1 Tablespoon lemon juice and the zest from about half the lemon
1/4 cup sugar 
pinch of salt

Add Bowl 1 to Bowl 2 gently and mix (fold) them together so that the whipped cream doesn’t completely deflate.  If seeing the word "fold" in a recipe sends you screaming from the room, you aren't feeling chef-y or don't get the whole idea of folding, basically, just stir them gently together until they are just combined.  Spoon into whatever vessel strikes your fancy and put in the fridge to chill/firm up.
Grate some lemon zest over it to make it look pretty and then get online and let me know how crazy delicious, smooth, creamy, tart, sweet, crunchy, lemony and wonderful you think this is.  Really, I'll be waiting.

Go make this...  you're going to be delighted

My pictures got corrupted so I'll just have to make more and take more pics so they are to follow!


Tuesday, January 17, 2017

PressureCooker InstantPot Bangers (sausages) and Onion gravy to be smothered over your favorite mashed potatoes

I love bangers and mash.  I love sausages in a thick, rich, onion gravy.  I love it smothering mashed potatoes.  Yeah there's not much that makes me happier, culinarily speaking of course.

Sausages are cheap, potatoes are cheap, frozen peas and fresh onions, super cheap. 

I am suffering miserably with allergies in the Air Plague of Austin, Texas, 2017, half the population can't breathe or speak without coughing up a lung.  I am living in that musty area between and am suffering with both.  I want warm, squishy, food and don't want to watch an oven or DO much.

Hello Mr. PressureCooker, let's play





Sausages, you favorite.  I am using Italian, medium, 5, cut in half
olive oil
2 large onions
water/broth/combo, 10 oz
worcestershire sauce
2 tb cornstarch
1/4 cup water


Turn on the pot, saute setting, fry the sausages around
Add onion, spices, fry around a bit
Add liquid
LOCK AND LOAD high pressure 18 minutes
OPEN when timer is done, if you want thicker sauce; combine 2 TB cornstarch and 1/4 cup water in a glass, add to boiling liquid, a little at a time, until desired thickness.
Turn off pot, cover, leave till dinner.


Turn the pot on to SAUTE and add a little olive oil.
Remember that always and you will never have food stick.  So, preheat the oil then drop your sausauges in, I cut mine in half, don't if you don't want to.  I used 5 Italian Sausages, medium.

OH look how they're looking, when they're sort of brown, add pepper then add cut onion and shush them around a bit, pepper the onions and cook them for a minute or so.  ALWAYS cut your onion for this pole to  pole, that way they will not go stringy.    Cut the top and bottom off the onion (north and south pole)  Cut through the middle of the onion (the equator) then slice the onion with the knife going north to south into pieces as thick as you'd like.

Add salt, thyme, sage, stir around and then add a little worcestershire sauce.

Add 10 oz liquid, water, broth, combo... I have a little bisto added and a secret ingredient that if I told you, my family would never eat it again so just leave it... add water/broth or your favorite liquid combo.  LOCK AND LOAD, manual for 18 minutes

When the times goes, turn the cooker off and wait 10 minutes then release the pressure.  The reason?  when the timer went off, the dog started having an issue outside so I needed to go deal with it so, I turned the pot off and went outside to help him for about 10 minutes.  You can quick release if you want, this is cooking, not brain surgery :) 

OPEN the pot, oh man this smells good and the sauce is so sausage-y, much more than if you fry these on the stovetop or even bake them.  Wow.  ANYWAY

Turn the pot to SAUTE and bring back to a quick boil.  I want my gravy thicker so I mixed a TB of cornstarch with about 1/4 cup water and added it, a little bit at a time, stirring and waiting till it comes back to the boil each time, until it was the thickness I want.

Stirr, sample, stir, sample.  OH it's rich and thick, man I love this. I think it needed more pepper

OK, done.  I put the lid back on, pushed it back, turned it off... it'll stay warm in there for hours.  Dinner is in about 2 hours for me so I'll make some mashed potatoes and serve it up.  I'll add the purely for beauty shots in a couple hours.  FOR NOW, grab some sausages, onion and the instantpot and let's get everyone eating this delicious, cheap, easy, rib sticking, tummy warming and absolutely fabulous meal.


OK, here's the beauty shots



Friday, January 13, 2017

Fromage Frais (Fromage Blanc) in the pressure cooker ... I have an InstantPot with a BOIL setting baby!

OK OK yes, I did the yogurt thing in the pressure cooker, pretty groovy.  You can do the same on the stove and it actually takes a little less time BUT you do have to sort of babysit it so I am on fully on team pressure cooker yogurt.  I'll do that post separately.

I ALSO love the boil setting because I can make my fromage frais in it too.  Yeah. It's a quick cheese that you can make creamy, you can add to it to make it savory OR sweet, (I love it with strawberries blended in)

HERE I am merely telling you the math of it, I'll add pictures later but for now...  it's all about the words



1/2 gallon (8 cups) whole milk
1/2 cup yogurt (hey, you can make yogurt in your pressure cooker and just save some)
SCANT 1/2 cup lemon juice.


IN the instantpot, add the milk to the pot and hit BOIL
When the milk hits 125, turn off the cooker
Let it cool a little bit then add the yogurt and lemon juice.

Leave it all to rest about 10-15 minutes

Turn the cooker on BOIL again, without stirring, and let it come up to temp again.

Lift the curds out and put them in a sack cloth/ cheesecloth lined strainer, SAVE THE LIQUID, it's AMAZING to use in all cooking recipes that use liquid of any kind.

Tie the fabric above the curds, run a spoon or rolling pin through and hang until the cheese stops shedding liquid.

Tip into a bowl and chill...  I tip it out onto a board and drizzle with oil and herbs... OR you can mix the herbs in and use it as a dip with good bread or veggies... it's SO versatile!

Go make it...

just another way to use up all that instant pot yogurt we're all making HAHAHA


ok, here's the pics... 
throw the milk in the pressure cooker, set to boil and bring to 125

ADD 1/2 cup of your delicious homemade yogurt and a SCANT cup lemon juice, stir in, leave 10 mins
TURN THE COOKER ON to boil,  use a spatula to give it a gentle stir and leave it to come to a boil
 Nothing happens... THEN SOMETHING HAPPENS!!  the whey separates out...
You can see the solids ad the liquid split at the moment of the boil.  Turn the cooker off and strain the solids into a strainer, coffee filter lined or fabric, doesn't matter.
let it strain a bit, squeeze the liquid out with a cloth till it's dry curds.  SAVE THE LIQUID and use it to make bread, use it a million ways, google it :) how to use whey!
Add salt, herbs and pepper to the cheese
 Add some olive oil and mix till you like the texture
I add a little cream to smooth it out a bit
Mix till it comes together, cover, chill... EAT!

it's basically ricotta but also known as fromage frais, fromage blanc, farmers cheese, there's a hundred names but this is my version of herbed fromage frais, using my homemade yogurt.