"Show me something pretty"

Friday, April 29, 2011

Quote of the Day

"When the sun comes up, I have morals again."

- Elizabeth Taylor

Foodie Friday: Cappuccino Cheesecake

Two of my favorite things, frothy, foamy cappuccinos and creamy cheesecake, come together in this recipe for cappuccino cheesecake that I found on Food52. Yum! If you haven't heard of the website, I recommend checking it out. Every week, the two editors create a recipe challenge (best dish with goat cheese, best Thanksgiving side, etc) and after testing out all the entries they pick a winner. The current contest (best dish with coffee) is between cappuccino cheesecake and late night coffee brined chicken. Is that even a competition?

Here's the recipe along with its creater's notes.

Imagine the perfect cup of cappuccino: frothy froth on top with a sprinkle of cocoa, creamy rich coffee with a touch of sweetness underneath, and that "Ahhh," that you can't help sighing. That is how I imagine this cheesecake.

I garnish the whipped cream top with chocolate covered coffee beans, then grate unsweetened chocolate over the surface of the whipped cream. I like the touch of bitterness with the sweet cream as it yields to the coffee flavor in the filling.

Definitely plan to make your cheesecake 24 hours before you plan to serve it. It's important that it have ample time to cool completely and set up.

And one more note: to safely remove the baking sheet full of hot water from the oven after removing the cheesecake, just leave the oven door open until the water has cooled enough that you can handle it without burning yourself. - boulangere

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Put a kettle of water on the stove to heat.
  2. Stir together crumbs, 2 ounces granulated sugar, cocoa powder, melted butter, and pinch of salt until fully blended. Spread evenly over the bottom of a 10" springform pan, then press very firmly all over.
  3. If eggs are not at room temp, fill a bowl with warm (not hot) water and soak them for 5 minutes, then remove. You'll be making an emulsion with the cream cheese, sugar, and eggs, and your results will be much better if all ingredients are at room temp. For cream cheese, I let it sit out overnight.
  4. Measure cream cheese and 12 ounces granulated sugar into bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle. Mix on lowest speed until fully blended and no lumps of cream cheese remain. Stop mixer, drop bowl and scrape very thoroughly around sides and bottom. Raise bowl and mix to blend what you scraped loose.
  5. Crack eggs into a bowl. With mixer running on lowest speed, tip one at a time into mixer bowl. This is your emulsion; take your time and allow each to be fully incorporated before adding the next. After all eggs have been added, once again stop mixer, drop bowl and scrape very thoroughly around sides and bottom then raise bowl and mix to blend what you scraped loose.
  6. Warm 1/2 cup cream in a microwave just enough so that you can dissolve the coffee in it. Stir to blend, then add to filling mixture along with vanilla. Mix on lowest speed until fully incorporated.
  7. If your springform pan is prone to leaking, you may want to wrap the outside with foil. Turn filling into pan. Set pan in the center of a rimmed baking sheet. Set the baking sheet on center rack in oven with front edge protruding slightly. Carefully pour hot water into baking sheet until it comes almost to the lip of the sheet. Gently slide it the rest of the way into the oven. Bake for 45-55 minutes. Start watching it carefully at 45 minutes. Custards are done when you can bump the edge of the baking vessel and the contents will, I'm not making this up, jiggle like jello, not wiggle like a wave.
  8. When done, remove cheesecake pan from oven and allow to cool to room temp before refrigerating overnight. The next day, run some warm water into a sink and set the cheesecake pan in it for a few seconds. Remove to a towel and run a narrow spatula all the way around edge. Release and remove springform ring. Whip remaining cream with powdered sugar and spread over top of cheesecake. Arrange chocolate covered coffee beans evenly around edge, then grate unsweetened chocolate over the top -- as much as you like.
  9. The best way to cut a cheesecake is with a hot, wet, flat-bladed knife (not a curved chef's knife). Run your blade under hot water, shake it off slightly, make a cut, then repeat for as many slices as you need, being sure to rinse all cheesecake off before making the next cut.
  10. Serve with a steaming cup of espresso.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Quote of the Day

"Give a girl the right shoes and she can conquer the world."

- Marilyn Monroe

* image via Vogue

Travel Tuesday: Vogue's 5 Picks for Spring Nights

Vogue may be primarily known as a fashion magazine, but its website is chockfull of fantastic dining and travel tips. This week's piece of interest is their spring picks for wining and dining in New York with the young and beautiful. Take a look!

First up is Mr. H at the Mondrian. Voted best place to "look for models off duty", it certainly lived up to its reputation after this past Fashion Week, when designers and models clamored to its still unfinished dance floor night after night.

If you're more the foodie type, then Andrew Carmellini's The Dutch is the hotspot for you. Chef Carmellini's aim is to reinterpret the definition of "American" food. But don't expect cheeseburgers and apple pie. Though there is fried chicken on the menu, Carmellini wants to expand upon the idea of American food and incorporate the vast array of ethnic foods that are entering the landscape of American fine-dining. Don't know what barrio tripe or lamb neck mole is? After this Spring, those dishes will be standard Americana fare.

If you consider yourself an expert in cocktails, head on over to the Bar Downstairs at Andaz Hotel. Its elegant surrounding attract fashion editors and the like, but it's the drinks that give this underground bar its edge. Sick of the ho-hum G&T? Vogue recommends the Mexican Firing Squad which includes tequila, lime, pomegranate molasses, and angostura bitters.

Come springtime, there's nothing better than shedding your layers and heading outside for balmy nights and delicious drinks. With 360 degree views of downtown Manhattan, floor-to-ceiling windows, and a chic rooftop pool and patio, Jimmy at the James Hotel in the perfect spring and summer venue. If that isn't stylish enough, the bar's signature drink is the Chanel No. 5. I wonder what that tastes like...

If you can find the discrete garage door entrance, then you're in the right place. Tacombi at Fonda Nolita is the ultimate "dine and dash" place according to Vogue and I can see why. Behind the garage door is a vintage VW bus that dishes out achiote-marinated pork shoulder and corn-and-poblano tacos. If you can stay awhile, sip on hibiscus iced tea among the potted tropical plants and join in on one of the many backgammon games.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Quote of the Day

"He's lucky to be going out with me!"

- Kate Middleton

The Countdown Begins...

With only one week to go until William and Kate's wedding (!), I thought it would be perfect to have an all things British post today. To kick things off, I've started with an image of the royal wedding procession. Enjoy!

* images via Saved by the Southern Belle, Jer Life Aquatic, Habitually Chic, and All Things Stylish

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Quote of the Day

"Pink is the navy blue of India."

- Diana Vreeland

Passage to India

So this is a blatant rip-off of Habitually Chic's post today, but I just couldn't resist sharing it with you all. Of course I love the elephants, but it's really all the colors that are keeping me captivated. Jackie typically loved to wear neutrals, but in India she went all out with Oleg Cassini's specially designed pinks, yellows, and oranges. Makes me dying to visit India even more...

* all images via Habitually Chic