Tuesday, December 15, 2009

An Avocado Adventure........

While looking through a magazine my mom and I saw something that made us both look at each other in agreement. We HAVE to make this for Jimi. If your wondering, Jimi is one of my very good friends, and also an Avocado-a-holic. The picture depicted a cheesecake green in color, and made with, now don't be too surprised, avocados. We went to the grocery store hoping to get some good avocados and thankfully when we cracked them open there they were, green and perfect.

Avocado Cheesecake with Walnut Crust


  • 1 cup graham cracker crumbs

  • 1 cup shelled walnuts, coarsely chopped

  • 1 tablespoon sugar

  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed anise seeds

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

  • 6 tablespoons butter, melted


  • 1 envelope unflavored gelatin

  • 1 lemon

  • 1-1/2 cups skim milk

  • 1/2 cup sugar

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 2 fully ripened Avocados from Mexico, halved, pitted, peeled and diced

  • 1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened and cut in pieces


Preheat oven to 350°F. To prepare crust: In bowl or food processor, combine graham cracker crumbs, walnuts, sugar, anise seeds and salt. Add butter; pulse until ingredients are thoroughly combined (will resemble wet sand). Press into bottom of 8-inch spring form pan; bake 15 minutes; cool completely.

To prepare filling: In cup, combine gelatin with 2 tablespoons water; let stand for 5 minutes. Using potato peeler, remove strips of lemon zest (yellow portion only). In small saucepan, combine milk, sugar, vanilla and lemon zest; bring to boil. Add gelatin; simmer until gelatin has completely dissolved, about 1 minute; strain. In food processor, place avocados and cream cheese. Pour hot milk mixture into processor; whirl until very smooth. Pour into pre-baked crust; cover and refrigerate until set, at least 2 hours. Remove side of pan. Serve with raspberry sauce, if desired.

Best when served the day of preparation. Any leftover cake should be securely covered with clear plastic wrap and refrigerated.

Recipe from: www.theamazingavocado.com

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Walnut Bread

One of my favorite things to bake, and one of the most time consuming to complete, is yeast bread. It's bizarre but I love the kneading you have to do and all the insane steps you have to follow. So as the mood strikes me to make a loaf or two, I jump on it. I'd seen this recipe for Walnut Bread in a Cooking Light magazine I quickly browsed through, the braiding giving it an especially appealing touch. I collected my ingredients, making sure I had some time to let it rise, and began. A few hours later the smell of fresh bread filled our house, making every one's mouth water. I sliced off a piece, still warm putting a bit of jelly on top. After hours of waiting, just that single piece makes it all worth while.

Walnut Bread:

  • 1 1/4 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 1 package dry yeast
  • 1/4 cup warm water (100-110 degrees)
  • 1 1/2 cups low-fat buttermilk
  • 6 tablespoons honey
  • 3 tablespoons canola oil
  • 4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, divided
  • 2 cups whole-wheat flour
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 cup finely chopped walnuts
  • cooking spray

1. Place oats in a food processor; pulse 8 times or until coarsely chopped. Combine chopped oats and 1 cup boiling water in a medium bowl; let stand 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

2. Dissolve yeast in 1/4 cup warm water in the bowl of a stand mixer; let stand 5 minutes. Add buttermilk to oat mixture, stirring to combine. Stir in honey and oil. Add the oat mixture to yeast mixture; mix with dough hook attachment until combined. Weigh or lightly spoon 13.5 ounces all-purpose flour (about 3 cups) and whole-wheat pastry flour in dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flours with salt. Add flour mixture to buttermilk mixture. Mix dough at medium speed 10 minutes or until smooth and elastic, adding remaining all-purpose flour, 1/4 cup at a time, to prevent dough from sticking to sides of bowl. Add walnuts; mix at medium speed just until combined.

3. Place dough in a large bowl coated with cooking spray, turning to coat top. Cover and let rise in a warm place (85°), free from drafts, 1 hour or until doubled in size. (Gently press two fingers into dough. If indentation remains, the dough has risen enough.)

4. Preheat oven to 400°.

5. Punch dough down; divide in half. Divide each half into 3 equal portions. Working with 1 portion at a time (cover remaining dough to keep from drying), shape each portion into a 14-inch rope. Place 3 ropes lengthwise on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray (do not stretch). Pinch ends together at one end to seal. Braid ropes, and pinch loose ends together to seal. Repeat procedure with remaining dough to form another braid. Cover and let rise 30 minutes or until doubled in size.

6. Spritz top and sides of loaves lightly with water from a spray bottle. Bake on center rack of oven at 400° for 28 minutes or until deep golden brown. Remove from pan; cool on wire rack.

Recipe from: www.myrecipes.com