1/21/2022

Rumchata Cheesecake

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Last week I was surfing the web for something new, festive and sweet to end our Get me out of the cold themed menu and with that, tropical beaches and poolside cocktails came to mind. I stumbled on a few contenders, but this one ultimately won because, well, I have never tasted RumChata before and I was intrigued.  What's not to like about a little booze, cream and spices in a luscious creamy dessert?  

As usual, I do have to talk about and point out a few things in the recipe. First up, the crust. The original recipe called for a certain cinnamon toast cereal which is not something I keep in my pantry.  I like a more traditional graham cracker crust for cheesecakes, so I thought I would go with tradition and add a little bit of cinnamon to the mixture. Well, let me tell you that when I was at the store, I strolled down the cereal isle out of curiosity and low and behold there was a new kid on the block; CinnaGraham Toast Crunch Cereal™. I could not believe it! I don't buy sugary cereals like that, but I decide to make an exception and I am glad I did.

The original recipe also called for a sour cream topping and a caramel drizzle, but I opted for a cinnamon sugar shake all over, a homemade caramel sauce (because I had some in the refrigerator but store bought can be used) and a lightly sweetened whipped cream that I used to pipe rosettes around the finished cake. All of these made for a beautiful presentation and certainly added to the taste!  After his first bite, my husband declared this to be one incredible cheesecake!

1/19/2022

Papaya Pomegranate Guacamole

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Have you ever heard a cook say, "One can never have too many _______ recipes"? Well, I think guacamole would fill in that blank rather well. That green goodness of the fruit world can be simply made  a very traditional way with just onion, garlic and lime, but it can also be married with a multitude of other fruits and vegetables to be transformed from an ordinary to extraordinary guacamole. How about Guacamole with Pico de Gallo or Mango Guacamole or Tomatillo and Poblano Guacamole? I have even shared Avocado Dressed Shrimp a la Mexicana which is pretty much guacamole with shrimp?And those are just the ones that I have shared thus far!

This particular guacamole is especially nice this time of year when tomatoes are not at their peak, but citrus and tropical fruits are looking good.  Papaya are wonderfully sweet and tender fruits that pair nicely with the richness of avocado. I like to use the smaller Hawaiian variety instead of the Mexican kind (it is just my preference). As for the pomegranate seeds or arils, you can seed a pomegranate yourself using my kitchen tip HERE or most stores this time of year carry arils already packaged. I think some type of chile is a must in guacamole because it balances the richness of the avocado and sweetness from other fruits and veggies.  I do indicate that you can use serrano or jalapeƱo peppers.  Serranos are typical hotter than jalapeƱos, but to be honest, you really never know what the heat level from either will be until you take a taste test.

The obvious serving suggestion is a nice bag of tortilla chips, but get creative and use it as a topping or a spread. I think this recipe might be nice topped on a roasted sweet potato or spread on a chicken sandwich.  However you serve it, I do hope you enjoy it!

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