Friday, January 16, 2009

Birthday Prep!!

So I am in the midst of food preparation for my Mom's birthday celebration tomorrow evening. Her birthday is really today but since she works odd hours 9-9 (she's a nurse) the festivities will be tomorrow when she is off.

So finally after two years of K-man and I living in our new house, we finally got a living room put together (long story) and when Mom and I were planning what to do for her, I thought it would be nice to 'break-in' the living room with a dinner for them here rather than go to a restaurant (my G-mom also lives with Mom and uses a walker). So I here I am thinking that I'd be putting together my own menu...little did I know that when she realized I was making dinner she was going to request her favorites that I make. (of course this discussion occurred after we went to the grocery store). But I didn't say anything or convince her otherwise....after all it is her birthday and the rule is the birthday girl gets what she wants!!!

The first dish she wanted is an appetizer called Fiesta Cheesecake. It a savory dish that I made for a work party awhile back and instead of making one large cheesecake I made two smaller ones. After the party I gave the second one to Mom and she loved it.

I am giving you the PRE-preparation pictures today and when I do my spread tomorrow night you will get the party-prepped pictures then. K?

Fiesta Cheesecake
9" cheesecake (I used two 6 inch springforms)

1 1/2 cups finely crushed tortilla chips (they make cans of this like bread crumbs now)
1/4 cup melted margarine
2 (8-oz) plus 1 (3-oz) pkgs cream cheese, softened
1/2 Tbsp chopped jalapeno peppers (I used fresh jalapeno)
1 tsp liquid from the jar of jalapeno peppers (I used lime juice)
red pepper, cumin, onion powder, garlic powder, and paprika to taste - start with 1/4 tsp each
2 large eggs
8 oz Pepper Jack cheese, shredded
2 oz cheddar, shredded fine
for garnish: 2 Tbsp sour cream, and 1 tsp each finely chopped red, yellow, and green peppers

Combine the tortilla chips and margarine. Press onto the bottom of a lightly-greased 9" springform pan. Bake at 325 for 15 minutes. Cool.
Beat the cream cheese until light. Add the jalapeno peppers and the 1 tsp of liquid, combine thoroughly. Add the red pepper, cumin, onion powder, garlic powder, and paprika, tasting to adjust before adding the eggs. Beat in the eggs, one at at time. Stir in the cheeses.
Pour the cheese mixture onto the crust. Bake at 325 for 30 minutes.
Cool for 10 minutes. Run a knife around the edge and remove the side of the pan. If not serving within a couple hours, cool completely, wrap airtight, and store in the refrigerator (let it stand at room temperature for an hour before serving). Garnish with a dollop of sour cream in the center and the finely-chopped red, yellow, and green peppers.

Notes: The original recipe suggested covering the top with sour cream, but I think it is too pretty for that. Place on a bed of fresh cilantro or parsley, if desired.
"Spicier Nacho" tortilla chips will give the crust a lovely reddish or blue color(depending on the type of chip you bought) A 7-oz bag will yield about 2 1/2 cups of crushed chips.

In making the two pans, I took the opportunity to make one mild cheesecake and one spicy. In both cheesecakes I added a couple of tablespoons of the bell peppers to the total mixture. I felt the cheesecake being called 'fiesta'...I thought it needed some color. I put half of the mixture in one pan, the remainder I mixed in the finely chopped jalapeno and put in the other pan. I used the pepper stems to indicate which is spicier of the two.

Lastly Mom didn't want a traditional birthday cake. Alas, another thing I need to finish tonight. Tune in tomorrow to see what I made for dessert!!!

No comments: