Saturday, October 16, 2010

Chicken, Cheesecake, Octopus

I have definitely gotten back into my cooking groove, lately. It may have been sparked by the great Thanksgiving meal my HLM and I made last week (with not only pumpkin pie, but also accompanied by my favourite delicious banana bread.) My groove was certainly helped along with some excellent garlic-marinated barbequed pork chops with some homemade porcini mushroom sauce, a few nights ago. Sorry, no photos -- that food is all long gone, now.

Autumn appears to be in full swing, here, so tonight I decided I wanted some comfort food to warm myself up. I saw a recipe somewhere today for a chicken pot pie with leeks and mushrooms, and decided that I didn't really need a recipe to make it, so I came home and improvised this one. It didn't take that long, and I think it's going to be something I revisit again and again this winter.

I did wuss out and use a frozen pie crust. Don't judge me -- I made one from scratch for the pumpkin pie last week, I promise.

It looks a bit messier on the plate, but it still tasted pretty great. Just a hint of thyme and sage really fill out the flavours. Yum.

Then, last week I got a craving for cheesecake, so I pulled out a recipe for Vanilla Bean Cheesecake, taken from Junior's Deli in NYC. I have wanted to go there and eat their cheesecake ever since I learned of them in Tom Robbins' Still Life With Woodpecker:

Who knows how to make love stay?
  1. Tell love you are going to Junior's Deli on Flatbush Avenue in Brooklyn to pick up a cheesecake, and if love stays, it can have half. It will stay.
  2. Tell love you want a momento of it and obtain a lock of its hair. Burn the hair in a dime-store incense burner with yin/yang symbols on three sides. Face southwest. Talk fast over the burning hair in a convincingly exotic language. Remove the ashes of the burnt hair and use them to paint a mustache on your face. Find love. Tell it you are someone new. It will stay.
  3. Wake love up in the middle of the night. Tell it the world is on fire. Dash to the bedroom window and pee out of it. Casually return to bed and assure love that everything is going to be all right. Fall asleep. Love will be there in the morning.

But I digress. The main difference with a Junior's cheesecake is the crust -- you will find no graham wafers, here (and good riddance!) Junior's makes a very thin sponge cake for the crust, and then loads a bunch of delicious fluffy cheesecake on top. I have to admit that I was skeptical at every stage of this cheesecake. I wasn't sure that the crust turned out right, and then I wasn't sure that the cheesecake batter baked properly, and basically I just made it and crossed my fingers and stored it in the fridge overnight. The next day I cut myself a slice, and as the knife went through, I could tell it was going to be fluffy and perfect. I wish you could taste it. I am definitely a convert to the Junior's way of doing things.

Lastly, in knitting news, I have made an octopus. Okay, not quite -- only five arms, I know. I have finished knitting the main part of Girlie Friday, and have sewn the sleeve seams already (and tried it on, I will admit. I didn't want to take it off; the sleeves alone were so warm and cozy.) Tonight I will sew the side seams and then wet block it. Tomorrow I will pick up the stitches for the collar/front bands and see how that goes. On the home stretch!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

OK, so I suppose the Chicken Pot Pie is all gone but I will be there shortly for a piece of Cheesecake and to try on the reformed Octopus. Get your coat!!!