Friday, March 28, 2008

Spring Soiree!

We're getting ready to host a special party for our friend and colleague, Kahle. As you may recall (see photos from Cheesecake posting below), Kahle was our first studio guest on the Gourmet Again! cooking show.

We will receive extra help from Tara, who'll be acting as my aide-de-cuisine throughout the festivities. Very exciting! I've never had an assistant in the kitchen. Well, Ron helps out plenty!

On the Menu (I'll post pix, recipes and stories after the soiree):

Sun-Dried Tomato Spread (vegan for those who care)
Olive Mix
Breads and Little Toasties
Cheesy Spinach Mini Phyllo Cups

Chipotle BBQ Beef
Teriyaki Ahi Tuna
BBQ Shrimp
Chicken, both Teriyaki and BBQ
Lemon-Dill Salmon
Onions, Carrots, Broccoli, Zucchini, Cauliflower

Blueberry-Lemon Cheesecake Bars
Java-Spiked Pudding Cake (Ron's special request)

Pompagne (sparkling Pomegranate Martinis!)

Wow, I've got my work cut out for me! Most of the preparations and cleaning will take place this evening after dinner, with Ron's help, of course. Then tomorrow, we can hit the farmer's market for incredible veggies from my favorite vendors, and last minute items from TJ's and Spencer's. Ron will light the grill when the guests arrive, and voila! A super soiree begins!

Oh, two more important notes. First, we will be taping the prep and party for another episode of Gourmet Again! Second, we're having live music by my guitar student and band mate, Dominick. He's 11 years old and he is going to rock the place and make everyone feel extra special and festive!

See you here after the party!

Sunday, March 9, 2008

BlipsWerx Channel on YouTube: Update

I'm excited that after sending out emails about our latest Cheesecake making episode of "Gourmet Again!," we've gotten nearly 300 more YouTube video views on our BlipsWerx Channel!

We're not into 7 digits yet, but definitely working our way up the YouTube ladder.

With YOUR help, of course, dear viewers!

From all of us  ; )  here at BlipsWerx Productions, THANK YOU!

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Chocolate-Mint Cheesecake!

Last weekend was all about celebrating: friends, food, and CHOCOLATE MINT CHEESECAKE! We shot our latest episode of "Gourmet Again!" with our first studio guests, Kahle and Gavin. 

(I adapted this recipe from my Cooking Club of America magazine, Cooking Pleasures).


1 (9 oz.) box - 2 cups - Chocolate Cookie Crumbs 
6 Tbsp. Unsalted Butter, melted 
6 oz. Semi-Sweet Chocolate, chopped 
3 (8 oz.) packages Cream Cheese, softened 
1 cup Sugar 
4 Eggs, room temperature 
1 cup Sour Cream 
2 Tsp. Vanilla Extract 
1 Tsp. Peppermint Extract   
6 oz. Semi-Sweet Chocolate, finely chopped 
1/3 cup Whipping Cream 
2 Tbsp. Unsalted Butter, cut up 
1 Tbsp. Light Corn Syrup
1/2 Tsp. Peppermint Extract 


Heat oven to 350°F. In medium bowl, stir together cookie crumbs and melted butter until crumbs are evenly moistened. Press evenly into bottom and 1 inch up sides of pan. Bake 6 to 8 minutes or until set; cool on wire rack. 

Place 6 oz. chopped chocolate in medium heatproof bowl; transfer bowl to a saucepan of simmering water (about 1 inch). Stir frequently until chocolate is smooth and melted; remove bowl from saucepan and set aside. 

In large bowl, beat cream cheese and sugar with mixer at low speed until smooth. Mix in 2 of the eggs just until combined; repeat with remaining 2 eggs. Scrape down sides of bowl. Blend in sour cream and vanilla. 

Reserve 2 cups of batter in another medium bowl; stir in 1 teaspoon peppermint extract and set aside. 

Stir melted chocolate into batter in large bowl until completely blended; pour into crust. Bake 35 minutes. 

Carefully pour reserved peppermint batter evenly over baked layer. Bake 25 minutes or until edges are puffed and top is dry to the touch. 

Center should move slightly when pan is jiggled, but should not ripple as if liquid. Remove and place on wire rack; cool to room temperature, about 2 hours. 

Meanwhile, heat 1 inch of water in medium saucepan. Place 6 oz. finely chopped chocolate in another large heat-proof bowl with cream, 2 tablespoons butter and 1 tablespoon corn syrup. Place bowl in saucepan and heat over medium-low heat, stirring until mixture is smooth and glossy. Remove bowl from saucepan. Stir in 1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract. Cool to room
temperature, about 1 hour. 

Pour glaze over cooled cheesecake in pan, spreading evenly over top. 

Cover and refrigerate at least 6 hours before serving. Cheesecake can be made up to 3 days ahead. Store in refrigerator. 

Chef’s Notes: Use organic, non-GMO ingredients whenever possible! Try using chocolate graham crackers or Girl Scout Thin Mint cookies for the crust. I use organic “Bunny Grahams.”

The Chocolate-Mint Cheesecake received RAVE reviews from "Gourmet Again!" studio guests Gavin and Kahle (pictured here about to take another "mint-tacular" bite). 

See Kahle and Gavin in the two-part episode on the BlipsWerx Channel!

Also weighing in with dessert kudos: our neighbors Bob and sons Justin and Josh, plus several of Ron's co-workers!

; ) We even saved a 3-inch square for ourselves!