Week 3 brought several culinary treats to the Weekly Make. I was singed up to make dessert for our church's marriage group, which is called "Cheesecake and Chat." So naturally, I made cheesecake...well two actually...and one was a double batch...and my friend Rachel made a Kahlua Chocolate bundt cake. All told, it was a very yummy evening. The first cheesecake was a classic New York Style Cheesecake, which I served with cherry pie-filling topping.
Then I made a double batch of Mini Chocolate Peanut Butter Cheesecakes. (They each had a little surprise chocolate kiss inside!) I had every intention of making these beautiful little masterpieces, but the chocolate was being difficult. It couldn't decide whether it wanted to burn my hands through my pastry bag or cool and harden too quickly. So goodbye, swirls and stars and good intentions, and hello, simple tic-tac-toe squares. (The ones in the corners marked the poor attempts at more complicated decorations. I eventually gave up on them and just dumped a bunch of chocolate on top. I figure, when all else fails, more chocolate!)When I decided to make the peanut butter cheesecakes, Jason was a little sad that he wouldn't get an Irish Creme Cheesecake, so I made one of those, too...for our own consumption.Then Jason and I got invited over to a new friend's house for dinner. I asked if I could bring anything, secretly hoping they would need dessert so Jason and I wouldn't be eating cheesecake for all of eternity--not that that would be the worst fate. It turned out that they already had dinner and dessert covered but asked if I could bring a salad. Now when I entertain at home, I usually just get those lovely Fresh Express bagged salads that have the lettuce and the dressings and all of the little fixings in little bags that just need to be opened and tossed together. But these were new friends, so I wanted to make a good impression. I decided to make a spinach salad with strawberries, craisins, sunflower seeds, and candied walnuts with a raspberry vinaigrette dressing. I forgot to take a picture of the salad itself, but the dressing was so pretty that I couldn't resist. It had pureed raspberries (with the seeds strained out...which took forever), red wine vinegar, sugar, cinnamon, crushed cloves, and celery seeds. Delicious...and pretty, too.
But because the raspberry seeds took so long, I ran out of time for the dressing to cool properly. So Jason and I drove for about 20 minutes with the air conditioning on full blast with me holding the dressing up to the air vent...in February...in New England. By the time we got there, I was frantically trying to warm up my fingers (knowing I'd be meeting new people and would have to shake hands) and Jason's teeth were chattering. Note to self: always check the recipe for "cooling time." We had a lovely time eating together and playing games and meeting new friends. And then on the way home, I spilled the dressing all over myself. Awesome. But with some help from Shout, everything came out all right in the end.