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Monday, January 20, 2014

A Frank Quickie: Chocolate Peanut Butter Cheesecake

A couple of years ago, for my wife's birthday, I attempted to make a chocolate peanut butter cheesecake. Something went wrong, and when I went to unlatch the springform pan, the cheesecake collapsed into a pile! Not wanting to be empty-handed for her birthday dinner, I tried my best to salvage it; I slid the mess onto a baking sheet and baked a while longer to try to get it more set. What resulted is what has henceforth been known as "Birthday Pile"! I went ahead and glazed it with the ganache, and placed her candles juxtaposed all over the pile. It's been quite the joke, ever since. 

Well, this year, I thought I would try to replicate the Birthday Pile. Much to my pleasure and surprise, the cheesecake came out perfect! When I posted this picture on the Facebook page, I had several requests for the recipe. And here it is! 

Note: In full disclosure, the following recipe is not a Frank original. It is a recipe I found online. Unfortunately, I cannot remember the website upon which I found it, in order to give proper credit. 

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cheesecake
2 C. graham cracker crumbs
1/3 C. firmly packed brown sugar
1/3 C. butter, melted

Chocolate Layer:
6 oz. semi-sweet chocolate
6 Tblsp. butter
1/2 C. sugar
2 eggs
2 Tblsp flour

Peanut Butter Layer
3 - 8 oz pkg cream cheese
1 1/2 C. firmly packed brown sugar
3/4 C. creamy peanut butter
3 eggs
1 egg yolk
1/3 C. heavy cream

Chocolate Ganache:
3 oz. semi-sweet chocolate
2 Tblsp heavy cream 

mini peanut butter cups (or chopped regular size)

1.  Preheat oven to 300°F. 

2.  In a small bowl, combine cracker crumbs and brown sugar. Add melted butter, stirring to 
     combine. Press crust into the bottom and 1 inch up sides of a 9 inch springform pan. Bake 
     for 6 minutes; let cool. 

3.  In a medium bowl, combine chocolate and butter. Microwave on high in 30 second intervals, 
     stirring between each, until the chocolate is melted and smooth (about 1.5 minutes). 

4.  Whisk in sugar, eggs, and flour until combined. Pour into bottom of cooled crust. Bake for 
     15 minutes; let cool. 

5.  In a large bowl, beat cream cheese and brown sugar at medium speed with an electric 
     mixer until creamy. Beat in peanut butter until combined. Beat in eggs and egg yolk, one at 
     a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in cream. Pour over cooled chocolate layer,    
     and bake for 1 hour 15 minutes. Remove from oven, and gently run knife around edges to 
     release crust from sides of pan. Let cool completely. NOTE: I would use a water bath to 
     ensure even baking, and prevent the cracked surface. 

6.  In a small bowl, combine the chocolate and cream. Microwave on high in 30 second 
     intervals, stirring between each, until the chocolate is melted and smooth (about 1 minute, 
     total). Spread over cooled cheesecake. Top with garnish. Refrigerate at least 8 hours 
     before serving. 

Monday, January 13, 2014

Frank About... Meatless Mondays!

During World War I, American families were urged to cut back on consumption of some staple foods to help support the war effort. Several slogans were used to promote this idea, including "Meatless Monday". This support tactic made a reappearance through rationing during the second World War.

In 2003, Meatless Monday was launched as a health awareness campaign. It is promoted with the idea that cutting out meat for even one day a week, can create healthier people and a healthier planet. Meatless Mondays have gained in popularity over the past several years, especially with the growth of social media, and has also been accepted internationally.

Through Frank About Food, I'd like to make meatless recipes available, so if you would like to participate in Meatless Mondays, you have more options. Today begins a series of recipes that will be posted every two to three weeks, from chefs and vegetarian acquaintances of mine, that are sure to inspire you. Enjoy!

To learn more about Meatless Monday, click on over to the official website, here.

Today's debut recipe comes from the Chef/Owner Jason Miller of Instant Karma Gourmet Hot Dogs in Joplin, Missouri. You can read more about Instant Karma here: Instant Karma's Gonna Get You!

Vegetarian Corned Beef Sammiches

12 oz extra firm tofu
15 oz pinto beans, drained

Pickling Liquid:
1.5 oz pickling spice
1 bottle of your favorite beer
2 Tblsp salt
1 Tblsp brown sugar

Swiss (or Swiss Soy) cheese
rye bread

Russian Dressing:
Mix together...
1/4 C mayonnaise (or vegan Mayo)
1/4 C ketchup
2 Tblsp pickle relish
Salt & Pepper, to taste
Dash of paprika
Dash of cayenne

1.  Toast the pickling spices in a dry sauté pan, until aromatic. BE CAREFUL NOT TO BURN!

2.  Add beer, salt, and brown sugar. Bring to a boil, and remove from the heat.

3.  Let cool, them strain out and discard the spices.

4.  Place the tofu and beans into the cooled liquid, and refrigerate 24 to 48 hours.

5.  Remove from refrigerator. Place in saucepan and simmer until the beans are soft, approximately 15 minutes. Drain liquid.

6.  Slice the tofu to fit the bread. Place in a sauté pan with some beans and grill it. Top with the sauerkraut and cheese, continuing until the cheese is melted.

7.  Place on toasted rye, and serve with. the Russian dressing.