Friday, October 5, 2012

Normal Beans and Favorite Cheescake

Because the purpose of this Table in the Wilderness is to feed distant loved ones 
as well as those close by, here are Special Requests for a faraway daughter.  
(With lots of hugs and kisses!!)

Normal Beans

Soak 2 cups dry beans in 8 cups water (or 1/2 cup beans in 2 cups water -- all that matters is the proportion 1 part beans to 4 parts water).  As for soaking, I have lately NOT soaked beans but just popped them right in the crock pot that morning and they cook up fine.  Supposedly you get more nutrients that way.  You may also get more gas.  You choose.

When you're ready to put everything into crockpot, put in:

4x as much water as the amount of beans (fresh water if you've soaked)
some chopped jalapeno
some chopped onion
some sprigs of cilantro

Let everything bubble away for hours and hours until beans are soft and delicious.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Sometimes I add smoked paprika or other interesting herbs.  But keeping it simple seems to be the key to success.

 We love Sam Stern and his cookbooks at our house.  Here's a recipe based on his recipe for cheesecake from his first book, Sam Stern's Cooking up a Storm:  the teen survival cookbook  
-- I can't wait to see the mango-passion fruit version!

Our Fave Cheesecake

14 graham crackers, give or take (or as Distant Daughter does, taste-appropriate cookies i.e. gingersnaps, windmills, chocolate wafers)
6 tablespoons butter
3 cups cream cheese
3/4 cups sugar
3 egg
a few drops vanilla extract
1 lemon
fruit for topping

  1. Preheat over to 300F. Use extra butter to grease 9-inch springform pan.
  2. Rolling pin or food processor to crackers until they're fine crumbs.
  3. Melt butter in small saucepan.  Add crumbs.  Stir to mix.  Press evenly to cover bottom of pan and put in fridge to firm up.
  4. Zest the lemon.  Add zest to cream cheese, sugar, eggs, vanilla, and a good squeeze of lemon juice.  Beat with wooden spoon.
  5. Pour filling into cake pan over the crumb crust.  Bake 35 to 40 minutes  Turn off oven and leave in there to cool and firm up, then chill for at least 2 hours.
  6. Decorate with fruit. Or cream and fruit. Or what have you . . .  :)

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