Savory Spinach and Parmesan Cheesecake
¾ stick butter, melted
¾ cup Panko bread crumbs
¼ cup shredded Parmesan cheese
2 shallots, chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
one (10-ounce) bag fresh baby spinach
1 bunch scallions
three (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
¼ cup sour cream
4 ounces goat cheese
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
½ cup shredded Swiss cheese
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
2. Mix the melted butter with bread crumbs and Parmesan and press into bottom of
9-inch spring form pan. Bake for 10 minutes.
3. Saute the shallots in the olive oil over medium heat until soft and lightly browned,
about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds. Remove from the
pan and place in a large bowl.
4. Add the spinach to the same pan, cover, and cook over medium-low heat for 3
minutes. Remove, pat dry. Chop and add to the shallots.
5. Chop the scallions and add them to the shallot and spinach mixture.
6. In a mixing bowl, beat the eggs on medium speed. Add the cream cheese, sour cream,
goat cheese, mustard, salt, pepper, cayenne, and dry mustard and mix for 10 to 15
seconds until well combined.
7. Add the Parmesan and Swiss cheeses and the spinach mixture to the eggs and mix on
low speed for 5 seconds.
8. Pour into the 9-inch spring form pan on top of the cooked bread crumbs and bake for
about an hour, until the center is set. Allow to cool for about 10 minutes before slicing.
I'm a sucker for colors. It's the artist in me. Walking through the grocery store isn't about sustenance but rather a source of inspiration for creativity. I look at produce in terms of colors. What colors can I combine that will give me contrasting flavors and textures?
Beets were the springboard here. The color is the most gorgeous of all produce! So I knew I wanted to slice and cook some beets in a sugar syrup. To that syrup I added my favorite liquor, St. Germain (elderflower) for a light floral note. Once the beets were done, I removed them and cooked some sliced fennel in the syrup. When the fennel was done, I placed it in a container with a straight St. Germain simple syrup (without the beet juice) and let the beets sit in the juice they were cooked in. I then added some sliced oranges to the syrup with the beets and let them both sit in the refrigerator for two days.
I had a package of fresh cranberries in the fridge. So I made a simple cranberry orange relish. Now, we need something to balance the obvious sweet, citrus and acidity. I thought that a vanilla bean Panna Cotta (from the cookbook) if it was poured into a sheet pan to set up could be cut into squares (next time I'll do circles using a biscuit cutter) to layer with the oranges. I froze the Panna Cotta so that it wouldn't compress when layered and thawed very quickly, which allowed me to plate several and were ready to serve at the right temperature within 15 minutes while remaining stable and upright.
When I tasted all of the ingredients after they macerated for a couple of days, I decided the beets were still a bit too savory for a fruit course. So I layered fresh orange, Panna Cotta, macerated orange, another slice of Panna Cotta, fresh orange and then a small dollop of the cranberry orange relish and topped that off with some of the candied fennel. A drizzle! That's what the plate needed. So I poured a few drops of the beet syrup into my straight St. Germain simple syrup for a slight purple tint and drizzled that around the plate. But now I needed crunch. So I lightly toasted (and very lightly salted) pecans and scattered them over the tower and around the plate. Topped off with a snip of a micro green and voila! - there's my fruit course. Everyone raved and not a drop came back on a plate. And fennel is not something everyone loves!
The only improvement I think would be a Tuile cookie or even a thin slice of biscotti. I'll work on that and report back.
The recipe in the book for the sauce that dresses the poached eggs is good. But I wanted more of it. And as you can see from the cookbook photo, the sauce was thick. I wanted more of a creamy, pourable consistency. So I decided to change it a bit. I first caramelized the poblanos and onions, then add heavy cream (in this 9 inch pan I added about a pint but this will serve 8 or so!) and reduce over medium heat until the sauce can coat the back of a spoon. Then I add the sour cream (to this amount I added about 3/4 of a cup), then a squeeze of fresh lemon juice, salt to taste and freshly cracked pepper. And then just before serving I add a drizzle of Fiore chipotle olive oil. Someone once told me "That sauce is so good I could bathe in it!". So below is a video to show you the desired consistency. Enjoy!
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And here's today's version (pardon the iPhone shot)! I use plenty of sauce so that it wilts the baby spinach I serve under the dish.
Come join me for a cookbook signing and samples of some goodies from the cookbook on Saturday, from 1-3!
I'll be offering something that you can make for friends and family, perfect for homemade, tasty holiday gifts that you can even ship!
Many of you know I'm an innkeeper at The Pomegranate Inn in Portland Maine's historic West End and all breakfasts guests enjoy are my recipes from the cookbook.
This matted award came as a surprise in today's mail! The Editor's Choice 2012 "Best Breakfast as an Art Form" in New England? What a huge honor and a fun category!
I'm excited to be part of this year's "Meet the Chefs" - I'll have my torch and samples, come visit me Saturday, February 18th. And if Durham New Hampshire is more convenient for you, I'll be there too, Saturday March 24th.
And starting in May, I'll be at the Stonewall Kitchen Cooking School teaching Brunch from my cookbook! Classes I'll be holding are May 27th, July 8th and August 12th. Schedule and menus coming soon!
This has long been a non-grapefruit eater converter! Give it a try...you'll see...